Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wait Wait, Tell Me

Years ago, my husband Larry was a contestant on the NPR quiz show Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! He won and for years we had Carl Kasell's voice on our answering machine. That was when we actually used an answering machine. Anyway, now that we're all about iPhones and Wait Wait is all about podcasts (and people actually know what it is), you can listen to Larry's few minutes of fame here. Scroll down to Round 3: Bluff the Listener. 

Friday, June 27, 2008


There was all kinds of fanfare, ads and then an expansion of the wonder-drug for HPV, Gardasil. There was talk of expanding it beyond the range of young girls to most women. But turns out the FDA has other ideas. They want more documentation that it's effective.

According to the article,
"Merck said it has already discussed the questions with FDA and expects to respond to the agency in July. Amy Rose, a spokesperson for Merck, said, "Once we go back to the FDA, we'll have a better sense of what the review timing looks like." Linda Bannister, an analyst for Edward Jones, said, "It's hard to get a feel for if this is a dead issue or if this is delayed."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wuv. Troo Wuv.

I remember the first time I saw The Princess Bride. In college. On campus. With hundreds of women. But it certainly wasn't my last. It was my Star Wars, or something like that. Sometimes, watching a movie over and over on VHS just isn't enough. That's at least the premise behind those developing the Princess Bride game, based on the movie. When you think about it, the whole thing is just game candy. Rodents of Unusual Sizes? A battle of wits? Inconceivable!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm an Icon

And this time not even in my own mind, but to a very small sample size of one, that is, my desk mate, who is sad to see me leave my current job, and by default, him. His ode to moi, here. You know, fellow enchained worker, it doesn't end here. Due to the miracles of communication, I know our bon mots will continue to stream through cyberspace.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What I Learned from Madonna

I find birthdays super-depressing. I love the lead-up. Never saw a gift I didn't like. But the actual day can be a little hard to take. It never helps that my birthday reliably falls on the day when San Francisco has a serious Arctic flashback and becomes even more foggy, windy and cold than I thought was possible from the year before.

Back when I was kid, the mournful day usually fell during finals week, so I spent my birthday having one of those exams that most of us re-visit in our nightmares and wake up in a cold sweat.

No matter. This year, one of the gifts my husband gave me was the new Madonna CD, Hard Candy. And immediately I got some perspective. Here's a woman who has made a career out of re-inventing herself, and for laughing at the idea that a rock star, especially a woman, has to be young and drug addled. She's certainly not young (50?) but she's got a body so cut it could break glass.

Madonna isn't just the woman whose music I rocked out to in the living room with my best friends in high school, or showed my voguing skills at the Madonna black bra parties in college. I have followed her career trajectory as I have muddled through mine. She's made a bigger splash, way, bigger, but way, way bigger mistakes than I'll ever come close to making, I hope (Sex book, anyone?). But at least she's out there, doing it. And, as she reminds me every time I go for a run to my Madonna play list, all I've got is four minutes.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

B-Side on KQED

Happy Father's Day from B-Side. Tune into a special Father's Day edition of our show on the San Francisco public radio station, KQED. Or listen online.
OMG: The Media Is Sexist

The post-mortem of Hillary Clinton's failed bid for president had started way before she had actually conceded the race. Mainly cooing tributes about how Hillary Clinton had buried the idea that women couldn't seriously be considered viable presidential candidates or commanders-in-chief. The New York Times reported that NOW and EMILY's list are going after the media for sexist coverage of their candidate. NOW has gone so far as to create a media hall of shame.

Back before the campaign had started in early 2007, when Clinton's name was mentioned, when she was a celeb member of the Senate, helping the Democratic Party resuscitate its image and fundraising for candidates like Obama, Ellen Goodman spoke at the Women, Action and Media conference. She remarked that Clinton had effectively "de-gendered" herself. Clinton wasn't promoting herself as a potential woman candidate for president, but as the leading candidate for president. For women trying to pioneer any kind of new role, this is often the most effective strategy: being better than everyone else, making sex a second thought. So she put sex aside. But the media was having none of that.

Still, sexism was only one of Clinton's problems.

Obama's way was using narrative as his strength. His speeches often drew from his memoir. Clinton didn't want it to be about her, but about, as she would say, all of us. She tended toward telling the story of the people set met while on the campaign, preferring policy to the personal. In the end, the cable commentator cracks said more about them than her.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And Speaking of Superheroes

Watch The Daily Show's Kristen Schaal fight sexism with a single bound, and stripping.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Super Heroine

So Hillary Clinton's out of the race. And just when I think she's changed everything, there in the Style section of Sunday's New York Times is a nothing piece dissecting Michelle Obama's style.

And so it goes. See how great she wears purple shift dresses and channels a mixture of Barbara Bush (the fake pearls) and Jackie O. (the hair). So are we to think her biggest goal is re-decorating the White House? Seems so hollow coming on the heels of a substance (and sometimes substance-abusive) primary season. Not that Clinton got her due respect just because she was running as the candidate, and not the candidate's wife. There was the "iron my shirt" incident. Cleavage-gate. And who could forget the pandemonium around a misty-eyed moment. Of course these weren't the moments that lost the campaign for her. They were the telling moments that said more about the electorate, rigid notions of gender and the media frenzy than it did about her. Through it, Clinton kept going with her 90-point plan on health care and green jobs and the rest of it, showing that hard work is the answer to any demented sexist comment, rather than stooping to respond.

Still, maybe it was that one nothing style story that let me know reality had hit: back to covering male politicians' women as arm candy, as decorative pieces. Sure, these are the upgraded models with more brains and bod, but that's what we're left with. Our candidate has a stylish wife.

This weekend I took in the Superheroes fashion show now showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And while there are plenty of superheroes to go around, it reminded me that I grew up on a steady diet of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, and everyone from Eartha Kitt to Michaelle Pfeiffer trying their paws at Catwoman. Maybe these characters weren't role models, but they did embody the ideals of the '70s-chic notion that women were sexy and strong, powerful and smart. For the next show, there should be a superhero in a pantsuit.