May 31, 2007

Seen on the Blogosphere

Now for some fun, dahlings. This is a ballet I would definitely pay to see! Men dancing in tutus.

Trockadero Ballet. What a hoot! Click here to enter the site

View the Dying Swan (Be patient.) Ha!

See a whole slew of fun Trockadero Ballet videos on YouTube. Isn't the Net grand?

Pretty model? Pretty dead.

There's nothing new about this post. We've heard it all before: Fashion models are pressured to remain thin. But how thin is thin enough?

Before you continue reading this post, just feast your eyes on Scarlett Johannson one more time. Her photos sit in yesterday's post just two slots down. Whether you think she is beautiful or not, she is HEALTHY. To refresh your memory, here is another photo of our fair Scarlett, who is no cow. I bet she is only a size 2 or 4.

Enjoyed the view? Ok, now look at these two ghastly photos of models in action.

To protect the faint-hearted, I buried the following photo. Click here if you dare to view.

Frankly, I think these photos are criminal. What fashion designer in their right mind would hire such a model? What make up artist would work with such a woman and not report her condition to the authorities? What skewed individual would view these women and wish they could look just like them?

Why does the fashion industry design clothing to hang on these skeletons? Is this truly the easy route? Do clothes really look worse on regular sized women?

And why do we permit designers to get away with this outrage? Why do we purchase magazines that contain images of rail thin girls barely older than 18 wearing clothes that rarely look good on the average, healthy weight woman?

This past weekend, The Daily Mail featured an article written by former British model, Gemma Clarke (below), entitled, 'They measured my fingers to see if I was fat.' Click the bold words to read the rest of this insightful article.
Models I knew would relay anecdotes about being made to feel overweight by agencies and designers on a daily basis when they were, in fact, incredibly slim. I met up with one friend, fresh from an appointment with her modelling agency. She arrived in floods of tears, having been told nonchalantly by her booker to "skip a few meals" in the run-up to London Fashion Week if she wanted to work. Another girl I knew used a calorie-counting machine religiously to work out her exact intake. To an objective observer, she was a stick-thin girl obsessed with analysing every bite of the few morsels of fresh fruit she ingested; in fashion terms, she was a dedicated model. To me, she seemed miserable and neurotic.

Gemma also mentioned, quite rightly, that our society abhors pedophelia. Yet we accept these images of girls 16, or 17 years old as the standard bearers of beauty. Is this not a form of pedophelia, albeit in an acceptable form? Below is a photo of Dakota Fanning in Teen Vogue. What is she? Thirteen years old now? And she talks about being in Paris? Whatever happened to Hello Kitty and Spin the Bottle?

We women have the power to reject these images. To not purchase the fashion magazines that feature them. To write advertisers in outrage when they use prepubescent girls to sell their products. To rid ourselves of an impossible ideal that makes us restless and want to diet when our perfectly healthy bodies are already beautiful.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Are you as fed up with this situation as I am?

May 30, 2007

Congratulations, Anthony!

You are the winner of Shear Genius and you shined tonight! You deserved the win, dahling.

Stay tuned to Bravissimo for more coverage about the final!

Know why Scarlett Johannson is so fabulous ...?

Because she seems so comfortable in her own skin, so proud of her feminine body, and so voluptuously HEALTHY. She exudes a combination of glamor, sexiness, and wholesomeness that few women manage to achieve. Plus she's smart, self-supporting, and confident.

And she can act. Scarlett needs no drummed up drama to attract attention. She merely ... is. When you read my post tomorrow, you'll understand why I started out with her as an example. (No, I won't be talking about Lindsay Lohan.)

Even Isaac Mizrahi, who is surrounded by beautiful women every day, couldn't contain himself when Scarlett stepped onto the red carpet in this gown. He just had to check out her girls.

How fabulous is this look?

How sexy is this one?

She could be selling cow urine and no one would notice.
I can only say, Amen to you, sister. Keep on going on and doin' what you're doin'.

Do You Have a Favorite Shear Genius Judge?

If so, vote for him or her on the Bravissimo site. Click here.

May 29, 2007

Time Out

All together now ... Ahww!

Canceling AOL: Welcome to La La Land

I tried canceling AOL by phone last summer. The conversation that ensued is similar to this guys' on You Tube. You only need to listen a minute or so to get the gist, but believe me, this conversation is identical to the one I had. This was after I waited 7 minutes to get through to a live person. Oh, and I don't believe the person in this tape got fired. He was probably promoted to the collection department.

Because one of my boys needed AOL for his own use, I agreed to pay a smaller amount for continuing service. A month later, AOL offered their services to the public for free. My brother and parents don't pay a dime for using the same service that is costing me $9.99 per month.

Earlier this year, I canceled the credit card from which AOL payments were deducted because those folks were also gouging me. ($5.00 to pay by phone and payment deadlines that kept shifting.) I haven't been able to call AOL or contact them to make new payment arrangements and to point out that I am paying for a service that everyone else gets for free.

Just now I prepaid 80% of my contract by mail, telling these folks I WANT OUT! Honestly, it's harder to get rid of an AOL account in this country than to get a divorce. And AOL? They've got sucker written all over my name.

Iconic Images: What Demi, Brittney, and Great Works of Art Have in Common

These images rocked our world during their day, and then became objects for parodying or copying, as are all strong images. (Think of Grant Wood's American Gothic, Robert Indiana's Love image, or Whistler's Mother.)
If you think that Demi Moore is famous because she can act, ahem, or because she's married to a man half her age, think again. This early 90's photo by Annie Leibowitz put her on the map, no doubt about it. Oh, she'd gained some notoriety before then and had a string of hit movies, starting with Ghost. And she was married to Bruce Willis. so they were a power couple. But then this Vanity Fair magazine hit the stores, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I adore Leslie Nielsen, a former leading man with a sense of humor who is not afraid to put himself out there.

Modesty becomes Johnny Vegas. Ya think?

Here's Brittney over a decade later in a blatant imitation of Demi's pose.

In the second iconic image, Richard Avedon photographed actress Nastasha Kinski with a snake wrapped around her nude body. This early 80's image became a popular poster, and was much parodied and copied, even recently, as with Ms. Raptor below.

The concept wasn't new, of course. A woman and a snake have been iconic images since time immemorial, as in this Renaissance fresco by Michaelangelo.

Brittney, copycat that she is, brought the image down to a spectacularly cheap showgirl level.

The person who combines all these iconic images best is Rembrandt. He drew his nude model with a snake and looking pregnant (she probably wasn't) about 400 years ago. Talk about setting a high standard!

May 26, 2007

Sullivan Ballou's Letter to His Wife, Sarah: In Honor of Memorial Day

One more serious post, gentle reader, in honor of Memorial Day. Then we're back to snark and fun.

One wonders what goes through a soldier's mind before preparing for battle. Why does a soldier go to war despite a strong love for family? Sullivan Ballou's letter, written days before the first Battle of Bull Run, is one of the most eloquent examples in existence and will bring tears to one's eyes. I have included a video clip and an excerpt.

In this video, which comes from Ken Burns' historic Civil War series, Sam Waterston reads the letter. The haunting music is Ashokan Farewell. Sullivan, who died a few days later, did not have an opportunity to send the letter.

The reading of the letter appears in Honorable Manhood in minute 4 of this video.

Excerpts of Sullivan's letter to Sarah:

"I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . ."

Read the full letter here.

To All Our Soldiers: Thank You

A colleague is in deep mourning. Her son died two weeks ago in Iraq. His father died in Vietnam. This son was their only child. I cannot imagine the pain and anguish she is going through.

My mother's best friend lost her youngest son in Vietnam. He did not believe in killing, so he went to Vietnam as a medic because they did not carry weapons. He was killed from shrapnel during his second week of duty, tending a fallen comrade. Although he died in early '71, she still mourns him daily.

Seven years ago I stood in the immaculate American Cemetery in Normandy. I was inexplicably alone, standing amidst the thousands of white crosses arranged in neat tidy rows, each bearing the name of a soldier who died on or near D-Day, most of them young men in their prime. The scene was surreal, with the sun shining brightly, waves crashing against an adjacent shore, and a constant breeze soughing through tall pines. The sound was eerie, as if the pines were crying and the ocean was bashing itself on the rocks from grief.

It was one of the few times that I felt totally in the moment. I couldn't help my tears from falling and I cried unashamedly for these soldiers whose ultimate sacrifice saved the world from Hitler and his evil thugs. These beautiful young men never got to fulfill their life's dreams or their full potential. War is such a senseless waste, but at least this one had the support of an entire league of nations.

In past wars, much of the American populace was asked to make personal sacrifices. In World War II, families made do without certain luxuries or resigned themselves to receiving ration cards for meat or nylons, or gas and new tires for their cars. Our grandparents and parents tended Victory gardens, and turned their lights off early, and bought savings bonds to support the war.

During the height of the Vietnam War, a nationwide lottery ensured that there would be enough soldiers (from all walks of life) to fight that war. Unless there were extraordinary circumstances (or luck or influence or entry into college), every family with a young man of fighting age knew that there was a chance their son might be called up. Americans were sacrificing together, whether they liked it or not. They didn't, and anti-war protests were a common and weekly occurrence back then. The youth of America and the liberal elite managed to topple an administration, and politics and news coverage haven't been the same since.

What sacrifices are the American people asked to make for this war? To pay for it, we are borrowing heavily from such countries as China, so our sacrifice will be deferred to a later generation or time. The cost of war counter that sits to the right of this post has shot up $5 billion since I placed it on my blog two weeks ago. Five billion. My mind cannot wrap itself around such an enormous sum, much less the billions more that this conflict will cost us.

Men and women are dying abroad, and yet we are living in an era of unprecedented prosperity. Yes, our gas prices are rising to the roof, but, hey, for the time being this just means we will have to make a choice to forego a luxury or two. Perhaps a little further down the road we might truly start to pay, but by that time this presidential administration's tenure will be over.

What's worse than our delayed sacrifice is that our soldiers are fighting in relative obscurity. Rosie's petty bickering with Elizabeth Hasselbeck on The View, and her firing received more coverage than the day's horrific events in Iraq. How crazy is that?

Even as FOX and CNN rush to cover Rosie's self-aggrandizing diatribe, our fallen soldiers are coming home in secret. No photos are allowed of their coffins, and we don't even get to honor them properly upon their return. Recently, the army restricted all soldiers from blogging, and many emails are censored. Our last link to what is really happening in Iraq from a soldier's perspective has been cut off. The photo of the crying soldier at the top of this post was taken off a blog that no longer exists. We must ask ourselves: How is this censorship benefiting us? These soldiers weren't revealing state secrets; they were just describing their experiences, as countless soldiers in countless wars have done in times past.

In addition, army bureaucracy is so cumbersome that it takes months to process our wounded soldiers before they can receive proper and continuing treatment. In some cases, the government goes out of the way to prove that an emotional trauma or physical injuries were not caused by a war wound. Huh? Isn't this the time to err on the side of humanity, not the nation's pocketbook? Isn't that the right thing to do? We're spending trillions of dollars on pork barrel issues and supporting the cronies who work for Halliburton. Let's reserve a few billion for our soldiers' care.

On this Memorial Day I honor all those brave young men and women who are asked to sacrifice so much for us. They do this in relative obscurity and in the face of the callous indifference of the Powers That Be. My heart goes out to their families, who live anxiously from day to day. Their sacrifice is huge, while mine barely registers. It has become popular to say: I hate this war, but I love the soldiers. I am one of the people who says this, and because of this, my statement of love for the soldier is often dismissed as being self-serving and a mockery to the soldiers' beliefs and sacrifices.

That is far from the truth. Must I support a war effort that is seeping the life's blood from America simply to demonstrate that I am a loyal citizen? Must I pay fealty to an administration I do not support so that it will think of me as a Patriotic American? Can't I say with all feeling and true sincerity that while I abhor this war, I honor the soldier who is fighting for us, and that I am a good and caring citizen? Can't all three statements be true?

One can only hope that the next party in power will have the decency and guts to tell the American people that we must ALL pull together and sacrifice something important in order to end this horrendous conflict. I am so tired of demagogues, but even more so, I am appalled by the indifference to our soldiers' welfare that this administration has shown. (Lack of state of the art protection for the under carriages of jeeps and trucks, lack of proper fighting equipment and bullet proof vests, lack of proper furlough time, lack of soldiers, lack of strategic planning, lack of kept promises. Shall I go on?)

So, to all our soldiers: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without you, I would not live this cushy life in this beautiful land. And so, I honor you. May we, the citizens and our government, reward you and your families for the rest of your lives by freely - and without doubting your word - giving you the medical, emotional, monetary, and educational support you so richly deserve. My heart is filled with tears for your fallen comrades.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Even the skies weep for these brave men.

Apolo Ohno's Winning Free Style Dance

Why did Apollo Ohno win Dancing With the Stars? This free style number will show you. He was inventive and terrific, and had great charisma with his partner, Julianne.

But is it art...?

These are Robert Wilson's VOOM portraits that were showcased at the ACE Gallery in Los Angeles. Dahlings, the subjects posed for these high definition video portraits for hours at a time. During her posing session, Jeanne Morreau channeled Marie, Queen of Scots, using her acting skills. As you can see, these portraits are fabulous as stills, and I wish I could have seen them in person, sitting in a room, watching the subjects. I wonder how much leeway they were given to move?

Robin Wright Penn

Jeanne Morreau as Mary, Queen of Scots

Dita Von Teese doing what Dita does best.

See the rest of the exhibit by clicking here.

Click here to hear KCRW art critic Edward Goldman in conversation with Robert Wilson about his "VOOM" portraits at Ace Gallery, Los Angeles. Great interview with an artist.

Learn more about Robert Wilson here.

Not Art

Portrait of the Queen

For my other "But is it art?" posts, click on the "but is it art?" tag below

May 25, 2007

Check it out

What a cool site ... A dress a day. This wireform dress was made by Leigh Pennebaker.

Parody of Godfather IV and Politics

This video mocks Godfather III, politics, and Paul Wolfowitz in one minute. Hah!

Update on Target Ad

For some strange reason, the Target ads with Sophia Shorai's Hello/Goodbye song have been pulled from You Tube.

Here is another version of the ad. It takes longer to download, so be patient after clicking on this link. In fact, the track plays more smoothly the second time around.

Here is the URL to the ad on just in case you'd rather cut and paste into your address bar:

May 24, 2007

Seen Across the Blogosphere

White Trash Mom is showcasing, get this dahlings, Twinkie Kabobs. Click here for this crazy recipe.

Big Ass Belle linked directly to a Yahoo news article about Fernando and Carlos, a gay flamingo couple. We would not presume to make this up!

Marianne Faithfull: 60's Mod Queen

A description of the 60's British mod scene wouldn't be complete without Marianne Faithfull who made some forgettable records (As Tears Go By) and was Mick Jagger's girlfriend, living in the fast lane and smoking and boozing her way through life. A story from those days include Jagger being arrested in a drug raid, caught with his head between Faithfull's legs enjoying a Mars bar. Marianne claims the tale is apocryphal.

Ms. Faithfull came by her eccentricities honestly. According to, "her mother was a Viennese baroness, a descendant of Leopold Baron von Sacher-Masoch, author of the masochistic classic "Venus in Furs." On the Faithfull side, her father was a British spy whose own father had invented a sexual device called the Frigidity Machine."

If you saw Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst last year, then you saw Marianne in the role of Maria Theresa. A true original, Marianne is all about attitude. Watch her sing "I Got You Babe" with a very young David Bowie in a role reversal song on NBC in 1973. Hers is not a great voice, but the video was WAY ahead of its time and so outre. In rewatching this video, it struck me how much Bowie enjoys mocking the song. Wonder what the NBC bosses thought of it all.

Marianne in her most recent role in Irina Palm. Booze, cigarettes, and drugs will age you. Ask Keith Richards.

From the Kite Runner...

I don't know why these words leapt from the page as I read them. Perhaps because this is the shortest, gentlest, wisest summation of the difference between men and women I've read in a while.

Our hero, Amir, and his wife Soraya are seeing a fertility specialist, who says, "A man's plumbing is like his mind: simple, very few surprises. You ladies, on the other hand...well, God put a lot of thought into making you."

I say, Amen to that. And may He bless the differences. I love the straightforwardness of men.

May 23, 2007

Shear Genius, Kite Runner, Amazons and the Demise of Barnes & Noble

This post is another loopy product from Ms. Place's mind, so once again, bear with me.

I can't wait for a fresh installment of Shear Genius tonight. Tabatha made the show truly exciting, but she was booted off for taking her eye off the top prize and getting sidetracked by a small gnome named Tyson. Never mind. I'm hooked. And I shall watch Shear Genius until the bitter end. (Click here for my Tabatha quiz on Bravissimo.)

I love popular culture and find that crud t.v. is good for the soul. Truth is, I love trad as well (a new word I learned from a tweenie. It's short for traditional.) In regard to trad, I must finish Kite Runner by Khaled Hoisseini for book club tomorrow.

Run, don't walk to your nearest or library and read this 2004 novel. I rarely gush over popular literature, but this book is guaranteed to please and teach at the same time. It is worth every penny I spent and I haven't even finished the darned thing yet!

I bought Kite Runner at Barnes & Noble about a year ago. It sat in the front of the store, proudly displayed amongst other best sellers.

Today I walked into Barnes & Noble after work, wanting to find the Annotated Pride and Prejudice and to purchase an expensive gift certificate for a colleague who is leaving. I could not remember the title or author, so I provided some search words to the young person at the Reference Desk. After searching the store's intranet, she came up with nothing. Zip. Nada.

Worse, this so-called reference expert didn't know what I was talking about. Bad sign. I asked her to google the terms. She said they were not connected to the Internet. Then I whipped out my lap top to do the search myself, but Barnes & Noble does not offer free Wi Fi. Huh? I gotta pay to search their product?

After the sweet young thing futzed for 10 minutes, I said never mind, made my $89 purchase, and raced home to my computer. I googled the following words: pride and prejudice companion book Jane Austen. And, Voila! Amazon came up with the right book in less than a blink of an eye.

Sayonara, Barnes & Noble. With gas prices soaring, I think I'll stay home, watch Shear Genius, finish Kite Runner, and order from from now on.

Aging badly: It's not just for women any more.

These men - Burt Reynolds, Tom Jones, Kenney Rogers, and Wayne Newton - should have let well enough alone. Honestly, they're all starting to resemble Madame Tussaud wax figurines AND each other.

I rather think craggy features befit a mature man:

Clint Eastwood. Still tough.

Sean Connery. Still hunky.

Warren Beatty. Aging with grace.

Then again, there's such a thing as letting things get too far out of hand. Val Kilmer, dahling, where did your six-pack go?