STOP EVERYTHING IT’S WHITE HOUSE TIME

8:28 PM:  I get a call on my phone from the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC for short and yes, I do know their number!).  I answer it expecting information about my volunteer gig (which I still know nothing  about).  I answer and they ask for me, because, get this, I AM GOING TO THE WHITE HOUSE ON WEDNESDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

white-house

This afternoon, the PIC sent out an email saying that the first people to respond would get to go to a special reception at the White House on Wednesday and they could bring a guest.  So, I was right at my computer and immediately responded and went on about my day until they called.  I managed to get in time to go!  WOOOOO!  I’m bringing my sister.

So, now I need to figure out:

a) What do I want to ask the President if I get to talk to him?
b) What does one wear to meet the President?

INSANE.  I’m totally insaned out now.

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Friday Evening: It’s Formal Wear off the HOOK!

3:00 -7:00 PM:  I just spent the afternoon stuffing gift bags so I can get into the ball tomorrow night for free.  It was funny being with people who came in from out of town for all the madness.  All the event planners were New Yorkers who had 3 balls in 3 days and they seemed sort of fried.  I had a funny conversation with one of them though.  It went like this:

Me: Did you find the temple you’re trying to go to for services tomorrow?

Her:  Yeah, and guess what?  To get there I have to go through Dupont Circle!  Have you seen the American President? She always got lost in Dupont Circle.

Me: That was always happening on the West Wing too.  So, at least if you get lost tomorrow you can say you had an authentic DC experience.

That Aaron Sorkin really must have had trouble with Dupont.

Another plus of volunteering is that I figured out I could get my friend Angela in too!

After I left

In case anyone out there is wondering, this is the rough plan for the weekend.  I feel like this seems to keep shifting…

7:30 PM:  I hit Filene’s Basement for ball supplies.  You guys, let me tell you, Ashley English style is already seeming to be the way to do the ball.  Now, some people who have been registering their inaugural ball dresses on some website so that they can make sure to wear something original.  Obviously, that is insane.  I mean, seriously, it matters that much?  Also, this is WASHINGTON, DC people.  It’s not like this is a fashionable city.  Anyways, I obviously avoided that madness by not making ball plans till the afternoon before.  When that happens, you have a couple options.

1) Look in your closet and realize all of your formal wear has been worn to a wedding or a prom.  Think about wearing something from a wedding, cause hey, it probably fits and your friend had good taste in bridesmaid dresses.  Dream about wearing your prom dress because it’s pretty and how awesome would it be if it still fits.  Sort of decide these options are nuts and go to Filene’s anyways.

2) Show up at Filene’s like 20 minutes before it’s closing and see what you can do.  In my case, this meant realizing that there are only like 4 racks that still have dresses on them.  But, I pushed through and found an awesome dress that was $158 for $25.  Score.  Then, rush through Filene’s trying to find shoes and accessories.  I found shoes for 40 percent off and everything I needed.  The whole thing (shoes, earrings, dress) was like $50 and I got in all in 20 minutes.  I rock.

Also, this was the inspiration for another great convo.  I’ve loved talking to the people today.

Checkout Lady:  Damn girl, you did good.  Inaugural ball?

Me: Yeah, I just found out I was going today.

Checkout Lady:  It’s formal wear off the hook in here!

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Friday: Let Inauguration Weekend Begin!

I have to admit I’m not sure how much this feature is going to touch on my usual feminist themes, but I thought it would be fun to do a running diary type thing of Inauguration weekend.   Here it goes!

11:30ish AM:  Ever sine I found out the National Council of Women’s Organizations was having an Inaugural Ball, I decided to should try to scam my way into it.  Somehow, I decided scamming my way into balls would be a good source of entertainment.  Tickets to everything are so hard to get that I thought the challenge might be amusing.   In my ideal world, I would somehow also get into the official Obama Youth Ball, but I think that’s a pipe dream.  Anyways, it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to pull this off and then today I got the call that I can go for free!  WOO!  Of course, this means I now need to frantically find a dress and actually shave my legs.  The condition for attending this thing means some volunteering stuffing goody bags this afternoon.

12:30ish PM: Went to pick up lunch.  Au Bon Pain is selling “Yes We Can Cookies.”  I should note here, that the amount of Obama stuff you can buy in DC right now is insane.  You cannot walk a block downtown without hitting a street vendor selling shirts, hats, buttons, key chains, bobbleheads, etc.   Because I am me, I definitely could not resist a hot pink Barack Obama inaugural sweatshirt.  It will make an appearance this weekend, don’t you worry.

1:39 PM:  Given that they have closed off every road in the city it seems and the Metro will be a total disaster, lots of people are planning on sleeping at the office on Monday night  (we’re fairly close the Mall and very close to the White House).  I know there are plans for cupcakes and I was thinking of bringing the West Wing DVD’s.  My boss is staying as well.  In fact, she’s currently making a census of who is coming to what I’m sure will be a very bizarre and very fun sleepover.  This whole thing seems worth mentioning because this is just how insane this whole thing is.  LOTS of DC-ers are actually planning on doing stuff like this.

Saturday

NCWO Ball!

Sunday

See the free concert with Springsteen and like a gagillion other people.  It’s like 20 degrees today, by the way, hopefully this will change by concert time.  If not, I’m totally bringing a sleeping bag.

Monday

Pre-Inauguration Sleepover!

Tuesday

Either volunteering (the Inaugural Committee has failed to give me an assignment yet) or finding a good jumbotron on the mall!

More to come!  And hopefully pictures!

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Question to Ponder: Will a Woman Ever Have Her Own Late Night Show?

So, I was up way too late the other night and watching Conan O’Brian and I got excited that he will be taking over for Leno soon, and then I thought about the whole who will be the next Leno controversy and I realized these shows really are all about old white dudes and Jimmy Kimmel and Carson Daly.   Not once have I heard someone say, you know what would be a sweet idea, let’s replace Leno with a really hilarious woman!  How is it that we think that that only these dudes can make people laugh during the 11-1:30 slot?  I feel like people like to get worked up about how Americans don’t want to get their news from women, but I’ve decided I’m more worked up over the fact that I can’t get my parodied news from women.  It’s not like there aren’t funny women out there.  Here’s some women that I think would be awesome to host Late Night TV talk shows.  I guarantee all of these people are more interesting than Leno and Carson Daly.
6a00d83451bae269e200e551987c228834-800wi1 Tina Fey

Obviously, on the list because she is my heroine, but I also because I   think she’s the leading contender.  Here’s what she has going for her:

  • Has late night chops from her years on Saturday Night Live.
  • Her work on Weekend Update and 30 Rock proves she rocks when it comes to topical humor.
  • Improv background at Second City could make her good at ab libbing funny conversations with whoever is promoting their last movie.
  • She’s so hot right now thanks to Sarah Palin (probably the only positive contribution Sarah Palin made to the country if you think about it).
  • Sure, we’d have to wait till 30 Rock is done with it’s run, but I think Tina’s worth the wait.
  • 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live proved that Fey knows how to run her own show.
  • One of the most obviously feminist candidates for the position.

Amy Poehleramy-poehler

Amy Poehler is also hilarious and a little deranged and I like that.  Here’s what’s in her favor:

  • Also has Saturday Night Live experience and Weekend Update experience.
  • She’s well-known.
  • She’s pretty goofy, so she might be good at coming up with absurd segments in the same vein as Conan’s “In the Year 2000.”
  • She has an improv background too.

sambee01Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee is one of my favorite Daily Show correspondents because she always knows how to use being a woman to her advantage to make things especially outrageous or hilarious.

  • Her Daily Show experience means she knows how to take what’s going on in politics and the world and make it hilarious.
  • She could use her Daily Show experience to do a more hilarious man on the street feature than Jay Leno’s Jaywalking.
  • Bee’s background is in sketch comedy, which I also feel could be good for those little funny segments that always happen before the guests come out.  Those are usually the funniest part of these shows, might as well make them good!

Sarah Silvermansarah-silverman-cc08

Definitely my most controversial selection.  I feel like the thing that Sarah has going for her is she knows how to use humor to make shocking statements that can get people to think.  On the downside, not everyone sees her that way.  Here’s why I think she’d be good:

  • She certainly has a watchable quality in that you’re always wondering what crazy thing she is going to do next.
  • Controversy will get viewers and could open up some taboo conversations in a non-threatening, funny way.
  • She’s been doing her own show on Comedy Central for awhile, so she knows how to do it.
  • “I’m Fucking Matt Damon” is one of the most hilarious sketches to happen on a late show (The Jimmy Kimmel Show) in recent memory.

haskins_bioSarah Haskins

Sarah Haskins is my dark horse suggestion.  I know many of you out there are asking who the hell Sarah Haskins is, so I’ll tell you.  She does these hilarious Target Women sketches on Current TV (some kind of internet TV website) that mock the way things are marketed to women.  I’m in love with all of them, but especially the ones for birth control, yogurt, and cleaning products.  Here’s what works for her:

  • The Target Women spots are short funny bits and they rock.  Late night shows need them.
  • She’s really smart (Harvard grad!) and you like to see that in someone who is mocking topical news.
  • Along with Tina Fey, she is probably the one of the most obvious feminists.
  • Also has improv background.  I really do love those improv-ers.

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YES WE DID!

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Ah, the scene from the bar as we learned about PRESIDENT OBAMA!  WOOO!

Here are some thoughts that have gone through my head about this in the last 40 minutes.

  • So, this is what it feels like to be really proud of being an American.  Cool.
  • DC right now is like Boston was when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.  ALL of the cars are honking as they drive down the street, everyone was cheering and dancing and high fiving strangers.  Some fireworks just went off.  It was crazy.  SO fun.  And last I saw 92% of us DC-ers voted for Obama, so we’re pumped.
  • If the Democrats get a super majority, I can die and go to heaven.
  • You betcha Tina Fey is psyched that her Sarah Palin days are over.
  • I hope some of my town of town friends want to come visit for the inauguration.  WOOO PARTY!
  • DC with the Obama people will definitely be cooler than DC with the Bush people.
  • I feel like my feminist office should shut down and just party tomorrow.
  • People at the bar and in the streets were crying they were so happy.  I love to see things like that.
  • I saw Obama’s Hope speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston.  I was up in the rafters of the then Fleet Center (now TD Bank North Garden, or something like that).  I was blown away then.  Now I feel like I was at something that was a huge part of history.
  • Did I mention I am excited for the inauguration?  Because I am really excited for it!
  • OOO, just thought of taking the White House tour now that Obama will be President.  Let’s put that on the January agenda!
  • The first puppy has come up a number of times now.  Obviously it should be a goldendoodle like this:teddy3

(On an unrelated note, CNN has lost it.  People connecting via hologram?!?!?!?!  I can’t wait to see what Jon Stewart does with that one.)

Ok, I thought about live blogging Obama’s speech, but instead I think I will kick back with my Sam Adams and enjoy it!
WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A little Wednesday morning update, we get to work on a transition memo at work!  YAY!

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Highly Highly Skeptical that Sexy TV is Responsible for Knocking Up Teens

Today, Pediatrics (the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) published a study by Anita Chandra that links teen pregnancy to sex on TV shows such as Sex and the City, Friends, and That 70s Show.   Chandra tracked 2,000 12-17 year olds over the course of three years and found that those who watched sex on TV shows were twice as likely to be pregnant.  Now, I must admit, that I really want to read the actual study before making conclusions, but it looks like I can’t get it through the GW online library, so this is based on my newspaper findings.  I’m going to try to actually find this thing though, so I can look at the actual findings (if anyone out there can get it, please send it!).  Here are all the reasons I am skeptical.

I take issue with the shows that were selected.  First of all, Sex and the City is clearly not a television show that was meant for children to view.  It has always been rated TV-MA.  So, I think we can assume there are other problems if kids are watching SATC.  Second, all of the shows selected might show that sex is fun and they mostly focus on sex between adults (That 70s Show being the exception).  There have been plenty of TV shows out there that show the consequences of teen sex (I’ll cite Gilmore Girls, where Rory’s loss of virginity with her married ex-boyfriend was a mess and poor Lane got pregnant on her first time having sex, which, incidentally, was with her husband!).  How would the results have changed if shows like those were included?  What about the fact that teen shows tend to favor sex in loving relationships?  The tried and true formula for teenage couples is that they only have good sex when they are in love.  Otherwise, disaster ensues.  For your consideration:

serena-dan-look1Dan Humphrey and Serena van der Woodsen (Gossip Girl).  Dan and Serena have sex for the first time after they have fallen in love and Serena makes a special Christmas present for Dan.  Dan, our sweet, sensitive guy is losing his virginity and it is strong implied that this is the first time that Serena has ever had sex that mattered.

Blair Waldorf and Nate Archibald (Gossip Girl).  Blair saved herself for her first love for years before they had sex.  Though Blair lost her virginity to Chuck, her tryst with Nate is depicted as the first special sex she has.  Chuck was a mistake until….

Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass (Gossip Girl).  Blair and Chuck fall in love.  They no longer sleep with each other, but instead are holding off until they can feel comfortable exchanging “I Love You’s.”

Chuck Bass and Poor Victim Girls (Gossip Girl).  At the beginning of Gossip Girl, Chuck Bass tries to force himself on Serena and on Little J.  Serena kicks his ass.  Dan punches him for trying to force himself on his sister, and Little J gets revenge by locking Chuck naked on a roof.  It is clear, sex should be consentual and in a loving relationship.

ss2

Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts (The OC). When Seth Cohen and Summer lost their virginity to each other, they agreed to slow down and save sex until it meant something.  In the end, I don’t think Seth and Summer ever even slept with someone else since they got married!

Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper (The OC)  Even the “bad boy” outsider Ryan and the “bad” overprivileged girl Marissa waited until they were in love and waited many YEARS (like season 3!) to sleep together.  When Marissa lost her virginity to someone she didn’t love (Luke, oh silly, Luke), it went badly.

Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano (My So-Called Life). Angela decided she could not have sex with Jordan despite the fact that he looked really hot playing guitar and leaning on things, because she was not ready. She was celebrated for this choice.  angela

Joey Potter and Pacey Witter (Dawson’s Creek). Joey and Pacey slept together once they were in love and on a ski trip.  After declaring they were in love, Joey took the condom from Pacey and told him “I want to throw the wrapper away).

Joey Potter and Dawson Leery (Dawson’s Creek).  Joey and Dawson waited almost 20 years to sleep together!  They were well into college before it happened and then it was a VERY big deal because of all the emotions involved!

Felicity and Noel (Felicity).  Felicity and Noel never actually sleep together, but only because their attempt to have sex during season 1 was such a disaster because they tried to force it instead of waiting until sex would have been a natural part of their relationship.

Felicity and Ben (Felicity).  Felicity and Ben (oh Ben…) don’t sleep together until they have gotten together, broken up, gotten back together, and fallen in love.  It is, of course, perfect when it happens!

buffy_angel11Buffy and Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  When Buffy sleeps with her vampire boyfriend for the first time, Angel literally turns back into his evil self.

Buffy and Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  After being mortal enemies, Buffy and Spike start sleeping together and it is literally depicted as an S&M relationship.  They tear down and house and bruise each other.  Buffy beats herself up for it.  This relationship is a total disaster until Spike gets a soul so he and Buffy can finally fall in love.  Of course, then he has to go sacrifice himself to save the world, killing that shot at happiness.

55497_1_9Willow and Tara (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  Ah, the only gay couple to make the list.  It is always implied that Willow and Tara have a deep emotional connection and therefore, they have literally magical sex.

Willow and Oz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). These two fall deeply in love and have very sweet, very safe sex.

freaks31Lindsay Weir and Nick Andopolis (Freaks and Geeks).  Despite the fact that Nick spoke-sang Lindsay a bitchin’ version of “Lady” and then just wanted to cuddle, these two never got it on.  Why?  Lindsay was weirded out by the idea of sex and the fact that she didn’t love Nick the way he loved her.

Daniel Desario and Kim Kelly (Freaks and Geeks).  So these two are freaks, which naturally means they get it on a lot,  but they also have a very strong, if not very troubled love.  Daniel and Kim help each other deal with their dysfunctional families and for them, it always seems like that love helps them conquer many things (though not all, because no one can ever be perfectly happy on Freaks and Geeks!)

Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars).  Poor, poor Veronica Mars loses her virginity when she is rufied and raped.  Again, it is clear sexual assault is bad.  Veronica does manage to have good sex when she falls in love with Duncan in season two though.

jess_rory_nyRory and Jess (Gilmore Girls).  Rory and Jess never have sex, despite the fact that Rory expresses an interest in losing her virginity to Jess.  Rory and Jess also have all kinds of issues emotionally opening up to each other and saying things like “I love you.”  Concidence?  I think not.

bailey-i-sarah-party-of-five-181321_84_120And one more, bonus blast from the past, Bailey and Sarah (Party of Five).  Those two waited forever! I don’t remember a ton about this show, but I remember that.  Also, I remember that Julia had a pregnancy scare (see, sex, never a good idea for teens), but thankfully, miscarried it.  And then everyone got cancer and alcoholism, and really, that’s a whole other blog post.

Nuts right?  Look at all that loving, committed teen sex.  And those consequences of deviating from that (and I didn’t even get into The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which I haven’t watched, but is all about a girl getting knocked up her first time). Ok, now that my love for teen TV is painfully obvious, and it’s clear sex on teen TV is all about love, here are some other issues I have with this study.  It seems like there is not any information about the association between TV and teen pregnancy.  From what I can tell, there is no evidence that TV leads to teen pregnancy and not the other way around.  What about other factors?  This study was conducted between 2002-2004.  Sure sexy TV has been popular in that time, but you know what else has been super popular, ABSTINENCE ONLY sex education?  How is it that NO article managed to mention this fact?!?!?! Might the fact that teens haven’t learned as much about contraception actually be responsible for this increase in teen pregnancy?  Call me crazy, but I think that’s pretty likely! What about the role of parents?  What kinds of houses do these kids live in?  Is it possible that they see more TV because they do not have the resources to access more productive/positive activities?  In all of the articles I have read, I also have not read that the difference Chandra found is statistically significant.  Perhaps that’s in the Pediatrics article, but I need to see some of that information.   Ultimately, I feel that there a number of complicated reasons that teen pregnancy has increased and blaming adult sex on TV is a poor scapegoat.  In reality, many factors contribute to teen pregnancy and teen TV, even the most irresponsible teen TV (ahem, Gossip Girl), tends to show that sex is best when it takes place in loving, committed relationships.  Let’s just look at the full picture before we all freak out.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch tonight’s Gossip Girl!

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Dash Your Cares Away!

Since I feel like I need to share something more positive after finding out that Sarah Palin is not willing to call abortion clinic bombers terrorists, I figure this is a good to time to share the excellent news that you can MAKE YOURSELF A MUPPET! Yeah, that’s right.  You could be a Muppet.  I know, you’re dying of excitement!  I spent way too much time today figuring out how to Muppet-myself (if anyone wants directions on this, for future gift giving ideas, etc, just let me know…) and many of those I know.  Muppet Bernie English (my dad) is particularly hilarious.

FAO Schwartz is selling personalized Muppets for $90 (just in time for Christmas!).  It’s all part of the Disney Company’s push to get people back on the Muppets train.  Though, Disney makes me nuts, I’m willing to over look it because the Muppets are freaking sweet!  Jason Segal (of Freaks and Geeks and Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame) is working on a new Muppet movie and I have loved all things Muppet since I was a little kid, so I am on board.

Here’s what I love about Muppets:

  1. When a Muppet gets really excited and flails around wildly, it is impossible not to be ridiculously happy.  Kermit really rocks at this.
  2. Jim Henson’s Muppets did not just fall into predictable gender stereotypes.  Many Muppets were gender neutral, especially on Sesame Street, which is important since that’s when kids are learning these things.  Even Miss Piggy, probably the most feminine Muppet is not your typical woman.  I’m sure in the 1970s and early 1980s, the way that Miss Piggy pursued Kermit and karate chopped those who disagreed was quite subversive!  Some of the newer Sesame Street characters have sadly broken with this trend.
  3. Muppet humor is absurd.
  4. The Muppets share my love of the occassional bad joke.  Especially Fozzie Bear!
  5. Many of the original Muppets were conceived of as characters in commercials.  Henson went onto make Sesame Street because kids liked his commericals and he realized commericals could be about learning.  How cool is that?
  6. The muppets on The Muppet Show and on Fraggle Rock were all about community.  They hung together, laughed together, took care of each other.  That’s just nice.
  7. When the muppet creators couldn’t think of an ending, they had one muppet either eat the other one or blow up.  I don’t know why, but I find that hilarious.
  8. Whatnot Muppets were literally Muppets who could be changed around at will.  I think that was a creative idea.
  9. Doot doot doot doot Manamana. Doot doot doo.
  10. The Muppets caused trouble, but in a good way.  Like me.
  11. Muppets were always doing the happiest things.  Making jokes, putting on crazy shows, eating cookies!
  12. The Muppet Show was written for adults and kids.  I love when this happens.  I like adults who don’t take themselves too seriously and who can enjoy things in that stupid, loving way that kids do.  So, this is right up my alley.  Also, the adult Muppet humor is HILARIOUS.
  13. Muppet Nostalgia.
  14. Googly Muppet eyes.
  15. The Tickle Me Elmos and Cookie Monsters that, for sure, came way after the original Jim Henson stuff, but that are like a little squeeze of instant happiness.  Seriously, I have Tickle Me Cookie Monster because it makes me smile and laugh when life otherwise gets crazy.
  16. The idea that people of all generations love the Muppets.  My mom loves them, I love them, someday a million years from now when I have kids, I bet they will love them too.
  17. There’s a Muppet show sketch of Kermit reporting on the the mating habits of ailen Muppets that is so hilarious I can’t even stand it.
  18. The way that the celebrities who were on The Muppet Show seemed really happy about being around Muppets.
  19. The Muppets were so damn colorful.  Both in their well-developed, eccentric personalities and in the literal rainbow of colors that the puppets were made from.
  20. Last but certainly not least, on my good days, I like to think of myself as relatively Muppet like.  I think I can pull off the look.

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