Saturday, November 6, 2010


I don't believe in "Luck" -- I believe in work.

But I collected Fortune Cookie fortunes --
only the good ones.

When JC got a super good luck fortune,
I took it and pasted it on my string.

The fortunes are taped to a red string,
that's hanging on the door to my office.

Open the door, enter my office, and look up.

High up on the window, there's a poster from "People in Show Biz Make Long Goodbyes," a play written by me as H. Jean Schaeffer. (I've used that name as a pseudonym.) I'm proud of the fact that my play was produced in NYC at Off-Broadway's Orpheum Theater.

Look down, and you'll see on the shelf above my computer,
a beautiful belly-dancing doll.

Her head, her bosoms, her hips all wiggle. She does a Hootchy Kootchy dance if you blow on her.

GH, a sailor, a dear pal of JC's, who propositioned me, bought my belly dancing doll for me, along with a 4 oz. flagon of $90-an-ounce Joy perfume. It's on the shelf behind her -- never opened -- it seems disloyal to use it, but it's accruing value. The price for Joy perfume is now $400 an ounce.

On the shelf above my monitor, there's a hand-painted cup. I brought it in Spoleto, Italy, where I danced my very best despite the fact that Baryshnikov and Carla Fracci, the stars on the program, were waiting to go on, watching me in the wings.

On the shelf above that -- three tall wooden flowers. My son JD bought them for me for good luck when I left Malibu, moaning about missing the flowers.

Under my calendar, a demonic wooden Chinese Lord is staring angrily at the dancing doll. He's a gift from my stage crew in Hong Kong, who taught me to say "Go Cue! Take a break! Thank you," in Chinese.

I don't pay much attention to any of my good luck trinkets. I never had a rabbit's foot or knocked on wood.

But I always wear a purple T-shirt, no matter what the weather -- on the first day of a new project. And though I haven't added any new fortune cookie fortunes to my string, I've made a fortune cookie bracelet.
The bracelet hangs
on my clock.
Click and enlarge.
Note my purple sleeve!
You can probably decipher
some of my most favorite
good luck words.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I like her name. I like what she does. I like what she says.

"Arianna " is a Greek name that means holy. Her maiden name is Stassinopoulos. She was born in Greece, and came to the United States when she was sixteen.

Is she someone I'd like to be when I grow up? (Yes, I'm grown up, but when I bump into someone I admire, it's a question I ask myself. )

Hmm ...

She's a writer. She lives in Los Angeles with her two teenage daughters. She is the founder, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post. People think of it as the internet newspaper and often refer to it as the "HufPo." She's also involved with several organizations that promote community solutions to social problems,

I've seen her many times. 'She's guested on Oprah,” “Nightline,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Inside Politics,” “Larry King Live,” “Hardball,” “Good Morning America,” “Today,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” and “Countdown.”

She's written fifteen books. The subjects intrigue me. Browsing the titles and publication dates, I'm respectfully jealous, aware of the emergence of her as an ever more thoughtful observer of life in America.

Her private life is a little messy, confusing. She went to Cambridge University in London; graduated, and lived with a journalist, broadcaster. Though she still calls him "the big love of my life," she left him when he wouldn't marry her, and moved to the U.S.

During the eighties, she was involved, probably more than spiritually, with John-Roger's Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness; also romantically involved with the Governor of California, Jerry Brown (currently the Attorney General of California who is running again for Governor). While becoming known as a liberal Democrat, Arianna wrote two great biographies that were optioned and sold to movie producers -- "Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend," and "Pablo Picasso: Creator and Destroyer." That she was accused of plagiarism is on her resume -- she paid off one accuser; a second accusation faded away.

In 1985 she met oil millionaire Michael Huffington. They married and have two daughters. They moved to Washington, D.C. when Michael was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. Later, after they established residency in Santa Barbara, California, Arianna campaigned for her politically conservative husband, touting smaller government, reduction in welfare (25 years ago Republicans had the same issues as now). Michael won a seat as a Republican in the House of Representatives. But when he ran for Senator, a few years later, he lost to the incumbent, Dianne Feinstein.

They divorced in 1997. She kept the name Huffington. Michael Huffington revealed that he was bisexual and said that his wife knew about it throughout their marriage.

Though Adrianna supported Newt Gingrich's "Republican Revolution" and Bob Dole's 1996 candidacy for president in his campaign against Clinton, in the late nineties her politics shifted back to the left. She teamed up with liberal comedian, Al Franken. Bill Maher and Adrianna were a writing team. She guested on various news shows, did a few of acting roles, and was on her way to becoming the celebrity, the liberal democrat and political entity, that she is today.

Her private life? Well, her men friends include Maher, Franken, Werner Erhard, Mort Zuckerman, Jerry Brown, David Murdock, and currently Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark.

She's everywhere in the media -- making comments, quoted, recognized. (When I'm researching, again and again, the HufPo appears with succinct articles on whatever is in the news.)

I've seen many videos of her discussing diverse topics, handling argumentative people -- conservatives, Tea Partiers, Republicans. Democrats -- with persistent logic, calmness, and grace.

Arianna Huffington is sixty now, non-conforming, not in any way outrageous, but unique. She's ten years younger, a vivacious fifty, in her looks, bearing, and ideas.

So ...? Well ... ?

No I wouldn't want to be her. It's the small messes. Her former boyfriends, lovers, whatever, are still part of her life and the experience that makes her what she is. All books she's written, the HufPo -- all that is part of the messes -- failures, new directions, ups and downs she's been through along the way.

I like my own ups and downs, my own messes better than hers. I know how to handle them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Do you have a tattoo? Have you considered getting one?

News Guide U.S. says the tattoo business in the U.S. is thriving, despite the economic downturn, making roughly $2.3 billion annually at an estimated 15,000 parlors. A Pew Research Center study (Pew is a DC think tank that provides information on trends), says more than a third of Americans ages 18 to 25 have a tattoo; 40 percent of folks in the 26 to 40 range, and 10 percent of people age 41 to 64 are tattooed.

I have to say that the idea of decorating my own body with any kind of permanent decorations -- tattoo, nose or earring jewel -- doesn't really appeal to me. I like to change my "persona" -- be chic, or a tomboy, business woman, schoolgirl. With scarves, hats, shoes, spur of the moment, I can be a gypsy in wild colors and sandals, bedecked in necklaces, bracelets, earrings and finger rings.

What about you? If you got a tattoo, would you want it always on display? Only displayed in private?

And that breeds another question -- what's the reason for getting a tattoo? Because tattoos are art? Because they're sexy?

I find myself remembering actress Sandra Bullock ...
Her ex ... Jesse James ...
All those tattoos!

And Michelle -- what's-her-name -- all her tattoos, the way she blabbed, is still blabbing about her hot affair with Bullock's ex ...

What did Bullock love about this Jesse James guy? The macho look of him? Couldn't she perceive what he was?

The fact is, if someone came to my office and applied for a job, I would be less inclined, NOT inclined, to hire a person with tattoos. Instinctively I feel if you're tattooed you're narcissistic, a bit wild, like some "biker."

Other employers probably feel the same way. Perhaps that's why getting tattoos removed, is also a budding business.

The Academy of Dermatology points to a 2004 survey that found nearly one-fifth of people with tattoos had considered getting their body art removed. The cost of removing a tattoo is high. "Our average client spends between $800 and $1,200 to get a tattoo removed," says the CEO of "Ink-B-Gone Precision Laser Tattoo Removal," explaining that the typical tattoo can take five or six treatments, sometimes a year-and-a-half to remove -- the skin has to heal between treatments.

Actually, the people I know who've been tattooed say it makes them feel good about themselves.

American Indians, African tribes, Aborigines have fantastical tattoos and piercings. With our streets, our cities getting more and more crowded, maybe we're returning to those primitive days, and need to be different -- need to emerge as an individual -- be one of a kind.

Sandra Bullock, definitely a one-of-a-kind celebrity, has a tattoo on her left breast, according to a Google gossip site. Other Websites say she has a tattoo on her lower back; another says she has one on her belly.

I admire her acting. I love the way she rose above the negative publicity about her unfaithful husband. Gee, is Sandra why I'm writing this, and sort of vaguely considering having my skin inked and decorated?

A flower? A couple of leaves on a vine? What color? Sort of no color blue gray? Middle back, lower back -- I'd never see it. Where would you put a tattoo? On your buttock, hip, top of your thigh? A pattern, words? (Good God, not words -- you'd be stuck with them!)

Well ... I don't need a tattoo, don't want one -- it doesn't fit with my life style, but if you are thinking of getting one, well ... I've love to know why. Maybe I'll consider getting a tattoo when the weather's warmer, maybe next spring.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


My friend Joan sent me this picture story.


Okay, I give up -- we can play!

I can fish anytime...

Love~~ the most powerful force in the world.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NOVEMBER 2, 2010

This voting day will go away
And be back again another day.
Up a ladder down a tree,
What will be, we will see.
We'll fix, not nix, say yes not no,
Debate, negotiate what's on the slate.
Talk, not balk
And instead, go ahead!

Proceed to fix what we need,
Discuss, not diss, or fuss,
And bit by bit find a way to lend
And send in ideas that are strong --
Not wrong!
Up a ladder down a tree,
What will be, you'll see --
It'll be a win for you and me.

We'll just pursue, figure out what to do.
So the politics war will end.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I put SEX on my list of subjects to write about, thinking -- easy subject, I'll just wing it and say what I think.

We're being inundated by sex in movies, literature, television -- in the news, in ads. Is it like the weird weather -- is it global warming, or a warning from above, from Him, Her, or whatever you call God? Is more and more sex a symptom of civilization crumbling?

I Googled "Sex Nowadays." A study has just been published by the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. They examined everything from condom use to homosexual behavior, to orgasm rates. Researchers from Indiana University surveyed approximately 6000 people -- a random, cross-section sample of 14 to 94-year-olds across the United States.

It was the most comprehensive survey of its kind in nearly two decades and the first to include teenagers. The survey headlined -- "Teenagers are having less sex," (only one fifth of those surveyed had intercourse; and surprisingly, most used condoms), and reported --"Baby boomers are having more sex ," (experimenting, doing it less responsibly than teenagers, often without condoms).

I read various reports on the report -- statistics and percentages (x% does this, y% does that) -- men, women, same sex partners, in relation to oral and anal sex, climaxes, orgasms, and pleasuring oneself. (The research was sponsored by Trojan condoms -- probably that's was why it seemed to be about condoms more than anything else.)

One interesting paragraph said there were 41 different types of "sexual practice categories." There wasn't a list of what the categories or the practices were, just that interesting number 41.

On You Tube I watched TLC's "Sister Wives." a new cable show about day-to-day events in the life of a large polygamous family. The leading man explained that he sleeps with "a sister from the same mister, who's the brother from another mother." That was fun, but watching the dinner table scene, I found myself yawning. (I don't like reality shows and this was definitely slow-moving reality .)

Though there were hundreds of other videos with interesting sex titles, I exited You Tube. I realized that my researching polygamy, or other current sexual practices, was going nowhere.

Why should I bother with reports on what most people my age, or your age, are doing or not doing? If you are wondering what you might be missing, and want to know more about the 41 categories, grab a copy of the Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian Hindu text on pleasure and spirituality. It has detailed pictures of sexual practices that you can share with a partner or partners.

As a youngster, after you've tried it, (had your first sex experience), the best thing to do is pay attention to what you feel -- talk it over with your nearest and dearest, and do what you want to do.

Yes, good sex, bad sex, boring sex is like the weather. If it's raining or snowing and you don't want to get wet, wear a raincoat, or put on rubbers and open your umbrella. If it's a heat wave, the less you wear the better. The weather keeps changing, so you go with the moment.

Turn off the words, don't bother with the reports. Go with what you feel.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


John Cullum tells Emily about a chat that he overheard on a break during rehearsals. Two men, who have created successful Broadway musicals, were discussing some of their other projects.

The men were Harvey Schmidt, who created the longest running musical in theater history, "The Fantasticks," with Tom Jones, and John Kander, who created "Scottsboro Boys" with the late Fred Ebb. (Kander and Ebb are the longest creative partnership in musical theater.)

Kander and Schmidt were discussing the huge efforts that had to be made in order to get the rights for a project, and then, begin selling it to producers. Sometimes, the initial effort took a few years, and required many preliminary readings of the script and trial performances of the lyrics and music.

John Cullum is amazed and taken aback, as these very grown-up, successful authors tell about how they've goofed -- lost wonderful projects because they didn't take care of some of the absolutely essential preliminaries.