Monday, June 15, 2009

I Heart Adventure, Where's My Story?

NPR - I love you a lot lately. Your coverage of Iran has been riveting, your All Things Considered have been fresh and delightful to listen to, and your afternoon interviews (Sally Field! Woody Allen!) have made me wish my lunchtime break was so much longer. And even better than all of that is this PERFECT letter by Linda Holmes asking Pixar to holla back at the gals who love their films, and would be pumped to see our own adventures and stories projected up there on the big screen.
Of the ten movies you've released so far, ten of them have central characters who are boys or men, or who are anthropomorphized animals or robots or bugs who are voiced by and imagined as boys or men. These movies feature women and girls to varying degrees -- The Incredibles, in particular -- but the story is never "a girl and the things that happen to her," the way it's "a boy and what happens to him."

And Up...oh, Up has Ellie, who I could have watched forever. Seen only in flashbacks to the main story, Ellie is warm and hilarious, ambitious and fearless, and then gone for most of the movie. She provides the engine for the story, in many ways, but it's an old man and a little boy who actually get to hit the gas.
I finally got to see Up last Friday and wowza! I loved everything about it, from the perfect non clichéd talking animals, to elderly fisticuffs, to the imaginative adventure itself, it was pretty perfect. But, sigh, I agree with Ms. Holmes. It needed more Ellie, or even better, Ellie needs her own film - one where she gets to live on and kick selfish old man ass all the while managing to be fitfully funny. Those moments in the beginning of the film where she was featured as a child where so entertaining and made me laugh the hardest. It reminded me of my younger days creeping around my block, notebook in hand, copying down the private rituals of my unsuspecting neighbors, all the while channeling my hero Harriet the Spy. I held on to every one of Ellie's moments so tightly as I watched it, knowing (from previews/reviews) that I wouldn't get to revel in her (my) young spunkiness for long. So I join Ms. Holmes in asking in a my most affable tone, Pixar? Can you give us some Coralines and save your Collettes? And while you're at it, can she be okay with being single? A lot of us are!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You Can't Unwholesome Football

Jon Stewart lampoons Fox and Friends for tsking and tutt tutting Sacha Baron Cohen's naked ass stunt at the MTV movie awards, though mere days later the crew basks in the glory of a few lingerie clad female "football players." You'd think Gretch would retch over this gross hyper sexualization since her face almost turned inside out while discussing SBC, but instead, OMFG it's "the best thing [she's] ever seen on TV!!!!" Is it the football that makes it okay? The lack of ass hair perhaps? Or maybe it's Foxes desperate need for ratings...Jon?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox & Friends' Lingerie Football Romp
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorNewt Gingrich Unedited Interview

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Piano Playin' Heart Is Going Pitter Pat

Some (like the boyfriend) might say this is a waste of 3 minutes and 25 seconds, but if you go gaga for anything Metric, then I'd say this video of two teens pounding the ivories to the tune of "Combat Baby," in a somewhat methodical, yet haunting way is gonna make yer night. If you're not a slobbering Metric maniac, well, push play beats watching commercials between Colbert Report.

Metric - 9:30 Club, DC - June 18th - So. Effing. Pumped.

Thanks to Nicole for the link!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Close Friend of A&G Remebers Dr. George Tiller

While my anger is fierce and my heart is tattered, I have never actually met, nor worked with Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas abortion provider who was murdered in his place of worship this past Sunday, May 31st. One of my dearest friends, as well as a personal heroine of mine, has had those pleasures, however. On her blog, Next To Deadly Wait Forever, Elisabeth memorialized Dr. Tiller based on her interactions with him and her dedicated work in the reproductive health movement. Her post, They pray for us, prey for us, is one of the most beautiful, personal, and wrenching pieces I have read since Sunday. I would like to share it here, to not only introduce you to the beautiful prose of this writer, but to call attention to the ripples of pain and sorrow this cowardly act of hatred and violence has created across our society.

I met Doctor Tiller in Victoria, British Columbia. He guided me through the process of digoxin injection over a fascinating pregnant-belly model with needles and ultrasound. His hands were warm. He was patient and attentive and described me as a natural in my approach to pumping salve into the umbilical cord and heart of a mock fetus. Never mind that I was simply curious and was not licensed to utilize his fascinating skill and wanted to touch his hands.

He sat next to me in Minneapolis, MN, during a session regarding patient counseling at an annual meeting. During the Q &A, he was offered a spotlight to share his vast insight. He stood statuesque, valiant and jolly and urged us to proceed fearless, with love bountiful in our hearts. When the session concluded, he offered me a few of his precious moments: we shook hands warmly and with energy and I asked with tears welling—who would provide when he no longer provided. He assured me the outcome was faith-full, that others would carry-on.

I rode in the elevator with him during our annual meeting in Portland, OR, in April. He wore his usual leather coat and sense of balance and compassion. He asked me of my evening in the city. Relentless lawsuits, harassment and recent clinic vandalism aside, he was calm. Carrying on.

He was shot point-blank in his church lobby this sun beaming morning. He was ushering and his wife was singing and they killed him in their place of peace.

I’ve had a creeping sense that something terrible would happen. I’ve begun to fear the safety of my clinic as anti-abortion extremists begin to lose their grounding in political clout but I didn’t imagine Dr. Tiller in this sense of doom. He seemed to glide through relentless opposition spiritually unscathed. I imagined him until 100. With years of peace to follow his tireless battle to be subtly, significantly good.

I could only give him these things in my merciless hope for magic: roses from the bishop’s garden, prayers 38-40 in the Bethlehem Chapel by the Way of Peace in the National Cathedral, the sunshine, the drum circle, the half moon.

Oh, Dr. Tiller. I will miss how I adore your daily perseverance, your swift and enlightening presence, your hands. Your eternal and expansive heart.

Thank you for your elegant words, and your purposeful work, Elisabeth. A powerful thank you to every person who works, fights, and lives for reproductive rights and health. You are brave, strong, and empowering. Please don't let any act of domestic terrorism deter your important LEGAL, medical, and ethical work.

Monday, June 1, 2009

This Is My Revolution! It Is Not Yours To Take and Remold Into Images of Hate, Violence, and Fear!

Today the Daily Beast reports that yesterday's horrific shooting of, Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas abortion provider may be a sign of an onslaught of more violent crimes, protests, and hack-tivism by extremists on the right.
People who study right-wing extremism have been worried for months that something like this might happen. In far-right circles, “there’s a sense that America has tipped and has slipped out of control and somebody better do something, with regard to abortion, gay marriage, demographic changes,” says Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
I resent that the citizens of this country have to deal with this. Our elections are fair (though the right played a hand in one that was not), and democratic. Dems and the left sat by for 8 years while a war that we disagreed with was waged in our name. Our hands tied and our mouths taped, we protested peacefully, legally. Now 5 months into a new administration we waited so patiently and fought so hard for, an administration supposedly fueled by hope, this despicable crime is committed and blamed on this change in leadership.

change is causing our country to slip out of control? But where was the right when Bush was tapping our phones, and passing the Patriot Act? Where were the self identified "pro-lifers" when the Iraq war started killing thousands of innocent victims? And where are they now, 6 years later, as it continues to rage? This portion of the country stood silent for the last 8 years while Bush and co. restricted our freedoms in the name of freedom. But now, mere months have passed since Bush left office, and suddenly we're losing control.

Why? Because our President is black? Because a few more states allow gay marriage (keeping in mind a major state lost that right, and our crazy liberal president still doesn't endorse gay marriage, nor has he made a motion to legalize it federally)? Because immigrants, and foreign born people still live in this country, exactly like they did 6 months ago and the eight years previous to that? (And as a reminder, if you don't descend from Native Americans, you're technically an immigrant too, so leave your high horse at the door.) Nothing since Obama took office is radically different for the right wing. Their lives are the same as they were 6 months ago. The tipping and slipping is all in their heads, perhaps their own fear mongering has finally turned on them.

Please quit trying to justify your flawed reasoning, right wingers. Just say you hate people of color. Say you hate immigrants. Say you hate the GLBT population. Say you hate women. JUST EFFING SAY IT ALREADY. Call it what it is and stop putting it all under the insincere and disgustingly inaccurate headings of "protection," "freedom," and worst of all "love." These are not your ideologies to uphold. They are mine. They are that of my friends, colleagues, relatives, mentors, teachers, and acquaintances. They are the ideals of those who work tirelessly to eradicate violence against women; those who fight to make sure all Americans have access to proper housing, education, food, and health care; those who make sure children are loved, wanted, and properly cared for; those who rally against hatred and inequality in all aspects of life; and those who protect the choice of women and their families when it comes to their reproductive health and safety.

I am working for protection. I am working for freedom. I am working for love. YOU are working to undo everything I and everyone in my life has lived and fought for. And The Daily Beast, with the insight of Brian Levin, predict there is more to come.
Now the economy is far worse, as is the degree to which conservatives find themselves marginalized in national politics. There’s desperation in the air... Levin fears that, as in the 1990s, other attacks could follow. “One thing we know about extremism is that it tends to occur with some seriality,” he says. “This was not only a single assassination. Within the movement, it was a call to arms. Whether or not it’s successful, your guess is as good as mine.”
I can tell you it will not be successful. The murder of Dr. George Tiller is not a victory. It is a reminder. It reminds us why our work is so important, and also reminds us that is not easy. But most of all, it reminds us that we must never stop fighting in solidarity.

Friday, May 29, 2009

You Took the Words Outta My Mouth: Immigration + Mental Health = EPIC FAIL

Thea Lim has this excellent post over on Racialicious, "When Systems of Oppression Intersect: Mental Health and the Immigration System." It details the story of Xiu Ping Jiang, a Chinese immigrant who has been caught up in the flawed deportation process, and whose situation is more compounded by a system that does not know how to properly treat for mental health concerns. This piece, which also cites other articles of note, captures what a horror show our immigration system really is. Being kept in solidarity confinement has ratcheted up Jiang's depression and suicidal ideations, thus it becomes increasingly more difficult for her to properly organize effectively for her case. Lim goes on to say:
It is impossible to disentangle the different strands of prejudice; where the psychiatric system is used to persecute people of colour, the justice system or immigration system persecutes people with disabilities, and inhumane systems in general combine to drive people to madness.
Read the full article here. As a crisis worker who has seen similar issues played out, let me just add that this problem is exacerbated when intimate partner violence or sexual assault is involved. This triad is unfortunately very common and there are not enough agencies with the appropriate resources available to aid these victims. This is the kind of problem that while not specialized, is treated as such, and I would love to see it addressed by our new administration.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Metric vs Married To The Sea

So other than biting my nails over the wait for the new HP movie, I've been obsessively listening to the new Metric album, Fantasies. Which, not to sound too over zealous, is completely perfect from start to finish. If you don't know Metric, check out that link above and give a listen, I doubt I'll like any album more than this one in 2009 (unless it's the new YYY which I haven't picked up yet).

One of my favorite parts of this album is the last song, it's upbeat, cute, and makes for a good visual. But more importantly, it makes me think Emily Haines (front woman) is really into the online comic, Married To The Sea. Which would be cool, because then we'd have something in common, and when we meet I could tell her I'm from Ohio just like Drew and Natalie who make MTTS, and she'd instantly want to be best friends with me because of my good taste in webcomics and midwestern states. So if you haven't already made the connection between these things, let me elablorate. The last song, Statium Love has lyrics like this:

Wanna make a bet
We'll be neck and neck
Taking off the gloves

Spider Vs Bat
Tiger Vs Rat
Rabbit Vs Dove

Every living thing
Pushed into the ring
Fight it out
To wow the crowd

The full song lyrics are here and you can listen to Statium Love on the site link up top. So the song has a deeper meaning about relationships (of course), but that's all lost on me, because everytime I listen to it, I think of this MTTS comic:

lolz...Moral of this tale? Listen to Metric, and read MTTS so you can wow your friends at parties with your inane cross references.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Time Flies Like Magic

2001 - The Sorcerers Stone


2009 - The Half Blood Prince


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There's Refuge in Corners, All My Posessions in Boxes

Moving sucks for many reasons, for me some of the suckiest highlights are

A) My couch not fitting through the door, thus it was trashed
- and -
B) Comcast's inability to pull their heads out of their asses long enough to fix the friggin' internet which comes and goes from my apartment like the wind

I choose to blame my major behindness in writing on these main factors. Having to write in a camping chair, bed, or atop a rubbermaid container is as easy as trying to tackle the task in a moving impossible, just incrediably uncomfortable and distracting.

So why don't I stop bitching and instead catch you up on the real haps, eh? My thoughts are just as scattered as my possessions these days, as I try to gather and organize both, take a gander at some pop culture things I found fascinating or infruiating in the last few weeks:


"17 Again" starring Zac Efron and the adorable Matthew Perry (does me thinking Perry is the cuter of the two age me, or make me ambrosial?) looks like your average, my-life-sucks-at-this-age-why-not-try-another-age-via-unnamed-magic fluff movie. But according to community blogger Lauren on Oh No They Didn't it's rotten with sexist absintence only messages. Efron makes impassioned speeches about girls respecting themselves, and preaches that peeps shouldn't sex it up until they are ready to have that baby. Yikes and ewww! Read full post here.

Everyone is still gaga over Star Trek, as they should be, but in the hussle to call it the greatest prequel/summer movie/Star Trek remake everrrrr are we forgetting the women? Melissa over at Women and Hollywood ponders the insignificance of the three main female characters who can be broken down into little more than wife, mother, and girlfriend. Read full post here.

57 Days until Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince...OMFG...the wait is more painful than the Sectumsempra curse. If you haven't seen the full length preview yet, you must now at the official site here. I'm trying to remain cautiously optimistic becuase the last one was so not great, but holy cats, how can I not believe that this looks like the best and most amazing HP yet?! It seems to have everything. I'm surprised how much the preview showed of the end, and gaaaah...drool. I need to stop now.


Here is a super cute article I found in the New Yorker a couple of weeks ago about Amy Poehler and the unique quality she brings to all of her characters, "cockeyed optimism," they call it. If you feel bad from time to time about the lack of females in comedy (like I tend to) read this piece and savor this line:
" always felt in good hands during a Poehler skit; unlike some of the other performers—the men of recent years come to mind—she never seemed sloppy or on the verge of being downright awful." I feel a triumphent leap in my heart when I read it, I hope you do too.

Now use that power you harnessed by reading that last bit and try not to reach into cyber space with the intention of strangling Dirk Benedict after you get a gander at this piece titled "Starbuck: Lost in Castration" he wrote about Battlestar Galactica. Benedict played Starbuck in the orginal series, and he's back now to say a whole handful of pro-sexism shit and if you don't like it than tough, he's a cigar chomping, ass grabing man, and that's the way of the/his world. It's unbearable that such backwards talk is being bantied around about such a progressive and important show. Get a snifter of this: "There was a time – I know I was there – when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke. But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result. " Le Sigh.

Rabbit Write discusses the controversial Oprah episode that encouraged mom's to buy their daughters' vibrators in order to teach them about self stimulation. While I agree with Rabbit that actually buying the vibrator for your kid is over steping bodily autonomy boundries, I will argue that there is nothing unatural to using tools to get the job done. She posts, " would seem that masturbation would be a natural and personal discovery. Isn’t that precisely what it should be? Quick fixes won’t help your teenagers develop positive relationships with their bodies. The beauty of healthy sex cannot be taught by an orgasm machine." Au contraire, a vibrator or any other sex toy is not an unnatural quick fix, it's part of the whole fix. And of course these kinds of toys can teach healthy sex. Healthy sex comes when one understands their own body and what makes them feel good. It's important to learn about yourself in many different ways. Besides, orgasm machine? Really, that's the word choice we're going with? Vibrators only vibrate, the user is in control of the speed, penetration, weight of touch, where it goes, and how much interaction it has in the masturbation process. It's not like those fetish sites where the girl is sumissive to some bizarre contraption. Let's not be over dramatic here.

Okay, it's good to get some of those out of my system. Now, back to posting things on a more regular basis...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I've Been Writing for Another Blog...Jealous?

So I've taken a couple weeks off here to launch a new humor blog with a food focus. It's called What We Eat Is Laughable and 5 of my friends are also contributing to it. There are only a few posts so far, but you can expect (and you will find) product and restaurant reviews, comments on food culture, recipes, how tos, budget meals, cooking videos, entertaining tips, and baking stuff. It will be omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan friendly and will cover a wide range of items so there is something for everyone. Unless you are a serious chef, then perhaps our wackiness may not be your taste - ha! Get it?!!!?? Taste?!!! Food Blog?! Ho-boy, those are the kind of gems you can expect to find on our site. Nothin' but laugh after laugh. Go. Read. Now.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

You Took the Words Outta My Mouth: Miss California vs. Gay Marriage

By now, you've probably heard that although Miss California loves living in a country where everyone gets to make free choices (like the choice to have bigger boobs!), she'd like to be a part of limiting (or continuing to limit) the choices of the GLBT community. Mainly the whole icky marriage part, but she probably wouldn't say no to putting the kibosh on the Matthew Shepard Act that, if passed, will give states federal funds to prosecute hate crimes. I could totz she her agreeing that Shepard's attack was less of a hate crime and more of a whoops-a-daisy robbery. So to sum up, Miss California is pretty much a huge bag of hot useless air and thus has been invited by the conservatives from the National Organization for Marriage (least adorable NOM of all time) to come to DC and spread her intolerance.

If you're not familiar with NOM, check out this fear mongering campaign video where lots of white people (and a few tokens) are terrified of the one thing that will never happen if GLBT people marry: getting their rights trampled and/or infringed on. Gay marriage for these "Left Behind" extras is like a horrifying amalgamation of Voldemort, The Running of the Bulls, and being forced Clockwork-Orange-style to watch "Religulous" with Bill Maher. Seriously, people, right now your worst fear is your kid going to school and learning about civil rights? That's the big problem in your life? It sounds like a little house foreclosure would clear that irrationality up, right quick.

So that is what Miss. California is worried about. And to avoid taking a trip to word vomit village, I'm just gonna direct you to The Superficial, where they took the words outta my mouth:
So, let me get this straight, Jesus is cool with fake tits, morally bankrupt beauty pageants and constant media whoring, but not gay marriage? Huh. I never really pictured JC as a homophobic douchebag from Orange County, but that seems to be the message these days. Keep spreading the Good News, Carrie!
Also as I was writing this, Samhita over at Feministing put up a bit about the connection to feminism:
Her blatant homophobia just adds to the already established straight, cis-woman and white standard of beauty necessary for pageants to exist and to perpetuate the illusion of binary genders.
Wowie zowie! How apt that I listened to the Lunachicks while showering this morning...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Now There's More Than One Magical Thing Happening the Second Week of July

As if the anticipation of the sixth installment of Harry Potter wasn't already giving me heart palpitations, but OMG , finally finally finally The State is being released on DVD. According to TV Shows on DVD this long overdue release is slated for July 14th (gah! only one day before HP searches for horcruxes!). So now if you missed the sketch comedy show the first time around, and weren't cool enough to buy a few selected episodes on VHS tape, this is your chance to get with it. Do you like Wet Hot American Summer, Stella, and/or Reno 911!? The genius of all of 'em was birthed from The State. Grab your fattest Sharpie and mark your calenders for 7/14/09 so next time I tell you I'm seeing Stella at 6th and I Synagogue you act a little more jealous (I was seriously disapointed when I said I stood a foot from Micheal Showalter and you were like "Who?"). If you can't have Piggy-Shoes that make piggy sounds every time you step down on the heel, than The State DVDs are defintely the next best thing!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jocular Jaunt-Overs: Seth Rogen Pre-Puberty Edition

It's hard to for the general public to fathom that a lot of the current comedy guys are free agents, especially when it's so easy to glom them all onto Judd Apatow. Here's a little proof that Seth Rogen was clearly destined for stardom even before his voice became all deep and muppetish. Jaunt on over here to see 14 year old Rogen take on grandparents, Judaism, and dating in one of the most adorable stand up routines you'll see this month (year?!?).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spice up Your Morning

With this hilarious one and a half minute video on adoring the breadiest of breakfast foods.

*Thanks to Jon for the link!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sex, Drugs, and Rupert Grint?

Yes Please.

Sad to say that this doesn't have US distribution yet. To learn a teensy bit more about Cherry Bomb, check out Worst Previews description of the film.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grab Your Hashtags and Celebrate Funny Women Wednesday!

First things first! If you haven't joined Twitter yet, you need to, it's a great way to have conversations about all things ever with strangers, peeps in your job and/or hobby circle, and your beloved/bearable only on the internet friends. It's also great because with the use of hashtags (# sign) you can tag every post you make so other users can easily find the topics you're discussing. Here's a easy guide to Twitter. It will not intimidate you or get all pretentious in your face. I used it, and now I am happy. Also here's some more helpful and articulate things about hashtags.

Okay so now that you are a twitter user and sort of understand hashtags, it's good to know that there are a couple popular ones that cleverly coincide with days of the week, like #followfriday or #musicmonday. You use the former when you want your followers to follow the hip cats that you're following: "HeyHeyLouisaMay: #followfriday @heartsandstring for pop culture loving feminists." and the latter to share what songs you heart that day: "HeyHeyLouisaMay: #musicmonday "Where your eyes don't go" by They Might Be Giants."

SO in this (new) grand tradition I call on everyone to adorn Wednesdays with a new hashtag phenomenon: #funnywomenwednesday. It takes up a few extra characters, but it's worth it to show your followers, as well as Twitter searchers everywhere, women who are really fucking comical. It could be a shoutout to follow your giggle-inducing gal pal or an amusing actress you like. Also good, a link to some side splitting stand-up, or a blog written by a witty woman. Just highlight the laugh inducing ladies in your life. Everyone needs a reminder that even though Judd Apatow and crew rarely let us have the good lines, we can blithely banter with the best of 'em.

Why is this necessary? Who didn't see "I Love You, Man," and WISH that someone would have given Jamie Pressly more dialogue? And no one is looking forward to "Funny People" more than me, but even with Leslie Mann in a(nother) supporting role it's clear that the funny people helming this film (Seth Rogen, Adam Sandlar, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman) are definitely men. These boys sure know how to spin a humdinger, and I adore 'em for it, but it's clear that they aren't willing to seriously spilt their stage time with us. What's more ridiculous than that? And I don't have to tell you that there is an obnoxious rumor going around town that women aren't funny. There are more Feys, Poehlers, Wiigs, Silvermans, and Presslys out there, let's shine a spotlight on them, at least one day a week. It'd be more attention than they get now.

Not on Twitter? Then spread some love on Facebook, MySpace, or even on your own personal blog. You heard it here first kiddos, April 1st, 2009 kicks off Funny Women Wednesday, and that's no joke.

Cat + Fox + Tongue = Something You Definitely Want to See

Via Holy Cuteness Please note the creative use of The Nutcracker in the background:

Once I worked at a Metro Parks exhibit and helped look after a Fennec Fox and it was the greatest time in my life.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sham Wow Won't Clean Up EVERY Mess

TRIGGER WARNING - So the Sham Wow Guy (SWG), real name Vince Shlomi (can't tell which moniker is worse), violently beat up a sex worker last month after she bit his tongue while kissing. This is 100% awful and the extent of the violence is shocking, as the Smoking Gun reports that she sustained facial fractures and lacerations all over her face. And here's a dose of quease-inducing coincidence, the attack happened on February 7th, one day before Chris Brown brutally attacked his girlfriend Rhianna.

Somehow, though, SWG beating up a sex worker didn't make the news in the same way, only trickling out this weekend as a novelty story. All posts about it have so far seemed to be more about Sham Wow and less about how this is a serious violent crime against a woman. Why haven't we heard about this until now? Probably because common views of sex workers are that they as disposable and deserving of the violence that plagues them. Lest we forget the words of serial prostitute killer, Gary Ridgeway, "I picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught."

Severe? Sure, but reflections of this way of thinking can be seen in something as ubiquitous as the Grand Theft Auto series, during which your male character can rape and kill prostitutes. Do we all actively want or support violence against this population? Of course not, but there is a bigger question here. When it comes to sex workers, do we notice or care when these violent acts happen?

Sing It Out Sunday

Music and me are like BFF's, but I am sucktacular at writing reviews of albums, or even trying to describe how a band sounds. So that's not what's going to happen here. Basically you just need to know (if you don't already, geeze) that it's time to purchase the digital/disc/vinyl editions of the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, It's Blitz! and the new Metric album, Fantasies. On the YYY page you only get hear their single and you also have to deal with a giant fakey-yet-still-grody eyeball background. Though on Metric's page, you get to hear a lot of the album and have the soothing image of a light bulb to gaze upon. Bottom line, both bands are fantastico and don't put out a lot of music, so hearing newness from them has been making March miraculous. If you're not currently listening to either of these dancy dancy, female led sensations, now is your chance. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Jocular Jaunt Overs: CBS Hearts Your Colon Edition

If you've been watching NCAA tournament with gusto, then you know CBS cares about your colon. So much so that they have created a contest in which the winner will be flown to New York to stay three luxurious nights a hotel and receive a stem-to-stern screening for colon cancer. Bizarre in a good-deed-weird-delivery kind of way isn't it? So as we know, all cancer is absolutely terrible and not funny, but there is a laugh to be had here, and it's lies within the PSA's CBS has created for this challenge. With a dash of terrible word play and a pinch of The Price Is Right style sweepstakes mania, these 10 different shorts are hilariously unexpected when they pop up inbetween car commericals and soda ads. Need a quick chuckle? Jaunt on over to CBS Cares page and check out the 16 second shots. Added bonus? If you're between the ages of 40-79 you can enter to win, just remeber who sent you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Leave Your Vowels at the Door This Saturday

If you're in Ohio THIS weekend do yourself a favor and see new buckeye breakout sensations Speed Governor (affectionately known as SPD GVNR) play their very first show at the Treehouse in Columbus Saturday night. According to their MySpace page, this eerily similar trio of males fancies their music a mix of indie, rock, and post punk; citing impressive influences like Fugazi, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. and the Weakerthans. Is that not enough for you? Well, also at this show you can see, Via Audio, and Bicentennial Bear. What are you waiting for? Roadtrip to Columbus, Get there at 10, by some drinks, and GT RDY T RCK!

You Took the Words Outta My Mouth: Lovelle Mixon

I listened to three different stories about Lovelle Mixon on NPR today as I drove to and from work. If you are not familiar with his story yet, Mixon was shot and killed by police in Oakland California last week after he alledgedly killed 4 officers, and wounded another. Other than the tragic aspect of this story, it is noteable because it compounds the already toxic relationship between the black community and the police. It again raises many questions about what role police brutality will (continue to) play in this whole mess. Samhita over at Feministing has a great post up about this that I certainly cannot compete with:

When police officers are found to have murdered young black men, they are almost always let off the hook, they do not face life in prison and they are not then hunted and killed. This is not to suggest that the murder of cops is justified, but to ask that we look at it within the context of police brutality and the damage it has wreaked on the black community.

The power that resides in the laps of armed police officers is terrifying. Imagine living in these conditions, in the kind of world where you can be gunned down just for being young, black, male and walking down the street. This story is almost impossible to understand given dominant narratives around race, class, gender and black masculinity. It is considered OK to kill young black men, often violently. We may be outraged, but not nearly as outraged as when cops are killed.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

There's No Excuse for Voting Republican

*Thanks to Hannah

Before "Stuff White People Like" Gets Their Snarky Hands On It...Enjoy This Trailer Made Especially for You

Sometimes life hands you a movie starring John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Cathrine O'Hara, Jeff Daniels, Jim Gaffigan, Allison Janney, and Maggie Gyllenhaal and it's directed by Sam Mendes and it has animated title cards, and some soft folk music and it's about having no direction in your early 30s. And wow, you love the idea of it, but when it's clearly the hipster movie of the year (move over Juno), you are already dreading:

A) Hating it and having people ask you why constantly
B) Loving it with all with the knowledge that it was totally marketed directly to you

Here ya go...try not to become mildly obsessed with Johnny K's beard, it's only there because they knew you would love it:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Go Chase Those Snakes Outta Yer Home!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Hope everyone had an outrageously fun evening!

Blatant Self Promotion

So if I haven't called you hollering about how a blog of mine got chosen to be on the front page of Feministing, here's me telling you now. I'm very excited. It's the John Kerry post (see below) and I was hoping for a little more interesting political discourse than I have gotten in the comments so far. So if you've got something to say about Global Feminism go to my Feministing post and say it now. Otherwise I'll just have to continue the flamewar I've got going on with the PUMA who's trolling there. Also, my first blog about ANTM got linked to from one of Jessica's blogs here. It's been a good day.

Senator Kerry and the "Girl Effect"

I know it's been a few months under this new leadership, but I still get pretty bowled over when politicians publicly champion women's rights and not in a we-should-respect-women-by-not-letting-them-have-abortions-or-birth control kind of way. First our amazing new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces that the rights of women will "always be central to our foreign policy."

Then our new President Obama creates a first ever Council on Women and Girls led by Obama's senior aid, Valerie Jarrett. Signed into law on International Women's Day March 8th, the council will, according to Jarrett, "examine all the programs at the federal level that touch on women and girls and we're going to work to coordinate and make sure that each of those programs is doing everything that it could do to help support women and girls." So awesome that it's tear inducing:

Now today, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has an excellent piece published in the Washington Times discussing the state of women and girls around the world and highlights the importance of investing in our futures. Here are his main talking points:
It's up to all of us to ensure that this economic crisis does not become a global women's crisis, too. At moments like these in developing countries, women are asked to bear the brunt of the hardship. When food is scarce, economists have found that women and girls are pressured to forgo their share altogether so that men and boys have enough to eat. In the same way, we must now make sure that women workers aren't pushed aside as businesses downsize and that daughters aren't taken out of school as families search for extra income
I find it so refreshing to hear the political discourse shift from how we should cut the rights of women globally to how to champion them instead. I am always sensitive, however, to how we discuss global women's issues as to not sound like the great western world sweeping down to save the poor eastern women from their backwards society. I think this is a great piece, though. What are your thoughts? Read the entire commentary here.

Thanks to Colin for the link

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pug Screeching "I Love You" Is Terrifyingly Cute

Who doesn't love Montel? Still, even I couldn't muster this kind guttural response. I hope this makes you laugh and doesn't give you night terrors.

I Wanna Be On Top: High Fashion, "Low Prices," Bad Taste

This cycle Tyra did not want to wait the usual two or three episodes to make over her edge-less contestants. We could barely settle into Wednesday's episode of America's Next Top Model before we were smacked in the face with a spy theme that was right out of Cheesetown USA. Tyra had totally confidential ("for fierce eyes only") new looks for all the girls, but her fake-a-roo trench coat and fedora coupled with bad Charlie's Angels style video-phone editing made the whole thing look like a big trying-too-hard-for ratings fiasco. Are girls crying at getting their hair cut no longer gimmicky enough to rope in viewers? Well if sheering girls til they sob won't do it, and Tyra's bad Carmen Sandiego impression isn't cutting it either, perhaps Wal-Mart could give a go of it.

Yep, nothing screams high fashion like Wal-Mart, that's why this week's challenge was centered around the Covergirl Wal-Mart Wall. Manufactured in an empty room because there are no Wal-Marts in NYC, some one-named make-up artist stands in front of the wall and chokes out some forced line like this, "At Wal-mart anyone can confidently personalize their own look for less." Leaving out that Wal-Mart has this "unique" ability because they don't give their worker's raises and make them work off the clock. That Covergirl wall is oh-so-affordable because their non-management workers are living thousands of dollars below the US poverty level (according to Wake-Up Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Watch). This is a problem that could be easily fixed by raising the prices on every product half a penny.

And speaking of non-management workers, the majority of them are women! Even though they make up 72 % of Wal-Mart's total workforce, only 33 % of women get to move out from behind the cashier and become management. So glamorous! It's a good thing that Covergirl is so damn cheap because at a whopping $8.23 an hour (that's $13,861 annually folks!) the ladies of Wal-Mart aren't going to see the inside of a Sephora anytime soon. Even those lucky 33% who win a coveted upper management job are still only getting a consolation prize, according to the United Food and Commericial Workers (UFCW) "women in management positions earn nearly $5,000 per year less than men."

The girls squealed and nodded with excitement as the challengers blathered on about Wal-Mart's greatness. For all of the fits the contestants rountinely have about nothing, you'd think one or two of them could speak up about how awful (and très unfashionable) Wal-mart is. Not even the street preacher made a peep. I'm always curious how much this is the producers forcing them to go along (since Wal-Mart is clearly a sponser) or if the contestants would rather rally against a haircut than a jerky corporation. But really, it's the show's responsibility to not cater to such an unethical company. Tyra's crusade for women looks pretty shoddy if she's supporting a company that routinely holds women back. You wanna be on top? Standing on the backs of other women is not the way to get there.

Check out Tyra's Go Go Gadget Editing:

Getting pumped about Wal-Mart:

Related Story: I Wanna Be On Top: Use Your Inner Goddess to Preserve the Purity of Young Girls

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Now You'll Be Able to Afford a Hot Meal AND Your Birth Control

Huzzah! Today the Affordable Birth Control Act passed! According to RH Reality Check this new bill "will make birth control more available and affordable for women who obtain contraceptives at community health centers and college clinics." I don't know about y'all, but I can clearly remember the day I went to the health center at my undergrad gripping the 20 bucks reserved especially for my BC only to be turned away when I couldn't afford the new 50 dollar price hike.

Bush & Co. forced those of us who had previously been taking a responsible role in their reproductive health to step back and make some hard decisions. Utilities or birth control? Groceries or birth control? Books for class or birth control? It was unfair of them to put us in that position and now we will finally be able to regain our financial footing when it comes to our health. As one of the women in the video below says BC isn't just about controlling reproduction. It is often used to help skin conditions, regulate unusual periods, and deescalate the pain that comes with severe cramping (among other things). Supporting BC is an important part of supporting women's health, a nonpartisan issue that should be supported by all.

Employee Free Choice Act Introduced Today! (Expect More Mayor McCheese Sightings in the Near Future)

Mayor McCheese was strutting around in front of the White House yesterday thoughtlessly showing off his dollar sign adorned burlap sack. Not a good idea in the robber-happy District of Columbia, just today a CVS I often frequent on U st (fairly safe) got knocked off at 3'o'clock in the afternoon. Just because that bag isn't full of burgers doesn't mean you'll go unburgled, Mr. Mayor.

Though, only a few feet from this walking sideshow, is this woman with this protest sign leading me to believe that there must be something deeper going on here...

To get to the bottom of this mystery, I've garnered the help of DC union organizer, John Aho, who explains that this is indeed a deep issue. One as deep as the pockets of some of the richest, most anti-union corporations around.
Why are you looking at a picture of people with hamburgers, moneybags and cashiers in the place of their heads?It all started Monday afternoon. Lafayette Park, which is across from both the White House and the Chamber of Commerce, hosted a protest against big business’s opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, which was introduced in congress today. Burger King, Bank of America (despite taking billions in taxpayer dollars) and Walmart are among the companies spending millions of dollars to defeat the bill (hence the silly costumes). Big Business hates the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) because it would mean extra money out of their already bulging pockets, since union workers make more money, and receive better benefits than their non-union counterparts.

The EFCA is important for many reasons, first, it fixes the current broken system of forming unions, and moves to a more level playing field for workers and management.
Second, it would allow workers to organize unions without intimidation and harassment from management. The EFCA would ban mandatory anti-union meetings and increase penalties for illegal firing of pro-union workers (which happens more than 25% of the time!). Lastly, it would force companies to bargain with their workers in good faith; and allow workers to choose whether they want their Union recognized through an election or a majority signup process.
Okay, when he says "silly costumes," I'm pretty certain he means amazing costumes. Though more importantly, unions and their members get a pretty awful rap as gangsters, thieves, or layabouts because there are more stereotypes about them in the mainstream consciousness than facts due to a huge lack of education about labor issues. Really, unions are just fighting against corporations (isn't that what we're all doing?) on behalf of workers. Workers who get screwed out of a health care, a living wage (7 bucks an hour isn't cutting it), and workplace safety (without unions you could get hurt on the job, and then fired for not performing).

Unions also make sure women get the workplace equality (like promotions!) that they deserve - this is especially helpful in traditionally male jobs like carpentry, and construction. In fact, in December a new study called Unions and Upwards Mobility for Women Workers was released with good news for women. It showed that for women, being a member of a union is "on par with having a college education." Pro women? Pro union!

So if you've have ever had a job that you wanted to not be treated like crap at, but you lacked the power to change anything, strap on that hamburger hat and grab your sack 'o' cash because now's the time to start supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Get Active: Sign the Petition to Overturn More Bush Bullshit!

So back in November, only weeks away from being booted out, the Bush administration put through some legislation that would keep even basic reproductive information out of the hands of patients. According to Planned Parenthood the new rule allows "almost 600,000 health care entities that receive federal funding to redefine abortion to include the most common forms of birth control — and then refuse to provide these basic services." Pretty sleazy, huh? Not to mention ridiculously dangerous.

Of course now that Obama is in office, the still-hard-to-believe-I'm-not-dreaming trend of slowly but surely fixing and reversing all the abuses of power/asshat decision making continues. Obama is looking to overturn this rule, but he needs to hear from you. Please visit the Planned Parenthood website here and sign a petition urging him and the Dept. of Health and Human Services to reverse this unethical intrusion into women bodies and lives.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Wanna Be On Top: Use Your Inner Goddess to Preserve the Purity of Young Girls

Cycle 12 of America's Next Top Model aired it's two hour premiere tonight with themes of greek goddesses and girly innocence. As someone who came within inches of getting the opportunity to strut my stuff out there, I watched transfixed with skepticism (that Rockville girl with the bad attitude took MY spot?), and wonderment (did Tyra just self identify as the Goddess of Fierce?).

The high notes of this week are mostly centered around the picking of the girls who will live in the house and becoming familiar with their characters. The notable ones include a Texan street preacher, a wide eyed girl with blood lust, the requisite "plus sized" model that looks like everyone I know, and perhaps Tyra's proudest catch, a burn survivor. Tahlia (the burn survivor) and Kortnie (the "plus sized" model) serve as the shows' underdogs and token characters that Tyra can point to so that the show can't be criticized by the mainstream as only catering to a certain body type or look.

Tyra has already bathed in self righteousness over how Tahlia is strong and needs to be given a chance by ANTM, and while she makes an attempt at comforting Tahlia when she feels othered at the runway competition, Tyra's bemoaning about how the modeling industry will either love Tahlia's scars or hate them just comes off as belittling. Tahila's personality quickly is lost on the show, and she becomes nothing more than her scars. I look forward to learning more about her (as she is one of the nicer contestants), and I hope the producers give us a chance to see her other attributes, interests, and thoughts. That being said, as always with this gray-area series, it is great that this woman has air time to talk about her story, showing viewers that she is talented, and that her burns don't make her ugly. Although, so far she has admitted that the show is making her feel "shame" about her skin and serves as a reminder for how "different" she is. Will this be a train wreck or a growing experience for the audience and the contestant? I'm eager to see how this plays out.

Secondly, the show's photo shoot has a creepy/cute focus on young girls and how they are, according to Tyra, "good girls turned bad." (bolding mine) During the shoot, there is an emphasis on what makes a good girl (pigtails and jax) and a bad girl (torn stockings, smeared make-up, and pregnancy), and Tyra can't help but allude to her talk show which has found that (gasp) "1 out of 5 girls want to be teen moms." This moral panic has, of course, turned into Tyra's personal war against the idea of "innocence and purity being lost." Which we know thanks to The New York Times and Jessica Valenti, founder of Feministing and author of the new book The Purity Myth, is a big fucking scare tatic. Not to mention how this line of thinking only targets and infantilizes girls and women. It is disempowering in refusing to acknowledge our capabilty to make our own choices, and is also slut shaming/victim blaming as it ignores the responsibility of the men needed for the sexing, raping, and baby-making. The Tyra Show website even asks "Why are so many teenaged girls pregnant?!," - we have yet to see the question, "Why are so many teen guys getting girls pregnant?" In the video clip, not one person even thinks to explain girls get pregnant "because guys have unprotected sex with them." Though, that's because, duh, it's mostly the media whoring them up and making 'em unpure. It couldn't be from the lack of safe sex education, no no no. Don't girls know we can see their dirty pillows? Cover up, or you might get preggers. Unless you're on America's Next Top Model, then get nekkid, sexy, and girly for the camera's, but only in the most pure fashionista way. Virgin/Whore Chic is totally in for Spring. Thanks Tyra, the wealth of crazy pants knowledge you bestow is priceless.