Archive | November, 2010

Sarah Palin: The Anti-Woman Woman

17 Nov

My friends like to kid me (Well, sort of kid. I think they’re actually serious most of the time.) that I do my best writing when I’m pissed off/on my high horse/ full of righteous indignation. If that’s the case, hold tight because I’m good and pissed off right now.

I just read an excerpt from Sarah Palin’s new book. If you haven’t just eaten, you can go over to Gawker and read a little of it. If you’ve just eaten, I recommend waiting a while to read it. I want to zone in on one area in particular.

Ms. Palin discusses her pro-life position.  About young women in the pro-life movement she says, “They are young, their ranks are growing, and the girls and women among them are not buying yesterday’s orthodoxy about the inextricable link between abortion and women’s liberation. No matter how many times the feminist establishment tells them to sit down and shut up, they show no signs of doing so. Let the debate over the true meaning of feminism begin.”  She says that feminists, “seem to want to tell these young women that they’re not capable, that you can’t give your child life and still pursue your dreams. Their message is: ‘Women, you are not strong enough or smart enough to do both. You are not capable.’”

She talks about her son who has Down’s syndrome. She says, “I want to help other women who are in the same situation. Women who may be thinking that these are less-than-ideal circumstances to have a child, and maybe I can just make this go away and we’ll pretend it never happened. I want to tell them that if you give this life a chance, your life truly will change for the better.”

Of her daughter who became pregnant at seventeen, she says, “I’m proud that she chose life.” She says that what she and her daughter went through with their pregnancies changed her own perspective. “I understand much better why a woman might be tempted to take what seems like the easy way out and change the circumstances. I understand what goes through her mind, even if for a brief moment, a split second, because I’ve been there.”

You know, I couldn’t be here—sitting here at my computer, speaking my mind—if it weren’t for the women who came before me and cleared the road. What “women’s liberation” did for me was allow me to have a voice. To be part of the process. No one has ever told me to “sit down and shut up” although I’m sure there are many who have wanted to.  I’ve not silenced another woman’s voice. And I never will. You know why? It is in diversity that we find commonality. It has been my experience that when we take the time to listen to each other’s very different stories, our desire is to find a shared one.  And I believe that when people with very differing views communicate—really talk and listen to each other—the joy we have in our shared experiences increases exponentially.

The problem I have with Ms. Palin’s assertion that the “feminist establishment” is so dogmatic is that her position is so anti-woman. It’s like writers trashing other writers. It’s like a high school version of the real world. And it’s just not true. NEVER has any woman told me I couldn’t or shouldn’t pursue my dreams. And you know what? Because of that, I’ve NEVER said that to another woman. I wouldn’t. Because it doesn’t matter if I agree with her position or think her dream is ridiculous. There is room enough for both of us.  That, for her, what the women’s movement boils down to is abortion rights rips away the accomplishments of all those other women before us who fought (and still fight) for equal pay, affordable child care, or holding a public office.

But what really hurts me is that Ms. Palin wants to take away what she is so proud of: Choice. Choice. Chance. Decision.  She and her daughter chose to have children. Why is it not okay for me to choose not to have children? Why does it always come down to abortion? I chose not to have children. That’s totally different from choosing to abort.  So maybe my family doesn’t look like hers, but mine is the family I chose.

I know no woman who sees abortion as birth control. I can’t think of a single woman I know who faced an unplanned pregnancy who was willing to “pretend it never happened.” It makes me so incredibly sad that Ms. Palin thinks the decision to abort is an easy one. Because if we’re still talking about family planning in those terms, we’re screwed, guys.

What I can give to other women is the benefit of my experience, and Ms. Palin can as well. Ms. Palin should absolutely share her story if she chooses. We need to hear all sides. More importantly, we need to listen to all sides.  And it should be absolutely none of her business what my story is unless I choose to share it with her.

Because it’s not about the fact that someone is pro-life. That’s a ridiculous label, “pro-life”.  I’m not “anti-life” because I believe a woman has a right to a safe abortion. It is about the fact that people like Ms. Palin want to take my choice away. Ms. Palin doesn’t think I’m smart enough to choose for myself. So all that stuff about the feminist agenda and the “feminist establishment” is just projection.  All that blunder, all that smoke isn’t a call to women for us not to buy The Establishment line. It’s simply one woman saying to another: I know what’s better for you than you do. And that is about the most anti-woman position I can think of.

So Ms. Palin can call herself a part of the new breed of feminists if she wants. I don’t really care. It’s not the label that’s important. It’s what’s in the bottle that matters. And I don’t really see much in that particular bottle other than a bunch of nothing.


Tech Support for Friends and Family

4 Nov

I had a discussion this morning with a graphic designer friend on her, ah, let’s call it distaste for PowerPoint presentations. That, of course, led to the story of a STIRRING PowerPoint I had to create recently. Drop shadows were involved. She wanted to know if Comic Sans was also involved. I said no, but I had something even better. The person I did the presentation for had his Word and email default font set to Comic Sans. Sigh.

That made me remember a time when I was a trainer for a retailer. We were installing a new computer/point of sale system in the stores, and I taught people to use it. I occasionally had issues with some of the older employees who maybe didn’t have the level of comfort with technology some of the younger employees had. During one session, I noticed a woman sort of stuck in the middle of a practice transaction. I went to see what was going on, and she said she was ready to check out—to total the sale—but the register wouldn’t let her. I said, well, in order to finish the transaction, you need to tell it to “total”, a word chosen specifically because there is a “total” button on the register. She turned to the register and said—out loud—“I’m ready to check out.”


It seemed only fitting to have the following conversation this afternoon with a person I’ll call Mr. Spacey.

Mr. Spacey: I’m trying to go to this website, but when I type it in, I get this weird thing and then it goes back to my homepage.

Me: Hmmm. Not sure why it’s going back to your homepage, but my first guess would be the site isn’t compatible with your browser.

Mr. Spacey: But it takes me back to my homepage.

Me: I think you just need to try another browser.

Mr. Spacey: But I’ve been to this website before.

Me: Okay, but try another browser.

Mr. Spacey: But it takes me back to my homepage.

Me: Just try another browser.

Mr. Spacey: I’m not using a browser.

Me: If you’re looking up a website on the Internet, you have to be using a browser.

Mr. Spacey: What’s a browser?

Me: Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera. All of them are installed on that computer.

Mr. Spacey: I’m using Firefox.

Me: Okay, try Chrome or Explorer.

Mr. Spacey: But I’ve been to this site on Firefox at Dan’s.

Me: Well, Dan’s version of Firefox is probably a lot older than that one.

Mr. Spacey: You don’t know that.

Me: No, it’s an assumption based on the fact that Dan never updates his computer, is running XP Service Pack 1, and always has viruses because he doesn’t know how to install antivirus software. Look, some sites won’t work in some browsers, but Explorer has a thing that usually allows  sort of uncompatible sites to be viewed. It’s an icon in the toolbar that looks like a page with a rip in it. Plus pretty much every site on the planet is Explorer compatible.

Mr. Spacey: I have no idea what you just said. You don’t need to get snippy, but I’ve used Firefox for this site.

Me: Look, try Explorer. Please? Then if it doesn’t work, we’ll go from there.

Mr. Spacey: Well…I guess. (types) That worked.

Me: What a surprise.

Mr. Spacey: You think I should try it in Firefox now? Since we know it works?

Me: (Repeatedly bangs head against plaster wall.)

Sandra Lee Makes The Inaugural Ball Semi Homemade

3 Nov

Today is all about celebrating Andy’s win in the New York governor’s race, and we’re going to do it the Semi Homemade Way! I am going to share with you an exclusive peak at the menu for Andy’s inaugural ball! Now that I am First Partner of New York State, I’m going to do it up right!  We are going to make some fabulous Empire State Buffalo Spiedie Skewers with Thousand Islands Dipping Sauce, a delicious take on fusion cooking– New Yawk City Pizza Steamed Dumplings with Waldorf Salad Dipping Sauce, and for desert we’re making the official muffin of New York State—the Apple Muffin. And we’ll finish up with—what else?—Long Island Ice Teas for our cocktails. And I can’t wait to show you the TableSkapes™ I’ve planned for the big event! Remember, we’ll use 30 percent fresh ingredients and 70 percent premade ingredients. Give or take 20 percent or so. Follow me into the kitchen and let’s get started!

Now, for our Empire State Spiedie Skewers—and just so you know, a spiedie is a New York specialty that’s like a chicken sandwich with chunks of marinated chicken grilled on skewers or spits, and then popped into a soft submarine roll. We’re going to make it really scream New York by adding some zingy Buffalo flavor to it! Now because it’s Semi Homemade, there’s no need to spend hours marinating and grilling your chicken. All you need to do is run by Subway and get their Buffalo chicken sandwich. I’m getting about 700 of them for the ball. But I’ve got a couple here to show you how to make them Semi Homemade. I want you to get some with Italian bread and some with the 9-grain bread for those who are more health conscious. Now, order them plain. That’s really important because you’re going to want to set out platters of lettuce, tomato, and onion. That’s the fresh component to this New York dish. Then, just open a bottle of Thousand Island dressing and pop it into one of the fabulous bowls you have on your TableSkape™. I’ll show you those later.

For our delicious and unique New Yawk City Pizza Steamed Dumplings, I want you to start by ordering a Pizza Hut Big New Yorker Pizza. Then you just want to grab a pack of wonton wrappers—they’re usually in the produce section of your market and you’ve probably missed them because they’re in the outside 30 percent of the market where the fresh foods are, but don’t be afraid to look around while you’re there. Now, you just want to cut pieces of the pizza a little smaller than the wonton wrappers. Pop a piece of pizza onto the wrapper, and then pinch it closed at the top like a little purse. Now I use a bamboo steamer to give them a really authentic touch, but you can just pop those dumplings into a Ziploc steamer bag and pop them into the microwave for a couple minutes.  For the Waldorf dipping sauce, I want you to use store-bought mayo, some apple cider—but you can use plain apple juice if that’s what you have—and some walnuts. Then I want you to pop those ingredients into the blender and then pour your sauce into one of your fabulous bowls from your TableSkape™.

Next for our fabulous apple muffins, all I want you to do is just pop over to the bakery section of your market and grab some apple muffins. If for some reason they don’t have muffins, you can always use Danish. All you need to do is take some apple jelly and I want you to pop it into a saucepan and simmer it until it thickens. Then just take a spoon and drizzle some of that glorious glaze onto your muffins. Then I want you to take a tube of white icing and just drizzle it back and forth over the muffins to give them a real classy touch.

And now for everyone’s favorite time! Cocktail time! These Long Island ice teas will be served in beautiful, antique, sterling silver punch bowls at the governor’s mansion. All I’m doing is taking bottles of pre-mixed Long Island ice tea—Chi Chi’s makes a great one—and pouring them into the punch bowls.  Then I’ll garnish with some beautiful raspberries, mango, and mint leaves.

For a beautiful TableSkape™ you can make at home, I just want you to buy a large silver bowl. Then pop the bowl on top of a tall glass that’s set on top of a small bowl that’s under another glass. This will give your TableSkape™ some height and add interest. Then just pop some gold-colored faux grapes around your table. For our plates, I’ve just used plain white plates and I’ve added gold braid and buttons around them for an elegant touch. Then I just spray painted gold some old cut glass tumblers I found sitting around the mansion. I filled them with cinnamon candies and apple flavored Now-n-Laters for a whimsical favor with an elegant touch. Our guests can take them home as a memory of a wonderful evening.

So there’s our inaugural ball menu! Remember: keep it simple, keep it classy, and keep it Semi Homemade!