Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

YouTube - Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Do not miss this if you have ever seen an episode of Mr. Rogers. I grew up watching Mr. Rogers, as so many people have, and even today if I run across a rerun, he just makes me feel better.

He does a brilliant job of explaining why public television, why educational programming, why kids matter, why their feelings matter.

Jezebella on Tour, the fourth trip

The place: Lawrence, KS
the event: graduation
the hotel: Overland Park, KS

We flew into KC Friday afternoon, drove to Overland Park, got briefly lost (thanks Mapquest!!) then hotel-ward, then dinner at the Hereford House, a steak joint. My parents had to have steak in Kansas City, and thankfully Hereford House is a forward-looking 21st century steak house, so they had a lovely vegetarian polenta dish, with spinach, artichoke hearts, asparagus, and a nice light tomato sauce.

Saturday: lunch at Free State Brewing Company for a lovely garden burger and Ad Astra Ale ("the first beer brewed in Kansas since pioneering days"). Free State was a necessary, must-go, stop on the Lawrence tour. Then to my doctoral hooding, which was a whole lot of chaos that ultimately culminated in a very nice ceremony. Plus the robe with the big poufy sleeves and velvet stripe is way cool. The "hood" is blue & red & black, all satin & velvety. I graduated with my friend D., whose parents somehow managed to end up sitting right next to my parents for the hooding. Afterwards, dinner at my advisor's house with D. and another PhD graduate and our respective families & dissertation committees.

Sunday: Dear gawd, it was hot in all of those robes. We gathered at the top of the hill, waited what felt like many hours, processed down the hill and across the field and into the stadium and up the stairs:

5000 grads, 20,000 guests. It was quite pomp-y and circumstance-y. Also, very hot. Did I mention that it was hot? So, technically, it was only 83 degrees, but in black polyester & velvet, it's like center-of-the-sun hot in an unshaded stadium bleacher.

Monday: checkout, a ride around Kansas City. Ward Parkway is gorgeous, we drove past the Nelson Atkins Museum(alas, closed on Mondays) & saw the giant shuttlecocks by Claes Oldenburg. Thence to the Country Club Plaza, designed in 1922 as "the nation's first outdoor shopping district." Good architecture, free parking, and a ton of fountains. We had cheesecake for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, which I'm pretty sure would not have been approved by any cardiologist anywhere, ever.

So graduation was a long process and at moments, something of an ordeal, but altogether worth it. When I was melting in the heat, I thought "never again!" and then I realized: NEVER AGAIN. I'm done with school. You have to call me Dr. Jezebella now. Woot.

"simple living"

Hm. So if you start looking into, say, personal finance management, debt reduction, etc. it'll lead to the frugalistas (who I am down with) and then onward to the "Simple Living" people. Nice idea, yeah: live simply, don't buy too much crap, reuse, recycle, etc. HOWEVER, it seems like 9 out of 10 "simple living" narratives end with "and then [wifey] was able to quit her job and stay home with the kids," where, naturally, she cooks everything from scratch, makes her own cleaning products, sews everybody's clothes, and hangs her wash out on the line outdoors, etc.

It seems like the only person whose life is "simple" in this scenario is Daddy, who now has a full-time housekeeper instead of a wife with a paying job who needs him to do half the housework and childcare. Sure, there are exceptions, but this is the general arc of the simple living narrative. Also, most people who advocate simple living started out wealthy and are downsizing by, for example, selling their multi-million dollar house and moving to a less expensive neighborhood. Wow, I wish I had thought of that! I should just quit my million-dollar-a-year job, cash out my stock options, move to the country, and start making my own soap! What a great idea.

Tuh, I say, and pshaw.

which reminds me of something I heard the other day:
If housewives were paid fair wages for their labor, they'd earn over $100k a year.

Or, put another way: if you hired someone to do all the stuff a full-time housewife does, it'd cost you $100,000 a year.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Be a New Orleanian. Wherever you are.

Dirty Coast Press, Nice Shirts : Be a New Orleanian. Wherever you are.

I've got the stickers, now I need the t-shirt. People need to not be thinking that the crisis is over.

I can't even believe Chris Matthews asked our mayoral candidates, on national television, "why rebuild New Orleans?" I would've flown over the podium and knocked him out, I swear. Did anyone ask "Why rebuild Manhattan?" after 9/11? Did anyone ask "Why rebuild San Francisco?" after any of the various earthquakes? Did anyone ask "Why rebuild Los Angeles?" after the riots? Good thing Mitch & Ray are capable of taking a deep breath and actually answering such an idiotic, offensive question.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Jezebella on Tour, Act III

Act III: New Orleans, BFF's wedding, May 13 and thereabouts

Drinks on Friday at a yuppie bar, drank something called "DW Lemonade" mixed by a very cute dreadlocked bartender/mixologist. The lemonade disguises the vodka content. Dangerous stuff. The bar, now called "Bridge Lounge" is full of smug yuppies who like all those "something-tini" drinks. I used to go there when it was a filthy punk-rock venue called the "RC Bridge Lounge" with cheap PBR, wooden pallets on the bathroom floor so you didn't have to stand IN the 3" of water that inevitably backed up, and there were mattresses tied to the poles so no-one smacked into a metal pole while slam-dancing. I saw Helmet there once. JEebus, they were loud. Frankly I prefer the goombah punk rockers to the smug yuppie fuckheads. Go figure.

Saturday: the poet met the parents. Went well, I think. Bought a steam iron at Target (everybody in Metairie was in the Target parking lot that day), delivered it to the bride for wedding-dress-steaming to a hotel at the foot of Canal (everybody in Orleans Parish was circling Canal Place that day), then primping, changing, polishing, powdering, adorning, etc., GORGEOUS wedding & reception, terrace view of the river, sunset, fireworks, yummy cake, loverly. Sweet groom, happy bride, it's all good. Plus the poet looked all cute in his new jacket.

Sunday: Mothers Day, lunch, gifts, etc. then drove back home.

Fortunately there was no flying or turbulence involved.

Didn't take the poet on a "disaster tour" but he saw plenty while we were driving all around. It's still grim down there, except for pockets of activity. I hope the universe sees fit to spare New Orleans another storm this year. I can't get over how much so many people have aged in 9 months, how many marriages gone south, how many deaths of older people - not techically "storm-related" but truly: Storm Related.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

one more thing

I think I might've been sitting next to Ricky Williams on my flight out of Albuquerque. LARGE dude, dreadlocks, a beard, a big T (for Texas) class ring on his left hand, and high-end kicks in Miami Dolphins colors. Actually they were beige with orange & blue detailing. Plus cowrie-shell necklace & bracelet, indicative of stoner status.

At first I thought: no way is a professional football player flying Southwest Airlines, which is all coach seating, all the time. But then I thought: well, Ricky Williams is not your average pro ball player. And then, on the way down, which was far less turbulent than the way up, he tapped me on the shoulder and said in the sweetest deep voice "Are you doing better this time?" I was, but only becaues the turbulence was much less alarming. It was sweet of him to ask, and that voice is nearly unmistakable. So either it was Ricky Williams or his doppelganger.

Jezebella on Tour, Part Deux

The weekend of May 6th, I went to New Mexico. Never been to the Southwest, actually. I've skipped right over from Austin all the way to San Francisco. This time I flew into Albuquerque, which I do not recommend to the faint of heart. Those effin mountains make for a bumpy mofo of a flight. I think I nearly grew an instant ulcer on the way out of there.

The sky is big there - you can see for miles. It sounds obvious but it's weird when you're used to being able to see, at most, down the block. I got talked into upgrading to the convertible at the rental place, and it was worth every one of the $33 it cost me ($11/day extra). Brand-spankin-new Chrysler Sebring with two, count 'em, TWO miles on the odometer. Push-button convertible top, so you flip a few handles, push a button, and the top is down. Or up. Easy-peasy. The sun, though, is really bright, so I had to keep the top up from 10-2 and wear a lot of sunscreen for early morning and late afternoon drives.

Went out to Shiprock, and did not take pictures because, really, what's the point? You can point the camera and shoot all you want, but you'll never get the scale of it into a photo. I did however, take pictures at Aztec Ruins National Park, which is actually an Anasazi site (ca. 1000 AD). I asked the park ranger if they'd ever change the name and she sighed and said "Probably not. It's just too late." The guys on the self-guided tour who were walking behind me, one of them kept saying "The aztecs did this, the aztecs did that..." even though every last bit of signage & interpretation BEGINS WITH "This is an Anasazi site." It was hard not to correct him, over & over. Blowhard.

Pics, herewith:

I always think of Cezanne when I see a curving lane like the one in the second picture, his "Turn in the Road" paintings (there are several). This landscape could not be any less Cezanne, however. I wonder what he would've done with such scenery, such brownness and aridity.

I did keep seeing things that made me think of O'Keeffe. I don't have the vocabulary for the geological formations of the southwest, but I think these might be called arroyos:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

How to stop rape:

It's pretty simple, really:

Only rapists can prevent rape

A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn’t have long hair and women shouldn’t wear short skirts. Women shouldn’t leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn’t dare to get drunk at all. Instead of that bullshit, how about:
If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
If a women is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.
If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.
If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.
If your “friend” tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and it’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.
Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape someone.
Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.
Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.
Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
Don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006



I am speechless with glee. "Your internet source for plastic action figures demonstrating ashtanga yoga."

don't miss it.

Exposing Anti-Choice Abortion Clinics

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Exposing Anti-Choice Abortion Clinics

This is an article about the people trying to get tax dollars to bully, harass, threaten, and otherwise torment women who are facing unwanted pregnancies. They offer no counselors, no medical services, and no help should a woman decide not to have an abortion. Why are tax dollars supporting these? Shouldn't this kind of false advertising be illegal? They shouldn't be able to call themselves a "clinic" if no professional services are available.

Click the linky for the whole story.

Jezebella on tour

Last weekend: Boston. Gorgeous spring weather, crispy-cool, great food. My god, the food. Papa-razzi for wonderful Italian food, Legal Seafood for, duh, seafood, and a Thai place I cannot recall the name of. Our fearless leader introduced me to the best Chardonnay ever, made by Cakebread. Lovely stuff. I may never be able to drink another Chardonnay again.

I spent Saturday afternoon at the Boston MFA, a fine institution with some excellent American art and a large terrible Gilbert Stuart painting of a horse's ass:

And when I say "horse's ass" I mean that literally, as you see. The picture is hung so the horse's ass is eye-level, right next to the Presidential Camel Toe, also eye-level. All of which is damn near life-size, so it's a real freakin' eyeful, I tell ya what. It's most unfortunate and really inexplicable. Fortunately the MFA holds many other much more enjoyable things to counterbalance the Early American Horse's Ass.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My latest art history crush

NPR : Chasing Down History and the 'Thieves of Baghdad'

Matthew Bogdanos spoke at the AAM convention this past weekend in Boston, and was spectacular. He spoke for over an hour, without notes, while striding all around the giant hotel ballroom, and he *owned* the room. What happened at the Iraq museum is more complicated - and perhaps even more depressing - than what most of us learned in the mainstream media. At least one of the three main robberies was an inside job - a DEEP inside job, and more than half of the things stolen are still missing.

He's a colonel in the Marine reserves, a Manhattan Assistant DA, and a scholar of the classics. I think he should be the new pin-up boy for museums. He peppered his talk with quotes from Socrates, from Twain, from Shakespeare. Nice.

I haven't read his book yet, but I bought it right after the lecture and had him sign it. So far, I've read one chapter, and it's good. Profits go to the Iraq Museum, which needs money desperately for staff, for conservation, for repair, for the continuing search for stolen artworks.

Most of us learned in grade school that civilization was formed at the Tigris & Euphrates rivers, remember that? Yeah, that's in Iraq. Many of Western civilization's greatest ancient artworks are at the Iraq Museum - or were until 2003. It's easy to forget this kind of thing, the news keeps on rolling and the networks stop reporting, but Bogdanos is doing a fine job of keeping the illegal trade in antiquities, and the tragedy at the Iraq National Museum in the public eye.