Saturday, March 5, 2011


Facebooking is easy. Tweeting is harder for me to do.

I have thoughts, but it's hard to confine them to 140 characters.

I have a niece -- she's intelligent, articulate, and recently gave birth to a baby. She's tweeting throughout every day, about ... (deep sigh) zilch, nada, nothing.

Does this comfort her? Give her pleasure? Make her less lonely? Is she's longing to be noticed? I guess she just wants to share her thoughts with other new mothers, who are feeling sort of bored and stuck in a rut like she is.

On, I've "followed" a couple of celebs -- people I don't know personally, who are tweeting about what they're doing, thinking, and seeing throughout a day. I guess it serves a purpose for politicians,, columnists, media guys, movie stars and almost-but-not-quite stars, and probably also cooks and published authors, but it seems like a bunch of rambling.

Yep, the tweets are sort of like smoke -- there's an odor -- it's shapeless gray -- the rambling stuff vanishes and leaves you nowhere.

So what's bothering me? I write posts (short essays) for "Em's Talkery" on different subjects, and include a few background facts, and I try hard to explain what I think about the topic.

And while I'm working, "my friends" on Facebook are plunking in one or two sentence about what's on their minds. Their "friends" sort of tweet/comment/plunk in a strong "Wow," or "Gee" or "That's great!" and everybody gets his or her name on a news-feed page that everybody else (who's logged in around the same time as I am, gets to see/hear/and note who's saying, doing what.

I'm realizing that FB is tweeting and tweeting is FB-ing -- the only difference is the 140 character rule on It's easier to ramble on in Facebook. But all those plunked in tweet like sentences on a news-feed are just people looking for approval..

Gee... is that what I'm doing?

No, no! I'm writing, polishing, revising and working on every single sentence for clarity and REAL communication and .... and.... and... . ..

Oh my goodness !

What's in a name ?
If the shoe fits it fits.
Face book just ... well, it doesn't pinch my bunions.
So I'm happily, logically, with no character counting, tweeting away on FB.

Friday, March 4, 2011


It's a perfect movie. A non-stop feast for the eyes and ears, and a story that gets me, involves me -- I never lose interest -- not for a second, in what is going to happen her and to him.

I think the perfection was Alan Jay Lerner's doing.

I'll use "AJL" for Alan -- so this post won't seem like a gossip column.

I knew AJL -- we knew him -- we got to know him during the musical "Camelot." AJL liked JC's looks, his acting and singing. Even back then, AJL was very much under the influence of Max Jacobson, "Dr. Max," who took care of many celebrities, jet-setters back in the sixties. Dr. Max gave them customized concoctions of amphetamines. And we were IN that world, on the outskirts, partly because we were not on amphetamines.

The turning point in actor John Cullum's life was when he was on the stage every night in "On a Clear Day," attempting to sustain his own brilliant, "off the top of his head" first performance.

John Cullum learned the starring role after less than a week of secret rehearsals. (Louis Jordan had not been told he was "fired.") When we arrived in Boston we were ushered into AJL's suite. His clothes were in the closets and drawers; his medications were on the night tables -- empty injection bottles and syringes.

A small bit of behind the scenes info: AJL was staying on his boat with his latest girl friend Karen. We'd met her. She was there to interview him but ended up as his wife number five, of eight. AJL himself said marrying his lady friends was his way of saying goodbye.

The layers of information here and the basis for my admiration of what AJL did with the "My Fair Lady" film is based on me personally, first-hand, actually knowing what I'm talking about. There are many wild, unruly memories of "sophisticated" get-togethers, social as well as professional, with AJL, (and I was already sophisticated from being the wife of a gorgeous-looking leading man).

The film's director, George Cukor, was an experienced, established, excellent director, and with Hermes Pan (an amazing choreographer), Cecil Beaton's sets and costumes, Fritz Loew's music, musical director Andrew Previn and the lighting, editing, and yes, yes! -- with the perfect eye, perfect views given to us by the director of photography. -- with all these people, perfection was created.

Of course, part of it was the remarkable, seamlessness, the excellence off Marni Nixon's vocals, and how Audrey Hepburn, with her amazing talents, perfectly lip-synced so that even though I knew it wasn't Hepburn's voice, it felt as if it were her singing, speaking, acting, the wonderful words, the lyrics, the libretto, the screenplay that AJL wrote.. She was astonishingly good -- believable, sympathetic -- fascinating as Eliza.

And Rex Harrison -- I could write a page on the spontaneous responses -- his acting of the Henry Higgins character. Harrison insisted that his songs not be pre-recorded. What you see in this film is an actual performance.

And on down the cast list -- I have praises, applause, bravos for Colonel Pickering, Higgins' mother, Eliza's father, even the house maids -- it was perfect casting -- all them were wonderfully staged by the collaborating directors, and AJL. I feel his eye was everywhere.

Was it money that brought this film and the artists involved in creating it together? Oh sure, a lot of money was involved, but AJL had plenty of money that he earned, aside from what he had as part to the wealthy Lerner family.

AJL was not a June-moon-spoon poet. Every idea, every word, everything he did was felt out and thought out.

I think. THIS film was the moment in AJL-the-artist's life, when all that he knew, everything that he was, was at his fingertips -- within him, and therefore was his power, this power enabled him to bring it all together.

Yes, he was quirky. . I didn't like the white gloves AJL wore, but it had to do with his fingernails that he'd bitten to the quick. (He was trying to break himself of the habit.) I didn't like Max Jacobson vials, and needles, and knew it wasn't good for AJL (and all the other people in the casts and crews of his other projects).

"Gigi" was a brilliant film. "Camelot," on film, was for me somewhat disappointing, but on stage, because of Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Roddy McDowall, it was brilliant.

Even so, "My Fair Lady" was, it is the best film I've ever seen. (I read this aloud to JC, and he paused. He shook his head. He didn't like the last sentence.)

I've modified it. Because of who I am and how I've evolved, it is the best film I've ever seen.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


This pretty girl is like a melody, and she's got the whole world in her hands.

Why? Because Mom is a possible presidential candidate, celebrity, and author. Doors open -- you have a better chance than most people, if you've got a famous parent.

Bristol Palin is making money promoting abstinence. According to Daily Beast reporter, Duff McDonald, she's making around $100,000 this year from The Candie's Foundation. For promoting teenage abstinence, this foundation pays her $15,000 to $30,000 for each speech she makes, and she's made more than a half-dozen this year.

And Bristol Palin's got things to sell -- albums of photos of her, including her now defunct wedding and her Dancing With the Stars' stint. Her autobiography will be published in June. There's already a pre-order list on

Since Mama Bear's memoir, "Going Rogue," sold more than 2.6 million copies, Daily Beast's McDonald predicts that if daughter Bristol's autobiography sells only 5 percent of that, it will gross about $3.25 million for William Morrow & Company, which is also her mother's publisher.

Even though Bristol's days as a teenager promoting abstinence are ending, she'll be earning about $100,000 from an FM station. Arizona's "Mix 96.9" is hiring her to play her own songs and speeches, and her mom's.

Her newly formed public relations company, BSMP, (20-year- old Bristol Sheeran Marie Palin is the company's star attraction), is handling all her personal and professional appearances, interviews, and endorsements. The Daily Beast estimates that BSMP will gross $250,000 for Bristol.

Thanks to ABC News promotion of her on Dancing With The Stars, and her mother's pals, who kept voting and voting for her to stay on the show, Bristol Palin's take from DWTS was approximately $2.5 million.

Her successful acting debut last summer in "The Secret Life of an American Teenager" will undoubtedly lead to more jobs as an actress/performer. Meanwhile, BSMP has applied for a trademark on her name, so, more than likely, there's going to be Bristol Palin ® beauty products and clothing.

Daily Beast reporter, Duff McDonald, a contributing editor for Fortune Magazine and published author himself, estimates Bristol Palin's earnings by the end of this year will be $6.2 million.

I've auditioned and hired many dancers and actors, and know how to evaluate dancing, acting, and performing talent.

This picture sums up for me, Bristol Palin's problem. Mom's face, features, and figure are interesting, and more than averagely attractive. Mom is exciting. Bristol is not.

If I were Bristol, I'd get rid of this picture, which shows her freely expressing herself in movement. That open-mouthed expression on her face is not attractive. The pose is awkward-looking -- she looks clumsy, and her legs are thick, (just a peep at what's above her knees suggests fleshy, out-of-shape thighs. Her waist (emphasized ineptly by a white belt), looks thick.

I would NOT hire her to inspire women and girls or the opposite sex. She's a nice-looking, ordinary young woman who looks "housewifey" pleasant. Bristol Palin isn't someone I'd ever buy a ticket to see or buy a book to find out how she got to be what she is.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


We are being told by the Republicans that problems are smaller than they are. Politicians and Congressmen, like helpful salespeople, are saying we can fix the deficit by cutting things from the budget.

And having been told this over and over, most Americans and Congress think the federal deficit is the number-one problem that must be addressed now.

I say it isn't. But 7 out of 10 Americans, according to the Gallup Polls, say it is.

And THIS is what Congress is working on? Nope. It seems to be "PRETEND TIME."

Republicans lunch with the President and emerge talking of "common ground" and, smiling happily, say "We need to send a signal that we are serious about cutting spending."

"SIGNAL?" A beep-beep? A green light? Well, maybe with their "Yay team!" stuff, they've been sending the "SIGNAL," but I don't see or hear anything but noise.

What actually is going to be cut? And is the amount $100 billion? Even the amount, has been fudged.

President Obama proposed a budget that ultimately addresses the deficit. His budget adds $7 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, rather than $8 trillion.

Note the word "ultimately." Eventually, after 10 years, the debt might be $1 trillion less. Well, at least it sounds okay.

Actually I can't picture $1 trillion, but I don't know why I have to bother. Nothing is happening.

Everyone says NO to cutting antipoverty programs or education supports. What about cutting "unemployment payments to jobless millionaires?" Or cutting all waste, fraud and abuse; all foreign aid; Air Force One; all congressional pensions?

Hey guys, c'mon -- unless Congress cuts Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense, we are NOT going to be able to cut the deficit by anything approaching what they're sort of fudgingly, more or less talking about.

If you believe that low taxes promote strong growth -- okay, enjoy it, but be prepared to put some of your money into cancer research, paying for the music classes your kids' school canceled, and contributing money to take care of the men and women who come home from the wars they've fought to protect us.

I can't help thinking, and therefore stating right here -- don't try to cut the deficit now.

Despite all the former great American presidents (starting with Jefferson) who have said the federal deficit must be reduced and paid -- yes -- I'm saying again, don't fix the deficit now.

Times have changed. It used to be major, number one, significant, important not to pass federal deficit onto the next generation.

Right now we have urgent, life and death problems we are neglecting in order to figure out how to handle the deficit.

Congress, Republicans, Democrats -- people -- we have get to work on those life and death problems. We can't fix/solve/ or pay off the national debt right now.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


When my literary agent and friend said. "We'll shoot your manuscript, and get it onto a memory card," I was stunned.

Selling books so they could be read on a Sony Reader, or on Amazon's Kindle was, as of two years ago, the new way my agent was going to be selling novels.

I gnashed my teeth, sulked, had a real snit-fit. To me a "kindle" was kindling -- sticks of wood that you put together in order to start a good fire.

Having experienced the feeling of becoming a "has-been" in the dance world, I felt I was about to become a "has-been" writer. I found a website designer though my good PR friend Sue, who introduced me to Website designer, Fran. With Fran's help and her knowledge of the Internet, I published my 5 unpublished novels on The Readery. com, my Website, where readers are downloading and reading my novels for free.

Whoopee -- 159 000 people have downloaded chapters of my books. People are reading my books and now ... well, now I write posts for my blog.

My logic: if you make jewelry you need people to buy it and wear it. If you write books, you need to have people you don't know, (not friends or relatives), read them.

Facts about the state of the book business: Borders, the second largest bookstore chain in the U.S., recently filed for bankruptcy; Barnes And Noble now has fewer stores, and their stores now have a "Nook." . The Nook is a reader like the Kindle.

Many literary agents have quit. Becoming a "published author" is even tougher than "making it" as an actor. Every year as population increases, there are more would-be actors, and many more would-be writers.

You can "self publish" and promote your own book. You or an agent can send your book to various publishers and it might be bought and published, but being a "successful" writer -- a writer whose book is bought by readers is a matter of luck -- of being in tune with the times and at the same time, being special -- different -- weird, unusual, outrageous, super-shocking -- being, perhaps, something in the freaky sex department.

So ... "Hurray for Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, for creating the Kindle, which has spawned the Nook, and other tablet book readers.

If you, who are reading this, are a writer who's hoping, dreaming, planning, outlining, working on a book, do not let Kindles, Nooks, the over-crowded world, too many writers, up-tight publishers, or agent distract you. Don't use any of these realities as a reason for not writing.

Write, then contemplate where and how to sell what you've written.. Writing is fun -- an art, that transforms ideas/thoughts/experiences/research/knowledge/personal experience, and who YOU ARE, into a comprehensible form that affects others.

Be brave. Be and do what you want to do.

Ever heard the phrase -- don't bite off your nose to spite your face? Absorb the bad and the good of whatever the trend is. You need your nose to breathe, while you are writing.

Monday, February 28, 2011


I am an anxious sort of person, and a worrier. It doesn't matter what I'm doing. As a writer, I worry more than I did as a dancer -- I used to worry about pirouettes, but conquered it by using acting techniques. Writing a new post for my blog is nerve-wracking. I know what's on my mind, but am often not sure how to pull my thoughts together and make a point. It can take 3 to 7 hours to write a post and I'm tense while I'm writing.

When I'm cooking -- even if I'm cooking a ten course meal for a group of people -- I'm relaxed and confident. Other domestic jobs are also easy, but I get tense because I want to get them done -- be done with them fast.

Recent articles about anxiety state that many anxious people unconsciously cultivate anxiety because they're used to feeling anxious, and are comforted by their anxieties.

Psychologist Maya Tamir tested a group at Hebrew University, and learned that those who called themselves "anxious" invariably chose to feel worried before a demanding task.

At the University of Denver, Brett Ford, a psychology researcher, discovered “Trait emotions” (feelings people tend to have most of the time). “Trait anger” means chronically angry, irritated, or annoyed; “trait happy” means usually cheerful, joyful. Both types of people preferred to feel the way they were accustomed to feeling

Neuroscientist Kent Berridge, at the University of Michigan, discovered that wanting and liking are mediated by two distinct sets of neurotransmitters. He concluded, “Some people get addicted to feeling anxious because that’s the state that they’ve always known. If they feel a sense of calm they get bored. They feel empty inside. They want to feel anxious.” (Notice he didn’t say “like.”)

Do you worry? Are you generally anxious? Here are three tests. The questions seem boringly standard, but my test-scores confirmed my own evaluation of myself as a worrier.

What's your evaluation of YOU? Do the tests say you're evaluating yourself realistically?




Sunday, February 27, 2011


This is a chat about how most people react to seeing themselves in photos -- Emily Frankel observes that most people seem to dislike the way they look.

John Cullum has often complained about not liking the way he looks in movies and television shows.

John Cullum and Emily have advice to give on the subject -- things you can do so that your photographs and videos will be more attractive, even to your own critical eye.