Hazel just died and she was born the same year as my grandmother who died in 1990!


Just when I think I’ve read the last obituary of someone born the same year as my grandmother, another one pops up. Hazel sounds like she had a lot of loss in her life, but met it forthrightly.  Good going, Hazel.

She also lived long enough to see her name go out of fashion and come back into fashion.  I know several Hazels among the under-10 set.

Lizzy Acker is my new favorite reporter for the Oregonian

I initially took this picture because I’m pretty sure when that couple on the right married 75 years ago, they had no idea that their long marriage would someday be featured in the newspaper next to a workout involving pole dancing.

The story about the married couple was great, and also so was the article about pole dancing as exercise. Check out Lizzy Acker’s first three paragraphs.

And also the last four paragraphs.

Aside from general reporting, which she also seems to do, Lizzy Acker does oddball series. This is part of her week of weird workouts series. She’s also done an extensive review of black leggings; seven days of living like a kid in Oregon; and going dancing every night for a week in Portland.

In all these articles she brings a fun zing and some thoughtful weight to her words. I look forward to reading more from her.

A new era for Vanity Fair

I was reminded by editor Graydon Carter that this was his last issue of Vanity Fair. It took me a long time to read this issue. It was so long that the new issue appeared on the racks at the checkstand before I had finished reading this one. “Whoa!” was my reaction. The new issue has a completely different look.

Let’s review the Graydon Carter era style.

This is the classic Oscar Issue, where the page folds out to show a variety of big Hollywood actors, some of which have not been nominated for Oscars, presumably because they shoot the spread earlier than the nominations are announced.

We’ve got full-body spreads, and floating type. A quick Google Image search of “vanity fair covers” shows that while there are some face-only covers, most of them are either from the navel up, or full body shots. There’s also a bold use of color and lighting that makes things crisp instead of arty.

I also love finding the tiny type quote on the front of every cover. This one says: “One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.” –G.K. Chesterton. The quotes sometimes add extra illumination to the person on the cover, or a story listed on the cover.
Here’s the new cover, with editor Radhika Jones at the helm.
It’s so very different!  Even though (I’m pretty sure) it’s taken by the same photographer. We’ve got a very close-up picture of Lawrence’s face, a very soft focus and half in shadow. Our floating text has disappeared, herded over to the sides of the cover. Compare this picture with the last time Jennifer Lawrence was on the cover in 2016.

This new cover was simultaneously off-putting–it’s Vanity Fair, not an art magazine!–and also instantaneously made the old style of covers look really garish and out of date. I’ll probably settle into this new style, but I will miss hunting for the tiny quote on the cover.

Side note: it used to be that when I was subscribed to magazines, my subscriptions would arrive before the magazine appeared on the newsstands (or, since there aren’t really newsstands anymore the racks in the checkout line at the grocery store.) Now, I see the new issue on the stands sometimes two weeks before my copy arrives in the mail. I can’t tell if this is just a Vanity Fair thing, or if there’s some new magazine strategy wherein magazines are hoping subscribers will purchase the magazine forgetting it will be arriving in the mail. At any rate, I think subscribers should be rewarded by having the first crack at the magazine, not have to be the second-class citizens waiting.

Goodreads commenter Rick makes a point


I did not love The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, but I appreciated Goodreads Member Rick’s response to the “homosexual activity” question posed. It reminded me to be grateful that we’re moving on from the view that things that certain kind of people do is “activity” instead just of living their lives like the rest of us.

Recipe and phone number

I’ve got a three-ring binder of recipes. Sometimes it needs to be culled.
This recipe was hand copied from a cookbook my roommate had. It was back when I had to walk to the library, or use the copier in the grocery store, to reproduce something. Digital cameras were just getting started so most of the time it was easier to hand copy. I don’t think I’ve made Michael’s Peanut Butter Cookies since I left Massachusetts, so it’s time to let this recipe go.

I did want to capture some other things that used to happen. Jotting my roommate Jill’s work number on this piece of paper shows a few things. One was calling people at their place of employment used to be a thing you had to do if you wanted to talk to them during work. When I worked for Whole Foods in the late 90’s the woman who answered phones hated how many personal calls she had to transfer. Though some people had cell phones, not enough of us did that they could make a blanket “no personal phone calls” policy. There was strong encouragement to only have friends and family call in case of an emergency. But we had to make our plans for our life outside of work, so calling people at work happened. The other thing is writing phone numbers down. While I still do tend to copy phone numbers to paper in a pinch, the only reason to do that now is so I’m closer to my end goal of getting them into my contacts, an electric file stored in the GoogleLand and available on my phone.

Also back in the day, if you had a phone number and didn’t know what it was for, you could go to the library and use a reverse directory to find its owner. I never did that, but it got brought up a lot in the era when caller-ID was first rolling out. Now, you google. This phone number seems to belong to something called TC Systems. I’m pretty sure that’s not where Jill was working in 2000.

One more observation: incomplete doodle around the phone number. If I was talking with Jill, our call must have ended before I finished shading my wavy line.

Different ways to park your bike

Let’s talk bike parking.  Here, we have two examples of bike racks you would see in Portland, Oregon: the wavy line and the staple.  You will notice that nearly every bike is parked perpendicular to the bike rack.
The reason that one should park perpendicular to the bike rack:  other people.  If we lived in a vast world with few people in it, then it would be fine to lock your bike parallel to the bike rack.  But we do not.  Bike racks get a lot of use, so you need to leave room for others.

This e-bike riders has not gotten the memo. By choosing to park their bike in this manner, they have denied another biker a spot on the rack.  Because these bike racks are full, this is a particularly egregious gaffe.
If one wants to lock up both wheels, this can still be done.  After my expensive back wheel was stolen (back in 1996) I started locking both wheels.  I lock the expensive back wheel to the rack and lock the less expensive front wheel to my bike frame. I figure two locks are better than one, especially with my economical bicycle.

The imbalance of power

There are a lot of words being written about Harvey Weinstein.  A lot of people are having to check if he’s an E-I Weinstein or an I-E Wienstein.  I think this photo sums up the overall problem, in Hollywood, and in general. The woman on the right is Weinstein’s wife. She’s 41, and looks great. Because ultimately, that is women’s job in this world: to look pretty, to keep their figure, to be the sex object. In contrast, Harvey Weinstein is 65 and looks like crap.  Because it’s not his job to look good.  Instead, he gets to make a lot of money and acquire certain things: a successful movie producing company, willing to pay to settle multiple harassment cases with seemingly no penalty to him; plus a good-looking wife young enough to be his daughter.

I can’t know the specifics of the relationship of the two people pictured. But I know that finding a counter example–a couple consisting of a shlubby female successful 65-year-old business mogul* and an attractive 41-year-old man–would be tough enough that they would probably be the exception that proves the rule. Because men still run the show in this country.  And what a lot of them chose to do with their power is exploit other women, elevate men like them who won’t rock the boat, and keep women in their place.

(*Because 65-year-old female business moguls are few and far between and the ones who do exist are decidedly not schlubby. Because: not allowed.)

Hollywood and the media’s focus on style over substance magnifies this situation, but it exists in every corner of our society.  Things are changing, but not fast enough.

An obituary that caught my eye

You know how you hear about people having to cross state lines to get married (Mildred and Richard Loving, for instance) and you think that perhaps that only happened in the south? (Maybe that’s just me, thinking along those tracks.) 

Here is a woman who had to cross the Columbia River to marry, because Oregon didn’t allow a white man to marry an Asian woman.  The rest of her life is also interesting.  What stories might her parents have told her, of their life in China?  And what stories could she tell us about being an orphan at 16?  Or her experiences volunteering for the Rose Festival and the Portland Rose Society?

On being raised to “help”

This chart comes from an investigative report done by the Oregonian about nepotism in the legislature.  Apparently, Oregon is fairly unique in allowing our political leaders to hire family members as aides. However, I took this picture for another reason.

Look at the column of “Relation.” Only three of these aides are men: one son, one father and one husband.  Twenty of them (87%) are women: wives, daughters, daughter-in-laws.

When I see this list, I see all the girls who society encourages to be “helpful” and “caring.”  What would things look like if instead, they were raised to be leaders?  Would the spread be more even, on both sides, legislators and aides?  And how different would society look, if that were the case?

Walter Scott’s Personality Parade not needed due to internet

Walter Scott’s* Personality Parade is the feature on the first page of the weekly Parade Magazine.  Tradition is that I read the Parade Magazine while eating my Sunday breakfast. However, I did not read Personality Parade for years because of sexist answers.**  I’ve recently begun to skim it again and you know what?  There is no reason for it to exist.

Back in the day, if you wondered something, like, say: “Did Theo James appear in a TV show before starring in Divergent?” you would have a few choices.  You could just keep on wondering, waiting for the information to come to you.  You could ask your friend who knows everything about movies/TV.  You could call the library reference line.  You could make a bet with your friend, so she would do all the research.  You could write to a columnist and hope they published your answer.

But now?  We have the internet.  If you and your friend have a bet, you establish the parameters and then get out your phones and use them to find out that Theo James was Mr. Pamuk in Downton Abbey.    Thirty seconds after the bet is made, you know the answers.  So why are we still reading this column?

I know the answer.  It has to do with promotion of upcoming things. The Wikipedia article tells me that even back in the day the questions were “composites”  of actual reader questions.  I assume they are fully made up today.

*Who is Walter Scott, anyway?  Wikipedia tells me, it’s a made-up name.  Lloyd Shearer was the original writer.  Today Edward Klein is the author.
**There was an answer to a question about Hillary Clinton wearing pantsuits that was the final straw.  The questioner wondered if it was appropriate.  The answer was that her legs were kind of heavy, so it was probably better that she wore pantsuits instead of skirt-suits.  (Grrrr.)