sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

September 30, 2011

Style and Fashion Pick-Me-Up: Affordable Wardrobe Suggestions for Lady O

Filed under: society, taste, tv, whatever — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 3:12 pm

Apparently there is an AP photographer at every Target.  Hence the country is abuzz re FLOTUS’s everywoman shopping trip.

Michelle Obama shops at Target

If she really shopped there, I'll have to find another favorite department store.

I also put on bright red lipstick and a festive LOOK AT MEEEE  blouse every time I need to run an errand incognito.  First Lady:  She’s just like me!

In ’08 Lady O went H&M, but with the economy on the verge of another recession, the stock market tanking again, and the recent bad publicity re 40K worth of bling and other assorted extravagant spending, the situation seems to call for Target.  So what’s in the shopping bags?  Zoloft for POTUS or local produce for the White House kitchen?

I hope Michelle gets out of this department store rut because I have some affordable Project Runway suggestions.  Not everywoman type of wear, but affordable.  See, the outfits created for last night’s episode are auctioned off right now.

Michelle likes mixing patterns and showing off the arms.  How about this lovely and wild design by Laura?

Laura Project Runway

Actually, the large horizontal stripes on the bodice is not a bad choice for MO; they would balance out her lower body.

It’s not that Nina Garcia is already on record questioning Laura’s taste, but the belt is low and narrow.  Hmm…  Well then, a boob belt can cover up a few defects in this invention by Josh M., who will probably get to Bryant Park, given how he’s the b**** of the season and the producers need the drama.  And Michelle can always use more dramatic glow around her loins.

Project Runway auction

Nice pop of color; just add a boob belt and a string or two of oversized jewels. Josh M. will approve.

If that dress doesn’t sell itself, try this signature Josh M. creation:

Project Runway auction

This week's theme was supposed to be the 70s. There is nothing 70s about this design, but Josh M outdid the worst decade in style.

Michelle, we know the pants will do a lot to your butt.  Come on, $40 and it’s yours!

Because if I wouldn’t include a decent faux pas I’d let my readers down, here is Michelle’s most recent appearance in a Pierrot:

Michelle Obama fashion icon

I've been there before: hit the snooze button one time too many, and ended up with a random skirt and a random blouse. Only my random skirts and blouses are less expensive and more tasteful.

This image comes from a Mobamahead blog, don’t you know.  The entry is called “A Champion for Girls in Science”.  Given how watering a rock counts for a science experiment these days, maybe stretching the fabric on a blouse can earn students extra credit.

UPDATE: Linked by Political Junkie Mom — thanks!


September 27, 2011

Bay Area “Community” Ganging up on Berkeley Republicans

Filed under: Bay Area politics, journalism — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:59 pm

A few days ago I blogged about an SFGate opinion piece masquerading as a news item about the upcoming affirmative action bake sale on the Berkeley campus.  And now, SFGate is publishing an opinion piece opinion piece about the event.  The essay in question is written by Chip Johnson, who really is a SFGate columnist, of which at first I wasn’t sure.  The opinion piece contains the following bits of wisdom:

There are few places in America more reactionary than a college campus, and among them, UC Berkeley is a leader.

A-ha.  And:
The bake sale creators have no understanding of how race works in America.
Sounds know-it-allish.
There is a distinct difference between criticizing an idea in the public marketplace, criticizing a public figure and criticizing a group based solely on an ethnic, religious, social or economic difference. Rich or poor, white, black, Asian or Latino, it doesn’t matter. You can only meet people one at a time.
The stunt is not aimed at “criticizing a group based solely on an ethnic, religious, social or economic difference” whatever that means.  It criticizes a government policy.
There’s not only a distinct difference, but a distinguishable line whenever the issue is race relations: You never, ever, ever speak in generalizations about any ethnic group, because people of similar color and ethnic makeup aren’t all the same.
I confess I’m impressed by the “[y]ou never, ever, ever” line.  But I still don’t understand how “distinct difference” and “distinguishable line” are disparate concepts.
Chip does have a point about the Asians.  The Student GOP group priced their cookies at $2.00 for whites and $1.75 for Asian Americans when in reality Asians need higher grades to be accepted.

September 25, 2011

The Predictably Racist UC Berkeley Republicans

SB 185, a bill that will allow the University of California schools to reinstate affirmative action, is waiting for Gov. Brown’s approval.  I’m sure it has something to do with the current fiscal crisis embracing our state; otherwise our legislators wouldn’t bother to waste their time on the issue.

And so UC Berkeley Republicans are planing an affirmative action bake sale.  The idea here is to illustrate the unfairness of affirmative action (h/t DH):

A Facebook post announcing plans by a UC Berkeley Republican group to sell baked goods priced according to race, gender and ethnicity – “White/Caucasian” pastries for $2 and “Black/African American” pastries for 75 cents, for example – has drawn outrage on campus.

“I’m ashamed to know that I go to the same school with people who would say stuff like this,” responded student Skyler Hogan-Van Sickle on Facebook. “I’m really trying to figure out how someone can be this hateful.”

What I’m ashamed of is that a student enrolled in one of our top universities has no idea what hate is.  Perhaps Mr. Hogan-Van [Hammer and] Sickle never read good literature or studied history.  After all, good grades are earned by those who learn the art of being appropriately offended.
Nanette Asimov, the good journalist at SFGate, insinuated that the bake sale is somehow linked to the following incidents on UC campuses:

Berkeley’s tempest follows a series of racial and anti-Semitic incidents across UC campuses, which prompted UC officials to focus new attention on fighting hate speech among students.

In March at UCLA, a student posted a video of herself ranting about Asians. In 2010, UC San Diego students posted racial slurs and caricatures on Facebook, and used campus TV to belittle black students. Someone also hung a noose from light fixture in the library.

At UC Davis, six swastikas were found, including one carved into a Jewish student’s door, and someone defaced the gay students’ center.

At UC Merced, a video mocking efforts to create a Chicano studies program was posted on Facebook.

In 2010, UC President Mark Yudof described the incidents as “quite simply the worst acts of racism and intolerance I’ve seen on college campuses in 20 years.” He created a committee to help campuses strengthen anti-hate policies. And next year, all students and employees will be asked to take a survey about campus tensions, said UC spokesman Steve Montiel.

Funny she mentioned anti-Semitism, which, of course, is the old news on UC campuses.  For instance, this Friday Muslim students were found guilty of disrupting speech by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren.  Something tells me the students in question are not members of the local chapter of Young Republicans.  As a side note, Michael Oren is a terrific historian.

I’m not familiar with the specific incidents Ms. Asimov mentioned, but I think it’s a bit presumptuous to connect the disperse events at a university that enrolls nearly 200,000 students to a stunt to be performed by a small group on one of the campuses.  Actually, “presumptuous” is a bit of an understatement considering the threats of vandalism:

But students say the joke is anything but funny. More than 200 students responded to the event, most opposed, and some violently so. One threatened to burn the table and set the cupcakes on fire. At least four student groups sent complaints to campus administrators, and a student-only meeting was set for Friday evening to discuss it.

So SFGate is pouring gas onto the fire.
The UCB “community” seems to be easily disturbed:

At Berkeley, the Facebook posting violates no campus policy, said Gibor Basri, vice chancellor for equity and inclusion.

“The only policy it violates is the principles of community,” he said, adding that a campus-wide letter will go out Monday. “We can use this as a teaching moment.”

Well, that’s quite a passage.  While I’m relieved that the Facebook posting didn’t violate any campus policy, I am taken aback by the fact that UC Berkeley has a vice chancellor for equity and inclusion.  I no longer pay UC Berkeley alumni fees, and I will not renew my alumni membership as long as that position exists.
Affirmative action bake sale

Gibor Basri

I’m sure Gibor Basri has a PhD, but principles of community do not constitute a policy.  I’m not clear as to what kind of a teaching moment the upcoming bake sale incident represents.  Will the Berkeley “community” grow a thicker skin and learn to take a joke or will the vice chancellor for equity and inclusion use this occasion to berate a group of students who subscribe to minority opinion?
And how about this for teachable moment: getting your outrage on will get a student into Berkeley.  Knowing how to kiss up to teachers is a valuable skill, to be sure, but if a student wants to become an important thinker, it’s probably a drawback.  On the other hand, irritating the campus “community” might prove to be a valuable life experience. It gets worse.  Playing the race card can get a politician into the White House.  It can also make this politician known as President Downgrade.

September 23, 2011

San Francisco Never Fails to Amaze

Filed under: Bay Area politics, whatever — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:40 pm

Although I lived in the Bay Area for a decade and a half I had no idea that it’s perfectly legal to stroll the streets of San Francisco au natural.  And now a 65 year-old nudist (why is it that nudists are always over the hill?) is organizing a public service announcement in a form of a “nude-in” to let us all know that public nudity in the City is not only permitted, but possibly “not lewd”:

Though the naked guys aren’t fans of Supervisor Scott Wiener’s recently proposed legislation mandating that they put a towel down on a public chair or bench before sitting on it, the nude-in is actually unrelated.

It was planned weeks ago as a sort of pre-party for Sunday’s Folsom Street Fair. Because, you know, that daylong celebration of all things nude and leather-related stretching 13 blocks through the city doesn’t necessarily fill the weekend’s naked-in-public quotient. Last year’s pre-Folsom nude-in drew 50 nudists, though Wiener’s legislation could prompt a larger turnout.

Evidently, nothing pisses off jerks as much as a request to be courteous.  And so:

George Davis, a 65-year-old nudist best known for his unsuccessful run against Gavin Newsom in the 2007 mayor’s race, said the nude-in is just about letting people know it’s legal to go naked in San Francisco. (He’s right; it’s only illegal if one is aroused.)

“You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t know it’s OK to be nude; it’s not illegal,” he said. “It’s just conveying a message that nude is not lewd, that you have a right to be nude. That’s about it.”

No pictures to illustrate this story, for obvious reasons, but attractive topless protesters of Ukrainian group Femen can be found here and here.
UPDATE: More Bay Area craziness re signature Bay Area issues!  The City wants both bird safe buildings and the trendy wind turbines.  Oakland mayor not fined for her blighted Oakland Hills house; her neighbors are for theirs.

September 22, 2011

I See Champagne in my Future

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:36 pm

Tacked away in our refrigerator is a bottle of champagne we are saving for the day Obama’s RCP average will dip below 40.  Now I hear his support among African Americans is down to 58%:

The passion of African-American support for President Obama is falling, posing a major new threat to his prospects for reelection.

According to a new ABC/Washington Post poll, the number of blacks who have “strongly favorable” views of Obama has dropped off a cliff, declining from 83 percent five months ago to 58 percent today.

That blacks will support Obama in the end is unquestionable. Eighty six percent still view him at least somewhat favorably.

I think that 58% is below his support among Jews, although that Jewish American poll is weeks old, and we might disapprove of him more by now.  Then again, maybe we are just a bit slow on the uptake…

Even if Obama’s popularity with blacks will edge up a bit, it’s not clear if his supporters will be motivated to get out to the polls next November, considering how they are the hardest hit by poor economy and all.

In any case, me and DH only require the RCP average to drop below 40 at any time of his presidency to open that bottle.  It might just be that the number is not allowed to get below 40, though.

Michelle looks happy. She always does when she wears a windmill on her chest.

Style and Fashion Pick-Me-Up: Anthropologie Does Eastern Europe

Filed under: taste — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:05 pm

Today Ahmadinejad is getting the UN all worked up, but since we already know what he is going to say, why not actually do something fun while generating a decent amount of traffic.  For reasons that don’t fail to mystify me, an unlucky wedding gown continues to bring hits.  So I decided to do a style and fashion feature on a semi-regular basis.  To placate my male readers I will do some silly FLOTUS get ups now and then — not that my female readers are universally opposed to these kinds of posts.

In today’s inaugural thread I’m going to look at the latest Anthro catalog.  I always look forward to the late summer/early fall fashions.  I love the deep sumptuous colors of the season.  The cooling weather allows for more layering, more interesting cuts and a variety of textures and fabrics.

Even if I don’t like the styles, which is true for about 75% of their garments ( but, boy, if something catches my eye, I have to have it… although I usually wait until it goes on sale), Anthro catalogs are interesting.  Although not as bad as Urban Outfitters, where sometimes there is just no way to figure out what an outfit is like, the catalog is more about photography and location than the actual clothes.  The September 2011 theme was Eastern Europe.

Anthropologie September 2011

One of those 75% of Anthro looks... although there is probably a way to work the pants.

Grandma with a chicken and a kerchief, and grandpa in a suit — that’s some ironic nostalgia for you!  If you look at the catalog, they pretty much got the entire village to pose with their models.  I couldn’t identify the exact location of the village at first; it could be anywhere in Eastern Europe. The Latin alphabet seen in some shots narrowed it down a bit, but it’s the hat worn by the man in the background that offered the clue:

Anthropologie September 2011

Love the shoes!

Water buckets are a classic, of course, but it’s the distinct straw hat, called a clop, that places the man in Romania.


Romanian boy wearing the clop.

Current Anthropologie offerings include Russian-inspired clothes.  Check out this dress called Vasilisa:

Anthro 2011

Vasilisa is a princess in Russian folktales, and this dress incorporates a Russian rug design.  I love the colors and proportions.  Unfortunately, the has to be dry cleaned, which is a no-no for a mom with young children.

Here is Orenburg pullover, another take on traditional Russian dress:

Orenburg pullover

The inspiration here is the grey Orenburg shawl:

It appeared in the Orenburg region in the 18th century. The first Russian settlers in the Urals were surprised how lightly the locals – nomads and cattle- breeders – dressed in severe Urals’ frosts. The secret was most unusual: as a lining under their clothes, they used light goat fiber, or goat down hair shawls. […]

The Orenburg goat fiber is the thinnest in the world:  16-18 micrometers, while in the case of Angora goat (mohair) – its 22-24 micrometers. But at the same time, the Orenburg goat fiber is stronger than wool, and retains heat well. Such high quality of goat fiber is due to climatic conditions and the special local diet of goats on the pastures of the mountain slopes of the Urals. Moreover, the goats with this particular down live only in Orenburg region. All attempts of the French in the 19th century to breed the Orenburg goats were unsuccessful: these goats require their super-thin down to keep warm in the extreme climate of the Urals, while in the mild climate of France this was not needed. Orenburg goats bred in France reverted to ordinary breeds of goats with thick rough down. Western Europe still buys goat fiber in Orenburg. Incidentally, in the early 20th century in England they began to make products labeled “Orenburg imitation”.

It is said that a true Orenburg shawl will pass through a wedding ring and fit inside of a goose egg.  I have a deep-seated suspicion that tricks like that won’t work with the Anthro sweater.  It’s certainly not made out of any special goat fiber.  In fact, it’s a blend of acrylic, wool, angora and nylon.  Well, at least it’s hand-washable.

An authentic shawl can be obtained at a lower price from this retailer.

Russian suvenierI can’t say I’m a sucker for authenticity, and I love the way Anthropologie interprets traditional designs, but they certainly have a problem with quality.  It’s not just that the sub-par fabrics lacks the mystique of the original.  Anthro garments certainly have the hanger appeal, and they know how to spruce up their catalog.  Their Orenburg pullover can make an early fall staple, although it will not translate easily into a winter sweater because the wide sleeve will not fit inside most coat.  While the pullover is an interesting twist on the contemporary macrame look, I just don’t know how it’s going to look on me.  I found that the items I order online are often poorly made, and I never know how they are going to fit.

Having said that, I’m fairly certain this sweater would work out just fine.  Supposedly cowlneck is going out of style, but this one just looks so luxurious.

Anthro cowlneck

September 19, 2011

Whatever Happened to the Famed Leftie Creativity?

Filed under: politics, society — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:54 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you two videos, both via Rogue Operator.  First, what appears to be an authentic self-parody:

The best I can say about it is that it’s derivative.  It’s also poorly executed, uninspiring and unoriginal.  And kind of not very bright.  It’s a bit odd that they flash a picture of a middle age woman when they sing “Occupy that b****”.  Whoever is responsible for this sad product has neither creative impulse to come up with any good ideas nor the discipline to shape them into a work of art.  To be fair, anarchists ran out of ideas in 1978, and they were begging to be disciplined since 1969.  They do, apparently, have plenty of time to record their little work of art.  Thank Barack Obama for that.

The “reverend” that appeared in the video was also in a film Culture Jamming by Adbusters.  Adbusters, who are rather notorious for inefficiency, were behind the Day of Rage.  I’m not sure if they can do anything apart from a slick zine.

Compare that video disaster to this Misfit Politics production:

The lyrics are terrific “awareness rage” perfectly sums up the zeitgeist of the current crop of the funemployed.  No profanities are needed because the writers have control of the English language.  Of course, they are much more than that.  You know Misfit Politics are a phenomena when your toddler is running around the house screaming Attaaaaack Waaaaaaaaaaatch!

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