Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ready For The Stage! Can you believe it?!

Hi Everyone,

Oh my dear blog....I've missed you so.  As a matter of fact, I've missed ALL of my blogs!!! Ladies and gents, the book manuscript is in final editing...and just when I thought I was going to take a breather (yeah, like I take breathers)...

GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?????

Okay, I totally auditioned for a national public speaking contest called "Ready For the Stage".  It's taking place in Washington D.C. this week at an event called SEVEN.  I am so lucky to be here learning from the best in entrepreneurial everything, and how to use speaking and events to launch more of what I love to do best: help women, write about women, make women superstars!  Just think of how I will be able to promote my book "Off the Couch, Back to Business"-- A Woman's Guide to Success After Setback, as well as all of the awesome and important topics I love to write about, like cool mom stuff, women's rights, bringing positive energy and optimism into your life, orgaizations doing right by women and children and exposing the ones who aren't, and totally hot sports for chicks!

GUESS WHAT ELSE??????

I am one of the semi-finalists!  If I make it to the top four, I'll be competing on stage Thursday night from 7:30-9:30 PM Eastern.  And...you can watch if you like!  Here is the link to opt in, or just "like" Ready For The Stage on Facebook.

And finally, if you are so inclined...you can place a pre-order for my book.  Just click http://offthecouch.eventbrite.com/ and as soon as it becomes available you"ll get it right off the press!  Planned release is for first quarter 2011.

I've missed blogging so much!  I'll be back in Michigan before I know it and will be sure to get my bloggin' on!  Until then, I hope you'll tune in Thursday night and vote!

Thanks readers!  You are all awesome!

april S.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What a Night! A meeting with Congressman Mark Schauer

I realize I am supposed to be on hiatus to meet my book deadline, and I am so thankful for your patience in doing so, but some things are too good to skip out on writing about.  What a night I've had!  I'd like to tell you about it...

I attended the 2010 Saline Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards.  This is always a great event, but tonight was fantastic.  Of course, I was thrilled to be there to support award honoree Jill Hartman, of Hartman Insurance, who is a smart and savvy business woman and super involved member of our community.  I was also pleased to see Leibherr Aerospace and Gear Technology win the award for a larger business.  Saline really is fortunate to have both of these businesses in our city.  Kudos also to A2YP.TV for filming tonight's event.

I was so happy to be there tonight, you'd think I was the one receiving the award. I may not have brought home a plaque or trophy, but I brought home a memory of an evening I won't soon forget.  The company at my table couldn't be beat.  Let me introduce you to my table-mates.

I was so pleased to dine with Congressman Mark Schauer, Saline City Councilman Brian Marl, Senior District Representative Fran Brennan, Mayor of Saline Gretchen Driskell, City Manager Todd Campbell and savvy business owner of DesignHub in Saline, Karen Ragland.  I couldn't have dreamed this up any better!

An evening like tonight is a perfect way for me to remind all of my readers to vote this November.  Now it's obvious from this post who I am voting for, and I've got some great reasons for doing so. (The only other candidate I wish had been there was David Rhoads, Saline City Council). I hope you'll consider doing the same.

It is so important to exercise your right to vote, especially YOU, ladies.  The reason I say that is we must remember how many women in so many other countries will never have the freedom to fill out a ballot and have a voice.  We are so fortunate here in the U. S.  We may not have a woman in the Oval Office yet, but she's coming...ahem...Hillary. 

Thanks to all for such a wonderful evening, to Mayor Driskell, Todd Campbell and Brian Marl (and David Rhoads who we missed) for taking such good care of our Saline citizens.  Thank you Congressman Mark Schauer and your camp for looking out for so many people.  I wish you all nothing but success this November!

(photos top right, me and Congressman Schauer, bottom left me and City Councilman Brian Marl)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happy Hiatus, Be back Soon!

Hey readers! Just a quick note...I am so happy to announce I have a publisher for my first book...A Women's Guide To Business Success After Setback. With it, however, comes a looming deadline. This means I'm going to be out of the blogosphere for awhile because all of my time and attention will be on getting this book published and promoted. I will be back as soon as I possibly can!


I appreciate your understanding and support, and look forward to writing and hearing back from you again soon. I will keep you posted as to my progress!  It is because of the encouragement and feedback from readers like each of you, that I have felt confident enough to pursue my dream of becoming an author. Thank you so much and I'll be in touch!

April Scarlett

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sex Harrassment in Sports Reporting: What Got To Me Today

There has been a lot of hubbub about Mexican sports reporter Ines Sainz and whether or not she instigated cat calls in the locker room while covering the NY Jets, because she is stunningly beautiful and does not dress in a shy manner.  This blog isn't about her today.  It was going to be, but there are two sides to her story, everyone is covering it...blah blah blah...my opinion on the matter is no woman at anytime should be verbally abused period, don't care if she's naked.  IF she is or dresses unprofessionally, that is poor judgment on her part but doesn't excuse derogatory comments.   Now, on to my next point.

I want to be very clear here...I do a blog called Sports For Chicks.  In that blog I do sometimes reference a great looking bicep, a gorgeous face, or even how "generally" awesome someone looks in their tennis outfit (fashion is a chick's second language, doesn't matter who is wearing it!). Never do I inappropriately comment on a person's body, or make any inappropriate suggestions/innuendo therein.  And always, the fluff comments are color commentary for the substance.  I talk sports first, tasteful flattery second.

Imagine how surprised I was then, and admittedly naive, to find a website (while researching the Sainz story) who's sole purpose was to sexualize and exploit female sports reporters. This "guy" who calls himself HogWild and considers himself a dating expert (gag!) has a page where he pictures his top five hottest women who report on the sidelines.  Not only does he post their photos, but the captions underneath those photos are disgusting. He speaks of what he'd like to do to the women, exploits their sexual body parts, and makes jokes about his own physical reactions to the pictures.  As his name depicts, he is a pig.  He is also a coward.  If he yelled out the things he posts on his site, down to the sidelines toward one of those women reporters, he'd get kicked out of the venue.

I understand there is free speech on the internet.  Mr. Pig does have the right to say what he wants.   What I'm hoping to do is to make people aware of such sites, and encourage them to boycott them.  Again, I appreciate the handsomeness of an athlete, (as does the Swuiss Chocolate company who, in one of their commercials, has Federer going through airport security, questioned by two female officers), but there are lines that aren't to be crossed.

The other bummer is how bad this pig makes men appear.  He talks like all men share his opinion.  I'm sure he has some followers, but real men don't behave in such a manner.  I guess if Mr. Pig is a dating expert, he is bound to find out that real chicks don't like what he is dishing out.  Yuck.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Local glass blower's future glows bright

I'm a writer, so it is no surprise I keep a pen, some type of paper and a camera in my purse, pretty much at all times.  I never know when I'm going to see something or someone who inspires me to get to my keyboard.  On Saturday, I came upon both someone, and some things. As you can see, I got to typing.

Hailey Suydam can take the heat.  Not just any heat, 2200 degree heat.  That is about the standard furnace temperature it takes to blow glass, and Suydam, just a year onto the blown glass scene, is making pieces that have customers coming back for more.

Hailey lives with her parents, Jim and Darcy Lees, in Saline when she is not away in school at Bowling Green State University.  She is a sophomore Art major there, with a minor in Psychology.  This past weekend she had one more chance to sell some of her blown glass art before returning to college, while participating in a fundraiser garage sale in Saline.

When asked what it is about blowing glass that appeals to her, Suydam says, "I'm really more of a 3D (dimensional) person, than a 2D person, and it (glass) was a good way to explore 3D art."

She recently worked on a glass blowing team doing a demonstration at the Toledo Museum of Art.  "It's kind of like a dance," Suydam says, "you need to know where to be at just the right time."  The art of glass blowing is intense.  It's all about timing, using the right temperatures, cooling time limits, oven doors being opened and closed in perfect order.  Suydam has also worked with the region's well renowned artist/ glass blower Leonard Marty.

Suydam often has a design idea in her mind at the start of a project, but likes the beginning of the process best.  "The first bubble is my favorite part," she said, "glass is unpredictable--you kind of gotta go with the flow."

She likes creating sculptures best, but didn't have any available at Saturday's sale.  What she did have on hand didn't stick around long.  By 3PM she had all but three pieces sold, and one customer coming back to the table again and again, debating on whether a particular glass vase would compliment her living room decor.

Hailey Suydam has quite a future in front of her.  She plans to combine her passion of art with her interest in psychology to become an art therapist.  It was obvious by the way she spoke with her customers Saturday, that she has all the qualities and personality suited to such a profession, and don't forget her talent.  Hailey Suydam is one bright and talented young woman.

Sports For Chicks: So many hunky sports!

So what's a sporty girl to do?

So many hunky sports, so little time! First and foremost I'd like to remind everyone it is football season.  Yep--this week is chock full of pre-season NFL knock down, run hard, hike it, kick it football.  Personally, I'll be watching my Lions (hush now!  I know Pitt beat them 23-7 but we're only trying out our rookies).  I know you've probably got a favorite team too and if you don't then yo probably have a favorite player, and if you don't--you should. There are so many hot ones--ahem, I mean skilled athletes--to root for.  Are you ready for some football?  I am.  My prediction the Lions are the Wildcard in the Playoffs (no scoffing allowed).

Also, Phil Mickelson is rockin' it at the PGA Championship in the mid-west this weekend, while Tiger has got some assistant golf guy holding his chin straight win he tees off...what?  Yep, Tiggy's form has gone to hell and if he's not careful he is going to lose his numero uno world ranking!  C'mon Tiger, we need you to finish strong (we'll have no colorful comments inserted here either!).

Did someone say hunky sports?  It will soon be US Open time in New York.  Ya know, I plan to make it there to watch a finals match at center court someday. Until then, we'll have all the usual fantastic fare this year:  Nadal, Federer, Roddick, Williams and Williams--and so many more who are moving up fast to kick the aforementioned off the court.  Two weeks to count it down...US Open starts Aug. 30th.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sports For Chicks: T.O. and Ochocinco in the same house, hope it has two mirrors

I made a post on Facebook yesterday that said..."I don't know what is more exciting, three women on the Supreme Court or live NFL Football tomorrow night.  Both thrill me!"

Isn't that the truth? Since this is Sports For Chicks and not Successful Women Weekly, lets talk football.

Terrell Owens played a bit of ball for his new team tonight, facing one of his old teams.  Clarification: T.O. is on the Bengals, and tonight got spanked by his old team, the Cowboys.  He spent three seasons with Dallas, was let go in a swarm of controversy, and signed with the Bills last year.  Tonight, he stepped out onto the field wearing a Bengals jersey.  The Cowboys beat the Bengals 16-7 in tonight's Hall of Fame Game.

So you have to wonder how much ego can fit into one locker room.  Ahem, ego...I said ego.  Think about it.  The Cincinnati Bengals have Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco on the same team!  How is that going to work?  I can't wait to see who will try and steal more of the spotlight?  Who will be more outrageous and how much one-upmanship will we see?  I say "good luck" to the Bengal's management trying to keep these two focused on the game and out of the media.  It is going to be entertaining to say the least.  I hope, for Bengal's fans, Owens and Ochocinco put the mirrors down and play to their potential.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What Got To Me Today: Flying fish grounded

Saline District Library has got to be one of the most welcoming gathering places for families in our city.  It has a warm community feel paired with separate areas for everyone, all of which boast every resource imaginable to meet the needs of each individual visitor.  The staff and overall services of the library are so considerate of their patrons, so genuinely interested in those who enter, so so so attentive to the needs of each and every book lover, computer user, class taker, student studier, card holder, young and old.

This being said, you can imagine my surprise when I learned a recent art installment created by young library patrons and other community art groups had upset some members of the community.  Let me explain.  This summer, the Saline District Library, along with Saline Parks and Rec, Two Twelve Arts Center, SDMA and the City of Saline have implemented a program called "Make a Splash Saline."  The idea is to engage residents in the creative spirit of fun in the sun and water-theme based activities which include everything from a fishy library wall in the juvenile readers section and SCUBA night presentations to Under the Sea Puppet Shows and storytimes with swimming.

The most noticeable activity however, and perhaps the perfect visual of the summer theme, is the Windsock Art Installation visible all around town.  Kids and patrons of the library led by other community art groups, created a beautiful windsock to sail above the library.  Other windsocks were also created and displayed around town in shops and businesses for a Fish Finder treasure hunt, as well as for sheer decoration, whimsy and enjoyment. In honor of the event, and as the true representative of "Make A Splash Saline", the library chose to hang their windsock high and proud on their flagpole, temporarily replacing the American flag.  Unfortunately, this upset some members of the community.  In true form for the library, which strives to consider the feelings of everyone in the community, a note from the SDL director today stated:

"We certainly would never mean to create hard feelings in the community. We have moved the windsock to an alternate location and raised the flag back on the flagpole. We always appreciate hearing from our patrons and friends and strive to create a local resource where all members feel valued."

That's our library for you, so considerate, so genuinely interested, so attentive. I would expect nothing less. Certainly, they felt this was the right move and I applaud their ability to correct any discomfort.  So why is this "What Got To Me Today"? I just can't get my head around the idea that someone must have thought the library was being, I don't know, unpatriotic?  Insensitive? Biased even? by showcsing the art created by the community's children?

As far as I'm concerned the SDL is the absolute one place in our city that is none of the above.  It is the most politically correct venue I've observed.  It is the epitome of community, where all are respected and all are free to gather without predjudice.  There is no doubt, if you look within their walls and their programming, their commitment to community, family, and country is evident.  They fly the American flag every single day, and thought it might be special for the kids who created the wind sock to see their work from the library's highest point, visible far and wide.  It was a temporary substitution to give a visual to the community and city-wide summer celebration.  If ever there was a time to temporarily substitute the American flag, with all due respect, this was it.

Of course, this is just me in a shark infested rant, and no, my kid wasn't one of the windsock creators.  I was just rubbed a little the wrong way by the idea there were some out there who actually thought the library was acting a bit short of duty.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Food Review: Now that is a pulled pork sandwich!

It is true I have never done a food review.  I love to eat and I watch a lot of those cooking shows but am hardly a "foodie".  I cook for my family every night,  am constantly looking for healthier, tastier options to try, and have learned why certain cravings pop up unexpectedly.

  Chocolate for celebration, salt when I'm ticked off.

Sometimes I just don't want to cook.  When that happens, either my husband "cooks" which means Chinese take-out or a quick call to the pizza delivery guy, or we get the family together and take a trip to our favorite local yummerie, the Brecon Grille in Saline.

I'm not going to go on about the entire menu, the ambiance, the fact that we genuinely like the family who owns the place or the people who hang out there...you'll have to check that out for yourself.  I'm not going to elaborate on the award-winning seafood chowder served hot and chunky in a mug every Friday night.  I'm going to talk about what I think is the absolutely yummiest, comfiest, heartiest sandwich on the menu--BG's version of the Pulled Pork Sandwich.

I'm not sure why I'm such a fan of this type of sandwich, maybe it's my upbringing where it was prepared quite a bit.  Nowhere and at no time, however, had I found pulled pork perfection, until I tried this most awesome sandwich, whipped up at the BG by Nick (the man in the kitchen), overseen of course, by Paul, the owner.

Again, I'm not a culinary expert so I probably won't use terminology like that of trained professionals-but I'll do my best.  This giant sandwich is PILED high with the most tender shredded pork, smothered in just the right blend of sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, and topped off with slaw ( a recipe in itself) and shredded cheddar cheeses, sharp and perfect. It is served on an equally giant, warm onion roll, and it is so full of soft and mushy goodness that I prefer to eat it with a fork...so not to risk losing any of it onto my blouse.  I choose to pair it with sweet potato fries. These are served with a Bistro sauce, which has just the mildest kick of horseradish in it...the perfect spicy compliment to the sweet and smoky sandwich.  Wash it down with a coke or one of BG's icy brews and it is the perfect way to settle into the rest of your evening (or afternoon if you're having it for lunch).

So this sandwich has become my guilty pleasure.  I made a slight mention of it in one of my previous articles this month,  promoting the Bid for a Cure event, and have since had several inquiries so I thought I'd better elaborate on the subject.  If you are a fan of this kind of fare...wander over to the Brecon Grille in downtown Saline, 101 West Michigan Ave.  Tell them April sent you...and then let me know what you think!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sports For Chicks: Spain Wins!

It was a long game on Sunday between the Netherlands and Spain in the 2010 World Cup.  Well into overtime (which in Soccer freaks me out because you never know how much time you are going to get--it is based on the number of time-outs when the clock doesn't stop), in the 116th minute, Spain's Andres Iniesta scores the only goal of the game.  Spain beats the Netherlands 1-0 and takes home the cup. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sports For Chicks: Nadal at his best!

I have to say it wasn't the most exciting match I've ever watched, but still worth  watching...(hello, it is Rafa we're talking about...I think I'd watch him playing Scrabble!). Anyway, he swept three games out of five to beat Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

Berdych has a mean serve, and I think that is what kept him in the game at all.  I think the match seemed less dramatic because of those serves, there wasn't a lot of volleying or breathtaking shots like we've become accustomed to when we watch Nadal and Federer or even Nadal and Roddick.  Nonetheless, it was a nice way to wind down Wimbledon (women's doubles are still in progress).

Bring on New York and the U.S. Open.  Nadal commented he is looking forward to the match, as he has never won a U.S. Open Title.  I am looking forward to seeing Federer back out there.  Unlike some of the commentators on NBC, I do not believe Federer is on his way out.  I predict Nadal and Federer in the finals in New York.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sports For Chicks: Wimbledon Update Ladie's Finals

I set my alarm this morning so not to miss the Ladie's Final match on center court at Wimbledon.  Serena Williams did not disappoint as she won her 13th major title, catching Billie Jean King's record.

Williams beat Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-3, 6-2.  Zvonareva was graciousl, yet disappointed, thanking her team who helped her get back in the game after several injuries/surgeries.  She even secured a seat in her box for her surgeon to attend the finals.

Rafal Nadal will face Tomas Berdych in the Men's Finals tomorrow morning.  I'll be setting my clock for that one too!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sports For Chicks: Courts heat up at Wimbledon

Okay so things are crazy enough when Roger Federer doesn't make it to the semi- finals.  He was beaten in the quarter finals by Berdych, ranked twelfth in the world, from the Czech Republic.  Well, now that Berdych has also beat out Djokovic from Serbia, he will face my Rafa (you may know him as Rafael Nadal from Spain) in the finals on Sunday. This is going to be some crazy good tennis!

Can you imagine the hype going on in the Czech Republic this weekend?  Holy cats...this guy has a shot to beat the number one and two ranked, hottest tennis celebrities of the day all in one tournament.  I can't wait to see this match!  Typically, I am one to root for the underdog...but not this time.  I'm a true Rafa fan and will be cheering him on, especially after his rough season last year. 

As for the ladies...Serena Williams, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful women in sports.  She is just a mountain of strength, agility, speed, talent and personality...and she looks fashionable while she's at it!  She was wearing a bolero jacket over her tennis dress, which were both white, with red shorts underneath...she looked fabulous!  Who else dresses that well while competing?  Her sister, Venus, of course.

Serena will face Vera Zvonareva of Russia (ranked 21) in the finals tomorrow.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sports For Chicks: Don't throw Vick back to the pound just yet

Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles is in the headlines again.  Depending on which reports you read, he is either in real trouble and headed back to the dog house, or quite honestly, he is in no trouble at all. I've read three articles about an incident that took place June 25th at a club in Virginia Beach where Vick was celebrating his 30th birthday, none of which are conclusive.

Turns out, shortly after Vick and his group had left the club, there was a shooting in the parking lot, injuring a man named Quanis Phillips.  Who is that?  Mr. Phillips is a co-defendant of Michael Vick in the dog fighting disaster that took place a few years ago.  Different articles are posting different twists.  Both say the shooting was the result of a minor altercation that took place during the birthday bash.

So what is the big deal?  Michael Vick is on probation.  As part of the conditions for probation, he is not to have contact with any other felons (Phillips), and further, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall gave Vick a very tight margin of error when he let him back in the game.  Any association with former dog fighting pals is a sure ticket off the field.

So...back to the reports of the incident.  Quantis Phillips was indeed in the VIP section of the club where Vick's party took place.  Where reports differ, is one suggests Phillips was part of the party, the other suggests he was asked to leave as soon as he crashed the party.  This is a very big difference.

The most important piece of evidence here has got to be the list of invitees.  If Phillips is on the list, that it is a real shame.  If he is not on the list, this becomes a non-incident for Vick, or even a good thing since Vick's people would have asked Phillips to leave, and when he didn't, Vick left instead.

I, personally, was disgusted by Vick's behavior years ago and thought he got a just sentence as a consequence of the animal abuse he played such a huge part in.  It is also my opinion he paid his dues in jail, he is now a spokesperson for PETA trying to educate others on the errors of his ways, and he has humbly accepted whatever the NFL has offered him, without complaint.  I have an easier time supporting someone rehabilitated like Vick, then I do someone like Ben Roethlisberger who is STILL behaving criminally and getting away with it while raking in the big bucks.

Anyway, I hope Vick truly was trying to separate himself from Phillips at his party.  I hope Phillips was not an invited guest.  If he was, however, only Vick is to blame.  After all he has been through, lets hope he knew better.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kudos to local chiropractor/patients for helping to feed the hungry

John Reed, Director of Operations at Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, just sent a note of thanks to Saline Family Chiropractic for the food drive they held in their office last month. 

Turns out, Dr. Paquin and his staff collected a whopping 1133 pounds of food during the drive.  That makes a nice dent in the 16,000 pounds of food Food Gatherers distributes on a given day.

Not only did SFC ask their patients to contribute, but with the help of other area businesses, they provided incentive to donate with drawings for prizes.  The big prize was a 42" Panasonic Plasma TV!  Businesses who supported the effort were Max & Erma's, Mac's Acadian Seafood, Macaroni Grill, Nature's Garden Center, Maplewood Lanes and Prickly Pear.

I don't know about you, but I like to spend my money at businesses I know are giving back to the community, and fighting to beat hunger is one cause I will promote every time!

Big kudos to Saline Family Chiropractic and all those who participated in a very successful food drive.  Thanks to all of you, we can continue to keep families fed, one meal at a time. 

For more information on how you can keep Feeding America, visit Food Gatherers and Saline Area Social Services.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Limbaugh shouldn't joke about hungry kids-What Got To Me Today

Okay, for the most part I don't blog here much about politics.  I might write about something that is the result of politics...but that is about it.  This, of course, isn't because I'm not passionate about all things political (I'm actually a bit of a political junkie) but I don't push it here because you guys don't come here to hear me rant about that stuff.  I should probably start another blog about my lefty views, but that is a whole other project.

All that being said, means I don't ever talk about Rush Limbaugh.   This is why:  in full disclosure, I loathe him. Eww...I don't even like to see his photo here on my pretty blog! I go out of my way not to give him any extra press.  So why this time?  I just can't sit here and let this one go.  On June 16th, he aired a show that was lower than his usual sluggy self. 

As I say often, you guys know I write a lot about hunger in our neighborhoods, cities and U.S.  I write about ways to help fight it, about the people who are champions at helping fight it, and about hunger awareness.  Here in our small city, there are about 100 families with kids who use Social Services for food, and that's not counting the ones who sneak off to the larger food banks hoping no one will notice.  Hunger is a huge epidemic in this country, and more and more it is families with children.  Summer time is worse, because kids who usually rely on free and discount school breakfasts and lunches don't get them when school is out.  Well, Mr. Limbaugh has an opinion about this issue and I don't like it. 

Limbaugh laughs up a new segment he wants to start about how to help kids find food, because if the parents "just can sit around and let their kids starve", somebody's got to help these poor kids out right?  Rush jokes that they should try their refrigerator?  Or this thing in a house called a kitchen?  Then of course, they could watch a video about the proper ways to dumpster dive to find something nutritious, even though they might have to compete "with homeless people there".

Okay...my head is exploding!

I know parents who don't eat so that their kids can.  I know of refrigerators in "things called kitchens" that are incessantly empty. I know that food banks can't keep enough food on the shelves and soup kitchens are standing room only.  I can't believe anyone would make jokes about hungry people in our country.  It is cruel and irresponsible and practiacally un-American! 

Rush Limbaugh has got to be one of the most clueless people on this planet.  He lives in a world where he is never hungry (obviously), he is surrounded by cronies so the opposition can't hurt him, he has so much money he could feed millions.  If he spent half the money he spends on ego feeding and oxycoten, perhaps he could help wipout hunger entirely...he could at least set all the food banks in this country up for a year or two.

I wonder what Rush would do if he suddenly had no access to food?  You think he'd go near a dumpster?  I doubt it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Seattle teacher clueless and cruel is What Got To Me Today!

When I was about thirteen, I remember not being allowed into a home while wearing my winter coat, because it smelled like smoke.  True, I lived with a smoking parent (didn't we all back then?), and the house in question was a non-smoking house (I totally get it because as an adult, my house is a non-smoking house and I can't stand the smell of smoke either). I was met, however, by the homeowner, with an "ewww...you're going to have to stay out in the garage until you get that coat off, I don't want it in my house."  Well, I was totally mortified and embarrassed, which is probably why I still remember it today. 

Now, take that mortification and multiply it by 1000.  This has got to be how it felt for an eight year old girl in Seattle when her teacher kicked her out of the classroom because the scent of her hair (from a hair product) made the teacher ill.  It is reported the teacher also told the girl she was allergic to her hair, even though she wasn't allergic to her own dog's hair, before kicking her out.  She said  the hair made her feel faint and like she was going to vomit.  This happened openly in front of the little girl's classmates.  Add to it that the little girl is bi-racial, the only ethnic student in the advanced placement class, and that she was outcast first to the hallway, and then to a lower level class because of the way her hair (product) smelled. 

Okay...let me take a deep breath here because I am so outraged by this that if I don't, my hands will shake too much for me to type.

What in the h*** is this woman doing in a classroom if she can't even realize the negative and hurtful impact her words and actions are going to have on this little girl?  According to the father, who is African-American, he has been encouraging his daughter to not give in to peer pressure to straighten her hair like her white classmates.  He writes on his blog, "I want her to know she's beautiful".  So, in compromise, the girl wears a hair lotion (Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion) to keep her hair in a natural state.

I understand that some people have real physical reactions to chemicals and perfumes.  That isn't the issue.

The issue is how the teacher treated the little girl.
The issue is how the teacher never contacted the parents. 
The issue is how the school didn't return the parent's call, or deal at all with the situation, when the girl told her parent's what had happened.

So, if the situation continued to be ignored, the little girl would no longer be allowed into the advanced placement class.

Well, needless to say, due to the failed response of the school, the matter has escalated.  The parent's do not wish to send the girl to school in the current environment.  The NAACP has stepped in, and the school has turned to it's lawyers.  By what I've read so far, there has been no action to the teacher, and no apology to the little girl or her family.

If the teacher would have made her concerns known to the parents, it is very likely they may have changed products to alleviate the problem, in a way that was sensitive to the girl's self-esteem.  The teacher had a real opportunity here to create a supportive environment, and even turn it into a teaching moment.  Instead, this young girl will never forget how she was singled out, insulted, embarrassed in front of her peers, her hair compared to that of a dog, and demoted to a lesser level of learning.

I remember a smoky winter coat from 23 years ago.  You cannot tell me this 8 year old little girl will forget.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A non-spoiler review: Sex and the City

Don't worry, this isn't going to be the kind of review that ruins it for you if you haven't seen it yet.  This is actually going to be pretty quick and to the point.  For those who have seen it, it is a sequel.  With the exception of the Harry Potter series, when is a sequel ever better than the first film? But to fans of Kerry, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, we don't need an oscar.  We just want to see how our girls are doing.

Well, they are aging, which is evident (except for Charlotte--naturally age defying), but we don't care because we are all getting older too.  Women audiences are always complaining there aren't enough roles for over-40 women in Hollywood, so this is just one more case where older women are gorgeous, smart and sophisticated.

I want to elaborate on the "smart" part. This film may have been a fluff film, for entertainment purposes only, but don't you be fooled, especially with Sarah Jessica Parker at the helm.  Here is the list of political points made in the film.  Kudos ladies, kudos!
  • gay marriage and how it is only legal in five states
  • the transition of straight men from less accepting to more accepting of gay men
  • surrogacy/pregnancy surrogate
  • difficulties of motherhood
  • recognition of how hard it is for mothers who cannot afford nannies or outside help
  • women's rights or lack thereof in the middle east
  • women's sexual freedoms
  • discrimination against women in American boardrooms
  • variations of infidelity
  • individualized marriages, which rules work for whom?
  • aging, gracefully or not?
  • independent married women
Then of course, on the gorgeous candystore of fashion side of things...we were not disappointed.  The shoes, the clothes, the make-up, the accessories and jewelry...dripping and sparkling and a downright golden goo-fest...which we LOVE!

And yes please, bring on the hunks..Big (my personal fave), Aiden, Smyth, even Harry and Steve if you are into the adorable type make their appearances...and a new one, Ricard...a steamy Aussie who showed himself (actually more of himself than any of the others!)  throughout the second half of the film...it is rated R, after all.

What the critics say is true...there is a lot less sex and a lot less City.  The two things missing that I found noticeable and a bit of a bummer were the absence of the theme music anywhere in the film.  It opened to Alicia Keys instead of the piano we all love--so much it's my ringtone!  The other thing missing, which my husband James pointed out (yes, my husband who has watched and enjoyed the series with me since the beginning...yeah, he's awesome) was Kerry's writing.  Not once do we see her words typed across the screen.  We see her old apartment, we see the laptop on the desk...not seeing her typing away is like seeing Peyton Manning on the sidelines, just watching the ball.  (Did I really throw an NFL comparison into the story?  Yep, I like sparkle and football).

Anyway, it was nice to see the girls and where they are in their lives.  It was fun to laugh at the witty writing that is signature Sex and the City.  It was terrific to get lost in the fashoin and glitz and it was an awesome excuse to have a date night with my hubby.

If you've been a follower, it's worth it to see it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sports For Chicks: 10 year old runner inspires on a national platform

Lauren 002.jpg
Photo by Julie Charney

Sometimes it takes awhile for our kids to find their niche, the one or two interests that will fuel them through childhood and adolescence. For Lauren Charney, a 10 year old fourth- grader from Saline, it wasn't until third grade that she truly found her passion. Running.

Not only has the sport inspired Lauren, but it has given her the platform to inspire other girls to run too. A national platform.

Although Lauren participates in other sports, it is running that "makes me feel like I can do anything." When I asked Lauren what advice she would give other girls who might be a little shy about putting their first step forward, she didn't hesitate in giving credit to Girls On the Run. Girls On the Run has given Lauren a vehicle to great achievement and put her in a place to inspire all of us.Girls On the Run is a non-profit, non-competitive organization. According to their website,

"Girls on the Run® is a life-changing, experiential learning programs for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The programs combine training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development."

Lauren Charney has taken her running a step further. Turns out her love of the sport and inspirational attitude has launched her to a place where she is one of six national finalists in the Kelloggs 2010 Junior Achievement Awards. She has already been flown to Chicago for a photo/video shoot, and is now being featured on the Kelloggs webisite competing for the 2010 ESPY award. She will fly to Los Angeles later this summer to attend the ESPY breakfast, where the winner will be announced. The winner will then attend the ESPY Award Ceremony that evening. To learn more about Lauren and vote her to to the top, go to www.frostedflakes.com.

Lauren has learned more than how to prepare for a race (like loading up on healthy peanut butter waffles and warming up her muscles with jumping jacks). She has learned what it is like to be supported by a community, to have self-esteem, to feel empowered to do anything.

Sometimes it takes a little time for our kids to really find what it is they are looking for. When they do, it is important for us as parents to support them, find outlets for them to go after what they dream of that gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. We all could learn a lot from girls like Lauren. It is never too late to take the first step.

The "Beauty" of Tennis: Sports For Chicks on Tennis

I love tennis season!  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer usually end up sweating it out in the finals of any given tournament, adding to the beauty of summertime.  Despite their ease on our eyes, they are both electrifying on the court. The French Open (clay courts) in Paris is underway this weekend. Nadal has an upper hand on clay, where he is so much more comfortable than many other players.  For those who are loyal fans of U.S. players, Andy Roddick is currently ranked eighth in the world, and is sure to give those ranked above him a real run for their money. 

On the women's court, Williams sisters Serena and Venus lead the world rankings in spots one and two.  Every year we wonder which sister will top the other in rankings.  This year, Serena leads.  I don't know about you, but I am inspired by these women everytime I see them play.  They are strong and explosive, both with daunting serves and unbeatable stamina.  I can't wait to see them play and often wonder if we'll see them head to head in the finals.  Then truly, who do I root for?  I remember the first time they were in the finals at Wimbledon and we got to see them in Prime Time on a Saturday night.  So awesome!

Competitive world tennis season is here:  The French Open, Wimbledon, The Australian Open, the US Open in NY.  It will be so exciting to see how our favorite players compete, see the upsets and the killer shots, hear the grunts and gasps of the crowds and get sucked into the drama.

And yes, I'm not above saying it, welcome back to television Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  We've missed "seeing" you.  Happy Summer!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What Got To Me Today? I will not be quiet for hackers!

So this got to me Thursday, and is still getting me today. For those of you who read me, you probably know I have a website called Successful Women Weekly (www.successfulwomenweekly.com) where I feature all kinds of information about women.  I have a star feature of the month with a bio of an inspirational woman.  There is a Women In the News page, local woman owned Biz of the week, and a Champion For Women page that features a business or organization doing right by women.

The latter is where I seem to have attracted some opposition who felt they had the right to hack me.  As most of you know, I do a lot of writing on women's rights both domestically and across the globe.  I give kudos to people trying to help women who are abused or oppressed or both. I give kudos to those who try and make a difference in women's lives.

It is my right to write about these people.
It is my right to expose some of the terrible issues women face.
It is my right to celebrate the women who are successful.
It is my right to write about the losers who have tried to suppress my voice on my blog.

You will not stop me, you only fuel me.  I will continue to speak out and inform, and if you don't like it,  I guess you'll try and hack me again but I will keep coming back.

Here is to women on the rise.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sports For Chicks: What to do about Roethlisberger

Okay ladies, I need some feedback.  Last month I posted about how dispicable it is that Ben Roethlisberger, star quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, only received a 4-6 week suspension from game play after he continues to particpate in sexually abusive behavior toward women.  Here is an excerpt from my previous blog:

For those of you unfamiliar with this particular topic, here it is in a nutshell:  Ben Roethlisberger is the beloved quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has been accused of sexually assaulting a 20 year old woman in a bathroom while two of his cronies guarded the door.  He did not rebut the charges.  This is not his first alleged sexual abuse.  He kind of has a habit of women accusing him of not knowing the meaning of "no means no". This is the second time he's had to say something like, " I'm sorry this makes my team look bad" but never sorry to the girl.

The question now becomes, what are we, the women football fans, going to do about it?  I got a couple of comments from that blog, but have had many discussions as to whether or not there should be a real boycott of big Ben from lady fans.  Do we think we can make a difference?  Should we contact some national women's organizations to try and get some publicity behind us?  Is this a good way to bring awareness to rape and domestic abuse, while making sure our beloved NFL doesn't let these kinds of athletes bear their awesome logo?

I'm a huge NFL fan.  This is not to make our favorite teams look bad (Go Lions!), I just think the NFL Commissioner should know that a lot of women pay for their sport.  We deserve a little respect, not a slap in the face compared to Ben Roethlisberger's slap on the wrist.

You tell me... should we go for it? 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" is dangerous. It's time to repeal. This is What Got To Me Today.

I get what President Clinton was trying to do with the implementation of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in the military.  The idea behind it was to somehow protect gay soldiers, figuring if they weren't "outed", then there could be no repercussions. 

Well, DADT has been a disaster.

Not only does it treat gay soldiers like second class citizens, it has cost the Pentagon hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax payer funds and has implemented the discharge of over 13,500 good, American soldiers.  I don't think people realize what kind of expertise we are losing because of a person's sexual preferences.  The Palm Center at the University of California Santa Barbara has released data obtained from the Freedom of Information Act, and not only shows how many soldiers were discharged because of DADT, but what positions or specialties they served.  According the website:

"For the first time, we can now trace how many gays and lesbians have been discharged from each military base, and how many service members in each distinct job category have been discharged for homosexuality. According to the data, for example, between 1998-2003, the military discharged 49 nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare specialists, 90 nuclear power engineers, 52 missile guidance and control operators, 150 rocket, missile and other artillery specialists, and 340 infantrymen.  


I don't know about you but I would feel a lot better if these people were still serving us.  For discharge lists by base and job positions, click here.


I ran across an article today by P. Scott, a political blogger for Care2Make a Difference.  It prompted me to check out the website of the Service Member's Legal Defense Network (SMLD).  There, there are letters posted that have been sent to President Obama, in an attempt to urge him to repeal DADT.  Former Army Seargent Tracey Cooper-Harris wrote this letter:

May 10, 2010

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,

My name is Tracey Cooper-Harris. I served in the Army for 12 years, reaching the rank of Sergeant. As a soldier and a non-commissioned officer (NCO), I performed my duties with honor and distinction. I was lauded by my peers and superiors for going above and beyond the status quo to complete the mission.

And, I am gay.

I lived in constant fear serving under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I was always looking over my shoulder, censoring what I said and keeping as much physical distance as possible between my military life and my personal life.

Even with this vigilance, I was found out by some male “friends” at my first duty assignment. I was just 19 years old. The deal was simple: Perform sexual favors and my secret was safe.

I had a choice: report these men for “sexual harassment/cohesion” and end my military career or submit to their demands.

Despite the military’s “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment, it doesn’t apply to those forced in the closet under DADT. I was sexually blackmailed and just a teenager.

At that time, as well as other times during my military service, I had seen friends discharged under DADT who were in similar situations. My friends were discharged, while their perpetrators were given a slap on the wrist.

The signal from command was clear: being gay was a far more serious offense in the military than sexually harassing a fellow service member. I ultimately chose what I believed was the best decision for me at the time. I let these men have their way with me in exchange for their silence.

I am not proud of what I did, but I loved my job too much to let it destroy my career before it had even started.

My decision didn’t come without consequences. I was eventually diagnosed with an STD which could potentially lead to cervical cancer later in life.

I, frankly, am still ashamed of what I had to do to stay in the Army. I wasn’t discharged under DADT, but left because of it. I continue to attend counseling sessions provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs for what I went through. The memories still come back to haunt me some 16 years later.

I don't want to see other service members go through what I went through. And unfortunately, this will continue to happen as long as DADT is law.

As long as a recruit or military member meets or exceeds the criteria for military service, let them serve. A bullet doesn’t discriminate because of a person’s race, gender identity, sex, religion, or sexual orientation, so why does the U.S. military continue to do so?

The time to repeal DADT is long overdue. Please, Mr. President, do the right thing.

Respectfully yours,
Former Sgt. Tracey L. Cooper-Harris
United States Army


Really?  Are we honestly going to say as a society that it is better for women (and men too) to subject themselves to sexual abuse because we would rather have that than openly admit we have gay soldiers?  It is infuriating!


I have never been in the military, so maybe I am missing something.  I just don't see what the big deal is?  A trained American soldier is a trained American soldier.  Period.  Whether or not they are hetero- or homosexual doesn't change the fact they are serving our country, protecting our people, and sacrificing themselves for the cause. 

Speaking of sacrifice, what does a system like DADT say to those gay soldiers who have already given their lives for our country?  What does it say to their families?  How could we value these men and women any less than any other soldier? 

Currently there are twenty-five other nations who openly allow gays in the military and it is a non-issue.

I, for one, hope the same will be true for our military, and the rest of society for that matter.  A person's sexual orientation is none of anyone's business. A Defense Authorization Bill is pending in Washington D. C.  The time is upon us.

It is time to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell".

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sports For Chicks: 90 yr. old woman makes hole in one

Okay so I just love it when something like this happens!  According to the BBC News Hour today on NPR, Mary Tattersall of West Yorkshire, made a hole in one on a 181 yard par three.  I know hole in ones do happen occasionally, but did I mention Mary is 90 years young, and has only been golfing for two years?

She took up golf at the age of 88 to meet new people and get some good exercise, and says it beats going to the gym.  The manager at the golf course says he's tempted to go and help Mary get out of her car when she arrives, but then thinks better of it when he sees her jump right out, swing her clubs onto her back, and head for the tee.

I don't know about you, but I sure am inspired to work out today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Illegal Happy Meals! This is "What Got To Me Today"

Oh puh-leeeaasse give me a break.  I just watched a video from abcnews.com about a law in Santa Clara County, CA making happy meals/kids meals illegal because it should be unlawful to use advertising to lure children to unhealthy foods. 

Really?  Last time I checked it was the parent who decided what their kids should have for dinner.  So what then?  We implement a law so parents don't have to hear their kids whine and beg for Happy Meals?  How weak is that?  Now, before all of the health foodies out there go ballistic (as I consider myself a version of one), let me say the following disclaimer:

I know fast food restaurants do not make their biggest profits on their healthier menu items.  I know fast food is a major contributing factor to childhood obesity in this country.  I know that fast food is often much more affordable than healthier options, and that some families cannot afford to feed their entire families elsewhere.  I know all of these facts.

What I do not know, is how county officials are allowed into my kitchen, or my car, to decide what I  feed my kids for dinner.  We don't let government into our bedrooms, so why should we let them into any other rooms of our homes (unless of course there is a CRIME being committed)?  There are so many awesome programs out there, many provided by the government, that seek to educate versus boycott.  And this is coming from me, one of the all time pro- boycotters out there.  Show me the injustice of happy meals, and I will consider your argument.

You want to take soda (pop), candy and chips out of the lunch line at public schools?  Go for it.  But when it comes to how I spend my own money on my kids, hands off.  I guess this is similar to a "dry" county, where alcohol is not legally for sale within county lines.  But if you're going to boycott kids meals based on that argument, then you have to boycott ALL fast food, not just for kids.

This is strictly about advertising, and whether or not we, as parents, give into it.

This takes me back to my Cookie Monster debate, and how the "cookie opposition people" wanted to give Cookie Monster carrots and celery instead, because cookies contribute to childhood obesity.  My argument then was the same as it is now, it is up to the parents to moderate what their kids eat.

I, for one, occasionally look forward to treating my kids to a Happy Meal,  especially, if there was a particular toy they were really crazy about.  It doesn't mean they get the entire series with 12 visits to the restaurant inside of a month.  It means I get to treat my kids to a "TREAT". 

I get the childhood obesity numbers, but again, the kids within the age range of those who want happy meals, only eat what they are provided. You want to tax it?  Fine. But you shouldn't be able to tell me I'm not allowed to buy it.

And I haven't even touched the business side of this argument.  Shouldn't it be true, if fast food restaurants are forced not too offer toys with their food, then health food restaurants should be forced to offer toys along with their kid's menus?  Both arguments, of course, are ludicrous.

This isn't an argument for big business.  This isn't an argument on whether or not fast food causes obesity.  This is an argument about whether or not the government should be allowed to decide what advertising I decide to buy into.  What's next? No trendy flavors for my coffee at the corner coffee house?  Because even though some consumers buy them because they are fun, trendy and sophisticated, they are high in fat and calories?

We, as consumers, get to decide.




 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Got To Me Today? 80 Afghani girls fall ill at school, poison suspected

What got to me today?  People who are afraid to give girls the power of knowlege.

According to the BBC, eighty female students in Afghanistan have fallen ill while at school over the past week, the latest of which was yesterday.  It is feared, militants who oppose girls attending school are to blame, as this is far from the first time something like this has happened.  All of the girls reported a distinct odor in their classrooms before becoming sick. Investigators believe the air at the school was poisoned by the opposition to girls' education, to make girls afraid of returning to school, or punish them for being there in the first place.  A nine year old girl reported feeling dizzy, then watching her two teachers fall unconscious right in front of her eyes. 

"The Taliban and other conservative extremist groups in Afghanistan who oppose female education have been known to target schoolgirls. Girls were not allowed to attend school when the Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan until they were ousted in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion."--BBC

Before the invasion, girls were educated in secret, and if caught faced the grimmest of circumstances.   Officials estimate that militants have blown up or burned 134 schools and colleges between 2008 and 2009 in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and over ninety of them were institutions for girls.  In 2002,  15 girls were left to die inside a burning school in Saudi Arabia because the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (religious police) would not allow them out without their proper headscarves and robes.

I know this seems far away.  I know we have our own issues, mostly financial and some safety, within our own cities, states and country.  I know we are focused on our own children's schools, our PTA's, our teacher lay-offs, the nutrition of our kids' lunches.  But when I read reports like this one, and hear of the many other stories similar to this one, I can't help but be affected.  I am angered and heartbroken and don't really know what I can do about it.  So I do the thing I do best, and that is write about it.  Somehow, I figure if more people are aware of these kinds of problems, more will take action and raise awareness.

In the U.S., our biggest gender gap falls within speculating whether or not girls get a fair shake in math and science.  Can you imagine if your daughter wasn't allowed an education at all?  Look at the woman leaders we have in this country, take note that this year there were more young women than men enrolled in our finest medical schools. Though not perfect, we as a nation, are really starting to see some equality among genders.  And though we still have a ways to go (75% to be exact) before women share the same payscale and oportunity as men, we should be so thankful, so very, very thankful, that our girls are indeed allowed an education.  And if for some reason they aren't in school, it is not because of the mere fact that they are girls.

So this is what got to me today.  Girls being poisoned so they cannot be educated.  If they are educated, they learn to read and write and reason.  They learn of other women in other places with other opportunities. They realize the impact they can have, and the changes they can make in their own countries and the world.  Knowlege is power, and the Taliban, and other organizations like them, know it.

Please visit one of my other blogs www.successfulwomenweekly.com, under the Champions For Women tab, for ongoing information and  resources or organizations helping women and girls worldwide.  Thank you.

The above photo is from The Afghan Women's Mission, Danish School For Girls.  Please visit their website to learn more.
 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sports For Chicks: Moms should consider Lions Kids Clubs

Okay, so this might be a reach for Sports For Chicks, but since a lot of our Chick Readers are moms, I thought it would fit.

There is SO much excitement taking place in the NFL with the Draft this week/weekend.  For those of you who read me, you know I am a die-hard Detroit Lions fan...no pausing for any negative commentary here, not on my blog...Anyway, the Lions first four round picks have been substantial.  Ndamukong Suh is the number one pick for Defensive Tackle, and we got him!  Jahvid Best from California, is yet another dynamic Running Back.  Building up the depth of the team Jason Fox of Miami and Amari Spievey from Iowa.  And there are still three rounds to go.  I am so excited for the new season!!  Woo hoo!

While spending time on the Lions website, keeping track of all this excitement, I came across the info on the Detroit Lions Kid's Club.  I'm not sure why I've never checked it out before, after all, we've been taking our kids to games for years.  It's so cool I wish I could join it...ummm, but I'm a little over the age limit.  (Shhh!)

For $20 bucks, your kid gets quite a bit if they are a Lions fan.  It's even more beneficial to the ones who often go to games, or if you're on a budget like us and try and catch a pre-season game.  Don't forget, Ford Field has a family section now too without cigarettes, alcohol or that colorful crazed-fan language.

Here's some of what you get:  A welcome letter from Roary, a Free 2010 pre-season ticket, video birthday greeting from a Lions player, tee shirt, membership card, Lions pencils and other goodies, a Lions Yearbook or Program, automatic entry into the Educational School Assembly Contest (a visit at school from Roary and the "Lions Leaders for Life" assembly), quarterly newsletters, an opportunity to watch a 20 minute warm-up from the sideline, a chance to form the Lions tunnel on the field and a pre-game Tailgate Party just for kids club members.  That's a LOT for $20 if your kid is into Lions Football.

Anyway, just wanted to share the Lions love with all the mom Chicks out there. Go Lions!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Women need to take a stand against Ben Roethlisberger: A Sports For Chicks and What Got To Me Today? Combo!

This is the first time ever my Sports For Chicks series also qualifies for my What Got To Me Today? series.  I can't believe what I am hearing today about the way the NFL is handling the Ben Rothlesberger scandal.

For those of you unfamiliar with this particular topic, here it is in a nutshell:  Ben Roethlisberger is the beloved quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has been accused of sexually assaulting a 20 year old woman in a bathroom while two of his cronies guarded the door.  He did not rebut the charges.  This is not his first alleged sexual abuse.  He kind of has a habit of women accusing him of not knowing the meaning of "no means no". This is the second time he's had to say something like, " I'm sorry this makes my team look bad" but never sorry to the girl.

  I love football more than any other sport, and next to the Lions, have been a huge fan of the Steelers, but more back in the day when Cower was coach and Bettis battled though the defense as a monster fullback, even back when Cordell Stewart was the man in the pocket.  That being said, I can't convey enough, how the NFL let me down today.

All we're hearing in the media is what a great example NFL Commissioner Goodell is setting for players across the league because he suspended Roethlisberger for six games.  The district attorney on the case says there is not enough evidence to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, so that is why he didn't indict.  I get that.  I'm totally for the "innocent until proven guilty" thing in a court of law.  But what do you say about a guy who has two sexual assault allegations over the past two years? Both with the same MO, and the rumor mill says there are more that date back to when he was in college.  For pete's sake he is being called  "a serial rapist that won't get busted because he's Big Ben".  At least, he should have steeper consequences on the field and in the eyes of his fans.

Which fans?  How about the hundreds of thousands of kids in this country who sport his jersey?  How about the hundreds of thousands of female fans who sport his jersey in pink?  Ben Roethlisberger is in the top ten most recognizable faces list for the league.  He is one of the NFL's mega-star quarterbacks.  If he was any other joe, without the money, resources, and fame, he'd be locked up already.

So, yay, Big Ben can't play six whole games. Awww...that is so sad.  He might even have to think of the consequences of his actions while he sits on the bench, for three hours before hopping into his fully loaded Cadillac Escalade and driving home to his life of luxury. Those two women aren't living a life of luxury.  They aren't even asking (in case you thought they might be law-suit happy).  They are sitting on a different bench, living with real consequences.  You know what?  Enough is enough.

An article in the Florida Sentinal today talked about the power of the NFL's female fans.  And there are a LOT of us...like 34%.  If the judicial system isn't going to take a stand against this kind of behavior, and the league is only going to give Roethlisberger a time-out, then I say female fans need to take matters into their own hands.  I think we need to take the boycott ball and run with it!  No more Steelers #7 jerseys, no more ticket sales, cutoff Steelers support and encourage their husbands, boyfriends and anyone else to do the same until Big Ben is out.

The NFL is my favorite place to be every Sunday between August and February.  I literally live and breathe football during the season...especially my LIONS.  So I want the NFL to live up to the adoration of its fans, and to appreciate the fact that a huge number of fans out there are wearing pink jerseys, and have influence over those wearing every other color of jersey.

So Mr. Goodell, show us, all of your female NFL fans, a little respect.  Many of us are the ones shopping in your NFL stores and signing the credit card statements. We are throwing the parties to rally around your games. We are worthy of more than you are giving. On the eve of the Draft, please, please, please, give us a reason to stand up and cheer for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the league, by standing up for what is right for women.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sports For Chicks: Phil Mickelson deserves headline for winning Masters 2010

Augusta, Georgia.  The Masters 2010.  It was suspenseful, it was exciting, and Phil Mickelson played the game of his career.  Every story covering the Masters should start with Phil's win.  His 139 yard sinker, his eagle-eagle-birdie, his courageous "are you kidding me!" shot out from behind two pine trees in the rough.  For the human interest angle, the embrace of his cancer stricken wife, Amy,  that never seemed to end.  She, their children and Phil's mother had traveled to Augusta to be there.  Amy had been resting the entire trip, but made it to the 18th hole on Sunday to be there when he took the title. 

These are the stories that should be headlining Masters media coverage.  NPR was the only media outlet I heard this morning who stuck to Phil Mickelson's win, and left Tiger Woods as an afterthought. Kudos NPR.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing this morning on the networks.  For example, the TODAY show (of which I am a fan) started their coverage like this:  "Tiger Woods finished fourth at the Masters Sunday."  They went on to talk about the anticipation of Tiger beginning the week, how he took the loss and when we'd see him play again.  THEN, they mentioned that Phil Mickelson won. To top it off, they didn't mention any of the other players giving Phil a run for his money: Westwood, Choi, Kim or Couples.

PLEASE!  I like Tiger Woods too.  I think he's an excellent player and I'm glad he's returned to the game.  But I like Phil Mickelson just as much and he's the one who played stellar golf this past week, he's the one wearing the green jacket, he's the one who deserves the adoration, first mention on Masters coverage, and the headline.  Congratulations Phil Mickelson.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Review of Sorts: The Way We Were 1974

I know, I know,  what the heck am I doing reviewing a movie that had it's 25th Anniversary Edition formatted in 1999?  On VHS!!  Well, truth be told, I was strolling around the Saline District Library and saw the title.  I had always heard about "The Way We Were", and of course I knew the theme song sung by Barbra Streisand.  I knew she and Robert Redford were the stars and I figured it was just a really good romance, chick flick.

Well, was I ever pleasantly surprised!  Yes it is a romance, but with a lot of substance!  For those of you readers who know me, you probably know at least two of my passions: writing (no-brainer there) and politics.  This movie has them both in spades.  As a matter of fact, he, Hubbell Gardiner (Redford) is a writer, and she, Katie Morosky (Streisand) is an activist/writer for radio. And kudos to selecting the name "Hubbell". What a cool name for a beefy and sensitive guy, and it rolls well off of Streisand's tongue whether she is crying it, laughing it or yelling it.

Hubbell and Katie are truly opposites, and have this incredible roller coaster relationship in the 1940's, amongst all that goes with that time, as quoted on the movie jacket, "foreign war, domestic prosperity and McCarthy-era paranoia in Hollywood."  For those who aren't into politics, no worries, it is not in-depth enough to be boring or a distraction.  The relationship itself is a classic one, that mirrors the relationships we all have had, and I'm sure some people still have in current day.

I love this movie, and Redford never looked better! (Seriously!)  Streisand is beautiful and the storyline just as attractive. I recommend it highly.  Not only is it a good movie, but it is a kind of motion picture history that I hope doesn't get lost among the archives. It is worth renting, I'll probably find a way to own it.  The best way to view it though is for free, from your District Library.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sports For Chicks: Hello Augusta...it's The Masters 2010

I love the Masters.  I love the prestige, the gorgeous course, the hunky biceps and the green jackets.  We get a real feel of southern Augusta, Georgia hospitality and an inside look into the Augusta National Golf Club.

I don't understand how some people think watching pro golf is a bore.  Like any sport, once you are behind a player or two, it is impossible not to let the lust for great competition take over.  Especially on Sunday, the fouth day of the tournament, when the sun is setting and your favorite player is at sudden death with the second place player.  It is suspenseful, hold-your-breath-please-sink-it-in-the-hole-please-please-please competition that ranks with any other knock- down -drag -out action in the world of sports.

You might have heard of a little distraction this week.  It appears Tiger Woods is back in play (Really?  Hadn't heard...).  As a matter of fact, tonight (Wednesday) he is being honored by the Golf Writers Association as the 2009 Male Player of the Year.  Yep.  He's being honored for playing golf, as he should be.

You heard me correctly, he should be.  Tiger Woods, despite his off the course behavior which is none of our dang business, is the best, winning-ist golfer in the world.  I for one am glad he is back. He is exciting to watch.  He is fun to watch.  He is SO good at playing golf!   It appears other fans and players feel the same.  And certainly, the PGA is thrilled to have him back because they finally will have their audience back and sponsors are lining up in droves. The Masters Tournament Management expressed their disappointment in him, well, someone had to, for the viewers who want Tiger Woods to pay in some way, professionally, for something he did personally.

Even if you don't want to watch Tiger Woods, there are so many delicious players to keep your eye on...any one of them could break forward and claim the green prize.  Slocum, Kelly, Weir, Els, Kim, Cabrera, Cink, Harrington, Goosen, Furyk, Mickelson....and the list goes on.

I like Phil Mickelson too because he is so "pro-woman and their rights", he appreciates his wife, his mother, his daughters.  Mickelson's wife and mother were both diagnosed with cancer in the last couple of years.  This past weekend, for the first time ever, Mickelson let someone else sub-out his Caddie for the last few holes of the tournament.  Who was the lucky fan?  None other than his wife's cancer doctor.  Pretty cool.  Phil's a classy guy.

The only golfer I don't care for is Vijay Singh, because of some less than polite views he has toward women golfers.  Just rubbed me the wrong way and I haven't liked him since.

Anyway...tomorrow is the big day.  Day one of Masters 2010.  Dig into the luscious greenery, the beautiful bridges and gardens, the hunky biceps and the cool plaid pants...it's the Masters baby.  Hellooo Augusta.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Surprising Review: The Price of Beauty with Jessica Simpson

I will be the first to admit that I put Jessica Simpson right into the "no substance" category when she was at her peak, filming Dukes of Hazard, wearing the daisy dukes (and no, I didn't see the movie, but didn't really have to with all the hype).  Then her relationship/personal life was all over reality TV (more lack of substance), and then all the drama with her on again/off again relationship with Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo was on every newsstand.  With all of this fluff media, my opinion of her worsened.  Any mention of Jessica Simpson and I was like, "blech! enough already".  If only the press would give so much attention to smart, successful, beautiful women who make their way on more than looks alone.  Give me brain power, culture and substance--PLEASE!

Next was her shoe line.  Jessica Simpson Shoes.  Not bad, but did she really design them?  Could I trust that she actually operated the business and didn't just promote it with a pretty face?  Where were the shoes made?  Could I be sure they weren't being glued together by 8 years olds in some country without child labor laws? Would she even know?

I didn't really give any more thought to Jessica until I started to hear her fighting back against all the bad press she was getting for her weight.  Yep, according to the tabloids, the daisy dukes would fit no more.  What stood out, however, was that Jessica Simpson started pleading her case for healthy women who weren't exactly a size 0.  I think I heard she was a size 12 at that time, a very standard size for the everyday American woman, yet the media was killing her, calling her fat, tubby, and wallowing in ice cream sundaes.  For the first time, my opinion of her began to change a bit.  Not because she was heavier (I would like her at a size 0 too if I got some brainpower with it!), but because she seemed to finally be being herself, and standing up for what she thought was right and healthy for her body, and to hell with everyone else.

So now, imagine my surprise when I hear Simpson is doing a new show for VH1 called "The Price of Beauty".  Simpson and her pals travel the world to see what women do in other cultures to maintain their beauty, and how each culture differs.  Before I could give it any more props other than "cultural fluff", I thought I'd better do my homework.  While it is true, some of the story lines mirror the same headlines we have here in the U.S. For example, in Mumbai, the show did a piece on how people are only perceived beautiful there if they are copying what they see on the silver screen of Baliwood.  Not too substantial.

But then...

The Simpson group traveled to Thailand where fair skin is meant to be more beautiful.  The fairer the better, because tan skin signifies one working outdoors, meaning less status.  For that reason, the cosmetic industry in Thailand puts bleaching cream in just about every kind of foundation there is, much like our obsession with the opposite, our bronzers, or "sun-kissed" cosmetics sold here.

Jessica and her group met a woman whose life was ruined by too much bleaching cream.  She had been a singer, had wanted fairer skin, but after using a bleaching product and going in the sun, her complexion was completely ruined.  She stopped singing.  Her husband left her. Tragic.  A true price of beauty.  Jessica was noticeably affected by this woman's story, and she talks about it here.

http://www.vh1.com/video/shows/jessica-simpsons-the-price-of-beauty/490967/skin-treatment.jhtml#id=1633535

 I think it is brave to travel the world and be submerged into other cultures and customs, and to make the point that being obsessed over beauty has it's costs.

I'm all for being the best you can be, looking and feeling your best too.  As long as what is on the outside compliments what is on the inside...substance.  The Price of Beauty is no Frontline, heck, it's not even a Dateline, but it does show a different side to Jessica Simpson, where she is being educated right along with the viewers.  Let the substance begin.