Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mary McLeod Bethune

The first biography I remember reading was of Mary McLeod Bethune. It was from a series of biographies for children and had these great black, white, and teal illustrations. I read it over and over again, and when I left for college I brought it with me. I wasn't really sure what it was about her story that stuck with me so I figured I'd do some internet research.

Mary McLeod was born in 1875 near Louisville, South Carolina. Her parents were former slaves, and Mary was the 15th of their 17 children. She was able to attend a free school that had been started by Emma Wilson, a black missionary, who became Mary's first mentor. When Mary had exhausted the school's resources, Emma found a white patron who paid for Mary to attend the Scotia Seminary, a Presbyterian school for black girls. After that Mary got another scholarship to attend Dwight Monody's Institute for Home and Foreign Missions in Chicago. Upon graduating Mary moved to Georgia and then Florida where she taught, did social work, and sold insurance to make ends meet. She married Albertus McLeod in 1898. For about a year she taught at a school run by Lucy Craft Laney, who inspired her to start her own school for young black girls.
Its was 1904 and at $11 dollars a month Mary started renting the house that would become her school in Daytona Florida. The school was next to a dump and Mary and her son Albert would pick through the discarded items to furnish her new school. Local business donated more furniture and they managed to make ink from berries and pencils from burned wood. In 1904 she had six students- five girls and her son. By 1910 she had 102 students, most of whom lived at the school. Mary worked non stop to raise funds for the school, she received aide from the all white Ladies Palmetto Club and convinced influential white men(including James Gamble of Proctor and Gamble) to sit on the board of the school. The Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls taught home economics and trade skills as well as science, math, English, business, and foreign languages. They eventually added classes to prepare teachers when the attendance swelled to 351 students in 1920.

Since the local hospital would only accept whites Mary started her own hospital right next to the school. It went from two to twenty beds and then the city adopted it in 1927. In 1923 the school became the Bethune-Cookman School when it merged with Cookman Institute for Men and became coeducational. The standard of education was so high that it rivaled the local all white Daytona High School. Mary was adamant about community involvement so the school ran as both a day and night school and had smaller missionary schools run by students for the local workers. They also hosted Sunday afternoon community meetings that welcomed both blacks and whites, a rare case in those days.

Booker T. Washington's visit to the school in 1912 inspired Mary McLeod Bethune to travel to seek more funding for the school. John D. Rockefeller donated 62,000 in 1905 and through Mary's non stop work the school managed to stand strong during the great depression. In 1936 the high school section of the school was closed and it continued on as an accredited college. It still flourishes with 36 buildings on 70 acres of land.

Yet, the school is really just the jumping off point. In 1924 she became president of the 10,000 member National Association of Colored Women. This was considered the highest position a black woman could have, and yet Mary wasn't satisfied. In 1935 she created the National Council of Negro Women. She made sure both of these organizations had a physical presence in Washington DC. Mary became fast friends with both Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and was appointed to the National Youth Administration in 1935. She made sure there was a special division that would concentrate on the needs of young black students. Mary campaigned for Franklin Roosevelt and convinced many black voters to switch over to the Democratic Party. When in the south Eleanor Roosevelt would insist on the de-segregation of events so she could sit next to Mary who she told people was "the best friend I have in my age group". She used her influence with the Roosevelt's to form the Black Cabinet which was a group of black leaders that would advise the President on issues facing black citizens. They were able to greatly influence political appointments and the disbursement of funds.
The number of organizations and councils that Mary headed or founded is really too long to list here. She remained president of the Bethune-Cookman School until 1942. She was working to get black women to the voting booths as soon as they could legally vote and she never stopped. At a time when light skinned blacks were usually more effective in the public eye, Mary was very dark. She carried a cane not because she needed one but because she thought it made her look more important. Her students called her Mama Bethune but adults wouldn't get a response unless they addressed her formally. She could win over anyone - when a white neighbor was threatening her students with a gun she managed to handle it so well that he became interested in the school and was known to tell people "If anyone bothers Old Mary, I will protect her with my life". When blacks weren't aloud to use the beach, Mary organized a group of blacks to buy a piece of beach front property that was open to both blacks and whites. Not much stood in her way.

The end of the book I had as a kid showed Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt having tea in a garden. The really moving part about her life was that she didn't just rise to that level on her own, she wanted to bring everyone with her. She wasn't attempting to be a token symbol of what can be achieved, she fought every day for not just the right but the means for blacks and women to be afforded the same education as white men.

House of Style!

Word has it that there's a new House of Style in the works. I can't imagine it will be as cool as the old one. Here's some clips from back when Cindy Crawford was in charge.

Women in Bands

Cindy imitates Dennis Leary

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Lilly Ledbetter Act Passed!

The Lilly Ledbetter Act finally passed!
This is the first bill Presidenct Obama signed!

Here is an excerpt from his speech
Lilly knows that this story isn't just about her. It's the story of women across this country still earning just 78 cents for every dollar men earn -- women of color even less -- which means that today, in the year 2009, countless women are still losing thousands of dollars in salary, income and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime.

Equal pay is by no means just a women's issue -- it's a family issue. It's about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition and child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on; households where one breadwinner is paid less than she deserves; that's the difference between affording the mortgage -- or not; between keeping the heat on, or paying the doctor bills -- or not. And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month's paycheck to simple and plain discrimination.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You #2 -The Chick Flick

According to a recent article in The New Yorker movie genres can be broken down into the following target audiences:

Young Men: "young males like explosions, blood, cars flying through the air, pratfalls, poop jokes, “you’re so gay” banter, and sex—but not romance."

Young Women:" Young women like friendship, pop music, fashion, sarcasm, sensitive boys who think with their hearts, and romance—but not sex (though they like to hear the naughty girl telling her friends about it). They go to horror films as much as young men, but they hate gore; you lure them by having the ingĂ©nue take her time walking down the dark hall."

Women Over 25: "Older women like feel-good films and Nicholas Sparks-style weepies: they are the core audience for stories of doomed love and triumphs of the human spirit. They enjoy seeing an older woman having her pick of men; they hate seeing a child in danger. Particularly once they reach thirty, these women are the most “review-sensitive”: a chorus of critical praise for a movie aimed at older women can increase the opening weekend’s gross by five million dollars. In other words, older women are discriminating, which is why so few films are made for them."

Older Men: "Older men like darker films, classic genres such as Westerns and war movies, men protecting their
homes, and men behaving like idiots. Older men are easy to please, particularly if a film stars Clint Eastwood and is about guys just like them, but they’re hard to motivate. “Guys only get off their couches twice a year, to go to ‘Wild Hogs’ or ‘3:10 to Yuma,’ ”

So there's some truth to this stuff obviously or they wouldn't be making zillions of dollars but its pretty boring to think we always fall into these specific areas. For instance, my Dad loves Clint Eastwood but even though he owns a Harley I bet he'd rather shovel snow then watch Wild Hogs. And my boyfriend's dad loves anything with Meg Ryan, Keira Knightley, or period piece costuming. Sam and I both loved the car chases in The Transporter as much as we love the bitchiness of Gossip Girl (actually I think he even likes Dan and Serena more than me).

So when I saw the trailer for "He's Just Not That Into You" my first thought was "Sam's dad is gonna love this". Though I am going to roll my eyes through the whole thing I'll probably see it cause its got the always funny Justin Long (if you don't understand check him out as Dr. Lexus in Idiocracy or Brandon St. Randy in Zack and Miri Make A Porno).
Justin Long, Kevin Connolly, and Bradley Cooper made this video about all the cliches that aren't in "He's Just Not That Into You". I think they're lying, its going to be all those and worse.

I wish that they could just admit it was a chick flick or get all post modern like Scream. Remember the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So basically I can deal with some of chick flick cliches, but others just seem so outdated for 2009. Like the BBF - Otherwise known as the black best friend.

The Los Angeles Times has a great article about it here.
Catherine Pinkney, a former Paramount Studios executive, added, Historically, people of color have had to play nurturing, rational caretakers of the white lead characters. And studios are just not willing to reverse that role.”
As we can see from the Oscar supporting actress nominations the nurturing mother role is still one of the best offered to Black women these days. The Black Best Friend is a fairly newer version, always the supportive and sarcastic best friend. As Latoya Peterson from Racialicious points out "We’re always the punchline, never the bride". She also notes that the cast of He's Just Not That Into You is pretty pitiful sounding..... Tokyo Girl #1 and #2, African Woman #1, 2, and 3, and Hot Girl.
In He's Just Not That Into You, Drew Barrymore has both an Asian and a Latino best friend. If Wilson Cruz or Leonardo Nam ever got to be main characters I would totally see their movies.

After all its Wilson Cruz I have to thank for my favorite part of My So Called Life.
(Wait till 3 minutes in when he dances)

The phenomenon known as Manic Pixie Dream Girls is another of my Chick Flick pet peeves. The Onion AV club describes her as "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.". Here's a rundown of a few - from spacey hippie chicks to whoever happens to be in Zack Braffs latest movie. Barf. I'm guessing Scarlett Johansson plays the Manic Pixie Dream Girl in He's Just Not That Into You.

However, I'm not totally against "chick flicks", I just think they'd probably be better if they let women write them. Thankyou Tina Fey for writing Mean Girls (another movie based off a non-fiction book). Thanks Amy Heckerling for Clueless. Thanks to all the writers of Girls Town. And of course thank you to Jane Austen for keeping us entertained after all these years.

And now my favorite cliche of all time ......the makeover montage.
Here is a young Seth Green getting a makeover in Airborne.

He's Just Not That Into You #1

"He's Just Not That Into You" has arrived to let you know that no dude is ever gonna love you, or even return your call . Its going to be an uphill battle and you're going to seem like a weird freak because you keep calling him or expecting him to marry you or ummm expecting him to remain interested in you after you're married. No wonder the girls in this movie are going crazy Internet stalking and acting like bitches.
"He's Just Not That Into You" is based off of a best seller that was written by a couple of the writers from Sex and The City. And yet its a self help book. You are probably wondering why anyone would seek help from the people who wrote Sex and The City? The characters on that show are like 19 year olds who happen to make upper-class Manhattan salaries. Seriously, remember the time Miranda dumped that guy because "she'd never seen a man pee before". WTF.

Anyhow, I'm gonna fess up and admit it.... years ago I saw "He's Just Not That Into You" sitting on the best sellers table at Borders. I picked it up and spent an embarrassing amount of time sitting in the store trying to glean some sort of hopeful message out of it. I never found one.

I'm guessing the book was based around all the times you've heard your friends say they just want to know "if he's even into me". The message of the book is that if he's not putting the effort in to pursuing you (a.k.a -proposing, introducing you to the parents, adorning you with jewelry and flowers) then he's just not that into you. I was expecting some sort of next step phase like .....why you should still feel good about yourself and stop calling him, or does he have any nice friends(j.k.). Unfortunately in my brief time with the book I couldn't uncover any of those positive messages.
With my own experience I've found that it can't usually just be rounded up into him "not being into you". Maybe there's the occasional guy who only dates girls who look or talk a certain way but most of the time it doesn't have as much to do with you as it does with him. My book would probably be something like this

The Original

My version......

For instance when I was at the point where I picked up this book the guy I had in mind was just really high. Our conversations were boring and he only called me once and it was to invite me to pay $5 to see some bands play at his house. I didn't need a book to figure out I was lame for caring. Also he was super interested a couple years later when he came out of the fog....but ya snooze ya lose.

Other things the book doesn't cover is ......sometimes he's gay (especially if you're at art school), sometimes his parents really won't like you (their loss), and if he claims he's too messed up for a relationship take his word for it and run for the hills. The best you can hope for is that he's too immature to function normally -because occasionally they grow out of it and make pretty good boyfriends. And though some of these issues could be an impediment to him being your boyfriend, he could still be a really awesome friend.

The important thing to remember is that these things aren't specific to male behavior....girls do them too. You don't need a book to figure out its time to move on......or to stop demanding rings and flowers.

Stay tuned for more info about the movie.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Personal Hygiene with Amy Sedaris

Amy Sedaris gives Chelsea Handler a little run down on feminine hygiene.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Move Your Body

You have to wait about a minute into this but its worth it. She's really feeling the music.

Star Trek Sex Change

Thanks to my mom for this awesome clip from The Carol Burnett Show. It stars Carol Burnett, Paula Poundstone, and Andrea Martin.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our 44th President

Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. -Barack Obama

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Etiquette

On the eve of the inauguration I'd like to help you out with this little lesson in inauguration etiquette from Paula Poundstone. This was in 1993 and she's very excited about meeting the new president, Bill Clinton.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Occupation in Palestine - Anna Baltzer

I'm going to preface this by saying that I know this video looks like it’s off some local access station. That’s cause it is. About a year ago my Dad made me sit down and watch this video that his friend Frank at the local access station had shown him. Luckily, I did, because it explains so much about the situation going on between Palestine and Israel today. Like most people I just read the typical news articles and have a really vague understanding of what’s going on. However, this video titled Life In Occupied Palestine, gives you a far more intimate understanding of what its actually like living in Palestine today. The narrator Anna Baltzer is a Jewish American who works with the International Women's Peace Service, which is based in the East Bank.
Anna lays out life in Palestine in the following order...
Restricted Movement- checkpoints and roadblocks
Settlements and Outposts
The Wall

Many of us in the U.S. don't totally understand the way this occupation limits and destroys the lives of Palestinians. Anna point out that the majority of people in Israel are actually against the occupation. She talks a lot about Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis who are very against the settlements and occupation. Anna notes that in the U.S. "we think we need to condone the actions of the Israeli government in order to support the Jewish people or Israeli people". In short she points out that this colonization is being subsidized by the American people - between 3 and 5 billion dollars every year. That’s our tax dollars being used to violate human rights as well as international and even American law.

Here is the video in six segments. I really encourage you to watch it. I know its long but at the very least listen to it while you make dinner or work in your studio.

Also -Many thanks to my Dad and Frank for sharing the video and finding it online. You guys rule!







Saturday, January 17, 2009

Love Song

Midi, Maxi & Efti -Bad, Bad, Boys

Strawberry Switchblade- Who Knows What Love Is

Lil' Kim - Crush On You

Ciccone Youth -Addicted to Love


There are a lot of interesting topics and actions to read about over on and its causes page. Though there's plenty of great stuff on the Women's Rights page, one of the causes I feel the strongest about is The DREAM Act which is under the Immigration Causes. DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors.

This act, a piece of bipartisan legislation, has been developed to assist young people who were raised in the U.S. and either attend college or enlist in the military. The DREAM Act would grant those who qualify conditional legal status and eventual citizenship if they met the following requirements....

-were brought to the US before the age of 16 and are below the age of 30.
-lived here continuously for five years
-graduated from a US high school or obtained a GED
-have good moral character with no criminal record
-attend college or enlist in the military

Currently the Act does not help with tuition so only those who are very self motivated would be able to qualify.

I know quite a handful of kids my age who grew up primarily in the US but are now faced with possible deportation to a country they left when they were just children or in some cases toddlers. A few of these are dangerous countries, places their parents never imagined their children would be sent back to. There are zillions of kids who grow up in the U.S. but aren't able to legally drive, work, or pursue their dreams. This is not exactly helping our country to run smoothly. In fact as the website sites, the Social Security Administration stated that if we have a net increase of 100,000 immigrants a year we can solve the Social Security crisis. This actually makes sense since these students would be receiving an education and then would be legal tax paying citizens.

I first found out about the DREAM Act when the radio program "This American Life" did a show called "Nice Work If You Can Get It". In the last segment they talk with a girl "Martha" who was born in Mexico but grew up in a poor neighborhood in east Los Angeles. It seemed like the typical Horatio Alger story - she was elated to be accepted at UCLA where she majored in chemistry and ran a volunteer organization on campus. Yet Martha's dreams are of being a doctor, an OB-GYN to be more specific. Unfortunately, she can't work legally as a doctor in the U.S. In fact she can't work legally at all. At one point she got a great position as a research assistant to a professor, yet then found out she would have to be on the books, which was impossible. So she is currently working off the books as a waitress and as she puts it "the worst part is, I suck at it". Personally, I can totally identify with being smart enough to get into a good school but really bad at being a waitress. The concept of having no choice but to be a waitress makes me feel panicky. On top of that she says that people treat her badly or automatically assume she's a single mother with no education.
At UCLA, Martha was surprised to meet many other brilliant yet undocumented students who had great grades and worked hard at both school and their other jobs. This group of students even formed a group that mentors undocumented high school students and raises money for their scholarships. Most of these UCLA students live hours from campus to save they stay days or weeks at school -showering in the school showers, sleeping in the library. The fact that they can still pull of the grades under these conditions is amazing.
Twenty years ago California allowed undocumented kids to go to college with financial aid. Five years later the courts reversed that. These days ten states allow undocumented kids to go to in state colleges and pay in state tuition. But they don't offer financial aid, work study jobs, or student loans.
To apply for a Greencard Martha would have to go back to Mexico, where she hasn't lived since she was a small child. Then she'd have to wait 10 to 15 years before most likely being denied.

Martha says she dreams of being a doctor "because she enjoys being a public servant and a scientist" and she of course wants the feeling of respect that comes with the job. For her, respect is something you fight for, not something you are granted "just by being human".
In the story, Martha struggles with finding the will to finish school, not only because of the insane hours, the 2.5 hour commute (public trans. because she can't get a license), the endless waitressing, or the zillion other responsibilities. Its hard for her because she knows that even if she could find a way to afford medical school after UCLA, she still wouldn't be able to work at her dream job. You must be a citizen to work as a licensed doctor.

As the story's reporter, Douglas McGray, puts it "there is a very easy solution" - The DREAM Act. If a student finishes their degree or their enlisted time they can become a citizen. Barack Obama has said multiple times that he supports this Act and I really hope his administration gets right to work on ending the bureaucracy and actually passes The DREAM Act.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Occupational Stylings 2

As a follow up to Occupational Styling #1 I'm going to help you figure out what to wear to work to get that raise. My trusty mannequin friends will be modeling the looks.

So here's you basic career woman feminazi boner-killer looks. I love these looks. Sort of like The Matrix meets Men In Black but for us ladies. When you buy one of these outfits you get 50% off on a clone who will accompany you on your lunch dates.

But what if your job is just slightly more laid back? These girls are modeling bank attendant chic.

Perhaps your job is a little more avant garde. Maybe you're in one of those "creative fields".

I think I saw Basquiat or 9 1/2 Weeks too many times because when I moved to New York it took me a long time to get my head around the fact that gallerists don't really dress like this.

Maybe its one of those really creative jobs,,, like you play the sax?

Or maybe you work with people..... like this dance instructor.....

Or this mannequin who is clearly a teen mentor(she even rides the subway with them).

Maybe you married some rich dude and quit your job like Charlotte on Sex and The City, so you just shop Madison Ave. and wear these hot looks.

Whatever career path you may have chose, remember to take a lesson from Christina Applegate in Don't Tell Mom The Babysitters Dead,,,,, if you get your get your bangs big enough, properly accessorize, and coordinate your lipstick to your skirt suit, you can get hired for anything!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Theresa Nervosa

Here is a fun clip from Richard Linklater's film Slacker. This part features Theresa Nervosa, one of the drummers of The Butthole Surfers. I love her and the Madonna's pap smear that she's pushing.....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Current Events!

Things to know about:

*The Lilly Ledbetter and Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House and is on to the Senate!

*Strangely enough, I've hardly seen anything in the news about the shooting on the BART (subway) in San Francisco. New Years morning a number of young men were pulled off the BART for reasons I've yet to see explained anywhere. 22 year old Oscar Grant who was cooperating with the police was put face down on the ground with his hands behind him and a cop's knee on his neck. Another officer then fired his gun into Oscar's back, killing him. Other BART riders caught the incident on their cellphone video cameras, many of which were confiscated. You can view the ones that weren't here
Here's one of the few widely read blogs that finally covered it ....

In other depressing news, Israel continues to wage destruction on Palestine.
Here is a video of peace activist Huwaida Arraf trying to protect Palestinian adolescents who are protesting and subsequently being fired at by the Israeli Army.

In more positive news it looks like the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is going down. On the website White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is asked if the Obama administration is going to get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell policy". Gibbs replies “You don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much, but it’s yes.” It might take a while but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Sometimes it amazes me how our country is so divided on such issues. Like when I heard that Arkansas had actually passed a ballot in November that bars unmarried couples from adopting or foster parenting. Luckily the ACLU is all over that shit. And speaking of the ACLU, if you can, I really recommend renting the ACLU Freedom Files. These hour long videos explain issues by showing cases that the ACLU has fought -from immigration to voting to gay marriage and more. The episodes really helped me understand the ins and outs of these topics as well as seeing how they affected actual people.

Also in news, check out Zoe Smith, Britain's strongest girl. She's 14 and can lift more than 2/3rds of her body weight.

Friday, January 9, 2009

How To Sing Like A Girl

Raven explains being a woman to the Cosby clan.

The Runaways continue to be more badass than everyone before or after.

Possibly my favorite cover ever. The Raincoats cover Lola....cause sometimes a woman pretends to be a man who meets a man who likes to be a woman who likes men who don't know much about women.... ? i think?

Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Rondstadt
At some point way before I was born.

PJ Harvey on total domination!

The Slits explain normal girls to us.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Like Men Only Cheaper

This week, one of the first actions of the new 111th Congress is to vote on pay equity. The House will vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

As the YWCA puts it :

"Pay equity legislation is necessary to allow individuals to better fight pay discrimination strengthen penalties for violation, compel employers to explain wage gaps, and develop training for women and girls about salary negotiation. With a record 70 million women in the workforce, wage discrimination hurts the majority of American families. In addition, wage discrimination lowers total lifetime earnings, reducing women’s benefits from Social Security and pension plans and inhibiting their ability to save not only for retirement but for other lifetime goals such as buying a home and paying for a college education. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Labor unemployment statistics show that women tend to be hurt first and worst during economic downturns."

I used to think that this sort of thing didn't effect me. Pay equality law cases seemed like something that happened in some old movie starring Sally Field. Unfortunately, the last few years have taught me a lot - I've been told not to apply for jobs because "they just really don't hire girls" (and no it didn't even involve heavy lifting), I've watched friends lose jobs to less experienced guys, and yea, I know a lot of girls who struggle to get paid as much as their male co-workers. Its awkward and unpopular to talk about but the fact that these laws don't pass says something about how our country thinks of women. We still make 77 cents to every dollar that a man makes - and thats for equal work.

Contact your representative today. This website will help you figure out who to call and where. All you have to do is say that you're calling to urge your representative to vote yes on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Kristen Wiig

Last night I caught a few minutes of the train wreck that is Brett Michael's latest reality "dating" show. There was this one contestant who kept saying awkward stuff under her breath and I immediately thought 'Kristen Wiig has got to do this on SNL'. Its actually amazing how fast Kristen Wiig has risen to comedy fame, she's now THE stand out female on SNL. I'm not sure I even knew who she was a year ago but now I'm mentally planning out her skits the way the whole world was planning out Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin the minute McCain picked her.

The New York Times had an article a few days ago about Kristen Wiig. I guess the reason the whispering reality show lady reminded me of her is that Kristen has become known for her whispering character Penelope. Actually, when she starts out with a character, the first thing she works on is the voice. Having an obvious trait could be what makes her super successful, its noticeable and she rules at it. Her impression of Nancy Pelosi is impeccable. Her Suze Orman is hilarious - I love the money saving tip of using double sided tape and baby socks to make your own maxipads.
The Times lays out all the crappy jobs Kristen Wiig had in her 20s (hot dog stand, babysitting, etc.) After a couple of method acting classes she discovered the improv troupe The Groundlings and from there eventually landed the SNL gig. As Lorne Michaels said “She wasn’t 20, where you were looking just at potential and it wasn’t yet formed. It was just all there, I think in the same way it was sort of all there in Dana Carvey.”
As far as being the new go to girl for SNL Kristen Wiig says “I don’t think that’s fair. Why can’t there be a lot of great women who are doing great things?”. The cast actually has two new women Abby Elliott(Chris Elliot's daughter) and Michaela Watkins who look pretty promising. I'm still a little bummed that they haven't had a more racially diverse cast in ages. Think of all the good Tyra, Oprah, and Beyonce skits we're missing.
Anyhow, here are a couple of my favorite Kristen Wiig moments.....
Crazy McCain Lady

The Lawrence Welk Show

Pony Express

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lets Talk About Sex Baby

If you've watch the news recently you probably now know that abstinence only education doesn't decrease chances of teens having sex (and consequently having babies or getting s.t.d.s).
Here's Dan Abrams laying down the facts.....with help from Rachel Maddow and no help from National Abstinence Education Association's Valerie Huber.

I just love the part when Maddow says "Yeah whenever I evaluate myself I look pretty good too" about Valerie Huber's research.

The strange thing to me about abstinence only education is that it makes it seem like you will never have sex. Or perhaps its that when you do you must become a baby making machine,,, one kid after another. Because otherwise shouldn't there be some tips for the kids who are going to get married in a couple years. A lot of kids (especially in the abstinence only areas of the country) get married at 18, 19, 20. So why can't we throw in some education for them.

Ideally I think contraceptive education should be taught every year you're in school- probably starting in jr. high. For me it took up maybe 3 classes in health class in 9th grade. Those three classes seemed to cover everything from what genitals are to the different stages of a babies growth during pregnancy. All I remember are a few pictures of venereal diseases. Oh and also I remember there was a girl in the class who had already had a baby. When our health teacher did the whole "Abstinence is obviously the safest method but now we're gonna talk about some other methods of contraception" the girl flipped out about how much she loved her baby and how glad she was to have her.
Personally, by the time I finally lost ye ole V card that info I learned had been long forgotten. So perhaps the lesson to be learned from both the girl in my 9th grade and my own experience is that education is hardly ever too much, too soon, or too late. Its education after all, not a call to can do with it what you will. Other wise you end up getting your facts from kids on the school bus, first boyfriends, cosmo magazine, and if you're lucky the internet. When the internet is your trusted source something is just not right.
As Dan Abrams says in his closing argument -this is 200 million dollars our country is giving to abstinence only education - a system that doesn't seem to be working.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Leonor Fini

I'm going to start doing posts about female artists. To start it off here is Leonor Fini.
Leonor was born in 1908 and raised primarily in Italy. Her mother disguised her as a boy for the first five years of her life to keep her father from kidnapping her. In her early twenties Leonor moved to Paris where she began a successful career as a painter. She showed with and befriended many of the leading painters including Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Paul Eluard. Its interesting to me that many women actually showed with the surrealists -and yet history tends to forget them. While continuing to paint, Leonor Fini went on to design costumes and sets for well known plays and movies. In the 1970s she wrote three novels. She continued to be friends with some of the best known writers, artists, and thinkers of her time while simultaneously being a bonafide cat lady. At one point she had 23 cats. She also managed to live out one of her most famous quotes that "A woman should live with two men; one more a lover and the other more a friend.". Throughout her work, Leonor always seemed to celebrate the female form -often showing women protecting their male lovers or women loving other women. She depicted women exploring their own identity at a time when female identity both physically and mentally was being defined by men.

This painting was actually used as inspiration for a Madonna music video in the 90s.