Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Fruitcakes of the stars

A hard sell

Fruitcake sales have been suffering in recent years. It's not a secret.

I like the idea Collin Street Bakery uses to boost interest in this holiday famous fruit-laden tradition. The annual press kit from this Texas bakery that's been around since 1896 includes a list of the famous celebs who annually enjoy fruitcake. Here's a few of the one-page list of who's who: Ernest Borgnine, Jayne Meadows, Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Dr. J, Dom DeLuise, Stefanie Powers and Vanna White. If you're interested, find these fruitcakes a (800) 248-3366 or

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Sandy Duncan brings back 'The King and I'

Popular actress coming to Fort Myers in traveling musical

Sandy Duncan sounds husky when she picks up the phone in her hotel room in Green Bay, Wis. Where's the sugar-coated chirp Americans have come to know from Broadway's "Peter Pan" and her appearances on television in "The Hogan Family" and Wheat Thins commercials?

The temperature in northern Wisconsin hovers in the brittle 30s. The weather dries out Duncan's throat, but she has to perform "The King and I" again tonight.

"I like the show, I like the people I'm working with, but I find the schedule daunting," she croaks into the phone.

Warm, sunny Fort Myers sounds pretty good to Duncan. Her run next week at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall marks the end of her stint in the show before Stefanie Powers takes over.

"Each place has its challenges," Duncan said, diplomatically. "In Florida, the humidity makes the wigs frizz."

This won't be her first trip to Southwest Florida. The Tony-nominated actress emceed an awards show for young performers here in 2001 — and served as grand marshal of the Edison Festival of Light parade on the same trip. Last season, she performed at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples.

"Anyone who works in live theater has been to Florida a lot," Duncan said. "There's more theater and more opportunities for performing than any other state. It's sort of the second New York down there."

More work is being staged outside than inside New York City, she said, because Broadway shows aim for tourists, not theatergoers.

Since June, Duncan has been the one playing tourist, though, traveling around the country as the "I" in "The King and I."

For the uninitiated, that's Anna, the British widow hired to tutor the horde of children sired by the King of Siam (now called Thailand). The perennially popular 1951 musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein features songs such as "Getting to Know You," "Hello, Young Lovers" and "Shall We Dance."

Set in 1860s Bangkok, the show deals with clashing cultures and egos, as the King and Anna fall in love despite his stubbornness and her independence.

The current production tries to freshen the musical's appeal to modern audiences by emphasizing the realities of the story.

"It's not just this precious little operetta," Duncan said. "If the music takes you out of the story it's wrong, particularly for audiences today. When these things were originally done, the acting was larger than life. These were the tunes of the day people wanted to hear. Today we've heard them all. You have to engage the audience in other ways."

When Anna and the king finally waltz together in the second act, the audience inevitably bursts into applause.

"That scene is the culmination of them talking at each other and about each other for two hours," Duncan said. "It's the first time they really touch and make contact on a romantic level. That's a big release."

Equally striking is the ball gown Anna wears in that scene, a floor-length satin dress supported by hoops.

Although some of her costumes weigh 30 pounds, 58-year-old Duncan said the most challenging part of doing the show is the rigorous routine of performing night after night. In Fort Myers, she dons the heavy couture for eight shows from Tuesday through Sunday.

"It's pretty grueling to do for seven months," she said. "By Sunday, you're tanked. I've never done this before. I've toured for short periods — a long time ago. In those days, you'd stay a month in a city."

Still, "The King and I" holds a special place in Duncan's life. She made her professional debut at 12 as one of the Thai princesses in a Dallas production of the musical. Back then, she was primarily a dancer; she learned to sing and act later.

"It never occurred to me one day I would play Anna," she said.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Slaughter of Wild Horses

Dear All,

This was brought to my attention by the woman with whom I have worked to save some of the North American Wild Horse populations that were in greatest danger of collection for slaughter or for sale to the horse butchers. It is a fate that is unspeakably horrible and if you once could see the films on the treatment and slaughtering methods used for horses you would have nightmares for weeks.

These Mustangs do not deserve this fate and are only a threat to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), because they might compete for grass with the cows that the BLM allows to graze on federal lands, from which they receive money.

The fact that the land where the horses are found is in many cases national parklands under the management of the BLM who really do not answer to anyone
for their actions, makes the land usage almost entirely at their discretion unless activists alert the population to the private agendas of the BLM.

This lovely piece of legislation was slipped in at the eleventh hour unannounced, just before the holiday and the congress will vote on it this coming MONDAY.

Can you please read this...send it to everyone you know...and call or email your Senators or use the number in the statement. AND PRAY !!!

Thank you.

Stefanie Powers

For Californians...The Hon. Senator Barbara Boxer ...
The Hon. Senator Dave Feinstein...202 224 3841


Dear Friends of Wild Horses,

Please stay in touch with ISPMB as we have the most current information on the
legislation that will kill thousands of wild horses.

Correction - hot line for the White House (202)456-1111

Please flood your Representative's lines asking that they remove Rider #142 from the Appropriations Bill HR 4818.
Tell them that you will not stand by while our wild horses are slaughtered.
The wild horses represent what our country stands for and that is

They meet
on Monday at 2PM and work through Wednesday. There is time to STOP

Here is the link to the H.Rpt. 108-792 Conference Report to Accompany
4818 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005. Click on Division E
which covers
appropriations language for DOI, either the text version or the PDF
whichever you prefer. The amendment is under Sec. 142. The text is as

3 of Public Law 92-195 (16 U.S.C. 1333) is amended--
(1) in subsection (d)(5), by striking ``this section'' and all that
through the period at the end and inserting ``this section.''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
``(1) IN GENERAL.--Any excess animal or the remains of an excess animal
be sold if-- ``(A) the excess animal is more than 10 years of age;
``(B) the excess animal has been offered unsuccessfully for adoption at
least 3
``(2) METHOD OF SALE.--An excess animal that meets either of the
criteria in
paragraph (1) shall be made available for sale without limitation,
through auction to the highest bidder, at local sale yards or other
livestock selling facilities, until such time as-- ``(A) all excess
offered for sale are sold; or ``(B) the appropriate management
level, as
determined by the Secretary, is attained in all areas occupied by wild
roaming horses and burros.
``(3) DISPOSITION OF FUNDS.--Funds generated from the sale of excess
under this subsection shall be-- ``(A) credited as an offsetting
to the Management of Lands and Resources appropriation for the Bureau
of Land
Management; and ``(B) used for the costs relating to the adoption
of wild
free-roaming horses and burros, including the costs of marketing such
'`(4) EFFECT OF SALE.--Any excess animal sold under this provision
shall no
longer be considered to be a wild free-roaming horse or burro for
purposes of
this Act.''.

Even though it
is highly unlikely that we can get this amendment pulled before the
signs it, we are working Nancy Pelosi's office just in case, if at the
least she can make a statement on the House floor on Monday so it can
recorded in the Congressional Record.

Below is how to access your Representatives and Senators. Call and

Call these numbers and e-mail

President Bush - 202-456-1111

VP Cheney - 202-456-2461

Senator Harry Reid - 202-224-3542
Senator Conrad Burns 1-800-344-1513 or 202-224-2644

For more information please contact ISPMB at

Thank you for your help!

Karen A. Sussman
President, ISPMB

PO Box 55
Lantry, SD 57636


Auction of bighorn sculptures Saturday

COACHELLA VALLEY: Thirty-one of the life-size artworks go on the block in Rancho Mirage.

Bighorn sale

What: Path of the Bighorn Auction

When: Saturday

Hours: Registration and viewing begins at 11 a.m.; auction starts at 2 p.m.

Where: The Lodge at Rancho Mirage, 68-900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage

The "Path of the Bighorn" public art project is coming to an end with its first auction Saturday of the life-size bighorn sheep sculptures dotting the Coachella Valley and celebrity drawings of the rams.

Thirty-one of the 107 painted and decorated fiberglass sculptures and more than 100 bighorn drawings by such stars as John Travolta, Susan Sarandon and Kirk Douglas will be sold at The Lodge at Rancho Mirage.

Proceeds from the project, begun two years ago, will benefit the nonprofit Bighorn Institute, a 22-year-old conservation organization that launched Path of the Bighorn to raise awareness of the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep.

"Our hope is that we will have many of these sculptures that will remain as public art to remind our visitors and residents of this endangered animal," said Lydia Kremer, project coordinator. "None of us expected it to be as large, as well received and as successful as it has become."

Opening bids for the bighorn sculptures, including rams adorned by Cher, Stefanie Powers and Anjelica Huston, weren't disclosed. The live auction is expected to last two hours.

The celebrity drawings - some colorful, some imaginative, and some inscribed with messages - will be auctioned off at $25 per raffle ticket, which will be collected in a box for each drawing.

Alexandra Sheldon, Path of the Bighorn director and president of the institute's Board of Directors, said the money raised from the auction will go toward a $10 million project to build a research and education center for the institute, which has worked to protect the bighorn sheep through recovery programs and captive breeding

"Our office is in a trailer," Sheldon said. "It would be great to build a real building with offices."

Sheldon said she hopes the sculptures will remain in the valley. The 71-inch fiberglass rams, which weigh up to 350 pounds, stand at museums, tourist attractions and other public places. They became so popular that maps were created to point people to each sheep's location.

About 20 sculptures, including the one at Palm Springs International Airport, will remain as public art, Sheldon said. The other artworks will be sold at future auctions, she said.

Sheldon said she won't be able to attend Saturday's sale. "I can't see them go," she said. "My dream is that all location people will buy them."

Better Nutrition

Heart to Heart with Stefanie Powers
by Bonnie Siegler

Not in a million years could you say that Stefanie Powers has let herself go. Just spend a little time talking with her, and it's evident what more than 50 years of regular exercise and good eating habits have done for her appearance, her energy and spirit, her staying power and her super-for-any-age shape. Sure, there are laugh lines around her twinkling eyes and tiny creases that appear with the famous smile. But her legs are still long and slender, her waist is girlishly slim, and that mane of red hair looks as lustrous as it did during her reign as Jennifer Hart on TV's

At 5'7", the former girl from U.N.C.L.E. admits, "There's a phenomenon that occurs when you put on more mass as you get older, so the question of trying to maintain a physical condition for women is really quite challenging because no woman knows how she's going to age until it starts to happen. We have to keep in touch with the changes and with our bodies as much as possible. We can look at our parents and see how we might play out genetically."

Graceful Aging
As for her own genetic map, Powers explains that she is the caregiver to her 91-year-old mother who suffers severe osteoporosis and who lives with her. "I'm witnessing my mother's osteoporosis on a daily basis. We have to learn about our bodies to be able to maintain healthy equipment."

Powers takes anti-aging measures, such as drinking lots of water, using sunscreen protection and getting regular exercise. And she is adamant about the benefits of hormone replacement therapy for her overall health and fitness and the role it plays in thwarting osteoporosis.

"I strongly believe in HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as long as you're being tested for all seven elements -- not just the two [elements] that most doctors test," which are estrogen and progesterone levels, she says.

"There are other elements, such as thyroid, growth hormones, bi-estrogen, DHEA and pregnenolene . . . I have my blood tested for these levels every 3 months because we change, as do our levels, in spite of the fact that we're taking a consistent dose. I wish I had these hormone tests in my 20s so that I would know what's normal for me, not what's normal for a test group. Doctors talk about norms that might not be just for you. Do you want to bring your levels up to a premenstrual level, up to a 45-year-old woman's level or up to a 20-something's level? I think the greatest injustice is that we're not told that we should test all our levels at an early age so we have that individual norm level that doctors can refer to as we age. If you're going to take hormones, you have to maintain a watchful eye on what they're doing to your body and how you are reacting. You have to be diligent about your own health because nobody cares more about you than you."

Taking Care
As thorough as she is about HRT, Powers also uses a full spectrum of supplements. "I take a calcium supplement, salmon oils, B-complex vitamins, Cs, Es, antioxidant supplements and a multi," she says.

If Powers seems to have raised the age of sexy, it's been accomplished through years of hard work educating herself on health, fitness and environmental factors.

"I see what my mother is going through. She didn't take HRT. She didn't do weight-bearing exercises, and her osteoporosis is quite bad. So the questions you ask your doctor have to be knowledgeable questions for which you do the research. I read magazines, medical journals and health care books constantly. If I don't learn something new every day, then I honestly believe it's been a day wasted. I've been thinking of health and nutrition almost my whole life," she says.

Calling herself "a clean and healthy liver," Powers says she is one of those lucky people who doesn't gain weight readily and has wisely taken most of the fat out of her diet as a cancer preventative. She also shops as organically as possible, buying essentials such as soymilk, whole grains (cereal, roughage, breads), nuts, dried fruits, and fresh fruits and vegetables whenever she can.

"Eating this way helps ensure a healthy heart," she says.

Breaking a sweat
Another of her sound health insurance measures is working up a good sweat at least three times a week. To this end, Powers does yoga once a week, three hours of aerobic/weight training/anaerobic exercise, a Pilates session and, during the season, she plays polo.
"On a perfect day, a 90-minute yoga class makes my body feel good," says the former dancer. "I do a very intense yoga workout in a hot room, which allows you to perspire. That [gets] rid of all those toxins," she says.

To complement that perfect day, Powers will eat just one solid meal, supplementing it with protein drinks and fresh juices.
"I've been mostly vegetarian forever, though I do eat some deep-sea fish. The truth is, I eat very sparingly. Overall, it makes me feel so much better emotionally and physically," she says.

Cultivating Life
Fueling Powers' 1,000-watt smile -- besides her healthful habits -- is her passion for gardening, whether she's doing it at her Southern California home or at the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in Kenya, for which she serves as president.

"I've grown my own vegetables since the '70s. I had my own chickens, and I continue to do that when I'm in Africa. So I have my own sources of protein -- chickens make eggs, and egg whites are full of protein. Organic gardening has been in my life for a long, long time. I even make my own compost."

Powers first visited Kenya in 1973 with the late actor William Holden. She now spends quite a bit of time at the foundation he started there, which includes an education center and animal preserve in the shadow of majestic Mount Kenya. Perhaps her bond with animals and their preservation has been Powers' most important longevity secret.

"I think having animals around contributes to good health. The very touch of animals and the feeling of this extraordinary bonding is somehow enormously therapeutic. It lowers blood pressure and stress," she says, "and it's comforting. I doubt very much if human beings could ever have evolved without the aid of animals."

Living Well
Known for her grace, beauty, sophistication and knowledge, Powers says that while she got her mother's "general good genes" and expects to live a very long time, she also realizes she's trying to cram many lifetimes into her one.

"I've learned what works best for me, but there are dozens of ways to get in shape, to look and feel better. The most important step is to make a commitment to yourself."

And for over 5 decades, she's been doing just that -- beautifully.