Thursday, November 30, 2006

So long and Thank you.

So Long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night....

Sniffle - oh how I will miss you, A Taste of Red - with your vibrant wine glass, sounds of my favorite song (THE taste of red) ringing in my ears. With your slighly cluttered but lived in feel. And with your archives filled with nonsense past.

My new blog is up and running! It is bittersweet, I must admit. But I am looking forward to posting with some regularly again and engage onece more without the fear of censorship or termination.

And I just want to say...thank you, darling readers of red. Thank you all for your support, help, advice, humor, comments and friendship. I would have never ever thought when I jumped into the DC blogging pool ya'll would not only teach me to swim but keep me afloat.

Who'd have thought I'd meet some of the most amazing people and be lucky enough to now call many of them friends. Please permit me to say a special thank you to:

HP - I am in perpetual awe of you. Your strength, your humor, your talent. There's no one else I would rather sit in a smokey corner and trade bitchy (but funny) observations with. I'm so lucky to have you as part of my life.

Tink - My darling blog twin and fellow cinema junkie. Who else would help me sneak out of the back of a restaurant to get away from a bad date on a moment's notice and then run into your ex-fiance who I made out with many moons ago and who happens to be the best friend of 'the little sh*t' that almost got me fired! Just remember - it's all about following the lessons that lifetime television teaches us.

Allen - My vino guru. Thank you for being a sponge to soak up my rants and reassurance that nice guys do exist.

66 - Without the cajoling I'd have never had the guts to step out from behind the blog. I'm so glad I did. Thank you.

Travel Girl - Woman, there are no words. Just 'cheers to that.'

VK - My movie buddy. Who knew such a cool guy could really be so sweet?

Last and NEVER least my fellow redheads - I'm still with ya gals - just gimme time to find my grove over there.

Bug Hugs! Please update your links give me a week or so and yours will be up and running as well.

See you around and feel free to email me at for links to the new site!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stalker Material?

Writing seems to be a bit like exercise. If you don’t do it every day or at least with some regularity your stamina, flexibility and strength begin to wain a bit. In the case of writing, I think creative ideas, personal expression, and general discipline tend to all fall victim to the inactivity of my keyboard to tasks other than IM’ing and looking for incredibly expensive shoes I cannot afford to buy.

Not that I’m ‘waining’ necessarily but I find it a bit less pressing to fill my blog with content now that it is passworded. I am eagerly awaiting the completion of “The Scarlett Letters” and as much as this blog is/was dedicated to life as a redhead, reds in the news, and general redheaded fabulousness – because I was well advised to leave the redhead thing behind, The Scarlett Letters will be devoted to difficult women. Women who are vilified in some way, difficult to deal with in all their feistiness, and in general punished for their outspokenness. I’m sure I’ll have pleanty of material to work with.

In other news: I have a date tomorrow night. A date. I met him while out with HP after the Blogger happy hour (which was great btw). Crazy times always seem to ensue when HP is present :)

He was very nice, told me I was beautiful, blah blah blah. I think it was the redheaded sluts back at Macky's but I gave him my number. He texted me on monday to say that he was watching the wizard of oz and i reminded him of dorothy (since that is my favorite movie of all time and he had no way of knowing this...well it was quite the compliment). He called me monday night and we chatted and he said 'i haven't been nervous calling a girl since i was 15 but I was nervous calling you.' (kinda dorky but sweet).

Anyway, he's a trader in NYC and he is flying down here for the sole purpose of taking me to the movies and dinner tomorrow night. Yes. he bought a plane ticket and is staying at a hotel and taking me out. He also said he got me something. Does this have stalker written all over it?

I'm also mildly guilty. With the Canadian in the picture and all. I CAN go on dates, we have an open dating policy....can't explain it. I also don't know if I feel really ready to date again yet. He was just so sweet...I couldn't say no. It doesnt mean I need to have a relationship with's just one night...

ok i'm rambling now and the nyquill is kicking in. sweet dreams.

Monday, November 13, 2006

'Miss Scarlett' on the Web with the Blog

Thank you all for the advice and support.

The little shit has actually screwed himself – he will never be offered a job now after his internship as he has proven that he’s a vindictive little skank who is NOT to be trusted. Hmm…maybe I will take up with a politician or an IRS employee, have him audited someday or something. Allen and I actually talked about starting a ‘buy the intern a herpes infected hooker’ fund.

So today I said about 4 ‘our fathers’ while riding the train to work – in English, Latin, French, Irish Gaelic – just to cover my bases. It’s the most praying I’ve done since Notre Dame Prep.

The little shit wasn’t there today – but the gal I blogged about was and she was pretty hostile. To be expected I suppose. Oh well. I faced it – I kissed a LOT of ass, smiled and did my best and I hope it will be better tomorrow. What else can I do?

Non Blogging was not a condition of employment and they said I could keep my blog. I just think there are too many people from work reading now so…I’d have a hard time posting what I want to post I think. Oh well. I like ‘Scarlett Letters’ – I don’t think anyone in my office is especially internet savy and would take a lot of effort to find my new blog. Not to mention the fact that I will be careful not to write about work on it and I probably won't post my archives for awhile.

So on to the next chapter and ‘The Scarlett Letters’ it is! It’s got the red thing – it’s got the whole – ‘you’re evil and have been branded’ literary connotation which is somewhat accurate now I suppose. The new posting name will be ‘Miss Scarlett’ (either of the Miss O’Hara persuasion –got the irish thing in there too, or the vampy Clue character – take your pick). Too cliché do you think? Or cute and creative?

I’m really sad to leave A Taste of Red Behind! It’s like saying goodbye to a friend or personae. I’m a dork…I know. Well I hope you will all still love me when ‘Miss Scarlett’ makes her debut. I’ll still post all protected n’stuff here until its ready.

I will let you know when it’s up and running. On to better things I suppose. I’m taking this as a chance for doing something new.

Big Hugs to ya'll!


Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'm Movin' On

Hello, friends.

I am posting this to let you know why I am now passwording. On Friday I was almost fired for my blog.

A few weeks ago, my intern (who I will now refer to as 'the little shit') hooked up with a friend of mine. The friend told me just that he happens to have a lot of woodden crosses in his bedroom and it freaked her out. In a gossipy, ill advised mood, I shared this information with some of my collegues. Last week, after too much to drink, the collegue poked fun of the little shit.

The little shit reads my blog. And the little shit showed my VP wednesday's rant as it was about her.

Long story short - I had to beg for my job on Saturday morning.

I am not fired but I do not think it would be wise to keep blogging on this site. Without passwording everything and that's just no fun.

But I will be passwording until I decide where I'm moving. Right now all that's hindering the 'move' is a new name. I love "a taste of red' so much and so it will be sad to leave. But any suggestions about a new name are welcomed and certainly appreciated. I'd like to keep with the Red theme though. So far I'm thinking either 'The Scarlett Letters', 'Red Tape', 'Redheaded Phoenix', or 'A Red Light in the District'.

Big Hugs to All!

Friday, November 10, 2006

30 is the new 20!

This post is dedicated to the most fabulous newly 30 person I KNOW!!!

And remember - this is YOUR day! Drugs, Strippers, Alcohol - you name it, and I'll make it happen!!!

And you can wish our darling HP well tonight at....

Hosted by the UBER-fabulous I-66. I can't wait to see you all again!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Why oh Why?

I’m hung over, boys and girls. So ….because of my throbbing head and the fact that my eyes are half open, we’re resorting to updates in the form of bullets:

  • Why oh why are boys so weird? I was out Saturday night with my blogging partner in crime and as the night was winding down at 1 AM, we were definitely more interested in food than in any of the men around us and as is the case when I go out with HP, I’m usually having so much fun talking to her that I don’t even pay attention to the men around me. Anyhoo….we’re eating, chatting and plotting the deaths of boys who don’t return phone calls and all of a sudden a man walks up to me and says “you are beautiful, you know that?” (surprised, and speechless) “wow, …um…thank you?” “Stunning!” “thank you again?” and he walks out the door.

    What would possess a man to do this? Tell a girl she’s ‘stunning’ and then don’t ask her for her number!? Very odd. Don’t get me wrong. The compliment was disarming and very nice – especially after complaining about all the hordes of blonde, skinny bitches that seemed to follow us into every bar we went to.

    So here’s a tip for the menfolk – if you call a girl ‘stunning’, chances are she’ll want to talk to you – so STAY.

  • Why oh why oh why can’t I just shut up? I was on the phone with the Canadian last night after many many drinks and had to mention yesterday’s post – as we have a running joke about stupid people….and why is this a bad thing you ask? Canadian doesn’t know I have a blog. Canadian doesn’t know a lot of information that he would discover if he were to peruse A Taste of Red. So I made him promise not to go looking for it, and so far no Canadian flags have popped up on my site meter. So here’s hopin’ he WON’T look for it – or if he does, hopefully it won’t be ALL that easy to find. After all what could he search for? The name of my cat? Probably the subject of yesterday’s post? All of which I have googled and blogger-ed and this little web space is nowhere to be found.

    But why did I open my big mouth? Truth be told I’ve been dying to talk to him about the blogging – since I love it and get the occasional positive feedback. I’ve also wanted to tell him because he has a blog as well – so yes – I wanted to say, look at me! Look at me!

  • Why oh why do I feel the need to talk to Exs? SA is in the states – in Miami actually. And we have talked every night this week. He’s not good for me to talk to. He can be sweet, charming, etc. But he’s a manipulative little something-or-other and ….well…its best if we don’t speak. Will I heed this bit of self-advice this evening? Who knows.

  • Why oh why am I dateless? The Canadian is NOT coming to take me to the wedding next weekend. So unless my favorite Irish boy in Detroit comes through….it’ll be me alone on a military base…hmmm…that could actually be kind of fun – but a definite recipe for trouble.

And Lastly….

  • Why oh why did I drink so much last night???


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Voter Hangover

I would like to clarify a few things before you proceed, dear reader, with this morning's rant:

#1. You know I don’t generally pursue topics of a political nature on A Taste of Red. I leave that to many Democrats, Republicans and the just plain brilliant bloggers in the DC area who are much more inclined to wax philosophical on these topics daily.

Whether or not I agree with them, they are good at what they do – and so I leave it to them to do it. Don't get me wrong, I certainly have, cherish, and am passionate about my political opinions and leanings, however, I find my rants on the subject are much better placed to my father over the phone or yelling and throwing the occasional pillow or nail file (as was the case Monday night) at political commentators and elected officials who appear on my television screen and speak faster than I can hit the mute button or change the channel (hey – I’m a Redhead! We get fired up!) - to be more personally cathartic for me than posting it on here. Revelation: I am more than just a big smile and a short skirt….Gasp!

#2. If you have an opinion, that you can back up with substantial evidence, thought and rationality…I will happily listen, discuss and perhaps disagree – but I will respect your views.

Ok, let’s get on with it.

Never mind what I think about this morning’s election results. Unimportant. I have conservative friends, liberal friends and my best friend in the world is a card carrying communist – who my father refers to as ‘his favorite Bolshevik’.

I don’t hate Republicans…..I don’t hate Democrats…..I hate Stupid People. And for the purposes of this rant, I classify the ‘uninformed’ as stupid. Not only should stupid people not be allowed to reproduce…more importantly, they should NOT be allowed to vote. It is an absolute abuse of the system. They should make you take a test before they even let you come to the polls and if you cannot identify at least 3 people on the ballot which you will cast, you should not be allowed to cast it.

Someone walked into my office yesterday and said, “I voted.”
Good for you.
“I voted [PARTY] all the way down the line.”
Well that’s smart.

I promise you, if you put a gun to this woman’s head she couldn’t tell you WHO she actually voted for, just what side of the ballot she checked. Furthermore, she couldn’t tell you one reason behind her professed political affiliation other than something as arbitrary as ‘I’m pro life’ or ‘Bush sucks’ (see…it happens on BOTH sides of the aisle). No wonder we have such perverted idiots in office – NO ONE KNOWS WHO THE HELL THEY’RE PUTTING IN OFFICE!

This is unacceptable - ESPECIALLY if you live in Washington, DC! We are in the middle of this governmental ball of string we affectionately refer to as 'inside the beltway'. Our neighbors, friends, family, bosses, significant others, the dirty old man that hits on you at the bar - are the one's being elected. If the people who live here, are immersed in the political culture, are inconvenienced by political motorcades for crying out loud, can't even pick up the most basic pieces of information through informational OSMOSIS - what HOPE does the rest of the country have!?

If you have any questions of my personal political leanings, just be happy in knowing that I KNEW who I voted for yesterday, and more importantly, why.


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Bad Boys Bad Boys; Whatcha Gonna Do?

Sunday night at around 7:45 p.m., my phone started ringing off the hook – My father in Dallas, my mother in Michigan, my supervising VP, my best friend in Chicago…all to tell me “Russell Crowe’s coming up on 60 minutes! Thought you’d want to know.”

Well indeed I did. Why? Because I looooooove him!

Why do I loooooooove him? Why do I think he is the sexiest man on the face of the planet? Is it the smirky smile? Is it the ice blue eyes? Is it the amazing talent? Is it those AMAZING arms in Gladiator? Is it the accent? Well….it MAY be the accent. But I think the biggest reason (much to my father’s horror) is that he is…the definitive bad boy.

His irreverence, his temper, his womanizing (until his marriage in 2004 – a tragic day I've yet to recover from), his talent, his intelligence, his ….rugby uniform?

And while we're on the subject, what is it about rugby players that gets me every time? I think it's the fact that they're all beefy (i mean, really, have you ever seen a scrawny rugby player?) and so tough - they don't even wear padding. Plus they USUALLY have accents - and who doesn't love a good accent?

But really....what is it about the "bad boys" that I find so irresistible?

After all, I'm not the only gal who has ever suffered from the bad-boy-bug – women everywhere, throughout history have flocked to these arrogant jerks at their own emotional peril. The dusty, yellowed pages of literature are filled with them (From the sullen Mr. Darcy to the oh so charming Rhett Butler).

They enchant us on the silver screen – James Dean, Colin Ferril, my boyfriend, Russell.

Even on the Broadway stage – Danny Zucco, and The Phantom of the Opera. Incidently, Gerard Butler’s portrayal of the Phantom in movie version is – easily the sexiest pice of film ever created.

But seriously, what is it? Is it that they don’t NEED us? Is it that there’s something just inherently sexy in arrogance, is it their ‘badness’ that makes them special? Is it the fact that they're somehow off limits? That we still need to rebel against our parents in some way? Is it their uniqueness - the fact they stand out in a crowd? Lets face it – we ALL want someone ‘special’ because it increases our real estate value by association. It’s more challenging. The thrill of the hunt and the chase. I’m sure it stems from much the same reason as the Men love Bitches mentality. But really it’s ultimately masochistic.

Think about it. The badder they are – the more you want them.

While watching the Russell Crowe interview I realized how long and sordid my history with ‘bad boys’ really is. In fact, he reminds me, much to my father’s shigrin, of not one, but many of my exs.

His eyes with their impish sparkle and intense blue-ness reminds me of my high school boyfriend – TOTAL bad boy. Punk rocker, brilliant, crazy, an Olympic athlete, piano prodigy, wore combat boots, anarchy t’s, introduced me to the Sex Pistols, Russian poetry and Marlboro Reds.

His accent and long hair remind me of the South African ropes instructor, take charge attitude (be still my heart)…amazing sex....crazy sex...(and to think he was a virgin when i met him) . He's actually visiting the states right now - and I may see him next weekend...wouldn't that be interesting after 6 years.

His physique - completely reminicient of the football player of 2005 – athletic, cocky, competitive. Besides the punk rocker, I eventually came to my senses and broke up with all of them.

Maybe I'll come to my senses one day but until then....I'm sure I still have a bad boy or two in my future.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Your French Name is:

Aurélie Achard
You Are A Fig Tree

You are very independent and strong minded.
A hard worker when you want to be, you play hard too.
You are honest and loyal. You hate contradiction or arguments.
You love life, and you live for your friends, children, and animals.
A great sense of humor, artistic talent, and intelligence are all gifts you possess.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Fashion Contraband

From 7th grade through high school I wore a skirt 5 days a week. At 'Notre Dame Prep' we wore 'black watch plaid' kilts even in the freezing Indiana winter - with only our navy blue tights to keep us warm (bbbrrrrr). Since we wore these skirts (made of 100% polyester – fabulous, I know) 5 days a week for the entire school year, they naturally took quite a beating – from paint splatters in the art room, to running around at lunchtime – we routinely held the falling out hems together with safety pins, or my personal favorite, duct tape.

But we were careful in our mending as there was a rule that skirts had to be no more than an inch above the knee. And to in force this nazi-esque restriction, in the event there was any question as to whether a violation had taken place, teachers reserved the right to make us kneel down to see how far our skirts were from the ground. And so from 7th grade – 10th I lived in fear of tape measures and was careful to make sure that I was not in violation of any kind, at peril of my immortal soul. What? (gasp!) You didn’t KNOW that the 7th circle of hell is reserved for good Catholic girls who show too much leg?

Now here’s something you may not know about me: I was a late bloomer (something out of a Molly Ringwald 80s movie I’m afraid). I basically woke up on my 16th birthday, the acne had cleared up, the retainer came out, the hair de-frizzed and I had grown 3 inches and 2 cup sizes overnight. So with my Neutrogena-clear complexion, aligned smile and new figure boys noticed me for the first time (go figure). And so I came out of my very, very shy, reserved shell and became the vibrant, outgoing, smart *ss you all know and sometimes love.

I noticed and rather enjoyed the attention (who wouldn’t after 16 years of being made fun of and ignored??) So now if the hems in my skirt were to come unraveled I would attempt to realign them by the same tried-and-true methods, however, the hems began creeping up with every re-attachment. An inch here, a centimeter there. And then there was the rolling.

What is ‘rolling’ you may ask? No, it’s not verb used to describe the assembly of a joint but all of you former uniform clad school girls know it…oh you know it well. ‘Rolling’ is what we referred to as folding the tops of your skirt up over and over until you reached the desired skirt length. We would then untuck our white, oxford shirts to hide the bulky waste-line we had created and voila! Instant mini-skirt.

This method actually proved to be much more effective than the hemming because #1. It was easy to adjust quickly, should a sour-faced nun come marching down the hallway on her quest to stomp out ALL individuality and sexuality from the sacred academic environment #2. It didn’t require the use of a needle and thread, safety pins OR duct tape #3. Made a mini skirt out of an otherwise ugly, unflattering piece of cloth.

Oh, I still got caught, to be sure. And my pushing of the dress-envelope played a substantial role in my title of ‘most detentions of any other girl in her class’ distinction. And even though my kilt was eventually set aflame at my graduation party as a symbolic, ritualistic burning of religious school confinement, I will always keep a soft spot in my heart for that makeshift-mini-skirt that caused so much scandal.

And so it is with pride that I stand in solidarity with the women of Korea – who are about to embark on a new era. An era where they will no longer fear the repercussions of their fashion choices but wear their skirts freely and strut their legs with pride. That era begins today – as South Korea moves to legalize miniskirts.

It’s one small skirt for women – One giant leap for fashion kind.


SEOUL (Reuters) - Hot pants and miniskirts will soon be legal in South Korea.The country is in the final stages of revising an indecency law that prohibits people from wearing revealing outfits and was once enforced by ruler-wielding police during authoritarian governments in the 1970s, officials said.

"The law for excessive exposure does not match our current society," said Kim Jae-kwang, an official with the Korea Legislation Research Institute.Under authoritarian rule, police could arrest or fine women for their fashion choices. They also took scissors to men whose hair they felt was too long and tossed people in jail for unauthorized dancing.The rules stayed on the books as South Korea moved to an open democracy in the late 1980s, but were no longer enforced.

Now miniskirts are about as common as traffic jams in the capital of Seoul and police have long given up on measuring the distance from knees to hemlines.
Ban on Black Cat Adoptions Questioned
BOISE, Idaho (Oct. 28) - A black cat won't cross your path this Halloween, not if a northern Idaho animal shelter can help it. Like many shelters around the country, the Kootenai Humane Society in Coeur d'Alene is prohibiting black cat adoptions from now to Nov. 2, fearing the animals could be mistreated in Halloween pranks - or worse, sacrificed in some satanic ritual.
The shelter's executive director, Phil Morgan, said that while the risk may be remote, the policy will remain just in case.
"It's kind of an urban legend. But in the humane industry it's pretty typical that shelters don't do adoptions of black cats or white bunnies because of the whole satanic sacrificial thing," Morgan said. "If we prevent one animal from getting hurt, then it serves its purpose."
Some animal experts, however, say the practice does more to hurt animals than protect them.
"Black cats already suffer a stigma because of their color," said Gail Buchwald, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter in New York City. "Why penalize them any more by limiting the times when they can be adopted?"
Idaho Humane Society spokeswoman Dee Fugit said that while the temporary adoption bans used to be more common, several years of working in Idaho has proven to her there's no need for such measures.
"If somebody comes in here and they're strange enough that we'd question why they're adopting a black cat on Halloween, then we're probably not going to adopt any animal to them," Fugit said from her Boise office. "It doesn't seem to be a justifiable reason for not adopting black cats. We are absolutely inundated with cats that need homes right now."
Black cats tend to be adopted less often than other felines, Buchwald said.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science in 2002 comparing coat color in shelter animals found that black or dark brown cats were much less likely to be adopted than white, gray or mixed-color cats, Buchwald said.
"Behaviorally, there's no difference from the color of the cat. It's tied into this whole mythology about the animal - don't let it cross your path or some foreboding or foreshadowing of evil - and that's an outdated superstition," she said.
It's not clear exactly how many shelters still seasonally ban black cat adoptions, said Kim Intino, the director of animal sheltering issues for The Humane Society of the United States, but it's a trend that seems to be fading - along with the once-common bans on bunny adoptions around Easter or puppy adoptions as Christmas gifts.
"If there were people out there performing rituals with animals, then I would think that Halloween would be a time for that, but a good adoption process would tend to weed that out," Intino said. "There's going to be incidents of weird abuse that happen no matter what. The remedy is not banning black cat adoptions."
As for pet-lovers dying to take home a feline in Kootenai County, the shelter is happy to adopt out animals, Morgan said. Would-be black-cat owners will simply have to wait a few days. There are plenty to choose from - out of 97 cats at the shelter, 28 are black, he said.
If nothing else, he said, the ban gives the shelter a chance to educate the public about other dangers pets may face during the Halloween season.
"It gives us a chance to remind people about safety and their pets. Always make sure that you keep Halloween candy out of the reach of pets, and if you own any cat I would make sure it stays inside. Dogs can get frightened by all the kids in costume, and the constant door opening of trick-or-treating gives animals a chance to run away," he said.

Would Someone Please Shut Me Up?

So I decided to get to bed EARLY one night this week. Partly because I was exhausted, partly because I watched a segment on the Today Show that linked weight loss and sleep (so THAT's my problem! JK).

By 10:00 p.m. the sleep timer on my TV had shut off, the cat was purring softly at my feet and i was well on my way to into a beautiful dream that involved Russell Crowe and a can of Redi Whip... when my cell phone rings.

And WHY didn't I have it turned off?? Well, because I'm currently using it as my alarm clock...yes..i KNOW I should just get a new alarm clock but that's NOT the point. So i put Russell on hold, fumbled for the phone now blaring out Fergie's 'London Bridge', flipped it open and without opening my eyes to see who it was I answered 'hello?', in a low, groggy voice that could have belonged to my 84-year-old, chainsmoking grandmother.

It was my father, who was very apologetic that he had obviously woken me up and was eager to let me get back to bed, but now that I WAS up I needed to know what was so important. Apparently he saw a commercial that reminded him of me as a little girl - not only that but he had received calls from several of my uncles saying the same thing and so he had to share. Well, naturally curious this morning, I looked up the advertisement that apparently personified my childhood.

Here it is, folks - evidently if you just gave her some red hair and is Irish Red as a child. And apparently I haven't shut up since.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Naked and Desperate


Marcia Cross is truly a 'Desperate Housewife.' Cross, the real life actress that plays Bree Van de Kamp on the hit ABC show 'Desperate Housewives' had had some naked pictures of her turn up and she is desperate to keep the pics from being sold to a third party.

According to the New York Daily News, a man who works for firm she hired to remove trash from the Cross' home in Los Angeles discovered the photos when he got to the dump.


An agent hired by the company, attorney David Hans Schmidt, told the News that he has more than 200 photos of the "Desperate Housewives" actress.

Since she is completely naked and he has seen the photos - the lawyer let's everyone know that she is indeed a true redhead. "There are some pictures of her showering outside," Schmidt tells the Daily News.

"She looks absolutely gorgeous. And yes, the carpet does match the curtains."

Cross of course wants the pictures back.

Her lawyers argue that no matter where the photos were found, they are the copyrighted property of Cross and her husband, Tom Mahoney, who may have taken some of them. Cross' attorneys maintain the photos were thrown out by mistake.

"The pictures were not stolen," says Schmidt. "When you throw something away, you forfeit that property.

Links to this story:

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Female circumcision, officially known as female genital mutilation, is one of the most political areas of women's health. Worldwide it is estimated that well over 100 million women have been subjected to it.
Supporters of the practice say it is done for cultural and religious reasons, but opponents say that not only is it potentially life-threatening - it is also an extreme form of oppression of women.
Those who persist in the practice in Senegal will now face a prison term of between one and five years.
Female circumcision is mainly carried out in western and southern Asia, the Middle East and large areas of Africa.
It is also known to take place among immigrant communities in the USA, Canada, France, Australia and Britain, where it is illegal.
In total it is estimated that two million a year are subjected to genital mutilation.
There are three main types of circumcision:
The removal of the tip of the clitoris;
Total removal of the clitoris and surrounding labia;
The removal of the clitoris and labia and the sewing up of the vagina, leaving only a small opening for urine and menstrual blood - a process known as infibulation.
So drastic is the mutilation involved in the latter operation that young brides have to be cut open to allow penetration on their wedding night and are customarily sewn up afterwards.
The aim of the process is to ensure the woman is faithful to her future husband. Some communities consider girls ineligible for marriage if they have not been circumcised.
Girls as young as three undergo the process, but the age at which the operation is performed varies according to country and culture.
Health workers say that the operation is often carried out in unsanitary conditions.
Razor blades, scissors, kitchen knives and even pieces of glass are used, often on more than one girl, which increases the risk of infection.
Anaesthesia is rarely used.
Some girls die as a result of haemorraging, septicemia and shock.
It can also lead to long-term urinary and reproductive problems.
However, girls who have not been circumcised are considered "unclean" in many cultures, and can be treated as harlots by other women. Many men believe the folklore which says they will die if their penis touches a clitoris.
Campaigns are working

Female circumcision is part of the fabric of many African societiesDue to health campaigns, female circumcision has been falling in some countries in the last decade. In Kenya, a 1991 survey found that 78% of teenagers had been circumcised, compared to 100% of women over 50. In Sudan, the practice dropped by 10% between 1981 and 1990.
Several governments have introduced legislation to ensure the process is only carried out in hospitals by trained doctors.
Other countries such as Egypt have banned the operation altogether, but there is significant opposition to change because of the traditional nature of the process and health workers think a less confrontational approach, such as Ntanira Na Mugambo, could be more successful.
Ntanira Na Mugambo, also known as 'circumcision by words', has been developed in rural areas of Kenya by local and international women's health organisations.
It involves a week-long programme of community education about the negative effects of female genital mutilation, culminating in a coming of age ceremony for young women.
The young women are secluded for a week and undergo classes in reproduction, anatomy, hygiene, respect for adults, developing self-esteem and dealing with peer pressure.
Family members also undergo health education sessions and men in the community are taught about the negative effects of female circumcision.
Health workers believe the programme works because it does not exert a blunt prohibition on female genital mutilation, but offers an attractive alternative.

Write on, Sistah!

To Write or Not to Write?

I was sitting on a bar stool on a Sunday afternoon with my new favorite socially liberal republican we shall call 'Tinkerbell" and the subject turned to blogs and writing.

She was telling my how writing has always been an outlet for her and that she's known its something she's always wanted to do and she very sweetly complimented MY writing on this blog (coming from her, it's a real compliment).

I've always kept a journal. My bookshelves are lined with volumes upon volumes dating back from 1994 summer camp, to my first kiss in 1996, (hey! i was a late bloomer!), first love ('98), first "time" (also '98), through college, chronicling boyfriends, achievements, pain, loss, you name it, i wrote about it. Granted, the entries became more sporadic since I've moved to dc, an entry here, an afternoon of coffeshop reflection there but it's consistently helped me through the bad times. I supposed it's a bit like prayer that way - we can't get enough of it when we need it, but it tends to fall by the wayside when things are going well.

Through the last dozen years (god i'm old) of my journaling of prose and nonsense i have never considered myself a 'writer'. Sure I know I have the ability to write well...but I write speeches well. Policy and position papers well. Essays well. Angry OpEd letters VERY well. Press releases and strategy documents well. The closest I think I've ever been to a 'creative writer' was the 'Young Authors Day' when i was 8 at which time I wrote a riveting saga of a mother leaving for the spa for the weekend and leaving her daughter alone with her father who only knew how to cook spaghetti and grilled cheese (and sadly, I was mainly chronicling life events rather than drastically deviating from reality).

So when I told this to Tinkerbell, that did not consider myself a 'writer', she gave me a strange look - "really"? And it's true. The artistic labels I associate with myself are, 'pianist' or 'artist'; and at one time, 'dancer' and 'actress' (there are those who would say 'singer', but i'm skeptical and don't like to test this theory). But 'writer'?

To me a writer is someone who creates poems, short stories and novels. Who digs deep down and creates worlds, and beauty through literary technique and grammatical sculpture. Who takes risks and expresses something 'other-worldly'. I believe it to be a much more personal and daring form of expression. I don't believe I have that skill. I don't believe I am that brave. I don't believe I even possess the educational tools necessary to hone such a skill (i.e. I was NOT an English major, i can diagram a sentence in Latin English, doubtful, I've never taken a creative writing class in my life ...the list of handicaps goes on.).

And why the diatribe you ask? Well, as many of you know, today marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month and many of you have been very sweet (if not outright peer pressuring me) to join you in this 50,000 word sprint over the course of November. Well, I have registered, but honestly, I have yet to decide whether or not to take the challenge. Perhaps I'll put my own non-fiction twist on it. But my current hectic schedule leads me to think I'll opt for keeping my ranting and drama for myself instead of passing them off to fictional characters.

At any rate...I do hope Tinkerbell decides to share what she comes up with :) Woman is amazingly gifted.

Write on, Sistah!