I often struggle to reconcile my progressive values with my love of shopping. I don’t want to patronize companies whose policies are at odds with the environment, LGBTQ rights, fair treatment of workers, and so on, but I also love a good bargain.
One of the best scenes in Blazing Saddles is when the railroad workers negotiate with Rock Ridge to help build the “false front” town that will fool Hedley Lamarr’s evil army. The racially mixed workers want to be repaid with land in town, and at first the townspeople object to including various ethnic groups. Eventually […]
While I have the utmost respect for this site’s bipartisanship, readers know my views skew quite left. However, I like to think that humor and music have bipartisan appeal — I grew up in Orange County (the red state in the middle of California… cue rim shot), and even my most rabidly right wing classmates will […]
In this hyper-partisan era, many writers wax nostalgic for a time politics were more civil, when Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan could work together despite their differences, when people disagreed politely. That’s the great thing about nostalgia — you only have to remember the good parts (like how I love 1930s clothes and music but wouldn’t want […]
Whatever you thought of the live Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood, it was still commendable for a number of reasons, including exposing country fans to musical theatre, and showing people who’d only seen the movie the numbers and scenes that were cut from it. Not that Julie Andrews wasn’t adorable, but in the movie, […]
Even those of you not old enough to remember the 1960s have heard of the various counter-culture movements — anti-war demonstrations, hippies at Woodstock, never-trust-anyone-over-30, and so on. I was in elementary school, so I wasn’t old enough for any of the really wild stuff. My counter-culture activities were confined to teaching myself the guitar chords […]
As a native Californian who is most familiar with the east and west coasts, and as a huge fan of The Wizard Of Oz, Kansas has always symbolized middle America, the calm antithesis to New York energy or Californian trendiness. I’m old enough to remember when the movie was only shown on TV once a […]
Those of us old enough to remember rotary phones, black & white TV, and cars without seatbelts are now at an age when a forgotten name or misplaced car keys can make us worry about age-related memory loss. My response is always to joke about my hard drive being full— it’s not age, it’s data […]
There are fewer and fewer of us who actually remember the first scandal with a name endeding in “gate,” thus inspiring every other controversy to adopt a similar suffix, whether somewhat comparable (“BridgeGate,” about Chris Christie and the GW Bridge closure), unwieldy (the Mark Sanford “AppalachianTrailGate” sex scandal) or downright silly (criticism of the President’s […]
For generations, we’ve illustrated ‘the American Dream’ as being a place “where anyone can grow up to be president.” But these days, one look at President Obama’s weary face & gray hair, not to mention the merciless way people can attack any public figure anonymously, is enough to scare off impressionable kids. (Can you imagine […]
The phenomenon of political spouses standing by their scandal-plagued husbands has become such a cliché, it’s even inspired a TV show, The Good Wife. We’ve seen women forgive men for infidelity, patronizing prostitutes, embezzling funds, and sending cringe-worthy texts, among other misbehaviors.
Labor Day has traditionally marked the start of the fall season, when we say goodbye to “those lazy hazy crazy days of summer,” return to school (or work), and put away our white shoes until Memorial Day. Of course, most of those traditions have evaporated; style expert Tim Gunn says white is appropriate all year […]
As I approach the 2-year anniversary of my weekly song project, it’s fascinating to look back on how my writing process has developed, and to see what lessons I’ve learned. So here are a few tips to share with any readers who are either contemplating a creative venture (or who would enjoy a vicarious peek […]
One of my favorite college classes examined children’s literature through the lens of cultural attitudes towards childhood. For example, the Brothers Grimm wrote all those dark, scary tales of witches & evil forests because in their day (early 19th century), childhood was just a smaller version of an awful adulthood. Poorer kids had to work […]
The 1960s are retro cool these days, thanks to hit shows like Mad Men and Masters of Sex (not to mention all the Austin Powers movies). And while we admire the cool fashions (skinny ties! pillbox hats!), it’s all too convenient to dismiss the less-admirable aspects of the era (segregation, no effective birth control — not […]