Saturday, January 22, 2011


Why is the weather so bad? A lot of people think it's worse this year, than it was last year. Is it worse than last year?

Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornado's, blizzards, freezing temperatures, melting polar ice caps, epidemics, Flu, Cholera, Aids, wars, poverty, starvation. parched lands, people running out of water ... Is all this bad stuff that's going on, God's way of handling, cutting down the world's exploding population?

I was not brought up with a God, or Jesus, or any religion helping me to understand life and death, though I read and heard the Bible stories. The child in me wonders if God is angry because we are destroying the earth, the air, everything that's alive, and also destroying the precious things of past history that still exist as monuments to remind us what the world was.

I can't not worry. Every day, throughout the day, we hear weather news -- about the temperature, humidity, wind speed, and how much sunshine there will be -- and of course the probabilities, and predictions, of what may happen tomorrow, or on the weekend.

The announcers are mostly nice-looking normal people -- expert speakers with good diction, fast minds -- capable of going with the flow of what's on their scripts, or spur-of-the-moment, reacting to news flashes about unexpected, possibly dangerous. not good developments that can be seen on their sources (that we don't see).

We are seeing easy-to-grasp maps of our country, and lists of the major cities of world, with their Farenheit/Celsius temperatures, and learning if airplanes are arriving and departing on time, or delayed or canceled.

When the weather news is on, I am off into thoughts about what to wear and do I need an umbrella, and as the report develops into detailed colorful pictures, I'm wondering about ...

Forty days and forty nights, Noah's Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, and God's power to punish mankind with what we've got now with freezing temperatures, and what will come with next summer's heat waves.

Yes, I think God is telling us, commanding those who believe in Him, to stop hurting each other, stop selfishness, murder, sin, neglect -- warning us about morality/immorality, and yesterday's headlines that are every day more so and worse. That's HIM telling us -- pay attention to what's happening, stop the wrangling and babbling, and stop, stop the big wars, the small wars, yes-yes -- stop-stop-stop KILLING YOUR WORLD.

Friday, January 21, 2011


When you're wondering what to do, what to do next, which new thing to try. what old project that you decided was wrong is probably right -- you are nowhere.

It's a writer's dilemma.

Also, it's a normal, average, predicament.

When FINALLY you make a decision, then -- only then -- can you figure out what's first, or last, or where to start -- and what to end with. OR consider reversing the sequence -- consider starting with the end, and ending with what was first.

Then AT LAST, your dilemma in focus because everything is utterly out of out of focus, fuzzy, foggy, unclear.

And HOW to proceed, or IF to proceed, or WHY to proceed is IMMOBILIZING YOU, halting every possible action -- that is when you take a nap.

Or retire for the rest of the day,

You are nowhere. Nowhere is somewhere. It's the place from which you can start again from scratch, to figure out if you should go this way, or that way. Or decide to DO NOTHING.

Do nothing is GREAT! It's a decision than empowers you to think of things you never thought of before, and can take you somewhere where you never ever dreamed of going!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Dogs and cats are amazing, aren't they? It's amazing, the way they bring you joy, amusement, and comfort.

Are other pets as wonderful as a dog, or a cat?

A rabbit, a bird, or birds, squirrels, a flock of pheasants, ducklings, baby chicks, quails that visit -- that's wonderful too, but not the same as pets who live in your home.

If you are upset, bothered, bewildered, tense, fretting, in a bad mood for whatever reason -- your pet somehow brings you back to your centered, normal self.

You can't have a two-way conversation, but discussing things with your pet can tell you what you need to know.

Remarkable true stories have been written about dogs and their devotion. And cats -- our friends tell little stories, so lovingly, about their cats.

When you go out and come back, a pet's reaction when you come back into your home is delightfully affirming.

And cuddling, hugging, feeding, tending -- playing with a cat, kittens, dogs, puppies is more than affirming. -- it helps you do other things that you are compelled to do -- do them with good energy, and a gentler, patient spirit.

But pets don't have the life span that people have. They are in your life quite temporarily. And they don't have the mental capacity to understand your concerns -- problems with health, love, or your mood. Your pets don't really understand -- if you're depressed -- your reasons for being depressed.

Why do you love your pets? Why are they so important?

They are not children, who will grow up and go away, and from afar continue to be in your life.

A pet is not a person, or a child.

Why do you need a pet? What does a pet give you? What do you do with a pet that makes it so very beloved and so very important?

Why am I asking these questions? I don't have a pet, but I've had them -- visions of our dog, Teechie, our cat, Helpy, are still in my mind.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Do you recognize the name? Probably you've heard it, if you are interested in theater or show biz -- and who isn't?

Doesn't every child, at some point, dream of being an actor or actress?

Okay, maybe today's kids have a variation on it -- a bigger dream of being a Rock-Pop, TV, Movie, Internet, Songster-Dancer-Actor.

Fosse was a director-choreographer, movie-maker whose ideas and feel for movement was his vision, his steps and gyrations that I call the "BOB FOSSE STYLE."

There are others who inspired the Fosse style -- Jerome Robbins,, Gower Champion, Jack Cole, and others, who've had their style, their feeling in their muscles, and knew how to build, expand, ignite a sequence into a knock-you-out, take-your-breath-away, whamo! wow! socko! climatic tiptop, over-the-top photo finish!

I have to mention Busby Berkeley; Fred Astaire has to be included, and Gene Kelley (though he didn't take my breath away), but the Fosse style is S-E-X -- hips, torso, pelvis, leggy-snakey-octopus limbs, plus a shimmying, gyrating torso -- the stripteaser's relentlessly seductive embrace -- making-love, love-making with you, without actually touching you.

Bob Fosse could do it, did it again and again in show after show -- it's an astounding list of hit shows. I won't bother listing them, or showing you bits of the film, "All That Jazz,"-- his over-the-top, excessive, on the verge of boring, fabulous, fantastically original, non-stop inventive movie scenes -- you can see it for yourself better on a CD or on You Tube.

"Bye-bye Life" -- Roy Scheider, Ben Vereen with electric dancers surrounding them -- it's a film story-adventure experience. If you were saying goodbye, and you knew that you were about to die, what would you do -- what would you sing -- reach for -- touch -- cuddle -- grasp?

Bob Fosse was daring, and created from his own experiential view of sex, orgasm, drugged ecstasy, exultation and fear. I can't get his images, bits, and elements of them, out of my mind.

"All That Jazz" -- all that it means -- like it or not -- Fosse's ART speaks to me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I wrote and re-wrote a book, in 1999, 2000, 2006, that still hasn't been published. It's about a woman born January 1, 1900. I wanted the dates in her life to synchronize with the dates of the major events in the Twentieth Century. And as the story is ending, in 1999, my heroine is reminiscing with her granddaughter.

"Cordelia nodded thoughtfully, remembering her husband. 'He'd have loved Tiger Woods, worried about terrorism, blamed it on our foreign policy. Chuckled over the hullabaloo, hated the hullabaloo over President Clinton's love life. Wouldn't be thrilled about more women commanders, the military announcing there'll be more lady bosses by two thousand and ten.'

"Cordelia hummed a few names. 'Oprah, Hillary, Madeline Albright? Who'll be the queen pin, king pin in two thousand and ten? Some new person we never heard of? Maybe it's a good thing Cordelia Benedek-Elliot retired from congress.' "'

Yes, I knew back in 1999 -- Emily, the author, knew that Oprah was a woman to be reckoned with.

I don't watch Oprah. I have never seen an entire Oprah Winfrey show because ...

Because I am uncomfortable with her marvelous, breezy, relaxed, confident focus.

Because what she conveys , as she speaks, is a sincere, full-out, genuine awareness: of me.

Because she doesn't seem to suspect that I don't want her opinions laid on me.

(Of course, she's not aware of me, she doesn't know me, but the image on the television set says that she does.)

I don't want Oprah Winfrey's ideas. They're like hand-me-down clothes that she is sure I'll love, and she's putting them on me, dressing me in them.

I don't mind wearing hand-me-downs, but Oprah picks them off her rack that's part of her personal collection, and she slips them on me. I am not only uncomfortable in what she so generously, lovingly dresses me in, I'm annoyed -- yes, repelled -- the color, the style, the shape of her things are not my taste.

I've avoided Dr. Phil. (He's smart, he's perceptive and caring.) I don't like Dr. Mehmet Oz. (I don't like the exercises he promotes.) I won't watch Rachael Ray. (I've peeked -- she's charming.) But the Oprah Seal-of-Approval on Phil, Oz, and Rachael turns me off.

I checked-out Oprah's new " OWN Network." I read the names of the programs throughout the day and evening. I don't intend to return to that channel and watch any of them.

I have to admit that I like Oprah's energy. I found her heartfelt support of Obama, during his campaign touching. But I don't want to "be my best self" based on her concept. I don't want to latch on to Oprah's favorite things, Oprah's famous people, and the inspirational stories that Oprah loves, touts, and recommends.


Am I a dope?

The OWN Network will succeed without me, I hope.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Andrew Sullivan, well-known, acclaimed blogger for The Atlantic Monthly, in a video-blog, explains that Abraham Lincoln often had his male guests sleep over, sharing his bed with him, and suggests that Lincoln was gay.

Click, and you'll see Was Lincoln gay?


Sullivan's speculation reminds me of the latest questions about Michelle Obama. She's thicker around the middle. Photos suggest she's gained some weight. And apparently the Obamas disappearance one night got the White House's wagging tongues wagging.

Is Michelle Obama pregnant?

Why do we ponder these questions? Does it make a difference? If Lincoln was gay, do we need to re-examine his deeds, his ideas, and our thoughts of him as a great American?

Is Sullivan concerned and enjoying the idea because of his own gayness?

I know from my husband's family, male Southerners share their beds -- they've seen their older brothers and uncles share their beds -- it's quite natural and polite for them to tell a male guest (if the hour is late, or the weather is inclement), "Why don't you stay over -- I've got room in my bed."

Being a Northerner, we don't share our beds -- even with women friends we're reluctant. Of course, this could be my up-bringing. Anyway, I was shocked when I was out-of-town, and my Southern husband told me he'd invited a friend of ours (who's gay), to sleep over, sharing the bed my husband and I sleep in. It happened more than once back in the days when I was touring, (and my husband, John Cullum, is not gay.)

Why did Sullivan bother with this subject? I've sensed before that Sullivan's an angry man, and tends to over-emphasize that he's gay.

What's interesting is the need in all of us, males and females, to know what our heroes and heroines do in the privacy of their bedrooms.

What is it? Aspects of one's childhood still lingering? Even after we know about the birds and bees, we can't help wondering about our parents, teachers, neighbors, famous people?

The consensus of opinions is that Michele Obama is not pregnant. And I don't think that President Abraham Lincoln was gay just because he invited guys to sleep over.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Who are the most influential commentators in the country right now?

Emily Frankel shares with John Cullum her concern about the fifty names on the list in Newsweek -- men and women who are the most popular these days, and what they are earning.

Their names and faces are familiar. The "names" most in demand, give speeches, write articles, and books, appear on television, radio, and of course are on Twitter and Facebook. Because they're seen constantly, they're selling us their own political and cultural preferences.

It's chilling. The famous men and women who are making the most money as "political entrepreneurs" are touting ideas that dismay the Cullums.