Friday, December 30, 2005

Time to Bury the Donut Guy

Everyone's favorite donut maker, Michael Vale (aka "Fred the Baker"), passed away this week. While Vale was a former acting classmate of stars Tony Curtis, Ben Gazzara and Rod Steiger, the Dunkin' Donuts pink and orange never looked better on another. (Though fellow "sleepy-eyed" actor Vincent Schiavelli may be equally missed.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Miss Seventeen Shocker

News Alert! News Alert! Seventeen Magazine has selected this year's teenage role model, "MTV's Miss Seventeen," and she is... a Skinny, Blonde, White Woman! YAY!

Now, I have nothing personal against "Jen" -- she sounds like an okay person who has been through a lot, what with both of her parents incarcerated and having to work three jobs and all. And yet she remains "perky and happy." Good for her. Oh, and "Jen" was mostly raised by her grandparents -- such a shockingly "different" story for a pretty white girl.

I find it remarkable that competitions which apparently factor in more than beauty still result in conventionally beautiful people making it to the finals. And a pretty, skinny, blonde, white woman winning. What, am I supposed to feel better cause she has braces? If the winner didn't receive a photo on the magazine's cover, would an unconventionally attractive woman have had better odds? Would a woman of color with a similar backstory won? Would a disabled dyke have had a shot?

Sheesh, I don't know why I'm kvetching. I really shoudn't have expected more from a magazine that features a Body Mass Index on its website's homepage -- all in the name of "health," of course. Of course.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Resources for Gremlins

Even though the mythical stork will never deliver a bundle of "joy" on my doorstep (and if he tries, I'll tell him just where he can go), I can appreciate good books for kids and abnormal -- but extraordinary -- approaches to dealing with them. Two such resources caught my attention recently, the first being (Queer Eye) Carson Kressley's new book for kids, You're Different and That's Super! It's for tots who feel different in all sorts of ways -- race, gender, style, class, hobbies, etc. Carson seems sincere in his motivation for entering the crowded celebrity children's book market; let's hope the contents of the book live up to its potential.

Also exciting is GenderPAC's emerging "Children as They Are" campaign, which entails treating kids, er, as they are and not according to any rigid gender stereotypes. It means not telling boys they shouldn't cry or play the flute and not prohibiting girls from joining a game of tackle football or chasing frogs in sewers. The little gender-confident gremlins will thank you for it later.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Corky Jones D. (1991?-2005)

Corkster, you had the personality of a Hollywood maven – you knew what you wanted and when and didn’t take bullshit from anybody. You were selective in your chosen companions, and faithful to the chosen until the end. You were an athlete, a musician, an adventurer, an enemy, an acrobat, a glutton, an imp, an alarm clock, a distraction, a seat warmer, a flirt, a co-conspirator, a nag, a de-upholsterer, a comfort, and a friend. You were my first true love and you will be missed.

Friday, December 09, 2005

#5: Frondeuse Duchesse de Montpensier

The marital history of Anne, Duchesse de Montpensier (and daughter of the duc d'Orléans) appears to be a point of dispute. In his history of Paris, Jones claims she never married. But Wikipedia claims she was secretly married to the duc de Lauzun, "a little man whose ugliness seems to have exercised a certain fascination over many women." This little, ugly man later treated her (and, presumably, the many other women) like shit. Perhaps the answer to the question of her marriage can be found in her memoirs?

Regardless, there is no disputing Anne's diehard support of the Fronde, during which she personally commanded anti-royalist Frondeur cannonfire from the Bastille.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

#4: La Pucelle

Jeanne d'Arc -- the coolest woman in French history. Enough said.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

#3: Queen Regent Blanche of Castille

Jones writes:

In 1250, while Saint Louis [Louis IX] was away on crusade, the king’s mother Queen Regent Blanche of Castille donated to Sorbon ‘a house which had belonged to Jean of Orléans and the adjacent stables situated on the Rue Coupe-Gueule, in front of the Palais des Thermes’. On this material basis was founded the college of the Sorbonne, for sixteen poor scholars, in 1253.

I can just see Queen Blanche scheming right now: “Hmmm...while the cat’s away, the mice will start a world renowned university. Yes, yes...”