Friday, April 26, 2013


My husband, John Cullum, and I promised ourselves a new NEW set of pots and pans.

(John in that picture, taken umpteen years ago, is holding the cover of a pan we'll be using tonight when we're cooking dinner.) 

We didn't get the the new NEW pans for Xmas -- stores were too crowded. The media, warning about the flu epidemic, said, "avoid crowds."

Today's a good time, though my twitter writer friend Peg Bechko, (she keeps me up-to-date on book publishing), said "Beware of silicon."

I Googled "pots and pans" and read: Beware of What you  Buy.  Also, checked Scientific American, Benefits/Hazards in the new rubberized cookware.

Yowie! Lotta warnings like pill warnings -- sure, go ahead and buy what you need, but beware of the symptoms. (the usual list).

Gee, I like no-stick pans. I've been using them for years, ever since I mentioned them in my one of my novels, "Somebody, Woman of the Century."
The heroine, Cordelia, broadcasting news back in 1938, was censored when she said breasts. On the break, an assistant suggested she talk about Bette Davis's new movie, "You fans will love it, and then, talk about new magic pans, Teflon."
       Cordelia said, "Anything new on the Teletype I can use?"
       "The Teletype mentioning an overseas fracas!, Miss Drew. Windows were broken last night in Berlin.  I'll get you more facts on Teflon."
        The red Go light on the mike lit up. Cordelia grabbed the Teletype bulletin and told her audience, "Ladies and gentlemen, while we in Chicago were finishing dinner yesterday, the streets of Berlin were being littered with broken glass -- thousands fled for their lives, twenty-five thousand Jews were carried off to concentration camps."

... Seventy-five years ago -- "breasts," concentration camps, Teflon...

,,, Today, we've got unmentionable words mentioned constantly, and if you're chatting with other humans, you use acronyms like LOL.

...Today -- OMG -- atomic warhead tested in N. Korea, melting polar caps, pollution in the air we breathe, we're running out water and food, and, OMG -- poison gas in Syria --  that endless list of things too scary to contemplate, with kooks in Boston, in Canada, kooks all over the world, who might be thinking of pressing the button -- that red button that could set off a bomb that would destroy the world.

Hey! Gee! I'm tacking my worry list on the kitchen cabinet door, the cabinet where I used to keep canned food that I never buy anymore because ...? I don't remember why, but canned goods aren't as good for you, as nutritious as ... whatever.

Remember Don't Eat Eggs -- Do eat eggs -- eggs are OK -- beware of eggs?

I'm heading for the cookware store right now.

Is there anything one can cook, eat, do, or think nowadays, that isn't attached to a beware? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Anthony Weiner, who sexted pictures of his penis a couple of years ago, has boldly, bravely, declared that he could be the best possible new mayor of NYC.

In case you forgot the headlines, the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, often dubbed "Weinergate," began in May 2011, around the time that his pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, was also in the news, as Hillary Clinton's personal assistant.

Democratic congressman Weiner tweeted a shot of himself with an erection to a girl, and accidentally tweeted it to all 45,000 of his followers. After calling it a lie, trying unsuccessfully to explain it away with various lies, Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011.

Today he's 48. He's been in therapy. He and his wife have Jordan now, a 13-month-old toddler.

Wife Huma Abedin recently told New York Time's interviewer, Jonathan Van Meter, "It took a lot of work, both mentally and in the way we engage with each other, for me to get to a place where I said: 'O.K., I'm in. I'm staying in this marriage.' Here was a man I respected, I loved, was the father of this child inside of me, and he was asking me for a second chance. And I'm not going to say that was an easy or fast decision that I made. It's been almost two years now. I did spend a lot of time saying and thinking, 'I don't understand.' And it took a long time to be able to sit on a couch next to Anthony and say, 'O.K., I understand and I forgive.' It was the right choice for me. I didn't make it lightly."

In the published New York Times Magazine article, announcing Weiner's plans to run for Mayor, Van Meter said, "How Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin stayed together through Weinergate is like most negotiations between couples, deeply complicated and in some ways unknowable. He has done a lot of work, on himself and his marriage, and he and Abedin, in the words of brother Jason Weiner, "Have been able to survive, maybe even thrive."

Anthony Weiner told Van Meter, "The scandal's shadow still lingers."

What do the polls say? Weiner is working with David Binder (Obama's longtime pollster), who reports that early polls are hopeful -- more than 40% say they would vote for Weiner, depending on what he promises to do as mayor. Financial reports show that Weiner has already spent about $100,000 on running for mayor -- he has $4.3 million left in the campaign fund he started months before the scandal.

Hey, it's great that he's back in the world. It's wonderful that Anthony and Huma's marriage is surviving, but gee...

This guy was way, way off his rocker. What he did wasn't just a simple mistake. He was shockingly off base. I won't lay words like "mentally ill" on it, but when someone attempts to commit suicide -- takes pills, slits a wrist -- (whatever brought on what Weiner did -- sexual need, deeply depressed state of mind) -- the person made a decision and did the deed.

No matter how many sessions Weiner's had with therapists since 2011, what he did doesn't disappear.

NYC needs an exceptionally strong, clear-headed person who can detach himself from what he FEELS, and make decisions based on information that he has about an issue. The mayor has to be a solidly stable grownup, who knows this is a right thing, and this is wrong thing, because it will affect millions of people.

I certainly couldn't support Weiner or vote for him.   

What about you?

Monday, April 22, 2013


 I like John Kerry, though I have never been an enthusiastic supporter.

The first time I saw Theresa Heinz Kerry, with her husband, the 2004 Denicratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, I hmmed.

Was it her posture, her non-conformist replies to typical questions? Candidate John Kerry was not charming. I was hoping he'd win the election, -- (I didn't want another four years of George Bush,) but wife Theresa didn't seem to me to be a vote-getting potential first lady.

Everything I knew about John Kerry -- his education, achievements, experiences -- his leadership and heroism in the Vietnam War -- said that he would be an excellent president, but the look of him bothered me. He was more-or-less handsome, but an aura of stiffness clung to him. What was it? He didn't convey the idea that he was a hyper-religious Roman Catholic, but he seemed covered-up, closed-off.

Did it have to do with his first wife, Julia Thorne, who, after 14 years and two daughters with Kerry, separated and annulled their marriage? (Well, maybe, but she re-married; supported Kerry's 2004 presidential run, and died of cancer in 2006.)

Anyway, I just wasn't very comfortable with John and Theresa, as they campaigned for the presidency. But I liked the way she joked and acted -- not like a celebrity -- she spoke her own mind, and I liked the loving way she looked up at him.

They'd met once, in 1990, on earth day, a year before Theresa's first husband, Senator John Heinz (heir to the Heinz fortune, with whom she has three sons), was killed in a plane crash. Though Theresa and Kerry met again at the 1992 Earth Summit, which the 55-year-old widowed Theresa attended as part of George Bush's delegation, their courtship didn't begin till 1993.

Yes, I checked out their romance story. It's incongruous, that I who have certainly broken the rules (living with my guy before we were married), seem to require conforming behavior from someone I might vote for. The Kerrys passed my morality test, even though they didn't seem to be cuddling, compatible couple.

Theresa Heinz is a highly educated 74-year-old woman who has won awards, founded and participated in many projects that have to do with helping people, and helping  the environment.

Currently, she hosts the annual "Women's Health and the Environment" conference. She has founded Scholars for Environmental Research.  She is a board member of the Environmental Defense Fund. She recently created WISER, the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement.

I've boiled down the list; I'm impressed that she's fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese -- impressed that she's very rich -- as a Heinz she's worth between $750 million and $1.2 billion.

And Kerry, 69 now, is wealthy in his own right, though not to the same degree -- he's a trust fund beneficiary of his mother's and the Forbes' family trusts.

Okay, they're a wealthy, distinguished, important couple -- not red carpet, not very exciting or glamorous, but John Kerry is now a major figure in the world, as our Secretay of State.

I want to be more interested him, what he says, how he behaves, how he handles the explosive, very tricky relationships that he has to handle.

I think we need to like him . The word "like" -- it's become what? A click, a nod, a quick way of approving someone or something?

I mean really LIKE him.

So I am looking at pictures, reading articles, keeping track of John and Theresa -- is she with him, is he alone at the state dinners? Maybe the power he now has will un-stiffen him? And un-prejudice me -- we seem to be living in a time of Pretty People.  It's time for me to judge men and women on the basis of what they really are and do, not the way they look

This couple represents America now, represents you and me. John Kerry and Theresa Kerry need our genuine understanding and approval.