A Conversation

I’d like to negotiate a non-maternity leave.

I need to birth something.  Not a kid.  I need to birth a thing.  It’s a thing I need to make.  And here’s the best part (for you anyway):   It won’t get sick on a school day later!  Sure it may kill me with its demands but at that point you would replace me anyway.  Who knows.  Maybe it will call me away.  You know I hope it will.

I need three months to bring a thing into being where I don’t have to be here everyday at 8.  I need to sit and think and type and sing to myself and say things out loud and run lines without people suspecting I am insane.

Because I am not insane.

I need to cry.  Crying is how I know things.

I need to wake up with puffy eyes and not care.

I want to stay up all night if I need to and nap at weird times and wake up with ideas that I wouldn’t have had if I’m staring at Microsoft Outlook – a creativity killer unless you are making jokes about Microsoft Outlook.

I need to bring something into being.  That means I can’t wear biz cas.  I can’t.  To quote Dita  Von Teese, “It chafes me.  If not physically then emotionally.”

I need to pile my hair on top of my head and wear streaks of mascara and bib overalls and white tshirts without a bra because actually, I think that’s when I’m my most beautiful.

I make better stuff when I feel beautiful.

I need time to make food that isn’t “ON THE GO SNACK IDEAS FOR DEPRESSED PEOPLE”

I dislike granola bars.

And yogurt.

I want to meet up with collaborators at 10am on a Wednesday after I pick up some good coffee.  Not 7:30 pm after I’ve slapped myself awake and eaten a granola bar.  And yogurt.

This is not a vacation.  I want to work.  Hard.  Harder than I’ve ever worked (I’ve worked hard.)

I want to see my husband while I’m bringing this thing into the world. Imagine.

I don’t want to fit this in.

I don’t want to find time.

I want to lose track of time.

I want to see daylight.

The thing might not be great.  It might be terrible or weird or wrong or injured or sick.  But it won’t be the best it can be unless I can just be.  I have to be so it can be.

I need to be able to say yes.

I need to be able to say no.

I need to be able to do nothing for a day and then so much the next that I forget what day it is.

I don’t want to find out more interesting ways my body exhibits stress.

I need to breathe.

Maybe only breathe.

I haven’t been breathing very well.

I am so tired.

Creativity is messy and completely impossible to explain to those who do not engage in it, or maybe even fear it a little. (I am still not insane. Everyone is creative.)

I need three months.

I need to risk that in three months, I may have nothing.

And yet I will have something.  I just don’t know what yet.

I just don’t know if I am brave enough to ask.

What’s in YOUR Bag?

In the realm of “stupid little things that seem to chill me out”, I love nothing more than one of those “What’s in Her Bag?” articles you find in, say, a fashion rag or a Pinterest post.  The heavily styled, yet seemingly random dump of perfectly packaged, curated, and unused status-minded items that people who apparently have their shit together seem to find essential.

I eat this shit up with a  spoon (a spoon covered in old oatmeal and lint.  From my purse).  The marketing is so great.  I fall for it every time.  Olivia Palermo (A woman UK Glam refers to as “irritatingly perfect”) needs Elnet Hairspray and SK-II treatment mask in her purse (a mask??) AS DO I.  Karlie Kloss likes L’Oreal BB Cream? Well that’s so weird because I just realized I do too, Karlie Kloss we have so much in common.

I remember back in 1998 Seventeen dumped out Katie Holmes’ bag and in it, amidst the pink and green Maybelline mascara (this mascara is the WORST by the way.  I don’t know why people keep featuring it in “What’s in your bag?” articles and Best of Lists) and the Kiehls Number 1 lip balm (that was a real trend item in the 90’s) and Hard Candy nail polish, and probably something quirky like a Blow Pop, and  LOADS OF WB CASH,  was a full bar of Dove soap.

In her bag.

Because of this, I bought so much Dove soap.

I didn’t even watch Dawson’s Creek!  I just love a list.  And items you can buy at a drugstore.  It did not occur to me at the time that Katie Holmes probably does not carry around a full bar of Dove soap in her purse for God’s sake.  Her Mom, however, shops at the J. Crew my sister used to work at so NW Ohio represent!  We Ohio women (as Katie Holmes is by birth) do not, however,  regularly carry around full bars of Dove soap in our bags.

Still, I’ve lived in Chicago for 11 years now so maybe that caught on.  Reminder to text my sisters to ask.

Anyway, as I was cleaning out my OWN bag today (allergy season…the kleenex.  My God.  The Kleenex.)  I thought hmmmm…this is a fucking disaster.

There’s no old timey camera.  No Louis Vuitton. No weird European facial oils.  NO MOZART ARIAS (see above)…
Okay.  There is sheet music.  I have an audition.  But it looks like shit and there’s what I hope is chocolate on it.

There’s no cashmere.  What are you fucking kidding me, cashmere?  I couldn’t keep a piece of paper in decent shape.  CASHMERE?  That shit has to go on my actual person or stay at home.

Is that a whole apple just by itself?  I tried that with a banana once.


Wait.  In that top one.  Is that…a polaroid of herself?

I kind of respect that.  Very Memento.

There are expensive sunglasses in every one of those examples.  I am not responsible enough for expensive sunglasses.  I spend around $30 because my optometrist said that’s about what you have to spend to get the right sun protection because I have a thing on one of my eyes under the lid that would HORRIFY you.  He told me that he’s only seen it in farmhands and me.  I assured him that I don’t lift things or do any sort of labor at all.

Maybe it’s from hauling around this bag.

(He says it’s from dust.)


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SOME of the actual contents of my own bag:

  1.  ALL the tampons.  All of them.  Yeah that’s right super plus.
  2. a map of the New York subway system.  It should be noted I live in Chicago.  I am currently in Chicago.
  3. A used Kleenex with a melted Twix bite in it.  (OH.  Okay so it probably IS chocolate on my sheet music.)
  4. a full thing of the world’s least chic deodorant:  Lady Fucking Mitchum
  5. Ventra card.  NOT, I repeat, NOT an MTA card (although there is a used up one of those too.)
  6. Keys.  Not mine.  My friend’s.  Where are mine?  I don’t know.
  7. Wide tooth comb I bought for camp before fifth grade.  I carry it around because what are the damn odds?
  8. Pen from the Ritz Carlton.  A red herring meant to distract from used kleenexes and super plus tampons. As if someone from the CIA is going to look in my purse and think,”Well, gentlemen.  It looks like we have an interesting character here…”

Other items not pictured because I couldn’t fit them in:

Dr. Scholl’s blister pads because this is real life.
A gris gris bag from New Orleans that my husband bought for me.  A fine tooth comb because volume.
An inhaler
Kleenexes because so many fucking Kleenexes
An umbrella
A hard copy of The Goldfinch that I bet my friend Nick thinks he lost.  Well I have it.  And it’s great.  And there might be chocolate on the cover.
A journal
There SHOULD be a pair of sunglasses.  I have no idea where they went.

What’s the moral here?  I don’t know.  Because I WILL buy something just because Kate Winslet or Lupita Nyong’o has it in her bag.  (Have they done one of those features?  I need to know.) If it was rumored Marilyn carried it around?  Throw ‘er in.  I don’t carry a handbag.  I carry a TRAVEL TOTE.  That’s right my every day bag is a damn weekender.


I have a very…wait. Play this while you read:


I have a very immediate visceral response to Gospel choirs which is cathartic weeping while smiling. I imagine it looks something like the Ecstacy of Teresa of Avila but with lots more snot. Thus it has always been, at least since I hit puberty. And I should probably stop listening to it at work. “Are you okay?”

“ALLERGIES.” I say with “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” pinging out of my headphones.

I can’t handle Sister Act II.  At least in mixed company.

When I was 20, a friend of mine and I were spending the summer at our university doing summer theatre. In the lag time between the end of the school year and the beginning of rehearsals, we had a couple weeks to bum around Oxford, Ohio waiting on our fellow summer theatre friends to return. We watched a lot of movies. Ate a lot of crap. And we attended some of the relaxed events of a University in Summer. Steel drum bands. That sort of thing. We also taught a class to a theatre summer camp that I had actually attended as a high schooler. The camp was part of a larger program called Governor’s Institute that many Ohio colleges provided to “gifted and talented” high school kids from all over the state. Miami’s included a theatre portion, among several fine arts programs, AND a Gospel Choir program. My friend Matt and I were intrigued by the Gospel kids. It was headed by one of the more prestigious professors in the music department.

“The Gospel kids have their final performance today. You wanna check it out?” Matt asked me.
“Sure!” I said.

We popped into the back of Souers Recital Hall just as the program was starting.

I don’t remember exactly what they sang, or what happened in general, because I was so swept away by the voices I was left devastated and sobbing. I’m not exaggerating. It was one of those emotional outbursts where your body takes over and your consciousness is left only to marvel at what a mess this mortal coil can be.
“Are you, heh heh, okay?” Matt says as I sob into his t-shirt.
“I think sooooo-ooooo-ooooo. I don’t know what’s happeningggggggg.”

This might imply that I was an enthusiastic church singer as a child. I was not. I was a reluctant church singer as a child.   But you can’t be the niece of the minister (who also holds a doctorate in music) and NOT participate. Or MAYBE you can’t be the child of my Mother and NOT participate. Not sure. Doesn’t matter. I’m onstage in a black velvet dress with white lace trim and a red bow in my hair. Arms folded.  Barely audible. I walk away from the mic before I’m finished singing my line.

That is, in fact, the anti-mic drop.

“Well, I guess we know what Betsy’s NOT going to do when she grows up,” my Dad chuckles in my Aunt and Minister Uncle’s kitchen after the service.

It’s not that I’m an actively contrary person, but…

Quick anecdote: First time I rehearsed that song I broke down into tears immediately much to the discomfort of everyone else in the room. “The soldier’s name is WILLLLIIEEEEEEE,” I snotted into the piano, arms draped over my head.  These poor people knew me so little they didn’t even know my husband’s name yet, so that little bit of trivia probably did not help their discomfort.  “I guess…use that?” said my director.

See, church choir for MY church wasn’t staid, exactly. Nor was it true gospel. It was… Folksy. This was the 80’s and the choir of St John’s UCC in Archbold, Ohio was populated with basically Elise and Steven Keatons peppered with the occasional Les Nessman.. Think “By My Side” from Godspell.


The KIDS choir, however, was headed up by an entrepreneurial sort. No, we weren’t hawking our wares. She was just…how shall I say…innovative, I guess. We didn’t sing things like “Praise Him All Ye Little Children.” That was for the congregation to belt out on Palm Sunday. No we sang, “Pharoah, Pharoah” which is just “Louis, Louis” with the words changed. “Pharaoh, Pharoah, Pharoah, WOa-ooooahh baby, let my people go.”

May God strike me down if I’m lying. Go Buckeyes.

The point is, I don’t exactly know what transpired in between pained solos… “We’re tired of slaving night and day, without even getting a penny for paa-aay. You treat the Israelites real bad, and that really ma-aa-akes (walk away from mic) mee–eee maaad. Pharoah, Pharoah, Pharoah…” and total catharsis in shorts and a tee shirt on a Saturday afternoon at Miami.

I have experienced total catharsis twice in my life. Once was in the back of Souer’s Recital Hall. The other was after I saw Finding Neverland (recent loss of a close female family member). Both times I managed to embarrass both myself and my companion. Belated apologies to Matt. Will wasn’t too bothered. “I’m going to lean you against this wall. I have to go to the bathroom. Be right back.” Later in a grocery store parking lot- I’m still wailing. Already at the sup sups- Will says, “I’m going to get a six-pack now. Are you okay?”
“Ye-eeh-ehhhsssssss,” I slide my damp and mascara and snot-smeared cheek down the passenger side window.  “Get *hic* a bottle of *sniff* Menaaaaaagggggeeeeeee waaaaaaaaaaa….”  I did not pull it together for two real hours.

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I am not a Religious person, per se. I do not adhere to any particular teaching. I am, as one of my favorite writer’s coined, “A spiritual mutt.” I believe in vastness and peace. Life, I suppose. For my parents, while we definitely attended some church yes ma’am, nature seems to be their house of worship. For me, it’s soaring music. And sometimes not so soaring.

Our voices, humans in general I mean, are naturally melodic. Even the tone deaf among us are speaking on a particular note, monotone it may be. What is it about that note when we choose to sustain it – turning speech to song?

PEOPLE I DON’T KNOW. That is one of life’s great mysteries to me. THAT is a higher power. It’s universal. It’s sweeping. It’s transcendant.

Well, sometimes.

My sister once came home from a “hard” day at work. “YOU GUYS I WORKED FIVE HOURS OKAY.” And as she relayed the horrible details of her shift, my Mom and I without consulting each other, began to hum “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” intermittently.
“My boss was in a shitty mood…”
“Alright now,” I interjected.
“HMMMMMMM!” sang my Momma.
“Shut up Betsy.”
“Don’t tell your sister to shut up.”
“Hallelujah!” I belted.
“ANYWAY this horrible bitch (came in and-)”
“(Precious Lord) Take. MY HAAAANNNDDD, LEAD ME ONNNNNN HELP ME STANNNNDDD…” Our arms were in the air and we were harmonizing to boot.

You can do a lot of things in my family.  Most things, in fact, except self-pity and taking yourself too seriously.

I will sing Gospel alone.  I will sing it with a friend.  I will sing it with a mouse.  I will sing it in a house.  I will sing it near and far.  I will sing it in your car.

Even if you don’t want me to.

Anyway, you may reach me lying prone on my bedroom floor, perhaps on the bottom rung of “Jacob’s Ladder”, “Wading in the Water” of “Heaven’s Bright Shore”, mascara streaming, kleenex hanging out of one nostril, with one erect arm spasmodically shaking a tambourine.

I don’t understand why I react the way I do to music.  (I also get goosebumps and/or emotional during certain progressions, powerful modulations, familiar iconic phrases, including “9-5” and…um…kick lines.)

But I know it’s Divine.

Goodbye Big Brown Bathtub

William and I have signed a new lease and are departing for a new apartment on the North Side.  While I’m looking forward to the features of the new apartment, there is one particular element of our old place I’ve come to love in that way you can only love odd features in weird old apartments-


The Big Brown Bathtub

Goodbye, Big Brown Bathtub
By Elizabeth Morgan

Goodbye, Big Brown Bathtub
I remember when we met
I stared at you in disbelief
Hardly a moment of Kismet

“A big brown bathtub!”
I exclaimed. “What a horrid sight!
Howe’er will I design a space
to incorporate your blight?!”

I called my mother instantly,
Overwhelmed with a sense of doom.
This hulking beast
This lurking blot
Was stinking up my bathroom.

“Tell me about the apartment,”
Mom said. “I can’t wait to help when we come to town.”
I said, “The kitchen is big, and the street is so cute.
But the bathtub is dark poopy brown!”

My husband said, “You must calm down
In the scheme of things, this is not an issue.”
Now please hand me a tissue.”

My friends said, “Just think! It will hide all the stains.
You’ll need to clean it less.”
Yet in your diabolical way
You revealed MORE of a mess.

Even cleaning products seemed to stick
Upon your dark brown sides.
“What evil is this!?”
I shouted at you.
What’s wrong with a little house pride?

And yet, as time went on
And I adjusted to your presence
With a coat of taupe paint
And a dash of restraint
I was starting to find you quite pleasant.

I stared at you, disbelief in my eyes,
One hand leaning on the bathroom shelf.
“You’re out of date. You’re finish ain’t great…
But I like ya, in spite of myself.”

You warmed up the room.
Patiently stood by
Through all that a bathtub must witness.
Your dark corners will never reveal
The least attractive parts of my bidness

It’s gotten to the point
As I look through my Pinterest
That white bathtubs somehow look loco.
White is so boring!
Look what you’re ignoring!
What color is more luxurious than cocoa?

We’ve shared a lot
In our short time together
Bubbles, books, tears, and glasses of wine
I’m sure you will miss my En Shower performance
Of the scores to Gypsy and A Chorus Line.

Yet bathtub it’s time
That we go our separate ways
er…I guess, that leaves me for the walking
There’s not much you can do
With your no legs to my two
Not to mention all the caulking

Well, the packing’s begun
Bathtub, it was fun.
Still I must leave you in situ
But Bathtub, Just know
As your waters abundantly flow
How hard it was for me to quit you.

The new place is great!
It has features I’ve longed for
And the time is approaching so soon it
won’t be long before I get what I’ve dreamed of
Washer dryer in unit.

But someday, perhaps twenty years from now
I may build a brand new house
We’ll gather our plans and blueprints and such
Just me, an architect and my Spouse.
We pencil in features we’ve wanted to add: french doors, walk in closets, lovely shrubs.
But with a tear in my eye
And a pining sigh
I’ll say, “I once had a Big Brown Bathtub…”

Call Me Ishmael

Somebody sometime said something about how what you wear is your message to the world.  Sure I could go find the exact quote but you get the idea.  I’m not entirely against this point of view.  I just ask that it not be applied to me between the hours of 8 and 5 Monday through Friday.  The only message you will receive is “Look. I found a cardigan on my floor.”  I simply don’t do business casual.  To quote Dita Von Teese, “It chafes me, if not physically then emotionally.”  So I just get by on technicalities.  No denim.  No tshirts.  No fun.  It’s been said you should “dress for the job you want.”  But I don’t think a Mrs. Lovett costume fits the dress code around here.


“I’m sorry, lovey.  Mr. Todd’s in a meetin’.  May I take a message, dear?”

I really do love my wardrobe outside the office environment.  But within these walls, it’s dismal and unfixable.  Mostly because I don’t want to spend my shopping money on work clothes.  Ugh.  I will drop silly cash on an audition dress, but dress pants?  What is this?  Church?  Game day?  Also, since I have the build of a small russet potato lodged onto two pool cues, I can’t ever find pants (in store – yes, I am aware of the “online” option) that are long enough.  Except for, God bless it, The Limited.  Thank you, Les Wexner, for allowing the long-legged to have some pant-related dignity.  Your name may sound like a super villain, but your heart is true.  At any other store (I’m looking at you EXPRESS) I have to try on the regular length, and then go home and order the long length.  “Plus shipping!” says my Mother.  True.

My latest fashion related white whale is a pair of skinny black pants that are neither jeans, nor leggings, nor ankle length.  I want them to be able to go out for a day on the town, and then transition to dinner.  I want them long enough to bunch slightly at the ankle.  I would accept a zip ankle as well, as long as they err on the side of too long as opposed to flood length.   I quote Agador Spartacus, “I want that nice Armani break in the front, you know? But don’t just pull it. Do it, down there– I got highwaters here.”  I would also ask that they not flat iron my already non-existent butt resulting in a look similar to two flattened Pillsbury Crescent Rolls hermetically sealed to the back of my thighs (I’m looking at you, Target pants.)

A pause to tell an illustrative story.  My sisters and one of their best friends came to visit me a few years ago.  We decided to spend a day sunbathing at North Avenue beach.  Because my once quite tawny complexion is now permanently lily white thanks to years in a theatre and aforementioned office day job, I decided to wear a tshirt over my two piece and expose only my legs to nature for fear that if I exposed the rest of my incandescent body I would serve as some sort of accidental beacon to the lake freighters and cause some sort of maritime disaster.

It worked.  I didn’t come home with blisteringly red shoulders or anything, except for a tiny patch, just above my bikini bottom and below the hem of my shirt where a teensy but vulnerable bit of my back was burned.  When we got back home that afternoon, I winced in pain as I sat down.  “Let’s see it!” said my middle sister, a little too eagerly.

“My burn?”  I asked.
“Yeah, show us how bad it is.”
“Alright,” so I stood, turning my back to the girls and exposing the line between the burn and my butt.
“Isn’t it flat?!” my sister whispered to her friend, giggling maniacally.
“Hey!”  I shouted.  “You just did that so I would show her my flat butt!”
“Well, we were just talking about it earlier.  You wouldn’t have done it if I had just asked you to.”

Yes I would have.   I’m an oldest.  We will moon at any opportunity.

The point is, I would like these skinny black pants to perhaps enhance my posterior or at least pretend like I have one.  I honestly don’t think these pants exist.  Maybe on Pinterest.  But clothing items on Pinterest are the sartorial equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster.  You need more than a photo to prove it’s existence.

Marc Jacobs- Orange

Look at her. So smug. And they aren’t even real.


Steve Feltham, who has dedicated the past 21 years to hunting for Nessie was unequivocval.

“It is the best photograph I think I have ever seen,” he said.

From his base on Dores beach and has studied many Nessie sighting photographs.

“I think the images are fantastic – that’s the pants…er animal I have been looking for all this time,” he said yesterday. (Source: Telegraph.co.uk)

My last clothing white whale was a tartan blouse that was neither a flannel nor sheer.  Crisp but able to go to work or play or as a layering piece.  Also, a true Scotch tartan, not just a plaid.  I was looking for Wallace (my Grandpa’s namesake) or Black Stewart, or Dress Stewart.  I looked everywhere. I thought I found it out of stock at J Crew where I called both my J Crew employee sister (who was helpful I should say) and J Crew customer service who I basically begged on my hands and knees, via email, to send me what they had.  But they had nothing.  I felt they wished they could help, though.  Good folks, J Crew customer service.

Then I suspected I found it at LL Bean.  But LL Bean is not targeting me as their customer.  They are targeting my friend’s Moms.  As such, the fashion photography at LL Bean is a bit…frumpy.  So while the dimensions, description, and fabric were exactly what I was looking for  (Black Stewart!).  The styling of the photo wasn’t clear enough.  Lucky for me, there’s an LL Bean store just up good I-94  and lo and behold, ’twas perfect.   One unbutton lower than Bean’s advertisement, a stylish roll of the sleeves, and we are in youthful and stylish business.

Unfortunately, Bean is not in the market for hot skinny non-denim black pants with optional ankle zip.

Buy it: Blake Lively’s Black Leather Jacket


Maybe someday I’ll find Nessie (I’m calling the pants “Nessie” now.)  I can’t give up hope.  The implications for society, er, my wardrobe are too far-reaching.  All of a sudden, that sweater could go to dinner.  Those boots could hit the town.  That jacket could brunch.  That tshirt could go out for drinks.  The repercussions are astounding.

But what happens if I do find them?  It’s like Frodo and Sam after they destroy the Ring.  Now what?  Do I just go back to The Shire and have a pint?  Pretend like I still have purpose? Find another questing beast?


A slightly shrunken, classic, not overly detailed or moto black leather jacket.

Lovely jacketBiker Jacket #newJacket #topfashion #topmode #kelly751  #BikerJacket    2dayslook.com

I believe.

An Open Letter to Morning News Shows*


I watch the Today show.  I watch the Today Show because it comes on after NBC 5 morning news here in Chicago, and I like to know about weather and CTA problems and Andy Avalos is just downright the most pleasant human being on the planet.

I am a lone viewer and not likely to cause any change but here goes.

There has been much talk about why the big morning shows, and more specifically the Today Show continue to lose viewers.  They blamed it on Ann Curry, and unceremoniously booted her.  But the ratings continue to fall.  Now, let me be clear, I don’t love Ann Curry because the only loveable news anchor is Brian Williams.  That’s a fact, Jack.  But it’s pretty clear Curry got screwed.  And while yes, Lauer seems to be a bit of a pompous unpleasant guy, I don’t really care.

I want the networks to know that the reason these morning shows are failing is because THEY SUCK.  You may wonder why I continue to watch these shows.  Because I am a creature of habit and for the 20 minutes the Today Show is on before I leave in the morning, I have their segment timing memorized so even if I’m putting on mascara, I know what time it is without having to look.  It’s a skill.

But back to the issue at hand:  the suckage.

I understand that morning shows are supposed to be a light blend of news, entertainment, and a ladies magazine and maybe a little bit of cartoony weather.

Well, here’s the thing.  We have the internet now.  There is no longer a monopoly on information.  We now know that  the shallow coverage of news items that make it through the issue gate are not the only things happening in the world.  And I have to tell you that in the first ten minutes of a “news” show, I should not hear the name Justin Bieber uttered once.  Not once.  And yet, this morning, this was not the case.

I read somewhere that the Today Show considers its main audience base to be, basically, a 45 year-old-woman.  Well, I’m 32.  But I can’t imagine that your average 45 year-old-woman would care MORE about Justin Bieber than a 32-year-old woman.

I mean, it all feels made up.  Whatever stupid non-threat of a hyped “here’s the drug the kids are doing now” story to the absolutely gaggy and overly reverent coverage of new Pope installation to the ongoing drone of celebrity non-news where you will say…..YOU WILL SAY RIGHT OUT LOUD MATT LAUER, “TMZ confirms….”

Two things.

1.  I’ll just read TMZ’s blog for (long and despair-filled sigh) better and more in-depth coverage

2.  Your source is THIS GUY:

This guy.

And yet, even though Harvey Levin is doing your dirty work, there is no sense of humor.  (Dressing in Halloween costumes once a year is not a sense of humor.  It’s…well, for you know, elite educated journalists, sad and unprofessional.  I mean, you guys are AT WORK.  It’s why I don’t watch Good Morning America.  I love Stephanopolous too much to watch him suffer.)

I mean, yes, it’s true.  You had a great thing with Meredith Viera.  But, unfortunately, she’s a human and she had to go, you know, be human with her human family.  I suspect, and I bet she would confirm, that working with all you guys was liking working with multiple Lt. Commander Data.

“But I am not capable of love.”

I mean, I know.  I know.  I’m the idiot here.  I should just turn off my tv, but I like the low and predictable noise of your dumb show with the volume set on 5 or 6 at most.

So look, I know I’m only one voice here.  But please.  For the love of all things, cover some actual in-depth news.  LAUER.  WE KNOW YOU KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.  I think THAT is why I am so mad.  It’s not like you’re not capable!  Do you guys know what kind of educations you have?! And yet you keep covering CHRIS BROWN!?

Meanwhile, I will never understand why morning news anchor on a stupid show like Today ranks much higher in the news world scheme of things than motherf*cking WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT!  HELLO? Chuck Todd should be calling the shots.  Not only because he has a first name for a last name, but also he COVERS ACTUAL HAPPENINGS.  And you give him, like a second and a half to do it. But Bieber spits on a guy, and I hear the headline before you play the theme song?!  And even that isn’t coming close to the Richard Engel level of reportage. He should be FAR more revered than Matt Lauer.  I read that Vanity Fair article.  GOOD GOD.  But I’m not talking about the foreign assignments that may or may not end in kidnapping or head chopping.  I’m talking about WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT.  I mean, yes, I could be wrong.  I’m basing most of this on pretending that CJ Cregg is the Press Secretary and how it would be awesome to work around her.  But seriously?  Covering Justin Beiber SPITTING and Chris Brown saying anything at all is more prestigious in the journalism world than White House Correspondent?

Alright.  Whatever.  I’ll take your word for it.  I mean a Lean Cuisine is better than a big ol’ slice of Lou Malnati’s, right?

The answer is NO.




Speaking of former White House regulars, let’s talk about Stephanopolous for a moment.  Like I said before, I like him TOO MUCH to watch him on a morning show.  So, you see, it doesn’t matter who the anchors are.  (I may have loved Meredith, but she still had to cover some stupid shit.  “Brangelina” stories pop into my mind… ) What matters is that everything you are telling me DOESN’T MATTER.  Sure, every once in a while during an election cycle, you might ask a tough question or two, but you are so constrained by your segment time that you can’t (or won’t…I have no idea) MAKE those slippery politicos answer the damn thing!  Are you afraid we’re going to be uncomfortable?  Did you see Ann Curry’s last day? That ship has sailed, friends.  Might as well use the harbor.

Yet, when something truly newsworthy (and usually horrifying) does make it through the Beiber/Brangelina gate, and you are covering a shooting or something equally as horrid, you don’t cover it.  You WORSHIP it.  You glorify it. Beware. Like most institutions who view the world with cynicism and greed, you eventually crumble. You are charged with educating a voting public on the days issues, events and major players.  To do this using sound bytes and sensationalism is nothing short of an affront to truth and democracy.

It’s not the personalities.  These are talented, educated journalists. It’s the crap that they are covering and the insipid way they are covering it.  Bring on Anderson Cooper if you want to, but until you radically reform the structure of the show, it’s going to be the same thing all over again.

Die to live, Today Show.  Go back to the drawing board.  Tell us stories with truth and complexity.  Ask questions of leaders and public figures that they don’t want to be asked.  Don’t reach us using our fears.  Reach us using our brains and our empathy and compassion.  And stop making your weather people stand in hurricanes.  That’s just silly.

*Never get rid of Hoda and Kathy Lee. 

I’m a Feminist. Say it With Me.

I’m in a bad mood today. That’s actually pretty rare for me, but today it is what it is. I’m in a bad mood because some shit I wanted to happen fell apart over the past couple days. So instead of dealing with it head on, I’m going to go ahead and tell you some things that piss me off.

1. Women who balk at calling themselves “feminist.” I hate that shit. It doesn’t make you any less sexually attractive nor does it mean everyone will think you are a lesbian. And, for the record, let’s say it did? “I support women’s rights but I don’t really think of myself as a feminist…” Because you are afraid someone will think you have armpit hair? Jesus.
1a.  Men who balk at calling themselves feminist.
2. People who tell me and the rest of society what they are allowed to think is funny.
3. People who nit pick the tiny battles and keep their mouths shut about the big ones.

Do I love the term feminist?  I don’t.  It doesn’t address the stock men have in feminism, which is to say that Equality is good for Everyone.  I’ve always felt “Equalist” was more appropriate, but then again, someone might think I really love aspartame.

But that’s the thing.  We get so hung up on jargon and slight offense.  I get it.  It’s easier to get pissed at Seth McFarlane for a (well done) production number than to rally around the complex and total tonnage of the lack of female equality in these here United States, not to mention the world.

Instead, I get pissed at Marissa Meyer who continuously fails to make shit better.  A majorly high-profile CEO who seems intent on proving she is one of the boys.  She took, like a four-second maternity leave and guess what?  Doesn’t really like to call herself a feminist.  Well, that’s fine.  Because she fucking isn’t one.  She could have made strides for working women, pushing for flexible schedules.  She could have made the point that the average American maternity leave (or PATERNITY leave) for that matter is laughable.  But she didn’t.  She was so keen to prove that AS a woman she could function like a man.  Maybe it didn’t occur to her that she’s their boss.  So yeah, Marissa, go ahead and not call yourself a feminist.  You’re just not one.

But if you don’t like calling yourself a feminist because someone MIGHT think you are a lesbian or that they might throw in the word “militant”, ain’t nobody got time for that.  What if?  What if somebody thinks of you as fundamentally less appealing to them because you call yourself a feminist?  What happens then? That’s something you have to ask yourself.  I can’t answer that for you.  I answered it for myself:  NOTHING I CARE ABOUT.  Maybe there are some dudes out there that find me fundamentally less attractive because of all my messy opinions, but I don’t care.  I married a dude who seems to enjoy my opinions and what do you know?  He calls himself a feminist.  AND, get this, he’s super secure in his sexuality.  And guess what else?  He’s happy being married to me.  And I to him.

I remember about ten years ago I saw a feminist documentary, I regret to say, I can’t remember which one.  And a woman who appeared in it said this (I’m paraphrasing because it was ten years ago.)
“When  a woman says she doesn’t see herself as a feminist, I think, how can you not be?”


My feminism is bold but simple.

1.  I get the same rights, pay, and consideration as everybody else.

2.  Men have absolutely as much investment in female equality.  Men have to put up with a lot of bullshit too.  This whole sexism thing hurts everybody.  Men are expected to be strong all the time.  They are expected to hide emotion, except good ol’ manly anger.  Sadness, vulnerability?  Not acceptable.  Worse, when they enjoy things typically deemed “feminine” in nature, everybody starts questioning their sexuality which is just not even what I’m trying to say over here.  My father loves the movie Steel Magnolias. He likes to bake breakfast casseroles. He also loves chopping up firewood and watching basketball.  What does this mean?  Nothing!  Except I have an awesome Dad.  My husband loves Elaine Stritch and football.  I love nail polish and mob movies.  Look at us!  Being all 3-D.

3.  Integrating traditionally female/feminine behaviors into places where traditionally male/masculine behaviors are accepted (i.e. the business world, film, academia, the medical profession,you know…modern Western society) makes the world a better place. What if there were more flexible schedules to accommodate working parents OR EVEN NON-PARENTS who just have a dream or two and also want to pay some bills and eat some food.  What if empathy was a thing?

3a.  I want “feminine” principles EQUAL to “masculine” principles.  I don’t want to see masculine principles go away.  Not at all.  Just let me get my nurture on, too.

4.  Birth control.

5.  Women’s health, wellness, and treating the female body as a different entity, rather than something to be corrected.

6.  Getting over periods.  Menstruation isn’t something to be hidden, or ashamed of, nor is it a disease to be knocked into submission.  Nor is it something I need to apologize for.  Menstruating women bleed from their genitals on a monthly basis because their uterus figured out that a baby wasn’t going to happen so it kicks out an egg and the nutrient (ie blood) rich uterine lining.  There it is.  If you think that’s gross.  That’s your problem, not mine.  This is a natural force that 1.  Regulates itself to other menstruating women (AMAZING!) 2.  IS INFLUENCED BY THE GODDAMN MOON 3. Is necessary for , you know, YOU.  Being born.

6a.  To be perfectly honest, I want to live in a society where I get to say, “I’ve got my period guys.  I’m thinking a little on the dark side today which means, let’s not have meetings.  But let’s maybe go destroy some rickety policies that aren’t working very well anymore and then we might break early for a nap because my hormones are telling my my body needs rest.”  THAT is harnessing feminine power.  CREATE and DESTROY.  Giving birth, making babies, art, food, that’s creation.  Periods?  Cleaning?  Getting rid of the old and making way for the new?  That’s destruction.  And it’s all feminine.  It scares the shit out of you, doesn’t it?  Me too.  It’s awesome.

7.  I am not obligated to have a body that looks the way you want it to nor do I really want to talk about how it looks with acquaintances or strangers

8.  I am not obligated to find EVERYTHING that could be construed as misogynist, or what have you, as offensive.  I HATE BEING TOLD WHAT I CAN FIND FUNNY.  As a feminist, I am not interested in being Content Police.  I just want to get paid the same as a dude with my same job, I want to be able to gain or lose ten pounds without the world noticing, I want to walk down the street after I go to a bar at night without clutching my keys and praying not to get raped.

9.  That’s right.  Any girl you know who leaves a bar is at some point going to pray she doesn’t get raped.  Put yourself in those shoes, whether they are stiletto or crocs.  Imagine what that is like, to be regularly terrified of assault in a really real way, particularly when you are supposed to be having fun.

Now I walk out of this bar
And hope I don’t get raped on my way to my car.

10.  I want to be able to wear whatever the hell I want without somebody having some sort of goddamn opinion about it whether it’s a predator or the pearl clutchers.

11.  I want no one to ever again tell me to smile when I am walking down the street.  “Come on, cutie. Smile, it’s not that bad.” Yes it is.  Some dude I don’t know is telling me how to wear my face.

12.  I don’t want to feel guilty about feeling confident when I’m not perfect.  Talk about feminine.  That is female dark side.

I am (voluntarily) in a career where looks and age play far more into my success than my talent does.  I know this.  I know this really well.  I am perpetually in an adolescence where I am consistently too old or too young.  Too ugly or too pretty.  Too this or too that.  Something to be harnessed, wrangled, fixed.  I want to tell you that THANK GOD, this is limited to acting.  The thing is, it’s not.  I just happen to be in the one profession where nobody has to hide the reasons behind these kind of decisions.  It’s kind of refreshing.  In an excruciating painful way.

And if you think there isn’t a glass ceiling, or that the goofy shit that happens in sexual harassment videos doesn’t happen, or that women are culturally obligated not to react and experience life authentically, you are plain wrong.  It’s not opinion.  It’s fact.

So why am I not curled up in fetal position and crying in bed, or screaming at the top of my lungs and writing things on poster board and shouting in front of an official-looking building?  Because I’m pretty awesome. But I also have a life to live.  Up until now, I’ve always felt feminism is best lived by example.

Be awesome and the people will know that the awesomeness is within us all.

I suspect that isn’t as true as I once thought, what with all the trans vaginal ultrasounds.  So while I plan on continuing my awesomeness agenda and frankly doing whatever the hell I want to do, IUD in place and brain fully-functioning, I think I want to do more because the conversation is just  a mess.  I mean, you guys, we’re gettin’ all mad about tv and shit, and meanwhile women in other countries are getting systematically raped and having acid thrown in their faces. FOR REAL.  AND I STILL, I know this is nowhere near the horror of the rapes and the acid, I STILL DREAM of the day I can walk home from a bar by myself and not do the no rape prayer.  Wow, wouldn’t that be great.

So, obviously I’ve got to figure some shit out.  And damned if I might not watch an episode of American Dad while I do it.  Roger is hilarious.

So take a deep breath and call yourself a feminist.  We need all the awesome we can get.