Tag Archives: Entertainment Tonight

If Larry King’s quitting, then so am I. No, please don’t get up, I’ll find my own way out.

I’ve decided.

This is my last day of full, balls-to-the-wall committed living. For now anyway. As from tomorrow, July 1st 2010, I’m quitting regular life for a whole two months. Nine weeks. Sixty-two days. During which time, I’ll be letting go of the tiller, lifting my nose from the grindstone, shutting down the computer, ignoring my cellphone, and generally freeing my mind and hands to do more interesting things.

And by “more interesting things”, I mean “nothing at all.”

My brain is mush, kids. It’s just a fact. This realization came to me a few days ago after I completed another book – about travel and health – which I wrote after completing a novel, which I wrote after completing the previous travel book, Naked in Dangerous Places.  This on top of doing the weekly BBC thing and occasional pieces for NPR. At some point recently there came a moment when it dawned on me – I wasn’t living, I was just working. Working, eating, sleeping, and working again. That’s not a life, it’s a prison. Admittedly, a prison in which you get to eat a lot of cake and drink coffee and chat with friends and watch movies when you’re really supposed to be writing, but a prison nonetheless.

The need for this was driven home even more forcefully when I saw a very tired and deflated-looking Larry King announce last night that he’s leaving CNN after 25 years and 50,000 interviews “to attend more of his son’s baseball games.” But that’s not the real reason. The poor guy’s been a host on CNN since 1873. Recently, his ratings have slipped horribly, there are pretenders waiting in the wings to grab his chair – he has to go. It’s just time.

And that’s how I feel. It’s time. Time to stop, rest, reevaluate.

So I’m giving it up for a while. Not to attend more of my son’s baseball games – I’ve not attended a single one yet, why should I start now? – but simply to relax. To loosen the reins and stand back from Twitter, Facebook, my website, and my cellphone. I’ll check my email now and then, I suppose, when curiosity overcomes me, but certainly not daily. And I don’t even plan to watch a lot of TV, although, since I’m a TV reviewer on the BBC, quitting it completely would be setting a dangerous precedent. Eventually listeners might notice. It’s not guaranteed, but they might. I can’t take that chance.

What will I do instead?

I told you – nothing. I’m starting a tiny little film project tomorrow that should be heaps of fun. I’d also like to try being a movie extra – they’re always advertising on craigslist for “background artists” – and I’d be so very good at just standing there in the background doing nothing – it’s actually a gift I have. That would be great.

Oh, and you know what else? I’d like to return to handwriting analysis.

Don't click to look inside. I'm just sayin'.

Haven’t done that in ages. I authored three books on the subject years ago, and for a time was on TV a whole lot with it – Entertainment Tonight, The View, Montel Williams. I was really good too. But I got sidetracked, dammit, and let it go. Now it’s time to revisit it.  I’ll post something on FB or here in the next few days explaining how you can get your handwriting analyzed, if you want it done – because, quite honestly, who’s more fascinating than you?

[UPDATE: I have now made this so. Go to my website and take a look. Prepare to be amazed) 

The rest of the time I shall meditate, do yoga, and attend raw food classes. There are beaches to visit, cafes to lunch in, movies to see, and I may even go on the new 3D King Kong ride that Universal Studios has added as part of its tram tour. Ooooh.

Summed up, then, I’m taking off.

I have big plans for the fall, including starting a small company making health and nutrition videos. Also, my one and only novel, Force of Habit, will be published, and the raw food documentary I started making last year will be available finally. So that’s all to come.

In the meantime, have a wonderful summer, everyone.  See you back here in September. Be good.

TV Swami – he gone.

 www.cashpeters.com

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Writing a few wrongs.

I have a gift, did I ever mention this? It wouldn’t surprise me if I didn’t. It’s just something I can do; a natural talent so effortless that it frequently slips my mind. Yet it’s an amazing asset nonetheless and I should do more with it.

What am I talking about? Why, handwriting analysis, of course.

You didn’t know?

writing 1It’s not exactly a secret. I’ve written three books on the subject, though none of them happens to be very good. In each case – especially the last one – the editor, for some reason, thought he or she knew a lot more about this than I did and totally rewrote or reworked the material, making it either inaccessible to readers or in certain instances just plain inaccurate. I’ve never understood that.

The really amazing thing is that, okay, I’m able to do this – interpret handwriting – yet I have never studied the subject. EVER. Never trained, never opened a book, never taken a course, nothing. I can just do it naturally. It’s the goshdarned wierdest thing.

Made wierder because I’m not even interested in handwriting. 

I’m serious. 

Normally, graphologists – the technical name for analysts – spend years, decades, half their life, making a microscopic study of the subject. It’s their passion. Then, at the end of all that effort, they declare proudly that they are “75% accurate” in their interpretation.

75%? That’s all??? My lord, I’d be so embarrassed.

Me, I’m around 99% accurate, and, frankly, ashamed that I can’t make it the full 100%. 

Don’t ask me why or how all this came to pass, by the way. It’s a mystery. It just crept up on me one day when I was around 32 years old, and since then – bingo! I’ve been able to deduce people’s innermost workings from the energy they invest in their scribble. Blackboards, menus, Post-It notes, cards, letters, originals or copies, doesn’t matter – it’s all good.  

In fact, when I first came to America, I used to do parties in my spare time and dazzle people with my skills. 

Then the Smithsonian Institution called. Wanted me to analyze the writing of an obscure 19th Century painter. It took me forty minutes. What I sent them back was not only dead-on, they said, but yielded more information than their best, most consistent research had turned up in fifteen years!  

vieiraI was on TV a lot too, doing Entertainment Tonight a few times, and The View (off-camera, I told the wonderful Meredith Vieira that she was frustrated with being on there and that she should leave and spread her wings, and she said, “I know! You are so right. That’s exactly how I feel.” Now she’s hosting The Today Show.) And a bunch of others. Folks loved it.

Then I quit.

Couple of reasons. A: I didn’t want to be known as a handwriting analyst. And B: I was scaring people, and that’s never good.

At a party at the Beverly Hills Hotel once, I told a woman about her life and how bleak it was at the time. The evidence was right there on the page, in every stroke of the pen, and I absolutely nailed it. But then, a few days later, her angry husband cornered my partner with a message to pass on to me. First he denied that what I’d told his wife was true. Then he added, “Tell him that if he keeps on doing this to people, someone’s going to sue him.”   

Well, that was it. He was right, I realized. And I didn’t want to be justifying this stupid talent in court. Without training or diplomas, what was I going to say? That it just magically appeared overnight, giving me the power to change people’s lives?

Pah, no way. So I stopped. Easy come, easy go. From that day onwards, I never did another handwriting analysis. Except maybe privately. Christmas cards and thank-you notes are always fun. I can tell exactly where friends are in their lives, which is frequently the opposite to where they say they are.

After that, nothing happened for years. I did radio and a TV show, wrote travel books instead. Eventually, the topic didn’t even come up in conversation any more. As far as I was concerned, I was done with handwriting for good.

Then, recently, two odd things happened.

A few weeks ago, the woman I’d analyzed at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the one whose husband issued veiled threats, approached my partner and told him privately, “Everything Cash said about me that day was true.” (Something we both knew anyway.)

Soon after that, over breakfast one Sunday, my partner – damn him – happened to let slip to a couple of new friends about my gift. That I used to analyze handwriting and was astonishingly accurate.

“Oh, you should do mine,” one of them chimed up immediately, as people always do.

“Actually,” I told her, “it’s been years. I don’t do it any more. I’ve forgotten most of it and am very rusty.”

But she persisted, sent me a written note, and came over one evening to hear the result. It was like getting a hepatitis test.

handwriting 2Astonishingly – to me, not her – without any preparation I told her all about herself. Her fears, her background, her insecurities, the reasons she behaved the way she did in relationships, the influence of her father  – it was staggering. (Again, to me, not her!) An hour later, she went home happy, pensive, and, I guess impressed, because she immediately recommended me to a friend of hers. 

Next thing I know, I’m sitting at a table yesterday morning with a family of Swedish people, total strangers. They’ve brought photocopies of the handwritings of dead parents and grandparents with them, and I’m studying them with a huge magnifying glass the size of a dinner plate, fluidly rattling off secrets – things about their behavior, attitudes, beliefs etc that nobody ever understood when they were alive.

It was a struggle, I’ll be honest. Seven writings in 90 minutes, with skills that  are blunted through lack of practice. Yet apparently everything I said rang true and made perfect sense. And the writing wasn’t even in English!    

Better still, I got paid for doing it. Oh my God, I made money at handwriting analysis!

So there we are. I’m a bit clueless as to what to do next with this. It’ll probably be nothing. Although I must say, this recent turn of events gives me a certain amount of pleasure, as well as vindication. I may be nowhere near as good as I used to be, but dang! Even at this subpar level, without trying too hard, I’m clearly better than most.

When my first handwriting book was published in Britain years ago, there was outrage from graphologists. Uproar, consternation. “We’ve researched this subject for decades, earned diplomas, and practiced until we’re 75% accurate,” they said angrily. “And you just breeze in without any qualifications and claim to be better than us? Is that what you’re saying?”

Yup. Pretty much.

As a result, my book was banned from graphology conventions, there were articles written in magazines decrying my method, and many people tried to stir up trouble.

There were similar stirrings when the American books came out as well, though nowhere near as much. And now I realize why. Handwriting is dead. People don’t write any more. Bit by bit, graphologists are losing ground to computers, until very soon there’ll be nothing left for them to work on. All their precious studies – of loops and strokes and margins and slants and other minutiae, leading to a 25% error rate – will be flushed away down history’s toilet. And good riddance, I say. Miserable, narrow-minded bunch.

Whereas myself, I didn’t ask for this gift – that’s why it’s called a gift – so if I don’t analyze another piece of writing ever again after yesterday, what do I care? 

At least I did something fun with it. I wrote books. I made a lot of people think differently about themselves. Plus, my work is filed away at the Smithsonian. And, best of all, I was instrumental in persuading Meredith Vieira to leave The View. That’s got to count for something, right?

www.cashpeters.com

NOTE: There’ll be no Swami column tomorrow. Out of town. Have a lovely weekend, people.

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Is it wrong to steal a celebrity’s fruit?

I ask, only because our prestigious (I’m told) and extremely popular (I’m guessing) actress neighbor Rachel Bilson has an ornamental Japanese fruit tree in her front yard that overhangs the sidewalk.

Every April, the tree is a prodigious producer of yellowy, rubbery fruit called loquats, most of which drop to the ground, turn bad, and get squished. So, as a public service to keep the street clean, when my partner and I go for our evening stroll, he will usually reach up, pick a couple, and eat them – while I walk ahead in a jaunty manner, whistling, and trying to pretend nothing illicit is going on behind me, just as I do when he decides he needs to pee urgently and rushes off into someone’s garden.

Anyway, in the event of a court-case, let it be known that I neither approve of stealing, nor participate in it. Not for reasons of conscience, but because I happen not to like loquats.

Still, the qesstion remains: is my partner really committing a felony here?

My lawyer would say no. And if he didn’t say no, I’d fire him and get another. Here’s why.

Being in movies, Bilson – who is marrying Hayden Christensen, for reasons not obvious to the rest of us – struts the public stage. In that sense she is the property of us, her adoring (and in one particular case slightly puzzled as to who she is or what she’s done) fans.

Now extend that idea. If she’s going to let fruit hang down outside her home into a public area, doesn’t that kinda make that fruit ours in the same way?

My replacement lawyer, if he knows what’s good for him, would say yes.

Sidebar. Our friends used to own Bilson’s house. They, in turn, bought it from Noah Wylie, the E.R. actor. According to them, he left the place a real mess. For instance, when he had the kitchen installed, apparently, he didn’t buy regular units like the rest of us would do. Instead – again, according to our friends; this is just a passed-along rumor snippet – he had NBC set-builders come in and construct a kitchen set in his house, one that was so badly done that it had to be ripped out in its entirety and replaced with a real, workable kitchen our friends could actually use. 

And before you go rushing off and telling this to people, I am immediately distancing myself from the information. I can’t confirm that it was a TV kitchen set, or that Wylie was the one who installed it. Maybe the owners before him were amateur set-builders and they did it. But I certainly saw the room before our friends did the ripping, and it was pretty crummy. 

Anyway, my point is, the loquat tree used to belong to Noah Wylie, then to our friends, and that’s when we started taking fruit off it. So, in a sense, we’re really just carrying on that same sacred tradition with La Bilson, right? I mean, every tradition has to start somewhere.

At the very least, R.B. should consider this a pay-off for the massive weirdness and inconvenience she’s causing by being popular. 

I say this because in recent weeks the paparazzi have resurfaced in the street. Damn, it’s so annoying. Creepy little weaselly foreign-looking men in unmarked cars hog the curb for hours and hours and hours on end each day, waiting for her to emerge, hoping they can grab a couple of snaps of her walking, or staring up at her loquat tree, wondering where all the fruit’s gone, and sell them to TMZ and Entertainment Tonight

Walking by yesterday, I could tell she wasn’t even there. Her truck had gone, the place was empty. Yet still they sat and waited and watched. It’s very unnerving.

I wanted to go up to them and yell, “Get a life!” Or at least take a photo of them for a change and post it on here for you; teach them a lesson. But I thought they might see me and beat the crap out of me. These little thugs are like a sissy mafia; they’re very temperamental. 

Worse still, we have to make sure they’re not out there with their cameras when we pass the loquat tree. To take fruit under cover of darkness is one thing. To have it appear on the front page of The Enquirer next week is another.     

Oh, the shame.

 

TV Swami – he say YES to fruit theft.

www.cashpeters.com.

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Jeremy Piven with his shirt off. Yes, THAT Jeremy Piven.

It’s weird that on a day of the year that some  might say is ” v. important,”  I woke up, not thinking about that, but about Jeremy Piven, of all people.

I spotted him on Friday. In a clothes store on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood. Though we were there for two entirely different reasons. The store has a bar next to the check-out and serves cocktails to celebrity customers while they shop. And seriously, what could be more handy or appropriate, or hysterically ludicrous actually, than sipping a pina colada while trying on a pair of pants? Who’s idea was that?

Anyway, I was there to interview the staff about this happy hour thing. Meanwhile, Piven was in a changing room experimenting with shirts.

Of course, I didn’t know it was him. But the manager was quick to point it out. “Oh, we can’t do the interview just yet –  Jeremy Piven’s over there shopping.”

That Jeremy Piven.

Well, immediately, I was fascinated. I pretended I wasn’t, but I was. It’s Hollywood, how can you not be? Plus, the guy’s on Entourage, for God’s sake. He takes home Emmys the way the rest of us take home groceries from Costco.

But, like gazelles in a wildlife park, celebrities scare easily, and you don’t want to rattle them by climbing out of your vehicle at the wrong time, especially not in a clothes store, and not when you’re carrying a microphone. So, being considerably less famous than Piven – in the sense that I’m not famous at all – I was forced to lurk in a back office well away from him, while assistants ran around with armfuls of clothes, servicing his needs, which I assume were great.

Then it was over. Bag in hand, he slipped on his shades, said a quiet goodbye, and disappeared out the back door into the alleyway.

Dunno why, but I always assume celebs will be obnoxious in some way. Too loud, too argumentative, too self-focused, too something.  But that’s just the news outlets doing their job, portraying it that way. In real life it’s not like that most times. They tend to be low-key, eager to duck the limelight, and stay out of harm’s way. In fact, many cower from exposure, as though one more camera flash, one more dumb heckle from one of the paparazzi jackals, one more inane question from an ordinary guy with a Flip camera hoping to get footage on TMZ or Entertainment Tonight, will drive them right over the edge: they’ll shoot a pistol into the crowd and start taking hostages.

Piven was like that. Not the taking hostages part – but rather the gentlemanly, eager to play it cool, ultra-pleasant, quick to exit part. Standing there in front of me one minute; then, like a wisp of smoke, or Robin Williams in Aladdin, gone.

What’s interesting about this – and I know you’re thinking, “Please God, let there be something interesting about this” – is that this isn’t my first encounter with Jeremy Piven. Back when I was in TV, he was making a travel show with the same production company. Called something like Journey of a Lifetime. The idea: take a celebrity to India and let him do yoga. That’s it. There was only one episode, as far as I know – Piven’s episode – then it vanished. Something else we have in common.

For that reason, he’d sometimes be in the building, sitting in the next edit suite watching a rough cut of his documentary. And of course there’d be an immediate buzz. The production assistants would run around in a tizz, going, “Jeremy Piven’s in the building. Next door. Watching footage. Yes, Jeremy Piven. That Jeremy Piven.” They couldn’t have been more excited. So clearly the guy has something, even if it’s not entirely obvious to me what that is. A sense of danger probably. Or, as an outside bet, talent.

However, back then, one of the production guys who went to India with him was less than complimentary, I recall.

Really???

Oh yes. Piven was passionate about yoga, sure, but oddly less passionate about making a show about yoga, or so went the story.  At least, that’s what I heard.

TV production people are notorious liars almost by habit, so the whole of this may be a fabrication, with Piven being the very model of a host and extremely dedicated. That said, the production guy did seem very flustered when I met him, so something went on. I just can’t say for sure what.

Besides, I know a thing or two about this. About TV production. I was extremely dedicated when I was making my TV show, and also very agreeable for the most part. Yet my producers were in despair a lot of the time too and couldn’t wait for the whole thing to end and to come home.

So, in short, maybe the India thing says more about TV crews than it does about a certain quiet, agreeable, and unobtrusive celebrity I saw buying shirts in a West Hollywood clothes shop.  That’s all I’m saying.

JP gets five magic carpets out of five for his behavior in a clothes store.

TV Swami – he say YES.

More ongoing celeb news on Twitter @TVSwami.

Follow Cash Peters on Twitter  @cashpeters.

Cash Peters’s book Naked in Dangerous Places is published today.

www.cashpeters.com.

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