"LIFE IS a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them -- it only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Letting things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like," said Lao Tzu.
•THERE are not too many writers around who can make Alzheimer's into anything but a tragedy.
I can't tell you how many friends and acquaintances say to me -- "I love Julianne Moore and I'm glad she won the Oscar for Still Alice, but I just can't go see it because it is too close to my own family experiences."
Others have said the same thing about Julie Christie's 2006 Oscar-nominated performance in Away from Her, which deals with the same tragic disease.
But at last we get Bettyville by George Hodgman. He is a really funny writer who seems to have philosophically accepted the burden of his mother's fight with Alzheimer's and coped brilliantly with it.
Books-A-Million selected Bettyville as a President's Pick and Library Journal has called it a witty, sometimes heartbreaking, "superior memoir."
This is a not too big book of a lifetime's reflections, fascinating stories about a grown man who returns home for his mother's 91st birthday. Back in Paris, Missouri, he discovers there a totality in his old and new selves and his controlling but failing mother. I really liked this book.
Viking just brought this little wonder out so we can all cry and laugh at the same time.
• I have written many words about "gossip" -- it's origins, meaning and a prologue in my memoir, Natural Blonde, asking "Is Gossip Good for You?"
I countered this by saying yes, it is "the tawdry jewel in the crown of free speech."
But now my reader, Jeff Kora sends me something I never heard or thought of before.
Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to 'go sip some ale and listen to people's conversations and political concerns.' Many assistants were dispatched at different times. 'You go sip here' and 'You go sip there.' The two words 'go sip' were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term 'gossip.'
There are even more ideas of how gossip got its name.
Ain't that a kick in the historical head? I think so.
•AFTER Kelly Osbourne noisily departed E!'s fashion police -- not before throwing her cast mate Giuliana Rancic under a bus, train and SUV -- I noted that the show should retire itself. With Joan Rivers gone, this enterprise struggled to find energy. (Some people think Fashion Police is simply celebrity bullying and wasn't all that much even with Joan Rivers.)
Now, comedienne Kathy Griffin, who was ostensibly Rivers' "replacement" has put in her notice. She's out of there. One report stated that she suddenly noticed the show wasn't a good thing for women's self-esteem. Whatever. The hand-stitching is definitely on the wall!
Griffin, who is now perhaps best known for her annual New Year's Eve stint on CNN with Anderson Cooper, was hilariously funny back in the day. Her red-carpet antics, impersonations of various celebrities, wisecracks and behind-the scenes dish about hosting various events were truly hysterical. But after a few years of this, celebrities and event promoters became gun-shy. Griffin then made herself a career being on "The D List" and courting "the gays." But without access to major events, she seemed to have lost some of her fire.
I think Griffin could probably make excellent comic hay out of her experience on The Fashion Police, just as she did in the good old days, when she was still on the A-list. (She says, diplomatically, "It just didn't work out. No scandal!")
I say, Kelly, Giuliana, Melissa Rivers, gird your loins!
•MOURNING the possible demise of The Fashion Police is one thing -- and not a terribly important thing. But fans of quality are really upset that after four sensational seasons on American Horror Story, the divine Jessica Lange is bowing out.
I won't go so far as to say the show can't go on without Jessica. After all, Lady Gaga is coming on board, and that should be interesting! But Miss Lange's presence will be deeply missed.
•EVERYTIME I hear somebody complain that there are no "family friendly" movies or TV shows anymore -- that the business is run by degenerates who "force" nudity and graphic sexuality on "them" -- I feel compelled to point out the plethora of family friendly feature films and TV shows, including a lot of fascinating history and nature programming.
So here I go again. Disney's charming straightforward live-action remake of Cinderella took in a whopping $70 million over the weekend. And that was just in the U.S.
It has made a big star out of Lily James, revealed quite another side of Cate Blanchett and showed that Helena Bonham Carter is not reliant of her soon-to-be-ex Tim Burton to be marvelous on-screen. (Well, she was pretty great in Les Miserables, a movie I disliked almost as much as I loathed the stage version.)
There is now much speculation that if Lily James returns for the 6th season of Downton Abbey (or the 7th, if creator Julian Fellowes wants it) her salary demands might be over the head of the production cost. I don't know, Miss James seems eager to return to her DA role as Lady Rose -- the character was shipped off to America with her new hubby at the end of season 5. And part of her wants Rose to return to the Downton estate in a mess, "ruined and distraught."
Well, she has the right idea about most of the characters on DA -- none of them remain happy for very long!