Saturday, March 26, 2011


You see a face, or meet someone for the first time -- if the person seems interested in what you say and listens, or responds in some way -- you begin to "like" the person and go further in a conversational exchange.

But if he/she is poorly, or wrongly dressed? If you notice crumbs on the person's lapel, or maybe a faint odor? Even too much perfume makes you uneasy -- not suspicious, but you are NOT comfortable. Do you become their friend?

There is a firm of lawyers that advertises quite frequently on television. While a recorded voice assures you that the firm is the best and their clients win millions, we see the lawyers -- a pleasant middle-aged lady, a fatherly man, then, a grinning guy, who looks up from his desk with a knowing, off-puttingly bemused smile. Each time I think "HE'S A CROOK!" Would I become a client? No!

I picked out these faces for a Who Can You Trust test.

What do you think of when you see this lady? Is she offering friendship? Is she saying, "Phone me and I'll be your friend?" It's a nice face but her am I not desirable pose -- hmm. Unless that's what you 're looking for, you don't stay focused on her.

But what about her, with her hands on her hips laughing? Chelsea Handler is her name. She's an up-and-coming star with a show -- she teases her guests, and sometimes makes outrageous, almost-but-not-quite crude remarks, but her smile, the tilt of her head is ... pleasantly saucy. We like her. That's undoubtedly why she's an up-and-comer, who is being touted in Newsweek Magazine.

I found these three faces in an advertisement for an online school.

Do you trust this guy? He's a teacher. He looks intelligent, but there's something in his demeanor that suggests that he's bored, or he feels superior. Maybe he doesn't really like his work? Why do I feel he's doing this work temporarily?

There's something about him that suggests, to me, that he is very restless.

What about this young lady teacher?
Her posture implies that she's not sure of herself -- is she pretending to know things that she doesn't really know? And her confident expression -- is it somehow slightly fake? Why do I think she's prissy? Her hands? It's as if she's nervously hiding behind them,

What about this lady on the right? I happened to notice that she's a "psychological counselor." Immediately, I'm wondering why she can't get her weight under control? If she's a good counselor -- there to help students and advise them about what courses they ought to take ... well ... why can't she help and advise herself to do something about her weight?

I think you knows lots of things almost immediately when you meet someone, or see their picture.

Okay, don't judge a book by its cover -- but pay attention to what you're thinking -- don't ignore the intuitions that flicker across your mind. They can help you connect with someone who can really be a help to you. They can help you NOT attach yourself to a new friend, counselor, employee, doctor, lawyer, accountant, or housekeeper -- a person who is sending you a message that he/she and you aren't going to really get along very well.

Trust yourself. Listen to the advice you give yourself.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I am tip-toeing into this upsetting subject.

I cannot pretend I haven't heard and felt the truth and reason in my friends very passionate, logical, factual concerns over Muslims throughout the world -- friends who know from personal experience that Muslims are threatening them and their relatives. Their concerns are also my concerns.

We are talking about life and death fears. We are talking about "race" -- the social and political problems caused by conflict between races occupying the same or adjacent regions.

People have always been judged based on their skin color, their religion, their heritage, their gender, and their race. People from all walks of life, from all around the world, face this every day, and it's the cause of many of the major conflicts around the world.

"Racism" is the belief that the genetic factors which constitute race, ethnicity, or nationality are a primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that ethnic differences produce an inherent superiority, or inferiority of a particular race.

The UN does not define "racism," but it does define "racial discrimination." According to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, "The term racial discrimination shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public."

Okay, what do I know personally about this? I'm white. My family, agnostic Jews, who didn't want to belong to any religious organization, lived in an all white, wealthy, Christian community in Illinois. Even so, I was called by my classmates, a "dirty Jew," and punched, beaten up, rejected, told again and again -- "You killed Christ!"

It created in me race prejudice. Though later on, some of my best friend in my life were Jewish, I was Anti-Semitic. And maybe that's why I was intensely aware of how many people I knew thought blacks were an inferior race.

The anti-black dramas that I've been involved with, (on the side-lines but experienced nevertheless), are on my mind nowadays because of the anti-Obama zealots who hate everything he stands for, who have a mountain high pile of concerns about Obama destroying their America.

Is it race prejudice? Call it whatever you want -- it's a contagious, killing disease that I feel and observe every time I turn on the radio, the television, read a paper, or go online -- and I am seeing it now in my city and on my street.

This is my huge, biggest concern. Bigger than who is going to be elected in 2012. Bigger than how are we going to get out of the wars we are in.

The people whom I fear are not white supremacists. They are ordinary people, but I fear what's happening because of their insidious fears -- the fears of people in my city. They are now pulling away from their neighbors in my city and on my street -- neighbors who happen to be Muslims.

Hey, a Muslim in Africa, or in Egypt, a brother in the Brotherhood of Muslims is one person, not all Muslims. My neighbors, Muslims you know and deal with are individuals -- men and women. Don't let us become race-prejudiced against people who believe differently from the way we believe.

Love thy neighbor. Listen, speak with him, don't close your mind and heart.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Am thinking -- yep, a bit teary eyed.

I have a list of things I could write about but am not in the mood. Not because Elizabeth Taylor died yesterday morning -- that's death, and my thoughts about life are churning, because of a powerful sense of stuff happening here, there, everywhere that bothers me.

Most of all, I'm bothered when I read again or hear again some "name' person advising Obama -- telling us Obama should have done thus and so yesterday, or last month, or next week, or not at all, or maybe handled it -- whatever it is -- in another way.

Name persons bother me. How they get to be names, and therefore, people who give opinions -- the process by which we are getting names is scary. They are not necessarily voices/opinion, we need to hear. It's a tower of babel.

I got two messages from friends who disconnected their cable TV, and I'm VERY mad at ME for listening, calling it a tower of babel -- being bothered, and doing nothing about it.

And doing nothing about all the front page to-do about Libya, Gaddafi and all those opinions, and I'm still getting negative and positive comments, a barrage of opinions about Hillary. About wonderful Hilary, or is Hillary ill, or what is Hillary really promoting these days -- ups and downs -- certainty that she's retiring -- certainty that she's got new political plans brewing, and hey -- some comments are sure she's got a lover.

And then, there's the Muslims -- hate 'em, look out for them, beware of them, stop them, never trust them -- ups and downs -- it's very scary to me because I see a new, huge, race- prejudice wall building. It's already so high that it feels as if it's shutting out air and light.

And then there's the trivia. I feel as if I better stick with that -- the trivia in my brain is like the dust that I want to dust away (but it's still not spring cleaning time -- it a raw and chilly day) -- TRIVIA about efforts made by people, and what they're promoting to earn money or become famous so they can earn enough money to buy stuff that's promoted by photos of rich people and their life styles.

It's the names of persons who are telling us what's important that's overwhelming me, and it's the stuff itself -- it has a lot to do with facebooking and tweeting, and the current way we communicate, saying, off the top of our heads, without much thoughtful thought, whatever t we sort of feel.

Muslim, Libya, Hillary, FB, Tweet and trivia ...

Well ... lucky us ...

Good thing that we have the strong tree in D.C., who has ideas and broadness, breadth and generosity of thought, a statesman whom we elected and didn't realize -- foolish us -- we actually have in our midst, a Churchill/Lincoln -- a real true leader.

He hears us, listens, doesn't make his opinion based on HIS own opinion -- it's based on what he learns from us.

I don't feel lucky today, but Yes, we are lucky.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I can't count sheep -- I can't visualize them. I try to visual lights -- sort of create my own version of the "Northern Lights" -- see a red light, then a green, a yellow, but other thoughts creep in.

What? A chore I need to do ... Or names flutter across my mind -- friends who have temporarily disappeared. Gee, I haven't heard from Ann or Roberta ... alas, I have a memory for names, and Facebook friends with whom I've had intense exchanges, sooner or later disappear ...

It's a fact of life, I guess.

I check the clock. Note how many minutes have passed since I last checked it. Time moves very slowly when you are checking a clock.

I review choreography. (I used to rehearse the sequence of steps in "Still Point," a ballet that was created for me, that I performed more than 1000 times, I taught it to one of my dancers -- I didn't want to rehearse it anymore.) Currently, I review the sequence of steps in my daily performance of Vaughan Williams's "Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis." but gee -- it wakes me up. Often I'm ready to jump up, race downstairs to my studio, and do it.

I count creatively. I order myself in my mind. I like to use Shakespeare's -- "Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care." Then I say "two," and repeat the Shakespeare, then "three," and repeat the Shakespeare phrase again. It's exhausting, very boring, mentally. I can keep going with this until around eighty-something, but then ...

Do I drift off to sleep? No, not unless I take a ____ ?
Benadryl, a/k/a diphenhydramine -- 25 to 75 mg?
Tylenlol )a/k.a acetaminophen -- 500 to 1500 mg?.
Vodka, 1 to 2 oz. with 2 oz. Orange juice?.
Unisom, a/k.a doxyalimine succinate, 25 mg?.
Or Melatonin, Cammomile Tea, Valerian, St. John's Wort?
L-triptophane, Ambian, Darvon, Elavil a/k/a amytriptyline?.

Nothing in the above list works consistently or reliably, Therefore, I count "chimpanzees." Each "chimpaNzee" takes about one second to pronounce.

Using chimpanzees, I put my toes to sleep, then my metatarsals, then my arches, then top of my arches, then my ankles, my Achilles tendon, the back of my legs -- muscle by muscle till I reach the calf -- I do lower, mid, and upper calf, then knees, then above the knees -- I rarely get much beyond them.

I drift -- not off to sleep -- instead, find myself remembering a mixture of things I ought to do blending with things I have done -- good things, bad things, so I go back to my toes. with chimpanzees or Shakespeare.

Often, I get up and head for the kitchen, gaze at some television show for awhile, thinking I should go back to work on my blog. I don't go back to work. I'm too tired. I head BACK to the bedroom and start with the toes again.

If you have any suggestions ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Sheen is a shine, a gleam, a polished thing that has a luster, an incandescent glow, a gloss, so glossy that it can sometimes reflect us on its surface.

With Charlie Sheen's tweets, his manic interviews, his campaign against the entertainment world, the star is giving America exactly what it wants out of a modern celebrity.

Alec Baldwin, recently advised Sheen, "You can't win. Really. You can't." Alec, also a lustrous celebrity, is an actor I like for his acting, for the way he's survived the media attacks on him for insulting his daughter and his ex-wife. I especially admire him because he said on TV (twice), that my husband, actor John Cullum's performances (which Alec saw when he was a kid), inspired him to become an actor.

Alec tells Sheen, "No actor is greater than the show itself when the show is a hit. And, in that regard, [executives] are often right. Add to that the fact that the actor who is torturing their diseased egos is a drug-addled, porn star-squiring, near-Joycean Internet ranter -- [Charlie] they really want you to go."

Breton Easton Ellis, a best-seller writer, says, "Charlie Sheen is Winning." Bret, a not quite lustrous celebrity whom I've envied for writing a fascinating book about disordered, messed-up Hollywood teenagers, has just joined the staff of the resurging Newsweek-Beast. In his recent article, Bret said -- " 'Drugs' is the first word Charlie Sheen utters in his only scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off." (It's a film starring Matthew Broderick, made in 1986 that also keeps resurging.)

Bret explains, "In a police station, Ferris's sister sees a gorgeous dude in a leather jacket who looks like he’s been up for days on a drug binge. She asks, 'Why are you here?' and Charlie, deadpan, replies, 'Drugs.' That’s when we first really noticed Sheen, and it’s the key moment in his movie career (it now sums up everything that followed). He hasn’t been as entertaining since. Until now. In getting himself fired from his hit TV show Two and a Half Men, this privileged child of the media’s sprawling Entertainment Empire has now become its most gifted ridiculer."

Bret goes on, "Sheen has embraced, post-Empire, making his bid to explain to all of us what celebrity now means. Whether you like it or not is beside the point. It’s where we are, babe. We’re learning something. Rock and roll. Deal with it."

Okay Bret -- okay Alec -- you guys say it's a WIN LOSE situation. I think something more important is happening.

I think we need what's happening to Sheen. I think we need a NON hero. We needed Mel Gibson, a knock 'em down, aggressive brave guy, a remarkable actor, to fall apart, disintegrate, do very wrong things such as making those anti-Jewish remarks, beating up his girl friend, endangering his daughter, and divorcing the loving woman who has been at his side as he became a hero. Gibson makes us feel somewhat heroic ourselves, because we've been able to grow up and hold onto what we've believed in since we were children.

And similarly, we see the lucky, successful, attractive, wealthy Sheen, raving and ranting, misbehaving, jabbering unrealistically. Sheen isn't crazy. Gibson isn't crazy. We are not crazy because we feel sorry for the two men, and annoyed, impatient, and superior to both of them. They make us feel better about ourselves.

Why is this happening? I blame practically everything that seems wrong to me, nowadays, on the media. We've got too much media -- all day long, in color, HD -- we are getting opinions on what to fear and what to admire based on the media's semi-lustrous stars mesmeriszingly, repetitiously selling us what to think, what to buy, and what to feel.

What to do? Turn off the TV!

Can you?

I rarely do. I'm hooked!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Are gladiolas already blooming?

I love gladiolas -- for me, they are the essence of spring.

Is today really the first day of spring? Is it time for spring cleaning -- planning it, doing it, or is tomorrow the day?

Yes! Throw out photos, old letters-- correspondence that's over and done -- discard receipts!

No -- better keep the photos, and look over the receipts -- you might need what you threw out to tell you where you purchased what for how much that you might want to return.

Yes! Discard that pile of papers on which ideas are sprawled -- dumb ideas, dead ideas, boring ideas that were going nowhere.

No -- review the papers -- there might be something important in the pile. But throw out those old dried up pens that don't write and pencil stubs -- even if the erasers on the stubs are intact, you've got stubs and erasers galore!

Yes! It's time to throw out clothes -- worn out tops, blouses, shirts, slacks, dresses, sweaters. And coats? My gray beaver that I should have thrown out ten years ago? The black that's too square in the shoulders that a tailor could fix? Well... Yes, hats, but scarves?

Scarves don't take up much room, but sneakers -- old comfortable sneaks and bedroom slippers I've never worn? YES! Throw them out -- you'll have more room in your closets, your drawers, your shelves -- you'll be glad.

Rule: If you haven't worn it, used it in a year, out it goes. It's clutter and now is the time for all good men and women to attack their spring cleaning.

Mark Twain said: “It's spring fever ... You don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

'Robert Frost wrote:
"Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year."

Gee ... I love my old sneakers. I use the pencil stubs. Dammit, I haven't worn my slacks and my purple blouse for a year and I love them! Dammit, these things are ME -- associated with a bunch of deep thoughts, feelings -- yep -- events in my life that make me what I am today.

Gee ...

The late Nadine Stair, an 89-year-old philosophical Kentucky woman, who's often quoted, has said, “If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”

Hey, I say, skip the spring cleaning. Cherish the spring and buy a gladiola plant!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


The Cullums chat about what they'd like to do again, and try to do better, if they had another chance.

John dives into the subject, immediately declaring he'd like a chance to be a better father -- he wishes he could have been a better example for JD, their son.

Emily diverts the discussion back to his career, and their projects, wanting to know if, for instance, John would want to play "Hamlet" again or play Hamlet's father, Claudius.

John has no desire to turn back the clock to his Hamlet days, but reveals that IF they'd stayed in California -- if they hadn't moved back to New York City, he would have liked to open a showcase or non equity theater in Los Angeles.