Saturday, April 2, 2011


As I'm writing about this film, my fingers are fumbling, not sure what keys to press. It's a film you ought to see.

It's a story that's already perfectly told by actress Maureen O'Sullivan and actor Johnny Weissmuller, who were directed by "One Take Woody," W.S. Van Dyke II, a brilliant, bold, remarkable director who co-produced, and created the script from Edgar Rice Burrough's various manuscripts.

I can't spend my time reciting credits when all I want to do is drool over the romance, but golly, I have to mention the amazing scenes with hippopotamuses, alligators, Weissmuller wrestling with lions and tigers, and soaring -- oh my -- the way Johnny soars through the air with Maureen in his arms!

And I have to hallelujah the plot -- what a love story -- we love her, we love him we want them to get together, stay together, be together forever -- yes we do!

I recently blogged about "My Fair Lady" as my favorite film because of what it mean to me as an artist and friend of Alan Jay Lerner -- seeing him coming into his own, being in his prime, being able to be the very best that he could be.

There's nothing about this Tarzan film, made in 1932, that I'm involved with personally except the characters -- Maureen so touching, beautiful in a non-cliche way, so tender, and such fun. She created a Jane who is uniquely feminine and brave -- fearlessly able to be a woman and face incredible dangers, and be utterly, deliciously, feminine in all the cliche ways, but Jane is never CLICHE.

Johnny, similarly, is perfect -- not so handsome that you disbelieve his masculine, almost dumb, stubborn persistence.

Here are four short previews:

ME TARZAN YOU JANE -- a couple of minutes that got me hooked even though I was already riveted by an earlier scene.

SWIMMING -- fun that took me back to what "fun" felt like to me when I was very young.

THE PIGMYS -- just a peek at the beginning of the climax that creates a life-or-death dilemma for all the characters whom we love.

RIVER MENACE -- the dangerous attempt to get Jane's father on his way to where he desperately wants to go.

With what's going on in the real world of 2011 -- all the things that are jabbing, attacking, nagging at us every day -- if you need a rest, and are in the mood to spend a couple of hours with this man and woman, hoping -- childishly hoping -- that they'll get together, be together, be together forever ... well, this film is IT ... a great story, wonderfully told in film.

Friday, April 1, 2011


It's a big deal -- privacy -- "that state in which one is not observed, not disturbed by others, where you have freedom from public attention."

<=== This Time Magazine cover story by Joel Stein received 5000 "likes" on Facebook, and 2000 tweets. I'll bet Joel S. is thrilled.

Joel is 39, and nice-looking. I call him "Joel," though I don't know him, but, because he's told me so much about himself, I feel as if he's a personal pal. Undoubtedly a lot of his readers feel the same way -- that's why Joel Stein is getting to be a name as a columnist.

Joel has a rambling, jabbery, amusing tongue-in-cheek writing style. In his stream of conscious prose, he tells about wanting to be famous, his wife, their kid, his sex life, dreams, possessions, his personal schedule, purchases, shopping, his confusions, angers, fears -- this guy talk/writes uninhibitedly about anything and everything that crosses his mind.

(I can't help thinking that the current to-do about privacy has been bolstered by what Joel himself does as a writer.)

He began as a writer-researcher for Martha Stewart, became sports editor for Time Out New York, and joined Time Magazine in 1997. It's not a hugely impressive resume -- he appears on the "I Love the '80s" TV show -- he's co-produced three TV pilots -- he's taught "humor in writing" at Princeton University.

He moved to LA for a while and wrote a few attention getting articles for the Los Angeles Times. In January, 2006, his column, "Warriors and Wusses," stated uninhibitedly, "It's a cop-out to oppose a war and yet claim to support the soldiers fighting." And he didn't support our troops in Iraq. The article won him quite a bit of attention and fans.

Two years later, another Joel Stein column, in the Los Angeles Times, "How Jewish is Hollywood," created a furor. Mentioning that the Anti-Defamation League poll showed 22% of Americans believe that "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," Joel wrote, "The poll just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood." Boom-ditty boom -- this column bothered a lot of people and also won him fans.

Last July, in a Time Magazine column, Joel wrote about his personal discomfort with the immigration of Indians and what they've done to his hometown, Edison, New Jersey. It upset the Senator from New Jersey and many New Jersey-ites -- and certainly increased his readership -- no doubt about it -- Joe has a big talent for shocking, bothering, and attracting folks.

I was a faithful Joel Stein column reader till he wrote, at length, about his two day vacation. Joel turned off his laptop, un-plugged the Internet, TV, iPods, GPS, and was astounded, shocked, by how much he wanted to check his email, and be twittering and Facebooking throughout the day. When his vacation was over, Joel thanked God for technology, and swore he'd never voluntarily disconnect again.

Finding myself ho-humming, I stopped reading his twice monthly column in Time. It's too much him-him-him, and his sentences often have to be re-read a couple of times in order to find a verb.

Okay -- re: Joel's "Your Data for Sale" cover story -- there's plenty of information that relates to our concerns with "privacy." Now I know that there are ten major data mining companies. That's scary. Matt Fertik, the CEO of, within three hours of Joel's phone call to him, had Joel Stein's social security number. That's scary.

Joel's article tells us that mined data about us is sold for two-fifths of a cent to advertisers. Most data is collected from your laptop or your cell phone, by tracking cookies and the apps you download. It's cheering to know that Senator John Kerry is trying to pass a law to protect Internet users, and to learn that the Federal Trade Commission wants to get browsers to provide a do-not-track option for their subscribers.

Yes, we have been losing control of some personal data, but it's the monster-under-the-bed syndrome. It can be fixed by checking under the bed. You can undo what you've permitted on Facebook in your account privacy options. (Joel says Facebook doesn't bother selling private information -- most advertisers have FB accounts and can just access your profile.)

Yes, Google is hurting you -- your searches, online purchases, data you've entered in gmail, You Tube, blogger, picasa, buzz, calendar, and maps, creates privacy problems, but you can pay Fertik, at $8.25 per month and he'll clean things up for you.

Has Joel, who naked-izes himself constantly, created a brave-new-world baloney furor? I think he probably has. He suggests that you protect yourself on Facebook by mixing in some false facts, doing it inconsistently -- it'll confuse and incapacitate the privacy invaders.

I say if you are vomiting private stuff on Facebook and you're tweeting intimate thought -- slow down. Say less. Fix your privacy settings but restrain yourself. You can tweet and have sexy fun facebooking, shopping, info searching, but if you're feeling naked -- well -- put on some clothes.

Or just shut up.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


What in the world is Kate Middleton, Prince William's bride-to-be, doing in that dress?

I don't pay attention to current styles or high fashion. I pay attention so I won't become a nodding, obedient, Dodo bird.

I learned that Kate Middleton wore this dress in 2002. It apparently got Prince William focused on her. To me that tidbit of information says William is/was a Dodo bird.

Just so you know for sure that I'm insulting the Prince, the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird, related to pigeons, around 3.3 feet tall, about 40 or so pounds. It lived on fruit, and nested on the ground. It has been extinct since the late 17th century. So the word Dodo means "obsolete, out of common usage or practice -- to become a thing of the past."

I admired Princess Diana, but her sons -- well, William is definitely a Dodo, and probably so is Harry. I exchanged 4 emails with Prince Harry a few months ago. (For an explanation, see the final paragraph of this post.)

About the black see-through lingerie in the photo -- Kate Middleton wore it in 2002. It was NOT in style. It is not very flattering. Kate is reasonably slender but definitely not slender-waisted, and probably (the band across her chest is very flat looking), not bosomy. Her legs are good but I knew that before I saw her in this outfit.

Kate is a nice-looking, averagely attractive, young woman.

Actually, the black gown suggests she has NOT GREAT taste -- it's just a semi-sexy nighty. Why would she wear it? Did she know the Prince was attending the gathering? (It was a benefit, some fund raising party.) I mean, if she knew he was going to be there, and she wanted him to see her, we know that she's got a feisty, aggressive spirit hidden deep within her average English girl's soul.

I doubt if we'll find out who Kate really is for a couple of years. After their April 29 wedding at Westminster Abbey in London, they'll be heading to North Wales where Prince William is stationed with the Royal Air Force. (Of course, paparazzi details will emerge, but we, all by ourselves, are asking and answering the IMPORTANT question -- have they already slept together?

Based on looking up this question, and the abundance of simpering, non-answers Google gave me, I'd say no. But, I came across this photo of condoms and an advertisement:
"These Royal Wedding souvenir boite de capotes ' combine the strength of a Prince with the yielding sensitivity of a Princess to be. In the heat of the moment be sure you don't rip open the box, as it is a 'timeless souvenir heirloom collectors box' that contains a 'collectible portrait!' "

Will I be following news alerts about their guest lists, their gifts and Kate's wedding dress? I'm not very curious, but now that I've wondered about them sleeping together, I'll glance at the television.

We don't have royals to follow. We have some presidential daughters, but we haven't heard that Chelsea is pregnant, or heard anything about Amy Carter. Obama's daughters are out of the limelight, thanks to Michelle. Another potential daughter would be Bristol P., but I don't like the look or the sound of her, and any thoughts about a presidential Sarah Palin are dismaying.

FINAL PARAGRAPH: I got Prince Harry's email address from a FB friend, who was sending Harry pictures of American girls. Harry liked me for about 12 minutes.(figuring that he spent three minutes on each of the four email exchanges we've had. He knew I was married to John Cullum, and Harry read my blog once. He answered my last email. "Excuse me. I have an appointment with the Prime Minister " (No, I am not kidding. It was not a hacker. The email came from Buckingham Palace. I still have Prince Harry's email address. I am not a Dodo -- you never know when an email address might come in handy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My good friend Joan e-mailed me these photos and story about the Eagles. It's an urban legend, not factual -- what's depicted does not happen to all eagles, but it speaks to me about growing old, and what one needs to do, to grow stronger, bolder, wiser along the way.

An amazing fact about the Eagle's eyesight: The eagle can probably identify a rabbit moving almost a mile away. That means that an eagle flying at an altitude of 1000 feet over open country could spot prey over an area of almost 3 square miles from a fixed position.

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD
shall renew their strength ;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they will shall walk, and not faint.

Perhaps God is telling us to spread our wings and soar with eagles -- certainly that's what this legend is saying to me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I think about "once wasers." It's my term for famous, important people who have become "has beens."

Cheney and Bush get the Em prize -- I think of them as VIP "once-wasers." there are quite a few of them still around in government, and in the news right now. (Hearing them, scrutinizing them -- yes, I'm thinking of guys like Gingrich and Huckabee, as well as Sheen -- it's tiresome, often boring and annoying, but it helps me understand how we got into the messes we're struggling to get out of right now.)

Rumsfeld recently resurfaced with his book, "Known and Unknown." It was published by Sentinel last month and it's being sold on Amazon. As details of the book, quotes, and reviews have appeared, it is clear that Donald Rumsfeld is feeling feisty -- he has his combat boots on and takes the blame for almost nothing.

Our former Defense Secretary, as a private citizen, has been living and working on this book in his sprawling house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and also on his farm in Taos, N.M. He has been seen, occasionally, on lunch dates with old colleagues and friends, and, at 78, has had several operations to repair various joints. Also, he and his wife Joyce, have suffered through their son's drug problems, though Rumsfeld says that their son, Nick, is now drug free.

Mr. Rumsfeld writes that his biggest mistake was in not stepping down sooner. He blames Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, L. Paul Bremer, George Bush, and also John McCain.

Recounting his battles with Rice, Rumsfeld says that she wasn't equipped or capable -- she failed at managing the National Security Council, and she couldn't take criticism. (That fits in with what I felt about her -- I never felt safe with her as our Secretary of States.)

He is still exasperated with Powell, who as Secretary of State, implied that the administration misled him about weapons of mass destruction. Rumsfeld writes, “Powell was not duped or misled by anybody.” (And to me, Powell remains an extraordinarily honest man, who was duped and misled by the President and Vice President.)

Rumsfeld complains about John McCain, who said recently, “Thank God he [Rumsfeld] was relieved of his duties.” Rumsfeld says, "Senator John McCain is a man with a hair trigger temper and a propensity to fashion and changes his positions to appeal to the media." (We're seeing that aspect of McCain more and more, these days.)

About George Bush, Rumsfeld seems more protective. Rumsfeld said, "He [Bush] did not always receive and may not have insisted on a timely consideration of his options before he made a decision, nor did he always receive effective implementation of the decisions he made."

It sounds like quite a tangle in Rumsfeld's mind -- how "THEY" screwed me up." And L. Paul Bremer, the civilian Director of the American Occupation of Iraq, was the biggest messer-upper, according to Rumsfeld.

Again and again, Rumsfeld says all that went wrong was because Bremer was incompetent -- no single individual was in control of what was rebuilt and fixed in Iraq. "There were far too many hands on the steering wheel, which, in my view, was a formula for running the truck into a ditch."

Will you be reading Rumsfeld's book? I won't, but reading various reviews and quotes, it's quite clear to me that Rumsfeld didn't have the right kind of mentality for being the boss, the man in charge.

The common criticism is that Rumsfeld "micro managed" -- he was obsessed with itty-bitty numbers, lists, and details on the details. He gathered opinions and professional military judgments from his Generals, but the Generals made the decisions, not Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Detractors and supporters alike say that on a personal level Don Rumsfeld is warm, funny, and generous. He is not a petty gossip, like Henry Kissinger. He’s a voracious reader -- talks for hours about current events and history. He dotes on children, knows everything about his friends’ kids. Even when he was Secretary of Defense, dinner guests could find themselves helping do dishes in the Rumsfeld's homey blue-and-green kitchen.

Hmm ... I think that kitchen-clean-up-the-dishes thing sums up what's wrong with the way he handled his job. He kept his house orderly, and let the guys he hired -- the cleanup staff -- decide what needed to be done, first, second, and last.

I think Rumsfeld belongs in the past along with Cheney and Bush, and his view of himself and his chapter in history says to me that the truth was built on a lot of lies.

Now that former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has rejoined the world, and explained how all the other guys did wrong, he has a page on Facebook, and a regular Twitter stream.

I have to say, I prefer Don out of the limelight, retired, and in obscurity.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I am stuck. I don't like to be wrong! I think the messages I've been getting on FB that say, "Em, you are wrong," have upset me.

I thought I was just exchanging thoughts, back-and-forthing with guys, who wanted to comment on something they read in Em's Talkery.

Are the guys, the ones saying you are wrong, Em, saying this because they have the right idea -- a RIGHTER idea? Golly, I haven't been thinking about RIGHT and WRONG, or passing judgment on what is right, or what is wrong.

Yes, I'm being criticized for being judgmental, but hey -- I can't walk down the hall, or go outside, or read a book, or phone a friend -- I can't do or say anything without being judgmental. If I see or feel something that bothers me, confuses me, or interests me, I have to look at it and react to it, and reacting -- well -- I have to decide if I like it, or don't like it, or why it's annoying me, boring me, or making me turn away.

Golly, when I blog about a subject -- I toss it into the air, and see where it lands. Does it hit someone on the head, flop onto a shelf, or plop into a wastebasket and knock over something else, and make a mess?

Hmm ... Maybe it's better for me NOT to have friends -- I was okay, NOT UPSET, back in 2008 -- alone, all by myself, finishing my novel, "Woman of the Century" -- just occasionally reading a page aloud to my husband, being annoyed with him if he didn't get it, or thought I need to explain more, or less.

With my FB friends, Twitter pals, and all the neighborhood buddies that I've got nowadays, probably the best thing to do is NOT write today, not JUDGE, not DECIDE about anything, and not get opinions.

Even so, I can't help wondering if it bothers other people -- upsets them when people tell them you are wrong. If I ask other guys and they say YES it bothers them, then maybe I'm not wrong, I'm right, and if I don't write today, I'm handling being wrong, and then, tomorrow if I write, I'll be definitely alright-writer-right..

Ergo, all this is just worn-out Em's worry-warting-right-and-wrong word-war? So I'm okay?
Okay, I am almost am.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Emily opens the topic because John Cullum was annoyed recently, when they were watching TV -- bothered by the huge emphasis that's now on kids about going to college.

John declared, "I'm not sure that getting a college education is important, nowadays. It seems to create problems, put unnecessary pressure on the younger generation."

As John continues on, clearly what's on his mind is their son. -- (JD didn't go to college; he became an working actor, even before he finished high school.)

Mom and Dad wonder if they needed to share more with JD -- not about auditions for parts in theater, television, and films -- more about plain, ordinary, daily life routines that young people need to learn to handle as they're growing up.

Mom and Dad Cullum, find themselves wondering if they should have found a way to introduce JD more formally, to religion since they weren't churchgoers.

John is adamant -- he insists that he could have been a better example for their son. It's as if this conversation is a continuation of last week's video --"Want a Second chance?"