Friday, November 8, 2013


LIKE has become T-H-E  W-A-Y  to express yourself.

About ... ?

The new whatever -- philosophy, project, product -- the style of something -- clothes, an appliance, judge's ruling, a display at the museum, film, hit tune, medicine, cosmetic -- hey --you can LIKE a comment made by somebody famous or infamous -- a candidate, or the president, the ruler of some foreign country.

LIKE is all you need to do if you want to respond to ideas, opinions -- anything -- whatever is mentioned.

I blame all this on Facebook -- the college boy Zuckerberg -- the bright kid who figured everyone feels better if they can express -- quickly, easily, without too much study -- how they feel.

Aside from ordinary folks (the social networkers themselves), LIKES are very important for people in business.

So, if you collect a bunch of likes, does it mean you'll make money?

Well, sort of, in a roundabout way ...You've got approval, right? You, or whatever you stand for, is popular, right? Obviously being "LIKED" inspires others to notice and add their LIKE to the pile of LIKES, and thus, you're accruing a name, and with a name -- hey, you can teach, preach, beseech each and everyone to help you get more supporters, who can elect you, or buy your idea, or buy your product.

I'm thinking we need LIKES in various degrees -- LIKE A LOT, LIKE A TINY BIT, or a HA HA LIKE, THRILLED LIKE, SCARED LIKE, or LIKES plus an um, ugh, eek, pooh, yuck.

It's too easy to "LIKE."  It's not even as satisfactory as a hello, or a hi.

I would like to remove the E, reverse the letters,. and K-I-L the word.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


The brass lock I'm pointing at is illegal.

The steel gate I'm pushing open is illegal.

This pink steel, floor-to ceiling gate that's in our third floor hallway is breaking the law.

We've didn't know it, but we have been breaking the law for a long time.

We live in a four-story building we bought a long time ago. (Before John was earning a good living as an actor, my mom lent us the down payment.)  We occupy the top two floors. Income from our two tenants below enables us to live and work rent free.

Our home on the top floor is fancifully, super colorfully decorated by me, (using "On A Clear Day" and "Shenandoah" money John earned when he starred in those Broadway musicals.) We've got got curved, cloth-covered walls, enamel ceilings, skylights, a green living room like an outdoor garden, a brick-walled bedroom with shutters like an attic, a fabulous Halloween-colored kitchen. Our two offices and studio theater are on the third floor.

During John's money-making days, playing "Holling the Bartender" in the hit television series, "Northern Exposure," we installed a 15 foot tall steel frame with a door, in our third floor's red-carpeted hallway. The steel mesh, painted pink to go with the orange and pink walls, has enabled us to connect the third and fourth floors. With each floor being 2,200 square feet, we've got ourselves a uniquely gorgeous, sort of sprawling mansion, in the heart of Manhattan.

Two months ago, fire inspectors, inspecting all the buildings on our block, told us "That gate is a violation. It's got to come down." We sort of shrugged, and nodded, figuring we'd pretend we didn't know it was illegal if we got inspected again. A summons arrived a week later with a $1000 to $5000 fine, and a date to appear at New York City's Department of Buildings, before a judge.

We appeared on the scheduled date; certain that once we explained how easy it was to open the gate and showed how the gate was the entrance to our home, the violation would be dismissed. John made this video and photos to show the judge how easy it was to open the gate.

Click, and you will see what we showed the Judge.

The Judge, a friendly gracious lady, wanted John's autograph; she'd actually seen my blog, and our Air Broadcasting videos. The fire inspector and another judge attended the hearing. Everybody loved our photos and the video, but, according to the law, the gate was an "obstruction."

We lost the appeal. Our fine was the "low" end of the scale -- merely $1000, but the entire floor-to-ceiling steel structure had to be removed immediately.

Why? Our tenants -- a part-time vintage clothing store on the second floor, a retired photographer on the first floor -- must have access to roof. The stairway to the roof is in the fourth floor hallway. Though our tenants have access to the fire escape in the front of the building, they can't get to the roof if our gate is closed and locked (which it is). And even if the door to the gate were left open, the frame work is illegal -- the fire department "must have unobstructed access to the roof."

Shocked, devastated, we pondered how to maintain our lovely life style -- racing up and down our red-carpeted stairway, making coffee in our kitchen, galloping down with coffee, cookies, snacks -- being able to go from home to office anytime, day or night.

Thinking of ways NOT to take down our beautiful pink steel gate, we have phoned friends and lawyers who might know higher-ups in the city's government, who could help us get a "variance." We've considered evicting our tenants; selling the building and moving, but where in Manhattan could we find comparable, affordable space? 

John Cullum's creative mind -- (and his earnings that have gotten us a nest egg of good investments), has solved the problem.

Right now there's hammering, buzzing buzz saw, men working upstairs and downstairs. A semi spiral wooden stairway is already half built. In our studio theater, there are now wooden steps that lead up upstairs to our attic bedroom. 

Since this new stairway (inside our mansion) is not as wide as the hall steps, or red carpeted, I'm thinking of decorating it with tiny Xmas tree bulbs. John says if is too twinkly, he'll connect it to a dimmer, so as we steppy-step, sort of delicately dance up and down, it'll be just be a softly festive, lovely glow.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I saw Yoko Ono's name and thought, "What's she doing now?" Every so often, with some attention-getting declaration, she pops into the news.

I've resisted paying attention to her. Is it because of the outrageous lovemaking photos of her and John Lennon?  I wasn't a prude back in those days, but it seemed as if they were advertizing themselves. And she was wedging her way into Beatles history and the art world, based on her relationship to Lennon.

I read reporter Lily Rothman's "!0 Questions" interview in Time Magazine. It's about Yoko's book "Accord" being published, and her new album, "Take me to the land of Hell." Though I am not a fan, part of my brain tells me that she's an extraordinary woman with extraordinary power and energy,

Watching the video of the interview, I liked the quietly confident, practical way Yoko Ono supported art, creativity, and peace, and liked her promoting ways of using oneself to help the world remain a world that we can live in.

Enjoying the bright-voiced girl who conducted the interview, I found myself more interested in the girl's crisp speech, directness and charity, than in what the 80-year-old, worldly-wise Yoko was proffering, in her very quiet voice. (Tuning up the volume when Yoko spoke, I wondered if it was the microphone, or her way of getting an audience to pay extra attention to every word she uttered.)

John Lennon's love for this woman -- it is still vivid -- his being murdered at age 40 -- how he was changing everything about his life before his death, collaborating with Yoko, moving away from the Beatles, apparently doing everything he could do to make her happy as his wife and artistic partner.

In the video, the tersely eloquent, 80-year-old Yoko looked not young, but not crinkled old or even elderly as she told us how optimistic she was -- told us she was brimming with wonderful ideas and plans.

While the interview rolled on, I Googled -- skimmed what some critics said about her new album, and other albums," and listened briefly to her girlish soprano in a few videos -- unmemorable melodies, rather over-simple, poetic ideas. What I noticed was 42,000 to 57,000 people had listened to them. Were they her fans, or did they listen because John Ono Lennon, (he changed his name to that) adored her. Maybe listening to her songs was a way of revering him?

Well, why not?

Hey, I remember actress wife Trash Van Deere and the great George C Scott -- an evening
we spent with them in his sprawling Connecticut mansion. Beautiful, overly passionate Trish making herself the center of attention during cocktails and dinner -- preaching her politics, reminding George to walk the dogs, getting him to show us the front page photo of her in the Washington Post, ruling the un-rulable George, who was, at that point, drinking a quart of vodka a day.

Did I like her? Well, she didn't' connect with me, or mention the film script based on my novel "Splintered Heart," that I'd sent her, suggesting she could star in the movie.

Is Trish-George, why I am not interested in Yoko's projects?

Hey, I'm the wife, blogger, making video's with my celebrity husband whose name and background wedges me into the theater world, and gets me status, more attention than if I were just me.

I read this to my husband.  John Cullum said strongly, "Em, what you do is important for what the blog and videos say and do."


Here's here's  a link to Ono's new album "Take me to the Land of Hell"

Here's the 10 Questions video. What do you think?