Saturday, March 7, 2015


That was picture and the headline -- the scary stuff on the cover of Time -- often a worry-mongering magazine.

Uh oh, oh boy, I thought.

The photo of the huge python focused me on these snakes that started appearing 15 years ago. There are now about 100,000 pythons upsetting the ecosystem in South Florida. Many skilled specialists have tried, but can't get rid of them.

The problem was detailed with proof -- numbers and quotes from experts --  every border of our country is dealing with biological invasion. There are more than 50,000 alien species in the U.S. that are threatening our endangered animals; new species sometimes homogenize with the "native" species, and displace the natives.

The list of aliens includes: LIONFISH that scour coral reefs of sea life, in Texas; FERAL HOGS rampage through farmers' fields, in the Northeast, EMERALD ASH BORERS turn trees into kindling. ZEBRA MUSSELS are encrusting pipes and valves in the Great Lakes areas, rendering power plants worthless; CARPS from China that appeared in the Mississippi River, now appear in the Great Lakes and as they increase, they're hurting the region's $7 billion sport-fishing industry; GIANT AFRICAN SNAILS that were being sold for human consumption were discovered last month at L.A. International Airport.

The guy who wrote this cover story, Bryan Walsh, senior editor for Time, mentioned other invasive species that are brought into the country by humans, as pets or plants, saying "Some 10,000 species are moving around in cargo ships. Our planet is becoming a giant mixing bowl. It's global swarming.”

Mentioning the $120 billion a year our country has been spending on handling some of these problems, Walsh wrote, "There is no wilderness, no place that hasn't been touched by humans, that isn't also affected by greenhouse-gas emissions, global trade,. as well other facets of modern existence."

My heart sank, but in the last paragraph, he wrote. "It's up to us to create space and a place for what is invading our world, because we ourselves are the dominant invasives of all time. We are doing it for our own survival."

Wow, this cover story educates us. And yes, it also gives us, as invasive aliens, a passion to solve this, as well as a modicum of hope.

Thanks Bryan Walsh;  thanks Time Magazine.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Back in the days when John Cullum and Emily Frankel were newlyweds, they lived at the famous Montecito Apartments in Hollywood, where many New York actors resided when working in films. That's how John got to know Robert Duvall.

Em finds it amazing, how John and Duvall's careers grew, since those days, in vastly different directions.

All the awards Duvall has received, the various fascinating characters, the major film projects that Duvall has been involved with continue to impress John. But Duvall's intensity is what John remembers -- not just from the films, but the way Duvall and he competed in tennis.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


If you buzz our buzzer, we ask who it is, and when we know who you are, we buzz you in. It's a surprise when you walk in. Our hallway walls are shocking pink, and bright orange; the steps and banisters are bright red. The brilliant, almost clashing colors, wonderful colors, make visitors laugh, and put most of them in a good mood.

After you climb two flights of steps you're at the third floor, where you see some of my paintings hanging on the pink wall.

This is one of my cityscapes. If you're a New Yorker or you've visited my hometown, you may recognize some of the buildings.

I like to do cityscapes -- I enjoy doing repetitive tasks, like embroidering "True Friendships Are Eternal" on a sampler. I gave it to Mom for Mother's Day when I was eight-years-old. I found a photo in a magazine ad that I loved, and copied it, and have copied it again and again in different ways and in different colors.

As we climb the stairs to the top floor where our home is, you pass my visions of the water,  birds flying over it, with the island of NYC in the distance.

The red door you're passing is the entrance to "DanceHouse" -- that's where our offices are, (John Cullum's and mine), and the theater-dance studio where I choreographed and rehearsed my Dance Drama Company.

Here's a quick peek at the clipboard on my desk -- my vision of the Galaxy. I clip email, passwords and addresses onto the galaxy.

On the other side of my desk, attached to my Blue Faces painting,
there's a list of ideas that I might use for my blog, and emergency phone numbers for tech pals.

At the top of the step there's a plastic plant, stage prop from my play "People in Show Biz Make Long Goodbyes," and a Clown painting that went with a song I sang to our son JD.

"See a clown,
He's looking down.He has a bird.
Oops he heard --
You and me --
Talking about the fact that he lives in a tree."

In the other part of our loft-home, on the door to JD's room,
there is my "Em Clown."

She's wearing one of my costumes; her eyes have fake lashes that I made out of black felt.  I painted the "Em Clown " on JD's door to keep JD company when I was on tour.

My biggest, bestest cityscape is hung in a prominent spot in the main hall where there's plenty of light from one of the skylights. Click the picture. You can see much more -- more buildings -- also the bridge to the borough of Queens.

I like my orange cityscape, but if I have time to paint another picture, it wouldn't be a cityscape.

Maybe I'll paint flowers.