The Well-Read Wife


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I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
August 25, 2005
What Is Stealing My Joy Part 2
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: America Is Making Our Girls Stupid
I sincerely believe that each marginalized group in the United States is being distracted by tons of false issues thrown at them by the media to prevent them from rising up and taking their place, as equals, beside white upper class men. There needs to be revolution.

I've come to loathe this teen-youth pop culture "marketing campaign" the media is aiming at the U.S.'s children. Most of the paperback books that come in are trashy, homogenous, and passes through the mind like olestra through the colon. Children come into the library looking for books based on characters from their favorite Disney, Nickelodeon, or Cartoon Network shows (and have a tantrum when they're not on the shelves due to theft). Not everything has to be wholesome or thought provoking, but there has to be a balance. There is no balance. The culture is becoming to one-sided. Children are becoming stupider, and we're feeding into it lock, stock and 2 smoking remote controls.

I'm freaking out because I never thought too much about these things until I became a mother. I'm serious when I say that I'm blocking MTV, BET, and ten out of the 15 cable channels geared towards children. (On a side note, I don't recall watching that many cartoons as child except on Saturday mornings and perhaps an hour after school if an hour...)

I'm off my soap box now. Read the Wall Street Journal article below.



It's, Like, So Totally Cool Or Whatever
Girls' magazines are filled with bad grammar, but their content is even worse.

Friday, August 19, 2005 12:01 a.m

Last summer a polite, articulate 11-year-old friend of my daughter's went off eagerly to a week of summer nature camp--and found herself ridiculed and ostracized for what the other children considered her peculiar manner of speech. "She was mocked," the girl's parents recounted, "for speaking in complete sentences."

I had largely forgotten this sad little anecdote until I happened on an online edition of Girls Life Magazine. "Girls Life?" thought I, all innocence. "Why, that must have something to do with the Girl Scouts." An image of wholesome do-goodery, of scrubbed cheeks and Norman Rockwell freshness, rose obediently in my mind--only to sink instantly under a deluge of inane headlines: "Too cute suits!" "Guys, Life, Friends, Body: Real Advice Just for You." "Wanna sound off about GL mag?" "Win FREE stuff! Feelin' lucky? Enter now!"

Guys? Wanna? Feelin'? Ugh! Yet it turns out that Girls Life is indeed the magazine of the Girl Scouts of America (GSA), that high-minded organization originally modeled on Britain's Girl Guides, which itself sprang from the rib of Lord Robert Baden-Powell's turn-of-the-century Boy Scout movement.

Girls Life is a successful stand-alone magazine ("From liking boys to 'like-liking' boys, Girls Life has it all!") and a five-time recipient of the Parents' Choice Award; the copies that Girl Scout subscribers receive contain a special four-page GSA insert. Yet isn't it piquant, even painful, to consider that an organization created to promote children's spine-straightening moral and physical development has devolved into one that through its magazine asks: "Poll Party: Favorite nail polish color?"

"If an article comes in and it's a snore, and just needs to be funned up a little, I fun it up," the executive editor of Girls Life, Kelly White, told the online writers' magazine, The Purple Crayon. "I inject it with words like 'swank' and 'stoked.'" Girls Life, Ms. Kelly emphasized, is "not condescending. Still, we try to speak our readers' language."

No wonder my daughter's friend had such trouble at summer camp. When adult editors talk of "funning up" the English language, when the vast panoply of info-tainment aimed at children parrots and reinforces the cheesiest pubescent vocabulary and preoccupations, what chance does a well-read, well-spoken child stand? In the terrible, gleaming world of adult-facilitated teen culture, talking calmly in complete sentences marks you as a freak.

Teen People asks, "How Sexy Are You?" and "Gotta Hottie Next Door?" Cosmo Girl hosts a "Battle of the Boys: Who's the Hottest?" and Bop magazine online offers a male-as-sex-object game called Frankenboy: "Build your dream boy and e-mail him to a friend!"

But magazines are only a part of it. Watch television aimed at the young and it is difficult to escape the disquieting sense that too much children's programming exists to--well, program children. Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel teach children through precept and relentless example how to preen, how to diss and how, if dark-skinned, to talk Ebonics. Virtually every girl sashays in heels, miniskirts and lipgloss; virtually every adult is an easily outsmarted villain or an eyeroll-worthy chump.

And always, coiled beneath the amped-up happy talk of cool stuff, mean girls and cute guys, is sex. Children groomed within an inch of supermodeldom, with flashing teeth, gleaming hair and sexy clothes, are shown having crushes, yearning for dates and trying to act cool so as to get dates. Though for the misery that often results from too-early dating and consequent backseat fumbling, you presumably have to switch to Lifetime . . .

It used to be that adults talked about bringing children up, of raising them. Today the mass media, with the tacit support of parents, has largely abandoned any effort to lift children up and instead crouches ever lower to what it thinks is their aesthetic and linguistic level. Slam poet Taylor Mali's witty cri de coeur "Totally like whatever, you know?" aptly laments the pandemic brainlessness this fosters:

Has society become so, like, totally . . .
I mean absolutely . . .You know?
That we've just gotten to the point
where it's just, like . . .
So actually our disarticulation . . .ness
is just a clever sort of . . .thing
to disguise the fact that we've become
the most aggressively inarticulate
to come along since . . .
you know, a long, long time ago!

Clunky bottom-feeding language is, of course, an expression of clunky bottom-feeding thinking. And when you "fun up" language, you trivialize thinking, fueling the already unhelpful suspicion among young teens that someone who talks seriously is ipso facto boring. So what we have is this extraordinary wave of empty, glittering, funned-up teen culture that rushes children into an ersatz maturity--chiefly sexual--and where the only reward is a jaded heart and an empty head.

The natural defense, of course, is that the purveyors of mass culture are only giving young consumers what they want. Yet it is also true that magazines, Web sites and TV shows do not just minister to taste; they create taste. And here is where adults are grievously culpable, for it is not children who pitch ditzy show ideas, write facile scripts, edit funned-up, dumbed-down copy or crop photos to make Lindsay Lohan's breasts look melon-esque.

It is worth mentioning that this awfulness applies chiefly to girl-consumers. Boy's Life, the magazine for Cub and Boy Scouts (and published by the Boy Scouts of America), is fully of goofy jokes, puzzles, jazzy photos of boys swooshing on surfboards or white-water rafting--even a Bible Heroes comic strip--but there is not a girl to be seen, or alluded to, except a few little-sister-types in the ads. But then, lip gloss, hip inarticulateness and sashaying in heels don't really have male counterparts. So perhaps there is no consumer demand.

When a girl recites the Girl Scout Law, she promises to respect herself and others. Somehow I don't think the founder of the American Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, would have dreamt this to include having "beach-perfect hair" or "crushing on a Momma's boy." And when there is scarcely a stiletto-height's difference between the magazine vehicle of the Girl Scouts of America and, say, Cosmo Girl, something is rotten in the culture--not teen culture (that goes without saying) but adult culture.

Mrs. Gurdon is a columnist for National Review Online.

Copyright ? 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ed Note: A surprisingly good teen magazine, Teen Vogue.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 7:49 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
The Democrats Are Wussies and Other Things That Are Stealing My Joy, part 1
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Conneticut Sues Federal Government

State is first to sue over 'No Child Left Behind' law

HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) -- Connecticut filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging President Bush's No Child Left Behind school reform law because, it says, no money is provided to cover expensive testing and required programs.

The state is the first to go to court over the law.

"The goals of the No Child Left Behind Act are laudable," said the state's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal. "Indeed, Connecticut has pursued these goals for decades, but the federal government has failed in implementing them."

Blumenthal announced plans for the lawsuit this spring, after the federal government repeatedly refused to waive some of the requirements of No Child Left Behind. The law aims to have every student in public schools proficient in reading and math by 2014.

Mandatory annual testing has been Connecticut's chief complaint. The state, which has been administering its own mastery test for 20 years, wants to continue testing every other year.

"This mindless rigidity harms our taxpayers, but most of all our children," Blumenthal said.

Standardized testing in grades three, five and seven is scheduled to begin this school year.

A recent report projects that the state will fall $41.6 million short in paying for the law's requirements through 2008, but federal officials question that estimate. A state law prohibits state money from being used to pay for the federal law's requirements.

In Utah, the state legislature passed a measure defying the federal law, and it was signed by Gov. Jon Huntsman on May 2. The law gives state educational standards priority over the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

The nation's largest teacher's union, the National Education Association, joined with school districts and union chapters across the country to file a lawsuit this year challenging the law. Connecticut's union chapter is part of that lawsuit.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Find this article at:

I have never been a fan of the No Child Left Behind Act because it is a thinly veiled attempt to funnel federal funds for public schools into private, mostly religious and parochial schools. By offering parents vouchers to send children to private schools, the government is denying money to the poor public schools and causing them become even poorer. I am also against it because most of the private schools are of a religious and/or Christian nature, and using federal funds to fund Christian/religious organizations is a blatant attack against the separation of church and state. President Bush and his right wing Republican cronies are trying to force a Christian theocracy on the United States, where everyone must be straight, Christian, pro-life, pro-abstinence before marriage, and pro-using the Ten Commandments to govern the land.

The United States is not homogenous and has marketed itself as a heterogeneous nation where people of all races, nations, religions, and creeds can come to worship freely and practice Capitalism. To go against that is a sin against everything this nation has supposedly built itself upon. To turn the United States into a Christian Theocracy where free thinking is considered an act of treason is a bait and switch. Somebody call the Better Business Bureau. Fuck it! Here’s my receipt, give a me a damn refund.

I’m really pissed at the Democratic Party because they are a bunch of pussies. They claim to be against everything the Republican Party and George W. Bush stands for, but they don’t do anything to stop him. They don’t shout loud enough. They don’t make a big enough fuss. They fight each other and continue to act rational in the face of irrationality. Stop leading by quiet, meek, rational examples, and go crazy like the Republicans. Get on television and say what you stand for and don’t back down. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and not waffle. The Republicans do it all the time and they don’t back down. Have some fucking convictions and stick to them, whether or not the press may think you’re wrong. Who gives a damn about the press thinks? Give a damn what your patrons think! Give a damn about what your donators and supporters, like me, think! Be loud, be bold, be brash, and be united in front of and behind the cameras. Don’t gossip about each other like a bunch of mean pre-teens. I refuse to give another dime to the DNC until they show a back bone, and that doesn’t mean pushing Hillary Rodham Clinton as our next presidential candidate. Nobody likes her.

To the horror of no one but myself, I have decided not to vote in the NYC Mayoral elections because I don't want any of the candidates to win. I don't like the Democratic nominees because they are professional Mayoral candidates. They have all run at least 4 our of the last 5 elections, and I still don't know their positions. I like Mike Bloomberg but his overzealous and singleminded drive to bring a football stadium or basketball stadium to NYC keeps me from voting for him. We don't need any more people, tourists, cars, pollution or buildings in NYC except some affordable (below $1000 a month)and rentable apartments.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 7:34 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
August 17, 2005
Bend Me Anyway You Want Beckham
Mood:  amorous
Now Playing: David Beckham
Who is David Beckham?

I'm not even going to waste your time by telling you who David Beckham is, because you should know him by now by the sheer force of his enormous celebrity. He plays soceer in Spain, but I've never really seen him play. I heard he's good but not that great. I don't know and I don't care. In all seriousness, all I know about David Beckham is that I'd like to fuck his brains out. Or, he can fuck my brains out. Either way there will be some fucking and some brains leaving. :-D

It's been a good month for us stateside, Bechkam but not soceer lovers. He was on the cover of Details and on the cover of ESPN magazine. The stories both say basically the same thing. David is married to Posh Spice and is hounded by the UK media. David really wants to break into the U.S. David is really sweet, humble, and pleased by his success. David isn't arrogant. David is so handsome he intimidates male reporters. David is the world's most famous metrosexual. David Beckham is just so perfect.

Yes, David Beckham is perfect. Reportedly, he wore Posh Spice's panties. Normally, not my bag of tea, but I'd let him wear mine. *blush*

I like David Beckham because he's as dumb as a bag of rocks, but genuinely sweet. I like him because he doesn't seem to care what people think, and seems to be a regular bloke under all of the bling. Finally, because his body and his accent are really sexy.

I hope he does make it in America though because I'd like to see more of him. ;-)

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 7:02 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
August 10, 2005
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things--The Book, Not Me
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Carolyn Mackler's Young Adult Tour De Force
Topic: Book Reviews
As a former undernourished-looking child and a current plus-sized 213-lb woman, I loved The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. Don’t take a look at the title and lump this book into the Teen Bridget Jones-Chick Lit category. Although it resembles one of those books of the ever fast growing genre, The Earth…is remarkably insightful, introspective, multi-layered, and well written. Carolyn creates a wonderfully multi-dimensional character in the form of Virginia Shreves.

Virginia is a blond-haired and overweight 15-year old who does not fit in with her over-achieving, athletic, slim, and brown-haired family. Virginia is not only an outsider at school, but an outsider at home as well. Like her mindless eating and magazine reading, she encourages the isolation as shield. If no one can notice her, no one can criticize or tease her about her weight. Virginia even dabbles in self-mutilation to deal with the pain she feels about being a fat girl in world where being thin is in.

Unlike other plus-size heroines, Virginia has a grasp of her sexuality and takes a firmer grasp of it as the novel progresses. Virginia makes out with her unofficial boyfriend, and enjoys it even when the size of her body makes her nervous. She also masturbates and is not ashamed feeling arousal towards boys. Mackler writes these scenes, there are a few but not too many, with careful wording. It is never vulgar or sappy. It is plain and unobtrusive.

A tragedy in Virginia’s family forces her to take charge of her mental, physical, emotional, and social health. By the end of the novel, which I read in little over a day, you’re feeling as energized and as unstoppable as Virginia. The best thing about the book is that Virginia’s boost in attitude has absolutely nothing to do with her weight. (I won’t spoil the ending by tell you whether or not she slims down.)

This is the best book featuring a plus-sized teen girl since Life in the Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett. I recommend it to all teens, regardless of size, struggling with body image and self esteem issues. I also think this book, like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, would make an excellent choice for a Mothers-Daughters Book Club.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:23 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: August 10, 2005 11:25 PM EDT
August 8, 2005
Mood:  not sure
Topic: Movie Reviews
BV Reviews: 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman'
By Armond White, AOL BlackVoices

"Everybody needs love," Martha and the Vandellas sang back in the '60s. That knowledge is the key to the successful Tyler Perry phenomenon. Writer, performer and entrepreneur Perry combines humor and soap opera, expressing the need to be loved in the new movie 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman.' His winning formula has been seen in the seven stage plays he has toured across the United States and in several direct-to-video releases. So far his productions have grossed nearly $75 million. Black music video veteran director Darren Grant now confirms it for a new medium.

Break It Down: Perry's comic gimmick is downscale but delightful.
'Diary of a Mad Black Woman' feels like the first black-movie soap opera because love stories geared to the experiences and ideas of the black community are rare on the big screen. Nothing in either the blaxploitation movement of the 1970s or the hood movie movement of the 1990s fulfilled the popular taste that Perry sets his sights on in 'Diary.' The story of how Helen McCarter (Kimberly Elise) pulls herself together after being thrown out of her Atlanta home by her cruel, cheating husband (Steve Harris) makes an appeal to a totally different set of audience emotions.

Previously, successful black filmmakers have concentrated on action genres aimed at black male ticket buyers. Perry realizes that there is a vast audience of black female ticket buyers who want another approach to storytelling. 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman' capitalizes on romance the way 'Superfly' or 'New Jack City' capitalized on crime. Helen McCarter's story is about a black woman's personal fulfillment and self-realization, not a black man's egotistical demonstration before the world that he can control his own finances and destiny. The stage plays Perry has written, produced and performed in prove that his concept has grassroots appeal. But what makes it unusual -- and universally successful -- is that this appeal isn't limited to gender.

Part of Perry's secret is that women and men both share the same desire, as Martha and the Vandellas knew -- even if men and women rarely confess it to each other (and certainly not in public). 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman' makes those feelings public cinematically. It starts out like a psycho-dramatic version of 'Waiting to Exhale': Helen narrates about her rich lawyer husband's infidelity like Eve recounting how she was thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

Grant directs the early scenes of paradise lost with a sure knack for soap opera extravagance and pity. No episode of 'Dynasty' or 'The Young and the Restless' is more shamelessly compelling. The image of Helen in a red evening dress being dragged across a marble floor and tossed between the columns of a Southern mansion is so full of drama it verges on being irresistibly campy.

Perry's show biz expertise is in knowing how to maintain that careful balance. It is just at that point -- when Helen's heart can break no further -- that the movie shifts tone. 'Diary' stops being a pity party and becomes a comedy of self-resurrection. It is no accident that this shift is accomplished by the introduction of a new character, Madea, who is Helen's grandmother and the community Big Mama. Large breasted, loudmouthed, strong willed and with a pistol packed in her purse, Madea almost emanates from Helen's subconscious. But she is also a mythic figure from the bosom of the Southern black family.

Madea is bodacious, outrageous and courageous. She is also played by a man -- Tyler Perry himself -- in an audacious act of showmanship. This black Mrs. Doubtfire is Tyler's tribute to the black matriarch as well as to the tradition of black drag performers. He brings both traditions together through the good-hearted notion of celebrating everyone's need to be loved. Helen learns how to respect herself, earn the devotion of a good man (Orlando played by Shemar Moore) as well as the proper handling of an abusive mate. Madea guarantees that these lessons are learned through humor but Perry is sincere when he backs Madea up with another matriarch figure, Helen's wise mother Myrtle played by Cicely Tyson.

In 'Diary,' Perry realizes that the emotional torments used to sell millions of black romance novels also have a restorative, comic flip side. His ingenious gimmick as a cultural impresario is to tickle that funny bone by going back to the roots of folk culture -- the front porch story, the chitlin' circuit revue, the gospel epiphany. 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman' is not profound art, but it combines the great pleasures familiar from the most popular forms of black public expression.

Break It Down: Perry's comic gimmick is downscale but delightful.

Feb. 18, 2005

Find Armond White's Review by clicking here.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:21 AM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
I Guess I'm Not Really A Bougie Black Woman After All--Maybe
Mood:  quizzical
Now Playing: Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Topic: Movie Reviews

To get a better understanding of this post click: What is BOUGIE?

Today I saw Diary of a Mad Black Woman on DVD. It is based on one of Tyler Perry's highly popular "chitlin' circuit/gospel" play featuring his most infamous/famous character, Madea (played by Mr. Perry himself). In New York City, all of these so-called "gospel plays" are shown at the Beacon Theater. It is almost a joke among Black New Yorkers, because the plays/musicals follow a very traditional pattern. It usually stars a former B-list R&B singer (like Christopher Williams or Me'lissa Morgan) or B-list Black TV star (like Malik Yoba). A woman is usually extremely wronged by a black man. And said black woman usually learns a lesson from the wisdom of her female peers and this lesson has a big walloping dose of God and Jesus in it. Most times, the men are also redeemed. And they always most certainly will play at the Beacon Theater.

It is also a joke, most secretly and sometimes not so secretly, because Black folk associate those who see these plays as "ghetto" or too poor/ignorant to see something more highbrow (so-to-speak). Half my heart believed this although I saw the last of the Mama I Want to Sing trilogy nearly ten years ago. (Oddly enough it wasn't at the Beacon Theater but an off Broadway theater in the Village.) Somewhere, somehow, or something convinced me that I was beyond "Chitlin Circuit" plays, musicals or movies (i.e. Soul Plane). Maybe it's because I never flocked to them to begin with or maybe I started to believe that once a Black man or woman reached a certain educational or financial status, he or she became less ghetto, more white, and thus Bougie and was or should above these things.

I can't go in "da hood" now where I grew up , and expect to somehow be down with folk. I'm a woman with a graduate degree and a seemingly middle class existence that clashes with where I grew up. I often have conflicts within myself on definitions of what it means to be Black or Bougie. I also have conflicts about whether or not growing up in the ghetto makes me ghetto. I don't fit into any pre-determined category. I fit into many yet I don't fit into any. This, on occasion, bothers me.(More posts on this later, I suspect.) No one wants to be the oddball.

And speaking of oddballs, lets get back to Diary of a Mad Black Woman...It is not your typical middle-class Black movie genre (see movies like The Brothers, The Wood, The Best Man, Love Jones...) of the past ten years that are geared toward Black people who don't see themselves in the gangster, inner-city, tough reality films like Menace to Society or Boyz In DA Hood. These "hood" Black flicks and "bougie" Black flicks have a tendency to be extremes of how Black people either see themselves or wish to see themselves (Love and Basketball may be the exception). Diary...somehow brings both elements together into a cohesive and entertaining film without beating one over the head with its "I'm so Street" or "I'm so Middle Class" pathos. It also retains all of the characteristics and charm associated with the Gospel plays, but it is done so with a light hand.

My favorite part of this movie is its blatant Christian and/orMoral (by Webster's Definition) moral message about Forgiveness. It is wonderful that this message is delivered in such a non-Pollyanna fashion. It also is delivered without being a conservative, boring, dull or condemning flick. It serves the medicine with a bit of sugar. I think Diary is a movie that can appeal to nearly all Blacks despite their actual or perceived socio-economic-cultural levels, and appeal to Christians or God-believers who don't consider themselves Holy Rollers.

With all that said, you still probably won't find me up in the Beacon Theater anytime soon. :-)

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 4:12 AM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: August 8, 2005 4:16 AM EDT
July 29, 2005
No Jeans, No Polo Shirt, No Birkenstocks, No Service
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: The Retirement of the Wannabe Fashionista
As I hitched my knapsack onto my shoulder and re-laced my sneakers, I realized that becoming a parent has both its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you get to tax write off. lol. On the second hand, you cannot dress hip, cool, or very fashionable anymore. And I'm not just talking about the cost of clothing either. It doesn't help either that I'm at a job working with the public and have to be on my feet often.

Last night, I was cleaning out my closet. Rather I was sorting out my closet. Heels, pointy-toe boots, and platform flip-flops? Hell no! How can you balance yourself on those shoes with a 15-lb baby dangling from your front carrier? Forget about the children's cannot do the hokey pokey in a pair of stilettos. (I actually need a sports bra to do that, now.)

Forget about dangly earrings, long necklaces, and ruffled blouses. If you like them you need to forget about them, because a 5 month old baby doesn't have the release reflex. A 5 month old baby has the grab, pull, shake, poop, pee, and drool reflex. A torn earlobe, a broken necklace and a ripped blouse is not worth the pain and repair of trying to look cute.

White pants? Ivory skirts? Fancy hose? *Sigh* It's all in the past now. Dirty books, sticky hands, and bookcases with snags put those dandy items in the hope chest. Also, try carrying a baby in one arm and trudging a dirty-wheeled stroller up 3 flights of subway stairs in white pants, an ivory skirt or fancy hose. There will be rips, tears, tire skid marks, and dirt splotches.

Showing cleavage? Better zip it up or baby will pull the girls out. Even worse, teenage boy patrons will keep looking down your blouse. The worst, you'll make the Hokey Pokey the most obscene song ever with your boobs bouncing up and down with every shake. Can we say "put your left tit in?"

Six years ago I had no style. I dressed corporate. I changed jobs, reinvented myself. Navy blue slacks, pinstripe blouses, wool blazers and black oxfords were given to the charity Dress for Success. Over the course of 5 years, I paid attention to fashion and make-up. By last count, I had over 60 pairs of shoes including 4 pairs of faux Ugg Boots, 3 pairs of black heeled boots, 2 pairs of mock-croc loafers in pink and red, a pair of bright green pumps, a pair of tweed pumps and a pair of leather kitten heel sandals with a yellow seahorse patchwork. I don't know what happen, but aside from the sneakers, none of those shoes are relevant to my lifestyle anymore. Neither are my purses because they can't fit baby baby bottles, diapers, and the least issue of In Style magazine.

What should I do? Do I need to simplify my wardrobe and donate all my fancy shoes to Dress to Success or another worthy charity? I dunno. It's a slippery slope. I don't want to be that dull dresser I was before. Yet, how stylish can you be in sensible shoes and wash-n-wear shirts?

At least I can still rock my eye glitter and red lipstick.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 4:58 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: July 30, 2005 5:10 PM EDT
July 26, 2005
My Bizarre Hatred of Random Celebrities, Part 1
Mood:  cheeky
Now Playing: Been Long Time Shouldn't Left You...
Topic: Celebrity News/Thoughts
Yesterday, I was watching MTV Hits channel (you know, the one MTV channel that actually plays music videos) and I saw the video for Justin Timberlake's "Senorita" all the way through for the first time. All of a sudden, I found myself in a quandry because I really liked Justin's album Justified. I like his little blue-eyed, Usher cum Michael Jackson style of R&B/Pop. I'm also looking forward to his new album if he can get up from under Cameron Diaz long enough to do it. However, I hate Justin Timberlake. Currently, he's number 1 on my Bizarre Hatred of Random Celebrities List (BHoRC).


1. Justin Timberlake because he turned out be such a poseur. He so lusted after and idolized Janet Jackson so much that he let her swing after the Tittygate fiasco. Also, he's supposed to be so diverse and so real that once he went Hollywood, he gets himself the 100% embodiment of your typical Hollywood beauty--tall, skinny, blonde, and airheaded--as a girlfriend. I'm speaking of Cameron Diaz folks.

2. Cameron Diaz because she's not that pretty or that hot or that great of talent yet she's the highest paid actress in Hollywood? I don't get it.

3. Toccara, of America's Next Top Model and Celebrity Fit Club 2, because she's a silly chickenhead. CFC2 has shown and proved it to me. So much for getting another plus-sized model for all us big girls to look up to. Here's a tip for Toccara, girlfriend, get a sport bra.


My celebrity ex-boyfriend, Ricky Martin wants to stop the stereotyping of Arab children. Bless his goodwill doing heart. I also like his new song, "I Don't Care," which sounds an awful like it should be on Usher's damn-near-if-not-already-Diamond-selling album, Confessions.

Ricky Martin Seeks End to Arab Stereotypes news briefs are purchased from The Associated Press or written by the staff of They cannot be duplicated or reproduced in any way. Our in-depth articles, published six days a week, are reported and written by our staff of full-time journalists.

On his first visit to the Middle East, Ricky Martin declared he will try to change negative perceptions of Arab youth in the West.

"I promise I will become a spokesperson, if you allow me to, a spokesperson on your behalf. I will defend you and try to get rid of any stereotypes," the 33-year-old singer told youngsters from 16 mainly Arab countries at a youth conference on Monday.

The children, ages 14 to 16, expressed concern about being labeled as "terrorists" by the West.

"I have been a victim of stereotypes. I come from Latin America and to some countries, we are considered 'losers,' drug traffickers, and that is not fair because that is generalizing," said Martin, who was born in Puerto Rico.

"Those comments are made out of ignorance and we have to sometimes ignore the ignorant, but we also have to educate the ignorant. You have me here as a friend," he said.

Martin, who is a United Nations Children's Fund goodwill ambassador, said he wanted to get to know the youth and their cultures better.

He said he planned to do a concert tour of the Mideast and North Africa, including Jordan and the Palestinian territories, tentatively scheduled for May 2006.

Martin, whose hits include "She Bangs," "Shake Your Bon-Bon" and "Livin' La Vida Loca," posed for photos with fans, at one point draping over his shoulders a traditional Arab kaffiyeh headscarf with the slogan "Jerusalem Is Ours" written in Arabic on it.

"I had no idea that the kaffiyeh scarf presented to me contained language referring to Jerusalem, and I apologize to anyone who might think I was endorsing its message," Martin said in a statement released Monday by his New York–based publicist, Ken Sunshine.

"My role is entirely humanitarian, and I will continue to promote the elimination of stereotyping anyone—be they from Latin America, the Middle East, or anywhere across the globe," he said in the statement.

Martin attended the silver jubilee of the Arab Children's Congress set up 25 years ago by Jordan's Queen Nour, King Hussein's widow, to promote creativity, peace, cross-cultural understanding and tolerance. He said he would like to promote a similar youth congress for his native Latin America.

Martin said he would travel later Monday to Thailand where his organization, the Ricky Martin Foundation, had built 225 homes to protect children orphaned by the Dec. 26 tsunami that swept through South Asia.

"I couldn't stay at home with my arms crossed," he said.

Martin said his foundation also is working to combat child pornography and prostitution worldwide. (AP)

More On Ricky's New Single: I Don't Care

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 3:15 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
July 16, 2005
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: The Fountain and Love for Darren Aronofsky
Shut fuck up! My secret celebrity boyfriend's movie is starting to get good buzz. Read up.

Comic-Con 2005: The Fountain Trailer First Look
Con attendees get a glimpse of Darren Aronofsky's next.

July 15, 2005 - We love Darren Aronofsky. With just two features under his belt (Pi and Requiem for the Dream), he has established himself as an impressive visual stylist with slavish devotion to story and concept. For the past six years, he has been toiling away on what he calls his "personal passion," the amazing looking The Fountain.

The film has had a rocky start, almost lifting off in 2002 with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchet in the title roles, but was shelved due to the good ol' standby: "creative differences." Aronofksy seems to have found the perfect cast though with Hugh Jackman as Tom and Rachel Weisz as Izzi. Praise for Jackman has been effusive. Says Aronofksy, "You haven't seen anything from Hugh Jackman yet."

Set in three time periods, 1500AD, 2000AD, and 2500AD, the film follows Tom and Izzi throughout history as they experience love over 1000 years, gaining strength presumably from a fountain of youth represented by a tree. OK, we may be off there, but that's what we gathered from a trailer. Aronofsky himself said to the crowd: "Confused? Well, there's 90 more minutes of the film."

We cannot wait for this one. The few minutes we've seen has some truly iconic imagery, some brutal battle sequences, and an absolutely transcendent moment when Tom (Jackman, bald) is meditating in front of a tree while floating in space. The 5500 or so people in the auditorium became absolutely hushed during the sequence, as if they knew they were watching something special. The film during that sequence recalls the quiet space of Kubrick's 2001, Zemeckis' Contact, or even Douglas Trumbull's Silent Running.

The film should be releasing this fall. Keep it on IGN FilmForce for more information. Check out our exclusive interviews with Darren Aronofsky and Rachel Weisz.

-- Steven Horn

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 5:11 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
What's With Me and Hospital Shows?
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: Scrubs
Topic: TV: The Soft Blue Glow
Last night, the hubby and I rented the first season of Scrubs, the NBC show with Zack Braff. Talk about being four years behind. We has watched an episode here and there and thought it was funny, but never watched it regularly. We still might not watch it regularly during the season, but doggoneit we will be renting the other seasons when they come out on DVD. It is a funny show. It cracked me up. Also, it's nice to see Donald Faison in a good show. I feel like I've seen him in stuff since 1990.

Now I also hope House comes out on DVD before the second season starts, because I'd like to check it. That's one show that kept my interest piqued every time I saw the commerical. However, I never watched it. When there's nothing on between 8:30 and 9 p.m., I have a tendency to not remember what I wanted to watch at 9 and cede to my husband's remote control flipping.

You know what should come out on DVD? St. Elsewhere. OMG! The first three years of that show was off the chain. I'd buy that lickety split. Also, I'd rent Trapper John MD. My whole family would watch that show. My aunt and I had a crush on Gregory Harrison aka Dr. Gonzo Gates. My grandmother on Pernell Roberts aka Trapper John. (What's surprising is that I can remember both of their names yet I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday or what I spent my money on.)

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 5:05 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
I'm Addicted to Books and I Work in the Library
Mood:  amorous
Now Playing: A Trip Down My Bookish Memory Lane
I'm having flashbacks to parts of my elementary school years, when I hung out in the school library during gym--I was permanently excused from gym because of my severe asthma. I'm also flashing back to parts of my high school and college experiences when I got immense joy out of wondering through the stacks--the height of them blocking out the dim flourescent lights above. Especially in college, when I has 12 floors and two sub-basements at my disposal, and I would have three and four hours between classes to kill. Deep down, I was a library geek. Deep down I was that guy from the Twilight Zone who wanted the world to stop for a little while so he could read without being disturbed. You're reading the blog of a woman who looked forward to 9 months of bedrest during a pregnancy so I would have nothing to do but read. (Sidenote: I lost the pregnancy--it was ectopic and not viable.)

Even before I started working at the library or considering becoming a librarian (which, incidentally, had nothing to do with the fact that I liked to read), I'd hang out at the library at lunchtime. I'd browse the adult fiction--first mysteries (Robert P. Parker's Spenser novels are my favorite), then the audio books (all the "Classic Literature" my high school was too broke to own), and finally I'd drift into the sociological memoir books (like Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell or Susan Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted.) I also had a penchant for "women's studies." In high school, I read mostly romance novels and plays. It was during that gawky era that I became a fan of Tennessee Williams' plays. Until this day, I've yet to read anyone who can capture the human frailties like Mr. Williams.

At work, when I'm helping parents find books for their young children or helping teens find books for themselves, I have to reel myself in because after I help them I can (and will) browse books for myself. Worst yet, I borrow 10 to 20 books at a time. WHEN CAN I READ ALL OF THESE BOOKS? The library is too busy to read at the reference desk, and my commute is too short to really get into a book on the ride to and from work. At home, I'm a wife and a mother of an infant. Not to mention, I have tons of magazines at home waiting for me. Yet, somehow, I squeeze in the reading.

After a near-spat with a patron sent me to the loading dock to cool off for 30 minutes, I was able to finish up the last 75 pages of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the novel very much. I liked the four girls and their character arcs. The book tried to have more depth and food for thought than the current crop of teen chick lit books. When I finished the book, I was both sad and proud of myself. I'm always proud when I finish a book because it is such an Herculian effort on my part to actually finish a book, and I was sad because I wanted to know more about these girls.

Today, during my lunch hour, I browsed through the Young Adult assignment section to look at the hundreds of books that high schools and middle schools have often assigned to their students. I picked up several today--skinny ones so I can get through them quickly.

I picked up Avi's A Place Called Ugly, Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper, The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Hemingway, Brave New World (which I vaguely remember reading but not finishing nor understanding in high school but I blame the teacher for that), Flip-flp Girl by Katherine Paterson, The Island by Gary Paulsen (an author wildly popular with both teachers and kids), Lisa, Bright and Dark (which sounds an awful like Charolette Light and Dark, the ficitional book about the character Brenda Chenoworth on Six Feet Under) by John Neufeld, and The Beast by Walter Dean Myers (also an author wildly popular with both kids and teachers). I'm looking forward to reading them all. That geek that I am.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 3:08 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
July 12, 2005
Mood:  not sure

TV -- any TV -- harms toddlers, study claims
Reading, memory adversely affected, UW researchers say

Tuesday, July 5, 2005


Any TV is bad TV for children under 3.

That's the message of a new study from researchers at the University of Washington who found that toddler time spent in front of the television translates into lower reading and short-term memory scores at 6 and 7 years old.

"Watching even really good educational shows ... is bad" for children under 3, said Frederick Zimmerman, co-director of the Child Health Institute and lead author of the study published today in the Journal of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Older children, however, did glean some benefits from watching a mix of educational and non-educational shows.

Zimmerman and his co-author, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, have published several studies looking at the effect of television viewing on young minds. They've linked too much television to bullying and attention problems.

As in the previous studies, their most recent analysis relies on mothers' responses to a national survey for about 1,800 children. Children younger than 3 watched an average of 2.2 hours of television a day; the daily average increased to 3.3 hours for children between 3 and 5.

For each hour of television watched per day before age 3, a child's reading comprehension and short-term memory scores fell at age 6 and 7.

But for older children, every hour of television led to slightly better performance sounding out and pronouncing words.

Since 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended no television for children 2 and younger, including educational shows. For older children, the academy suggests no more than one to two hours a day of "quality" television.

"This is the fairly landmark study that says, 'Parents, there's something to this notion,' " said Dr. Donald Shifrin, a Bellevue pediatrician and chairman of the communications committee at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Educational shows, such as "Blue's Clues" and "Sesame Street," are designed for older children who have already mastered the basics of language, Zimmerman said.

Younger children can't benefit from those programs, he said.

"They're trying to recognize sounds consistently and reproduce them accurately," Zimmerman said. "The way they do that is to interact with adults and look at their faces, lips and mouths."

An adult's reaction when a child repeats a sound or word -- something television doesn't offer -- is an important part of that learning process, Zimmerman said.

Grant Haven and his partner, John, keep track of their 4-year-old daughter's screen time on a wall calendar.

"It keeps us honest," Haven said.

Grace has a whole library of Disney videos, but she's only allowed to watch them in half-hour segments. As young as 9 months, Haven said, she was glued to the tube during "Teletubbies" episodes.

The West Seattle couple don't want the television to be a focal point of their lives or Grace's day. They keep the set in the guest bedroom "to make it a very special event when she goes to watch it."

The latest issue of the Journal of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine includes two additional studies related to television and children. A study from New Zealand found that the more midweek television that teenagers watched, the less likely they were to finish college. The other found that third-graders with television sets in their rooms scored lower on standardized tests.

But Ariel Chernin, a doctoral candidate in communications at the University of Pennsylvania and author of an accompanying editorial, said the three articles pay too little attention to the types of shows children are watching. "Whether or not you have a 2-year-old who's watching 'Sesame Street' or a 2-year-old watching 'Law and Order' -- those are two very different things."

For the American Academy of Pediatrics' media guidelines for parents, including recommendations for computer and television time, go to:

? 1998-2005 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 12:06 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
July 10, 2005
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Some Obscure Flicks I Like You May Like
Topic: Movie Reviews
In the Mood for Love: Set in Hong Kong, 1962, Chow Mo-Wan is a newspaper editor who moves into a new building with his wife. At approximately the same time, Su Li-zhen, a beautiful secretary and her executive husband also move in to the crowded building. With their spouses often away, Chow and Li-zhen spend time together as friends. Soon, they are shocked to discover that their spouses are having an affair. Hurt and angry, they find comfort in their growing friendship even as they resolve not to be like their unfaithful mates.

Paris is Burning: This is a documentary of 'drag nights' among New York's African- and Latino-American underclass. Drag queens are interviewed and observed preparing for and competing in many 'balls'.

The Spook Who Sat by the Door: A black man plays Uncle Tom in order to gain access to CIA training, then uses that knowledge to plot a new American Revolution.

Eat, Drink, Man, Woman: Senior Master Chef Chu lives in a large house in Taipei with his three unmarried daughters, Jia-Jen, a chemistry teacher converted to Christianity, Jia-Chien, an airline executive, and Jia-Ning, a student who also works in a fast food restaurant. Life in the house revolves around the ritual of an elaborate dinner each Sunday, and the love lives of all the family members.

Dirty Pretty Things
: Okwe, a kind-hearted Nigerian doctor, and Senay, a Turkish chambermaid, work at the same West London hotel. The hotel is run by Senor Sneaky and is the sort of place where dirty business like drug dealing and prostitution takes place. However, when Okwe finds a human heart in one of the toilets, he uncovers something far more sinister than just a common crime.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Angelique, a young student, is in love with a married doctor. We see her attempts to make him leave his pregnant wife, but he does not appear for meetings or finally the booked journey to Florence. Then the movie is turned back to the beginning, and the view changes: We are now following the view of the doctor instead of Angeliques. And things look quite different now...

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:17 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Mired in Mediocrity
Mood:  incredulous
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The superhero movie "Fantastic Four" overcame some of the worst reviews of the year to top the North American box office with better-than-expected weekend ticket sales of $56 million, its distributor 20th Century Fox said on Sunday.

This is further proof to me that any medicore thing marketed properly in this country will be rewarded with success. Our current president is case in point. Boy, don't even get me started. I'm just going to keep my head in the sand until 2008 and hope that the right doesn't fuck me up the ass while I'm bent over.

I have a child who is a little over 4 months old, and I've become absolutely determined to put the parental control lock on all of the cartoon and children's channels. Just too much animated stimuli and the commericals are just making them into consumers WAAAAAYYYY to early. I'm so sick of kids coming into the library, eyes glazed, pissed because all of the Dora the Explorer, Power Puff Girls, Little Bill books are checked out, rather, stolen/missing.

Last night I watched a movie called Brother 2 Brother. It had a good premise, but something lacked that it didn't quite keep my attention. I think it was the main fact that a person who was in their 20s during the Harlem Renassiance wouldn't be a spry 70-something in 2004. Anywho...Brother to Brother tackled something that is rarely discussed in the African-American community. Sexuality and gender is as much of the civil rights canvas as race. Gays who are black have two battles, but the civil rights movement have forced them to keep their sexuality hidden.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:00 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
July 8, 2005
I Was An Ozalot Back Before It Was Cool and Maybe a Bit Creepy
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: A Return to Oz
Topic: Celebrity News/Thoughts
I used to be an Ozalot. I even have a tee-shirt declaring as much. I also have an I love Oz pin. I saw the musical The Boy From Oz 7 times. I sing songs from the soundtrack to my baby as a lullaby. Hugh Jackman still shows up in my dreams promising me all sorts of unspeakable fulfillment. However, sometimes, it's best to let things go. You hold on to things for too long and you get into a sort of stasis holding program. But Hugh Jackman is delicious enough to destroy all senses of logic. (I hope his new flick The Fountain proves how talented he really is. Aside from his X-men movies and his musical work, his film choices are kind of *blech*. I still watch them anyway because, hey, it's Wolverine. That sexy muthefucker.)

(Ricky Martin also has a new song out which sounds surprisingly a lot like an Usher song. I was also in a Ricky Martin fan club from 1999-2001, roughly. I still do Living La Vida Loca on karaoke machines but I have to admit that his self-titled English language debut was kind of sucky. However, his second, Sound Loaded, was really good aside from She Bangs.)

Anywhoo...Ozalots strikes again...

Fans: Another Sort of 'Ozfest'

June 6 issue - "The Boy From Oz," a Broadway show starring Hugh Jackman, closed last fall. But the play's fans are scheming to keep it alive. This spring the devotees formed Ozalot Productions to get the play made into a movie. "Hugh Jackman could end up the biggest star in the world," says Ozalot prez Barbara Whittaker. His turn as songwriter Peter Allen, she says, "has to be committed to film."

Of course, the Ozalots have a few casting ideas. In an online debate that stretched for months, they settled on Mike Nichols as director, Anne Hathaway as Liza Minnelli and Eric McCormack as Jackman's lover.

Earlier this month a group of fans tracked down Jackman at a Broadway event in New York, introduced themselves and handed him a cast list. They hope that he'll produce the movie and then hire them as extras. Jackman, who's hosting the Tony Awards June 5, isn't ruling it out. "My fans are terrific," he tells NEWSWEEK. "We'll see."

—Ramin Setoodeh

? 2005 Newsweek, Inc.
? 2005


Posted by Kiki Shoes at 1:21 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: July 8, 2005 2:57 PM EDT

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