She works hard for the money. And it ain't much money.

In Neil H. Buchanan's recent paper (reported in Ms. JD, Daddy Bonus, Mommy Penalty), "Why Do Women Lawyers Earn Less Than Men? Parenthood and Gender in a Survey of Law School Graduates," he found a correlation between parental status and salary.  Unsurprisingly, the correlation was not the same between the sexes: while men who were fathers tended to receive higher salaries than non-fathers (the "daddy bonus"), mothers earned 10-15% less than their childless peers (and therefor 25-35% less than fathers!) (the "mommy penalty").

From Boston: For black voters, elation, dismay.

Maybe this bilingual (and adorable) design blog will help me, finally, learn Spanish....El Beso!

I love this clean, modern, yet sweet set of bird designs (left).  What a great way to start the day!

Another design blog I'm loving: The Style Files.

I appreciated this discussion of women making other female friends - socializing in general seems to take a lot more effort than we all expected.  Some of my friends have a good "going out" crew but not many close friends.  Others are the exact opposite.  Some seem to have, like one of the women in the article, lots of couple friends but no one-on-one options for socializing.  After almost three years in Boston, I am finally starting to feel like I have a community...and now I'm looking at moving to a very different place - Miami.  Different climate, different culture, different....almost everything.  And I've been thinking about how I will go about finding a community of people now that I won't have a built in school life, for instance.  I definitely think it's doable, but I also think it's nice to see people acknowledge it takes a little effort.

One of my favorite pieces from The Onion: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Marry Me.

So I got a plan, it's the best that I can do

Barack and Mom Jeans. Love it.

Celebrate Amy Poehler and Will Arnett's baby boy by chuckling at four of her best skits!

Exit Art.!I pretty much love everything about this site (I'm sure I would love the actual place too, if I had been...). Exit Art is a 25-year-old cultural center in New York City founded by Directors Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo. It has grown from a pioneering alternative art space into a model artistic center for the 21st century committed to supporting artists whose quality of work reflects the transformations of our culture. As part of the long weekend in NYC I'm always planning and never acting on, I'd love to go see their current show, Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now.

It's been along time since I was an avid reader of Ms. (although it certainly was very important to me as a teen in rural Oregon), but this current issue looks pretty rockin. Maybe it's time I check it out again.

Stay in school, 'cause it's the best! "The United States is now the only industrialized country in which kids are less likely to graduate from high school than their parents."

Things I Love: Chet Baker

A 1951 photograph by Claxton started a relationship with Chet Baker, seen here in a 1954 Claxton photo, that continued for the next five or six years as the photographer chronicled the musician's rise to fame as one of the most visible jazz performers of the decade.

Things I Love: Riding the Bus

I ride the 23 bus to and from court a few times a week, and it's one of the joys in my life. The 23 may not have a great reputation, bit it winds through three different neighborhoods of Boston, is always packed with kids headed to and from school, and gives me the only uninterrupted hour or so to listen to all the radio programs I love. Today I listened to a Fresh Air episode from October 17, 2008. The show had two great interviews conducted by Terry Gross, the first with Charles Ardai, founder of Hard Case Crime, "publishing group that reprints classic crime fiction and publishes new pulp fiction in paperback editions. Ardai, who writes under the pen name Richard Aleas, has won the Edgar Award for mystery writing." In addition to honoring the writing style and content of pulp fiction, the press also creates new covers to mirror the now infamous cover style. (The one at left is for Ardai's addition to the collection). The talk between Ardai and Gross touches on British Romantic poetry, pulp fiction, and the Holocaust - yet another example of Gross' peerless interviewing skills. I can't wait to get home and pick up some of the Hard Case collection! Every time I go for too long without reading a great mystery, I realize something's been missing...

The second half of the program is a replay of Gross' previously recorded interview with photographer William Claxton. Claxon "got his start taking photos of jazz musicians in natural settings instead of smoky lounges. His 1967 film Basic Black was considered the first fashion video." His photos of Chet Baker, in particular, are well known. Listening to Claxton reflect on the process of getting casual and classic shots of these sometimes difficult subjects is great and, as I commonly feel hearing about the glory days of jazz, makes me heartbroken that I wasn't alive to see it. William Claxton died this year, at age 80.


PrObama Nation

I have a computer! After a week (was it only a week?) of computer-less existence, and multiple attempts to get my ThinkPad back up and running, I've caved in and am now the proud (albeit a bit confused) owner of the shiny, new MacBook. There are a lot of things about it that I am adjusting too, but I can tell I will be a big fan. Already one person has recommended that I get something called "The Missing Manual" to help with the transition, and I am planning to attend one of the Apple Store's free tutorials on learning how to use my new toy - any other tips on transitioning into the Apple user I was (clearly) meant to be?

Alas, in the mess that was the quick breakdown of my last computer, I have lost all my notes, photos, and music. Yes, thousands of dollars and years of memories. When will I learn to reliably back up? Not my 27th year, apparently. That said, I have recently had similar things happen (like my college-era email account self-erase) and, all in all, I don't mind letting it all go so much. I don't need some old Yahoo! account to remember what my early 20's were like, or 20,000 photos documenting every time where I successfully (or not so successfully) socialized. That said, I do miss my music. Therefore, mix cds and general music donations will be accepted.

In lieu of my missing music, I have returned to Pandora, ol' reliable. Currently: Jay-Z station.

Someone just told me about Design for Obama, a website successfully combining one thing I love and one thing I believe is the lesser of two evils in this year's presidential race. A friend of a friend (legit connection!) has a submission that I think is pretty rockin'.

In honor of tomorrow, the scarily accurate Five Costumes You Meet At A Halloween Party. And no, I won't be dressing up - I'm in court tomorrow and it might be a little inappropriate. Also, I'm a wuss when it comes to forced creativity.


When you're all alone, and the pretty birds have flown

As the election nears, valid concerns about ballot tampering in Florida (NYTimes): "Wounds have not healed here in Duval County since the mangled presidential election of 2000, when more than 26,000 ballots were discarded as invalid for being improperly punched. Nearly 40 percent of the votes were thrown out in the predominantly Democratic-leaning African-American communities around Jacksonville, a reality that has caused suspicions of racial bias to linger, even though intentional disenfranchisement was never proved."

Harvard Law School's response to the current economic crisis. When HLS students are stressed about employment, you know we are all....worried. Yes, let's go with "worried." Let's not say "distraught" or "frantic" or any of the other words springing to mind...

Ah, the perfect fix for the economy-induced crabbiness...S'Mores Brownies. They look amazing...who wants to make me a batch?

Another good response to economy w0es....escapism! I can't wait to see Quantum of Solace! After initial doubts about Daniel Craig, I loved Casino Royale.....


SF Chronicle: Oakland woman slain - estranged husband held

This weekend yet another woman was killed as a result of domestic violence. Elnora Caldwell, a 46-year old Oakland resident, was in the process of divorcing her husband, and had successfully taken out a restraining order against him, when he stabbed her to death.

An article on Feministing discusses the futility of a restraining order in such extreme (although unfortunately not rare) situations. As someone who currently spends two days a week helping victims of domestic abuse get restraining orders, I have so many varied responses to this article ("Is A Restraining Order Ever Enough?" by Feministing.com). Obviously, the situation they are discussing is outrageous and heartbreaking, and the author is 100% right that restraining orders are not, by any means, a cure all for challenging issues of partner violence. That said, I have also seen the process of getting a restraining order be very empowering for clients and an RO can often serve a valuable role in the process of ending violent situations. No one should underestimate the prevalence of domestic violence in our country.

The author writes:

A quarter of women experience domestic violence and the murder of women via intimate partner violence and homicide is the fourth leading cause of death for women of childbearing age and 1/3 of women murdered are by intimate partners. Yet all of the resources that are available to us do not effectively solve the problem, nor do they save lives. Where were the cops? Why was he not being patrolled or why was he not forced to relocate? Or why was he not put in rehabilitative services, counseling, anything? What does it take to take that kind of action? He has to kill her first?

These statistics are true and horrifying. It also takes so much more than an RO, or any one of the actions she lists, to truly solve the horrible problem of domestic violence. It takes parents who raise their kids outside of gender boundaries and in homes filled with respect. Schools where violence and sexism are not tolerated. A criminal justice system that is not riddled with neglect, violence, and abuse. The fact that they are considering the death penalty for the perpetrator may provide solice for some, but for me it is a reminder of the futility of our current criminal justice system. Killing a man will not stop future acts of domestic violence. It is the guilty response of a system that knows it has already failed. And I think this is where the author of the article and I agree: victims of domestic violence, as well as their children, parents, family members, and friends, deserve more than weak attempts at retroactive justice. They deserve a society that tunes in long before the word "murder" is ever in the headlines.

The finer things

This leather jacket is at the top of my fall wishlist....It will probably stay there though, instead of in my closet....Stupid economy!

For the upcoming holiday: How to Get Frankenstein's Makeup in 30 Minutes.

NYMag's favorite watches. I love all the new colors they are releasing the G-Shock in!

Jezebel does a J.Crew shopping spree for the ladies of the 2008 election. Love it.

Diane Wilkerson

Big news in Boston! From The Globe:

Embattled state senator arrested by FBI

By Globe Staff

State Senator Dianne Wilkerson was arrested earlier this morning by the FBI following an undercover operation that centered around a deal in Crosstown, where Roxbury meets the South End, according to two government officials. One government official said that, as part of the undercover operation, a bribe was offered from an FBI agent to the embattled state senator. Wilkerson's campaign manager Boyce Slayman confirmed that Wilkerson was led away in handcuffs. "I'm with her now at the headquarters," Slayman said, apparently referring to police headquarters.

Wilkerson has represented Roxbury for more than a decade, but lost the Democratic primary to Sonia Chang-Diaz earlier this month. Until today's arrest, Wilkerson has been mounting a sticker campaign to regain her seat in the November election. Wilkerson is also facing the loss of her license to practice law. The Board of Bar Overseers has alleged she lied under oath at a 2005 Suffolk Superior Court hearing, an allegation she has denied.
The charges, which were unsealed this morning in a 32-page affidavit, contend that Wilkerson accepted $13,500 bribes in exchange for, among other things, helping the nightclub Deja Vu get a liquor license.

The arrest this morning came after an 18-month investigation which included undercover informants and audio and video surveillance of Wilkerson allegedly accepting payoffs in restaurants on Beacon Hill.
According to the affidavit, Wilkerson brought along a grandchild when she accept a $1,000 kickback on Aug. 31, 2007, at the Fill-A-Buster restaurant. On June 18, 2007, Wilkerson allegedly stuffed a $1,000 payoff into her bra during a meeting with an informant at No. 9 Park which was surreptitiously recorded with audio and video.

Check out the pictures - unreal: http://thephoenix.com/Boston/News/70878-Dianne-Wilkerson-nabbed/?page=1#TOPCONTENT


Too cute.


Being without a computer is insanely annoying. I think I use mine more than the average person, which is too much already I'm sure - to take notes on during class, to watch all my movies on, for email, banking...everything. So being without for even 4 days is trying my patience. For those of you curious, I have decided (with almost 90% certainty) to go with the new MacBook. The only annoyance is the added almost $400 required in order to get Works, a warranty plan, etc. It adds up and this isn't really an economy that inspires spending. Anyways, hopefully I will love it and think it's all worthwhile. We'll see.

I did find this in my Inbox from the Daily Heller and it elicited at least a small amount of delight in my crabby Monday self. This month marks the 100th anniversary of the widely recognized London Underground logo! Ever since visiting England with my Dad when I was 12 or so, the Underground logo has filled me with pleasant memories - London was the first time I had ever been out of the US and maybe even my first time in a city...at least my first time in a city with public transportation that I rode (hey, I grew up in Alaska). I remember being so impressed that we could ride around on this magic machine that took us (and everyone else!) where we wanted to go - to some extent I have retained that sense of glee about public transportation by not living in a city until now. Although Boston's T leaves something to be desired, I still get a kick out of the fact that I havent owned a car the whole time I have lived here and really haven't had the need. So happy 100th birthday Underground logo! Thanks for being my introduction to good design and sensible public transport.


Diner's Bill of Rights

Selections from the Diner's Bill of Rights:

• Be friendly. Be very friendly. But don't try to be my friend, at least on the first visit. Don't touch me. Don't eavesdrop on my conversation and try to join in.

• When reciting the specials, include prices.

• Enter the orders into the system to ensure that the entrees do not arrive while we are still "working on" (to use your term) our appetizers.

• Check our drinks throughout the meal. They shouldn't get any lower than 1/3 full before you ask for another. Conversely, conversing is difficult when you’re trying to replace my water after every sip.

• Check back with us about 90 seconds after serving. I empathize with you on this one, because there's a fine line between too soon and not soon enough. Too soon and we haven't really had enough time to assess everything. Not soon enough and you're potentially compounding an error by making us wait longer for a correction.

• Look for clues that there may be a problem, even if nobody speaks up: a scowl, a mostly uneaten pile of food left defiantly on the plate, a hushed comment to a dining companion while pointing at the food. Ask if there's something wrong with the dish or if there’s something you can do.

• When placing my second beer or glass of wine on the table, never ever remove the first one if there's still a sip or more left.

• If I pay with cash, don't ask if I want change. Just tell me you'll bring me the change and leave it to me to tell you to keep the whole thing. If you do bring change, bring it promptly.

Via NYMag's Grub Street.

I'm ready to pre-tire...

Pretty excited about this!: "Sources say that Maya Rudolph will return to SNL this weekend to play Michelle Obama!"

On that note: "I'd like to think I'm one part practiced folksy, one part sassy and a little dash of high school bitchy."

"Pre-tirement" in the WSJ. Also, Corporette's poll results re: professional women and tattoos.

And, finally, the Chemerinksy v. Jacobs pro-bono debate (for us law nerds), which began with these comments made by Judge Dennis Jacobs at a meeting of the Federalist Society recently:

. . . In honor of this occasion, I am going to make some remarks that are perhaps more than usually provocative. . . I will touch on some of the anti-social effects of some pro bono activity; I will try to explain why such observations are virtually never made by judges; and I will encourage the kind of pro bono activity that is an aspect of traditional American volunteerism. My point, in a nutshell, is that much of what we call legal work for the public interest is essentially self-serving: Lawyers use public interest litigation to promote their own agendas, social and political. . . Lawyers and firms use pro bono litigation for training and experience. Big law firms use public interest litigation to assist their recruiting–to confer glamor on their work, and to give solace to overworked law associates . . . There are citizens in every profession, craft and walk of life who are active in promoting their own political views and agendas. When they do this, it is understood that they are advancing their own views and interests. But when lawyers do it, through litigation, it is said to be work for the public interest. Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

Things I Love: Youth Build Boston

I don't know much about this project, but I was cruising around their website today and was really impressed. Youth Build Boston (its a national program) describes themselves this way: "YouthBuild Boston empowers young people. Our academic and vocational training programs reopen closed doors to opportunity and extend the scope of possibilities. We serve young people, ages 14-24, addressing the various barriers they face. As the under-served become the stewards of their communities, we all become stronger." The program builds affordable - and eco friendly! - housing in under-served communities, and sells houses for affordable prices. I am coveting this one in Dorchester. I love programs that do good and make sense!


Farmer in Chief

Check out Farmer in Chief by Michael Pollan. Food policy was on my mind recently since I went to a great training yesterday about helping victims of domestic violence get access to benefits. Random: did you know that TANF (Food Stamps) are budgeted as part of the Farm Act? I never would have paid attention to discussions about the Farm Act before but now I will. Pollan also addresses the idea of allowing food stamps to be used at farmers markets - this would allow greater access to fresh produce, support the local economy, and encourage seasonal eating! Great all around:

A few other ideas: Food-stamp debit cards should double in value whenever swiped at a farmers’ markets — all of which, by the way, need to be equipped with the Electronic Benefit Transfer card readers that supermarkets already have. We should expand the WIC program that gives farmers’-market vouchers to low-income women with children; such programs help attract farmers’ markets to urban neighborhoods where access to fresh produce is often nonexistent. (We should also offer tax incentives to grocery chains willing to build supermarkets in underserved neighborhoods.) Federal food assistance for the elderly should build on a successful program pioneered by the state of Maine that buys low-income seniors a membership in a community-supported farm. All these initiatives have the virtue of advancing two objectives at once: supporting the health of at-risk Americans and the revival of local food economies.

Me v. Technology = Not A Fair Fight

Seriously worrisome. CNN.com: U.S. student arrested in Tehran while working on thesis project. See also.

SO FREAKIN' EXCITED! 30 Rock Season Premiere!

Oh wait, can't watch it, my computer died! Yes, after 2 years of loyal duty and 8-10 hour work days, my ThinkPad T60 bit the dust. Should I go Apple? Consensus says yes. Should I get the cheapest Apple possible or aim a bit higher? You tell me. No, seriously, email and tell me. I hate buying technology.

Last night I went with my friend Letitia to the Boston Ballet's production of Cinderella. Other than the Christmas showing of The Nutcracker and one other performance, I don't have much ballet experience. That's the lead in for me to say that i wasn't thrilled with the performance. The first act was very acting-heavy (as opposed to dancing-heavy) and felt more like watching an hour of pantomime than ballet. The second act was better, with some gorgeous group dancing in the ball scene. The most bizarre, over all, was the cadre of men with pumpkins as heads. It was unclear to me (and, it seemed, most people around me) whether they were supposed to be funny, but they were certainly....odd. I really liked that the show had a 1920's feel and styling, but while some of the costumes were beautiful, some seemed quickly done. At the ball for example, Cinderella is supposed to be stunning but instead was in some bland light pink creation with a lazy handkerchief (?) hem. Also, not to nitpick, but of the four men who were the Prince's sidekicks, one was woefully out of sync with the others. Finally, and this isn't really the Ballet's fault, but a woman next to me was taking photos the whole time - how is that appropriate for a darkened performance? Overall, it was great to see the Wang Theatre, and I do love dance performances, but something about last night's performance of Cinderella didn't really work for me.


Ah, though, that’s where the broken glass comes in.

This was one of the pieces David Sedaris read during his time in Boston: the elusive undecided voter...

ps - Another column on that species of undecided voters: Undecided? Really? (Thanks for the tip, Julia!)

Things I Love: Kris's Color Stripes

A more recent design blog discovery of mine is Kris's Color Stripes. The page's creator (I'm assuming Kris) describes herself as "an artist and fashion designer with passion for home design" and writes that the blog is her "color diary." I really like it not only because I appreciate the selections she makes, but also for the unique "color stripes" take on it - for each item or spread, Kris shows what colors are being used and illustrates the pallet. I appreciate this technique because although I like to think of myself as having some eye for design (I know what I like when I see it!) I'm unsure about my ability to piece things together on my own. However, I can totally see myself taking a palette from the blog and experimenting with it in a room, or in a painting. The technique also helps me to slow down and pay attention to details. For instance, I never would have taken the time to notice the colors in these nebulas, and I love the idea of this chair-themed post.

Mad bright but you ain't no star

Dreamy! (Thanks, ADM)

For various reasons, I have a fascination with Miami, especially South Beach. Because South Beach has such a distinct style and character, and because it's relatively small, any updates are noticed - especially the revamping of any one of South Beach's historic hotels. The Fontainebleau is perhaps the most iconic of these hotels and has been going through changes for years and on November 14th, the final product will be revealed...and I'll be in Miami for it!

Design*Sponge's Modern Flatware Guide = purty.

In honor of all the bearded men in my life. 10 Very Good Reasons Why You Should Grow A Giant Beard.

This is totally me - why do I hate talking on the phone so much?


A fine romance, with no kisses

Yes. I am coveting these bookshelves.

From the Atlantic's "The Things He Carried": "Airport security in America is a sham—“security theater” designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease." (thanks to ADM for the tip).

Most horrifying reality show idea ever. Wow.

How could you resist this robot-magic? Well, aside from the $800 price tag...

I agree with this article - I found this week's Modern Love column to be a little disturbing. Not that I don't sympathize with a mothers pain at her son growing up, but the absolute vengeance with which she goes after the guilty party (an elementary school girl) and the obsession she eventually has with the situation started to seem pretty extreme to me....Luckily Jezebel thought so too.

Monday, monday, monday

You do not want to know the depth of my childhood love for Carmen Sandiego....The Top 10 Most Influential Educational Video Games from the 1980s

This is the Hand Drawn Map Association! As a maker, and lover, of hand-drawn maps, I'm thrilled they are getting the respect they deserve...

36 hours in one of my favorite places....A girl can dream.

Not just obscenely expensive handbags, the most recent issue of Elle also contained what I found to be an interesting article on Cathi Hanauer's experience with Celexa. (I was also glad to see that Jezebel gave it a shout out). SSRIs, and the choice to go on or off of them, can be a sensitive topic but is one that deserves discussion. It can be hard for those with experience on SSRIs (such as myself) to discuss their decision publicly, since everyone is ready to give an (usually) ill-thought-out opinion (most commonly on the rampant over-medication of American society), so I appreciate the step in the right direction taken by both Elle. Likewise, Jezebels article acknowledges the complicated reality of the topic, writing: "It's hard to find a really nuanced take on psychotropic drugs these days. TV ads try to convince you that meds will transform your life from horrible to awesome (cf. the current Abilify commercial, in which a woman describes her bipolar disorder while wandering a lonely beach, then returns home to bask in the embrace of the man Abilify apparently helped her catch). On the other side, an increasing number of naysayers (backed up by disturbing but conflicting evidence) warn that Prozac leads not only to suicide but to the decline of Western civilization." As always, the comments about the article are as interesting as Jezebel's introduction, so check 'em out.

Courtroom 302

I just started reading Courtroom 302 and, despite finding it hard to put down, I'm not sure it was a good idea. The book is the "story of one year in Chicago's Cook County Criminal Courthouse, the busiest felony courthouse in the country," and starts out with the newly tagged "criminals" in processing. If the account of this dehumanizing process (before they have been found anywhere near guilty) doesn't make you have some doubts about the way our criminal justice system works, I would be shocked. For my part, however, I don't know what to do with the book. I'm already upset about the criminal justice system, I already work two days a week at a pretty stressful courthouse, and I don't really need a book to remind me. So while I'm glad Courtroom 302 exists, I'm not sure how much of the book I'm going to make it through....


Things I Love: In Bruges

It's been a while since I saw a good movie. A good movie being one without parts where I rolled my eyes, characters that I actively disliked or disbelieved, or multiple points where I looked at my watch to see if it was over yet. So it was quite a relief to see In Bruges (2008). At turns funny, sad, pithy, romantic and violent, In Bruges is the story of two hit men in the Belgian, medieval city of Bruges, unsure what they are doing there. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (who I had never heard of before but found riveting) play the hit men on vacation and Ralph Fiennes is their boss back home. The story is quick and unpredictable and the film is buoyed by a cast of supporting characters - including the city of Bruges itself and endless glasses of cold Belgian beer.

Disclaimer: one of my most trusted movie reviewers hated In Bruges, so I guess great minds can disagree. He claims I was swayed by my female response to Collin Farrell, but I don't have a particular penchant for Farrell - most of the movie I was actually a little distracted by his caterpillar-like eyebrows. So who knows.


Love it. And I love that the Times did an article.

Things I Love: "The Reason Why" by Rachael Yamagata


This arrived in my mailbox today.

And I cried a little. If this airbrushed, teen heartthrob, POS cover is any indication, this long-time Trek fan is not gonna see this installation of James T. Kirk.

Field trip!

Apartment Lust.

WANT. (From Design*Sponge, of course).



"I feel a real sense from Palin not just that she has no qualifications, but that academic achievement is to be mocked and isn’t worth pursuing. The anti-intellectualism she represents is horrible, especially since getting the best education available is the best way for women to succeed. I don’t want an average person as my President or VP - I want someone who can run intellectual circles around every other world leader. In Palin I see someone who embraces and celebrates academic mediocrity, which is against everything I’ve ever valued as an educated professional." From Corporette.

Attend Sm{art}, support wonderful magazine Bitch.

Although I've never been, Dubai intrigues me from afar with it's intentional excess....this story (and accompanying photos) reveal what goes on behind constant construction and glittering skyline.

This weekend in NYC! Big Wheel Race in Central Park!

Interesting short piece, "My Wedding Ring," in the NYTimes Freakonomics blog (thanks for the heads up, Rebecca!). Nothing particularly ground-breaking (I don't know that not wearing a ring does much, nor does referring to your "spouse"), but a welcome discussion about heterosexual advocacy for equal marriage rights.

R.I.P. The Economy

I picked up a seashell to illustrate my homelessness

"Since he could speak, Brandon, now 8, has insisted that he was meant to be a girl. This summer, his parents decided to let him grow up as one. His case, and a rising number of others like it, illuminates a heated scientific debate about the nature of gender..." From The Atlantic's interesting article on transgender children.

On my wish list: Art Spiegelman's Breakdowns is re-released. From the awesome Design Observer.

Guilty fluff read: Glamour's Smitten blog. So sue me.

One of my favorite songs: Jens Lekman's "The Opposite of Hallelujah" (...or the live version, so you can appreciate the cadre of ladies in white dresses).

I've probably spent way more time on here than is considered cool....The Online Etymology Dictionary.

October 16th

"On October 16, 1916, Margaret Sanger opened America's first birth control clinic in Brooklyn. Within 9 days, the clinic was raided and Sanger was jailed for a month for "maintaining a public nuisance" and flouting the Comstock Act of 1873. Upon release, she reopened the future Planned Parenthood, and was arrested again. Sanger's activism sprang in part from the hypocrisy of wealthy people using illegal birth control while it was unavailable to those who really needed it. While her organization's early "more from the fit, fewer from the unfit" stance is an ugly reflection of the times, Sanger's courage and conviction resulted in an invaluable legacy we can all stand to appreciate right about now. Good 'day' trivia, right?" From Jezebel.


Things I Love: David Levine, politcal cartoonist

Wednesday Schtuff

The Small Object has such adorable stuff! I'm totally coveting this vanity.

"Talk to your parents about John McCain" PSA.

Celebrate "Love Your Body Day" By Apologizing To Yourself, via Jezebel.

Alec Baldwin imitates Sarah Palin. Thanks for the heads-up, Phoebe!

Although it's all outside of my price range, I like the picks at Just My Cup of Tea.

Perpetual Kid! A great place for silly and cute gifts of all prices.

This week's episode of Bones (a guilty favorite of mine) includes a transgender character. Every step counts.

Things I Love: Children's Books I Love

Things I Love: Gama-Go!

Media Round-up

Californication = my new favorite show. Definitely adult material, and definitely on the edge of fluff, but for the sexiness of David Duchovny, the ridiculousness of LA, and the awesomeness of the main character's daughter, I'm hooked. OK, the proliferation of hotties doesn't hurt either.

Gorgeous: The Golden Age of Trains in Black and White.

I'm so excited for Amy Poehler's new show Smart Girls At The Party. Love her. And the fact she and Will Arnett are married, and procreating!, is outrageously awesome.

Potentially awesome: Liquid Comics Banks on Indian Epic With Ramayan 3392 AD Film

Who doesn't love the Look Book.

I agree with all of this: Here's The Problem With Fringe.

10 Beautiful Movie Posters.

Tattoos and Short Skirts...in the Workplace

My smart and stylish friend Politichick recently reminded me of Corporette. The site talks a lot about appropriate professional wear for the stylish young woman (which I find fun and also, actually, helpful - you may be horrified to learn that lawyers and judges actually care if female attorneys wear nylons and skirt suits. Whether they should care is another question entirely). This week Corporette did a poll close to my heart: Are visible tattoos ever appropriate for professional women?

As a professional women with a tattoo (that is undetectable when wearing a long sleeve shirt/suit) its something I struggle with. While I have never regretted getting my tattoo, for what it represents to me and also for the time in my life I made the decision, I will admit that it is more of a pain in the butt professionally than I anticipated. When I got it I thought, hey, whatever, it will be covered up when I'm in court so who cares. And I'm not gonna change for The Man! But there is so much time when I'm not in court and I don't want to be paranoid about always wearing a long sleeve shirt/jacket. I think it will become less of an issue in the coming decades, because tattoos are so popular in my generation, but I still think it's an interesting question. Especially since I find myself being oddly conservative and judgemental about what other people wear in court - I think any skirt above the knee is inappropriate, anything tight has no place, and wacky haircuts etc can distract from your job as your clients representative....but what do I know?

Note: apparently I'm not the only one considering skirt lengths. I would generally agree with option "C" but this doesn't take into account slits in the back of skirts, which can take a suit from decent to completely out of control....



Check out Not Another C Student. Although there is, of course, a lot of to be said for qualities other than grades when it comes to comes to electing candidates, I agree with the sites creator that "ignorance and incompetence" have become increasingly acceptable and celebrated in modern American culture. H/T to the Daily Heller for this link, along with the v. cool Spelling for Change.

Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog.

Longtime favorite Found.

Highsnobiety is way too cool for me, but I like it anyways.

Anne Lamott (LOVE LOVE LOVE) on Salon.

Things I Love: Atom-Bomb Bikini

Old-school pinups with new twists: Atom-Bomb Bikini! (Warning: NSFW)

Indigenous Peoples Day

From Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2007):

Every year as October 12 approaches, there is a certain sense of dread that can be felt in indigenous communities in the Americas. That it is a federal holiday in the United States is regarded as hideous, a celebration of genocide and colonization. However, beginning thirty years ago, indigenous peoples formed an international movement, demanding, for one thing, that October 12 be commemorated as an international day of mourning for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Informally, the day has been appropriated as Indigenous Peoples Day.

This year feels different in indigenous communities as they celebrate the great victory of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly on September 13, 2007, the culmination of a three-decade struggle by indigenous activists at the United Nations. The UN Declaration was adopted by a majority of 144 states in favor, with only four votes against: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Interestingly, these are precisely the four nation-states where intentional genocidal policies were pursued, policies that sought to exterminate all the indigenous peoples living in the lands seized by settlers from the British Isles. The populations of those states should be ashamed, not only of their horrific pasts, but of the present refusal of their representative governments to make amends with the descendants of thos indigenous peoples who survived these genocidal policies.

Perhaps those governments and their citizens think they do not have to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples within their claimed boundaries because the populations are small. Yet, the survival and flourishing of indigenous communities and nations is important to the future of humanity and to the survival of habitation on earth.

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on September 16, Bolivian president Evo Morales stressed the need to understand the indigenous way of life, saying that living well in a community meant living in harmony with Mother Earth. “This new millennium must be the millennium for life, placing our bets on human dignity.


Transform Columbus Day.

See also Thom Hartmann's Columbus Day Celebration? Think Again...

See also the Unitarian Universalist Association's 1993 Justice for Indigenous People Resolution

Things I Love: Novels I Love


Make You Think: Tim Wise

Tim Wise is nothing if not controversial. Not subtle, not scared, and not a peacemaker, Wise's writing on white privilege aims to push all of us outside of our comfort zone and into a world where confronting each other is a national duty. His most recent piece, This Is How Fascism Comes: Reflections on the Cost of Silence, is right on track with these aims. It scares me and inspires me and challenges me and angers me. And that's just on the first reading. Here is an excerpt:

If fascism comes it will come because those liberals thought voting for Barack Obama was all they needed to do; it will come because they allowed themselves to believe that politics is what a person does every four years, but not at work, and not in the neighborhood, and not at the dinner table. Meanwhile, know-nothings filled with hate, nurtured on racial and religious bigotry and who have overdosed on the kind of hypernationalism that has always proved fatal to those places foolish or craven enough to allow it a foothold, talk of their visions for America at every opportunity. They raise their kids on that sickness, they build churches whose very foundation is rooted in that cancerous rot, and they will think nothing of steamrolling those who get in their way.

So when, exactly, do we fight back? When do we say enough? When do we stand up to our relative or friend who sends us the e-mail about Obama being a Manchurian Candidate or al-Qaeda sympathizer, or the one about the decency of Midwestern flood victims as opposed to those stranded after Katrina, or about how God was punishing New Orleans because of its tolerance of homosexuality, and tell them what we think: namely, that they are a bunch of racist, heterosexist loons, whose friendship or familial connection we neither want nor intend to pursue unless they get help. When do we decide that we love our country and humanity too much to allow these people one more day of decent sleep, one more day of self-assured confidence in their craziness and the willingness of the rest of us to just take it? When do we decide that every irrational, Jeezoid, racist thing that comes from their mouths will be attacked, will be rebutted, until they can no longer take for granted the ability to say any of it in mixed company without being called out?

Why, in the face of the fascism they would surely introduce if given the chance, are we intent on being so nice? Why are we not more offended? Offended not merely at what such persons say about others--like Obama, or Latino immigrants, or whatever--but even about we who look like them? After all, their open exhortations of racism presuppose that they are speaking for us, and that this kind of brain-dead ventilation is something to which all white folks should aspire as though it were virtually the essence of enlightenment.

If fascism comes it will come because we did not see in their actions a sufficient threat, or because we allowed ourselves to believe that it couldn't come, that our institutions were too strong, our people too good, for that to happen. If it comes it will come because we allowed ourselves to believe the rosy and optimistic version of America spun by Obama, without tempering that optimism with a clear-headed appraisal of the way that (sadly) a still huge number of Americans actually think: because we allowed the vehicle of our hopes to outrun the headlights of truth; because we convinced ourselves that we actually lived in the country of our aspirations, rather than the nation we have at present.

And if fascism doesn't come--if, rather, democracy does--it will come because good people said no. It will come because we saw in this moment the opportunity to demand the full measure of our humanity and to pour it forth upon the national soil. It will be because we understood that democracy isn't what you have, it's what you do. But if we are to issue that demand, if we are to stand straight and fulfill the potential we possess to do justice, we had best exercise the option quickly, for the opponents of justice are on the move. They are preparing to enter on the winds of our silence and indifference, and complacency. Let them find no quarter here.

Things I Love: David Sedaris

After years of love (and I mean love - I listen to the man while falling asleep!) I finally saw David Sedaris live. He was great. He could never live up to my expectations entirely, since I would want to hear every favorite story of his that I hold dear and that would take....days. But he was political and inappropriate and generally great. I'm not a fan of seeing live comedic performances (although comedic doesn't really encapsulate his work) since I get performance anxiety for the person on stage and I always feel like people laugh at the wrong times (obviously I laugh only at the right times). But he was so droll and so cynical and yet so absolutely loving towards the audience, that I fell in love with that little elfin, Southern man all over again.

Since starting this blog more than one person has asked me when, exactly, I got so chipper. As intended, this blog has become a collection of things I love and make me happy (with the exception of the occasional political rant...which sort of make me happy in their own way, I guess). I guess if you read it and didn't see me often (poor you! I'm awesome!) you would think I was chipper all the time. But it's actually sort of an inverse measurement. Sometimes the crappier things are going, the more I need a place to remind myself of the things I am grateful for. And this week has had moments of supreme, exquisite crappiness. Wrapped in heartbreaking disappointment.

In some ways, seeing David Sedaris tonight, especially alone, was just what I needed. He's so funny, but also so sad - his usual themes are his own struggles with anxiety, self-hate, and dysfunction. Oh, and also the pathetic state of the US. He's been a drug addict, suffered the death of his mother, and didn't find professional success until his 40's (until which time he worked a series of profoundly unimpressive jobs...like being an elf). And he's just plain rude. He talks about poop and sex and drunks and revels in all things awkward and politically incorrect. And he pulls it all off. Because he does it as a way of engaging with the world. He doesn't sit by and write what he sees while others do the living. He asks the wrong questions, takes candy from strangers, disagrees with himself, and seems as surprised by his moments of happiness as he does by his moments of depression.

And because I went to see him by myself, I left before the night was over. Not because I didn't love listening to him, but because I could. Leaving at intermission, or before shows are over, or, as the case was tonight, during a Q&A (good god I hate Q&As!) has become a favorite pastime. Sometimes I don't want to sit somewhere and hear someone else talk for one more minute, or stand somewhere and listen to someone play music for one more song. I just want to be by myself so I can remember why I chose to be around people to begin with.