Daily Archives: February 20, 2011

10 posts

Holiday Over Night Open Thread

Good evening Crasstalkers. Hope you are having a relaxing evening. If you have tomorrow off, I hope you are having a nice cocktail or about to put the move on somebody cute. If you don’t, I hope you are getting comfy in some nice warm jammies.

A  bill that would allow the government to interfere with internet service will be taken up by the Senate this week. The bill, which was given a makeover last week in light of events in Egypt, is still being criticized by civil rights groups as too far reaching in its power to restrict access to certain web sites.

Sorry to lead you to the same website twice, but it seems that auto-correct has actually killed someone.

Here’s a really cool piece about White Hat hackers who work for the government.

Have a great night.

The Day in Demonstrations: Libya Goes DEFCON 1.

So, the latest news coming out of Libya is that Muammar el-Qaddafi has hired some African mercenaries and they’re now (surprise, surprise) laying waste to protesters indiscriminately resulting in “scores” of deaths across the country today. Today’s activity brings the death toll in Libya to approximately 200 but, of course, no one knows for sure because journalists have been barred from entering the country and communications have been essentially shut down country-wide. Most of this has been happening in Benghazi, where 15 or so people where murdered by security forces yesterday while attending a funeral. There are reports emerging of disturbances in the capital of Tripoli, also:

“We are in Tripoli, there are chants [directed at Gaddafi]: ‘Where are you? Where are you? Come out if you’re a man,” a protester told Al Jazeera on phone. There were also reports of protesters heading to Gaddafi’s compound in the city of Al-Zawia near Tripoli, with the intention of burning the building down [Al-Jazeera].

Yeah, Gaddafi! Where the fuck are you? I’m in the streets everyday, where you at?!!? That’s it! I’m calling Gaddafi a straight-up punk, ya dig?

At least one military unit has defected to the side of the protesters, probably due to them being ordered by an insane, blood-thirsty piece of shit to commit horrible atrocities against innocent people. Protests have also been reported  in other cities, including Bayda, Derna, Tobruk and Misrata and the Al-Zuwayya and Warfala tribes are none too happy with Gaddafi; the Warfala tribe has threatened to stop all oil-exports to the West within 24 hours if the violence doesn’t end. Unfortunately, messing with the oil supply is probably the only way to get Western countries to do anything about it.

The Libyan government has been “defiant” (when are those motherfuckers anything but?) in the face of international criticism. Also, apparently an 18-month-old was shot in the head by a sniper [Gulfnews].

Douchebag Jr. (Gaddafi’s son, Saif) has just given an address on state TV in which he blamed everyone (trade unionists, foreigners, “Islamists”) besides himself and his father. Saif claimed, also, that numbers regarding casualties and deaths have been exaggerated. Sorry, bud, but if even one person was injured slightly you are a huge piece of shit. No need to beat around the bush here, that is what you are. He also promised that reforms would be forthcoming and a popular assembly would be convened on Monday to discuss how to move on from this. Oh these dictators! They’re always so reasonable and reform minded after protesters seize control of “some” military bases and tanks, aren’t they?

Elsewhere, Tunsia seeks Ben Ali’s extradition [Reuters]; the leader of Yemen’s secessionist Southern Movement was arrested today;  shots were fired  in the capital Sanaa as demonstrations move into their ninth day [VOA]; Bahraini opposition parties met Sunday to figure out an official declaration of demands to present to the government although protesters continue to demand Bahrain’s  prime minister and his cabinet step down. Things seemed to remain peaceful throughout Sunday[Toronto Star]; tens of thousands of people demanding political reform have managed to march peacefully in Morroco [ LA Times].

Welp, this has made me thoroughly sick. I got to go lie down now, goodnight!

[Guardian] [ NYT ]

Sunday Matinée: Generations of Cinema

As a youth, one of the best things about lazy Sundays was sitting at home and watching old movies and television shows. There was something soothing about Dagwood and Blondie, Laurel and Hardy, or Abbott and Costello. Sure the antics were silly and a bit far-fetched, but it was always good-natured fun. Whether they were hunting monsters, wandering through Toyland, or tripping out the door or over a dozen dogs, this was the comfort of Sunday viewing.

It was such a cool routine and now that I reflect back on it, an integral part of family time. Some say that music is the soundtrack of your life, and I truly believe that it is, but I think your life also has its own movie reel.

You can often pinpoint certain things in your life based upon a movie or a visual experience. You remember the first movie you ever saw with your best friend, when you were finally able to see “R” rated films, when you got your first giddy kiss in a movie theater, when you finally discovered that as a viewer you knew when something sucked sooo bad, but you didn’t care because it was still fun, and you remember what movies your parents loved, and loved to discuss.

It’s a tradition as old as the moving picture…the youth and movies. It didn’t start with my generation watching John Cusack holding a stereo over his head for the love of a girl. No, my parents remember getting excited to go out to see West Side Story, and the anticipation of that event. It was a big deal. It was infectious and gorgeous, and everyone was caught up in the swell of that cinematic masterpiece. My dad also remembers sitting in the theater watching Elvis double features (Twice!) because not only was Elvis the man, but the theater held all the girls who watched and listened to the crooner do his thing and shake his hips. I have the oddest feeling that my father left the theater and attempted to sing some of the Elvis tunes in the lobby just to put an extra feather in his cap after the show and woo the girls who lingered there. I think if asked he’d say, “no comment“.

My mom, no doubt one of those girls my father would have popped his collar to impress back in those days, was sitting right there in the crowd a whole state away, probably on some of those very days watching Elvis shimmy and “get the girl, kiss the girl.”  Because that’s what they were, right? That entire genre of film was about the swoon.  Wow, some things just don’t change. It’s almost scary that Justin Bieber now understands exactly what that’s about.

When I saw my parents this weekend, I asked what they loved to watch back in their swoon era, and boy they talked about it with such zeal. They said, “Oh, definitely Elvis, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon Beach Party movies.” Mom added, “Gidget” And I said “with Sally Field?” and she said, “Oh, no, she came later…with Sandra Dee, the original Gidget…yes, Gidget and Moon Doggie.” And she smiled fondly. Dad added, “And of course James Bond movies.” He had to specify, “with the real James Bond…Sean Connery.” I wasn’t going to argue, because I knew that was a losing argument. The way I feel about Christopher Reeve being the one and true Superman is how my father feels about Sean Connery as James Bond. Mention Roger Moore and you get an icy stare. I find this hysterical. Not sure what would happen if I said something like, “Pierce Brosnan. ”

It was fun and cool discussing this movie-related history, and finding out that a double feature, two movies on one ticket, cost $1.50! And that kids would just spend an entire Sunday in the movie theater watching those two movies over and over again. And they would go back the next week to see the same movies and sit in the dark and repeat the same lines right along with the coolest guy in the world. I am so beyond shocked at how cool my parents thought Elvis was, this from two people who never listened to his music or discussed him much in my recollection. But from what they say, Elvis just was. There was none of this “new movie opening every week” thing. Once something came out in the theater you were married to it, there was no, “I’ll pass and wait for it to come out on DVD.” No, you watched it all, the good, the bad, and the Jerry Lewis.

Jerry Lewis is indeed another matter. I know, I know, people just hate Jerry Lewis movies! But this is a spot of mutual affection my father and I share. We adore Jerry Lewis. We can watch the Nutty Professor and Cinderfella with no shame. We find him to be a comedic genius despite what the rest of the world says, and I’ll defend it with honor….MISS LADY!

Of course my movie reel doesn’t stop at these old classics, but this is definitely where they start, and I count my folks as the “cool people” in their own right who started my love of movies.

We’ll talk again about our collective lifelong movie reel, after all we’ve not even touched the John Hughes era.

Everyone Needs to Shut Up About the Westboro Baptist Church

So internet hacktivist group Anonymous has made the Westboro Baptist Church its latest target. Westboro tweeted (!) back, calling Anonymous a group of “cowards” who will only succeed in further promoting the Church’s messages. Meanwhile, everyone else is once again getting up in arms about the evils of the Phelps clan, weighing the Church’s right to free speech versus the right to tragedy victims’ privacy.

Really, I’m sick of reading about Fred Phelps. I shouldn’t even have to make this post, but people haven’t learned their lesson yet so here I am, stating what I assumed was the obvious but apparently is not obvious at all. For the umpteenth time it seems that the news-consuming masses need to register their outrage at this tiny, inbred religious cult; news outlets, for their part, trip over themselves to cover the Church’s doings, as though it’s still newsworthy that Westboro hates gay people and likes to protest soldiers’ funerals. Then people get outraged, and then the media gives more attention to the Church, and it becomes a vicious attention-grabbing cycle that just gets people pissed off for no good reason.

Indeed, there’s no justifiable reason to continue to give the Church’s actions any modicum of attention. The Phelpses are only newsworthy because media outlets make them newsworthy; it’s the journalistic equivalent of dropping whatever you’re doing to placate a tantrum-throwing toddler every time the toddler gets fidgety. As any parents will tell you, toddlers have a tendency to cry about any and every possible inconvenience; like the Westboro Baptist Church, babies lack the communicative skills to more eloquently express their frustrations. Parents sometimes have to be taught that they can’t run into their child’s room every time he or she starts bawling in the middle of the night. The media could use a similar lesson about Westboro; there’s no reason to make a headline out of each of the Church’s picketing efforts, other than the hope of drumming up outraged page views and angry, buzz-increasing comments.

So I’m going to ask you all nicely, one more time: please stop talking about the Westboro Baptist Church. Nothing the church members do is “news” anymore, and there’s nothing to be gained from once again summarizing Fred Phelps’s stance on societal “evils” like homosexuality and, um, everything else. What is there left to say about the Church at this point? The Phelpses has been on their picketing grind for years now, yet every time they announce their next target for protest, media outlets pick up the “story” and give the Church the attention it so desperately seeks. There’s no point to the media coverage anymore.

The best way to “deal with” a group like Westboro Baptist is not to publicize that group’s actions; rather, it’s to ignore the group and all its proclamations. The Phelpses aren’t stupid; they know most people hate what they do. But still, they get a captive audience every time–so why should they stop? As long as people care, they’ll continue to preach their hate. So let’s stop caring, for real this time.

DUI Stops Tiger in His Tracks

Three days after his epic DUI arrest, hard-drinking slugger Miguel Cabrera was a no-show as the Detroit Tigers opened spring training workouts for the entire club today. It’s unclear when, or even if, Cabrera will join his teammates this spring in Lakeland, FL, according to The Detroit Free Press and a number of other sources. Cabrera is expected to enter an alcohol rehabilitation center within the next several days, which could keep him away from baseball until just before the start of the regular season in early April. But Tigers management and Cabrera’s teammates were more concerned about Cabrera the person than Cabrera the ballplayer and today and universally voiced support and concern for their missing teammate.

“He’s going to be welcomed here with open arms by his teammates,” Tigers skipper Jim Leyland said to reporters. “And they’re going to want to see him hit that ball over the right-centerfield fence with two men on, and he’s going to do that.”

Cabrera, a native of Venezeula, was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Fort Pierce, FL late Wednesday night as he was making his way to spring training from his winter home in Boca Raton. Cabrera, driving a black 2005 Range Rover–a definite undercar for a guy who signed a $153 million contract in 2008–was pulled over by a St Lucie County deputy who saw the SUV swerving through traffic. Arresting officer Deputy Peter Lamborghini–yes, that’s his name– wrote in his arrest report that Cabrera not only declined a breathalyzer test, wandered frequently onto the road and refused several requests to get in the back seat of the officer’s car, but at one point Cabrera also reached into his own car and “picked up a bottle of James Buchanan’s scotch whiskey and started drinking it.” Well, why not? It’s not like he was going to be driving anymore that night.

Cabrera, notes the police report, also pulled the Fame Card and and at one point said to Deputy Lamborghini, “Fuck you…do you know who I am.” While no audio has yet been released of the arrest, almost certainly the exchange sounded more like “Faaaaa uuuuu, nooooo who ayemm?” Excellent work by the deputy translating Drunk English into Standard English so quickly.

In October 2009, Cabrera was arrested, but never charged, on a domestic disturbance report at his home in suburban Detroit. His blood alcohol content was .26 when measured by police after being taken into custody. Cabrera reportedly went through an alcohol counseling outpatient program following the 2009 season. No off-the-field incidents involving Cabrera occured in 2010, a season in which he hit .328 with 38 home runs. The Tigers still owe Cabrera over $100 million.

Photo: Flickr

Easy Like a Sunday Morning Open Thread

Ok, let’s take it slow and use our inside voices. Good morning. Hope you didn’t have to rough of a night. If you did, have a drink of water and a tylenol. Maybe you should go lay back down for a few minutes. If you were a good girl or boy last night then it is time for a nice cup of coffee while you decide what to do with your day since you don’t have to spend it recovering.

Here is some nice music to start you off.

There, doesn’t that feel a little better? Have a wonderful day.

Today In Poor Judgment (Newsrag Blog Edition)

Somehow, the most prominent aspect of the attack on Lara Logan that has caused forthright people to desire intense social isolation has been the opportunity it has allowed people to, apropos of nothing, display a total lack of forethought and respect where sexual violence is concerned. The news cycle being what it is, you would think educated, otherwise sensible people were falling over themselves to go out of bounds with judgments over this they have no real connection to.  They have been publicly shamed, some of their careers have been disrupted, and yet it seems like the open season for blithe pontification on the Logan case seems to still be in effect.

The latest to tread dangerous waters appears to be Ward Harkavy over at the Village Voice’s Runnin’ Scared blog. The title of his first thought piece? “Lara Logan: Was She Actually Raped? It Makes A Difference”, which anyone for whom sexual violence is salient will be taken aback by. Wading into the text mixes the initial shock with a dose of healthy confusion, as Harkavy is pushing to clarify whether the attack on Logan was “actual rape” because he feels that there isn’t enough outrage over it. Harkavy’s follow-up post (“Lara Logan: The Rape Question, and a Scandalous NYPD Connection”) elaborates a bit further on this point – he argues that “sexual assault” is a sort of soft word, used to defang and discredit cases of rape (he cites a pretty heinous NYPD case to illustrate this).

I have to admit that when I started to write this post, when I was initially shown the “It Makes A Difference” editorial, I was aghast enough to make it about how the Village Voice royally fucked up and embarrassed themselves, but even as I think the particulars here are still really messed, the concerns Harkavy’s justifications raise are worth considering to some degree.  “Sexual assault” as a term is meant to eliminate the sort of hierarchal stratification of violence that puts penetrative rape at the very top, to the exclusion of all else, but it stands to reason that the intentionally generic nature of the term lends it to use as a sort of desensitizer.

But there are more pressing problems with the argument, beyond that it’s a, uh, novel way to approach the issue, and could just as easily be a thin veil to cover the harrassment of survivors (I take Harkavy’s apparent concern for justice in his posts at face value). The first problem is that this isn’t an abstract, hypothetical thought experiment, it’s a real horrific thing that happened to a real person, and seizing on her case to make a wider point does her a grave disservice, to put it mildly. Harkavy’s argument that the public interest trumps Logan’s right to privacy is not just a tad unsettling. The second problem is that the question being asked accepts in its premises the idea that non-penetrative assaults are less worthy of concern than (to use Whoopi’s unfortunate phrase) “rape rape”. It’s a gamble that Harkavy is cavalierly taking on Logan’s behalf – if penetrative rape did in fact occur, he can then forcefully argue for greater media salience and activism, but if it didn’t he’s painted himself into a corner from which he can only admit that it isn’t as big of a deal as it’s made out to be. There are several possible scenarios that could prove to be just as traumatic as penetrative assault (and if it doesn’t really matter, why would you ask in the first place?)

But even as Harkavy’s posts are, at best, woefully misguided and essentially counterproductive to efforts to recast dialogs around violence, I don’t think it’s appropriate that this guy should be pilloried, as he probably will be (in some corners at least) in the near future. From the looks of his post history, the guy is the Village Voice’s crime beat reporter, and I imagine (though I could very well be wrong) that his perspective is akin to many of those in law enforcement: Simpatico in many respects with the desires of citizens against sexual violence, but at least partially tone-deaf when it comes to matters of structural and social injustice. The dude is not John Boehner, and as disrespectful and callous as his posts come across, I would disagree with the calls to fire his ass that are surely on their way. Who knows if a clarification or begrudging apology is appropriate, but the very least to be done is an immediate moratorium on the pursuit of this “clarification”.

Ultimately, the brunt of the blame for this embarrassment likely lays with the Voice’s editorial staff. With his history of covering rape cases for the paper and hammering out alerts regarding wanted suspects and missing children, it’s possible that the editors felt Harkavy was a good fit for an editorial series on the Logan attack. It’s disappointing that no one was willing or able to point out the severe problems that naturally followed from the series’ line of questioning. I expected more from a decent rag like the Voice.*

As for the possibility that the Village Voice used the headlines it did to cynically court outrage and the pageviews it brings? The idea is so preposterous as to be beyond consideration.

* I was halfway through a complaint to Foster Kamer before I realized he doesn’t work there anymore.

Equestrian Chic

I have never been on a horse or even had the desire to, really. But I love them- I love looking at them, being near them and I really love the accessories & style that go along with equestrian and country living. It is both casual & refined. It’s a country club and a log cabin. I think this may have started with Claire’s boots and long wool skirt in The Breakfast Club. I was a punk rock girl who badly wanted to make out with Bender so I couldn’t justify this style expression in my life then. I would simply file it in my design subconscious.

Styles come and they go and then they come back! I have since bought riding boots ten times over. I started off as a stylist in television land and I have yet to work with a gay Art Director or Production Designer who didn’t at some point send me out for a horn chandelier, faux deer bust, or a pony skin rug to place a Noguchi table upon. I stereotype because I can. Last year, I redesigned the interior of a massive log home in ‘Horse Country’ here in Ontario  and spent some time living there myself, once again re-awakening my inner Claire.

It is the Equine Photography of Donna DeMari that inspires me to sit down and write this post. The clarity and beauty of these photographs made me gasp. Once I recovered, it made me want to shop. I hope you enjoy the guide below- click on the pics for a direct link to the source! If you are flush enough to click on the Gucci bracelet, buy me one too. I have learned to mesh my punk rock girl and my inner Claire. I am sure I could pull it off with panache and edge.

Today’s Etsy Picks:



*I am looking for submissions & questions for an upcoming Design Advice column. Photos are welcome! Please email me at superlovinya at gmail.

From the home of Bagley Mischka
Pen & Ink by Ludwig Bemelmans
Horses At Rest, Ballard Designs
Clockwise from top left; Horsehead Hook, Equestrian Hardware, Forged Iron Hook, Forged Iron Knobs all Pottery Barn
Clockwise from top left; Dressage Bucket, Rope door stop, 7 Arm Candelabra, Lourdes Chandelier all from Ballard Designs
Horsebit Bracelet, Gucci
Large Horse Print- jersey rawlings tunic by Stella McCartney
Harry Hall Balmoral Breech Jodhpurs by Country Supplies
Horseshoe Messanger Bag, Ralph Lauren
Finlay Riding Boots, Country Supplies
Hermes scarf

Italian Cashmere Throw, Gracious Home
Louis Vuitton Vintage Trunk

Gold leaf side table, Curry & Company

Tattersall Woven Rug in Tobacco by Dash & Albert
Two Horses Lamps, Barbara Cosgrove
Chantilly Dinnerware by Niderviller
Chantilly Dinnerware by Niderviller
Chantilly tae cup & saucer by Niderviller
Chantilly tae cup & saucer by Niderviller
Hermes Attelage Flatware
Hermes Attelage Flatware
Key mirror from Inside Avenue
Key mirror from Inside Avenue
Horse Bookend, Inside Avenue
Horse Bookend, Inside Avenue
Wall Mounted Horse Head
Wall Mounted Horse Head
Donna DeMari Equine Photography
Donna DeMari Equine Photography

Donna DeMari Photography

Recipe Sunday: Shrimp Scampi and Cheddar Biscuits

Last week, the lovely DahlELama brought up Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits and I remembered that I had recently printed out the recipe with the intention of making them. I figured cheddar biscuits by themselves are not quite a full meal (although I won’t judge you if you eat all of them as soon as they come out of the oven) and I thought I would share one of my favorite easy recipes: shrimp scampi. Typically, scampi is a butter heavy dish, so I decided to make mine with butter and olive oil to make it “healthier”, or as healthy as pasta in oil can be.
Cheddar Biscuits (12 biscuits)
Recipe courtesy of Todd Wilbur and ABC News
Total prep time: About 15 minutes
Total cook time: About 15 minutes
2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
3/4 cup cold whole milk
4 tablespoons cold butter chopped into small cubes (1/2 stick)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese

Brush on Top
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl, making sure there are small chunks of butter left. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic. Mix by hand until the wet and dry ingredients are combined. Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto an un-greased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

While the biscuits are baking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and the parsley flakes. When the biscuits come out of the oven, use a pastry brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Makes one dozen biscuits.

Shrimp Scampi (2 servings)
Total prep time: About 10 minutes
Total cooking time: About 10 minutes
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and cut in half
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Red pepper flakes to taste
Flat leaf parsley to taste, chopped
4 ounces spaghetti, freshly cooked
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter and olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the garlic and saute for about a minute, being careful that it does not burn. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Add red pepper flakes and lemon juice. Cook the shrimp until they are pink, between 5 and 7 minutes. Add the parsley and add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine and serve immediately.