Monday, October 31, 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

Time for a Tea Party!














image source

Text Messages for Your Vagina ?

Awhile ago, there was a post over on Jenny's world about a recent Cosmo (an evil, vile publication) feature on saucy text messages. According to Jenny (text-message extraordinaire), the messages Cosmo provided as examples of "sexy" were along the lines of: "Don't do much @ the gym...save energy for L8R" and "Ur ass looks gr8 in those jeans" and (my personal favorite) "Was in such a rush! 4got2 wear a bra." Jenny astutely called these examples of sexy messages "uninspired," and I had to agree. I commented thusly:

Text has really become a sort of fashion accessory, and that seems interesting. The sidekick, for example, is a sort of notebook meets telephone meets bauble. I also like how the short hand is reminiscent of a rebus abacus, you know those messages where symbols (like a picture of an eye for "I") stand in for words.

As to "dirty" text messages, do any of them use a sort of gestural approach -- you know, where the LOOK of a letter or symbol is used as opposed to the sound?

For example, do thess messages seem dirty:

Are you ^?

My ^^s are ready to be ().

When are we going to ><

Let me ! your ;

And then will you VV my q?

I still think those messages are pretty flirty. Letters are so sexy! And those bedazzled sidekicks are still everywhere. But I just read about a new "mobile accessory" that literally takes the idea of sexy text to the next level. It's called the Toy.












The Toy is a hi-tech vibrating bullet. Connected to a mobile phone with Bluetooth it becomes an intimate, silent connection between two lovers, regardless of distance. Custom designed for your pleasure, it is intelligent, sophisticated and invented for bliss.

The Toy is worn internally, linked to a mobile phone and controlled by sms text messages sent to the phone. Once read, the message is transported automatically to The Toy, which turns it into vibrations - with a huge range of movements, depending on what you have written. Just say what you feel, The Toy will do the rest.

So it's basically a remote-controlled vibrator. Not so interesting really except that this vibrator claims to be controlled by words. It literally claims to translate written language into physical sensation, an innovation that suggests that the texter can actually "reach out and touch someone."

So it's a dissapointment that a device like this has such idiotic text on its website. Here was a golden opportunity for adult toys to escape the cheesey, sexist, boilerplate language of most "erotic" product packaging. But no. Under the description of this "bullet -like" product, there are two colums-- one in blue text, for "gentlemen" of course, and one in pink text, for the "ladies."

Blue: " Imagine a connection with your lover... You command her arousal from afar. Monday morning - she leaves with The Toy inside... She's given you the power - You alone control The Toy , Teasing her with single word messages, Frustrating her with smouldering long fantasies. No matter how many text messages she gets today, Yours are the ones she really, really WANTS! Imagine the power, the control."

Pink: Imagine a connection with your lover... A sexy physical connection that stretches across the planet . . .Imagine a dreary Monday morning - Work as usual, then you remember The Toy... we have The Toy! Imagine the thrill of receiving a message Imagine the hunger for that first one...oh, the antici...pation! Beep beep! - there it is, a new message... Your heart races as you read his sexy words. You know he is thinking only of you. The toy bursts into action, sensation ripples through your body. Flushed, you look around, has anyone noticed? No, no-one knows your secret...Then The Toy stops...Imagine wanting more... NOW! Imagine waiting for his next text.

Yuck. I've gone ahead and bolded the language that seems the creepiest and to most insistently reiterate the missionary-position psychology behind this predictable, boring, and offensive exchange. The blue "you commands" and "you have the power" and the pink "waiting" and "wanting" and "we" (the sole "we" on the page) seem far from fun or sexy. So even though this device claims to be pretty, y'know, "racy," the text on the website itself is pretty "uninspired." And I hate how the copy of the website basically dictates how 1 man and 1 woman should use the toy (here in Texas, we're dealing with all the nasty Prop II stuff; the church down the street from us has this obnoxious billboard that says in mean block capitals -- "DEFINE MARRIAGE AS A UNION BETWEEN 1 MAN AND 1 WOMAN." Sweet, eh? Oh, and even if we wanted to, we couldn't buy something like The Toy here unless it's labeled as a "novelty gift." That's why women in Texas can't even buy that Elexa vibrating ring in our drugstores ).

Anyway, it wouldn't have been that hard for the marketers of the toy to use "your partner" or "your lover" instead of "Gentlemen" and "Ladies." And it strikes me as strange that they didn't play up that fact that "ladies" and "wearers of the toy," don't have to wait for that next message -- s/he can fire that puppy up whenever s/he likes. The Toy can be used sans partner as a simple vibrator, or controlled remotely with one's own phone. And the Toy only responds to the messages one chooses to read, so all the "power" and "control" is actually in the "hands" of the wearer. That's way sexier if you ask me.

Now I'm going to digress for a moment and mention a few things that reading about the toy has prompted me to recall. One: the annunciation. In many versions of the story, Mary is literally impregnated by "the word" of god. Some would even go as far as saying that she was penetrated by "word." There is also the possibility that any opening in the body -- ear, eye, mouth, wound -- can be seen as a vagina (I know! that damn Catholic upbringing combined with an interest in medieval European art has me frequently thinking -- ooh look -- a vagina!). And Two: the vagina dentata. In the vagina dentata, the vagina is depicted as having a set of secret teeth (translation: the vagina is scary!). These teeth can chomp off someone's you know what (similar perhaps to those new anti-rape condoms). I've always been fascinated by the idea of vagina as mouth or vagina as source of text. With the Toy, the vagina can receive text messages. But could the vagina also generate text? It seems like the technology would be only one step away from voice-recognition software. And, because I've recently been reading about the occult for one of my poetry projects, I also know that there are spells and rituals that call for the writing of someone's name with menstrual blood. I know, I know. I'm digressing. But do you really expect anything else?
















image source

The Magic Lake














source

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I really hope this is true

It's about time for Britney to kick K-Fed to the curb and enter her Sylvia Plath "I eat men like air" period. Don't ya think?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Annoying Boy of the Week: The "Philosophy Boy"


















At almost every institution of higher education there is a group of sleek, chiseled man-boys with high cheekbones and furrowed brows. They congregate on the quad, smoke Gaulois cigarettes, and talk loudly about Satre, Derrida, and especially Nieztsche. Despite being so very intellectual, they still seem to spend a great deal of time grooming themselves. Their most common posture is that of the cocky chest-thrust, though some of them also practice the studied slouch. When women walk by, their talking seems to get even louder. If they are alone and can not talk (so sad!), they are forced to brood underneath trees, reading their dog-eared copies of
Thus Spake Zarathrusta. Their hair is always just so, and they make sure that their pained visages are frequently available to be gazed upon by (what they must imagine to be) their throngs of admirers. Ah, to be smarter than everybody else! Such a burden!

Now don't get me wrong; I have nothing against philosophy. And I like books (obvs). But I do, however, have a problem with boys who think they are better than others simply because they've read x, y, or zed. I have a problem with boys who feign aloofness among their peers simply because they think it makes them cool. I have a problem with boys who pretend to listen to you only so they can respond by putting words in your mouth (for example, they love to tell you what "you think"). And I have a problem with boys whose favorite sentence is along the lines of "Obviously you've never read ____." Give me a fucking break.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hitting the Books

The SB and I just scored two of the coveted Barnes and Noble wristbands necessary to attend Lemony Snicket's reading at the Texas Book Festival next weekend. Yes, believe it or not, we will wake up at a resonable hour on a Saturday morning and haul ourselves up to Austin. The event is being held at the beautiful Paramont Theater and should be a real treat. We love us some Lemony Snicket, aka Daniel Handler. Lemony Snickett = best. pen. name. ever. Also, we hear he is good friends with Stephin Merritt, the creative genius behind the band that is the Magnetic Fields.

We're also planning on attending I've Been Banned, a panel of young adult / teen authors who've written books that deal with "controversial" subjects like cutting and homosexuality. One of the authors, David Levithan, is the founding editor of the PUSH imprint (which we've written about before). Jorie Graham and Salman Rushdie are also reading / being interviewed, but their times overlap a bit. We'll probably go see Rushdie since we've seen Graham before. Ever since the foetry thing everyone has been pretty down on Graham , but we still really like many of her poems, and she's one of the few poets we've seen who is actually fun to watch (besides Heather McHugh, Sharon Olds, and Mark Doty).

We'll also probably visit the cooking tent where both Mark Bittman and Ted Allen will be shelling their wares and wisdom. Ted is one of the least annoying guys or Queer Eye and the SB uses his Mark Bittman book several times a week. Speaking of food, we're also hoping to stop at the Driskill 1886 cafe and bakery for breakfast in between the morning sessions. They have waffles in the shape of the state of texas. And really good coffee.













Lemondy Snicket "author photos" courtesy lemonysnicket.com

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My So-Called Shopgirl

I've had a soft spot for Claire Danes ever since My So-Called Life. Girlfriend was 15 when that shit was made. 15! Since then, she's had some ups and downs. I tend to think that people have been a little too hard on Claire. She's not mainstream Hollywood, but she's not creepy like Jack Nicholson or crazy like Tom Cruise. Plus, she attends poetry readings and she takes crazy artisitic risks -- like doing some "out there" modern dance that will do little more than elicit mockery from most gossip bloggers. That's much harder than wearing manolos or jumping on Oprah's couch. The girls got guts.

Anyway, the NYT gives Shopgirl, Claire's new film, a pretty glowing review.
American commercial cinema is happy to crack dirty jokes and sing maudlin hymns to matrimony, but "Shopgirl," which is both funny and sweetly sad, aims for something other than salaciousness or sentimentality. It is partly about how the specter of love can give ordinary life a feeling of risk and enchantment, a process that Mr. Tucker discreetly recapitulates on screen. The crisp and lovely images (shot by Peter J. Suschitzky), though never self-consciously pretty, turn drab daily reality into a satisfying aesthetic experience. And the movie's jewel-like moments of humor and disappointment are tastefully laid out on the velvet cushion of Barrington Pheloung's luxurious orchestral score.

and later:
Ms. Danes, whose performance is flawless, is certainly lovely enough to invite such admiration, but she does not go out of her way to solicit it. The movie's conceit depends upon our ability to believe that Mirabelle, who moved to California from Vermont, is lonely and overlooked - not quite an ugly duckling, but someone whose diffident, melancholy temperament might render her invisible in a world more interested in flashy display.

Something about the phrase "a world more interested in flashy display" seems suggestive of exactly why some people are not so hot on CD. Anyway, I have high hopes for the movie. So don't be a hater!!

Read the rest of the NYT review here.

Who is Evilest?





















Our first Halloween Post -- BOO!!!

Parisite pic from scenegasm
Asslee pic from ashleesimpson.net

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Animation Frustration : Why Aren't There More Girls in Cartoons?

We went to see Wallace and Gromit this weekend, and wow was it good. Really good -- funny jokes, lovable characters, puns and other wordplay, lots of vegetables(!), and an abundance of friends who can be classified as FLUFFY. But something has been bugging me since seeing this show. Out of all the previews, the little madagascar penguin pre-show featurette, and the lovely Wallace and Gromit full-length, there were only two notable female characters. In the featurette -- a cranky old woman. In W & G -- a cherry-headed lady of the manor / love interest (now don't get me wrong here, I loved that character, I'm just noting that of the five principal characters -- W, G, love interest, her current suitor / W's rival, and the local priest -- only one is a woman).

The previews looked awful, and lead me to assume that "kid humor" has been reduced to anything related to burps and farts. (Chicken Little looks sooo boring). Enjoy the W&G while you can, peeps, 'cause the next wave of animated movies looks pretty rotten.

But what's up with the paucity of women and girls in cartoons? This article ,"Television Cartoons: Do Children Notice it's a Boy's World" ( Teresa L. Thompson, Eugenia Zerbinos , 1997) provides on overview of what others have written about the dearth of women in cartoon land. Here's a taste:

More than 20 years ago, Streicher (1974) looked at how females were portrayed in cartoons. Cartoons, especially "chase-and-pratfalls," were predominated by active, noisy, male characters. Female characters were less numerous, needed to be rescued, caused trouble, talked less, worked in the home, and tended to fall in love at first sight. These results were consistent with those of Sternglanz and Serbin (1974), Levinson (1975), and Barcus (1983). Levinson also found that males were given much more variety in roles and that gender presentations did not mirror the real world. More recently, Smith (1994) also found that advertising aired when children were likely to be watching exhibited stereotypic sex role behavior and boys predominated in those commercials. Such stereotypical presentation is not surprising. As a CBS executive noted, "Children's television has always been male dominated" (Poltrack, quoted in Carter, 1991, p. C18). Network executives say they provide programming that appeals to boys because they outnumber girls in the 2-11-year-old audience on Saturday morning and they will not watch shows that have girl leads, although girls will watch cartoons with male leads. Data do support the assertion that boys, especially those who have obtained gender constancy, tend to focus upon male characters and traditionally "male" programming, such as sports and action shows (Luecke-Aleska, Anderson, Collins, & Schmitt, 1995).


and then later:

Although boys did not describe boy characters in relationship to girls, the boys did tend to describe girl characters in the context of their relationships to or interest in boys. This included such statements as, "(girls) ask boys out on dates," they "follow what boys say," they are "left out of play," they are "not as adventurous," they are "teased by boys," and they "want kisses." Boys also described girl characters' domestic behavior or referred to girls' appearance. Examples of this included they "say 'I'm pretty'" and they "wear rings." Girls described girl characters as domestic, playing with dolls, dressing up, and chasing boys. Specific examples included doing "chores around the house," "being polite," and "say(ing) 'excuse me' a lot." Clearly, the majority of children in this study perceived male and female cartoon characters in stereotypical ways.


One of the reasons I love the films of Hayao Miyazaki so much is that women and girls usually play leading or principal roles. I was surprised to discover that on the American / dubbed version of Kiki's Delivery Service, Disney changed the gender of Kiki's cat, one of the film's main characters. In the original Japanese version, the cat has a female voice. In the American one, said cat has one of those male, wise-cracking, Billy Crystal - type side-kick voices. Ugh.

Now I'll admit that I don't watch television cartoons very often. Sure, I watched them when I was a kid. My questions about them then were more along the lines of "why can't I have pink har like Jem?" and "why is Smurfette the only girl?" Later I went through a Powerpuff girls phase, and now I only sometimes catch The Simpsons or King of the Hill. Though my exposure to cartoons is by no means extensive, it seems to me as though cartoons are still pretty much a boys' world, and a pretty white one at that.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Things that Go Bump












dorky "baby bump" t-shirt from dweedle tees

I hate headlines like "celebrity bump watch" and "katie's bump." The first one makes sport out of gestation and the second one is icky.

I've already talked about the spectacle of the celebrity pregnancy, and I've also already revealed me feelings about calling butts and breasts "humps" and "lumps." Perhaps, like "lump," it's the negative connotations of the word "bump" that make it's use to describe a pregnant woman's belly so annoying. But it also seems akin to touching a pregnant woman's belly while waiting in line at the grocery store.

First of all, this article, "The Perfect Little Bump" is, in a word, horrifying. Second, this on-line quiz called "bump or plump?" where one is asked to look at pictures of women and determine whether or not they are pregnant, is gross. And then this article illustrates the now common practice of scrutinizing celebs' bulging stomachs in order to determine the baby's due date (this more contemporary practice is perhaps related to bumpology, an alternate term for phrenology). Perhaps, like a phrenology head, we'll soon be able to purchase porcelain bellies. Maybe one will come with our next issue of US.

Anyway, it seems the word "bump" has come into practice as a way to accommodate the increasingly discussed topic of celebrity pregnancy. I mean, the word "pregnant" just doesn't look as cute and adorable in tabloid headlines.

Now I'll admit that I have a complicated relationship with euphemisms. Sometimes I like them; I'll call a cooking disaster an "experiment," getting lost "a creative exercise in orienteering," and my tendency toward clutter as"a way of keeping things cozy." But I'm generally skeptical of euphemism. Especially when phrases like "war on terror" and "friendly fire" and "collateral damage" are the flotsum and jetsam of the mainstream media. And the tendency toward euphemism has always had a questionable place in the way women's bodies and their various functions are described. And the latest trend of calling that swelling of the belly caused by pregnancy a "bump" basically makes me want to puke.


t-shirt from shop.com


















According to the OED, the etymology of "bump" is "Onomatop{oe}ic: the v. and n. of action being probably coeval." The majority of Urban Dictionary of Slang's listings for the word "bump," refer to drug use.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Darling Scarling

We love words. Old, weird, tasty, jangly words. So of course we were attracted to the band Scarling, because that name is so strange and razor-sharp sweet. At first we thought it was a portmanteau -- a blend of "scar" and "starling." But of course we consulted the OED, and we were thus directed to the words "skirling" which means "a young salmon, a samlet, a sparling" (I know! more tasty words) and "scarlet" which of course refers to the color but, in early use, also described "some rich cloth."

And then we were delighted not only by the pretty design of the band's website, but by the fact that they actually provide their own definition for the word:

scarling. definition

[Middle English, from Old English scaerlinc, from scar+ -ling, -linc -ling; akin to Old High German von scar, Latin scarnos] First appeared 1999

1. the smallest mark on your heart left by the healing of a severe injury.

2. he or she who is scarred densely almost emotionless

3. a mentally challenged/physically handicapped sibling of a normal star

4. a band from Los Angeles

(Someday, we are going to write our very own dictionary of strange and wonderful made up words. Perhaps we'll label small vials and inscribe the definitions on tiny shreds of old newspaper, blades of grass, leaves, and sparkly shards of glass.)

Anyway, Scarling's music is both lush and gravely -- sort of Velocity Girl meets Siouxsie Sioux meets Slowdive (with a bit of Deerhoof mixed in for good measure). Some people have described them as goth and "nu-gazer." We're just going to say that they sound like the type of band who might have played at The Bronze.

And while we are on the subject of bands, don't forget about the best band ever!: The Long Telegram. Their server is currently down, but we hear that new tracks are going up soon. We'll let you know as soon as that happens!

Google Poem of the Week: TomKat

"TomKat"
(from http://www.leevilehto.net/google/googlism.asp)

tomkat is waiting for different
tomkat is exhausted by so good that the real ginger had to stop
tomkat exists in the open source
tomkat paces about in a true defender of the art of turntablism
tomkat swallows a hmr sumo son
tomkat remembers nothing of just as
tomkat is
tomkat wants required to run envoy on your system
tomkat displays the pilot of the turbokat and loves to flirt with danger
tomkat stays in a historic building for porn pilgrims
tomkat stands above featured on several of the tracks
tomkat looks to not here this time
tomkat gets demobbed by not working correctly
tomkat stays with light compared to others
tomkat fishes with doch a scherzkekserl oda? der
tomkat is troubled by on
tomkat sits into stupid
tomkat is decayed by not tuned for speed
tomkat sighs in my righteous brother
tomkat is shored against always on the lookout for new link trades


plus, you really must make a google pantoum. I plugged in "shih tzu" and the results were astonishing!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Please Don't Dress Your Dog Like a "Ho"

Every year I've somehow managed to miss the costume pet parade at Jo's. So I was surfing around, looking at pet costumes, trying to get an idea of what I've missed. Inevitably, I started feeling conflicted because some of the costumes are cute and the dogs are very very adorable, but in others, they look, well, sad.

Here's an example of cute:












piggy costume from spoiled rotten doggies

Somehow, as the Sad Billionaire observed, the shih-tzu retains it's dignity, even in a pink piggy get-up. This dog appears almost sanguine * The pug seems to possess a similar quality:












"Princess" Costume from PetCo


And the dog costume that uses word play? Also cute:










"hot dog" costume from brandsonsale


But not all dogs in dress-up-ville are happy. No. Some dogs seem a bit down in the mouth. Here's an example of sad:












"dracula" costume from PetCo

First of all, is that a skullcap? Second of all, are those arms? Third of all, are those little front legs really sheathed in some sort stiff , shiny material? This little doggie ain't feeling this look. A cape alone would be enough.

But this is nothing compared to what else is out there. Oh no. It gets worse. An example of just plain wrong:












"ho dog" costume from brandsonsale (there's a "pimp" costume to match)

so. wrong. so. so. wrong. Dogs don't want to be "ho"s.


*And yes, we know we are probably wrong about this. Don't worry, we are not planning on dressing up any dogs any time soon.** Just allow us to indulge in the fantasy for a bit longer.

**full disclosure: we did, however, subject our grandmother's dog to performing the role of "Sandy" in our persistent (and annoying, as my grandmother reminds me) renditions of the song "Tomorrow" from
Annie. This was circa 1984, and I had a red annie wig and everything. I know, poor dog. Poor, poor pooch.

Hello Kitty Halloween






Keroppi with fangs. You must experience it.

Fun in the Sun

Here is an interesting article about the use of tropical locales in reality television.

And while we're on the topic of reality television -- will Paris and Nicole have to kiss 'the simple life 'goodbye?


Play With Words









click here to play online.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Annoying Boy of the Week: Adam Corolla

Usually I like to do a little research before I blog about our annoying boys, but I can barely bring myself to do it this time. I just hate Adam Corolla that much. I can't even type his smarmy, smug little name without getting this really awful taste in my mouth. And I don't want to face the google results, which will surely include links to a bunch of dumb boys' websites that praise old AC for being so awesome. Yuck.

What I've never understood is how this guy is considered a comedian. Aren't they suppose to be funny? The funniest thing AC does is mock himself for masturbating so much, and that ain't sayin' much.

For some reason, the once sorta-cool but now sorta ridiculous Dr. Drew teamed up with AC to do
Loveline -- that once sorta-cool but now absolutely ridiculous relationships and sexuality call in show. The idea behind the pairing is that Dr. Drew is the practical and actually helpful one and Adam is the "funny," unhelpful, annoying one. To their credit, they actually have a book that looks like it could be useful to young people who may otherwise ignore issues of sexual health, and I'm sure their advice has convinced at least one idiot to appease his girlfriend and wear a condom. But every time I've had the unfortunate experience of listening to Loveline, I've just wanted Adam to shut up so Dr. Drew could actually get through a sentence without a chorus of fart noises in the background.

Anyway, AC had that show -- The Man Show -- because men don't have enough shows and someone needs to look out for them. And his new show,
Too Late with Adam Corolla, looks suckier than a leech. And, as if we couldn't figure out that AC sucks on our own, Comedy Central put his show on after The Daily Show. That's like listening to Vanilla Ice after Jay-Z: a big, wet, letdown. The sort of occurrence that makes you wanna yell "FOOL!!!" out loud.

"female chauvinist pigs"

More from Salon:

Enter New York magazine writer and editor Ariel Levy. Her new book, "Female Chauvinist Pigs," examines the rise of this American "raunch culture," that amalgamation of pornography and porn signifiers -- the single entendre T-shirt, implants, excessive waxing, cardio pole-dancing classes, Playboy bunny keychains, Howard Stern and Robin Quivers, "Girls Gone Wild," "The Man Show" and its ever-present "Juggies" -- that has popped up all over television, music videos, fashion, advertising and publishing.


More Sex on the Beach

from Salon:

The hard work MTV has put into this project is clearly already paying off. Not only do the kids of "Laguna Beach" not seem to be embarrassed about their obvious cognitive challenges, but they seem downright proud of the very limitations that might make other kids feel self-conscious. Whatever self-esteem-boosting games MTV has these kids involved in, they should keep up the good work.

But what really warms my heart is how these struggling teens have adapted to the point where they can play elaborate games of make-believe with each other. In their fascinating little microcosm, they've even developed intricate rules and codes that are impossible for the rest of us to grasp. Like last week, when Jessica, fresh off a perceived "romance" with Jason, turned her sights on Jeff and said, in her cute way, that she was "way into him," which apparently was some kind of a code for Kristen to make out with him immediately. The self-serious way they pretend at "true love" is so affecting, especially when they get all mixed up and confused and can't remember which guy is going out with which girl from week to week.


It's especially heartwarming when they try, using their limited language skills, to confront each other! I loved the adorable way Alex stumbled on her words when she was trying to call Jessica a slut right to her face for fooling around with her "boyfriend" Jason, even though Jason was actually Jessica's "boyfriend" just weeks earlier!

These kids truly are remarkable, and MTV has seized on a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously educate the public and to offer these poor kids a chance, albeit brief, to feel just like normal teenagers. I can't wait for "the prom"!

Ha! Read the rest here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

HELL-o-ween 2005

Last time I talked to my sister she was all like, "Halloween costumes have gotten really skanky." Apparently she and the bf were at a mall somewheres in California and they killed time waiting for a movie by browsing the Halloween store. It's been ages since I really looked at Halloween costumes, so I decided to visit a few of the evil major retailers' websites.

WAL-MART's "Playful disguises for Adults":


Now I'm not a big fan of monkeys. They are a little too close if you know what I mean. Nothing bums me out more than seeing a monkey in a diaper. Suffice to say that I am not a fan or the Adult Aloha Gorrilla Costume. Yikes.

But truth be told, I was expecting to find more offendoplex worthy items at ye olde Wal-Mart. But the gorilla was the only one that raised my eyebrows, and that's mostly because of my monkey-phobia. Yeah, there was a sort of risque Elvira costume, and a tacky santa's helper costume (for 98 smackers!), but nothing else particularly notable.

So I moved on to TARGET: Target has more costumes on their website than Target. But I can't say that I found any of them particularly offensive. Stupid and ugly, yes. But not offensive. Of course I could see how one might take issue with the boy toy costume but c'mon, she looks like old school Madonna!

The most annoying and obnoxious costumes I found were of the "trailer park" variety. There's a whole cluster of trends -- "white trash parties" and "kill whitey" parties (recently discussed over at you're nobody 'til somebody loves you) and all the classisit snark directed at Britney and K-Fed (who I'm not trying to defend, but . . .) and also in the "fashion police" backpages of most tabloids. Yeah, celebrities are goofy and over-rich, but is the funniest way to take 'em down always to say that they look poor? At times I see a subversive element in the "she looks like a bag lady" rhetoric (especially when it sorta gives props to the bag lady and makes the rich celebrity look silly), but other times it really comes off sounding, well, just wrong. Anyway, the semiotics of these things are too difficult to untangle on this blog right now because I've had an entire six pack of diet grape soda and my brain feels like glue, but we hope you get what we're sayin'

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tom Tells Katie to Can It

Holy Hell, Tomkat is back. In case you haven't heard, Joey is preggers. I bet Dawson is soooo pissed.

Anyway, I knew Scientologist had some, er, questionable ideas. So I wasn't surprised to find out that Katie will have to give birth sans pain killers. But I had no idea that scientologists are not allowed to SCREAM while giving birth.

From the New York Daily News:
Quit yellin', it's only childbirth

Katie Holmes' mission impossible will be giving birth without painkillers - or screaming.

That's because her fiancé, "Mission Impossible" star Tom Cruise, is a Scientologist.

Practitioners of Scientology are against drugs but insist on "silent birth" because they believe it's traumatic for babies to hear their mothers groan or cry.

"Maintain silence in the presence of birth to save the sanity of the mother and the child and safeguard the home to which they will go," church founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote in his best-selling "Dianetics."

That's easier to preach than practice.

Another famous Scientologist, actress Kelly Preston, told Redbook magazine in 2000 that she screamed for an epidural while giving birth at home to daughter Ella.

But her husband, actor John Travolta, who is also a Scientologist, didn't have time to drive Preston to the hospital.

"It got hard-core at the end because she was big," Preston said of her 13-hour ordeal.

Travolta later described it as a "beautiful, still experience that lovingly brings a child into the world without screaming or talking."

Of course, he didn't have the baby.

Scientologists also favor seven days of silence for newborns so their first week on Earth is trauma-free. But this has run afoul of state-mandated blood tests, which require at least a pinprick.

-- Corky Siemaszko

EW. This whole scientology thing is just starting to seem straight-up misogynistic. Women's voices are silenced, literally. Moreover, the mother's needs are made subordinate to the child's. And suppressing a scream seems like a bad way to maintain sanity. I've never had a baby, but screaming seemed to help me tolerate the pain when the doctor had to reset my broken ankle, and Serena and Venus are proof that vocal outbursts can help make exertion more effective. Never mind that whole postpartum depression thing. We got your back Brooke!

Katie should have mated the mantis way. I know Tom would have just grown another head, but perhaps the new one would have been on straight.


*BTW, there is a Buffy episode in which Xander falls for the substitute Biology teacher. She was a mantis (and a man-eater). Yum.


image courtesy aol celebrity

Making the Band Three: Season Two

Making the Band 3 is back.

The drama was pretty good last season, so we're gonna tune in for the premier (MTV; tonight at the ten spot). But that Diddy fellow is sorta ridiculous. You can read what we said about last season's finale here.

And you can get a recap of the drama on MTV overdrive here.


UPDATE: Making the Band 3 is as good as ever! Perhaps even better!!!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Art is Cool: Julie Becker's Installations


















A new feature on Fluffy Dollars! In these posts, we'll reflect on the coolest art we've seen, both where we've lived and where we've traveled.


For this edition, we recall installations by artist Julie Becker. These pieces appeared in "Sitings: Installation Art 1969-2002"/MOCA-GC/October 12, 2003 - June 7, 2004.

Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest, 1993



















Big rooms and tiny rooms that seem to lead in and out and around again to each other. Furniture from your grandparents' basement scattered throughout, mixed with furniture from the dollhouse. Tiny diaries inscribed with the musings of two psychic twins -- Eloise and Danny.

Fictional children. Children who lived in hotels. Children whose inner lives are mapped onto the intertwining rooms, whose memories and wishes and dreams are juxtaposed, blended, confused. Whose breathing can almost be discerned in the tiny peeling wallpaper, the scattered toys, the musty smell of loneliness and freedom, fantasy and fear. Hallways upon hallways. Labyrinthine. Contained and covert. Cavernous with corners. Thoughts of Audrey from Twin Peaks, another child of hotels.

What I didn't know, or think to imagine about them. A feeling as though I'd walked in on something. The lights and the radio on as though someone had just left the room. I don't belong here, and yet ...

There are clues to be gathered. Are the tiny rooms miniatures of the room in which I stand? Is that tiny chair a miniature of the arm chair of tattered green upholstery? And where are the children? In the walls?

The rooms are humming with them.














When you leave, they come with you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read a less impressionist description of the installation here.

Read more about Julie Becker here and here.

Read more about installation art here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Letter
by Amy Lowell
Little cramped words scrawling all over
the paper

Like draggled fly's legs,
What can you tell of the flaring moon
Through the oak leaves?
Or of my uncertain window and the
bare floor



Spattered with moonlight?
Your silly quirks and twists have nothing
in them
Of blossoming hawthorns,
And this paper is dull, crisp, smooth,
virgin of loveliness
Beneath my hand.


I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart
against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sexing it up with Elexa







I recently noticed a new ad in the latest Us Weekly. Before I could even read the copy I knew from the graphics that it was targeting hipster cum sex-and-the-city women (pulsing pink chick-lit disco girls in plunging necklines against a black background, their fists in the air and their hair in updos). And then the text. In large print: "The SEXUAL REVOLUTION has finally reached the feminine care aisle." In medium print: "Introducing Elexa, a premium line of intimacy products and condoms from Trojan. Elexa is designed from a woman's perspective. And thoughtfully available in the feminine care aisle.*" And then in teeny-tiny print: "*Elexa Vibrating Ring not for sale in Al, GA, TX, MS, LA, KS, CO or VA." Damn!

Now I love condoms. And Safe Sex is good. Very very very good. Condoms are good -- great! Condoms protect against unwanted pregnancy and STDs. Go Condoms! I'm all for any product that allows for healthy, happy sex. Spread the condom love! And condoms can be fun and creative too. Yes, we are pro-condom over here.

And I'm definitely into women-designed birth control and "intimacy products," and it makes sense that said products would be available in the "feminine care aisle" since this is where women shop. But . . .

I find the term "feminine care aisle" a bit of a tired euphemism (also see "Feminine protection" and "Feminine hygiene"). I mean, I'm used to it and all. It's rare that an ad for tampons or maxi pads actually references menstruation. The closest you'll get is some pretty blue fluid or a bouncing red dot. And it's still a funny joke to make a boy buy tampons (i.e. that Dr. Pepper commercial where a guy does yoga and buys tampons but splits as soon as his lady friend tries to take a sip of his Dr. Pepper). And though I didn't see the movie, I'm pretty sure that one of the jokes in How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days involves cluttering up the bathroom with big pink boxes of tampons. Hilarious!!!! And there's also those feminine deodorant products for "that not so fresh feeling." Yeah, the "feminine care aisle" is practically the aisle of women's liberation!

But more importantly, what's up with this ad's reference to the "sexual revolution." I'm sorry, but women buying condoms hardly seems revolutionary. In fact, almost every woman I know is responsible for the birth control in their intimate relationships (both financially and in terms of providing it and in terms of insisting that it be used). Think about it, how many forms of birth control are available just for women. The pill? Women only. Diaphram? Women only. Depo-provera ? Women only. IUD's? Women only. Norplant? Women only. The sponge? Women only. The patch? Women only. The Ring? Women only. The list goes on.

Several months ago I was having drinks with a group of young women who were all graduate students in some field related to medicine. One of them was studying pharmacology and several of them were studying public health. The ones in public health were particularly interested in reproductive health, which naturally led to my little rant about abstinence-only sex ed in Texas and how when I was in high school (also in a conservative state - south carolina) I learned how to put a condom on a banana. Granted, this was the early 90s. There were Trojan commercials on MTV. You could get handfuls of condoms from the public-school nurse. There were school-wide presentations on HIV. Anyway, after my rant I asked the women what was up with developing a birth control pill for men. I was surprised by the response. First, most of the women at the table wondered if such a thing were possible (and it is, you can read all about it here, here, and here). But that quickly faded into laughter over the idea that any man could be disciplined enough to take a pill everyday. The women agreed that they wouldn't trust their own partners to remember!!! (WTF???? If a guy is in a relationship I hope he cares enough about his partner's health to remember to take a pill!!!! Sheesh!)

I can't help but wonder if this new line of Elexa products is really progressive, or is simply a reflection of the fact that more women are buying condoms, not just because they want to have safe sex, but because the men they are having sex with are less and less likely to provide them. I've heard too many stories about men who don't want to wear condoms or get tested for STDs. What bam-bams!!!! Grow up!!! I mean, let's not beat around the bush (no pun intended); birth control has long been considered the women's responsibility. After all, chicks are the ones with the womb!!! Never mind that men have the swimmers!

Can you imagine sponges and diaphrams being sold in the "masculine care" aisle?

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think Elexa is bad -- I just think their ad campaign illuminates some troubling trends. There's some useful information on the Club Elexa page, including an article on body image and the importance of enjoying sex even after you no longer feel "young." And there are tips on achieving orgasm and all that good stuff. And pro-woman language and even -- gasp -- the "f" word (feminism) is sprinkled throughout the site. But it's not the catalogue of progressive, women-centered sex-products you'll find advertised in the pages of Bust, or Bitch, or even Ms. No, Elexa ain't no Toys in Babeland.

In last weeks episode of Laguna Beach, Alex M. was pissed at Casey because she told a few of the boys that Alex M. had a mysterious "hygiene problem." Now the exact nature of the problem was never revealed, but Jenny confirmed my suspicion that it was "probably something vagina related." In an episode of Friends, Monica and Rachel fight over the last condom in the house as their partners (we must presume) both arrived unprepared and must wait for the women to return with the goods. And in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry mistakenly puts a condom designed to sustain his erection on inside out, leaving Cheryl, his poor wife, with a numb vagina.

I bring these examples up simply to illustrate how anxiety about the female body -- it's shape, size, impregnability, and smell -- is one of the things that creates a market for "feminine care products." One imagines that the target audience of the Elexa ads are women like Casey and Alex M. , whose bodies must be kept smelless and pristine to be deemed acceptable by the cadre of immature boys of Laguna Beach. Or else women like Monica and Rachel, who, without their own supply of condoms, may never get laid again. Or like Cheryl, who if she leaves the condom buying and even the condom putting-on to Larry, might end up with an uncomfortably numb vagina.

Lastly, if women are expected to remember and provide and finance birth control, shouldn't women make MORE than men?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Another Buffy - Gilmore Girls Connection





















from E!'s
Watch With Kristin:

2. Learn from the Gilmores: The littlest Gilmore, Alexis Bledel, turned her on-set sizzle with Milo Ventimiglia into a bona fide, rock-solid relationship, when he moved along to other TV projects. And mama Gilmore, Lauren Graham, did one better by dating a WB star who is not on her own show. I've teased this enough, so I'll just go ahead and tell you: It's Buffy's former squeeze, Marc Blucas (Riley), and they've been dating about a month. Atta Gilmore!


read the whole article here.

image courtesy fractured simplicity. Thanks to rockslinga for the heads up.

Spending Money is Easy















Just found Pet Pop Art over at Cafe Press.

Plus, you can get the image on these shih tzu heart garden greeting cards on anything. Holla!!!!