July 20, 2008
Ask Me How I Got This Smile on My Face
Now Playing: The Dark Knight
Topic: Movie Reviews
The Dark Knight was a brilliant movie despite being about 15-minutes too long. (I’m not going to complain about the length, because all movies are at least 20-minutes too long nowadays and to complain about it would be a redundant criticism.) The movie was dark, philosophical, fast paced and action packed. Some critics will state that The Dark Knight was too dark or too philosophical for a “funny book” movie. People who say that are not too familiar with the world of comic books, and the alternate realities in which superheroes live. Never confuse a comic book with the bright bang-pow, drink-your-milk and say-your-prayers type of heroes in the Sunday papers’ comic strips. Comic book heroes (and villains) who are brought to life on the big screen come with much depth and baggage that is ripe for exploring.
The Dark Knight explores the yin and yang relationship of the Batman and the Joker. Good versus Evil. Order versus Anarchy. Without the existence (even the theoretical existence) of one, the other cannot exist. The Joker, with his scarred mouth and whacked-out make-up, points this out with glee to Batman. Batman as the vigilante hero has created a villain who elicits as much fear as Batman does hope. The Joker, with his guns and bombs, has thrown the Gotham City into a tailspin. The police, the mobsters, and the everyday folks don’t know how to capture him. Batman and District Attorney Harvey Dent (a scene-stealing Aaron Eckhart) fight to control the chaos through the rules and laws they’ve privately and publicly promised to uphold.
To say anymore would give away too many of the surprising and excellent plot twists. As Heath Ledger’s more-than-excellent Joker keeps pushing the envelope of evil deeds, the audience stays riveted to their chairs and their eyes to the screen. Each time the Joker appears, the audience whoops in disbelief at his mayhem. Oh, shit! Did the Joker just do that? The audience struggles with Christian Bale’s Batman and Harvey Dent’s dilemma of stepping outside the boundaries of their laws to bring down the Joker. (Dent nearly shoots one of the Joker’s goons to get his whereabouts, and the Batman has to restrain himself from killing the Joker with his bare hands.)
The actors all do a very fine job in their roles. Bale is an excellent Bruce Wayne, hamming it up as the millionaire playboy in order to keep is true identity a secret. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a sexy and fiery A.D.A and love interest of both Dent and Wayne. Aaron Eckhart, with his strong jaw and a cartoon superhero’s chin, brings depth to his character’s arc. And of course, there is the late Heath Ledger who is unrecognizable as he is so steeped in his character. He fully embodies the insanity of the Joker making him scarier than Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top cartoonish performance from nearly 20-years-ago. You never look at this Joker and say “Heath does a good Joker.”
Christopher Nolan has made some very fine character movies, Memento and The Prestige, and he does great with the characters in this new Batman franchise. Unfortunately, it is hard to follow the action sequences. You get the idea in theory of what is happening, but you don’t understand what you’re seeing. That is the main flaw of The Dark Knight. Well, that, and the fact that you won’t see anymore face-offs between the Joker and the Batman that is hinted near the climax of the movie.
See this movie. I wouldn't bring any child younger than 12 to this movie.
June 6, 2008
Reading is Fundamental, You Suckas
Now Playing: Tyrell by Coe Booth
Topic: Book Reviews
by Coe Booth
rating: 4 of 5 stars
As a Young Adult librarian, I inwardly (barely) frown upon any teenager's craving for the so-called street/hip-hop/urban fiction that has become a force to be reckoned with in the literary world. These books glorify an opportunisitic, materialistic, sexist, violent, and sometimes criminal world that teens live or wish to live. Lest you think me some suburb-rised cultural elitest, let me set you straight. I'm straight up 'hood born and 'hood raised. I've seen some of these stories close up in real life and there's nothing good about them, so I'm baffled by the embrace of them.
Tyrell, Coe Booth's debut novel, is urban/street/ghetto fiction taken to a higher level. It exposes the ugly side of project-life, hustling, and using sex as a tool. The protagonist, 15-year-old Tyrell, is trying to keep his family and life together as he is trying to escape homelessness. But he is constantly angered and frustrated by a trifling mom, an incarcerated dad, a mistrustful girlfriend, and a needy female pal. Yet, by the end of the story, Tyrell finds light at the end of the tunnel.
The ending doesn't pretend that the rest of Tyrell's life (or his little brother's, mother's, father's or friends') won't be a hard struggle, but it does give hope that Tyrell won't succumb to the vices (emotional and physical) that traps everyone around him. Tyrell is both sad and uplifting without being preachy. It is the perfect realistic fiction for today's teens. View all my reviews.
June 4, 2008
My President Gives Dap
Now Playing: Go Obama
Two Words: CRUSH McCAIN!!!
May 28, 2008
The Joy of Summer Reading
Now Playing: The Wallflower
Topic: Book Reviews
The Wallflower 1: Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge
by Tomoko Hayakawa
rating: 4 of 5 stars
Blood. Ghosts. Creatures of light! No, this isn’t a vampire-horror graphic novel. This is a wacky story about 4 hot guys with a mission to turn their landlady’s homely neice into a stunner, so they can get free rent. But when the poor thing looks like the girl from the movie The Ring, do the boys even have a chance? You’ll have to read the rest to find out. You’ll be laughing and cheering through out the whole series. Naptime Is the New Happy Hour: And Other Ways Toddlers Turn Your Life Upside Down
by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
rating: 4 of 5 stars
This laugh outloud book on how to survive toddlerhood needs to be read by every parent. The advice and anecdotes in this book will have you shelving your mommy-guilt, and feeling good about your parenting skills. It is a quick read, and you can start at any chapter. Warning there is a lot of cursing, but I don't mind it because my cursing quotient has gone up now that I have two little ones.
View all my reviews.
May 11, 2008
On Second Thought
Now Playing: Payless Shoes
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
Lately, yours truly had been ragging on Payless Shoe Source quite a bit because they've been featuring so many "upscale" and "specialty" designers that I was unable to find any of my fav traditional Payless designs to fit my feet. I apologize Payless. You still have my heart. With thoughts of economic stimulus and Mother's Day gifts dancing in my head, I spent a full hour trying on sandals and pumps at my local Payless last Wednesday. As cute and as fashion forward as the Abaete, Lela Rose, and Alice + Olivia designed shoes were, I didn't gravitate toward them. I don't know, I'm just not a fan of slippery-soled flats or or patent leather stripper wedges. I was looking for classic, comfy, and cute.
The first pair of shoes that caught my attention was a pair of peep-toe, B&W spectator pumps with a curved and slightly-conical heel that was very reminiscent of what a 40s Hollywood vixen would wear. If I had the opportunity to wear pumps, I would have definitely bought these stunners. (They're on sale at $13! I should have just bought them to wear around the house. Who knows, I still might.)
The second pair of shoes that I found myself bouncing around the store in wear a pair of strappy, wedge black sandals that would carry me through the entire summer. It also came in the less-severe color of navy. I found the navy to be more summery, but I'll probably buy the black because I'm a New York City girl who can never have too many shoes/boots/sandals in the color black. (I know, I know! Black sandals weigh down wispy summer outfits)
(To the left are the sandals in navy.)
The final pair of Payless shoes that I fell in love with was a pair of canvas, sling-back, red wedges with white polka dots. They were very comfortable and I imagined that I could wear them both to work and on the weekends without hurting my feet. The only downside is that I think these American Eagle shoes might be a bit too young for my 35-years. What do you think?
Btw, wasn't Patricia Field supposed to be coming out with a line of shoes with Payless? What happened with that?
Ed Note: Apparently it came and went without me knowing during the Holiday season. http://www.payless.com/PatriciaField/
April 30, 2008
It Can't Hurt Us Any Further, Can It?
I never thought much about recessions, depressions or economic slow downs until I became a working mother, and it became more important to save and keep a full pantry. Within the last six months, the staples on my grocery list have gone up dramatically in price--Milk, bread, frozen vegetables and pasta. Luckily, our semi-vegetarian diet has kept us from being too hurt by the cost of meat. The cost of mass transit has gone up in New York City. The cost of electricity and water has also gone up, which has reflected in my rising rent. Everythiing is on the rise except my paycheck. *sigh* Can we get a new president and stimulate the economy right now, please?
The following was e-mailed to me.
How to get GAS back down to $1.30 per gallon
THIS IS NOT THE 'DON'T BUY' GAS FOR ONE DAY, BUT IT WILL SHOW YOU HOW WE CAN GET GAS BACK DOWN TO $1.30 PER GALLON.
I hear we are going to hit close to $ 4.00 a gallon by next summer and it might go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down? We need to take some intelligent, united action. The oil companies just laughed at us when we tried to unite to not buy gas for a day because they knew we wouldn't continue to 'hurt' ourselves by continuing it any longer.
Phillip Hollsworth offered this good idea, and this idea make much more sense than the 'don't buy gas on a certain day' campaign that was going around last April or May!
It's worth your consideration.
The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas! And, WE CAN DO IT WITHOUT HURTING OURSELVES.
How? Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop buying gas.
But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a price war.
Here's the idea: For the rest of this year, DON'T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL.
If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.
But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do! Now, don't wimp out on me at this point...keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!
If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. I suggest that we not buy from EXXON/MOBIL UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE $2.00 RANGE AND KEEP THEM DOWN. THIS CAN REALLY WORK.
April 27, 2008
Leave the Girls Alone
Now Playing: Miley Cyrus demi-scandal
Topic: Celebrity News/Thoughts
The problem with making world-wide super celebrities out of children is that there never is any room for them to make mistakes, and their parental guidance doesn’t come from a place of love place but from a place promoting the brand. It is the companies’, like Disney, fault when child-teen celebrities fall from grace in the eyes of their fans, because they were acting out like all children & teens who transitioning into adulthood do.
If media giants weren’t so busy trying to capture the dollar of every living being within their grasp, there wouldn’t be a market of children and tweens to cater to. There wouldn’t be an audience or consumer-market group to have their innocence or naiveté torn from them when their larger-than-life and age-equivalent hero/heroine makes a huge and public blunder. I’m thinking specifically of High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens’ nude photos; Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy; and most recently Miley Cyrus’ racy photos in Vanity Fair (shame on Vanity Fair for even proposing what-could-be-perceived as nude photos of a minor) and on her Myspace page.
I think back to some of my own high school follies and cringe. Imagine what it would be like if I were teen celebrity and it was revealed that I once drank beer at 8 a.m. or made out with my best friend’s boyfriend or that once I let my boyfriend fondle my breasts while another guy watched? I would be mortified and probably on my way to the unemployment line or surreptitiously freed from my multi-million contract. I’m embarrassed to reveal these things now and I’m 20-years removed from them. Just imagine how these teen stars must feel when everything they’ve been working hard for is put in jeopardy, because their youthful fallible deeds. I say leave these girls (and it’s always mostly celebrity teen girls who are publicly ridiculed, isn’t it?) alone, and stop forcing them to issue public apologies at every turn for making the irresponsible decisions that only teenagers can make.
April 26, 2008
In Bite Size Bits
Now Playing: Random Fashion Thoughs
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
These 3-inch, lightweight platform shoes are called Dr Scholls Orig. Women's Harmony. All of the women who reviewed it at Famous Footwear site gave these shoes rave reviews for being fashionable and very comfortable. As I look at them, the first words that come into my mind are Crocs for Strippers. Yet, I find them oddly compelling and sexy. Is there actually something comfortable, sexy and slightly slutty that I could wear to work? Maybe I should pony up the $40 to find out.
These shoes were on sale at my local Aerosoles store for the wonderful price of $30. I tried on and fell in love with the blue patent leather pair. These 2"-heel dreams are called Kitty Kap. If it weren't for the fact that I'm on my feet so much during the day, I would definitely buy these. Maybe I should just get a pair to look at and wear around the house while I wash dishes. Unlike all my other experiences with Aerosole, these were stylish and comfortable with arch support.
My final rave of the day is a website I stumbled upon called Splendora. This is my favorite fashion, beauty, and celebrity gossip site that I've come along in awhile. It is up to date and has very kewl slide shows. It is a bitch to sign up to even though it is free. Give it a look, though.
April 22, 2008
Rainbow Bright Lite
Now Playing: Spring 2008 Trend Reviews
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
According to all of the April and May fashion magazines I subscribe to, beauty and fashion trends are all about bright, pop art colors.
I, for one, am all for wearing bright and/or striking colors on my eyes, nails or body. I’ve already come across some treasures. Some are already in my possession, but some I’m seriously coveting. Here are my top 5 bright color picks: 1. Sally Hansen Quick Color Nail Pen in Orange.
It looks dark in the package but comes out a beautifully bright coral orange. Great for pedicures! I decided to splurge and try the nail polish pen. It costs about $8. I was able to do one hand very quickly at my desk at work. (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.) My nail color runner-up is Sinful Colors nail enamel
in Show Me the Way (833)
which is a wonderful mid-green color with a warm undertone. It is dark in the bottle by quite bright on the nails. 2. The brightest lipstick in my spring collection is the pigment rich Black Radiance Perfect Tone lip color in Purple Passion (5004).
It is more of a bright, iridescent fuchsia
than purple. It is not a color to be worn by the faint of heart. (Black Radiance, Milani, Black Opal and Tropez are low cost beauty products geared towards Black, Latin, and Asian women of color, and are available at nearly every drugstore. If you want high intensity color without paying L’Oreal High Intensity Pigment prices, grab a nail polish, lip gloss, or lipstick from one of these brands.)
3. Now, I haven’t splurged on a pair of new summer shoes yet but I will be visiting Payless soon. (Since they’ve dramatically changed their sizing and I fall in between a size 7 and 7.5, I’ve been hard pressed to buy shoes from
Payless recently.) On my wish list is a pair of peep toe, patent leather, yellow mini-wedge shoes as well as a pair of a metallic silver peep toe sling back on 1” cork wedge.
How cool does that sound? (Ed. Note: Upon further research, those shoes only come in children’s sizes. How embarrassing! Also, how too grown for a little girl?)
3a. Although I love the color yellow and think it would work with my skin tone, I’ve never been brave enough to buy anything in that color.
that I might be willing to carry if the bright canary color doesn’t frighten me. (The same goes for the Isaac Mizrahi patent yellow gladiator sandals.
Well, I’m more inclined to go with the sandals. I don’t mind bringing attention to my toes.)4. While reading the British publication, Eve,
I came across a wonderfully bright eye shadow brand called Barry M. Barry M
carries an array of the most brightly candy-colored cosmetics I have ever seen--Everything from liquid eyeliner to soft eye pencils to the wonderful eye shadow known as Dazzle Dust. I’m personally longing for the Dazzle Dust in Mint Green, Saphire (sic), Purple, and Bright Blue. (At the risk at looking like I’m trying to be 20 years my junior, I wouldn’t mind trying the nail colors in Neon Pink, Bright Red, Electric Blue Glitter, Coral and Cobalt Blue.)
You can purchase products from the website, but it will probably cost you an arm and leg in shipping to the United States. Not to mention, the American dollar is incredibly weak. $1 US = .50 Great Britain Pound (GBP).5. Finally, I’d like to grab a few pairs of bright tights
to pair with a navy or black shift dress from the Avenue
or Jessica London
. I think this trend
could work in the spring before we all go hose-less and again in the fall before we go to a monochromatic gray color palette.
April 20, 2008
If The Bra Fits, Wear It Out the Store
Now Playing: Town Shop
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
Every now and then, yours truly, working mom moi, gets sprung from her daily life to go shopping in Manhattan. Just two short weeks ago, moi stimulated the economy of New York City but dropping a Benjamin for two brand new bras. The best thing about getting the new bras was that I finally had a professional bra fitting. Over the last two years, my body has gone through a lot of changes. I dropped thirty-five pounds, got pregnant, gave birth, and regained twenty-five of my lost pounds. Needless to say that yours truly's breasts have been up and down more than Britney Spears' moods. So, after spending the last year cramming and squeezing into ill fitting bras and trying to measure myself to no avail, I decided to splurge on a professional bra fitting.
You can get bra fittings at Victoria's Secret, JC Penney, Macy's or any department store, but the results are iffy. Taking a cue from TLC's What Not to Wear and Bravo's Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, I took a trip to the world famous Town Shop on the Upper West Side. The bra and shaper boutique was no bigger than my apartment, but was much more stylish and better organized. After standing in the middle of the floor like a deer caught in the headlights, a young fitter came up to me and offered assistance. She led me to a fitting room, told me to take off my top, and asked me what type of bra I wanted. "Under wire and nude," I replied. (A sister needs lift!) She took a peek at the tag of the bra I was wearing, tugged a little on the straps and band, and left.
I was left in the fitting room staring at a floor to ceiling mirror under gentle fluorescent lights. Under those conditions, staring at your body seems like a lifetime rather than five minutes. I cringed then poked, sucked in, and pinched my torso in every possible contortion to appear thinner under the lights. Finally, I sighed, exhaled, and said "This is my body now, and I need to accept it." It helped that I had a nice fitting pair of dark indigo jeans from Target.
The fitter came in with a handful of bras, helped me into most of them, and showed me how to adjust them. She pointed out that I was indeed wearing the wrong size by 2 full band sizes and 1 cup size. She showed me where the under wire should fit me underneath my breast and arm pit. She also advised me not that the adjusters on the strap of the bra should never be higher than my shoulder blades. (If it is up near the curves of my shoulders, it's too high.) After nearly 40 minutes of asking questions and trying on bras, the fitter told me that I fell in between two sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, I'm a 38D/38DD or a 40D. Wow! I have porn star breasts. Who knew?
I purchased two black lace numbers by Grenier bras (so much for the plain nude ones I originally requested). I wore one out feeling both physically and mentally uplifted since I no longer had the uni-tummy-boob. My annual gift to myself for every year I get a tax refund will be to go to Town Shop, get a bra fitting, and buy 2 new pretty well-fitting bras.
During my day out, I also stumbled onto some other great places on Broadway bewteen W. 82nd and W. 86th Street. I am a sucker for costume jewelry, and I found another one of those awesome costume jewelry stores that seem to be popping up all over Manhattan. Temptation (2285 Broadway @ 82nd Street; 212-579-4887) featured great plastic, wood, and metal fashion earrings and spring scarves. I was tempted to pull out the plastic and purchase away, but I resisted. However, the next time I walk into one of these stores I'm just going to say "f**k it." The choices are overwhelming and I can't stay in there long enough to make up my mind and stay within my budget.
(On similar note, try an accessory store called Brookwood inside the subway station at W. 42nd Street/Port Authority. It is selling the most beautiful, awesome, and unique ethnic inspired jewelry and scarves. Nearly everything in the store is $5-$10. My favorite items were the oversized colored-lucite bracelets and the cooper-colored metal bracelets. There were some very pretty over-size gemstone rings that would be perfect worn on the thumb, pinky or fore finger--my new favorite places to sport rings.)
For reasonably price desserts and teas, try Edgar's Cafe at 255 W. 84th Street between Broadway and W. End Avenue. All the desserts were delectable and under $7! The service was a little slow, but the edibles all but made up for it. It is in the first floor of a building where author Edgar Allen Poe used to live. When you sit down to it, there's a huge oil painting of Edgar staring out at you while you sip your coffee. Is that a heart I hear pounding in the floor?
Next time, my pictures of New York City's biggest geekfest--NY's Comic Con! I loved it and was in my element.
April 15, 2008
Laws Against Showing Skinny
Now Playing: France Passes A Bill Making It Illegal for Anyone to Publicly Incite Extreme Thinness
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
Average-sized and plus-sized women around world, like myself, applaud France's action. The fashion that is advertised and shown in magazines are mainly bought by women who are aren't skeletal. The fashion industry must realize that the concept of beauty is wider than what they portray. Their current height, weight, race, and ethnic choices just don't reflect the major reality. It is easy to design clothes that drape beautifully from a hanger, but show me your real talent and design clothes the drape beautifully on a 5'4" 175-lb woman.
I do have one issue, though. I am afraid that this backlash against the ultra skinny models will cause a naturally thin women to be as ostracized as overweight people are now. My desire is across the line acceptance and fashion.
France takes up body image law
By DEVORAH LAUTER, Associated Press WriterTue Apr 15, 8:04 AM ET
The French parliament's lower house adopted a groundbreaking bill Tuesday that would make it illegal for anyone — including fashion magazines, advertisers and Web sites — to publicly incite extreme thinness.
The National Assembly approved the bill in a series of votes Tuesday, after the legislation won unanimous support from the ruling conservative UMP party. It goes to the Senate in the coming weeks.
Fashion industry experts said that, if passed, the law would be the strongest of its kind anywhere. Leaders in French couture are opposed to the idea of legal boundaries on beauty standards.
The bill was the latest and strongest of measures proposed after the 2006 anorexia-linked death of a Brazilian model prompted efforts throughout the international fashion industry to address the repercussions of using ultra-thin models.
Conservative lawmaker Valery Boyer, author of the law, argued that encouraging anorexia or severe weight loss should be punishable in court.
Doctors and psychologists treating patients with anorexia nervosa — a disorder characterized by an abnormal fear of becoming overweight — welcomed the government's efforts to fight self-inflicted starvation, but warned that its link with media images remains hazy.
French lawmakers and fashion industry members signed a nonbinding charter last week on promoting healthier body images. Spain in 2007 banned ultra-thin models from catwalks.
But Boyer said such measures did not go far enough.
Her bill has mainly brought focus to pro-anorexic Web sites that give advice on how to eat an apple a day — and nothing else.
But Boyer insisted in her speech to lawmakers Tuesday that the legislation was much broader and could, in theory, be used against many facets of the fashion industry.
It would give judges the power to imprison and fine offenders up to $47,000 if found guilty of "inciting others to deprive themselves of food" to an "excessive" degree, Boyer said in a telephone interview before the parliamentary session.
Judges could also sanction those responsible for a magazine photo of a model whose "excessive thinness ... altered her health," she said.
Boyer said she was focusing on women's health, though the bill applies to models of both sexes. The French Health Ministry says most of the 30,000 to 40,000 people with anorexia in France are women.
Didier Grumbach, president of the influential French Federation of Couture, said he was not aware how broad the proposed legislation was, and made no secret of his strong disapproval of such a sweeping measure.
"Never will we accept in our profession that a judge decides if a young girl is skinny or not skinny," he said. "That doesn't exist in the world, and it will certainly not exist in France."
Marleen S. Williams, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University in Utah who researches the media's effect on anorexic women, said it was nearly impossible to prove that the media causes eating disorders.
Williams said studies show fewer eating disorders in "cultures that value full-bodied women." Yet with the new French legal initiative, she fears, "you're putting your finger in one hole in the dike, but there are other holes, and it's much more complex than that."
Associated Press writer Emmanuel Georges-Picot in Paris contributed to this report.
April 1, 2008
President Bush's Budget Sucks and Everyone Knows It
Now Playing: Congresswomen Yvette Clarke Wrote Me...
Thank you for contacting me about your concerns with the president’s budget. I appreciate you taking the time to share your views on this important issue.
President Bush’s fiscal year 2009 budget is both fiscally irresponsible and out of touch with the needs of our country. While spending billions to pursue a failed policy in Iraq and preserving tax cuts for those who need them the least, he proposed dramatic cuts in the critical programs that benefit working Americans and those in need.
Over the next several months Congress will be working to pass a budget that better reflects the priorities of our country. We took the first step by passing a budget resolution, H. Con. Res. 312, which restores fiscal responsibility and restores cuts the president made to important programs. Our budget would result in a surplus by 2012 and fully complies with House PAYGO (“pay-as-you-go”) rules, which require that any increase in spending be completely paid for, so as not to increase the federal deficit. Our budget provides $7.1 billion (9%) more than the president requested for education and training programs, $1.2 billion (24%) more than requested for energy programs, and $3.2 billion (8%) more than requested for veterans programs. It also rejects the president’s proposed cuts to local law enforcement programs, the Community Development Block Grant Program, Environmental Protection Agency grant programs, and transportation programs.
This budget, once reconciled with the Senate’s budget, will serve as the guiding document for the House and Senate Appropriations committees as they determine specific funding levels for federal programs in fiscal year 2009. I will keep your views in mind as Congress works to restore fiscal responsibility, strengthen our struggling economy and meet the pressing needs of our country.
Thank you again for sharing your concerns and please be sure to visit my website at www.clarke.house.gov to sign up for my e-newsletter to stay updated on this and others issues.
Yvette D. Clarke
Member of Congress
March 24, 2008
On the Search for 3 F Shoes: Flat, Fierce & Fashionable,
Now Playing: Pierre Hardy's Pointy Toe Flats for Gap
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
Yours truly has been offered and has accepted a promotion at her current place of employment. Besides getting a nice, not extravagant nor exorbitant, raise, I will also have supervisory duties. Finally, people, besides my children, will have to obey my orders. <Insert evil laugh > Seriously, though, I'm officially middle-management. Besides the little raise, I want something else from this position. I want respect. In order to get respect, I realize that I have to look like I deserve respect. So, I went to Target and loaded up slacks, blouses, fancy ruche polo shirts, and dark wash jeans.
The only thing that has eluded me is the comfortable 3-F shoe to match my new supervisor-like duds. What are 3-F shoes, you ask? They are fashionable and fierce flats, and, affordable and comfortable. I've been a serious 3-F shoe quest for the past two weeks, and I'm at a stalemate. Every single pair of pointy-toe, round-toe, kitten heel, pancake heel, wide width, medium width, 1/2-size too big, 1/2 size too small, leather, tweed, canvas, patent or PVC shoe I've tried on in the past two weeks have not fit or were not comfortable. (Last Wednesday, I tried on no less than 30 pairs of shoes at DSW.) They were too long, too short, too revealing, or unsupportive. To top it off, some of them were plain ugly especially the ones with the weird ruche/elastic thing at the back end of the vamp above the heel. There's also this other trend of curled up flats. Why do I have to unfold my shoes to put them on?
I've come up with an arch nemesis to my shoe quest, and her name is Tory Burch. Tory Burch is the designer of the ubiquitous and oft-knocked off round-toe flats with the gosh-awful gold-plated cross emblem on the front. They look rappers from 1987 that used to rock Mercedes-Benz emblems dangling from their thick gold chains. It is all her fault that I can't find a pair of 3-F shoes because every one is copying her ugly design. *blech*
However, I have hope. I was reading the March '08 Elle magazine and read a wonderful article. Apparently, the shoe designer behind some of Balenciga's best loved shoes has created a fashionable line for the Gap. (It is called the European Collection on the Gap's website, which kind of bothers me because I think Americans are stylish enough to have "American" collections but I digress.) Although $100 is a little out of my price range for a pair shoes, I might pony up the dough if this shoe lives up to my pre-conceived notions.
Below is a pair of Pierre Hardy designed, pointy-toe flats for the Gap. Please live up to the hype, Pierre.
March 19, 2008
I'm Supporting Obama Now
Now Playing: Barack for '08
Check this out:
Did you hear Barack Obama's incredible speech on race in America? It was honest and moving. You should definitely check it out—especially since the media soundbites really missed the point.
You can watch or read the whole speech here:
If you're busy, here's a highlight from the speech:
"We have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle—as we did in the OJ trial—or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina—or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.
"We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
"We can do that.
"But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.
"That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.
"This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.
"This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.
"This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.
"I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation—the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.
"There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today—a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.
"There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.
"And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.
"She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.
"She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.
"Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.
"Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."
""I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.
"But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins."
You can watch or read the whole speech here:
March 8, 2008
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