Friday, April 24, 2009

Today's Useless Trivia!

Did you know that you cannot leave New England via car, horse, feet, cycle (motor- bi- or uni-) or any land-based mode of transportation for that matter, and get to the rest of the continental United States without crossing a bridge?

Seriously. You can't leave without crossing a bridge. Think I'm wrong?

To the north and northeast: The St. Lawrence.
To the northwest: Lake Champlain.
Due west: The Hudson River.
Southwest: The Harlem River.
Due south: Long Island Sound.

Can't be done.

It's like we're one big, gay-marriage supporting, college-town loving, blueberry-and-potato-growing, lobster-eating island!!!

Phooey on you, Texas! If anyone should secede, we should!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Frankly, the planet puts up with a lot, and as my mother always says about Mother's Day, "Why should I just get one day? I'm your mother." To that end, this planet is the only parent we have (that we know of), so let's make every day Earth Day! My plug is for water conservation, so here goes:

Water is the single most important resource we have. You can live up to a month without eating, but you won't make it more than a week without water. (The average is three days.) Fresh water is increasingly scarce, as the majority of it is locked up in ice.

When you flush the toilet, dump stuff down the sink, or run the tap, you're wasting fresh water. So, here are a few things you can do to help:

Decrease the nitrogen load on our fresh water supply.
Nitrogen has a systemic impact on the planet. Once introduced, it sucks oxygen out of the water, choking off the ability for phyotplankton to absorb sunlight, and in turn, that throws the food chain out of whack. So, try to buy phosphate-free everything (automatic dish detergent, sink soap, laundry detergent, etc.) There are plenty of products on the market that do just as good a job cleaning without phosphates, so make a point of purchasing them if you can.

Install low-flow showerheads and a low-flow, high-efficiency toilet.

Don't run the tap while brushing your teeth.

Don't flush if you only do number 1. (Water-based waste disposal systems have a ratio of approximatley 97% water to 3% waste.)

Try to keep your shower to four minutes or under.(Oddly, this is a long time. Try it. Put a timer in your shower. You'll be amazed.

Do not throw everything down the sink, particularly fats and oils. Either sell them off to your veggie-diesel car driving neighbors, or recycle them.

Only run your diswasher when it's really full.

If you have a garden, install a cistern so that you can use it on the plants. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just go to Home Depot, get a huge bucket, stick it under your gutter, and voila! To prevent it from turning into a mosquito pond, buy a tight-fitting cover.

If you are renovating a home, install a gray water collection system.

The Earth is a nice place. It's pretty and blue, like sapphires or those fabulous silk-satin Manolos that Big gave Carrie for their engagement.

And honestly, for a 4 billion year old, she's looking pretty good. So let's not let her go all Grey Gardens, shall we?

Do what you can to keep the Earth looking fabulous!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The One Good Makeover Show

I admit it: I love a good makeover. I won't call myself a raging beauty, but I have come a distance from my ugly duckling past. I always inserted myself into the "And then s/he turned into a swan and lived happily ever after" story. So, that's why I love What Not to Wear, because each week, I get my ugly duckling fix.

And the best part? Well, check out this in the WaPo...she says it as well as I could have: Stacy and Clinton, as snarky as they are, harsh on the clothes not the person.

It's true....never have Stacy and Clinton ever told someone they were fat, chubby, needed to lose a few, etc. They just acknowledge someone's curves, ask what that person is not happy with, and then they get to it.

I can imagine that the hardest part about the WNTW transformation is that if you've spent the majority of your life being ignored, you grow up wanting to be ignored. So, you dress like crap and hope no one notices, because typically, what happens when someone does notice is not good.

But sadly, we are visual beings and we notice appearance. But that said, it doesn't mean that appearance has to be cookie-cutter or trendy. Most former ugly ducklings I know want to maintain some kind of individualism and sense of personal style. When you've been "other" for so long, it's comforting. But as Stacy and Clinton (and Diana Vreeland, and Carrie Donovan, and Grace Coddington and many, many others) have repeatedly shown, a sense of style, when fully embraced is the ultimate method of personal expression.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The MAC Daddy of Galaxy Clusters

So, I'm sitting here, at 10 minutes to 5PM on a lovely spring day, feeling sorry for myself, and then I stumble across this, and feel stupid, small, irrelevant, and yet strangely...optimistic.....and I smiled. You can enjoy more here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today's 9 to 5 Image

Yep. For most of us, this is life in Corporate America.

But sometimes, if you're lucky, you get off the wheel, and a soft, kind hand picks you up, takes you out of the cage, lets you run around the lawn, then gives you a fresh piece of lettuce.

And while you're running around the lawn, the hand changes your shavings and fills your water bottle!

But most of the time, it's on the wheel, running off to nowhere.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WaPo's Givhan on "What Exit?" Housewives

I've always loved the delightful Ms. Robin Givhan's sartorial coverage for the Washington Post, and I'm sorry that she's giving it up to cover The Family O, but in the interim, we have a lovely piece by her about my newest favorite horror show.

I thought RHOC was bad, but this is just, oh, this is like watching aliens land on your front lawn, get out, and start talking to you. You're slack-jawed, frightened, yet intrigued and incredulous that something so other really exists.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Kicks Serious Tushie

This woman is amazing. Jezebel said it best: the Justice is on a "give cancer the finger" tour. (I can relate. There is only one answer to cancer: F.U. I'm not done yet.)

Read the full scoop here.

Michelle O. Rocks, and My Mom Should Thank Her!

First, let's just say that to all the hypercritical comments made about Michelle Obama's personal style, I say, "BOOOOOO". Yes, "BOOOOO". Damnit, I LOVE HER STYLE.

Michelle Obama represents something that I completely understand: She has the personal style of a smart, well-educated, tall, curvy 40-something woman who had a professional career before becoming First Lady. She is clearly a thoughtful, creative woman who loves to express herself, and is interested in looking cool and hip, but age- and situation-appropriate. She has had to dress for herself, not for a role as "political" wife, like Nancy Reagan or the Bush women.

I think Michelle Obama's personal style reflects a generation that, while not second-wave feminism, is also not Hillary Clinton's late 60's Wellesley feminism, either. To a degree, Hillary's generation had the luxury of not really caring that much about how they looked--it was important to break the stereotype in order to further women's goals. I understand that, and I applaud it. I think that's why Hill had such culture shock in the 90s when the media was attacking her style (or what the media perceived as a lack of style). Hillary is old enough that she was on the further side of the "what you wear doesn't matter" curve.

Michelle, on the other hand, is a year younger than me, and hence, is on the backside of the "What you wear doesn't matter" curve. She was clearly raised by a mom who took pains to say to her daughter, "There is a way you look, and there is a way that looking good says something to the outside world....that you want to be taken seriously." (I won't delve into the race issue, but I can only imagine that it was twice as important for Michelle to present an exterior that was perceived as professional and competent.) Further, I suspect that her mother also raised to her make the most of what you have. I don't know Michelle or her mother, but I get the feeling that Michelle never thought to herself, "Oh, well Barack has become President. I think I'll throw out all my old clothes, and buy new, American designer togs that are boring, cookie-cutter over-the-top pieces of crap which don't reflect my style at at all."

Which brings me back to my initial comment: I loooooove her look. If I were 30 pounds lighter, I'd be buying half the stuff she wears. I love it. Alaia, Thakoon, J. Crew, Talbot's....what a great blend of funky and classic. She has high-low style down pat. It rocks. Screw all of you who say, "You don't wear a cardigan to meet the Queen!" Did you see the crap-ass, poorly-fitted dress that Mrs. Brown wore? And she wore black tights with it! Mother of god!

Donatella Versace has been quoted as saying, "Wear what you like, and wear what looks good on your figure...that's style." And I agree. Michelle is controversial in the fashion press precisely because she wears what she likes.

I also credit her with the resurgence in day dresses, of which I bought two this weekend. My mother is thrilled. For all the time when I as young, and she tried to get me to wear dresses I say: Mom, patience is a virtue. I think she thought I'd spend the rest of my life playing in the mud, wearing oversized flannel shirts and cords.

So Mommy and Michelle, these are for you!

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Favorite Spring Ritual


The hard, empty, quiet of winter is over. The ground softens, as do our expressions, both no longer pinched and closed against the snow and ice.

I believe that celebrating this change is important.

Some people go to sunrise Easter services.
Some people make trip to neolithic site and watch the vernal equinox arrive.
Some people work wonders with matzoh and chicken and reflect on struggle.

As for me? Oh, honey, it ain't spring without a burning bush and Anne Baxter....

Spring Fever

Okay, so it's been two gorgeous spring days in a row! Sunny, 60 degrees, birds singing, and daffodils blooming. What's not to love? Anyone who lives in New England (or any other four-season geographic region) knows that we appreciate temperate weather in a way that say, San Diegans cannot. To paraphrase that old Smith Barney commerical, "We enjoy our spring the old-fashioned way, we earn it."

Sadly, the joys of spring in New England are tempered by the you know what (okay, okay, I'll say it: Global Economic Crisis). The T and the Globe face cuts that may shred them both into either nonexistence or a may-as-well-be-nonexistant form. And, speaking of nonexistence, can we just pause and discuss how, the mother ship has been a bit lacking, as it were, in its coverage of the potential Globe cuts? I think you had to dig to page B6, below the fold, of the Monday print edition to find anything. They haven't put anything on the interwebs about it.

Now, onto another favorite subject: Public transit. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, and now it looks like unless the Commonwealth steps in, the T will make seriously drastic cuts. Cuts to the point that no one will want to ride the T, despite reaching an all-time ridership high during the past year. Now, whether you love the T or hate T, use it or don't, this impacts everyone. First, it's a disincentive to those "on the edge" commuters (folks who'd otherwise drive) to throw in the towel altogether. Second, it encourages business to stay out of the Boston area (higher rents, no parking for your employees, no reasonable transit alternatives, etc.) Third, and perhaps most important, it disproportionately affects those of a lower socioeconomic status who rely on buses and trains as their primary mode of transportation. Granted, the T has had a host of issues from patronage to corruption to service, and while perhaps it's time for a major restructuring and house-cleaning, don't do it at the expense of those who can least afford it.

I close with annual spring rant about the Carmine Hose. This is related to the above: For the love of all that's holy, why, oh why cannot the many non-urban dwelling fans take public transit? I live 5 miles from my office. When a Sox game lets loose 30,000 fans at 5:15PM, it takes me at least 1 hour to crawl five miles. I can (and perhaps should) walk to work at that rate! What bothers me most about this is, as I pointed out: The majority of fans don't live in Boston, Cambridge, or Somerville. They have no idea what it's like getting to and from work on a normal day (by T or by car), yet when they invade, every spring, like some sort of squinty, sun-deprived giant red migratory bird drunk on Budweiser, they act as if this town owes them something just for showing up. You'd think after all these years, they'd A) know how to navigate the Green Line, B) know how to navigate the BU bridge, and C) know how to navigate the streets. But no. Although, what do you want from a group of people who collectively forget the idea of loss and pain year after year and keep going back for more?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Aaaaaaaand we're back

Yikes. Dear readers (all three of you), forgive me. I have, in my attempts to be a good worker-bee, failed to post anything--anything at all in the past three months.

And I am sorry.

So, so very sorry.

We'll see what we can do to get back onto the blogging bandwagon.

In the meantime, I blame Facebook.