I just got back from brunch with Nell Minow and her husband David Apataoff, who are out in Los Angeles to visit their film costume designer daughter Rachel, and also for the Critics' Choice Awards, since she's a member of their parent Broadcast Film Critics Association. (Nell is quite remarkable -- movie reviewing isn't her "real" job. She's one of the leading experts on corporate governance, often testifies before Congress, and is a sought-out "talking head" by news shows when big business-related stories hit. Last week she received a lifetime achievement award in the field. In fact, I wrote an article about Nell and her remarkable life and family a few years back, which I'll post here later on...)
The larger point here is that lest anyone question the miracle that can be social media (when it's used for the forces of good and not evil), I always point to me and Nell. One day about five years ago, I received a private email reply to one of my Huffington Post pieces. It was from a Nell Minow, who I had grown up with but hadn't seen in several decades, when we had a single class at Northwestern University. "I don't know if you remember me," she wrote, "but I saw your name on this article and thought I'd write."
I had to laugh, because one doesn't forget Nell Minow. She's one of those "forces of nature" kind of people. When I post my long article on her, you'll see. But far beyond my simple Huffery, she's had a feature article written about her in the Washington Post, "MovieMom's Double Life," as well as a very long profile in the New Yorker magazine.
That one, simple email got us back in touch. We don't see each other often, since she and David live in the Washington, D.C. area, where he's a successful and prominent attorney, among other things, but we regularly trade email about movies, TV, politics, business, and most things in life that need solving. (Side note: the last time I saw Nell, she had invited me to the conference that the company she co-founded was having in San Diego -- Nell was going to be interviewing their keynote speaker. Bill Clinton. I'm telling you, folks, Nell is amazing. The article is worth waiting for. Not because it's so good, but because Nell is.) It's been one of the things that has made all all the online writing I've done not just worthwhile, but valuable. Making it all the nicer is getting back in touch with David, as well, since he not only was a childhood friend, too, (he and Nell were childhood sweethearts. In unison now, "Awwwww...") but I knew him even better as a kid than I did Nell -- he lived literally down the block, and talks about remembering going to one of my birthday parties. We probably hadn't spoken since we were about 12.
By the way, you can check out Nell's very smart, new movie reviews (she's filled in for Roger Ebert when he's had time off, and he hired her as a roving reporter on his recent TV show), as well as archives on her Movie Mom website, which also gives schedule information about the stations where she does radiocasts around the country. For folks here in Los Angeles, she's on KOST-FM, 105.1, on Friday's usually around 8:20 AM. But now, thanks to the Internet, I get to talk with her again, any time I want. After so many decades out of touch.
(Side note: As I was typing this, that Microsoft ad for the Surface tablet came on -- you know, the one with all the people dancing around what looks like a college campus and snapping the keyboard shut repeatedly. Well, Nell's daughter Rachel, the aspiring costume designer -- see above -- worked on that ad. Just the kind of tidbit information we like to provide here at Elisberg Industries.)
And for those who might think there was a cute, hidden pun in the title of the article, just know it wasn't a pun and was intentional. That story is coming, too...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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