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24 Charitable Holiday Gift Alternatives

22nd Nov 2016

Given the current socio-political climate in America, I am not confident that these preferences will be honored. In fact, I’m concerned that what progress has been made in the last few decades will soon be undone. Therefore, I have compiled a list of charities that I believe will work to counter-balance the hatred and violence we’ve been seeing the last few weeks and the unconscionable policy decisions we will be seeing in the next four years.

An Open Letter to the Electoral College

21st Nov 2016

“The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.”

Don’t Dream It, Be It: How Fox’s Rocky Horror Failed Me

21st Oct 2016

A friend posted today, asking whether Fox’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again,” which aired Thursday night, was worth watching. As I started to respond, I realized I was typing…and typing… and typing. Sometimes a comment becomes a diatribe and the only option is to delete. With that in mind, here are some of my thoughts in raw, non-journalistic, fan-girl form.

Online “virtue shaming” is causing me some concern

27th Aug 2016

What interests me is the transition from meaningful, conscientious public reaction and outcry aimed at educating and improving us as a society into the vitriolic and vengeful hunger to destroy an individual’s life.

In the last week, three people I love and respect have shared Facebook posts that skip any attempt to rally the masses to fix systemic problems and jump right to shaming one specific person for being an example of said problems.

Remembering Prince: music, mischief and our epic phone fight

2nd May 2016

The reason a lot of my friends are getting in touch with me, sending me notes as if a family member has left me and asking if I’m okay, I think, is because I was blessed to have a special moment with Prince himself. It’s one that taught me that there was a whole other side to a man I thought I knew through his interviews and music and onstage persona. I share it not to brag, though it’s hands down #1 on my most rock’n’roll moments list and it’s certainly the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. I share it because I think that the experience reinforces what the world is starting to understand about him as an everyday person.

Bali Adventure 2015

3rd Apr 2015

This whirlwind trip began about a year prior when our good friend Karen came back from experiencing it in its first year. It was a yoga retreat set in Ubud, Bali (known to all who have read “Eat, Pray, Love”) that included daily yoga practice onsite plus side quests like white river rafting, monkey forests, shopping, dining, and more. We were in pretty much as soon as she described it to us.

Halloween Decorating 2014

2nd Nov 2014

It started simply enough. I put together a few fall festive items: a leafy table runner, some fall-scented and colored candles, a big leafy wreath on the door, pumpkin ceramics for the shelves, and fresh fall-colored flower bouquets. But something happened one week before Halloween. I started seeing the houses with all the cobwebs and the gravestones and the skeletons and, quite frankly, I snapped. I had to do something spooky in our apartment. Down came warm fall festive and little by little I creeped the place out. Here’s what we accomplished before All Hallow’s Eve hit.

Challenge: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Rules

31st Oct 2014

My good friend has spent the last four months being told, bit by bit, to cut chunks of delicious options out of her diet as her doctors try to figure out what the hell’s going on with her and why she’s having such a terrible reaction to stuff she eats. So… goodbye onions and garlic. Goodbye chocolate. Goodbye dairy. Goodbye soy. Goodbye gluten. It’s difficult to watch, and I’m only seeing it now and then. I can’t imagine living it.

Meanwhile, Halloween’s here, and that means I’m ready to hunker down and make my annual pumpkin mini cupcakes. So when she sent out invites to her annual pumpkin carving contest, I had a dilemma.

How to Enjoy Comic Con as a Cosplayer’s Sidekick

13th Oct 2014

Cosplay, or for the nongeek layman the art of dressing up in costume to represent a character from popular culture (movies, video games, anime, books, etc.), is one of the best parts of any major comic conventions. The sheer creativity that goes into replicating or interpolating the looks of a character — whether it’s classic, blockbuster, or obscure — is downright awe-inspiring.

I’m always psyched to hear Taran’s character wish list, then I get to watch as it all comes to life right in front of me. Once in a while, I’ll jump onboard, of course. More often than not, though, my desire to be comfortable wins out.

Still, accompanying someone in costume when you’re not has its own challenges. Here are a few tips for my fellow cosplay entouragers.

Slaying the Dragon Fruit

1st Oct 2014

I was wandering through the Whole Foods produce aisle when I stumbled upon the strangest looking item. As soon as I saw the sign reading Dragon Fruit (ignoring the crazy expensive $9.99 lb price tag below it), I grabbed two and decided I’d figure out what to do with them later.

That evening I looked them over and it was clear that I needed to keep that gorgeous, scale-like rind solid for a colorful bowl to hold some vanilla ice cream. The rest I decided to bake into cupcakes to accompany (and to be eaten on their own).

Long Live Adulthood

13th Sep 2014

First God, then rock, now this? According to a story in this week’s New York Times Magazine, adulthood is dead.

Nevermind that “[Concept] is dead” is the academic equivalent of click bait. In this case, the social media headline might read: “A respected New York Times cultural critic makes a bold statement. What he says will surprise you!” Unlike click bait, the content is indeed surprising and even worth reading; it’s also a bit off the mark.

Black is Back: 6 Foods for My Former Goth Self

11th Sep 2014

You know Halloween spirit is ramping up when black food stories start making the rounds.

Burger King in Japan actually introduced the black-bunned burger two years ago, but it appears they’ve just stepped it up with a black cheese black bun burger with black ketchup.

It’s a specialty item that’s expected to be available for a limited time. As one reader commented on the Kotaku post, this is definitely a “stunt burger.” A quick look at the press it’s already gotten in the last day, however, and it’s safe to say it’s a pretty successful stunt. Successful enough that we’ll ever see this item stateside? Who knows.

10 Silly Kitchen Gadgets (Justified)

9th Sep 2014

For someone who lives in a modest Brooklyn apartment, I collect kitchen items as if I own Martha Stewart’s personal kitchen. Of course I’ve never seen Martha’s digs, but I imagine her cooking nook is as large as my entire abode.

Some of my cooking doodads do elicit appropriate ooohs and aaahs of admiration, but many have been denied the respect that they so rightly deserve. Which is to say, I’ve been mocked mercilessly (often by my own partner) for owning not only unnecessary, but “ridiculous” gadgets. Here are ten maligned items that I will shamelessly defend.

On Re-Finding Feminism

3rd Sep 2014

Not just as a woman but as a human being, I appreciate and support all of the women and men out there who dig into gender issues, helping us to improve our thinking and keep us working toward true equality everywhere. It’s not normally an area I tend to write about. Maybe I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the vastness of the history. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll do more harm than good … and better to shut up than make things worse. Most likely I’ve been in a 15-year depression on the subject after writing an article about the rapes at Woodstock ’99.

The Tragedy of Modern TV Comedy

2nd Sep 2014

Seth Meyers’ opening monologue of the 2014 Emmys was wonderful in many ways. But there was one joke in particular that grabbed me. It was truly brilliant in being funny… until I managed to think too hard about how true it is.

To whit:

“We had so many great shows submitted this year. We had comedies that made you laugh, and comedies that made you cry… because they were dramas submitted as comedies.”

Lock In by John Scalzi

30th Aug 2014

Hugo Award-winning author John Scalzi (best known for his space operas like the TV-bound parody Redshirts and military series Old Man’s War) explores new ground with a down-to-earth crime thriller full of clever, sci-fi twists. Twenty five years after the world-wide spread of a devastating virus, most who caught the flu-like Haden’s Syndrome survived. Some, however, found themselves “locked in” — mentally aware, but physically paralyzed.

Too Much Robin Williams Still Isn’t Enough

21st Aug 2014

Ten days ago, like what seems like everyone else on the planet, I was overwhelmed with sadness to learn that Robin Williams had taken his own life. Every day since then I’ve thought about posting something about the way I feel, only to realize that words are escaping me. I sat and watched as Taran quickly took up a pen and drew a sad Genie while we watched The Fisher King. I stared at a blank page for a while, then finally decided that when the words were ready, they would come.

Spiders Not-So-Alive!

17th Aug 2014

Going to the American Museum of Natural History began as a simple idea for a Sunday outing. Then Taran went to the web site. I had already checked it out and — given her absolute fear of even the tiniest little harmless spider — I assumed Spiders Alive! was a non-negotiable NO WAY! But I was wrong.

Did Downton Abbey Just Break My Heart?

16th Aug 2014

It began as a silly photo “gaff” (perhaps stunt) in which a “Downton Abbey” season 5 press shot featured The Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) and an allegedly overlooked modern-day water bottle.

The incident caught traction on social media, especially Facebook, where the cast responded to “Water Bottle-Gate” with tongues firmly in cheek, but for a worthy cause. The cast got together, out of character, and winkingly held up water bottles.

Herb-an Studies: Experiments with Rosemary and Thyme

9th Aug 2014

I recently bought fresh rosemary and thyme to season some vegetables I was roasting. Typically I just settle for the dry variety since these are “second-tier” herbs for me. Needless to say, I had plenty to spare once the dish was done.

One of my nasty habits is buying things I only need for one dish and then forgetting about them until they’ve gone bad and I have to throw them away. Determined not to let the leftover herbs go to waste, I decided to experiment with a series of recipes that would use them up (or at least make a dent) while they remained fresh. To up the ante, I vowed to accomplish this using only ingredients I already had in hand.

Photo Faux Pas: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

8th Aug 2014

File Under: What are You Smoking?

Like most people, I think, I’m confused by Penguin UK’s adultified 50th anniversary cover choice for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

According to the Facebook post, where the cover was revealed, “This new image for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory looks at the children at the centre of the story, and highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life.”

Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.: Agents Rothman and Lopez Reporting

2nd Aug 2014

Yesterday Taran and I checked out the latest exhibition at Discovery Times Square — The Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., which opened May 23 and runs through January 4, 2015. We take our Avengers pretty seriously, so we went prepared for our photo ops. Well, some more than others. I went with a simple outfit that ended up being a cross between Simmons and Skye from the TV show. Taran went more traditional with a blazer ensemble and pulled off a great Agent Colson. Both of us had our super-cool S.H.I.E.L.D. badges ready to flash.

An Evening with Hedwig and Her Angry Inch

29th Jul 2014

A couple months ago while doing my hostly duties at my company’s BEA party, I found myself in a fantastic conversation. It began when a friend/colleague apologized for being unable to hook me up with an interview with Neil Patrick Harris. He’s got what looks to be a wonderfully creative biography coming out in October that’s styled like the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. The apology happened to come at a moment when I was chatting with actor Cary Elwes, who’s also anticipating a book release in October, and with whom I’d enjoyed an interview earlier that day.

Because of what is it?

27th Jul 2014

Starting a post — let alone an entire blog — with an inside joke might be a silly way to try to communicate. The punchline, briefly, is a strange translation from Hebrew to English I encountered at a friend’s annual Passover dinner. It’s meant to mean “Why,” and though only a handful of people out of the 20+ attendees see that version, everyone loves to shout that line out when the time is right… and beyond as it’s become a part of some of our social circle’s everyday vernacular.

Here I’m drawn to it because it’s Why? but it’s also so much more.