Tag Archives: The View

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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How I almost appeared on The Tonight Show.

Casual Friday. It’s already hot and sticky in L.A., and I’m writing this naked. Those are the facts, people. Just accept them.

On Casual Fridays I like to bunk off work and hand the Swami over to someone who writes better than I do, or at the very least has something better to say. Today that honor falls to a guy whose name I will have to cut and paste, because I can neither pronounce it nor spell it: James Poniewozik.

LenoHe’s written a fantastically informative article for Time magazine about the future of television. And right now, he posits, the future seems to rest on what happens next week when Jay Leno launches his new show five nights a week on NBC, replacing their old, costly, lumbering, expensive dramas that nobody was watching.

Most people are expecting this experiment to be a flop. The bulk of variety shows do, after all, go into a rapid tailspin and disappear. In the 1950s, we used to enjoy watching a mixed bag of crap. Nowadays, less so. Unless there’s a talent show element to it at least, such as American Idol, in which case we’ll watch crap forever.

Witness the Osbournes variety special – The Osbournes Reloaded – which Fox was extremely cockahoop about at the time, and which was meant to be the first of a series of six. Unfortunately, the premier was so mind-numbingly dreadful that the rest of them were never shown. Here’s a taste.

leno picSo now we’re getting Jay Leno, trying to salvage his post-Tonight Show glory.

I once received a phone-call from The Tonight Show, inviting me to be on as a guest. Somebody had dropped out, it was late in the day, and I lived close to their Burbank Studios. This was when I used to do handwriting analysis. One of Leno’s producers had seen me on The View, apparently, and thought I’d be fun. But first they needed me to do a quick audition please. “Sure,” I said. “Easy.”

I didn’t drive in those days, so I traveled to Burbank by bus. And I bet not many of Jay Leno’s guests ever did that!

When I arrived, I was taken into a small room by the producer who had me analyze her handwriting. The girl in question was a mess. She had huge emotional problems, I recall, and somehow it didn’t seem right or responsible, even for an audition, to make light of them. So I gave her a straight reading, which was pretty damn accurate, just not especially entertaining.

Midway through, the room darkens. This taller, older woman walks to the door, stands there with her arms folded, listens for five seconds, then blurts out “No” in a stern voices and strides away.

That was it. I was promptly shunted out, given a handshake – “Sorry.” – and told to leave. Clearly, I wasn’t Tonight Show material.

To make matters far worse, when I got home I took off my trousers and found a massive brown skid-mark down the back. Seems I’d sat in something on the bus! One of the many hazards of using the L.A. public transit system. Most times you spot it before you sit down; but sometimes you’re preoccupied with an audition and possibly appearing on The Tonight Show and you forget to look. Oh god. Nothing could have been more embarrassing. I’d walked around their offices, meeting people, saying hi, doing quick handwriting analyses for anyone who asked…and all the while I looked like I’d shat my pants. I still cringe even now.

Anyway, who knows if I’ll be invited onto Leno’s new show. Maybe that old bag who said no to my gifts before has retired now.

Of course, I don’t do handwriting stuff any more, but that’s okay. I have other talents. Yesterday, for instance, a producer emailed me, asking if I’d like to do the voice of the lead character in a cartoon for the web. A fun character. He’s a talkshow host. “The guy has a gun for a nose,” the producer explained, “and explosives for a chin….it’s called Gun Nose.”

Of course it is. What else?

I said maybe. But I’m not hopeful for it. Gun Nose? Really? Why on earth would a producer dream up a character called Gun Nose, then automatically think, “You know who’d be good for this? That guy who does reports on NPR. I forget his name…the idiotic one.” Weird. And a hoax, I’m sure.

In the meantime, take a look at the Time article. All very interesting. And don’t forget to watch when Jay invites me on his new show later this year as a guest. “Next we have a very funny and original man. Author, handwriting analyst, NPR contributor, and the voice of Gun Nose….Cash Peters.”

I thank you.

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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