Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy July

Get ready for autumn, summer is almost over!

I have noticed that after every Fourth of July, the summer feels like it is almost over.

I do not know if you have experienced this. You will see by August 10, the light is quite changed and there are even trees with a little autumnal wear and tear.

Now, this is not to say that we should be getting ahead of ourselves. I say this to remind myself to really enjoy the summer because it is actually so short.

And during the days that are super hot, hazy and humid (today was not one of them. Today was dry and 72)—just remember, it goes away.

So, as of today, good summer to all. Time flies. Like butter.

Thank You Sudafed

I grew up when it was feasible to arrive at the age of six years old and to have never talked to a black person. Sure, I saw them, maybe. But people were still extremely segregated. And this was in the New York suburbs, 30 miles from Times Square.

The big news in the local newspaper when I was entering the first grade was that two black teachers were hired for a mostly white school. Turns out, one of the teachers was mine. I did not know what was going to happen to me. Would I be at a great disadvantage because of this? Somehow, I knew I would be okay (having faith in the white people around me who I knew knew what they were doing).

My first grade teacher turned out to be incredible. Though she did beat Larry M. into submission and one day threw him into a trash can. Apparently, his parents signed a note that allowed him to be punished in this manner. However, after the trash can beating, I noted that she never laid a hand on him again. So I imagine someone gave her a talking to.

Today, while heading to the F train in Queens, I saw a guy with brown skin, most likely Hispanic, maybe Asian, maybe a mix of the two, drop a napkin on the mezzanine floor. I got very indignant and harummphed something like, “These fucking dirty brown people really come from an inferior culture. What is wrong with them?”

Then, I had a feeling, maybe I noticed it without realizing it, but I thought, “Look at his hands.”

Well, his right hand had no fingers on it. So you can’t even say he was butter fingers. Clearly, the guy drops shit all the time. Poor thing.

Then, I was on my Sudafed high on the subway and a huge black woman with completely fake plastic orange extensions in her hair sat next to me. Tattoos that demarked deaths. She got on the subway at the stop that was underneath the largest government housing complex in all of New York City: Kingsbridge. Quite a place. I actually like it.
With her was her incredibly cute daughter in a stroller. She was between one and two. Babies between one and two are pretty much the cutest things on the planet and she was no exception.

I was, as I have written, on my high (Sudafed, mashed up and concentrated is basically Crack) and I looked at that baby and I simply wanted to take her home. I smiled at her. She looked back at me with a cautious glare. I thought, “Damn, her Momma already taught her fear.”

But then I thought, “All I have to do is smile at her a little, then ignore her, and you know she’ll be wanting my attention again.”

Sure enough, I did it and it happened. We had a little flirtation going on. I felt like one of those nutty women in a mall parking lot who just had to steal that baby!

At first, Momma was leery of me. I felt her anger. Then, she saw I was no threat. Then, she fell asleep, clearly overworked or depressed or both. I also got the sense that she felt sort of safe knowing that this crazy middle aged white guy was watching her baby. And then, I got the sense (did I say I was on a Sudafed high?) that she wanted me to marry her, take care of the baby, make everything okay. And I swear I would have, only I had to be somewhere by 9.

Gimme that baby!

(Of course, this is a bit of Atlantic mirroring to my Pacific best friend Mary’s adoption of the cutest African American baby on the planet, Jake. But then, aren’t we all just one big fungus?)


Monday, June 28, 2010


Creativity is the basis for a strong economy. People think it is consumerism, but really it is creativity. People will tire of most things (excluding pizza, bacon and sex). Get them involved in something new, they usually perk up.

However, people are afraid of new things because, well, people are afraid of death and even worse, living in some sort of unknown future pain.

This hurts us.

Usually, the creative impulse can bust through the fear impulse. However, the fear impulse is strong right now--but it can be passed with strong creative intentions.

If you are feeling sluggish or see sluggishness around you, look at it for what it is: a lack of creative force.

Then, get creative. And pass that along. Bust through the old timers who denounce the economy while at the same time add nothing new to it.

We don’t need a revolution. We just need an acceptance of what is great about us. It really is fun.

Throw out some things. Make room for the new.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Big Question

What are you doing after the recession?

The fat has been trimmed. The foreclosures have foreclosed. The wars have been depleting. The oil has been spilled. The failure is complete.

It is time to rise up. So before you rise, it is a good time to ask: “How do I want it to be this time?”

I remember during the Clinton years when everyone I knew was writing a business plan or thinking about writing a business plan for a new internet start-up, or to come up with something like that or to hook up with someone who was doing just that. It was madness. People got the NASDAQ fever and went wild.

Even I, for a minute, thought, “Am I missing something? Should I invent a website?’

That was before the tech bubble. It burst. And things only got worse from then on.

But people were not thinking too much. Even after, they were holding onto the boom years as best they could, during the two wars after the terrorist attacks, all of it.

But that is all long over. And we collapsed. And now we are tentatively rising up. How are you going to do it this time? Will you get pulled into a bubble? Maybe you should be because it is your time. Maybe you’re an amazing cheese maker and the cheese bubble is about to begin. Get in there.

But maybe you’re not a cheese maker. Maybe you’re a great calculus teacher or an amazing painter or a damn fine office manager. Can you be those things and do them in a way that affirms your role in the new world order, post-recession, offering up your services but in service to some great change?

Or am I just a romantic fool? And is human behavior merely reactive to conditions on the ground and so people do not have time for this malarkey?

I just have this sense—that if you rise up, you could do it in a way that is less reactive and more insistent upon what is better and more forward thinking.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Something Else Maybe

Right Wing loons are accusing President Obama of using the oil deluge in the gulf as a means to change our energy policy. And how dare he!

That would be like if our society had swung so Socialist that one day you went out to buy some pistachio ice cream and someone informed on you because you should never ask for what you want, that you should only ask what is needed for the betterment of the group and the president started to offer people up some free choice and some Left Wing loon says, “How dare the president destroy our Socialism?”

When things swing too far, things get out of balance. We are a business country. Oil is king. It has to stop. Don’t use your free enterprise, money at all costs thinking to justify a future of oil, oil and more oil.

Now---widening the angle---if it is actually the government that wants more oil (for their tanks, bombs, gasoline, international security) and they are full on way into the drilling and do not regulate it, then that is simply too bad. In the short run, we need it. I hear it. So buy it. From whomever. But it is time for sun grids and trolley cars.

Off to Fire Island. Where there are no cars.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I have confirmed that blogging is kind of dead.

I wrote at least sixty-five emails that required some thinking.

I cried about the turtles killed in the Gulf.

I lived through the Beaver Swamp that is this New York weather.

I stretched.

I ate in Tribeca.

I considered going to Iceland.

I sat in a very comfortable Herman Miller Aeron chair.

I attended to the summer calendar.

I checked my sales progress of six items on Ebay.

I wrote a little. But thought a lot about what to write.

I considered, along with everyone else, that Obama might be a Carter-Dinkins combo.

I had no caffeine.

I struggled with making a simple doctor’s appointment because our health insurance has changed.

I have confirmed with myself that State’s Rights are a lot of bullshit.

I wondered if I would be happy when it comes time to die.

I ate well.

I felt guilty about liking air conditioning while coal companies lop off mountaintops and throw them into streams to rip the guts out of them thar hills.

I drank lakes of water.

I looked online for places to live in Manhattan.

I thought about Brooklyn and how far it is from where I always need to go and I’m always so damn late that it seems like an unlikely choice for a tardy tard.

I thought about California and how laid back it is but also how kind of sleepy it can be, too.

I wore very comfortable shoes.

I did not make many jokes.

I found myself cheering people on, cheerily.

I worried about my health.

I lost nothing today.

I desired greens and got piles of them.

I listened to everyone and I cared as I could.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Landfill in a Purse

There I was enjoying my longest day of the year. I was considering buying a Kindle today and my friend said, “Wait.”

I like simple advice.

Then a few hours later I was on the subway and next to me a young woman in black leggings and a shiny rhinestone necklace pulled out a Kindle. She poked around, then put it away. Next, out came the iPad. She played like a monkey (like you’re supposed to) all over the screen.

At first I thought, “Oh, she must be a reviewer of readers.”

But that was my denial engine not believing that anyone could be so insane as to zip around town with two different electronic readers in their bag.

Creativity is what gets us so many things. Redundancies, of course, too. We have to live with it. I just wish we could live with it creating everything with full knowledge that in just a few years, these things will be landfill.

Books last longer than iPads.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Closest Thing to CA

Provincetown is the closest thing I have experienced that feels like California. Good sea air, exceptionally laid back, lifestyle is everything. And the added bonus: it's still super queer.

Enjoy yourselves this summer.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Off to P-Town for the Weekend

Heading out to Provincetown for the weekend to see our girls triumph in a 130 mile bike ride from Boston to said town.

I heard last night at a party that New York State now recognizes marriages outside the state. So I could marry my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner this weekend and make him an honest Recognized-by-a-handful-of-States-and-Washington D.C. husband. I bet if I get a few drinks in him, and maybe a clam roll, he'd do it.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This Grease is Freaking Me Out

Perhaps it’s a plain old neurotic personality. Little things bother me. (Toenail fungus, temperature, loud voices, chunky flows of income as opposed to smooth, garlic where it should not be…)

And then for weeks, I pretty much ignored the oil mess. I have read that going into denial is a coping mechanism and while it is often derided, it is actually an adaptive behavior that has come in very handy for us for survival.

So I’ve been a bit in denial, thinking, “Hell, they’ll put a lid on it.”

But shit. They really have no plan to do anything until they get those new wells drilled, hitting their destination by August.

It’s a monster movie.

The monster is oil.

And will it really be taken care of by August? Over six weeks away? While all these gorgeous animals are either being sucked into the ooze or fleeing, wildly, into cleaner, shallow water away from the mess where they should not be—

So my non-regulation, free enterprise at all cost friends, what say ye? Is this just the cost of doing business?

And, to my regulation friends, how do you regulate this? What is the precedent, even, and how do you know that a company knows what they are doing?

Shit happens? Oil happens?

I am not in denial any longer. I am sad and terrified. Mostly because I do not think we will learn from this. O rings (The Challenger disaster due to poor management at NASA, 1986) is what comes to mind.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mid-June Simple Headed Ideas

When you get caught up in dogma-religion-political ideology, all analytical thought is subsumed by childish desire for a unifying theory.

If your greatest passion does not include some commerce, you are considered subversive, or even worse, lazy. Commerce is exciting. But commerce is restrictive according to who is signing the checks. The only way out: death.

New York is more interesting. Los Angeles is more fun.

The thrill of new shoes lasts five days.

The difference between a Republican and a Democrat is nothing compared to the difference between a Scientologist and a non-Scientologist.

As I get older, things hurt a whole lot more. I used to say, “I am not my teeth and hair.” Now I say, “I am not my body.” No wonder the idea of an afterlife is so appealing.

Bought a used Herman Miller Aeron chair today. I feel like I am sitting on a writing throne. It is so comfortable. And the webbing, well, I feel like you can hose me down at any time.

I really want dogs to be the next species to rise up and take over the planet. I think their pack mentality will do wonders for the globe. And their math skills are far superior to ours. However, can you imagine what all of the world’s rugs are going to smell like?

People make the mistake of thinking that what they think is logical and then make the next mistake thinking that others think like them.

Candy corn is neither candy nor corn. Talk about it.

The ego, though helmeted and riding high, is a sad warrior.

The joy of listening to your own iTunes library is inversely proportional to the joy of listening to someone else’s.

I often find myself wanting more. Then when I get it, I just want something to eat or to drink to celebrate. Which is just about more. Might be interesting to want less.

Ten little Indians?

When Frito-Lay invented Funyuns, didn’t they realize it rhymed with bunions in addition to onions? So why did they make them flesh colored?

Ginger tea is the answer. Tons of flavor. Good for your stomach. No caffeine. Not even near the caffeine family. And ginger does not dehydrate.

Monday, June 14, 2010

They're Here

Since we’ve been living in New York City since August of 2009, we have become aware that we have friends who are Republicans.

It is strange. It is hard to take. Occasionally, you wonder what the hell happened.

It is an issue of geography. Everyone in Southern California is a Democrat. It makes complete sense. This is a more relaxed, live and let live, let’s all get along at the register kind of place.

But in New York, people come here to make a bundle, to live like a fake king, to grab. And the best way to do that is to be taxed as little as possible.

I feel sad for the Republicans. It’s an aesthetic issue, beyond being a humanist issue. Have you ever been to the house of a Republican? Unless it’s the classic Wasp-redo, the whole endeavor is poorly put together.

If Republicans hate Democrats and want us dead, fine. But they must keep us around at least to make sure they don’t have completely ugly houses.

Republicans are scared. They have world views that are as big as their family, maybe their community, that is it. A huge world? Nah, too much. One wants them to say, “Awww, hell, let mayhem reign. We’ll be fine.”

But I like my Republican friends. For the most part, they are adventurous and a bit wealthy. They can take a Polish joke. And they are not afraid to live life at full tilt.

But you can’t believe, you just can’t believe that they don’t believe in Universal Health Care.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Tony for Tony

I want to say YAY! for my friend Tony who just started to work on a show (La Cage aux Folles) and his show now has a load of Tonys, including Best Musical Revival. So nice.

But what was not so nice was the sound of the awards broadcast. How can you produce a television show and have the sound get that wacked?

For years in Hollywood I did the books for a load of production companies. I have run payroll through for the producing team of tonight's show for television specials, including awards shows that we taped for live broadcast. Funny, these guys were always competent, and certainly exceptionally confident. Well guys, NEXT TIME MAKE SURE IT ALL WORKS! Or I'll make sure someone docks your pay.

More time on quality, in general, I say.

But back to the positive. The show had humor. Theatre is still a dork festival of dorksters. In the best way?

And here we are. Foggy night. Summer arriving. And today, my parents are married for 53 years.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

For Ruth: My Sister's First Holy Communion

Ruth was our neighbor and my sister's best friend back in the day. She makes an appearance around the 16 second through the 22 second.

These clips, okay, okay, I know, they're mostly fun for the people who are in them. But still...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Birch Hill Game Park

Clearly where I learned to love goats.

With my sister and cousins, and hooved beasts.

Public Reading--Art by the Ferry FRIDAY night

Adam and Don

Will be reading well tested original material in this year’s


Curated by the beautiful and talented Marian Fontana with published authors and other people who aren’t afraid to get up to tell it like it is.

Friday, June 11 @ 8PM

At the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Staten Island. The boat is FREE in both directions!

The event is free (Well, a little donation is appreciated) and it’s not long.

And it’s always good to have a quaff afterward. We sure will.

Building 11 at the Lighthouse Plaza, Enter at 1 Bay Street

See link of detailed map below. It’s basically right outside the Ferry Terminal to your left.


Staten Island Ferry Schedule:

Ferry Schedule

(On the average, about every 18 minutes from Manhattan)

There will be food around.

Don Says:

“The other writers are funny. I might even do an original song.
Adam and I have done these relationship companion pieces before. They are sure to please. It’s a happening. In Staten Island. On a warm night. With a free boat ride. What could be better?”

The Readers:

MARIAN FONTANA - Author of “Widow’s Walk” a memoir, and many monologues performed by herself at Playwrights Horizon and other venues.
DON CUMMINGS - Author of 9 critically acclaimed plays, some movies and a book.
ADAM WARING – Writer on “Two and a Half Men” and “Still Standing,” and a rash of Disney Read Along Records, plus readings at HBO’s Sit n Spin.
LISA DIERBECK – Author of New York Times notable book: “One Pill Makes You Smaller”.
MORNA MARTELL - Author and noted actress. Recently wrote “A Peaceful Crossing for the Sundog Theater production of Scenes from the SI Ferry. Morna Murphy Martell, an actor-writer-director, has done shows in London, New York, Washington, DC, Edinburgh and Hollywood. Awards include an NEA; DCA grants, and grants from COAHSI. Her comedy, “The Three Wives of Harry Simpson,” won a national contest in Oklahoma City where it had its world premiere in October, 2008. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and Actor’s Equity Association.
JOHN FOXELL - Author and artist, recently recognized in a bio in the NY Times.
IRA GOLDSTEIN - Local poet and short story writer. Mr. Goldstein was published by Home Planet News, Independent Literary Review, and COAHSI newsletter

Monday, June 07, 2010

Make Em Get Married!

Notice how Mike White makes the younger, cuter guy get fatter with time!

This is a fun youtuber, and it makes the point in a funny way. I mean, the point’s already been made. It illustrates it, cinematically, clearly.

What they should show, though, and no one is talking about this (and I’ve been in one of these torture chambers for almost 17 years) is that after it gets dull, it usually gets mean, and then it gets distant and then it gets tragic and then it comes together. Like most marriages.

We are still not talking about how it really can go on for a real long time and it can get just as complex as a straight marriage.

You might have to sign in to You Tube and click that you’re 18 to see this one.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Terry Cummings Christening

What I Saw in the Hamptons

A yellow finch.


A wild turkey. I named her Diane. But I don’t think it stuck.

Two deer.

A handful of Humans swilling hundreds of dollars worth of wine.

Homemade pizza.

A Portuguese water dog.

A bruised left ring finger from where the Portuguese water dog bit me, but did not break the skin.

Industrial buildings outside the train tracks.

Sag Harbor. Say yes to Sag Harbor.

Peconic Bay.

Great properties with swimming pools.

First generation physicians.

A hearing aid.

Italian furniture.

Gravel driveways.

Scrub oaks with lichens.




Friday, June 04, 2010

Cummings Family Footage: Reunion

Big Cummings Family Reunion Coming...Time for old home movies!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead

Unless you have a little story.

Living in Hollywood for many years you end up doing a lot of work you had not imagined you would ever do. I got by, for a long time, being a production accountant. Yes, I’m good with numbers and I’m not even Chinese.

One of my clients, or really, she was my boss, S, well, I loved her and her partner and I pushed through the payroll paperwork and accounts payable checks for great shows like, America’s Most Fascinating Women, Where are they Now?, The Ultimate T.V. Trivia Challenge, you know, real cultural markers.

(Though much of what is not needed is made in Hollywood, this does not mean it was not fun to make.)

Now here is the story. So my boss, S, she owned the house that used to be Rue McClanahan’s house in Studio City. And the day of closing, I guess it was during Golden Girls days, Rue and her ten-plus cats would not budge. She just couldn’t do it. (I understand. It’s hard to move.)

They tried coaxing her out with flashy vests and cans of tuna (okay, not really, they got a lawyer). And finally, by almost force, they got her out of the house, paid mountains of money to clean up the cat filth and then moved in.

Was this a case of neurotic attachment? Or was it because she was an entitled star and did not want to be told when to do something, well I don’t know.

But if I was a T.V. actress with a passel of pussies and refused to budge long after closing, well, I would expect someone to blog about it and so consider it blogged.

Years later, when S’s business collapsed and all that was left of her staff was me and a few old imacs, we moved to the rec room of her house, Rue’s old house, and I sat there and did the books about once a month for a few months and then I quit and kept quitting doing accounting until I left Los Angeles, never to punch in another number for pay again.

Now, I am not trying to be all catty here, no pun intended. It’s just, I had this close up experience in Rue’s old house. I have no idea what she was like. I knew a few writers from Golden Girls, and there are some stories there---but those are not germane to sweet Rue’s death.

Apparently, her memorial is very democratic. She did not want to have a funeral. What there is is a big ol’ Facebook page. Jump on if you like.

Facebook Memorial Page

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Al and Tipper and a Little Grease at the End

Come on! So Edwards didn’t make it. Gore is not making it. And the Clintons, well, they did…even after that pesky beej. What does this sort of prove?

You have to be tough as hell and committed like crazy to be in a successful marriage or to be President of the United States.

What else could it prove?

That trying to become President of the United States and losing destroys your marriage.

Or, most likely, none of the above.

I wonder what did the Gores in. Was it all his traveling, all her depression, his slightly lisping poorly pitched voice, or a combination of all these things?

Will we ever know?

I like it when people keep it “classy.”

Poor Al. I wonder if this will push him toward fatter or thinner. He never had the charisma of Clinton or the smile of Edwards, but he has something better: some sort of integrity, while bordering on overly earnest, but still, something is very right with him.

It is never fun to see a long term marriage break up. If a six monther or even a three yearer goes down in flames, well, you usually think, “They should not have gotten married so quickly,” or “They were much better off just being unmarried,” or “They should have never been together anyway.”

But with these long ones, you just feel sort of sad. And you hope that all their past public displays of affection and their heartfelt books about each other weren’t all just a bunch of bullshit.

Did they always have medium to big problems and while in the public eye used the wide platform to act as-if they were a great couple? Or, were they a solid couple and recently something went down? Or did they simply whither away from each other?

Strange. Why add to the loneliness at that point in your life? Or, were they one of those alone-together couples? I wish the sweet things well.

Now, how about that oil spill? It’s upsetting me so much, I have gone into denial, clamping down, just waiting for it to pass.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Henri Cartier-Bresson at MOMA

Go. Today.

Henri Cartier-Bresson at MOMA

He has been all over the world. Henri C-B, in addition to his clear technique and his eye for perfect but spontaneous composition, this man also had great material! The modern century. That’s the 20th Century. Amazing pictures of everyday life in every part of the world. Also, Gandhi’s funeral, portraits of Camus, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, etc. Some of the photos are so moving, you just kind of cry. His pictures are full of narrative. And maybe a snarkier man than I might find this all a bit sentimental, but that man would be missing much.

The show is a bit overwhelming. Huge, in fact. But worth the couple of hours. Try to go when you think there won’t be a million people there.

So much is living in the photos.