Thursday, April 27, 2017


If his wife, Emily Frankel, says, "I think I need a...."

Whatever she mentions, John Cullum is off -- buying it, making it, or scrounging around to find where and how he can get whatever Emily needs.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


This is Mike Lindell, the guy who invented MY PILLOW.

Using every aspect of himself, including his love life, family, and his on and off addiction to cocaine, alcohol, and crack, 47 year-old Mike is selling MY PILLOW in commercials -- lots of commercials, that are making him lots of money, making him into a kind of folk hero who's proving that the key to success is "name" fame. 

With every commercial, we hear more of his private-personal story, with details emphasizing that he's exceptionally truthful, honest, and trustworthy, that he's working night and day to help people who don't sleep well, to sleep wonderfully well with MY PILLOW.

A story that's often told by Mike is how the MY PILLOW idea came to him, back in 2003 -- how he and his brother worked night and day for months, cutting up pillows into little, big, tiny, and huge pieces, arranging and re-arranging thousands of pieces till -- "miraculously" he says -- one day the pillow magically retained its shape.

He mentions proudly, actually brags about how much time he's bought on all networks -- on hit  shows, news and political shows -- meeting face-to-face with celebrities, anchormen, and big-name CEO's, as well as customers who are responding to his assertions. In commercials, interviews and mailings, he states that MY PILLOW can help you if you've got fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, cerebral palsy, acid reflux, and other similar conditions.

Here's one of his 32-second videos.

Right now, busier than ever, Mike proudly announces that there are 18 stores in various states, and a new, 100,000 square-foot factory that opened in May in Minnesota, where workers are working 24/7 -- two lines of workers making pillows at a rate of 12 per minute -- producing more than 85,000 pillows a day. That's why he's buying more media for what he calls the MY PILLOW “tsunami” -- the next boom in sales, that will lead to My PILLOW becoming a billion dollar company.

Of course, a book about Mike Lindell is on the verge of being published; a film is being made about his life. In an interview, tears in his eyes, he explained that he's working on other products that can make life  perfect like MY PILLOW does. He mentioned a dog bed and a mattress top, telling us, "Pay attention to your dreams -- you too can maybe become a billionaire."

Guys, peeking at the Wikipedia, the Minnesota factory is listed as 70,000 square feet, producing 25,000 a day; the pillow is not magical -- it's a patented mix of different-sized pieces of open-cell poly-foam pieces that are chopped to specification by a machine -- the mix contains a resin that enables the foam to retain much of its shape when molded to the user's preference.

Wikpedia also detailed MY PILLOW lawsuit troubles: Lindell's paying a million in civil penalties to settle a false advertising lawsuit because MY PILLOW claims to help fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, cerebral palsy, and acid reflux. The Better Business Bureau, having received a maximum number of complaints, has revoked its accreditation, and has given MY PILLOW and "F."

By the way, if you buy a pillow from MY PILLOW, it will cost you $79.98, plus shipping, free shipping if you buy two. There are quite a few other vendors that sell it for around $50, one that offers if for $19.99, plus shipping.

I am writing this blog because MY PILLOW wonderfully, perfectly represents what bugs me, what I hate and fear about advertising in today's media.  MY PILLOW isn't miraculous, marvelous, or a solution to sleeping better. Most of what is said about MY PILLOW is (my opinion) PREPOSTEROUS, phony baloney exaggeration, and lies -- lies created by the creator and people he's hired to help him spend enough money on selling this product, until you and I and millions, probably billions of others will want MY PILLOW.

My husband John and I have a big thing about MY PILLOW ads. When we're watching TV, and  Mike's face, or the MY PILLOW commercial appears, we cry out OH NO!!!

We quickly grab the remote and CHANGE THE CHANNEL.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Back in the days when John Cullum, my husband, was job hunting and I was taking over as artistic director of my dance company, John and I biked everywhere. Quite often on weekends, we went on excursions to areas of New York City that we'd never visited before.
It was an autumn thing to do. I loved the wind in my hair, and the exercise -- using my legs, my straight-backed posture -- tut-tut observing John, who rides his bike hunched over. I wanted my ex-tennis-champ husband to have a dancer’s posture -- he wanted me to bike like a biker, and stop worrying about how I looked.

Golly, I still remember when I was a little girl, what a big deal it was to learn how to ride a bike. Harder, even more important than learning to tie the laces on my shoes, riding a bike was a way of becoming a grownup who could head for the park where grownup, bigger kids were jumping rope and playing baseball.

Well, I did it -- learned, and it grew me up, like learning to drive a car did, when I was older. I had to learn to drive in order to be able to tour and earn a living from performing on college campuses.

After John landed a role in Shakespeare in the Park, on our bikes, we visited all sorts of wonderful Central Park nooks and crannies. When John, who was understudying two leading roles in “Henry V" went on for the Chorus, and did the famous “Oh for a muse of fire” speech, he was discovered by Alan Lerner’s assistant.
While John was playing Sir Dinadan in Lerner and Lowe's “Camelot," on his day off we rode our bikes up and down all the streets -- 41st to 50th street, stopping and studying the exteriors and backstage entrances of famous theaters, not realizing that John would be working on the stage in most of them someday.

Sometime around then, my second-hand pink bike (I’d painted it) was stolen. We’d been parking our bikes in the hallway of our building, where the main entrance door wasn't locked. We'd rented and transformed the 4th floor loft into a spacious home and dance studio, but back then, we didn't have a buzzer that allowed us to unlock it for mail and package deliveries.

John’s blue bike (I’d painted it) was stolen when he was standing-by for Richard Burton in "Camelot," when Richard was off to Rome to co-star with Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” -- big event that changed their lives, as well as ours.

John’s rising income enabled us to install a buzzer system and buy a smallish Honda motorcycle from an actor pal, who was in “1776," when John was singing “Molasses to Rum.”

Though traffic and potholes scared me, while John auditioned for Lerner, over and over for a new show, working on the Viennese accent Lerner wanted the leading man to have, I started learning to ride “Harry” the Honda.  (That's what I called the Honda.)

Nevertheless, I usually sat behind John on Harry, clutching him as we explored NYC's downtown Jewish shopping district (open on Sundays) where I was shopping for fabric for 16 costumes for my performances at Lincoln Center.  Suddenly, “helmets” had to be worn. Golly, I hated the way my head sweated, when I wore a hard hat. John said, "stop worrying -- you look fine," but my hair looked lousy for hours, after a trip on Harry.

Also, Harry stalled sometimes, and there were skids -- a nasty skid hurt my collarbone, so Harry temporarily lived in the hallway. With John’s “On a Clear Day” earnings, we bought our building, also new bicycles, and baby furniture --  parenting was part of our growing up -- our little one, John David Cullum, was arriving.

As JD grew, we employed housekeeper-baby-sitters, and there were more jobs on Broadway for Dad, more prestigious bookings for Mom. We ventured out as a trio on Harry but it was nerve-racking, not safe -- city streets were getting to be very crowded. We gave Harry to John's understudy. JC, while playing Laertes in Burton’s “Hamlet,” bought a tricycle for JD.

On Sundays, the three of us biked around a nearby huge empty parking lot -- us on two new bikes, JD on his first two wheeler, then, a full-size bike -- wow, he was growing up fast.

When JC starred in “Deathtrap,” like rich folks, we commuted to a rented summer home in the Hamptons, exploring, on rented bikes, possible fabulous homes to buy. It was a fun game -- we weren’t rich, but a lot of things were in the offing -- meetings with Hal Prince about “On the 20th Century,” talk about John starring in a TV show, a tour for my adaptation of “Cyrano,” with John playing the part. All that, while I was on my way to London for a British Arts Council tour and JC was starring in “Shenandoah,” with JD playing a small role. No doubt about it -- the Cullums were in the busiest time, the prime of life. John bought a scooter but his producers objected, so he and JD traveled to the theater in the limo they provided.

Today, in NYC, there are bike paths everywhere, 290 miles of them appeared under Mayor Bloomberg’s jurisdiction, and Citi Bikes. As of May 2016, there are approximately 8,000 bikes and 500 stations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City. Check out the station map to see the full Citi Bike coverage.

Cost: Single Ride: $4 -- 1 ride up to 30 minutes.
$12: -- unlimited 30-minute rides in a 24-hour period.
$163: Annual Membership: unlimited 45-minute rides, or $14.95/mo.

I read recently that around 600,000 cars crawl into lower Manhattan each weekday; that 19,000 New Yorkers commute to work by bike. T'aint a friendly city these days -- car-guys hate bikers, bikers hate car-guys, pedestrians hate the cyclists whizzing the wrong way on one-way streets -- last year about  500 people were injured by bikes, but Citi Bikes say fewer are being injured nowadays.

Anyway, JD’s a working actor in LA now, driving a fancy sports car, and our dusty new (old) bikes belong to a neighbor who has two rambunctious kids. Hey, if you want to ascend to a ripe and active old age, you live less dangerously. On weekends, if we’re not busy puttering and fixing worn-out things, JC’s on our treadmill in our studio, and I, being concerned with staying in shape, do my barre every day in my studio and practice standing tall.

Yes, now is a great time for biking -- yes, our biking days are over -- but I stand very tall, and so does John Cullum, when we go on one of our long, long, lovely long walks.

Friday, April 14, 2017


John Cullum reads chapter one of Emily Frankel's "Three Miles East of Rose." A man and woman (mid 40's), widowers, fall madly in love, but family obligations, careers, inhibitions -- fears that come with living in the nineties and being no longer young and beautiful -- keep them apart.

Click title: Three Miles East of Rose

 reduced price:  99 cents
(till April 21)