Saturday, September 22, 2012


Like “HAMLET, Shakespeare’s KING LEAR seems to be a role that established “name” actors want to play.

Emily, who did an adaptation of this tragedy, modernizing the language, wonders what John’s thoughts are about it now -- it was a version of the play that John liked, but didn’t want to do.

John Cullum recalls how his passion and devotion for Shakespeare kept winning him wonderful jobs, important roles in theater. television, as well as musical comedy, in Knoxville, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York.

He directed KING LEAR in Seattle, while he was playing “Holling the Bartender, in the television series, NORTHERN EXPOSURE.

He was ready to perform KING LEAR in San Francisco, and in Scranton, but Broadway commitments got in the way. John performs a small section of one of Lear’s famous speeches for Emily -- yes, it’s still a role he wants to play -- not in the Frankel version -- John Cullum wants to play the king in William Shakespeare’s TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Oh boy, things we count on can't be counted on. Things we stand for are shaky. Things we want seem unobtainable.

A job with a future ? Who’s looking out for you? Big government?

Gee, state and local governments are shrinking. Numbers from polls, surveys, researchers say: more than 500,000 employees have been dismissed since 2009. California laid off 11% of its teachers -- 32,000 of them.

Numbers -- there are numbers that tell us Latinos are the country's largest non-European majority. U.S. is becoming a country in which whites are no longer a majority.

Blacks and whites have told pollsters, "It's troubling," "It's happening too quickly," It's hanging up the nation's character and values." African-Americans fear that ethnic change is reviving antique prejudices that seemed to be fading away. Surveys show that while only 10 percent of a city’s whites harbor negative feelings about blacks, 60 percent of the city’s Hispanics definitely do.

Numbers -- scary bad numbers -- warn young and poor families (headed by guys under 35 ) that they’re going to be 70 percent poorer today than they were in 1984, because of lower wages, more expensive housing, and student debt.

For high-school graduates, the numbers are dire. They’ll earn less, they’re far less likely to be protected by health insurance. Compared with the last generation, their chances of marrying, staying married, appear to have collapsed.

Back in 1959, which has been called the golden age of the American middle class, it was a world where you dreamed of rising, and you could, maybe, rise.

Has the golden legend of America, the promise of a better economic future for its citizens, finally reached an end?

Golly, when can you retire? Will Medicare still exist when you need it? Rich or poor, we all get old, and then older still -- if one lives to age 65, he or she can expect to live nearly 20 more years. Gee, can you live on what’s left of your savings? Do you have any savings?


Zip up your mind. Don’t look at the numbers. To hell with numbers.
Remember this poem by -- what’s his name -- that famous poet ? Forget the name. It’s a long poem. Just use the verses that make sense to you right now

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait

Hey, if that’s not enough to refocus your mind and comfort you, here’s what Plato said: "A GOOD DECISION IS BASED ON KNOWLEDGE AND NOT ON NUMBERS "

Repeat Plato's words, keep them in mind, if you decide to watch this video clip.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Matt Harding, in his 20s, was a video-game designer, broke, traveling the world on a shoe-string.

That's him in a reddish T shirt, and shorts.

On a whim, in 1997, he put together this video, “Where the Hell Is Matt?” -- short clips of himself, a non-dancer, doing a few dance steps. He started doing it in one location after another, picking up other people's steps as they learned his.

Some of Matt's clips were made while he was working for a chewing gum company called Stride. Visa Credit Cards hired him to do TV ads for them. A few months ago, Matt Harding put together all the clips and made a video for 2012. He’s 35 now -- he’s got a house in Seattle, he's got a wife and baby son dancing with him nowadays.

Here's the video.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


John Cullum and Emily Frankel wonder what they’d do if they weren’t in the professions that now occupy all their time. Admitting that she’d love to run a vegetable store, Emily says “John, have you ever thought about planting and growing things?”

Complaining that he lacks a green thumb, John considers where would be the best place for them, as farmers.

As “would-be farmers,” the Cullums picture themselves in different parts of the country, growing various things to eat.