Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another walk down Douchebag Avenue

There are so many things that are offensive in this ad for Svedka Vodka, its really hard to know what to say first--- except welcome to Douche Bag Avenue. I didn't coin this term, I read it in a post on Bitch from Ashley Brittner. In it she rants about a Burger King ad; a woman, mouth opened wide, is about to take a big bite out of long meaty sandwich,

For the love of god, what will it be next? This is not Burger King's first rodeo, in terms of terrible, sexist advertising, but it might be the raunchiest and therefore the most abhor-able.

The girlbot in this ad is a machine created for pleasure. Machines are brainless. Machines are objects. Sometimes these objects are very pretty, and very sexy. All girls are built for pleasure. We want to serve you in any way we can.

This was posted on a bus stop on Atlantic Avenue. Every time I approached it, I would shield my eyes with my hand. I couldn't look at it. I seriously contemplated buying a can of spray paint and defacing it, vandalizing it in the dead of night. Yes, I would commit a crime. And I too would like to know---

who the hell keeps getting this smut on their desk and signing off on it? In past blogs, we've tackled this b.s. once or twice before, and you'd think they'd eventually get over the tired, easy, douchebag messaging.

Apparently not. It isn't bad enough that advertising has literally created a Bible of diseases and cures for menustration, pregnancy and menopause--- meaning we're sick our entire lives--- but to still have to contend with this overt, obvious douchebaggery boggles my mind.

I'd also like to know if there were any women involved in creative on these ad campaigns. My thought? Yes, there was. Otherwise, these campaigns, and others like it, would never have made it past the men's room.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson

It's all over the news, it's in the streets, its online, there's no escaping it. Walking home from the gym, on Atlantic, almost every car stereo was blasting a song from the King of Pop. During his infamous child abuse trial, I thought, uncharitably perhaps, he should just kill himself. In my view, he was guilty. And now perhaps he has--- killed himself.

Yet, I loved his music. The Jackson Five was the sound track of my youth on the banks of Lake Michigan; Rocking Robin, Never Can Say Good Bye, I'll Be There, Ben. And then later, Thriller, Billy Jean--- and its hard for me to ignore his claims of a violent childhood, his real fear of his father. The mother who apparently did nothing. He was the goose who laid the golden egg. The little boy ticket out of the south side of Chicago--- Gary, Indiana. A real cesspool of a city.

How do you reconcile these things, the brilliant music, the shattered childhood, his own pedophilia? Do we stop reading Anne Sexton's poetry because she allegedly abused her own child? Do we stop reading Ezra Pound because he was virulently anti-Semitic? Do we stop listening to R. Kelly? Chris Brown? For the longest time, after he married his step-daughter, I boycotted Woody Allen's films. But recently I watched Annie Hall and wept.

There seems to be no easy reconciliation, and maybe there doesn't have to be--- in the words of Walt Whitman:

Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.

Michael Jackson contained multitudes. For me, my love for his music, remains fixed in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The little boy, with the perfect Afro, and the voice of an angel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Neda Soltan and I'm not going to post the link

How many millions of people have seen her die? I watched the real time coverage (whatever that means anymore) on June 20th on CNN. At the time, they weren't showing her face. At the time, the young turks in the newsroom were just as impressed with the technology as they were with watching a young woman die in Tehran.

I realized in that moment exactly what Marshall McLuhan meant when he said, the medium is the message. The latest and the most accurate information about a coup d'etat, a major political upheaval, was coming from a social networking site, FaceBook, and from Twitter. Not from a Walter Cronkite, or a James Brokaw. And not The New York Times. But from the same place where we preen and strut for our friends and colleagues. Talk about a shift in the paradigm.

Then, later, I did watch the unexpurgated footage on YouTube. I'm not going to post the link. I don't want to participate in, or celebrate the technological medium that has made this possible. I only wish to write a brief eulogy for a young woman who died in a very public way--- while her city was rocketed by political and religious violence.

Monday, June 22, 2009

She's talking my talk

"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute". ~Rebecca West

Completely gratuitous T+A

Photo by Jmazzolaa on Flickr. The annual Mermaid's Day Parade on Coney Island. The master of ceremonies? Harvey Keitel as King Neptune. Sounds right. And yes, more blondes. Bring on the blondes. You can never have enough.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Death of porn star and Ivory Soap Girl

Another blonde for this blog. Except this blonde is dead at 56. Marilyn Chambers, Ivory Soap Girl, "99 & 44/100% pure," and star of Behind the Green Door. An absolutely transgressive piece of iconic 70's pornography. She doesn't have single line of dialogue in the film. In fact, I can't remember any dialogue. She just has sex. With a group of women, and then African American boxer, Johnny Keyes. The world was agog. Lesbians! Inter-racial love! Scandal.

This blonde, according to, grew up in Westport. That's CT to you. Upper middle class. Ran off to work in show biz. LA. That didn't work, so she danced in SF. In the meantime, she'd become the Ivory Soap Girl. Auditioned for BHGD. And the rest is history. She didn't hide her head in shame. She didn't claim to be a victim, like her counterpart, Linda Lovelace. Ms. Lovelace made a very public denunciation of her prominent role in porn history--- with Andrea Dworkin, extreme feminist, in tow.

To my knowledge, Marilyn Chambers made no such claim.

In this image, she is well into middle-age, and sexy. Her breasts spill out of her gown. She is elegantly coiffed. She's attractive, handsome. She doesn't look damaged. Or unhappy. But she did say, about her career, "it just leaves you empty." Perhaps this is what went wrong. I have to pay my respects to the woman, no matter what happened.

I don't remember where or when I saw this film. It was so long ago. But I do remember that, in its own perverse way, it gave me permission to accept the dark side of my own sexuality.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hello, its me

A real housewife on Hicks Street

I saw Alex McCord today on Hicks Street. She was the only woman wearing four inch black platforms. I said, Are you Alex. She said, Why, yes, I am. I said, You rock. She replied, Thank you. She was kind, gracious. She does rock. She's the classiest one out of all of them. Plus she lives in Brooklyn.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

12:08 p.m., June 18th, 2009

The view outside my window:

Beyond the trees, the house across the street with the white pillars is on the Historical Registry. A 92 year old widow lives there. Her name is Mary. Her home is worth about four million dollars. She bought it in 1940 for pennies. Her relatives say, Sell it, sell it. You need the money. But she doesn't care.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

For your viewing pleasure

Lori Goldi-locks, my lovely sister.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The boys in the band

Last Sunday night, I went to Smoke, a jazz club on the Upper West Side to hear Chris Washburne's Latin Jazz Ensemble, SYOTOS. I wrote a review of this for Jazz is in many ways a coded and secret world--- one of my long time loves was a jazz musician. I love their camaraderie. These boys are bonded, they genuinely like each other. They don't just play music together, they have deep, intense conversations that span the chromatic scale. The leader of the group, Chris, tells an interesting story:

He was diagnosed with a rare form of nerve cancer around his mouth. Terrible irony for a trombone player! He was told he had a 50/50 chance of surviving the operation. That he might never play again. As he went in for surgery, he told his bandmates, See You On The Other Side or SYOTOS. He survived and went on to become an even better musician than he was before. The best song of the night was a bolero, Passion, by Pedro Flores. I swear, at times, the piano, the drums and the conga were speaking the same language as the sea.





Sunday, June 14, 2009

As I continue my research on how this culture frames menopause--- and how I would like to change this, re-frame it, I found a link to My Menopause Blog, with the tag, how to punctuate your life without a period. Which is cute, maybe a bit too cute, but still---

I was encouraged that the posts reported the stats of women who decided that HRT was not for them, who had decided, as intelligent women, that they were not sick and didn't need medicine. This blog also claims a concomitant drop in breast cancer. And that's all good.

This site is powered by Google ads, and of course, this is wonderful except--- the most prominent words in the ads are: symptoms, suffering, fracture, osteoporosis. So there is still that lingering pathological subtext--- direct contradiction to the blog posts.

Do you see my problem?

Wish List:

A blog, a website, or an online magazine called The writers are women 40 and older who in addition to addressing the fallacies and the myths of older, powerful, smart women, reframe the images as well through essays and blog posts on education, politics, sex, and culture.

The reader wouldn't find a single solitary mention ad for a patch, a pill or a creme. In fact the whole idea of "illness" and pathology would be noticeable in its absence. Why? We're already inundated with this information. I'm not saying it isn't useful. I'm saying, enough already.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'm proud to be part of a culture that has become a content whore

Last night when I googled my name, which all self-obsessed artists must do, I found that some of my posts, originally published on, have also been posted on the USA Today website: Transformer Has Juice and Yes, to Shades of Jazz on Noir. Hey! USA. I'm flattered. Would love some $$$$.

Also, Feminist Blogs, which bills itself as independent alternatives to the malestream media, has been posting my work as well.

My brains are not in my ass

I was very impressed with myself when I received a comment on my post The end of sex. It was from Stephen Reily of He is the founder. Of course I clicked on the link. These types of websites are despicable. First of all, Stephen, the man who is writing about my vagina? Looks about 32. Blonde hair. What the fuck? Mommy issues?

Second, his blog entry, Boomer women and sex: A REVEALing new survey, part 3, contains the following text:

"Appeal to the connectedness between women. On issues where women feel naturally isolated and ignorant, remind them they are not alone."

That's right, douche bag, we share the planet with the likes of you.

"Consider not using words like vaginal atrophy."

You can use vaginal atrophy if I can use dick and brain atrophy :)

"Be discreet. Most women 50+ remain modest about sex."

How about this. Come over and I'll suck you off, film it, and post it on And that's just the beginning (You're turned on, aren't you?)

Here's the real kicker about this website. It's funded "sponsored" by Wyeth fucking Pharmaceuticals. It bills itself as an online community for women over 50 who are sick and who need medicine. I'm telling you if you buy the image, you buy the pathology. Can smart women of the world unite, and get rid of douche bags like Stephen Reily, who, obviously, has sold his soul to the devil.

Mr. Reily. Thanks for contacting me. Sadly, I am not your demographic. Yes, I am over 50. However, my brains are not in my ass, nor have they ever been. I can still think for myself. I have always been able to think for myself. If you don't mind, I think I will frame my experience as a woman in my own terms:

I'm a bitch and I don't like you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beauty runs in the family

My cousin Stacey and I at my sister's big 50th birthday in Chi-Toooooowwwwn. Holla.

The end of sex

I'd like to write about the end of sex which is both a relief and a heartbreak. It's been four years. Some days I tell myself its because I've had ten years of casual relationships, and that doesn't interest me anymore. Or I won't have sex with younger men anymore, but I don't think older men (my age) are attractive. Other times I tell myself its because I still love my ex-husband. Other times I tell myself--- well actually there is no end to the various excuses I've come up with. I have no idea what is really true. PhD guy came close to starting the whole machinery up again, but when he didn't approach me the next day; hey, want to have a drink some time, I didn't care enough to plot and plan an assignation with him.

Part of this, I believe, stems from a culture that relegates menopausal women to the fringes of society. The images in the media of women in their 50's are not flattering. Who amongst us hasn't opened an email from a well-meaning friend to find those cutesy cartoons of monstrous bloated women with their tits sagging to the ground--- watch out, I'm menopausal, I'm crazy, dangerous and unpredictable. They're supposed to be funny, and I suppose on the surface they are, but the subtext is damaging.

Menopause in this culture is seen as a sickness, something to be cured with a patch or a pill. More hormones, less hormones. Women's bodies in general are pathologized--- you just don't get your period, you go crazy, you get bloated, cranky, hungry, moody, you retain water--- in short, you are sick, and need treatment. Take this attitude and multiply it by ten, and you will have an understanding of how menopause is framed by medicine and by popular culture. Technically, I'm not fuck-able anymore. I'm not supposed to be sexual. I'm supposed to wear flowered skirts and take up gardening, and let the fifty year old men chase after twenty year old women.

There are very precise boundaries of what is acceptable behavior. In the middle ages, middle aged women were seen as witches, particularly if they were opinionated, wanted to remain sexual, had money, were intelligent. In the 16th century-- that type of woman was often burned at the stake, and I am not exaggerating. I often feel repressed by a culture that subliminally sends the message that I should throw out my heels, my jeans, and my push up bras, lest I be taken for the dreaded cougar. photo by: Marc Travanti

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Margaret and Molly in the mountains

Here's Margaret in the mountains, lady of the manor, negotiating the complex, convoluted, tricky, precise arrangements for the huge 4th of July bash. Every year a huge crowd, 100+, gather for games, drinks, food and fireworks. Molly sits next to her waiting for a treat. Also my cousin Debbi asked me what happened to the PhD guy who basically felt me up on the 4 train. The next day, he pretended he didn't know me, but then again, I did the same. Game, set, match. Love. Is it not a many splendored thing?

Happy Anniversary

Happy 100th blog post! Here I am, up at Mark and Margaret's Barn of Earthly Delights in a location that is so secret, not even the FBI knows where they live. But it is a mountain paradise. I'm out on their deck, getting some much needed fresh air, trees, stars and who else knows what lurks in the the mysterious forest. The Catskill Mountains are famous for its Native American shamans, sweat lodges and totems. I actually met a real shaman once and sat in his sweat lodge at three in the morning. This was in a small town called Ashokan, outside of Woodstock. The next day, a hawk flew over my head, and this has been my totem ever since. Thanks to my cousin Debbi for telling me she's missed my posts. It's just what I needed to get back into the fray. When times are tough its good to be reminded that you are valuable and loved. Peace out.