Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Wallis Simpson Or The Queen Mother?

Part of a series: Two choices—which do you choose?

Two years ago I read William Shawcross’ immense official biography of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother of England and became enamored of the story of lady who had a front-row seat to the entirety of the 20th century (and a little bit beyond).

Of course, along the way, I learned about the part Wallis Simpson played in Elizabeth's life. Now, as any good ladyblog reader knows, it is Total B.S. to pit two women against each other in the way that Wallis and Elizabeth have been (and as I am about to do). And yet, the Queen Mum probably [...]


A Chat With A Person Who Has Been To Disney Parks 40 Times

Part of a month-long series on terrible trips, great journeys and getting lost.

Last fall, I had dinner with my cousin, his wife and their two teenage sons, none of whom I get to see that often since they live in northern California while I'm in Chicago. My cousin mentioned that the family would be heading to Disneyland after they returned home. "That sounds like fun!" I said, but the two boys just rolled their eyes. "We go all the time," one of them said. "Our mom is obsessed." I was intrigued: I'd known my cousin's wife, Kris, for almost 20 years, but never knew about her dedication to [...]


Drinking While Pregnant

Part of a two-week series on the pull of bad influences in our lives and in the culture.

I found out that I was pregnant on Christmas Day, 2011. I am due on September 4. I had my first drink (not counting a sip of champagne on New Year’s) on March 25, 2012. It was a Michelob Ultra I received after finishing the Shamrock Shuffle 8K. I figured that I earned the beer after running the race, without stopping, in under an hour, plus, a Michelob Ultra hardly counts as a drink. It was delicious and felt a little bit naughty, which was a sensation I realized I missed from [...]


A Glossary Of Scientific Terms As Compiled By The GOP Candidates

Recently, several GOP presidential candidates have been quite vocal with their opinions on evolution vs. intelligent design. If Rick Perry sees evolution as a theory with "some gaps in it" and Michele Bachmann maintains that there can be "reasonable doubt on both sides" and Ron Paul, as a creationist, simply "doesn't accept" evolution occurred, you may well be curious about how they view other scientific theories and phenomena. Here's a primer we recently uncovered!

Gravity: The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or the weight pressed upon each of us by a thousand angels sitting on our heads? [...]


Ego Checks You May Encounter As A Blogger-Turned-Book-Writer

Just because an agent approaches you doesn’t mean you have a good book idea. The agent may have heard of you and figures that if you’ve written a million words online, you might be willing to publish 60,000 of them in a book. But the things you wrote might not make sense for a book. While the agent might love you and your voice, she might not be so hot on your other ideas, which can be confusing. Didn’t the other ideas come from you and your voice?

Just because you write most of a book doesn’t mean you can finish and sell a book. Doesn’t it seem like [...]


The Lessons You Learn When You Write About TV For Money

I started writing TV recaps and reviews a few years ago when a friend of a friend at a major newspaper told me they were expanding their TV coverage and needed people do cover a few shows, so I picked up two programs I already watched a lot, 'The Office' and 'ER.' It sounded easy enough, writing my thoughts on shows I already had opinions on anyway, although it took several tries to get the tone right–sometimes it still does. Some publications want a lot of recap, and some prefer that you assume that the readers saw the show and just touch on the major points. Some editors encourage [...]


The Rich Are Different: They Eat More Money

According to a recent issue of New York Magazine, local artisanal soda pop is the next hot food trend. This is going to make me look "in the know" here in Chicago because, while New York gets our weather remnants, we receive your stale food trends. Remember when cupcakes were all the rage back in the days when "Sex and the City" was a TV show? We just finally got over them (Chicago is one step ahead of food networks, though, as "DC Cupcakes" is now a thing). Currently our city is hot for hamburgers. If you're a culinary trendster then you know the difference between M. Burger, DMK [...]


Understudies! Don’t Cry For My Dad, Argentina

I'll never forget the night my mom quit going to musicals: it felt like the first and only time she abandoned the family because, technically, she did. It was 1993 and as a very special treat, just before Christmas, my mom, dad, brother and I went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Donny Osmond at the Chicago Theater. We'd have dinner, see the show and then spend the night downtown. Fancy!