Friday, September 27, 2013


Rush is about rivalry, testosterone driven rivalry of two Formula One driving champions -James Hunt and Niki Lauda. It will heat up your ray-bans as you watch Chris Hemsworth portray James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl star as Niki Lauda.Rush is the true story of the 1976 championship race between these two dynamic dare-devils. Hemsworth has Hunt's swagger and playboy charm down pat. I only missed the willing-to-die -for gaze in his eyes that Hunt had in his last photo in the film. Hemsworth acting was good, but the look in his eye of do or die that Hunt had is missing. Hunt wore that risk taking expression that embodied his core while Hemsworth has a glint in his eyes at all times, but not the deeply combative spirit that Hunt possessed. Sue Miller (Olivia Wilde) has a thankless role as Hunt's (Hemsworth's) wife for one year.
On the other hand, Daniel Bruhl has Niki Lauda's Austrian sensibilities down pat. Lauda's knowledge of mechanics and precision, his intellect, made him a threat to Hunt. Bruhl's performance is magnificent. He shows the perfect teutonic desire to win uber alles. The Austrian flair portrayed by his wife, Alexandra Maria Lara, adds to this film's sense of accuracy and realism. Rarely do movies take us into an Austrian sensibility save for Arnold Schwarzenegger. But Bruhl's acting takes us there as does the script by Peter Morgan. I enjoyed the journey into the competitive Austrian mind almost as much as the racing scenes shot with perfection. Ron Howard directed this cinematic Grand Prix for the senses.
Howard's use of sex scenes is stellar. He cuts all foreplay and breaks into the heat of the scene which adds to the tension of the film and portrays a race car driver's sensibility. But after a splendid sex scene, a quick edit to a shot of values slamming up and down loudly did not work, His sex scenes did not need a visual exclamation point. They were pay dirt. Howard should trust himself more.
The story is about Lauda (Bruhl) being an intellectual driver and Hunt (Hemsworth) being a dare devil kind of driver. The champion of their rivalry is documented. Lauda (Bruhl) has accepted the Formula One racing is a death trap due to driving on wet tracks. Alas, he has an almost fatal crash while trapped in his car as it burns. The actual footage of this historic crash is not used.
During Lauda's (Bruhl's) recuperation, on the hospital television he watches Hunt (Hemsworth) in race after race win back a lead that Lauda (Bruhl) had. Lauda (Bruhl) uses his rage, desire to win at all costs and envy of Hunt (Hemsworth) to heal and to race him once more. But in Japan rain threatens the drivers, but not Hunt (Hemsworth) who wins by one point and becomes the Champion for that year--1976.
One of the themes of Rush is that anger, envy and jealousy-- if channeled properly-- can be positive emotions. They helped Laud (Bruhl) to heal which some may feel is more important than winning.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Book Review: Alone Together: My Life with J.Paul Getty by Teddy Getty Gaston

Teddy Getty Gaston, age 100, has lived a courageous, outrageous life. But her spirit, her sense of the absurd, is missing in Alone Together: My Life with J. Paul Getty published September 3 by Ecco Press. She did not need the celebrity walker biographer Digby Diehl to cover her breathe with saran wrap. Alone Together is an example of literary smothering. Pretentious overwriting. Destruction of the subject's voice.

In 2011, I interviewed Teddy Getty Gaston for the Huffington Post I found her voice and way of telling stories to be delightful. She had a fresh approach to recounting the past. Now with Diehl sugar-coating her syntax, grammar and structure, the charm and romance to which J.Paul Getty was attracted in the person of Teddy Getty Gaston was missing. Hidden. Covered up with a formula of how to make a best-seller. Get a top agent ie. Mort Janklow, get a celebrity biographer, Digby Diehl, get a top PR firm-Shreve Williams, and one is sure to attract a big publisher--Voila! Harper Collins Ecco Press-- but what happened to the voice of our subject who was fraught with fear that her book might not make the top of Amazon's rich and famous list. She is 100 and couldn't afford to make any more mistakes. Life and Getty Sr. had taught her to delegate responsibility. So much so that in Alone Together there is no Teddy Getty Gaston there. Oh, there are stories about her and it was all well-written but where was that joie de vivre that captured J.Paul Getty's heart? Where were the secrets? What about the Getty's ear being cut off?

"Honey, he was drug addict," Teddy Getty Gaston told me in 2011 recalling the recent death of Jean Paul Getty III who was J.Paul Getty, Sr.'s, grandson. "He killed himself with drugs. We tried everything. His father, Paul Getty II, was knighted by the Queen of England. He had been a good man. It is a mistake to give drug addicts money. The boy's grandfather gave the criminals two million," she paused. "Everybody has tried to make all the Getty's look cheap, but the boy's grandfather did what he could. J.Paul Getty, Sr., gave his money to his son, John Paul Getty II who was on dope and whose wife Talitha was the first to die from drugs. Though J.Paul Getty, Sr., gave two million to the criminals, he wanted his son to pay him back. He did not like the idea that any of his children were on dope and did not want to fund their addictions. J.Paul Getty, Sr., only had one drink before dinner. He was not a drinker or an addict though his children were."

J.Paul Getty, Sr., was not an enabler.

But what about the ransom? Biographer Diehl did not ask Teddy Getty Gaston about the above ear saga. Instead when I read Alone Together, I found myself reading another celebrity bio with all the la de da perfections that could have been written by a copy editor at Harper Collin's and not the cabaret singer with passion burning out of her larynx. This was a packaged book that lacked heart. Better if Teddy Getty Gaston had talked into dragon speech recognition software, self-published and kept the integrity of her life instead of having it packaged like a multivitamin. And "whitewashed" to quote the review in the New York Times whose critic wrote, "I do not believe a word of this story about 3-year-old Timothy. Perhaps we shouldn't always read memoirs for the facts, but to get closer to our subject."

Publishing is in a sad state when to get a book on, one cannot make one grammatical mistake or the celebrity will have to go back to jail as in monopoly and face public ridicule. Worse yet, oblivion.

Teddy Getty Gaston had no time to make a mistake so she took the easier way to tell her story by hiring a biographer to protect her her heart. But she gave it away. A writer's voice belongs to the writer, not the interpreter. A writer's voice is precious. Instead Teddy Getty Gaston's voice was recreated, like pasteurized milk. Or music in a synthesizer. Sad. Under layers of fear and low self-esteem was the voice the reader longed to hear.

Jail was something the effervescent Teddy Getty Gaston knew about. She was imprisoned by the Fascists under suspicion of being a spy at the beginning of WWII's Italy. The Teddy Getty Gaston I knew was forthright, whimsical, fun and laughed about her prison days.

Why wasn't Teddy Getty Gaston's daughter, Gigi Gaston, mentioned in the acknowledgements? Mysteries abound due to Digby Diehl's negligence, not because Teddy Getty Gaston would not dish.

We all know J.Paul Getty was outrageously cheap, but why did his fifth wife feel the need to protect him? We know that Teddy Getty Gaston lived well and had a lavish lifestyle in spite of his cheapness. He was abusive towards her by not tending to the welfare of their child, Timothy, who suffered six years with a brain tumor while J.Paul Getty failed to visit them. Teddy Getty Gaston and J.Paul Getty lived apart for much of the twenty years. Did she accept his abuse because of his wealth? Why didn't Diehl ask her? It is public knowledge that when J.Paul Getty paid the ransom for that famous ear that he paid only 2.2 million that he had bargained down from 17 million because this was the exact amount that would be tax-deductible.

But why didn't Digby dig?


Carole Mallory


Movie Review: Don Jon...a Perfect Ten

Don Jon is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's cinematic kiss to all women who confuse sex and love. Gordon-Levitt illustrates why men understand this and so many women don't. He shows in our techno age the emotional handicapping porn does to men. He takes us there. An entire audience is blown away with the objectification of women by Don Jon and his boys who are trying so hard to have a good time rating women while under the surface humor is incredible pathos. Loneliness. A flick of the laptop and click of a mouse opens a world of hidden sex, clandestine thrills, so much so that Don Jon fills his trash can with soiled Kleenex night after night while his bed remains empty.
Then he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) a tease of stratospheric proportions. Johansson shines in this part of a femme fatale from Jersey who like her mother is a control freak. Men are easy for her to dominate, until she meets Don Jon. After one month of dating, she concedes to having sex with him because he enrolls in a night school to improve himself. A bartender is not good enough for her. As she grooms him, he finds he cannot stop watching his porn and lies to her that he has quit his addiction.
Truth is, he prefers porn to sex with her. They go to church together, meet each other's parents and friends. Don Jon's mother is Angela (Glenn Headly) and his father, Jon Sr., is Tony Danza. Don's sister, Monica, is played with great aplomb by Brie Larson whose weekly texting during the church service is worth the price of admission.
At night school Don meets Ester (Julianne Moore) whose personality is nurturing, uncontrolling and accepting. Moore shines from the glow of her rich inner life.
When Barbara reads Don's history in his laptop and sees 94 visits to porn sites within one week, she walks out on him.. Can Don ever love a woman or will his life remain one of viewing women on his computer as a series of body parts? Do Ester and Don become a couple?
Well, you've gotta buy your ticket to this gem of a love story that shows you how to love while you find yourself recalling and longing for those moments when you, too, were in love. You won't regret one minute of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's original screenplay, directorial debut and triumph.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Steve Jobs over Blue Jasmine Any Day or Night

Ashton Kutcher is terrific in Jobs, but the true stars are the geeks who look like angelic children from another planet.Josh Gad (Steve Wozniack), Lukas Haas, Ron Eldard, Nelson Franklin, Eddie Hassell. They are not famous, but represent the creative mind at work and at play. They are the intellectual pool from which Steve Jobs gets ideas. Creativity is what this film directed by Josh Stern and masterfully written by Matt Whiteley is about. The creative process and how suits can destroy a living creative force like Apple Computer. Watching Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) direct and manage his group of underlings is stimulating for anyone and especially stimulating if one is in the arts. The money men want to kill Steve Jobs desire to make the best product possible and only focus on the bottom line. At one point Jobs is fired from Apple by John Scully played with perfect spinelessness by Matthew Modine,whom he hired because he trusted this man would have his back. The cutthroat world of technology is portrayed with what seems to be a frightening accuracy. Twice out of necessity and with a well earned exercise in revenge Steve Jobs fires men who had supported him early in his career. Delmot Mulroney magnificently portrays Mike Markkula the treacherous man who both discovers and tries to destroy Steve Jobs. You will cheer Jobs triumphant return to Macintosh.
"Why are you still here?" Jobs asks a cherubic looking geek who now heads a department and who has never met Jobs since Jobs has been fired. Jobs is in the process of being asked to return to help the ailing company and is walking through the hallowed halls of his former beloved Apple.
The geek fumbles for words. Jobs can see this talented employee is not being used for his innovative genius rather his rudimentary skills.
"OK," Jobs says, "I want you to stop what you are doing and create something meaningful and original." Jobs interest in product and creation are what make this film fly. You will leave the theatre feeling you have just watched a collision of values and you feel so much cleaner and uplifted for it.
Whereas Blue Jasmine written and directed by Woody Allen might just as well be called homage to Cate Blanchett who portrays a tragic figure whose disintegration is due to her disease of alcoholism. Other actors perform magnificiently save Alec Baldwin who stomps through his performance. Andrew Dice Clay , Bobby Cannavale and Sally Hawkins are standouts, but all the hypocritical noise and publicity about Allen's discovery of Blanchett is due to Allen's publicist running the show. In fact, it should be written that Cate Blanchett who has starred as the Queen of England in Elizabeth, The Golden Age and some 57 films, condescended to be in a Woody Allen film. Allen's PR has placed the importance of players backwards. A bit of misogyny at work. Allen would have no film without Blanchett. As it is, he has a flimsy story of a tormented trophy wife suffering from alcoholism which is a disease of misplaced values.
Jobs is a celebration of values while Blue Jasmine is a film wallowing in bad values and no solution. Go with Jobs any day or night unless you want to see Blanchett's masterful --if not a bit precious --portrayal of a woman coming unglued. Allen's disdain for a certain kind of woman shines through here and painfully reflects his short, unpleasant image ,filled with a sufficient amount of self-loathing, based on his attraction to this classy, though troubled, kind of woman who would not give him any time night or day.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013



Author and actress Carole Mallory is teaching acting at Temple Ambler beginning October 3 through November 14.  Mallory has appeared in Looking for Mr. Goodbar as a friend of Diane Keaton’s and filmed over a dozen movies.  Her TV appearances include: the Tony Randall Show and several All in the Family episodes during which Carroll O’Connor said, “You are a talented comedian.”  Mallory played a pregnant woman who, instead of going to an obstetrician, went to a veterinarian.   Brave New World, Charlie’s Angels, Starsky and Hutch, Police Story are some of her credits. Clips of her performances can be seen on   When she filmed Take the Job and Shove It, tired of the casting couch, she quit acting to write about her Holllywood experiences.  Contact 267 468 8500 to register @ Temple.
On September 18 at the Lower Providence Public Library she will be teaching the wisdom of her mentor Norman Mailer, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of 36 books.  Kurt Vonnegut, known for his gallows humor was also a mentor.  His masterpiece was Slaughterhouse Five.  Mallory will be teaching Vonnegut’s emphasis on witty, punchy dialogue to liven up boring prose.  “Being a famous writer is like being in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame and that exciting,” Vonnegut said.
Mallory’s classes won’t be boring.   Loving Mailer, Flash and Picasso’s Ghost about her engagement to Picasso’s son, Claude, and letting go of the past, are her the books she has written. She writes columns for the Huffington Post, Hollywood’s the Wrap and Yahoo Voices.  Currently she is finishing her memoir, My Friendship with Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller.   To register for her classes call 610 805 8955

Frank Batson, talented artist, has show of watercolors.

At 521 W. Germantown Pike on Sept. 6, the Rainbow Arts and Supplies Store will be holding a cocktail part for the esteemed artist,Frank Batson,  He will be signing his famed prints of Norristown in the good ole' days.  His prints go for a reasonable $25 a piece.  Very reasonable considering the skill, time and caring put in by Batson.  Your presence would be appreciated.  The show is up from Sept 3 to Sept. 10. 



How to Find a Surgeon (A Brain Surgeon)

Posted: 08/26/2013 5:38 am

Keeping busy has been good for me, I thought, until I discovered I needed brain surgery. When I was told I suffered from normal pressure hydrocephalus and needed an operation to relieve pressure inside my brain, my first thought was will I still be able to write? I also thought I might not survive and gave my grandfather's rocking chair away.
And how would I find a surgeon? I needed to educate myself about the medical profession. Quickly. I learned a lot.
The prospect of surgery is intimidating -- if not terrifying -- and brain surgery even more so. But in choosing a brain surgeon the cardinal rule is not to be intimidated.
Self-esteem and self-worth are continually challenged by our medical profession. By doctors. By nurses. By illness. Do not allow anyone in the medical profession make you feel as though he or she is more important than you. You are entering into a partnership with a hospital and a surgeon. Your body is being offered to a skilled professional to do as she or he feels necessary. This does not mean that you need to be subservient. Respectful, yes.
Research doctors at libraries, in periodicals that list top doctors and inside your phone book. Quiz your friends about their experiences. And remember you must get at least three doctor's opinions. This means you get free time with the doctor you may be choosing to operate on you. For a doctor to talk to you costs him money. His time has a price tag on it and therefore you will not be able to speak with him frequently. You will be speaking with his staff and a nurse practitioner.
When you meet a doctor, have a list of questions to ask. To meet top doctors you may have to do name dropping and pull strings. These doctors also are select in the patients they choose to see. But there are enough good doctors so that you don't have to deal with "celebrity" doctors. Make your questions after Googling the affliction you have. Do research by talking with his or her former patients. Finding them is your homework. To your interview take a pen and paper, your questions and a friend. Always have someone with you when interviewing surgeons/doctors.
Why? Our memories play tricks on us. Two opinions are better than one. And facts can become vague unless you have a witness. Also remember you want this doctor for his or her skill, not his or her bedside manner. Doctors actually take courses in how to deliver a soothing bedside manner. Don't be fooled by patronizing conversation and above all speak up! Ask your questions with confidence. You want their help and skill and they want your business. You are business to the doctor (as crass as it sounds).
Doctors also pride themselves on their reputations. Their reputations are business to them. Their reputations attract patients which equals money. They want you to like them and to speak well of them. Don't be a people pleaser with a doctor. No point. Don't try to get her or him to like you. Finding a doctor is not about making a friend. It is about making a reliable judgment call and protecting your health. Be yourself and be assertive. Be your own advocate. These are the steps I took to find the best neurosurgeon possible. Today I have a healthy brain and a new life.
For more by Carole Mallory, click here.
For more on personal health, click here.


How I Survived Brain Surgery
In March 2013. my gait changed and I found myself walking like a toy soldier. The doctor said I had 'water on the brain' and needed brain surgery.
I work as a writing instructor and have published two memoirs and a novel. I had been a cover girl, then an actress who was a Stepford Wife in the film. Today I am a working writer whose columns appear in various publications.
Writing is Important to me. I gave up acting to write. Would I be able to write again?
How would I find a surgeon? I had to be assertive. How would I learn to become my own advocate?
In 1955, my father suffered a nervous breakdown. Cause? A mystery. A surgeon talked my mother and my father into his having a new break through operation--a lobotomy. During the operation, the surgeon discovered my father had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for which a lobotomy is not a cure. The lobotomy had created permanent brain damage in the man who had been my hero.
I vowed never to allow a surgeon to operate on my brain.
In March 2013, after double vision, an MRI of my brain was taken and I was diagnosed with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. When I Googled NPH, I discovered the pressure slowly causes nerve damage. It is a buildup of pressure created by an excess amount of spinal fluid. It could affect my walking and motor skills. It affects football players from blows to the head. Children are born with it. It can also appear with no known cause.
Brain surgery is the only treatment. A surgeon inserts a shunt in the brain. He threads a tube, a thin silicone catheter, inside the body down to the abdomen where the excess fluid is released and absorbed.
I wanted to continue to write.--- to have a quality of life that I had been enjoying while teaching creative writing, reviewing movies and writing books. I needed this operation. How could I trust a surgeon after what one had done to my father? I had no choice. Was I going to allow my life to be ruled by fear? I had to stop reliving my father's life and research the best surgeons.
The first neurosurgeon showed me the MRI of my brain.
"These are your ventricles ," he said, then showed me a normal brain.
When I saw that my ventricles were swollen like two thumbs and normal ventricles were wafer thin-like lettuce leaves, I knew I needed a shunt.
"What happens if I don't have this operation?" I asked.
"Then you should get your affairs in order," he said.
I didn't like this threat and crossed this surgeon off my list. Then I focused on two other surgeons and found former patients to interview. All three surgeons had advised a lumbar drain of my spinal fluid prior to the operation and each one would shave a different part of my head, but my decision would not be based on vanity.
I chose the surgeon who practiced with the hospital with which my niece, a nurse, was affiliated. He had an excellent reputation. I was discharged after a four day stay for the lumbar drain.
"See me in one week. You do not need the brain operation," my surgeon said. When my niece saw my poor balance and that I had been discharged without home care, she was angry.
That night I fell out of my bed. The next day when I called the esteemed hospital's case manager who was fearful of a lawsuit, she offered to put me in a rehab. I did not want to leave home. My niece arranged home care.
A week later accompanied by a friend, I met with my surgeon who said, "Your walking has not improved. You need a shunt." I was angry as I did not see the purpose of the lumbar drain.
"We needed to do that drain for information," the surgeon said. "I can admit you now and do the surgery."
"I need some time," I said as my friend wheeled me out of his office.
I had to come to terms with my anger. I learned that my surgeon was not responsible for the case manager's negligence. His unparalleled skill with brain operations was why I had chosen him.
Within a week I was on his operating table surrounded by his surgical team of six. When I saw the serenity in their faces and their calm stealth movements, I was not afraid.
I had no pain. My surgeon awakened me 45 minutes after the anesthesia. "You had more fluid than I had thought. The operation went well," he said in his award-winning ,bedside manner. I felt like bricks had been removed from my brain.
Now the hospital sent me to the best rehab. Within one month I was walking better than ever, feeling more focused, rejuvenated and had written a piece -"Cory Monteith's "Accidental" Heroin Death Should be Investigated."-that while I had been in rehab, to my delight, was published to accolades.
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Ban Football...The NFL's 765 Million Settlement is Bogus

Ban Football

The NFL's 765 Million Settlement is Bogus

 Ancient Rome. Gladiators into the ring. No, it's only football and it's our team. The brave Philadelphia Eagles pounding their heads against each other. Can this be safe? Of course, it's safe. Our boys are wearing helmets and they're not boys. They're men. Strong men and they can take care of themselves. After all. The National Football League would not allow these men to be giving each other brain damage. Oh, no. The NFL is a innocent. It does not know that blows to the head can create ALS (Lou Gerhig's Disease), CTE ( similar to Alzheimer's) and neurological problems years after our beloved players retire. In retirement several players have committed suicide and only then could their brains be dissected for brain damage like CTE or other neurological problems. The league is very sensitive to its public image. I wonder why. 

$10 billion is the why.

Football brings in $10 billion a year to the NFL. The NFL wants this nightmare of a lawsuit of 4,500 former players with head trauma and their families to go away… Quickly. "Let's get on with the game and play ball!" says the NFL by offering a settlement so soon. Don't let anyone catch on that possibly the NFL knew about the dangers of concussions, head injury, trauma and that helmets aren't worth the tinsel they are made of. Phony protection. For appearances.

The true protection is to
 ban football and save our boys, our men, our beloved specimens of pulsating flesh from any sort of Emperors of the Ancient National Football League from exploiting them These Neros knew the dangers in this sport, but to make a fast and dirty buck they squashed any and all rumors--facts-- about the suffering and dangerous conditions that could lead to eventual suicides of aging professional football players. Awe heck, why not put college players in this mix. And let's not forget the cherubic high school players risking their grey matter for pigskin. Awe shucks! Why does money have to be the equalizer of suffering? It just isn't. Ban the pigskin. Ban the football. Send aspiring players off to play basketball or baseball or lacrosse, but no longer football -- a sadistic sport that Julius Caesar would have cherished. Are we going to cheer while men we love are being tortured and reduced to mental midgets. 

I was a cheerleader. I was engaged to a Penn State quarterback who went on to be a line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Why I was photographed with Franco Harris to promote my poster for a movie I was in called
 Take This Job and Shove It. I love to watch pro ball. NO MORE. It's time to tell the NFL to take their settlement and shove it. Better yet, pay it out and then for all the teams to quit. This is money ball, not football and the money is the reason this sport continues. 

Let's all get honest and turn off the TV when a game comes on and boycott that pigskin. Let's breathe life into our young men. Vietnam is over. We don't need to send our boys onto the field to serve the NFL--a bunch of suits-- and its 10 billion a year franchise and to kill each other slowly with brain damage while the NFL makes money on their suffering and gloats with each nickel and dime profit from pigskin and human skin.

Two months ago I had brain surgery because I have Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, known as the 'football players disease'. I suffered in silence while my gait was the object of ridicule. The cause of my NPH was unknown, though it could have come from blows to my head. I do recall a boyfriend I had in 1980 who was an alcoholic like me who liked to bash my head into the wall. Did he cause my water on the brain? Could be. I can't prove it. Today after surgery and a shunt I have a new lease on life. I only wish the same for all the tortured football players with neurological problems. I have read many of them have water on the brain.

Remember the Eagle's Brian Westbrook and what a talented running back he was? Then he had a concussion. Then, another concussion. And we never heard about him again. His Wikipedia page says at the age of 33 he is suffering memory loss. Bless you Brian and all of you former players. Take the barbaric NFL's settlement then start a movement to
 ban football to protect life. 

Ancient Rome's Coliseum was used for executions in which the hero of the story -played by a condemned person --was killed in various gruesome ways, such as being mauled by beasts.

According to the
 New York Times the settlement, which does not cover current players, closes a legal case for the league, but brain trauma among players may continue to vex a sport that embraces violent collisions. 

I wonder what head injuries O.J. Simpson sustained that will be revealed by a coroner? A recent cover of
 People Magazine says, An NFL Star Charged with Murder. What brain trauma will be discovered by his coroner?

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