Saturday, March 12, 2011


When I was very young, around five, I proudly spouted the longest word in the dictionary, "antidisestablishmentarism."

I didn't know what it meant but growing up, I've become NOT anti -- I'm the opposite -- a disestablishmentarian. I can't, won't, join any establishment, tradition, codification of anything, that others have defined in theater, and definitely in fashion.

The fact is, fashion previews are over -- the latest stuff for the fall of 2011 was ballyhooed a couple of weeks ago. Most of the designers have had their say in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, and though there are still some comments and echoes from Miuccia Prada, Gucci, and the swan-songing Yves St Laurent, I'm ready to announce what I think about all this right now!

Actually, I met Prada at a chic party in the nineties. I was neck-to-calf encased in a black wool, turtle-neck tube dress when Prada kissed me and said I was more chic, more beautiful than anyone else at the party. I didn't' know who she was but as I was leaving the host gave me her phone number, "Prada wants to dress you."

I didn't call. I'm too busy. I don't usually bother with what to wear though, sometimes, when I can't sleep, I watch re-runs of the Fashion Police, enjoying Joan Rivers' outrageousness, ho-humming and bemused by the other girly-boyish hosts, with their passionately silly comments.

Fashion runways, like "red carpet" scenes on award shows, are tiresome. Actually, except for the skinny sulky young girls swishing down pathway, I'm not interested in runways, though one new business idea that's emerged from the recent fashion week, does, in fact, make sense. This year shoppers voted for their favorites, and the top five outfits will be produced. (IF you believe it will be done honestly. I don't.) But theoretically, getting a vote --"crowd sourcing" a dress -- implies that the fashion industry actually cares what women think.

These four dresses were chosen.

Boring, Boring, Boring. Boring.
Nothing in these outfits surprises, delights me, or wakes me up. Most especially, I don't like the shoes, and the cleavage revelations and skirt lengths are just a re-run of what bored me before.

What's the matter with me?

Nothing. I think a woman should wear what she feels like wearing, in terms of color, shock value, being different or blending in, and that what was worn 70 years ago is much more stimulating than current styles. Old cultures are fascinating. Old-fashioned designers are inspiring in the same way that famous painters, down through the ages are inspiring.

I'm saying, go wherever you want to go in your mind -- wear wings, or silver, steel, mesh, leather, plastic, or paper armor.

Gossamer is good.

Don't wear what's in fashion. Make your own.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Have you been faced lately with decisions you have to make about things such as buying a car, a health-care plan, figuring out what to do with money? Are YOU anxious because you don't know what to do about a job, politics, your health, or buying that new pair of shoes? Do you need a shrink, or should you be talking over these things with a friend?

Is too much stuff going on -- is it iinformation overload? The director of the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University, Dr. Angelika Dimoka, suspects that a complicated biological phenomenon is at work.

To confirm it, she created a problem that overtaxed people's decision-making abilities, joining in with economists and computer scientists who study "combinatorial auctions,"

Huh? I figured she meant combined bunches of ideas to buy or not buy something. The Dr. Dimoka's article on information overload made me nervous -- she used fancy loaded words that I had to translate! I read on and saw that Angelika was referring to "bidding" wars, (not eBay bidding), situations where bidders consider a dizzying number of items that can be bought alone or bundled. The example that was chosen to test what happened to an overloaded mind was buying airport landing slots.

If you are thinking about buying a combination of them -- for instance, 100 landing slots at LAX -- you need to know passenger load, weather, connecting flights, space needed, space available, who buys slots for how much. Just beginning to think about this, you could become anxious and mentally exhausted, The result might be that you'd buy fewer slots, or maybe you'd pay too much for them, or just bow out of the deal.

Angelika Dimoka tested the prefrontal cortex of the human brain and saw that activity in it started falling off as more and more information was loaded until l the prefrontal cortex slowed down, and stopped -- stopped functioning completely, as if circuit breaker shorted-out.

I think we already know this happens to us. With phones and all our other handhelds and apps, and the flow of facts and information, we get flooded. .We can find out a used car's accident history, a doctor's malpractice record, a restaurant's health-inspection results, and compare prices in hundreds of places -- and soon, we're just not able to make decisions on anything -- on where to vacation; what college to go to, whom to date, what wristwatch to buy. And aside from too much information, you've got friends, who are giving you advice, and suggesting books they've read on the subject.

In the 17th century, scholars bemoaned the horrible mass of books that was growing. In 1729 Alexander Pope warned -- "A deluge of authors cover the land."

Nowadays, is it possible to absorb even a small fraction of what's out there? It's so much -- the fact is, the Oxford English Dictionary actually added the phrase " Information Fatigue in 2009.

During the BP oil well crisis, 400 emails of texts, advice, reports were arriving every day at their offices. Their experts have said they might have found a solution sooner if they hadn't had to deal with all those things that were people were advising. It's been suggested that maybe Mubarak would have resigned as President of Egypt earlier, if there hadn't been so much news, so many (too many reports), too much media, too many opinions.

When people are given information about 50 rather than 10 options in an online store, they often choose lower-quality options. When we make decisions, we compare bundles of information. So a decision is harder if the amount of information you have to juggle is greater. And more and more choices. are being offered for everything from mustard to socks.

A key reason for information's diminishing returns is the limited capacity of the brain's working memory. It can hold roughly seven items, (which is why seven-digit phone numbers were a great idea).

Anything more must be processed into long-term memory. And the brain, then, because of overload, struggles to figure out what to keep and what to disregard.

And then, there's the latest newest, stuff -- the false God of recency" -- what is currently IN.

Hey, is all this is making you feel worse, more stuck than you felt before you started reading this post?

Why not remove yourself from the information influx? Why not let your unconscious turn it over. Why not turn off your handhelds -- don't think -- take a shower or go for a walk?.

I'm not sure that Angelika and her experts would approve, but quite often with NO information, suddenly I know -- I just feel what I ought to do, so I'm ending this post now, I'm off to the shower.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


A good friend sent me these nine words, phrases, and sounds to pass on to my friends. I think it's realistic, practical stuff all your friends, and lovers absolutely need to know.

(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half-an-hour.
Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(Do you ever say "fine," or "five minutes?" What about "nothing?")

(3) Nothing: This is the terrible calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with "nothing" usually end in ... "fine."

(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It guys!

(5) Loud Sigh: This is not actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says "Thanks a lot", or when in Tenn... "Bless your l'il heart"- that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome.' That will bring on a "whatever."

(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying "Go to h%#@." (edited)

(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to #3.

(Advice: If you use these words, say them with the sweetest of sweet smiles, and a lovely musical tone --it's even more effective.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


October 2010, Donald Trump, in a video, said, "For the first time in my life, I'm actually thinking about it [running for president]. I see what's going on with this country and it's never been worse. What's happening is a disgrace."

Trump cited what he called the "unfair" trade relationship between America and China and the administration's inability to utilize the country's top business talent in trade negotiations as his main reasons for mulling a run.

"I love this country, we have a great country ... but it's not really great like it used to be. Let's face it, we are no longer respected the way we used to be respected, and if we keep going like this, within 10 years China is going to overtake us easily," Trump said.

When asked what party he would choose to run for, he said, "I'm a Republican, so if I did anything I'd do it, I guess, as a Republican."

Trump's comments came after it emerged that New Hampshire voters were polled by telephone about their feelings about the Trump running in 2012. Since, traditionally, New Hampshire is one of the first presidential primaries, and is often the place for candidates to test themselves before deciding whether or not to throw their hats into the ring, I was amused when Trump, on Fox and friends, said, "It wasn't my poll. I didn't pay for this poll, but I hear the results are amazing."

Then, very recently, in a Newweek-Daily Beast telephone poll of 918 voters, that was done between February 12th and 15th, it's clear that voters are paying attention to Trump.
Voters favoring Romney. -- 19%.
Huckabee 18%.
Palin 10%.
Trump 8%.
Gingrich 7%.
Pawlenty 5%.

I don't trust polls. I don't trust that accurate numbers are reported. But when the famous Apprentice Host, whom I find pompous, and annoyingly over-confident, mentioned in March of last year, that he was "thinking" of running in 2012, and said it again, 11 months later, in February -- hey -- it means the guy is running.

AND March 2nd, on the Today Show, Matt Lauer asked Trump if he was considering running for President of the United States in 2012. Donald Trump immediately expressed his concerns over creating a no-fly zone in Libya and what the Governor of Wisconsin is doing for his state. That's campaign talk.

While Donald Trump may not be everyone’s cup of tea, he is a very successful business man, maybe even the most successful business man in the United States. And Trump is saying, loud and clear, the United States is a laughing stock in other countries and lacks respect from the world.

That's candidate talk, so GOP candidates, keep an eye on Trump.

I'm cringing. I throw up my hands more or less the way I do over most of Palin's comments. when she talks about how to handle issues facing this country.

I think, aside from Romney, ALL the names in the air are balloons that have been around for quite awhile, and are already leaking.

Yes, The Donald is a SUPER-SIZE WEATHER BALLOON -- seriously flabby from floating all over the world, in and out of beds and businesses, but maybe Trump will bump most of the bitty, not pretty, other balloons out of the air -- pretty Mitt and Sarah don't fit together, so hey, okay -- DT's views might be good news!!!

Click and listen:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I read a review about two new books on what the Bible says about sex.

Both books have been written by university scholars for a popular audience -- scholars who are trying to answer this question. Both authors, aware that conservative Christians say the Bible incontrovertibly supports sex within the constraints of “traditional marriage," attempt to prove otherwise.

Authors Jennifer Wright Knust and Michael Coogan mine the Bible for its most inexplicable tales about sex. Jephthath, who sacrifices his virgin daughter to God; and Naomi and Ruth, who vow to love one another until death, are used to show that the Bible’s teachings on sex are not as coherent as the religious right would have people believe.

Jennifer Knust writes in her book, "Unprotected Texts: The Bible ’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire" -- I am tired of watching those who are supposed to care about the Bible reduce its stories and teachings to slogans. Her book comes out this month. Michael Coogan’s book, "God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says" was released last fall.

Jennifer's book starts off with a bang -- describing a passage in the Bible's "Song of Songs." Jennifer paints the picture of young lovers aching with desire, the man lingering over his lover’s eyes and hair, on her teeth, lips, temples, neck, and breasts, until he arrives at “the mount of myrrh.” She quotes him rhapsodizing --. “All of you is beautiful, my love, There is no flaw in you.” She quotes the girl replying, “My lover thrust his hand through the hole, and my insides groaned because of him.”

I read the "Song of Songs" many years ago, when my modern dance teacher, Charles Weidman, was creating a modern dance version of it. I don't remember reading anything like that, but I have to admit, I was skimming, looking for the plot.

Clearly, there's a battle going on. Conservatives say “Sexual intimacy outside of a public, lifelong commitment between a man and woman is not in accordance with God’s creating or redeeming purposes.” Liberals, on the other hand, wish the Bible were more permissive on sex.

Author Jennifer says “The Bible doesn’t have to be an invader with its pronouncements and demands -- it can be a partner in figuring out what it means to live in bodies that are filled with longing.” She mentions some of the most famous tales of biblical sexuality -- Abraham fathers children with Sarah and her servant Hagar -- Jacob marries Rachel and her sister Leah, as well as their servants. Jennifer reminds us that Jesus was celibate, as was Paul -- husbands owned their wives, fathers owned their daughters -- a girl’s virginity was her father’s to protect or relinquish -- Lot offers his two virgin daughters to the angry mob that surrounds his house in Sodom -- female adulterers were put to death. Paul demanded “women be silent in churches.” It's still the rationale among some conservative denominations for barring women from the pulpit.

And Jennifer reignites the gay marriage debate with many references, aside from Ruth and Noami -- sex between two men being "an abomination,” (in the King James translation), and what King David said, lamenting the death of his soul mate Jonathan -- "Your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."

I have to admit that in reading the review comparing the two new books, I was jolted by the discussion of biblical references to the genitals as "hands," and sometimes as “feet.” Michael Coogan, in his book cites a passage in which a baby is born “between a mother’s feet,” and another, in which the Prophet Isaiah promises that a punitive God will shave the hair from the Israelites’ heads, chins, and “feet.”

Author Michael says when he's teaching his college students about the scene in "Luke," in which a woman kisses and washes Jesus's feet, and dries them with her hair, someone always asks, "Is that genitals? In his book, Michael fence-sits, saying “sexual innuendo may be present.”

Okay, I'm not a Bible-reader or a church-goer, but I have to ask why are we digging into old words, old ideas, written by various authors in different languages -- words that have been translated and re-translated many times? Why are we still, paying so much attention -- pro and con discussing what was meant by words in a very, very old, inconsistently authored book?

We are living in such a different world. It's confusing, and ... well, it's not dumb but it's a little ridiculous, trying to figure out what was meant thousands of years ago, when every day we are seeing, feeling and being bombarded by new things.

We need to react, and go with what makes sense -- what brings us pleasure, and do, or not do what feels right, not wrong.

Monday, March 7, 2011


A rap song, "Rais Lebled," by the Tunisian rapper known as El Général, is being sung in several countries in different dialects, different languages, saying, more or less, the same thing -- "Mr. President, your people are dying, People are eating rubbish. Look at what is happening. Miseries everywhere, Mr. President. I talk with no fear. Although I know I will get only trouble, I see injustice everywhere."

Rage against oppression is sweeping through the Arab world -- from Algeria to Yemen.

The revolts are led by ordinary young men and women, mostly novices when it comes to political activism. They're using social-networking sites on the Internet and texting over mobile phones, demanding the right to choose and change their leaders, and end corruption.

Alana Shehabi, 30, a Bahraini economics lecturer and political activist has said, "We are all on the same wavelength." The fact is, in less than two months, this generation has wrought political change on a scale not seen since the end of the Cold War. Not long ago, the men and women who are protesting were called the "lost generation." Now they are the "Internet Generation," the "Facebook Generation."

It's given a boost to the Green Revolution in Iran, which, of course, has provoked a fierce crackdown by the government. It's inspiring protesters against Gaddafi in Libya. These young people may not know yet what kind of democracy they want, but they want free and fair elections.

"I don't care who ends up running this country," says Egyptian student Khaled Kamel, "as long as I have the ability to change them if I don't like them." He's using an ancient Hewlett Packard PC and the Web, chronicling his anger in sarcastic prose in a blog.

Jared Cohen, director of Google's corporate think tank, tells what happened when he, in his student days, fell at a train station. "A policeman beat me because I was lying there on the platform, which you're not supposed to do."

In Alexandria, a young businessman, Khaled Said, was beaten to death by cops. A Facebook page entitled "We Are All Khaled Said" was created by an anonymous administrator.

Blogger Kamel joined, became one of the lead organizers, and connected with Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who is becoming the face of the Egyptian revolution.

In Yemen, activist Tawakul Karman, 32, a mother of three, moved by the plight of 30 families, made them her cause. Every Tuesday since 2007, she and scores of others have protested in front of Sana'a University, There are now thousands, every Tuesday, protesting.

Fadi Quran, 22, a Stanford University graduate, who runs an alternative-energy program, set up a Facebook account demanding unification of the warring Palestinian factions, and an end to Israeli occupation. Quran says. "It's a new vision. We're going to achieve the goals of our struggle."

How do they feel about America's unwillingness to take sides, for instance in Cairo?

"It's been very hard for most people in the Arab world to work directly with the U.S. government," says Ethan Zuckerman, one of the founders of Global Voices, an international network of bloggers and citizen journalists.

The Obama Administration has to manage the delicate task of maintaining support for regimes in the region, while telling Arab leaders, in public and private, to address the turmoil with more urgent reform, and, at the same time, Obama is trying to increase direct contact with the youthful leaders of the uprisings.

Ahmed Khalil, 29, a veteran of Tahrir Square, hasn't returned to work in his wealthy family's plastics factory. He's part of the "Revolution Friends," a Facebook group that is channeling the revolution's momentum into a civic-awareness campaign. He has printed leaflets and distributed them throughout Cairo, calling on Egyptians to work "For a better Egypt," with specific suggestions such as don't litter, don't blow your car horn for no reason, don't pay bribes, don't allow a police officer to humiliate someone in front of you, don't harass girls on the street, know your rights, stay positive, respect other opinions.

Rapper El Général has written a new rap song called, "Vive Tunisie." It honors the Tunisian "Jasmine" protest, with encouraging shout-outs to other youth movements that are striving for justice and democracy in Egypt, Algeria, Libya and Morocco.

There are so many new faces, so many new names to remember, of active young individuals, who are passionately singing, rapping, fighting in non violent ways. It's like a miracle -- a powerful new generation -- there are thousands of them, and every day more young people are joining in.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Emily wants to know if John Cullum is ever jealous of other actors.

John says he's envious sometimes, but not jealous, and explains why he's always been fascinated by Peter O'Toole -- not because he wanted to BE an O'Toole. Early in his career in New York, John auditioned for a role that O'Toole did, and didn't get the part, and even now, continues to study Peter O' Toole's choices as an actor.

Emily admits to being jealous of dancers who have "better feet," and more flexibility than she ever had. But as the Cullums chat, they realize the jealousy/envy that performers feel is important -- it's something all performers need to examine --IT'S A TOOL -- a way of improving your craft.