Sunday, July 31, 2005

Stuff To Do Instead of Shaving Your Legs

Breaking News! The Seattle PI has reported that,
"according to a survey of 1,000 women by Nair, the hair removal company, women in the Northwest are the most likely in the country to be caught by a date with hairy legs. But four out of five said their date was OK with the leg stubble.

Ladies in this region are more likely than others to skip hair removal during the winter.

Interestingly, Nair's survey also found that single women were more likely to let their body hair grow than those who were attached (56 to 49 percent).

So, in the time you save NOT shaving, here's some cool stuff to do:

  • Go see Matt Smith's awesome one-man show My Boat to Bainbridge. It plays at the Market Theater (below Pike Place Market) ONLY through August 19 and ONLY on Friday nights. My beloved and I have been burned by some very mediocre one-person shows recently and we were overjoyed when this one turned out to be totally entertaining and insightful.

  • On your way to the show, have a drink and a bite in the cozy, romantic bar at Il Bistro (also on Post Alley near the theater). Even the appetizers are pure heaven. It's been there 30 years and we just discovered it this weekend. Don't miss this place.

  • If you are travelling to or from Eastern Washington, stop in Cle Elum at the Homestead Restaurant for the best frigging barbecue you may have ever tasted. Portions are huge, so share a plate. And the homemade pies are better than mom's (maybe even grandma's). It's cheap and satisfying and you won't be able to get it off your mind until you find an excuse to return for more.

["Boat" Review] [Another "Boat" Review]

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sittin' 'n Spreadin'

Sometimes epiphanies come in a flash of brilliant light and sometimes they hit you with a "Duh-UH-uh!"! My latest was the latter.

So by now you know all about my 50+ pound weight gain in two years (ya-da-ya-da) and I've been playing dumb about the reasons behind this mysterious phenomenon. Then I read the print version of the two-by-fours I needed to hit me up side the head.

First, an Australian study shows the more we sit on our dead asses at work, the greater our chances of gaining weight (like up to six times more). Duh-UH-uh! I went from being a teacher who barely had time for lunch and probably walked 5 miles of hallway each day to someone in an office who, when she isn't sitting, is driving or attending meetings where I am well fed.

Then, the NYTimes reported that women who expect to lose weight by lifting weights are going to be disappointed. There are lots of reasons (you can't build muscle while you are dieting, most women don't use heavy enough weights, etc.) but the best course of action is to do LOTS of cardio for weight loss and when you want to firm up or gain definition, use weights (and don't be afraid to use heavy ones).

I'm not going to call "Duh!" on this last revelation because we are constantly being told that if we build muscle we will speed up weight loss and it's just not as true as we thought.

OK...that's it. The more you sit, the fatter you get. End of story. To take it off, you gotta run or walk while you eat less. Helpful Hint: The NYT also suggests that if you sit all day, take a five-minute walk every hour (that could be up to 40 minutes of walking in a day!). Do you know what this means? I have to actually get ON the treadmill and USE it. No more living in the Valley of De-Nile.

But the folks at the Mayo Clinic are not taking the obesity issue sitting down! They have developed a treadmill workstation that moves at 1 mile per hour and allows you to check your e-mail, make phone calls, etc. I WANT ONE! If you stay on it all day, you could burn up to 1000 calories at work.

My beloved and I sort of rigged up something like this with a music stand holding our laptops at eye level so we can blog or surf while we try to burn calories. It's a little tippy, but it gets us up and moving. And from what I've read, the more we transfer our dead (porky) asses off the couch and onto the treadmill, the sooner we will look like Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford -- or gosh -- even Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Duhhhuhh!

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Dark Side of Judith Miller

Wondering why the press hasn't shown more righteous indignation about having a colleague jailed for not revealing her sources? Perhaps it's because Judith Miller is not behind bars for the reasons we might have thought.

To the consternation of several of my blog readers, I have been holding out for Ms. Miller because I didn't want to mix apples (her complicity in sending us to war) and oranges (her refusal to reveal her sources). I thought her punishment should be associated with the crime.

It might after all.

You need to read Ariana Huffington's analysis of Plamegate filled with plenty of links to fill out the "rest of the story." Makes a fuck of a lot of sense.

Via [Huffington Post]

Summer Treats

Once in awhile you do something you can't help but brag about. Well, I don't know what came over me, but I put on quite a spread for the 4th of July and I surprised myself. are the recipes. You owe it to yourself to try them. They both delicious AND easy, I promise. I got them all from the Food Network website.

Rosemary Chicken -- just grill after brushing with olive oil/garlic/rosemary mixture. Keep the pieces small and put them on a decorative bed of spinach leaves (this will look great for company).

Black Bean Salad
-- Oh man, this is good.
Crab Cakes -- YUM!
Peach Shortcake -- AAAAGH! Forget the this instead.

Beverage: try "Strawberry Limonade" -- Blend ice, 1 part Bacardi Limon, 2 parts sweet & sour mix, fresh or frozen strawberries, maybe some seltzer, garnish with lemon slices. Ooooh baby!

Add a couple of veggie and fruit platters, a caeser salad, maybe some hummus and pita chips. Voila! You can do ALL of this ahead of time (except the whipped cream for the shortcake). I swear your friends will LOVE you and remains are just as good the next day. I'm still dreaming about leftover black bean salad.

"Popular. I'll help you be popular...."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Words to Live By

"I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.

"I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections."

-- U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour during the sentencing hearing for Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian national, who was sentenced to 22 years for plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium.

The Life of a Showgirl

If you've read my blog before, you are aware of the soap opera that surrounds Sunny who is now "Singing Sinatra" in Seattle. It's been almost a month since my beloved and I returned from her show and the fascination continues. We are driven to know more about the whole...Sunny Scene. He calls them "bottom feeders," I prefer "wannabe"s -- probably because my hopes for them are a bit higher. Our internet searching revealed the HBO Special "starring" (according to Sunny's PR) Sunny herself. So, we "Tivo-d" it weeks ago and have been breathlessly waiting for it to air.

Exhausted from watching the "up and down" backstage world of Vegas showgirls (NOT strippers!), I felt compelled to share with you what I learned from the backstage trials of Sunny and her ilk in HBO's "Showgirls: Glitz & Angst". These are life lessons, actually, and as universally applicable as Robert Fulghum's lessons from Kindergarten. See if you agree:

  • Men are pigs, especially schlocky Vegas show producers
  • No showgirl thinks her boobs are big enough
  • You don't have to be good looking to be a showgirl (trust me on this)
  • There's always the risk of injury and that means you are out of a job and an income
  • It's amazing what people will do six times a week for $700
  • It's amazing how many tall skinny girls are willing to dance topless for $700 a week
  • Showgirls are just as trapped in their jobs as CPAs are in theirs
  • Men are pigs, especially cheap-ass Vegas producers
  • Showgirls pick shitty men for boyfriends, too
  • If you have no talent and you are only 5 foot 3, marry the producer and you'll get work in showbiz
  • You know that lady in your neighborhood who still wears a beehive hairdo because she thought she looked good that way in high school? Well, there are people in showbiz who still dress like 80s Solid Gold dancers (male AND female).
  • Add some nails, lashes, big earrings, make-up, heels, stand up straight and tall, and you, too, could be a showgirl...well, maybe
  • Men are pigs, especially horny Vegas producers
  • Showgirls have to get weighed in every week and stay within 5 pounds (either way...go figure)
  • I'm continually impressed with how well former dancers dress. They know how to make chicken salad out of chicken shit (figure wise)
  • Showgirls, too, take shit from their boyfriends about being frigid

Bottom line: it's a many others. Hard work, long hours, risky conditions, crappy benefits. But those who succeed have BIG attitudes and they know how to "work it." Short story: Marilu Henner once went shopping with a friend who couldn't decide which coat to buy. The friend became frustrated that she didn't like any of them and asked Marilu to try them on. As Marilu modeled, her friend complained that Marilu looked good in all of them. Marilu said, "It's not the coat. It's how you WORK the coat that matters." That's been a GREAT lesson for me. It's not what your coat looks like...if you work it right, people will eat it up.

So, as silly as it sounds, I think we can learn a lot from the showgirls: when you face the world, walk tall, proud, with grace, and wear as much camouflage as you can without being picked up for hustling.

A footnote: The latest show at the Rio (where "Showgirls" played) is called "Erocktica" It's all about "Sex, Sweat,and Rock 'n' Roll" and stars a singer/dancer/Italian bombshell named Gabriella Versace, a rock and roll cover band, and more showgirls. At $49.95, it's a deal!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Do We Need Roe? Maybe So.

If you read this blog, you know a couple of things about me:


Second -- In this very blog, I have debated the impact of losing Roe v. Wade.

Since Ms. Pollitt does a MUCH better job chewing over this topic, I'm linking to her EXCELLENT piece in this week's Nation.

Oh...and while you are at their website, why don't you subscribe? Such a thoughtful publication deserves our support.

You're Not the Boss of Me!

When someone tells me I can't do something, a nasty little part of my soul cries out: "Screw you! I'm doing it."

With the hope that you feel the same way, here are a couple of ways that the thought police are trying to keep you from making your own decisions so you can say "Screw you!" and do it anyway.

Apparently, it's OK for the President to nickname Karl Rove "Turd Blossom," but such talk is inappropriate for American newspaper readers. (Funny how the Bushies get away with public vulgarity while they spout family values -- remember Cheney telling Pat Leahy to "fuck off" in front of a group of senators and W. describing NY Times reporter Adam Clymer as a "major league asshole" with his microphone on?) To protect our delicate sensibilities, several newspapers are withholding this week's Doonesbury strips. You can read ALL of them at

The next time you read about plummeting newspaper circulation, remember this example of how publishers treat their readers like children.

via SuperFrankenstein

And the AMC theater chain is concerned about the content of the new comedy, The Aristocrats **WARNING: this link spills a bit of the beans** which caused a friend of mine (who got to see a preview) to go into laugh spasms.

Funny, we didn't hear the same concerns from AMC when they showed the violent and bloody (and unrated version of) Passion of the Christ or Inside Deep Throat which was rated NC-17. By the way, AMC will become the second largest theater chain this summer when it merges with the Leows chain.

SO the logic goes like this: Blow jobs? OK. Flesh shredding and flagellation? OK. Dirty talk? NO WAY!

I kind of love it that words scare censors so much more than sex and violence. Makes you want to go out and read a banned book.

"Don't join the book burners"
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower (U.S. President 1953-1961)

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."
-- William O. Douglas (Supreme Court Associate Justice for 36 years)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Potter Pooper

I truly don't know what to say about this. My beloved and I were driving home on I-90 this morning and we saw a compact car with the conclusion of the newest Harry Potter book scrawled across its back window in big white letters:"XXX dies because XXX kills (him/her)."

I dropped my jaw. It's only been about 9 days since the long-awaited book was released and this driver decided to spill the beans to all the world. I had visions of parents hastily reaching over to cover their children's eyes, adult readers chasing after the car to express their literary road rage, etc., but nothing. Just me and my beloved staring at each other, amazed at the audacity.

I shouldn't have been so surprised, I guess. If the laws of physics are correct and "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction," something like this was bound to happen in the wake of threatened lawsuits for early leaks. But when I lost my patience last Saturday morning and wanted an early reveal, I couldn't find any blog that would tell me the ending. So, I did what every impatient reader does, I read the last two chapters and I haven't cracked another page since. Hey, I'll get to it.

But I didn't tell anyone else the ending! Come on!

Do we have a social pact to keep secrets like this? Or should we be relieved to know that, no matter how good our manners are expected to be, there are people willing to break the unspoken rules -- and in a big way?

Since I just watched a powerful movie made as a criticism of McCarthy era complicity, Bad Day at Black Rock*, I'm going to side with the obnoxious driver. But if you haven't finished the book yet and you find yourself on the freeway, just keep your eyes on the road.

*Film Site is one of my favorite movie sites. Great analysis, historical context, and background information on classic works of cinema.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Who IS This Guy?

If you want to hear John Roberts in action, go to the NPR website and listen to Nina Totenberg's exhaustive coverage on Morning Edition today. She features numerous audio clips that let you hear the man himself argue before the courts on multiple issues and he's very clear and forceful.

If you are still trying to figure out who Roberts is, read the AP story by Will Lester that explains how Roberts advised Governor Jeb Bush during the 2000 recount while the boys were trying to wrap up the "election" and how Roberts' wife is strongly pro-life, working and donating to Feminists for Life of America Inc., a small Washington-based group. I understand their children are adopted, so frankly, choice may not be an issue for her in real life and it's easy to oppose abortion when it remains theoretical.

The GOP wants to make sure you know he was confirmed unanimously for his 2001 D.C. Curcuit appointment and that he has done pro bono work on behalf of indigent clients. They are also using the talking points "nice", "decent", "smart", "consensus", and "team player" right now. It will be interesting to watch Ken Mehlman in hix next appearance -- he'll make it plain what they want us to know about him -- over and over and over again.

He's very telegenic and the Democrats will be fighting him for face time in the upcoming hearings, but since everyone seems to be hiding behind the fact that he has been a paid advocate rather than a judge for most of his career, it's difficult to know if there is any meat there to tear into.

I'm keeping my ears open.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Helen Thomas is Still Bustin' Balls's not the most hard hitting editorial, but Helen Thomas's column in tomorrow's Seattle Post Intelligencer is keenly observed and shows what an excellent reporter of White House shenanigans she still is after 62 years of covering those yahoos.

And if you missed her interview on Fresh Air tonight, you MUST hear it. She gives the White House press corps a raspberry for being such pussies after 9/11. "They didn't want to appear unpatriotic," she said. Ms. Thomas learned early in the first W. administration that she was persona non grata for asking the hard questions. After catching hell from Ari Fleisher for "blindsiding the President," she was ignored (and seated in the back row) at what she calls the President's "so-called" press conferences.

But she's not cowed by the Bushies' silent treatment. She says she won't bow to anyone, nor should any other American. "They are our public servants," she said. "They work for us."

God Damn, I love her. She's writing a book about how the press and Congress silently acquiesced while the Bushies sent our soldiers to war and I can't wait to read it. The mood in the press room may be shifting slightly, she says, as reporters realize they have been had (she saw the same thing happened during the Woodward & Bernstein era).

A lot of today's reporters are intimidated by Rove et. al. who deny access to White House sources if reporters bring displeasure to the monarch. When will they learn that a couple of "The White House refused to comment"s in their story might encourage the administration to knock that shit off. Or, like Eric Alterman suggested, how about if no one asks another question until the previous reporter gets a clear answer to theirs first? There are a helluva lot more reporters than there are of Bushies and they need the press far more than the press needs them.

Thank God Helen Thomas hasn't retired yet. Sounds like the White House press corps still needs a role model who still has balls.

Doing the Right Thing

Jim Sinegal, CEO of Costco, explained in Sunday's NY Times why Costco is the Anti Wal-Mart.

What's shocking is how many financial analysts disparage Mr. Sinegal for paying his workers so much, covering so much of their health care costs, you know, basically, acting like a decent person.

We need to vote with our dollars and support Costco. Besides, where else can you get a GREAT hot dog and soda for under two bucks?

You go, Jim! Thank you for recognizing that your work force AND your customers are HUMAN BEINGS and not just units to be manipulated for profits.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Shameless Plug II

Hey! What day is it? Yeah, yeah, they landed on the moon on this day in 1969. I remember clearly my thighs sticking to the vinyl seats during a sizzling hot car ride home after visiting relatives on their wheat farm when the news came over the AM radio...

No, wait, I got distracted...What day is it?

That's right, ladies and's Wednesday, which means it's COMIC BOOK DAY!

Time to go to your favorite comic book store and pick up the new issues.

My beloved has another Spiderman comic out today entitled "Spiderman: House of M" (Vol. 2 of 5). Buy a copy for $2.99 and we'll continue to pay our landlord! Bless you.

In a Nutshell

Judith Miller can't catch a break.

When the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), a 50-year-old group of some 1,100 non-fiction independent writers, proposed giving her its "Conscience in the Media" award earlier this week, an uproar started that the ASJA didn't expect. Anita Bartholomew, a freelance journalist who has contributed to Reader's Digest, among others, told E&P she resigned from the nine-member First Amendment Committee rather than give Miller the award because:
"The First Amendment is designed to prevent government interference with a free press. Miller, by shielding a government official or officials who attempted to use the press to retaliate against a whistleblower, and scare off other would-be whistleblowers, has allied herself with government interference with, and censorship of, whistleblowers," Bartholomew wrote in a resignation letter provided to E&P. "When your source IS the government, and the government is attempting to use you to target a whistleblower, the notion of shielding a source must be reconsidered. To apply standard practices regarding sources to hiding wrongdoing at the highest levels of government perverts the intent of the First Amendment."

The ASJA's onine message board was then flooded with opposition e-mail. The status of the award is currently undecided.

Read more at E&P

Incidentally, First Amendment T-shirts on sale for $16.95 at

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Shoot Him An E-Mail

Michael Coleman, mayor of Columbus, Ohio, deserves an "atta boy" e-mail from all of us for supporting a ban on assault weapons. In return for his efforts, those warm and cuddly folks at the NRA have pulled out their 2007 convention, costing Columbus businesses $15 - $20 million.

This (the NRA) is the same group who lacked the good manners to stay out of Denver following the Columbine shootings even after city leaders asked them to move their convention. Maybe a good old-fashioned shoot-out would lure the NRA back.

"When freedom comes back to Columbus," said NRA Executive Vice Prez Wayne LaPierre, "we will come back to Columbus" but not, apparently, until they can bring their semiautomatic rifles with pistol grips and detachable magazines.

The NRA would have lost a bundle in exhibitor fees because the banned weapons couldn't be sold during the three-day convention. And the organization really doesn't like it when local municipalities make their own gun laws. Forty states (mostly with the help of the NRA) have passed "pre-emptive" laws which disallow local firearm legislation. Ohio's state constitution strongly supports local control and, since Mr. Coleman has his eyes on the governor's seat, the NRA has a lot at stake in Columbus.

The Ohio Commission on the Prevention of Injury says firearms are responsible for 57% of all homicides and suicides in Ohio. If you are an African American male between the ages of 20-29 living in an urban area, you are the largest target for firearm violence in Ohio. It's easy for affluent white males like LaPierre to see gun control as a restriction on freedom, but for inner city residents, gun restrictions are a public health issue -- or, in the words of the Bush Administration, necessary to protect a "culture of life."

So, tell Columbus city officials you support their right to make the best decisions for their citizens (and maybe encourage your professional organization to hold their next convention in beautiful downtown Columbus).

You can write Mayor Coleman at Atta boy, Mike.

Cool Stuff for Summer

Summer is supposed to be slow and lazy with nothing more to look forward to than crap TV and the latest female detective novel in paperback, right?

Hell, no! This summer has turned into a treasure trove of cool new stuff to do and enjoy. You gotta check some of this out.

Music: Raul Midon is an enormously entertaining singer and guitarist whose jazzy, pop, folk style is irresistible. He has the intense enthusiasm and gorgeous guitar work of Jose Feliciano with a little Wynton Marsalis mixed in. And his CD is only $8.99! You gotta hear him. He's this summer's Nora Jones.

TV: Have you seen Hooking Up? It's on Thursdays at 9 on ABC. It's NOT another pile of the reality TV scripted crap with tribal councils, contrived competitions, etc. Documentary film makers follow a dozen women as they search for Mr. Right (ar at least Mr. Right Now) through internet dating. Bottom line: no matter how good looking you are, dating success (as in life) depends on being yourself, trusting your instincts, and having a positive attitude.

Books: I can't seem to travel without three or four books because I can never predict my mood. So, here's a wide variety of choices:

Prepared to clear the decks? Read Ready for Anything by David Allen. It's not just a book to get you organized, it will open you up to many possibilities. Truthfully, this might be difficult to absorb by those folks who enjoy their world just the way it is. A slim volume broken into small sections that make it easier to internalize. I wish I'd known about him sooner.

Wanna know what bloggers are saying about weight issues? My friend Deb recommends Tales From the Scale compiled by Erin Shea (her Lose the Buddha blog has chronicled her efforts to get healthy for the past 3 years and it's great). Tales is a compilation of observations from blog writers who have wrestled with the fat monster.

And for total fun, read Carl Hiassen's Skinny Dip about a smart woman whose husband shoves her overboard during a cruise. Maybe it's his experience covering the bizarre world of Florida politics, but no one tells a story with a more wry sense of humor than Carl does. He's addictive.

Movies: Me, You, and Everyone We Know contains a scene that made me laugh harder than I may have EVER laughed in a movie. And it's a beautiful story about love, family, and trying to move forward. Director/writer Miranda July is brilliant and wise.

Other good films include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman Begins, and The Fantastic Four. My friend Logan also recommends the new documentary about Shirley Chisolm and I've heard the March of the Penguins is fantastic. The Wedding Crashers looks raunchy and hilarious and A Very Long Engagement, featuring Audrey Tatou looking for her lost lover during WWI, is out on DVD.

Well, that ought to keep you busy when you're not lying in a hammock under the shade of your back yard.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Wasting Time at Work

If you are reading this at the office, you are among the majority of Americans who claim to waste about 2 hours per day at work, mostly surfing the internet. And the younger you are, the more time you waste. Even worse if you live in Missouri or if you work in the insurance business (totally understandable on all counts).

Now, go read what ELSE people do to waste time on the job.

And then for God's sake...GET BACK TO WORK!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blonde Bomb

I hate my boyfriend.

He doesn't show a lot of interest in many entertainment suggestions.

"Honey, how about some Chekov?"


"Would you like to try a new restaurant?"


"Wanna go for a walk?"


Recently, though, he perked up at the idea of hearing an evening of swingin' music. We had received a publicity flyer from a club that specialized in parodies and satires showing a dishy blonde -- big hair and boobs covered in more make-up than the first floor of a major department store -- in a show called Sunny Sings Sinatra, I thought, "This can't be for real."

Anxious for a few laughs and thrilled that my beloved actually WANTED to see something outside of our apartment, we dressed and headed downtown.

My joy increased at the kitschy Italian decor -- strings of lights hung over red-checked tablecloths and chianti bottles dripping with faux candle wax. Bunches of grapes lit from within framed the ornate set of heavy red velvet curtains trimmed with gold fringe. On stage: a black baby grand played by the music director, who was notorious for his hilarious send-ups of opera and movies. This was going to be fun!

Alarm bells first went off when we saw the sparse crowd: a typical community theater group of upper middle-aged folks who didn't seem poised for a good joke. The white-haired producer mingled with the crowd, schmoozing and shaking hands, followed later by the star herself. I read the program card and reality set in quickly: Sunny is married to the producer of the show -- a man with 30 years of experience creating revues for cruise ships and Vegas lounges and her career has taken the same path. A girl from my hometown worked for this producer years ago and her publicity photos were too risque to be printed in the local paper. Oh man, this was gonna be a long night.

I groaned to my boyfriend and he began a long string of apologies that would continue for the rest of the evening. We had clearly misunderstood each other. He was there to laugh at, I was there to laugh with. Dinner was marginal (not only in taste, but in freshness), the show was delayed with 20 minutes of sound system complications. Then...a video screen lit up with ancient footage of Sunny walking on the beach with no discernable connection to Sinatra.

In a few minutes, the star herself appeared in a pink spangled skin-tight dress with footage of the 1980s era Count Basie Orchestra behind her -- huh?. The show proceeded with Sunny indeed singing Sinatra a la Branson (she couldn't swing if she had one in her backyard) and the audience ate it up -- especially the men -- as she moved among the crowd, perching on the edges of their chairs and in their laps, patting their heads and stroking their beards. She even stopped by our table and flirted with my beloved who wanted to slink under the table. Heh, heh, heh...payback!

In between songs, Sunny spouted inane patter ("Frank had the world on a string, but when the string broke, just like any champ who was down for the count, he came back swingin') and attempted some poor impersonations, including one of Marilyn Monroe that was more tragic than entertaining. There was a video break that showed Sunny's victory at the Frank Sinatra Golf Classic and -- poof!-- she returned in a girly "gangster" costume, singing ballads. The patter didn't improve, but she was much better at the slow tunes.

Thankfully, we were freed after about 80 minutes. Feeling curious and ripped off, I did an internet search for Sunny and her ilk and discovered a world of entertainment companies who make a living hiring show biz wanna-bes to appear in strip shows, bush-league cabaret acts, and erotic reviews for cruise ships, gambling boats, and hotels from New Orleans to Atlantic City. One company was seeking dancers to perform 10-12 shows per week for $650 a month. Oye! Sunny Sings Sinatra was no doubt an out of town try-out for a Vegas lounge and boy, were we lucky to get a preview...and I thought the Wayne Newton reality series "The Entertainer" was cheesy!

I felt duped and robbed, but I also found I wasn't the first to feel taken in by Sunny. Apparently, Sunny did another show in Seattle a few years ago and her producer-husband used some less than ethical methods to attract an audience to that production. The Stranger exposed their questionable publicity in an article entitled "Busted! Busted! Busted!".

So, out of the rubble arose a better understanding between me and my boyfriend about what we ACTUALLY enjoy. And I learned about a whole world of entertainment sleaze that I didn't know about before. See? Things really do turn out for the best.

Yeah, that's what I'll tell myself when the credit card statement comes.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hope for the Mainstream Media

It must be hard NOT to be suicidal if you are reporter these days.

It's bad enough to feel that no matter what you write, it's just gonna be filler between the ad for the Macy's weekend sale or BIG SAVINGS at a local used car lot. But these days, if you are a reporter, your employer is more likely to be a corporation rather than a more attentive local or regional news-gathering operation -- a much altered landscape for reportage than the glory days of Woodward and Bernstein when journalism schools filled up with idealists and glory-seekers.

Eventually, those ever-shrinking news rooms filled up with folks who really thought they'd make a difference -- or at least get some attention -- and a malaise inevitably set in as the bottom line began to dictate bylines.

Mr./Ms. "Anonymous" made a smart comment on my blog the other day that snapped me out some of my media idealism. Let's face it, nothing moves cultural change faster than the desires of the pocketbook (the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins come to mind) and today's media operations have come under the same pressure.

Here's what he/she said:
Let's just fact facts that the [mainstream media] is just not up to the task of actually doing investigations justice any more. They (newspapers, TV, radio, etc.)by-and-large, with few exceptions, are merely commercial enterprises and have nothing to do with the romantic versions so many people have of the media. PR is now part of the "reporters" job. Being invited to sit in the liars gallery in the White House, or report out RNC talking points, this is all they do anymore, with the occaional storm or disaster... [sic]

That's a nutshell. If you are a reporter and you have resigned yourself to this shitty role -- and let's face it, no matter what job we do, we all have a choice to keep humpin' or succumb to the path of least resistance -- the future looks pretty fuckin' bleak for you (the writer) and even worse for us (the readers).

Recently, I found myself harkening back to one of those "romantic versions" Mr./Ms. Anonymous described: a time here in Seattle when KING Broadcasting had one of the best news teams EVER assembled. Aaron Brown was a reporter and anchor, Charles Royer was a reporter/anchor who eventually became the Mayor of Seattle, then a teacher at Harvard's School of Government. And several other reporters eventually moved to the networks and CNN including Hattie Kaufman and James Hattori. For a "brief shining moment," they were a bunch of rabble rousers who performed the closest thing to "gonzo" journalism in local news those days (wearing disguises, going undercover without permission, facing off with politics on camera, etc.). One of the most notorious practioners was reporter Don McGaffin, a fearless investigator who once gave me a ride to a press conference on the back of his motorcyle.

Those were the days when the station was owned and run by the Bullitts, a politically liberal family who was filthy rich and had the balls (and the estrogen) to stand behind their reporters. The Bullitt family was nationally known for having high expectations of journalists and their news staff rose to meet them. KING's team was free of the burden of a corporate mentality, staying agile, sharp, and curious. And their viewers reacted in kind. We were challenged and much better informed about our world, not just the most recent, bloody car accident on I-5.

In the mid-1990s, the family members aged and moved on. The station was sold to a chain and, although it remains strong, it will never show the courage and substance it did in the 1970s and 80s.

But there may still be hope. If you haven't read it, Eric Alterman co-authored a terrific call to arms for reporters entitled "Wake Up Time," published in The American Prospect last March. It's not just for reporters looking for some inspiration, it's also for us news consumers who should know what to demand of journalists. Corporations might want to feed us crap, but we don't have to watch unless they demonstrate some of the ideas Alterman presents.

Maybe we can become like our own verson of the Bullitts. We can raise our expectations, put our money where our mouths are, and inspire today's journalists to meet them.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Three of These Things Belong Together


You gotta give those Bushies credit, they know how to stay on message. It only takes a couple of interviews to figure out which talking points were faxxed all over Washington on any given morning. And the news channels have finally caught on, showing the mindlessness of such repetition in hilarious stories that look and sound like a CD skipping. RNC Chair Ken Mehlman MUST have an "on/off" switch because he doesn't say anything BUT the talking points. Pull off his head and you'll find only smoke and mirrors.

Anyway, the latest talking points had the Righties consistently grouping Hilary, John, and Howard together, supposedly poisoning the waters for Hilary's potential Presidential run by positioning her with a loser and a nutcase. I'd just like to go on the record as a proud supporter of the blonde, the loser, and the nutcase. At least they haven't lied to a grand jury or started an unjust war by lying about WMDs.
NixonMartha Stewartgeorge.w.bush.ap

So, I'd like to create some talking points for the rest of us to use. Let's all name THIS trio to point out the dangers of breaking the law and the even WORSE consequences of LYING about it. Remember, stay consistent and repeat their names together as often as you can. Even after your interviewer is sure you you are an idiot who can't say anything else. OK...get out there and get on a talk show!

Good luck...we're all counting on you.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Judith Miller Redux

Boston Globe columnist Robert Kuttner just might have unravelled the mess that sent Judith Miller to jail and left Matt Cooper turning over his notes and testifying. It makes sense and I appreciate his humility.

I have received several "anonymous" comments from readers who are miffed that I have shown any kind of respect for Judith Miller and her plight. Listen, I know she fucked us all over with her toadying for the Bushies, but I want to see her punished for the crime she actually DID commit rather than serve an unjust sentence for something else.

Kuttner's analysis suggests that justice MAY in fact be served. READ IT!

[Boston Globe]

Thanks also to Scrivenings for linking to another great article at Slate [Scrivenings]

Award Winning Bumper Sticker

Best Bumper Sticker Seen in Seattle That Would Most Likely Be Found in Eastern Washington:


I'm off to my neighborhood Democratic Party meeting. This week, we are holding it at the Unemployment Office so we can conveniently pick up the BIG FAT GOVERNMENT CHECKS we receive for SITTING ON OUR ASSES all day! I hope I have a pair of clean sweatpants. We're going to spend it all on a big night of beer and chicken wings and we're gonna stay out late, because hey!, we don't have to go to work tomorrow!

I love this country.

My X-Rated Life

You know how some days you feel like a magnet, attracting alike things all day? Like, you see purple sweaters everywhere or the whole world seems to be reading the same book? Well, today was my day of porn.

It started this morning on the bus.

On the way to work, I looked over at the Times Square-sized flashing reader board for the Deja Vu ("Showgirls" and "Full Nudity") which advertised "Free Admission with Military ID." During these difficult times in Iraq, that's the least we can do for our soldiers, isn't it? It warmed my heart.

The board also announced "Amateur Night Every Wednesday." Is that like Open Mike? I got to thinking that all those pole-dancing workout classes might be cultivating a big pool of fresh talent for amateur nights. Teri Hatcher demonstrated some pole-dancing technique on Oprah and she said during the classes she takes, the women spend the first half "working out" and then they dance for each other, laps and all. She said it's very "empowering." Uh-huh.

And finally, Deja Vu announced: "Waitstaff Needed." Hmmm...Renee Zellweger worked her way through college that way...

As I pondered some new career options, the bus continued on to the "Lusty Lady" X-rated theater which has THE BEST marquee slogans EVER. Sometimes they'll work in a reference to the neighboring Seattle Art Museum exhibits, a popular movie, or current events. Today's topical headline read "Tour De Pants." Witty, but not quite as good as my all-time favorite, especially in Seattle: "Schwingin' in the Rain."

Back in my neighborhood, I met my beloved for dinner and we grabbed a copy of The Stranger blaring a cover story entitled "Erotica or Therapeutica?" which traced the Seattle Burlesque scene, past and present. The article is subtitled "Adventures in Tassel Twirling." I started to sense a "theme" for the day...

A few pages later was an ad for "Hump", The Stranger's first Amateur Porn Contest. Jesus! At the rate I'm going, I will no doubt come up with an entry myself.

But that's not all...even deeper (no pun intended) into the paper was an article about the Seattle mayor proposing new restrictions on strip clubs like turning up the lights so "all objects are clearly visible," all tips being deposited in "a container provided by the club," and "a four-foot rule for all lap dances." This might sound funny, but apparently there is a lawsuit pending which is forcing the mayor's hands (again, no pun intended...seriously!) and two Seattle council members were ousted in the last election because of questionable campaign contributions from strip club owners. Tough times for titty twirlers. Do you remember that scene in The Graduate? That woman had a GIFT! this time in the day, I'm thinking I am just one big pervert. I even look askance at the ad which reads "Learn to Blow Glass."

Is it just me? What is going on? Is someone trying to tell me something?

We get finally home and I collapse on the couch with my laptop to find some respite, when I open up my browser to -- I swear to God -- a Village Voice article about anal bleaching. I'm not kidding! There are enough people out there who show off their buttholes that they need them to be pretty -- and they go to salons to groom them!

I think it's pretty obvious that today my psychic energy is flowing in a certain direction (if you know what I mean). And there's only one thing left to do. You'll have to excuse me. I need to find my boyfriend and I gotta get these clothes off.

Sources: Metafilter The Stranger Deja Vu

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Smart Pictures

Yes, I know...this image is too small to read here, so go to Andrew Wahl's website to see the full image. It's right on the money. And he's now an official link.

Love your work, Andy!

She's a Knockout


Musical Theater
Romantic Comedies
Beautiful Women
Worthless Entertainment Trivia

I am a sucker for You've Got Mail and when you watch it (usually on TNT) as often as I do, you start to memorize every line, every face, every frame. So, when I watched the Tony Awards last month and saw Rose, the Zabar's clerk from my favorite crap movie (that's her shoulder on the right side of the photo above) playing the female lead in Spamalot: The Musical on Broadway, I was shocked! Who knew she could sing? Well, she can! She's Sara Ramirez and she won the Tony Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical to prove she really has chops.

To be honest, that scene always bugged me because Sara, I mean Rose the Zabar's clerk, has to listen to Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) charm her into taking Kathleen Kelly's (Meg Ryan's) credit card and it's pretty condescending for Rose. Well, one look at Sara's website and you'll see she's a tremendously talented woman...AND check her out in that red dress, wouldja'? She's a busy Broadway performer with extensive and glittering experience. Way to go, Rose. You don't have to take shit from Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) at Zabar's any more, honey. You're a star!

Shameless Plug

My boyfriend told me about a time when he wore a Superman shirt into a grocery store and a little boy stared up at him with his mouth wide open. I LOVE that story. It reminds me about how freaked we all get when something cool happens -- especially when we're kids.

He's linking to a story today about some superheroes who are walking among us. And I LOVE the picture of the little kids posed with Superman!

source: superfrankenstein

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Order Now!

Look cool, show your support for the First Amendment, and don't let people forget about Judith Miller. "Free Judith Miller" t-shirts are on sale at Cafe Press. You can bet there won't be any t-shirts printed for Karl Rove!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Karl Rove Ain't Goin' Anywhere

The only classy behavior a member of the Bush family has EVER exhibited when it comes to Karl Rove was when the Bush Sr. campaign fired his ass in 1992 for -- guess what? -- leaking a negative story to Robert Novak about a Bush family friend.

But no one ever accused W. of containing an iota of the dignity of his father. No, I'm not a huge Sr. fan, but at least he had the good sense to wipe some of the slime off when it became necessary.

W. is happy to keep Rove -- who he has tastefully nicknamed Turd Blossom -- hidden underneath his voluminous skirts (Karl, you might want to pull that pubic hair out from between your teeth) and Rove is just as happy to hide there. He's a homely, vicious man who embodies the beliefs of Machiavelli with nary an ounce of conscience in sight. This guy's gotta pay for sex, doesn't he? Rove was the mastermind behind this ridiculous administration's ascent, he knows where the bodies are buried and, besides, where the hell is gonna go?

This administration has never -- given an opportunity -- used good sense or opted for honesty when a lie would work just as well. At this point, no one has a thing to lose. If all the Bushies are smelly by 2008, the new Republican nominee can just wash their hands and pledge to clean things up.

So, I'm guessing Karl's gonna stay put. I only wish he had to cool his heels on the same kind of foam mattress lying on the floor in Alexandria that Judith Miller is enjoying. He's not fit to lick her shoe.

Is There Choice after Roe v. Wade?

George W. is about to live out a Right Wing wet dream: he will appoint not one, but probably TWO Supreme Court justices. Op Ed contributors are busily crunching numbers to predict the future of Roe v. Wade taking into account the original "activist judge" super duo Scalia and Thomas, who are poised to overturn it in a hearbeat.

The entire country seems to think the future of women's reproductive freedom lies at the steps of the Supreme Court -- a foolish miscalculation and lost opportunity for both sides. It's been 32 years since Roe v. Wade and a lot has happened:
  • 30 million women have had safe, legal abortions
  • Female enrollment in medical schools has gone from below 10 percent to over 40 percent.
  • Our Bodies, Ourselves is in its 8th printing.
  • Emergency contraception is available in emergency rooms or pharmacies
  • Books, talk shows, and the internet provide women with more information about their health than ever before
  • 56 percent of Americans support legal abortion in all cases
  • 14 percent of Americans oppose legal abortion in all cases
  • More than three-quarters of Americans strongly support sex education in schools and availability of emergency contraception in cases of rape and incest
  • 60 percent of Americans want Bush to appoint justices who will uphold Roe v Wade
  • Two-thirds of Americans do NOT want the Senate to simply "rubber stamp" Supreme Court appointees.
*Data taken from surveys by Planned Parenthood and ABC News/Washington Post

I'm not so sure some of these figures are different than they would have been pre-Roe. When Justice Harry Blackmun wrote his opinion, he based it in large part on the prevailing sentiment of the day which held that legal abortions were good public policy. Illegal abortions encouraged unlawful and unsafe behavior, both inside and outside the doctor's office.

The past three decades have also empowered women, no matter how many of them may resist the term "feminist." Now that two generations have grown up expecting their health care needs to be met on demand, do we really believe they will accept being told "no"? Especially when those limiting their choice are predominantly white and male? (I have a personal rule about debating women's health issues -- unless you have a uterus, you don't get to speak).

Ultimately, losing Roe v Wade might be the best thing ever to happen to today's women's movement. It might energize a group of women who never had to fight for reproductive freedom. The Righties, on the other hand, might just have to put up or shut up. Aside from a few fringe nuts who don't seem to have full-time jobs or who prefer shotguns to reason, what do they really have? And, in the words of my boyfriend, if abortion DOES become illegal, what will the Republicans use to keep their base together so they can keep supporting the rich and powerful and fucking over the poor and weak?

In the meantime, both sides are losing rich opportunities to have rational, deep conversations among constitutents, lawmakers, and policy makers. For 32 years we have been able to talk about the pros and cons of abortion in the abstract and steeped with emotion, but there are many Americans looking for a coherent discussion to help them reconcile their faith and values to sensible public policy.

Those conversations will do more to improve the freedom and health of women than all the demonstrations, supreme court justices, and snipers in the world.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

"The Fear is Right in This Room"

Those are the famous words of Edward R. Murrow when his See It Now production team started to confess to minor Communist connections for fear their upcoming subject, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, might finger them. Murrow wouldn't hear of it and the show went on the air, helping to end McCarthy's witch hunts.

Unfortunately, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is showing the same paranoia as Murrow's staffers by putting the kibosh on two stories which rely on leaked documents and confidential sources. It appears that self-censorship of the American press has begun. As if it isn't bad enough when reporters throw softballs so they won't lose access to a source.

We don't need McCarthy, we've got Karl Rove and a special prosecutor. Instead of the Hollywood Ten, we've got Judith Miller. Joseph Welch, where are you when we need you?

Another Smart Woman Makin' News

She's young, gifted, and composed. She kicked the shit out of the competition at the PGA John Deere tournament this weekend and she's only 15! USA Network followed her all the way through her 18 holes today. Unfortunately, she missed the cut by 2 holes. We'll be seeing a LOT more of Michelle Wie in coming years.

Yes, you CAN do something

Sitting on my comfy couch this afternoon, watching "Being Bobby Brown," (no, I will not link to it's crap), I became so disgusted with myself I decided to look for something CONSTRUCTIVE to do. You know, something that might actually create some VALUE in this world. So to avoid, in the words of Elvis Costello, keeping my finger "on important issues with crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues," I came up with a few ideas.

I started with Judith Miller. Talk about bad timing for her to go to jail. She barely made page one when some Goddamn terrorists took over the front page again. I know they are poor and marginalized and angry at the West, but have they never heard of Mohandes Ghandi? He was able to mobilize a few folks to kick the frigging Brits out of India! What good is a cause if everyone hates you once you've made your point?

See? I'm doing it, too. Bumping Judy. Well, she's still in the can and it turns out we can't send her CARE packages (see previous blog entry, Smart Women Makin' News), but she can accept unlimited amounts of mail (postcards, letters, notes, cards). Her editor sent out her address to the NY Times staff and I found it on Gawker.

Attn: Judith Miller
Inmate Number 45570083
Alexandria Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Drop her a note and thank her for standing up for the constitution. Someone has to! She might have to be there until October (that's when the Grand Jury has to be dismissed).

Then, I went to the website for the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk and made a donation to a friend. I know 4 people who are walking this year and I've donated to most of them. You don't need to know anyone, just go to the website and give to the walk in your area. 60 miles in 3 days to help find a cure for Breast Cancer? In frigging July and August? That's a lot of band-aids and water bottles. Definitely worth donating to.

In London, they are collecting for the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund.The best thing we could do to stop this shit is to find Osama Bin Laden. Oh! I forgot! Our President says he knows exactly where Bin Laden he must have a really good reason not to nail him in order to discourage these goons! Right? Until he pulls Osama's head out of a hat, let's support the Brits.

And closer to home, the American Red Cross is accepting donations for tsunami relief, preparations for Hurricane Dennis (scheduled to hit the Gulf Coast this weekend), and aid for military personnel and their families.

One last idea. Write a thank you note to someone who saved your ass recently or who took care of your grandmother or who is just a really good friend (no matter how belated). No big fancy deal. Just tell them how you feel or what you are thinking. Total cost: 37 cents. You'll feel good and you'll never know how much it will mean to them. And that's the whole point.

So, get out your checkbook, a note card, the phone, a stamp, SOMETHING! And then you can go back to watching "Being Bobby Brown" without feeling quite so worthless.