Spineless Hollywood


Hollywood is all about causes and making noise, but when they need to put their money where their mouth is, they fold like a cheap suit.

I’m sure you’ve heard all about the Sony fiasco by now.

In all honesty, I don’t give a fib about the movie in question.  It looks pretty stupid, and it calls into question the judgment of people who green-light such a project.

But … that’s not my point.  That’s not what irks — it’s the complete surrender shown by a multi-billion dollar behemoth of an industry.  With that, I have a problem.

And today, Geroge Clooney is circulating a ‘we stand together’ petition, which every head of TV and studio refuses to sign. No solidarity. No one iota of fuckign courage.

I understand the liability issue, the fear of having to bear responsibility should something go wrong, but the alternative is much scarier.

This more than anything proves the Hollywood types who adopt causes are wimps or only trying to get publicity. A shame to allow oneself to be intimidated in such a manner.

The Deadline interview with Geroge Clooney is all over the internet, but here is a chilling quote:

“What happened here is part of a much larger deal … and people are still talking about dumb emails. Understand what is going on right now, because the world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention.”  ~ George Clooney on the Sony fiasco and the inability to get a ‘we-stand-together’ petition signed by spineless heads of studios.

(Let’s home my next post will be sunnier).


Photo: www.clipartpanda.com

Let’s Make a Real Difference


During this holiday season, let’s remember those who don’t have enough to feed their families. I’m not referring solely to the homeless, even if the need among them is staggering. I’m talking hard-working people who work themselves to the bone and are barely surviving.

Barely surviving in this country of plenty.

Since we’re lucky enough to have a roof over out heads and more than enough to feed our families, why not make a difference in someone’s life?

Here in Los Angeles, we have food banks everywhere. The largest organization and one of the best in terms of volunteers is the L.A. Regional Food Bank.

One dollar provides 4 meals. Think about that. Ten dollars (which can be donated via the link — no envelope necessary), feeds 40 people. Forty hungry souls, many of them children finding themselves in unimaginable situations through no fault of their own.

And through Feeding America, you can find your very local food bank.

Let’s give ourselves the gift of giving to others this holiday season — to those who need it most.

~~ Thank you M.J. Joachim for organizing the Holiday Food Drive, hosted by Effectively Human on Google+. My understanding is everyone can participate, and the more the better.  Let’s make a real difference.


Photo: absolutearts.com



We survived another year — well, almost — so, why not celebrate with enough family get-togethers to make missing one another impossible for at least … six months?

Thanksgiving came and went here in the U.S. Now, it’s on to Christmas preparations at my house. The energy is absolutely crazy and I love it. I feed off of it. It makes me want to sing and dance.

Speaking of singing, we concluded our Thanksgiving bash with karaoke singing. And here is proof (above) that I can sing. Okay, next time I’ll provide a video. Real proof.

It’s not the best picture — my niece was trying to take a selfie — but if you look carefully, you’ll see me (far left) singing into a microphone next to my mother-in-law. My son has his own microphone, because … why not?

We had an absolute blast, just the way I like to cap off a family get-together. And I so wish I could share more pictures (I took a ton) but the memory card in my phone decided to die. Or to be gravely ill, and am waiting on word from the doctor, aka tech guy, as to whether anything could be salvaged. That’s technology, baby.

So, how is life in your neck of the woods, dear blogging friend?  I missed a whole week of blogging and feel completely out of sorts.

Rare Survivor


Cancer — a shocking diagnosis, triggering fear that strikes to the bone. Even in best-case scenarios, as those affected know, looking ahead tests every granule of strength.

Until recently I knew precious little about a form of cancer called mesotheliomaLung cancer brings to mind smokers, but mesothelioma goes beyond smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoking, the risk factor being exposure to asbestos.

The Patient

Last week I received an email from someone I’ve never met, Heather Von St. James, a rare mesothelioma survivor, cancer advocate, and Huffington Post blogger, among other sites. She asked if I would help share her story, and couple of email exchanges later brought us here.

If you goggle her name, Heather’s story is sure to overwhelm.

At the age of 36, soon after the birth of her daughter, Heather fell ill. She was losing weight rapidly, had no appetite, and felt like a truck had parked itself on my chest.

After a CT scan and a myriad of tests, she was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. With no intervention, she had 15 months to live. But she couldn’t do that; she had a daughter to raise.

The Choice

When told about a unique surgery performed in Boston (over 1000 miles away) called extrapleural pneumonectomy, Heather and husband Cameron tidied up their affairs and got on a plane.

The procedure, developed by Dr. David Sugarbaker, involved removing the left, cancer-ridden lung, left half of the diaphragm, and lining of the heart. The sixth rib was also removed for access to the chest. Surgical gore-tex replaced the diaphragm and the lining of the heart. A heated chemotherapy solution was pumped into the chest and washed around for an hour, then pumped back out.

The treatment involving chemotherapy and radiation was something to endure, and the recovery took about a year. 

Rare Survivor & Advocate

I imagine nothing makes one an advocate for research and awareness more than having survived not only the disease, but the doubt and poking and prodding and pain.

To help those finding themselves in similar situations, Heather spends time with newly diagnosed patients during biannual visits to Boston for checkups. She works as conference speaker and research advocate, sharing her story any place she is received.

And she gets to see her daughter grow up.


How was she exposed to this deadly substance, you might ask? In her own words: My cancer was caused by wearing my dad’s work jacket that was covered in asbestos fibers to do outside chores when I was little.

But exposure is wide and varied. The substance, not banned in the U.S., was used in the ‘70s and is still found in buildings and products today. Since symptoms are similar to other lung diseases, the goal is to speak up, to make sure people know how to keep their lungs safe, as Heather said.

Knowledge is Power

Some facts to be aware of: 1. If possible, avoid exposure to toxic substance; 2. Don’t smoke (exposed smokers are at higher risk);  3. do your part in fighting pollution (save energy, go green, be mindful of products containing asbestos: appliances, garden items, toys, as some toys made overseas contain asbestos).

Here’s to hoping that  similar heart-wrenching stories will have the same happy ending, and those sitting in a doctor’s office right now, crying in shock, will soon be declared survivors.


Many thanks to Heather Von St. James for reaching out and sharing her story. She’s very passionate about raising awareness, replies to emails faster than most people I know, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


Photos courtesy: Heather Von St. James