Friday, November 25, 2011


I pay attention to what Hillary Clinton says and does, and of course, how she looks.

The latest articles about Hillary suggest a tougher, harsher woman. I still have a vision of her in the room with Obama -- a scary vision of thoughtful, wise people hoping, waiting for, wanting Bin Laden dead.

Now we have photos of the bloodied corpse of Gaddafi and yes, we know our State Department and Hillary wanted him OUT of this world, because in it, he killed every possibility of freedom for his people. Hillary laughed as she told a reporter." We came, we saw, he died!

Killing a human -- even someone who's evil -- chills me. And Hillary tossing her head
-- wind in her hair, her latest hairdo in disarray -- her enjoying the moment doesn't feel right to me, even though I know that she has seen the horrors of what Gaddafi did to his people.

Back in the early nineties, My first impression of Hillary Clinton -- bleached blond, who didn't bleach her eyebrows -- it said to me that she was a confident woman, pleasing a famous, important husband, who liked blonds.

Seeing Mr. and Mrs. Clinton the first time on TV, she seemed to be a highly educated, know-it-all, secure wife. Even though I wondered about Bill Clintons's affair with Gennifer Flowers, Hillary's attitude toward the "other woman" pushed it out of my mind ... almost.

That Hillary's heath plan was summarily dismissed bothered me -- why did our new President encourage his wife to create it? Surely he discussed it with her. Why didn't we hear more details about the plan? Anyway, I admired the way Hillary smoothly, uncomplainingly disappeared into wifely duties, and changed her style.

(She wore more colorful clothes, more lipstick, and clipped her hair back, sometimes wore a headband. Was that when she started tweezing, bleaching her eyebrows? )

When whatshername? the secretary, sued Clinton, yuck! The hotel room scene, the woman's attention-getting revelations, and other rumors about other women that were in the headlines -- true or false? I didn't want to deal with it. I liked the sense of unity I got from the Bill, Hill, and their daughter Chelsea, until ... BOOM, CRASH.

Monica Lewinisky ... Bill's lies -- the impeachment drama we devoured on TV along with nasty stories about Hillary's friend who killed himself and Whitewater real estate -- the endless investigations by lawyer, Kenneth Starr.

Amazing, that I still remember Flowers, Starr, Whitewater and whatshername, and the Hillary with another hairdo who emerged from the mud and ugliness -- new home in Chappaqua, New York -- out of the blue, her run to become Senator. It was an exciting win for Hillary -- I celebrated with the loving happy wife hugging Bill and Chelsea!

No need for me to recapitulate the pants-suited Hillary, her new look (shorter permed, coifed hair), the energetic, down-to-earth woman who ran for president and discussed, argued, confronted issues with the wonderful man we elected. Even though I switched and voted for Obama, the loser Hillary's demeanor was -- my God-- she was a remarkably good loser -- not shy about expressing her disappointment, up front about the millions she'd spent on campaigning, not bitter, or resentful. Hillary was matter-of-fact, practical, respectful as well as realistic, graceful, and quite cordial, as she supported the winner.

When Hillary agreed to be Obama's Secretary of State, I felt safer and rejoiced, and I continue to celebrate Hillary Rodham Clinton. She's become, for me, America's number-one heroine.

Yes, with the Republicans' hammering away on "poor Obama, our the failing president," who hasn't wondered what would have happened if Hilary had been elected?

I've wondered, but only briefly. We have two trustworthy, exceptionally brilliant people working together, and it works. Even so, her hairdo tells me something in her is turmoiling, compelling her to change what she sees in the mirror and present herself in a new way -- a way that might be construed as younger, more attractive to -- men? or other women?

When I wear more eye makeup, lipstick. a ribbon, or scarf that looks pretty, it's for men. If I wear glamorous, expensive things I'll be more attractive to women.

The picture on the left was recently on the cover of Time. -- more makeup, longer, loose unconfined hair, pearls, bracelets, ruffles peeping out of a tailored chic suit -- it tells me that the older wiser Hillary is perceiving a lot of things. Though Bill speaks as if they're living together, these days the Clintons are miles apart, and we're waiting to hear about Chelsea and a grandchild.

Hillary made a strong announcement a few months ago about women and the family being her main concern for the rest of the 21st Century. But I'm not sure where she is heading. It wasn't clear then, and it isn't clear now if she will continue as Secretary of State.

Her hairdo says (to me), that Hillary Clinton is not sure. She's not happy with the way she is now. Well ... who is, when you know that yesterday you were younger and there were more things that you'd never experienced to look forward to?

I'd like to tell her, send her a message by carrier pigeon, or put it in a four-inch caps in the NY Times. "Hey, Hillary, whatever you do, I'll be in your corner, cheering you on."

Thursday, November 24, 2011


"We gather together, and ask the Lord's blessing ..."

The date for the holiday is on our calendars. We look forward to whatever we've planned, be it supper with friends and family or a fancy dinner at a restaurant.

What a gift we humans have been given -- hunger, appetite, the powerful need to eat, consume food, and fill our bellies. As important a gift, as the gift of day and night for working and resting -- our need for sleep -- the inner clock of living, pursuit and anticipation and gathering up and preparing and satisfying hunger.

Could it be that EATING runs the world?

Watching any of Mother Nature's creations -- creatures or flowers -- grass, trees, or spider, worm, bird, tiger, or whatever -- we see again and again the cycle of waking -- eating/feeding/being nourished -- and sleeping.

Ah yes, but also we humans can think and translate what we think into a language of action -- we can pray, laugh, cry, remember other days, and "thank."

What a gift of gifts -- thank implies God, wonderment and joy, an awareness of being alive and in charge of whatever you are. And from it, comes the desire to share.

Yes, thanking becomes the need to "give." Yes, we humans can give!

Can animals, birds, insects, or flowers do that? They can nurture, but can they pick up and hand over, bestow what is precious to something, anything, any other thing like themselves or different from themselves?

And that is what I am celebrating --
that we have day and night, the need to eat, to give, and thank.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


John Cullum's "Thanksgiving" Email to Em:

I am from a large Southern family of which my mother was the matriarch, and every Thanksgiving was an big, exciting affair with aunts and uncles and cousins, some of which I only saw once a year. Emotions were high, and along with love and good spirits were moments of family squabbles of epic and frightening proportions that sometimes resulted in enduring resentments. This tradition still continues with my nieces and nephews and though we may not give as much thought as we should to the pilgrims and indians, it’s a time when our different families renew their connections to each other and that’s a lot to give thanks for.

But the most memorable Thanksgiving dinner for me was the one a young redheaded dancer made for me in her Artist In Residence studio in New York City. It wasn’t a turkey, just a large chicken, and it never occurred to me that this gorgeous girl could even cook, but boy, she could – all the trimmings, fresh cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, vegetables and all. I could hardly believe it. There she was, the best dancer I had ever seen, gracefully whirling around a tiny kitchen, whipping up a dinner as good as any I had ever eaten, and all for me. Never had a Thanksgiving meal been made exclusively for me and me alone, and with such love. It was an experience I couldn’t walk away from. And I never did. I guess Emily decided if I was going to keep hanging around, she might as well marry me. Which she did.
John Cullum

Thought this might please you, Em. Your loving hubby.

EM EMAIL to John
holy minorka catfish what a loving darling hug thrill tickle delight this gives me. Very truly yours, your wife

Monday, November 21, 2011


Click! Have a quick look!

You heard the raves. You saw Brian Bradley's act. You heard Simon Cowell's summary and judgment about the big future ahead for the boy. What did you think while you were watching this? I liked the kid. I found his song-dance-act (whatever you call it), not very interesting. For me, it was a lot of incomprehensible words and a lot of meaningless stomping.

Simon Cowell has been selling The X Factor for two years, saying it's different, more exciting, and will be much more successful than American Idol. So what's different about this new show?

The X Factor's Simon Cowell is, maybe, perhaps, a bit nicer. He jokes more and shows off how he's feeling more than he did on American Idol. On the new show, he is still knowing, confident, judgmental, but maybe, perhaps, more self-assured.

X Factor has a handsome British- accented, intelligent-sounding announcer introducing the acts. I like him. Idol's announcer often seemed to be selling himself more than the talent.

The new show's judges -- Paula Abdul and Simon, much, much more than on the old show, tease, flirt, hug, punch and snuggle with each other. They're so lovey dovey cute that you can't help wondering if they're in love, even if you think, (as I think) that it's acting. As for the other two judges -- LA Reid, a knowledgeable black record producer, has a friendly professional manner that reminds me of Idol's Randy Jackson. The stunningly haughty, classically beautiful Nicole Scherzinger sounds and looks as if she's totally immersed in her response as a judge, and she expresses herself quite eloquently.

So what about the talent? The 14 year old Brian Bradley's insulting manner with Simon before he performed, and Simon's glowing response afterward, opens wide the golden doors of a future for the boy. As I said, I didn't get anything from Brian's song, "Stop Looking At My Mother" -- no rhythm to rock with, no words to grab onto, so I can't predict what's ahead for him.

Perhaps LA Reid will become Brain Bradley's guru, adviser, manager, and another Justin Bieber will be born. For me, the most memorable moment in X factor was when LA Reid, Nicole, and Paula -- with Simon eying her -- joined in with the audience waving their arms, doing the shoulder-rocking dance of approval that entire audiences do to show each other, show the world, how swept away they are, by the performer.

For me, the shoulder-rocking is like catcalls, whistles, hoots, and shouts. It's what you do, nowadays, to win votes for the guy you're rooting for, and show that you're with it, you're cool, and you were knocked out by the guy.

The X in the show's title intrigues me. What is the X factor when you're judging talent? What is the indefinable element that defies words, but inspires a thrilling, intense focus on a performer as if he's a already star?

Thus far, on this new show, the X factor is my focus on Simon and Paula.

I mean who cares about talented new kids when the older kids are playing a love story script before our eyes?