It's nearly officially summer, and in the Northwest, the sun takes its sweet time getting here and staying for the season. So, for those that need some help getting into the summertime mood, or just want a soundtrack for the season, here are some literal and figurative songs about summer, warm weather, and their varied effects on us.
Wednesday's New York Times Fashion & Style section featured an article on the recent "outpouring of fashions aimed at trend-driven, round-figured teenagers and young women." Round-figured? Outpouring? Is that model in the frozen food section of a grocery store?
It's ironic because he's such an old school Mexican man. He grew up in Mexico and immigrated here when he was a teen. He didn't think it was proper for me to hang out with my friends who were boys when I had a boyfriend. He's actually pretty conservative and I think became more so after I moved out of the house.
This nice weather must be putting me in a good mood because I had a hard time figuring out who I was going to write this week's Douchebag Decree about. Then I found Rusty DePass, a former chairman of the South Carolina Election Commission and proud Republican activist. He garnered national attention a few days ago after posting a comment on his Facebook page calling an escaped gorilla an ancestor of Michelle Obama:
There was a pretty interesting article in yesterday's Houston Chronicle about some of today's female pop stars. The author, Steve Haruch, describes how candy pop acts like The Veronicas, Katy Perry, and Lady GaGa are consistently referred to as "post-feminist" by the media without there being much evidence for the claim (save for perhaps some glitter and a song about faux-lesianism).
I agree with Haruch; though I sometimes jam out to "Pokerface" I do not consider it a feminist anthem in any sense. And post-feminism? I don't buy it. What I do want to know is, are there any pop stars out there right now who are holding it down for feminism? Where have all the riot grrrls gone?
Good thing Carol Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat is being re-released this year. Twenty years after its original publication and still PETA thinks objectifying women is an effective strategy to end animal cruelty.
Not only is it natural to be gay, but biologists this week reported that same-sex mating is a nearly universal phenomena. It turns out 30 percent of one type of female Hawaiian albatross rears chicks with, well, other chicks. Let's hear some cheers for the queers!
In an article published this week in journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution researchers Nathan Bailey and Marlene Zuk basically say that scientists (and, what the heck, everyone else too) need to look at homosexuality in animals from a more nuanced perspective. We've known for a while that members of an estimated 1,500 species play it gay sometimes but, Bailey and Zuk point out, animals ditch the straight life for all different reasons. Some creatures adapt to being gay, some are genetically programmed so they can't even distinguish between gender.
Apparently for the animal world, our words "gay" and "straight" just aren't going to work. Does that mean they don't quite fit for humans, too?
Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Brown at Birdland, photo by Marcel Fleiss
So, the good news, as I see it anyway, according to a recent study by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA),
is that a third of Americans reported making art themselves. We're
making it in the form of music, photography, weaving, sewing, painting,
etc. Hooray! The bad news is that Americans are attending fewer
art-related events put on by professionals, like musical concerts,
plays and dance performances. Audiences are getting older and fewer
(for example at classical and jazz music events).
My parents have been in the process of moving, which means they've
faced an onslaught of old photos, previously packed-away books and
forgotten homemade crafts from years gone by. Among the findings is the
1970 gem, Body Language by Julius Fast. His most well known book, Body Language
was on the New York Times Best Seller for 22 weeks after its initial
publication and has remained in print since then. Read on to glean the
most vital information included in Fast's pseudo-scientific pop
psychology classic, including 'How to Tell the Girls Apart,' the
formerly elusive answer to the question 'Is She Available?' and much, much more!