Archive | October 2011

Plus Sizes Were Already Fashion Forward! Who Knew?

Several years ago, in one of its ritualistic orgasms, the fashion world discovered “Jeggings.” Leggings made out denim! Who had thought up this amazing blend of comfort and style?
Plus size designers, that’s who. For years “denim leggings” had been available to the larger lovely who did not want the discomfort of traditional blue jeans. Some were plain, others had stitching like regular jeans, and some even belt loops and mock fly fronts.

Manufacturers and designers have caught on to the fact that plus size clothing designs, are comfortable and cheap to manufacture. At Full Figured Fashion Week in 2010 among the swag was black rayon long vest that fell around my body in becoming folds. It was the first I had seen of this garment. Now, they are everywhere. Plus sized women have been wearing “flyaway” cardigans, tunics and babydoll tops for years. Now, so is everyone else. Who knew, rather than frumpy, we are in the fashion vanguard?

For one thing, the bonuses for those who actually manufacture the clothes are the lack of buttons and proliferation of economical materials. Calling fabrics “tissue cotton” and “whisper-light” are euphemisms for “flimsy, thin and cheap.”

For another, these drapey garments are universally flattering. Heavy women have been wearing capes, ponchos and cover-ups for as long as memory serves. Now women from size 0 to 12 are also swanning about town in flowing robes.

It is not necessarily because Americans are getting heavier. Strolling the streets of Manhattan, one observes a great many thin women wearing fluid rayon tops, swirling open-front hip-length “cardigans” with strategic folds and ruffles, and jeggings. Victoria’s Secret, that bastion of body-con, has fluttering “cardis” (a nauseating term).

Photograph courtesy of Victoria’s Secret

Going higher up the fashion food chain, one sees that designers are also not averse to billowing fabric, albeit higher quality. The models under them are also “whisper-thin.”

Martin Grant

Martin Grant

Photos courtesy of

In another entry I shall bemoan the common trends that plague the plus size industry, but that is for later. For now, take satisfaction that even the gauntest fashion plate is covering up.



Review: Is "House" Now A "Charity Case" ? 8×03


Episode 8×03, “Charity Case,” is aptly named. It sits on the street, legs crossed, begging bowl in lap, looking toward the viewers. “Please help me! Please, give me my demographic! Look, I gave you back the Magicam! The whiteboard! Clinic duty!”

This episode reminded your faithful correspondent of a rickety beach house. Boards slapped on haphazardly to keep the wind out. Poles keep the walls from collapsing. Years ago, this was a lovely house, but time, the elements, and spectacularly bad judgment have brought it to this sorry state. Very well, I’ll stop the metaphor there and leave out the part about the bad wiring.

In the open, as soon as the POTW (Wentworth Miller) talked to the woman at the shelter, I knew after his exit she would find a mysterious check for ONE MEEILLION dollars! (Pinky at mouth.) As soon as Mr. Handsome leaves, he collapses and we go to:

The utter lack of credits. What foolery is this? If you’re going to go “back to basics,” why not restore the song? Is NBC too cheap to pony up the money for the rights? Is it because Odette Annable might jump to the other show when it’s renewed and they’ve have to remove her credit? Just a sort of orangey picture and a huffing noise. Only “Supernatural” can pull this off.

Mr. Handsome is a gazillionaire who gives all of his money away and lives in poverty. Naturally, this does not sit well with his wife, who probably wants a decent three-bedroom apartment with a view. Like the environmentalist in S5 “Saviours,” the POTW feels that other people are equally deserving–if not more so–than his own offspring.

House is sure Mr. Handsome’s extreme altruism is a symptom, that nobody is that generous.

As in:

S2: “Autopsy” – House believes courage is a symptom (no)
S4: “No More Mr. Nice Guy” – niceness is a symptom (yes)
S5 “Brave Heart” – bravery is a symptom (sorta)
S6: “Instant Karma” – millionaire gives up money to save his son (it didn’t make any sense at the time, either)
S7: Some guy jumps in front of a train to save a little girl – heroism is a symptom (can’t remember)

13 puts in an appearance, telling House she has found the right girl and doesn’t want to be a doctor any more. Since we already know this is Olivia Wilde’s last episode, listening to her argue with House is tiresome. But—and this is bizarre—the most colorless character on the show suddenly seems like a STAR because she’s in the same room with House’s two new little girls.

These two actresses…I mean, why? Charlene Yi can’t act and has the most annoying voice since Cuddles, the Downy Soft bear. Odette Annabel can’t act either, but she is excellent at wearing her hair in a fetching cascade down one side. The reason why they have been hired might be that Laurie, Shore and Yaitanes are all having mid-life crises and nothing eases the pain like a barely pubescent female. In fact, this may be why Hugh Laurie is using Just For Men on his hair and beard, rather than the foxy silver it is in real life. From the front he looks like he’s wearing three reddish brown pom-poms on his head.

Getting “back to basics” means bringing back the Magicam (a welcome addition); a repeat of the scene where House pitches small objects (peanut shells) from the balcony toward the back of a janitor; clinic duty, which manages to be unfunny AND derivative. A kid is masturbating. Wow. Back to the fun, indeed.

Wilson puts in an appearance as House’s conscience and provides the epiphany, I forget how.

Foreman gets to break House’s balls over deliberately dosing Mr. Handsome to create symptoms before Mr. Handsome can be discharged. “You’re off the case.” I like this Foreman. But then, I’ve always loved Foreman.

Still, the void created by the lack of Cuddy is unmistakable. No mature female on the show, no interesting sexual politics, no one for a woman over the age of 18 to identify with. No woman who can act. Yi and Annable enact a subplot about Yi’s inability to accept charity (OW! That anvil hurt when it hit my foot!). Chase is going to appear ridiculously old when he shows up; House already looks like their horny grandfather.

To cut to the chase (God, I miss Chase), House and his two little girls/new team solve the case. Mr. Handsome’s altruism is a symptom of a nodule on his thyroid. Before he diagnoses Mr. Handsome, House tries to get a ONE MEEEILLION DOLLAR donation to get his team back. And presumably the office next door, now being used for orthopedics. He diagnoses Mr. Handsome, and no ONE MEEILLION DOLLARS for poor House. Oops.

Then it’s time for a last dose of altruism, as House selflessly sends Thirteen away to a life of Sapphic pleasure in Greece. And Ms. Wilde to a multi-million dollar movie career.

So perhaps it’s not altruism, it’s sour grapes.



Prevent Mississipi from Passing Personhood Amendment!


As you know from my previous blog posts, I am a supporter of a woman’s right to choose. Today I am writing about an issue that is getting no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the “Personhood Amendment”. This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state. They are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn’t just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What’s more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this is that time.

What to do?

– Read about it. Wake Up Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

– If you can afford it, you can donate at the site’s link.

– You can contact the contact the Democratic National Committee to ask why more of our representatives aren’t speaking out against this.

– Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

Darling readers, I ask that you do whatever you can to prevent this from happening.

Margaret Atwood was more prescient than one hoped.


Let Loose The Attache’ Case of War: Mercury Falls by Rob Kroese


You might think that reviews are not my bailiwick, but a survey of this blog-thing will show that I have reviewed books, films, and of course, television.

Mercury Falls is the first in a series by humor writer Rob Kroese, whose day job is as a pastor. In an interview, when asked his greatest influence, he starts off with the Bible, but corrects himself to say Douglas Adams.

Hence, my review of this tome must start with a disclaimer: I am an atheist. Not only am I an atheist by choice, I am an atheist by upbringing. I know not the Lord’s Prayer. I have only glanced through the Bible. (Not enough descriptions of the clothes, for one thing.) The longing for spiritual meaning is to me as foreign as wanting to be a contract lawyer. And I have never read Douglas Adams, either. So if you are a big fan of those books, you might want to stop right here.

Since Mercury Falls assumes knowledge of the Bible and Christianity, quite a bit of the story was perplexing. Was there supposed to be higher meaning to the organizations and conflicts therein? Some organizational principle that this reviewer simply didn’t know? Perhaps. It is an entertaining read, but pour moi, often confusing. However, Kroese has a quick wit and a way with dialogue that pulled me through.

Imagine, if you will, that the Apocalypse is nigh. And nigh. And nigh. That is the hamster wheel career of reporter Christine Temetri. The unlucky lass covers apocalyptic cults for The Banner, a religious publication. The hitch is that the Apocalypse never shows up. And Christine is getting End Times burn-out.

As she is about to quit, her editor gives her an assignment that leads her to Gabriel Mercury, an angel who has gone rogue. He has forsaken the task of arranging the end of humanity for beer, ping-pong and Rice Krispy treats. (I heartily agree with him.) While Christine remains a bit of a cipher throughout, Mercury is engaging (at one point he compares the Apocalypse without the Antichrist to “The King And I without Yul Brynner”). The most entertaining participant, for me, is the petulant Antichrist, Karl Grissom. Up until the start of his reign, Karl has been living with his mother and playing videogames. The latter is excellent preparation for being the Antichrist, as far as your devoted epistler is concerned. This is an up to dateArmageddon. The Four Attaché Cases of the Apocalypse have been loosed. A reference to the Attaché Case of Death made me laugh out loud.

Part of the opening set piece, a small-time cult leader invoking the Bridegroom with the help of some local girls as the Ten Virgins, is very funny. As is the assassination attempt on Karl’s life in front of a restaurant giving out free cheeseburgers. But the plot is absolutely Byzantine. The opening set piece was only part of a long chapter, most of which could be distilled down to a few sentences. Angels and devils all abound, and linoleum figures into the story as well.

The writing is witty, but Kroese needs to overcome a fondness for an overly-jokey, self-congratulatory style. And footnotes. The latter seem to be more for the author’s entertainment than the reader’s. The ending of Mercury Falls is abrupt, as if the novel had run out of ideas. Heaven knows this novel has ideas aplenty, pardon the pun And the last chapter is…well…annoyingly self-indulgent. Its main purpose is to deflect any criticism of the story being too dense, too long, and having footnotes.

But if you are a fan of Douglas Adams and writers of his ilk, this book may well be your cup of myrrh. Kroese is a writer who needs an editor to pare down his text and thereby polish his wit.

You can find it at