Monday, February 27, 2006

at least shani won something...

Tom Watson: The President and Mr. Miller

i have no idea who tom watson is. all i know is james wolcott linked to a portion of his post and i had to read the rest.

so here it is - a smoothly and sharply written reflection on the dud called bode and our dud of a president.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

it's official: women aren't people

echidne, a favorite blogger of mine, has a nice rundown of the anti-abortion law going down in south dakota as well as links to other writers who've been on this story all along.

i especially like the analysis at lawyers, guns and money .

people, this south dakota law is huge. it doesn't fuck with chipping away at reproductive rights but goes for the whole enchilada - women, no matter the situation or medical context, won't be able to have access to abortion and doctors who perform abortions are criminally responsible - not women, which is an illogical and disingenuous move on their part. (again, hat tip to LG&M)

i have to hand it to the opposition - when they decide to move, they really haul ass. i thought we'd have a few years for this fight, but it seems they're emboldened by roberts and alito on the bench. the way things are going (and i've said it before) birth control access is going to be the next reproductive issue to be narrowly defined and then toppled. check out the naral map to see what anti-reproductive freedom bills are wending their stealthy courses through your legislatures.

where are we going to stand, women? if we're okay with one state, or a few states, to put unconstitutional bans on abortion on the books, thus establishing test cases for the supreme court to decide, then what are we NOT okay with?

and how about it, guys in the democratic party? still waffling that reproductive rights is a 'niche' 'womens' issue and not so important as, say, the shrinking middle class or the economy? still feeling this is something that's going to scare the poor wittle moderates? still thinking that winning in 2008 is more important than what strange men are deciding NOW about your girlfriend or wife's uterus? still thinking feminists are shrill and humorless and hysterical about concentrating on reproductive issues and not our silly war on terror?

for many of us, this is terror. it is a war waged on the landscapes of our bodies. and i'm wondering if there's more than just me getting angry about it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

found: pants!!

so enough with shani.
not only is the topic edging folks real close to calling me 'bougie' (oh, anonymous, don't think i don't know what you're thinking) it's nothing compared to my new news:
i have a new pair of pants.

they're brown, cut straight and wide through the thigh with a very slight flare at the bottom. i wore them yesterday to the office and they were gorgeous. and you know where i got them?

forth & towne. i know - forth & towne!

it's hard for me to wear brown. it makes me nervous. what goes with brown? more brown. i'm already brown. i don't want to be head to foot brown, like a snickers. but these pants? love them. they cover my weird flat/not flat ass, actually make it look like i'm taller and straighter than i am and hit the top of my foot at exactly the right place, which is a feat since i'm not tall. and paired with the brown/white print jacket (also an object of love) the whole thing just cost a couple hundred bucks. swoon!

here's a word to people who make pants for women over size 14: these pants don't taper! the rise isn't too long! it sits at the waist and yet doesn't look frumpy! everything lies flat!

my only complaint: the pockets are still on the slant on the side of the hip and they pucker just a teeny bit. (i got hips, dude.) they really should have been on the front of the pant and 'hidden', you know?

[i wish i could show you a picture but i think they're afraid F&T will tank and so won't invest in putting their clothes online! come on, people - if you're going to force me to go out to the burbs at LEAST put your merchandise online so i don't schlep in vain!]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

the dutch to hedrick: 'boooo'

thanks to reader K- who sends me this link to a TimesSelect article. Bottom line? The Dutch think Hedrick is a tool.
Fans in the Know Give Their Cheers to Shani Davis
TURIN, Italy
IN the continuing and increasingly acidic case of Chad Hedrick versus Shani Davis, the unofficial Dutch court of speedskating arbitration reached a verdict last night.
Davis: innocent of the charges levied by Hedrick, that he was a disloyal and even unpatriotic teammate.
Hedrick: guilty of being the self-promoting, ugly American of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
"When Hedrick comes around, we say nothing, but when Shani comes, we stand up and yell," said Krista Wander, a fan from the formidable Dutch contingent, before Davis bumped Hedrick to third from second in the 1,500 meters and precipitated a series of stunning contrasts between the two American skaters.
Davis said the silver was special and warmly congratulated the surprise Italian gold medalist, Enrico Fabris. Hedrick, the five-gold hope who has won just one with one race to go, said he considered the bronze a bust and stoically went through the medal-ceremony motions.
In a riveting news conference without Fabris, who was attending to drug-testing matters, Davis chided American journalists for creating a Shaq-and-Kobe scenario and said it was doing the sport no good. Hedrick bought into the belief that Tonya-and-Nancy elevated figure skating to unprecedented levels of popularity in the mid-1990's, and so might Chad-and-Shani.
Hedrick revealed his intentions to eventually become a movie star. Davis said, "I'm not a phony person; no way I'll ever be a Hollywood actor."
At which point a pretense of civility evaporated, with Davis responding to a reporter's request to shake hands with Hedrick by castigating Hedrick for not congratulating him Saturday after he became the first black athlete to win a Winter Olympics gold medal in an individual event (he won the 1,000 meters). Then Davis bolted for the door,
muttering, "I don't want to hear what he has to say; he wants to shake my hand when I lose."
Alone, Hedrick repeated his assertion that Davis "betrayed" him and the United States team by not competing in the team pursuit — a relay race — to focus on the 1,000.
On the scale of American bad vibes here, Bode Miller has been a mountain rumor compared to Davis and Hedrick, Lindsey Jacobellis a flawed snowflake on a snowboard. To date, the Italian police haven't staged any late-night raids on American athletes that would risk the renaming of every pasta dish in the Congressional cafeteria. But the Davis-Hedrick feud — one with at least the sniff of a racial subtext — has put a cloud over one of the rare American success stories in Turin.
My e-mail messages from the United States have been running a polarized 50-50 since I wrote Sunday that Davis was justified in his decision to tolerate no distractions while preparing for what may have been his one chance to win the race he has been dreaming of since he began skating at the age of 6. But in the most boisterous Little Amsterdam section of an oval that has been swarmed by orange-clad Dutch fans since the start of the Games, a sampling of opinion was unanimous for Davis.
"If you are winning the gold, then you are doing the right thing, because how many Olympics can you count on being the favorite?" Gert Jan Verrips said. His friend Eric de Beer added: "You see here, Davis and Hedrick are two new guys at the Olympics. You look back to four years ago, with Derek Parra, and where is he now?"
Parra, the American who won the 1,500 meters in 2002, was 19th last night, on his way to a farewell race next month in the Netherlands, the country where, as he said, "you have the most knowledgeable fans."
If my informal Dutch poll wasn't enough to warrant a consensus, consider that Davis's mother, Cherie, was spotted in an orange jacket and a cap with "Holland" stitched across the front outside the news conference, while inside several Dutch fans heckled Hedrick until they were ordered to leave.
Why the antipathy for Hedrick from people known for their unfailing cheeriness, their support for all skaters, when attending a sport that is deeply ingrained in their culture? It's all in the perceived agenda. Marian Van den Berg, another Dutch fan, said, "He wants to be famous, you can see that."
And at the root of the conflict is Davis's belief that Hedrick has been attempting to swift boat him here at the Olympics, use him as a prop as he wraps himself, Texas-style, in the flag, for the purpose of increasing his commercial appeal, while claiming that the feud has elevated their skating and is good for the sport.
Davis, for his part, countered by reminding us that the short-track controversy between the Americans and the South Koreans in Salt Lake City was a made-for-Olympics mess that ultimately accomplished nothing on the commercial front.
"It's not a heavyweight boxing fight," he said, unwilling to play Joe Frazier to Hedrick's Muhammad Ali.
That matches the purist Dutch mentality. "Shani to us seems like he is racing for the love of skating," Sietze de Vries said in Little Amsterdam.
So they all cheered when Hedrick's time, short of Fabris's, was posted, and again when Davis, skating in the final heat, bested Hedrick by nine-hundredths of a second, nudging their own skater, Simon Kuipers, off the podium.
No matter. They could forgive. They could forget. "We love you, you beat Hedrick," a Dutch fan called out to Davis, on his way to the news conference where Hedrick was waiting to begin the next round.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

cutting shani some slack: more on middle class black angst

thinking about shani davis. he's the first black guy to win an individual gold in the winter olympics - EVER - and he can't seem to get a break. i was reading an article yesterday that seemed to say that his reaction to winning is bizarre. but it's not, really.

I had to explain this to my roomie once. She comes from a midwestern family that celebrates everything in a really big way- holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, this and that. It's great - they're a wonderfully loving and generous family. Sometimes she doesn't understand me and my family's more...low key way of doing things.

For instance, when I had that article published. I knew my family was happy for me - but my dad just sent an email that said, "Proud of you, girl." When I took a risk to change jobs and do something I really really wanted and it actually worked out, my sister simply said, "I knew you could do it." It was the same when I graduated college, went to grad school, finished my degree, moved to Chicago - my family just said, "We're proud of you. We knew you could do it."

And so I understand Shani Davis and his mother. They're a family who've had to work extra hard to get where they are. And for them, as it was for me and my family, the work never stops. It's hard to let go of that work, to relax, and say, "Ok, I can take a breath now. I can take a break now." There's never a break. Not when you're the first. There's a whole lot of black folk looking at you, smiling in pride, but that's a heavy burden - the First. There's a whole lot of white people looking at you - watching you. They may or may not be waiting for you to crack, but let's just assume the worst (there are no surprises when you think of the worst). Someone wants you to fail. You're the First, so if you screw up, you screw up big.

And so you work even harder - because who cares if people like/don't like you? Being a success trumps that.

So I wrote the reporter and told her all this. I said, Please understand; what you trivialize by calling a 'mood swing' is a way we black people have for dealing with and preparing for success. Allow Davis to process this huge moment, this culmination of all his hard work, in his own way. And also understand how condescending and problematic it is for the press (the - ahem - white press) to say to a black man, "Now show me how happy you are!" In my community, we call that minstrelsy and we don't do that anymore.

[sister gal even wrote me back and said thanks for giving her a perspective she'd never had before. she even said mine was the best letter she had about the subject. yay for me - i get a gold star for race relations. a bridge was built. that's my good deed for Black History Month.]

Monday, February 20, 2006

happy president's day: i'm supposed to be off

but, instead, i'm in the office finishing up a project.
since 11.30 am.

i could be at a museum. or a bookstore. or, in bed (which is where i was for 16 hours yesterday - so long my roomie thought i had a stroke.)

but no. i'm here. on a holiday. working.

Friday, February 17, 2006

the power of the internets

On Private Web Site, Wal-Mart Chief Talks Tough - New York Times

i'll come clean; i've never shopped in a wal mart and i never will. (hi, target and cost co!) so reading how the CEO's internal managerial blog got out makes me gleeful. i tend to think the flattening of information makes things transparent and transparency is good.

it leads to accountability.

accountability should be good, right?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

man oh man

so today was my quick phone interview with the reporter about why i'm a girl who likes watching boys get it on. we laughed and giggled about the voyeur thing, sure. and who can really resist heath and jake? not i.

B- and i had a conversation (one of the very few) one night about porn; he wanted to know how i felt about it and i shrugged. it's okay the first time, but then the repetition just doesn't do anything for me, i said. erotica works better for me and seeing two men make out works the best. B- was a little quiet. i said that when i see two men together i don't see me in that at all and that's comforting to me; it's comfortable. it allows me to be the selfish observer. i'm not the object; they are. it's a turn on to not be someone else's object.

(mark pritchard has a brutally hilarious story about what happens when a gay couple takes an impromptu dance lesson from a girl friend after a dinner party.)

it's hot to see two men come together, matched strength for strength, power to power. there's a physicality and muscularity in it that i like. i'd like to consume that.

hm. 'consume'. i wasn't going for that word but it's the one that came out.

(or, maybe my erotic attachment to man/man action is just a way of expressing my desire for the phallus. heh. theory made flesh.)

i realized all this back in grad school, at a party. i came upon a friend kissing his boyfriend in a dark corner of the hall. they were so caught up they didn't see me. and so i watched them for a while and found myself completely enthralled. there was the surprise of finding my friend like this, in a context he'd never allowed me to see; there was the sense of the forbidden (back then, i was totally a virgin and just beginning to shed my baptist skin); but there was just the pure erotic enjoyment of watching two hot guys go at it in the dark. i kept thinking about it for days.

and that's why figleaf, over there on my blogroll, makes me giggle like a schoolgirl. here's an average, anonymous guy somewhere in the northwest putting his rather average body out there for visual consumption. it's startling, even though the photos are in no way pornographic or obscene. most of them are rather mundane - he's getting dressed, steeping out of the shower or sitting in his robe (the one in his wife's pleated skirt is just ridiculous, though. no one should wear pleats that wide.) but it's erotic to me.

(not as erotic as it'd be if there was another guy with him, also sitting around in his flannel robe and socks, but you can't have everything.)
so because of comments left on orange's post back in november, i received an email from a trib reporter who wants to ask me (and some other women) questions about why we are big fans of hot man/man action! like it's a mystery.
speaking of mysteries, roomie and i are rooting for this guy on american idol. we call him the 'silver fox'. hee! he sounds like ray charles, spazzes out like joe cocker and he makes us hot.

it's okay. you can say it - we're really just two teenagers pretending to be adults.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

speaking of eating the young...

Life&Style Weekly - TomKat are totally over!

if you were little katie holmes, wouldn't you be super pissed?
i mean, if you were strapped down and impregnated with his alien seed, wouldn't you want to sue his ass now that you're going to be forced to give birth to his extraterrestrial baby?

i would.

(a coworker said little katie holmes is a perfect example of why emergency contraception is so important ... snort.)

see? we eat our young.

last night my agency hosted a small event for a popular congresswoman. it was a fabulous event but, inevitably, during the Q&A, questions arose about Democratic tactics and why, basically, we all think the DNC sucks for giving up on women and what we know are our issues.

(i even said to her, Frankly, if I have another fundraising call from the DNC I'm throwing my phone out the window until they get their act together.)

most of us in the room felt the same way and agreed with the very successful and well-connected business woman, whose father used to be a congressman, who heatedly ripped the Democratic party a new one. gamely, the congresswoman said that while we had valid points (and that our criticisms are widespread and nothing new) she basically said 'stop complaining and DO something.'

i agree. so what are we to do? we clearly have a party that doesn't hear us, doesn't listen to us, is dangerously out of touch with a lot of us and has the strategic instincts of a drunk behind the wheel of a car. in light of all their missed opportunities, half-hearted fights and fake populism, what's a progressive girl to do?

change parties.

Popular Ohio Democrat Drops Out of Race, and Perhaps Politics - New York Times

Monday, February 13, 2006

it's a good day for freedom

What's the word around the world today?

Well, we discover our Vice President is a trigger-happy geezer (we all suspected as much, didn't we?) and that Haiti has a well-developed sense of irony when it comes to democracy. Meanwhile, from a separate wing of the Old Folk's Home, Rummy decides there just aren't enough armed conflicts in Africa.

On the homefront several big guns finally admit that our gov's response to Katrina was 'unacceptable.' In response, our nation shrugs.

Closer to home, a bill in Illinois inches closer to a vote authorizing pharmacists to NOT do their jobs because of their moral sqeamishness. In response, our state shrugs.

Ain't freedom grand?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

the groove is in the details

i'm tired of looking at boring profiles; i'm sure the men are personally fascinating but their profiles bring to mind white noise:

I love movies, music, reading, writing. [well, really. who doesn't? and what kind? 19th century sea ballads? educational films from the 50s? cookbooks? writing notes to coworkers on pieces of yellow tissue paper?] I work out and love to swim and ski. I play guitar and piano and love all kinds of music. ['all kinds.' how discriminating.] And I love to cook. I like the eclectic mix of restaurants [where? what? why?], movies theatres, museums, live music, theatre, etc. [making lists is so tiring, isn't it?] Who would I like to meet? Someone intelligent, kind and cheerful. Someone who's versatile and likes being with all different kinds of people and in all kinds of environments. [and maybe she'll like all kinds of music, too.] A good sense of humour [the british spelling!] is important, as is the ability to handle daily life with grace and goodwill. [this was nice. he should have started here.] I'm looking for someone who's down-to-earth and flexible, who can enjoy spending time together and can feel comfortable with my extremely varied group of friends - from artists to corporate executives. If you're easy-going [who's he looking for? basically, a woman who won't kick up a fuss.] and curious about learning and life, we're probably a good match. Send me a note and let's find out.
this man is a blank. a piece of lined paper covered in erasure scrubs.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

what superbowl? let's talk about girly things.

inevitably, ding's thoughts turn to valentine's day.
i can't avoid it; the crap is everywhere. and it probably doesn't help that i saw that new movie, 'something new.' (l.a. looks great in it and, dammit, it made me wish i was a buppie living in baldwin hills with a hot landscaper.)
anyway, v-day's arrival makes me think that if i had continued to swallow my resentment toward B- and our oddly non-communicative relationship, i might have had something to do on valentine's day.

hm. Making An Effort, so far, is rather lonesome business.

[thanks to roomie for the white castle link]

superbowl update: they just taped up some guy's groin.

relationship self-pity always occurs when i go to the movies and watch a rom-com. they make me feel like if only *i* had done something different with any of the boys in the past, then i'd have a partner now. maybe, maybe not. clearly, my thing with B- was a disaster on both our parts. and i mean, ok, with The Librarian - perhaps if i'd been...actually, i have no idea what happened there. i think he was eaten by a moose.

superbowl update: steelers touchdown is total bullshit. the ball clearly didn't make it over the line.

i go back to my father and his sandwich analogy. 'ding,' he'd say. 'you need to know how to make a man a sandwich.' but i honestly don't know what that means. i know what it *means* politically but i have no idea what that looks like. there are no nurturing women in my family. my father was never catered to. he was never coddled. my poor father was outnumbered in a house full of women who pretty much got our way when it counted.

superbowl update: this is a fast game. first half is over and while seattle started out promising, the steelers are up. wtf?? hang in there, seattle. the ball didn't cross the line!

so if i've never had a model of good relationship handling, then how the hell am i supposed to navigate these fucked up waters?

superbowl update: the stones!! dude. they're my dad's age. in spandex.

what's the bottom line of all this rambling?
valentine's day can kiss my ass.

superbowl update: fuck. steelers just got a 75-yard TD. seattle is screwed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

brill-yunt: 50 most loathsome

bilious and vituperative, this list makes me smile.

The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005