Saturday, February 23, 2013


John Cullum listens, and responds to Emily Frankel, his wife's questions about how he chooses a role to play.

As Emily pretends she's his manager, John re-enacts his thought process, when he was offered a role, recently, spur of the moment. It was a juicy role, in a movie that was going to be start shooting tomorrow.

The way John examines a character, what he's looking for, will interest any other actors.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


It's great to nibble on popcorn.

If you're nervous, it calms you. It makes watching a movie more fun. If you're dieting, you can chomp away and not hate yourself.

I researched it.   

Hey, it's healthy -- it actually helps to protect you from cancer and heart disease. Tests of popcorn reveal that the hulls, (those tough fragments that stick in your teeth), contain high levels of polyphenols, which are disease fighting antioxidants. (Important words in the world of nutrition -- I'm delighted to know that popcorn is GOOD for you.) 

One serving of popcorn, (a cup full),  contains more than twice the polyphenols of most fruits and vegetables, according to Joe Vinson, a popcorn researcher-scientist. Joe said the hulls are also rich in fiber and called them, "Nutritional gold nuggets."

A good, uncomplicated, inexpensive, quick, low-calorie way to cook popcorn is in an air-popper, or on a stove top.  (If you add butter (or salt, it's tastes better, but it's less healthy -- let's stick with healthy.)

A cup of air-popped white popcorn contains 30 calories; and 6 g of carbohydrates.  A cup of oil-popped white popcorn contains 55 calories. Cheese-flavor popcorn contains 58 calories per cup, and sugar syrup (Carmel-coated popcorn) contains 151 calories per cup, and cheese or Carmel corn can contain, oh, maybe 35 g of carbos.

(Yes, Carmel  popcorn's delicious, and I'm crazy about cheese popcorn, but I'm focusing on healthy.)

Other GOOD things about popcorn -- it's low in fat and sodium, and it contains small amounts of protein, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.

It's almost patriotic to eat popcorn and love it. Since the late 19th century, popcorn has evolved from the small bags  sold by street vendors to large containers of fluffy kernels available  in movie theaters. (It tastes great but it's  ridiculously expensive.) The fact is, we Americans consume over 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn every year.

Hey, as I write this, I've got my cooking pot on the stove, a jar of corn, bottle of Canola oil sitting right now on my kitchen counter -- munching helps me read, check for typos, and jolly up my ideas. Sometime ago, a wealthy producer friend of ours made a movie called "POPCORN" -- poured money into it and sent us a preview. Yowie!  The film was awful!  Since my husband, John Cullum, was raising money for one of our projects, we sent the producer a non-committal "good luck" gift -- an giant, enormous garbage bag full of popcorn. His movie  bombed; our jolly idea bombed -- the guy hasn't called us since then, but we heard he's richer than ever, selling real estate in Canada.

You probably know know how to make popcorn, but here's a short video on the most  practical way of making a pot full  of HEALTHY GOOD popcorn quickly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Here I am an ex dancer, choreographer, wife, mom, novelist. I write and publish a blog. My husband, actor-singer John Cullum, and I do a video blog once a week with a camera on a Mac notebook.

I use a desktop PC with it's large monitor, to view the latest video, before I publish it on Em's Talkery, my blog. This involves quite a lot of technical stuff that I can handle fairly well, though I am not a techie.

I can handle most things when the computer misbehaves. Our video making routine isn't difficult, but a lot of details are involved. We turn on lights, position and sit on a bench, click a few buttons on the computer. When we see our faces on the Mac monitor, John introduces us. I pick a topic, and we jabbber. The Mac's timer shows us when it's time to end our conversation. John splices in our YouTube channel's icon. I upload the video to our channel, Airbroadcasting, do a little adjusting of colors and contrast, and pick a thumbnail.

Though I'm not a techie, after three years and 170 videos, I've got my video-making routine down pat -- I have a dancer's memory for steps -- do this, then do that, then this, then that. There's been a problem occasionally that I blamed on our lights -- sometimes the finished video is sort of yellowish.

Well, the other day, while we were recording, we noticed that our faces, our outfits, and the room itself was turning very, very yellow.


I raced around adjusting the lights, turning things on and off, checking fuses. We re-booted and started recording again -- it was very, very, very yellow -- fatally yellow.

On the phone, I spent 1½ hours with a Mac technical support guy, then 2½ hours with the senior technician for Mac videos. Golly, I'm not a techie or a secretary -- I was in vaguesville, scrawling notes, hoping I could hang on to half of what these guys were teaching me.

Short long story: After another yellow video, I got our techie friend, Asa, to help. He bought us a Logitech Web Camera. With Asa and the Logitech's techie, we practiced -- made 50 one-minute test videos. They're adequate but somewhat blurry, not as sharply focused as the videos we made on the Mac camera, and the color is rather inaccurate. I talked with various Logitech guys, but neither they nor I can find a way to get my bright blue blouse NOT to look sort of bluish green, and my bronze hair NOT to look sort of red mahogany.

Hey, I'm not a techie, but I know when my hair looks weird.

There were other EEKS. We did a five-minute video, but after three minutes -- though our hands were not on the controls, -- the camera was on, -- for some reason, it just stopped. Okay, we made 10 tests -- no more stops, so we dismissed the problem. The next day, a new video we made stopped -- yep -- just stopped on its own.

I may not be a techie, but a camera that stops for no reason that no one can explain, is NOT a camera for us.

We're getting a new Mac with a new camera, hiring Asa to configure it and help us learn the new routines, so we can make a new video next week, and each week thereafter.

John, who is great when it comes to setting up the room, turning on lights, positioning the bench, splicing in our logo, calls himself a computer dunce, and ... well, that's what he is.

Next time you see one of our videos, you'll know that behind our gaiety, our smiles, or loving rapport, lurks a dunce and a bewildered half-baked techie.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Emily Frankel moans, and John Cullum laughs, as they recall how their son, JD, took over both floors of their home during his Christmas visit with them.

Using the futon cot that's in Em's studio theater, JD made himself a bed on the floor of the dance area. With all his things -- clothes, guitar, his phone, laptop, books, shoes -- spread out everywhere, it' became his hotel room.

Emily had to tiptoe into the studio, with a flashlight to do her early morning exercises (he slept till 11 a.m.). Doing her dance-workout, later in the day, or she found the mess seriously distracting. 

Preparing meals with the refrigerator, cabinets, and table-tops jammed with special health food JD bought, was frustrating  for Em, who's normally an speedy efficient cook.

Em admits that she wished he'd leave early. Though the Cullum family had a few loving, interesting conversations, son JD's life style is no longer compatible with Mom's and Dad's.