Thursday, January 31, 2008

goodbye, edwards; hello, obama

Obamas Million Haul - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog

my guy pulled out of the race. bummer.
(moment of silence)

but now i can support obama!

i've been having an exchange about hillary's 'experience' over at ChurchGal, if you want to check it out.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the Black Girl Network.
you know what i'm talking about. it's in almost every corporate entity in america. a subset of the hidden assistant network, it's an even more subterranean network that shares information and usually knows before HR who's good to work with and who's a secret, abusive, alcoholic, sexually harrassing nutbag. like the masons, the BGN could be anyone or everyone. you don't even have to be black. but you can't be management.
you wanna know what's really what in your firm? you gotta find the BGN.

so, from the BGN (via my very minnesota Roomie!) to you, the new BGN motto for 2008:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

well, i've *been* to Canada

Southern racists adopt "Canadian" as a euphemism for "black" - Boing Boing

are you really frakking kidding me?

NOW what will i say when i don't want to tell people i'm american???

Monday, January 28, 2008

SOTU: perfect way to spend a monday

The State of the Union Address Drinking Game 2008

don't blame me if you show up to work totally hungover.
blame the president.

it's your alderman's fault, you know

ever curious about your neighborhood's totally out of control development? wonder how the hood could sustain so many butt ugly condos? or wonder how your cute little tree lined street suddenly has a Players on the corner or some other massive suburban sports bar? the Trib finally takes a page from the Sun-Times and investigates something: Community input an illusion --

the Eckhart Park mentioned in the article is adjacent to my old apartment and this piece totally explained why everything just seemed to spring up like weeds in the past 4.5 years - Walter Burnett!

and don't forget to vote next Super Tuesday!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

blogging miss america

Yeah, you read that right.
I'm blogging the Miss America pageant. Not the South Carolina Primary.

Because the pageant show numbers keep tanking, the show, contestants and the pageant itself are undergoing a 'radical' makeover. It's on cable (TLC) and now Miss America is supposed to embody 'America's It Girl.' I don't know how much of an improvement this is supposed to be. The Miss America reality show took the 52 contestants, gave them makeovers, including 'tips' on how to be more 'accessible' and less 'Barbie.'

What a great marketing ploy. Give us the competition in a language we can understand (reality makeover/competition) and market the actual pageant as the finale to the pageant's commercial, uh, reality show. Brilliant. They wanted to make Miss America more 'relevant' but showing them how to become a tabloid-worthy celebutante is the best way to do this? And who was going to show them how to do it? A Hollywood stylist, an editor from US magazine and a fashion photographer I've never heard of (but he had a British accent so he must know what he's talking about.)

It's good to know the people who trade in image, superficiality and total vanity are now the arbiters of 'relevance.'

let the blogging begin:

the parade of states

-Wow, they've gotten rid of the yucky state themed dresses and kept them in the reality show 'teams' and there isn't a big teased hairdo among them. And what perky little factoids. (Oklahoma has a nut you can't eat??)
- North Dakota just broke out a Fargo accent. Excellent.
- Miss Washington is an early favorite; she has two gay dads and asked how we like them apples. We like them fine!
- I also like Miss Utah; she's military, tough and doesn't care about makeup - and she's one of the older women. And she just took a potshot at the Osmonds! heh!
- Miss Alaska is cool; she's Native American and doesn't really mess around.
- Holy crap. They have a DJ. A DJ to entertain the women who are eliminated. How...relevant.
- wow! jackie joyner kersey isn't dead! (Why did I think she was dead?)

Michigan, Iowa (she can juggle fire), North Carolina, Tennessee (she hated Miss Alaska and I didn't really like that), California (typical - Roomie just said they're choosing the regular pageant types), Indiana, South Carolina (tall, dark, woman of color with great presence - and very faith based), Georgia, Washington (yay!!), Arkansas (wow, there are a lot of blondes), Virginia, Texas (she adores Kelly Ripa), Wisconsin, Florida (yawn), Mississippi.

- Dammit! I wanted Miss Utah in the semi finals!

- They do look better in the jeans and t-shirts, though.

- Wait. America voted for one more semi finalist! UTAH!!! YAYYYYY!

- Clinton Kelly, from the loser bleachers with the DJ: 'Just because you've become eliminated does not mean you are not FIERCE!' (Then he feeds them carbohydrates. Not problematic at all.)

- Hey, the big innovation in the pageant is the way the new Miss America walks...less robotic and more 'free.' Apparently female empowerment begins with your strut. Who knew?

The swimsuit competition:
- There's really nothing to say here; who needs to judge women's bodies anymore than they already are?
- Good thing they have a DJ...
- OK, ok. one comment - they are really fit. like, toned.
- Love it. Miss Utah breaks out the black one-piece, in a sea of bikinis. Love her.
- Losers: Tennessee (was she related to Al Gore?), Arkansas, Florida (wow, didn't see that coming), Mississipi (boo), Utah (Dammit! Oh, awesome - she's doing pushups! And now she has the whole line doing pushups! It's the best elimination ever), South Carolina (that's it for the black women in the competition)

Evening wear:
- Love: Virginia (a stunning black ballgown); Wisconsin (like a classic red Valentino); North Carolina (simple and elegant)
- Hate: Washington; Iowa; California (looks like a walking Oscar, according to my Roomie); Michigan (showgirl, anyone?); Texas; Georgia; Indiana (oy, a beaded breastplate)
- No evidence of any stylist 'tips' so far; almost everyone is wearing a dress studded with beads or sequins. This is modern how??

- Michigan, singing Over the Rainbow - geez. Kill me.
- California - She's running onstage! Opera! She's a soprano! Roomie has identified it from Faust, the Jewel Song. My Roomie is good. It's killing me. I like her dress, though. Interesting, she looks like my boss.
- Indiana, singing Bandido - She's wearing a big flower in her hair. OMG - the song is in Spanish! She sounds like Cher singing in Spanish. Factoid: she's lived in South America. Too bad this song is from Mexico. Everyone in the audience is totally WTF??
- Virginia, ballet from The Nutcracker - I've always liked this part of the ballet...I love The reminds me of Christmas...oh, she's done?
- loser: Iowa (Hey! We didn't even get to see her baton throwing! They always get rid of the fun ones!)

Talent, part 2:
- Washington, singing Angels - Please don't suck....please don't suck ...She picked a song that's actually been played on the radio. Good for her. No Fliedermaus or weird tejano for her! Man, I hope we get a Miss America with two gay dads.
- Texas, wearing a top hat and white gloves - I sense jazz dance...gick. Way to ruin Bob Fosse choreography from Sweet Charity; let's bring back clog dancing! (Roomie would like it.)
- Wisconsin, violin - She has a degree in music and a minor in voice and went to Vanderbilt; love her dress. Real talent makes us feel better about the competition
- North Carolina, dance to a Muzaked Four Seasons - what's the point?
- loser: Georgia (hey, we didn't even get to see her perform!)

The questions, asked by ordinary folks in Las Vegas (heh):
- What would you do to improve America's image? Wisconsin says we need love for America by volunteering.
- Does someone with HIV have an obligation to tell their fiancee? Michigan says yes, if they respect their partners.
- Should celebrities promote their religious beliefs? Virginia says they have that right to voice their opinions.
- Low youth voting patterns and what could be done about it? Washington says there's a disconnect b/ youth and political process and more should be involved with Rock the Vote programs.
- Thoughts about Paris Hilton and culture of celebrity, where people are famous for nothing? California blames it on materialism and wrong priorities and Miss America is great!
- Binge drinking and 8th grade girls? Texas blames it on Lindsay Lohan and she'd tell them Lindsay sucks!
- Country is headed in the wrong direction, what to do? North Carolina blames the media and Lindsay Lohan! As Miss America she'd have the chance to be the right role model, not Lindsay Lohan!

(wow, Lohan is as big an enemy to the United States as Osama bin Laden...)

- Brittany Spears' sister is pregnant so should she be fired? Indiana says, no. Lots of girls are pregnant but they're not bad, they just made stupid mistakes; we all make mistakes and she needs to keep her job.

4th - North Carolina!
3rd - Virginia!
2nd - Washington! (dammit)
1st runner up - Indiana! (totally called it)
(come on Wisconsin...)
Miss America...

What the fuck?? She sang Over the Rainbow! Dude.
There goes relevance.

Final Grade: B+ (for the new streamlined show, the genius in marketing and the lack of pouf)
Relevance: C

(Oh, and Obama kept Clinton at 27-29% all night. Yeah, buddy.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


i should be blogging for choice today (later, later) but instead i'm completely floored at this: Heath Ledger found dead in apartment --

if there's an oscar telecast, the death montage will at last have someone we recognize in it.

(hey! i'm not the only one thinking it!)

Blog for Choice: there's no right without access

Let's talk about a great big elephant in the room before folks start celebrating the decreased need for abortion: access. From the Chicago Tribune article:

Bill Beckman, director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee, said he sees the national decline in abortion numbers as a victory for anti-abortion efforts."A number of states over the last five or six years have enhanced their pro-life laws, such as requirements for informed consent and parental notice," said Beckman. "When those laws take effect, the rate of abortion drops. I think the data they're getting is reflecting that change."

What Beckman calls an 'enhancement', I call 'building a financial box around women to make sure they're forced to give birth.'

Clinics offering abortion services are in a decline all over the country; in fact, since 2000, 77 clinics have closed and only 29 have opened. For some women in urban areas - with private doctors and access to a wide range of family planning options - access might not be such a hardship (yes, I know there are other circumstances that could slow down access to abortion in urban areas, like cash, but let's just deal with this.)

But for women in rural areas, travel could mean driving up to 50 miles to get to the nearest abortion provider. To get there and back, that woman would most likely have to schedule time off work taken as a sick day (perhaps an unpaid sick day and perhaps more than one day, particularly if that state requires a nonsensical 'waiting' period), loss of wages, perhaps arrangement of childcare for her other children (which adds to that woman's economic burden), increased travel expenses (i.e., gas) and just the physically wearying fact that she is driving to another county or state for a doctor's appointment.

I don't know about you, but I get pissed off if I have to go outside of my area code to see my ob/gyn, much less another state. And what does it cost me? A walk down the street from my office for a few blocks or, at most, a $7 cab ride if I take a cab from my house.

It is an undue hardship for a woman in downstate Illinois, or another rural area, to take two days off work for her abortion. Roadblocks to access basically put a woman needing an abortion between the proverbial rock and financial hard place. I think it's neat how the anti-choice folks have cut off a woman's reproductive rights from other realities in her life, like the economic ones. For them what's important is the unborn child; nevermind that there is a material cost to a woman's life if she has a child her life can't support (for whatever reason that it can't.)

In this next election there are some things to think about, the most important of which will be deciding which candidate will be able to ensure women have access to full reproductive health services. A lot of my friends are comfortable if Roe v. Wade stands, but can we rely on that? Speaking with a lawyer friend tonight, she said that Roe v. Wade is probably one vote short of being knocked over in our forseeable future. We can probably anticipate 2-3 Supreme Court vacancies in the immediate future. Which Presidential candidate will have the best chance to appoint Supreme Court justices willing to uphold Roe v. Wade? Can we safely rely on a Huckabee, a Romney, an Edwards or an Obama to act in women's best interests? Or can we only rely on a Clinton?

And action on the SCOTUS isn't the only thing to worry about. At the state level, over the past decade, states have become more aggressive in introducing legislation to limit, if not outright ban, access to abortion; states like Kansas, Missouri, The Dakotas, Wyoming, Utah, Iowa, Colorado, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, South Carolina and Arkansas either already have, or are in the process of introducing, some of the most restrictive laws to affect a woman's right to control her own fertility. States aren't backing away from this fight; anti-choice grassroots lobbying has proven most effective at this level, while we scramble to keep a fricking clinic open in Aurora. (You can check out the states with the least access to abortion at the Abortion Acess Project website here.)

What will happen in Illinois if our next governor is Republican? (Not so inconceivable, considering how Blago is alienating absolutely everyone.) Will the women of Illinois still enjoy access to birth control without the interference of pharmacists? Will we be able to rely on timely access of Plan B birth control? Will we be able to rely on the shrinking number of clinics that offer a wide range of reproductive health services to women? Or will we suddenly have to familiarize ourselves with the days of the underground Jane network, like back in the day? Will we find our family planning needs taking a back seat to a man's outdated, patriarchal ideas of female sexuality and autonomy? Will we suddenly find ourselves planning group trips to Canada or New York or California for a simple doctor's appointment?

The right to control our fertility does not exist if we do not have access to those services that allow us to control our fertility. Access isn't just for the women, like me, who have good medical benefits and live in a city and can rattle off where the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic is; it's for women who make barely minimum wage and live in places like Bloomington, Alton or Aurora and there's no one around to help them. And that's what the issue of access means to me: helping women get over the situation they find themselves in, not making them stew in it for months or years because it justifies a stranger's religion. How does it help that woman to wait days to get done what she already decided days ago? How does it help a woman when we make her empty her wallet to visit a doctor? How does it help a woman when you force her to give birth and take away her ability to control her own fertility?

I guess it doesn't.

ugh. the economy


checking out today's business pages is a depressing act. so depressing that i'm looking at the phone number for my Fidelity guy and wondering if i should give him a call. not that there's anything he can do about my teeny tiny retirement fund, but dude! is my fund going to completely tank??

Sunday, January 20, 2008

better than 'our bodies, our selves'

last night, we were hanging out with some friends for game night and, when we got tired of games, we went on YouTube. they found this clip and i was stunned.

first - what in the holy deep fried hell?? (thanks, Sid, for that.)
second - what man was this alexyss dating to make her so crazy?
third - she said all this in front of her mother??

anyway. watch and marvel.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

i'm heartbroken. really, i am.

i just have to share this, a message i got when i told a guy on BP that we didn't have enough in common to date - which was an understatement:
i think your stuck up and the way you come off makes you lest than a woman, i was not trying to hook up with you , i was trying to take you out on a
decent date, how you miscontrue the two with your itellingence level makes
me wonder, and as for you being mean to me you might want to stay in your
place as a lady and a preacher daughter, no matter how much education you
have it doesn't put me on a lesser level than you, if had of known you was
like this i would have never aprach you, be sure that i want bother you
again, and i reiterate please don't call yourself getting mean with me.

sigh. i'm sure that there's a perfect woman out there for him.

Friday, January 18, 2008

uh, ok.

this link was anonymously sent to me at my other blog, ChurchGal.
why? i have no idea, but i can't look away.
did anyone else know venus was engaged? i had no clue!
(because, you know, she and i are bestest buds.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

illinois is in the dumps

the ctba released a study on illinois' economy in december and here it is. (well, the executive summary, anyway.)

major findings:
job creation in the state lags behind other states
wages are declining
low wage jobs are replacing good ones
there are real differences in workforce populations, skills and experiences (race is not unimportant here)

these are the issues that we should be discussing during this election year, rather than hillary's 'shrillness' or obama's 'magical negritude.'

don't you think?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

i'm sorry, what?

a Star Wars TV show??
how the hell did i miss that?

Star Wars: Live-Action Star Wars TV Will Satisfy Your Boba Fettish
soo...about that free ride for seniors...
i had a call at the office yesterday from a Gov staffer who tried to get us to go to a press conference this morning, geared to drum up support of Gov Rod's free ride for seniors. on the surface, i'm all for it. why not give seniors a free ride on public transportation? but then (and the Gov never seems to do this) i started to think about what a free ride will cost. (because there's never really a 'free' ride.)

dude. the trib estimates that this could cost around $19 million; yesterday, i was in a policy meeting and all the folks there (who've been around springfield a long time) rolled their eyes and scoffed. 'what's next,' some guy said. 'lollipops and clowns for everyone?' to me, that meant the governor is on crack.

i can't wait until the governor is up for reelection. let's hope the dems have some other kind of candidate waiting in the wings.

it had to happen eventually: now hillary's a bad date

articles like this are eventually going to make me vote for hillary, if this crap continues much longer.

i can't help but regret the moment that happened in journalism when it suddenly became ok to make really weak (and problematic) pop cultural references when it came to serious politics.

this is not to say that no one should be talking about the dynamics of race and gender in this election. we are at an important moment in our history where a woman or a person of color stand a very good chance of becoming the most powerful person in the country. it is a moment important for us as well as for those who are watching this election process. (i can't help but remember the time i was helping a friend run focus groups in amsterdam on black political identity and meeting afro dutch students who told us they looked to the political success of black americans to show them how to reach the same level of parity in their own country. i was humbled at how closely, and hungrily, we are watched by others internationally.)

but a column like this, comparing our reactions to hillary clinton to 'dating' or bad chick lit, only trivializes how important this election is. i understand daum is trying to dismantle and critique the sexist overtones of our election coverage but there has to be a better way of doing it; there has to be a way of opening a dialogue about our national resistance to a woman in power without replicating those same sexist patterns.

i wonder if i can lay the fault of this unfortunate tripe at MoDo's door?

Monday, January 14, 2008

stupidity, crappy article: which is more annoying?

Sexism, Racism: Which Is More Taboo?

because, you know, the two are TOTALLY separate. no intersections at all. no intertwined histories. no complex negotiations of privilege or anything.

thanks, AP, for adding so much to our national discourse on race and gender.

(on that note, i'm going home.)

the wilds of online dating

so how are things on the 'dating' front?

well, there was a brief setback last week when i discovered that, horror of horrors, B- is now in a relationship. my horror and dismay was not from jealousy; there was no regret that things hadn't worked out between us. (though there is much evidence of my inconsistency here.) no, my dismay and shock came from an irrational sense of competition.

"how dare he, the most lonely and dysfunctional of men, have a relationship while i don't! at least i'm working on my issues, dammit." i'm not proud of my pettiness; i just acknowledge that it exists.

anyway, a friend reminded me of my many vows to leave B-'s eeyore-like specter behind and so, finally, i am. (it helps that i'm confident B-'s inherent lack of generosity will doom his relationship in a few months no matter how often he goes jogging.) as i leave the weirdo behind, i look to the future and what do i see?

i see more weirdos.
i'm on blackplanet and, lord help me, it's sort of depressing. it's almost as bad as those christian dating sites i tried years ago. my kingdom for a man who can spell and use punctuation correctly! i'm tired of telling black men no, i don't have kids. make of that what you will.

are the men i've met there weird because they don't use standard english? no. most of them are weird because they live in the burbs and can't say anything that doesn't sound like a R&B cliche. i'd also give my left nipple for a little bit of banter.

(there was this one guy who thought he was being funny when he said that he'd buy me dinner, drinks and give me a warm place to stay for folding his laundry. it took everything in me not to get snippy. enough women have been snippy to these guys, it seems but, lord, trying to communicate with these guys is drying up my very small well of patience!)

i'll keep looking, though. there's gotta be a black/brown equivalent to me out there, somewhere. right?

Friday, January 11, 2008

fashion friday: uemura dead

Shu Uemura, 79, Makeup Artist, Dies - New York Times

ah, farewell, master of curled lashes.
just got back from lunch at the union league where i heard former secretary of albright speak. what a really smart, funny woman! her new book is out and i think y'all should pick it up.

my feet are killing me, though. high heels at a working lunch is a bad idea.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

to white folks: shuck & jive is NOT 'bob & weave'

Pandagon :: Andrew Cuomo on Obama: ‘You Can’t Shuck And Jive’ at a press conf :: January :: 2008


that's like the time my white, liberal, lesbian (i.e., 'should have known better') dissertation chair said to me (while i was helping her carry some things for our seminar): "Ding, thanks so much, but I really can't have you be my step and fetchit."

oh, yes, she did! Step 'n Fetchit.

i suppose, nowadays, that would be synonymous with, um, 'helpful grad student.'

but, boy howdy, i sure am glad racism is dead, though.

politics, lube and motorcycles

last election time, my dreams got really weird. last night was no exception:

i was a junior level person in a big chicago ad agency. every friday, the whole agency got together to screen a few inhouse commercials created by staffers from old or lost client pitches. i worked for one of the big creative guys but secretly dreamed of striking out on my own. i give him his coffee one day and he says to me, 'hey, the next screening is yours. see what you can do with this lube client we never got.'

the friday morning screening arrives. the office is packed and chaotic. i'm losing my mind, organzing the logistics and freaking out that these very mean people are going to look at a commercial created by a glorified executive assistant. the woman who owns the agency (who looks like my old boss) snits at me and steals my seat. the lights lower and the commercial begins. it's dirty and funny, a weird piece of animation about a middle aged boss, his brown secretary and a bottle of lube, set to the Lily Allen/Mark Ronson song 'Oh My God'; the lady CEO and the creative guys want to know who made it, they're demanding who made it, they're clamoring for it then -

the dream changes and i'm in iowa, hanging out with a very angry michelle obama. barack is still out on his motorcycle and hasn't come back from the caucuses. his entire team is there and they all look like roadies for a jam band - bearded, sort of beer-bellied, older and boozy. the wife is angry, there's a strange woman no one wants to talk to hanging out with a cute young guy who's clearly biracial, and i have no idea what i'm doing there. barack comes back, looking very un-political in a leather motorcycle outfit and birkenstocks. he's smoking a cigarette.

he wants us all to come out riding with him, michelle is still angry (though she gives in later), the roadies/team love it, i don't have a motorcycle but that's ok. obama says i can ride with him. so off we go, blazing down a dark road, a political motorcycle gang. then barack drives his bike over a freeway, we dive into a pile of corn, and have an impromptu barbecue with some corn farmers and drink a load of Rolling Rock. while obama is off chatting with farmers, i'm hanging out with the cute mysterious biracial guy, michelle, the bearded campaign manager, and the strange woman in a nearby pub. in a gravelly voice, the campaign manager is about to reveal a big, serious, election damaging secret when -

the tension is just too much and i force myself to wake up.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

here is my navel

you may have noticed that i haven't been posting as much lately and what i have posted isn't exactly good. i don't know what it is. it's not that i've lost the juice for this blog but there just isn't much to say right now.

about politics? i'm marginally hopeful about the dems' progress though i'm pretty sure that, in the end, the great machine of our society will continue to roll over the marginalized people who live in it.

about sex? i'm not having any.

about gender politics? patriarchy still sucks and stupid stupid men make me want to smash their scrotal sacs with a hammer.

about pop culture? i can't look at another headline documenting the lengthening downward spiral of our celebutantes.

about religion? blick.

about my life? actually, things are going pretty good. i like where and what i am right now.

do i want to continue to contribute to the babble/babel out here? i don't know. i think i want to write other things now, while still interacting with an audience the way i have here, but what that'll look like, i don't know.

oh, i'm not bowing out. i'm just reconsidering things.

Monday, January 07, 2008

my obsession: weddings in the times

aw, sweet.
and then there's this one. she looks like someone i could have worked with when i was at deloitte.

ok, enough wedded bliss. back to work.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Take the Plan B Survey!

Overheard in the Loft, New Year's Edition:

(Roomie and Ding, sitting on the couch, dressed in stretchy pants and sweaters, totally hungover, with heartburn from the night before.)

Ding: Oh, look. Buckaroo Banzai.
Roomie: I loved that movie.
Ding: Me, too.
(watching movie...)
Buckaroo: ...because no matter where you go...
Ding/Roomie (intoning): ...there you are.
(staring at each other in horror)
Roomie: We just turned a page, didn't we?

(Last night, Roomie and Ding are drained after their first day back at work, sitting on the couch, watching Make me a Supermodel.)

Ding: He looks like a belltower sniper.
Roomie: Ohmygod! I *just* thought the exact same thing! I thought it and then it came out your mouth! Ding, we're too creepy!
Ding: It's true. Our minds have finally melded.