Friday, October 31, 2014


Working on his "JACK TALE" show, a musical for which he's writing music and lyrics, John Cullum is inspired by what he learned from playing a transvestite in Harvey Fierstein's "Casa Valentina."

Using wigs, scarves, jewelry, eye makeup, rouge, and lipstick, he's playing the five male roles as well as four females. (Photo of some of the characters)

Because he can video a lady talking, and splice it into a scene with a another male or female. talking, John tells Emily, "Maybe we've got a one-man musical I can publish on our You Tube Airbroadcasting channel."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Do we want "smarter homes?" It's big news. I've read various articles. I've seen some amazing photos.   

Cell phone manufacturers are all lathered up, excitedly selling us, telling us that we can run our lives marvelously, easily, efficiently, and much more safely, with our smartphones.

Google, Apple, Samsung. Microsoft, and dozens of other up-and-comers like them, are bubbling over, swollen fat with fantastic new apps. They're partnering with tech companies who create gadgets that you can connect to your home internet and access on your phone. GE, Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T, and all the other providers, are involving themselves in the smarter home concept.

Already, you can control your lights, door locks, heat, air conditioning, monitor yard, and garage, and now there's more -- you can monitor the pool, fences, gates, the mail in your mail box, and feed pets -- there's even a gadget that automatically generates your grocery shopping list.

Picture life in a smarter home: You rise from your bed, lights flicker on, air temperature is already adjusting to the outdoor temperature; while flushing your toilet you could be reminded, "Brush your teeth." As you move to the kitchen, a voice greets you from your sound system, and gives you today’s forecast. Reaching for your coffee that began brewing automatically, there's a broadcast with today's news on the radio or on your television.

When I read about a limbless veteran's customized smart home, I was very impressed. The  apps were significant; the fact that walls, appliances, small and large objects can be moved, and controlled, enabled him to cook and care for himself.  

Smart home companies list all kinds of gadgets that can be connected to your home's Intermet, via a hub. You can even synchronize what you've got in your home right now with a starter kit from Home Depot that costs around $300.

Of course, with high-tech features -- things like an automated shower, wifi tooth brushes, touch screen toilets, a home theater with bed chairs -- it can cost a lot -- $10,000 to $250,000 -- depending on what you want.

It would be -- wow, terrifically nice if I could finger touch a screen, and my boring, everyday chores were taken care of, but ... well, when I, brew coffee for my husband and serve it in one of his favorite mugs -- he's got mugs with show titles shows he's starred in -- that's special; that's fun. And when I mop the floor, or adjust the thermostat ... well, it's like watering my house plants -- I'm proud of myself -- it's enjoyable in the way that ordinary accomplishments are pleasurable.

No doubt about it, a smarter home with everything automated might be flabbergastingly wonderful, but I like being proud of myself for all sorts of not very important little things that make me ME.

Hey,  the Time Magazine that featured smarter homes said, "The dwellings of the future can make you calmer, safer, richer and healthier." I'm saying don't jump on the smart home bandwagon without thinking very carefully about what makes your home, a home sweet home.   

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Doesn't everyone know what Viagra is?  A kid knows it's a medicine for grownups. An old person thinks it's one of those modern popular things that doesn't concern me. Foreigners know it's a sex pill because it's advertized all over the world.

Em, the Town Crier, says beware of :
constipation-fix foods, energy-boosters, lose weight pills -- along with exercise machines, exercise routines, offers to fix your debts, and vacations in paradises -- along with 2 pills versus 6, anti depressant boosters -- along with helpful health businesses like AARP,  interest free furniture chains, and all those promises and pats on their own back that BP, the guys who caused the Deepwater Oil spill disaster, are giving themselves in impressively expensive television ads.  And don't forget -- advertizements drill into us the thrill of killing, gruesome murder death, and instant go-to bed love.

I gave top billing to Viagra because whenever there's an AD for it, I hit the mute button.

It's a silly gesture; actually ADS are an everywhere, everyday larger, fact-of-life -- with TV,  phones, ipods, ipads -- they're insta communication. No matter what you're doing, no matter how sacred, or major whatever it is that you're doing, the vision, sound, ding-a-ling refrain of some AD can flash.

Beware -- ADS have expanded and are everywhere in our lives, enabling us to do less of the things we might do if we didn't have incredibly instant communication.

Town Crier Em says turn the key, turn the knob, punch, hit, hammer the off-button off -- ADS are affecting basic breathing-eating-sleeping -- also art, culture, ambition, religion, and all, all of life's things -- pleasures and pains.

I gave top billing to pleasures, but pains create pleasures -- pains and pleasures are what life is all about -- not the advertized version of life -- real life.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Emily Frankel, asking John about his mother, gets John describing his parents.

Though John's mother died before Emily and John met, Emily wonders if his mother would have approved of him marrying a "Jewish divorcee?"

John loves to talk about his huge family, and what it was like growing up as part of it, in Knoxville Tennessee.