"I don’t want her to be a fish without a bicycle; I want her to be a fish with another fish. Preferably, one who loves and respects her and also does the dishes and half the child care." -- Third wave feminist and mom to a preschool princess, Peggy Orenstein gets grouchy over the retro pink wave washing over American girlhood (again), compliments of Disney. Like her, I fondly remember the free to be, unisex-corduroy-overall era of the late 70's, but I also remember the sheer delight my friends and I had in the 80's pretending to be just like Madonna. Surely the best way to encourage individuality in your kid isn't to grouse about sex stereotyping at every turn...isn't that a little meta for a 3 year old?


It's not too late for indie Christmas music, folks -- and thanks to Nat, this one may make the rotation year round. Yes, that's right, Aimee Mann put out a Christmas CD. Yes, we are old, and yes, it is really, really good.

And in other old school Christmas news, you can watch the original "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street" special in seven parts on YouTube, starting here. I love the part where Kermit the reporter asks kids about how Santa gets into your apartment if you don't have a chimney.



Copyright be damned, I'm on Salon.com! -- I wrote in about my favorite book of the year for their Reader Picks 2006, and there I am on the 3rd page, praising Emily Barton's Brookland. I never new I had so much to learn about gin distillation until I read this book.


"You will appreciate the work ethic of Jason Varitek. He will be the best catcher you've ever had. Do everything he says. He will not tell you how to vote." -- But if he did, I'd listen! Globe leprecolumnist Dan Shaughessy offers some adjustment tips to Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox new zillion-dollar pitching savior. Konichi-wa!


Here comes the 2007 sun -- Very cool solar-inspired calendar gives new meaning to "at a glance." Designed by W. Bradford Paley and available in PDF for your personal planning pleasure.
"In movies, awesomeness only seems to really count if you’re a boy, and that makes me want to punch something." -- Right on, Mighty Girl! What is the deal with The Holiday, the new chickflick wherein through a series of contrived hijinks, Cameron Diaz winds up smooching the equally bronzed Jude Law, and the luminescent Kate Winslet winds up with the delightfully, yet unconventionally, (c)hunky Jack Black. Now let the record reflect that I personally would be happy with winning either Kate Winslet or Jack Black in the final reel, but Maggie makes a good point. There is no actress out there who's the female equivalent of JB, that is, hilarious and spunky but pudgy, short, and average-looking. The frightening thing is that actresses who are thought of as "average," like Toni Collette, America Ferrera, and even Kate Winslet, are in fact stunning specimens compared to the general population. And yet the Kevin Jameses of the world continue to thrive...and have hot TV wives! GAAAAAHHH!!
Everyone's favorite curmudgeonly Minnesotan, Garrison Keillor, offers his version of the annual family puff-piece Christmas letter -- and it sounds good to me:

"Dear friends. We are getting older but are in fairly good shape and moving forward insofar as we can tell. We still drink strong coffee and read the paper and drive the same old cars. We plan to go to Norway next summer. We think that this war is an unmitigated disaster that will wind up costing a trillion dollars and we worry for our country. Our child enjoys her new school and is making friends. She was a horsie in the church Christmas pageant and hunkered down beside the manger and seemed to be singing when she was supposed to. We go on working and hope to be adequate to the challenges of the coming year but are by no means confident. It's winter. God is around here somewhere but does not appear to be guiding our government at the moment. Nonetheless we persist. We see kindness all around us and bravery and we are cheered by the good humor of young people. The crabapple tree over the driveway is bare, but we have a memory of pink blossoms and expect them to return. God bless you all."


"A long resume of ass-kissing won't cut it." -- To get to the Oval Office, that is, despite all signs to the contrary. One of the many trenchant comments to this Salon story on Barack Obama and his rock star welcome in New Hampshire over the weekend.


Another in our occasional series of Surprisingly Decent Email Forwards -- once again, courtesy of Aunt Kathy!

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country -- if they could find the time, and didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose its foreign policy and demand increased funding for the environment and public education.

11. The Philadelphia Enquirer is read by people who would be great at running the country but no one ever thinks to ask them.

12. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

13. And, of course, the country is actually run by someone who doesn't read a newspaper at all.
"You better start paying attention because its gonna be getting worse! One Love Walmart!" -- People are so, so dumb. Or is it just AOL users, or poor spellers, or WalMart shoppers? Nah, just people in general. Check out dadblogger Dutch's run-in with an angry, pitchfork-wielding intermob.


"Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?" -- Oh dear, the 50 Greatest Commercials of the 80's. Like, you can watch them, on YouTube, the Smithsonian Institution of popular culture. Frankly, I'd like to see the Monchichi ad in there. (via Kottke)
Do you know who's on the Iraq Study Group? -- They're delivering the (presumably) bad news to Congress right now, and the full report will be available later on today. I was clicking throught some excerpts and realized that beyond James Baker I didn't know who else was in the group. GOP stalwarts like Lawrence Eagleburger and Ed Meese, yes, but also Leon Panetta, Sandra Day O'Connor, and, perhaps oddly, Vernon Jordan! He's a powerful guy, but not exactly a foreign policy specialist. Hmmm, I guess having Colin Powell in there would be too weird.


It's beginning to look a lot like youknowwhat... -- As it's December 1, my holiday shopping odyssey has begun, and there's no better place to start than Etsy, the hipcrafting paradise. This delightful mosiac tile pendant is just the beginning, muahahahaaaa...
A command performance post from The Planning Committee, you know who you are! -- For your consideration, it's a political thriller of the highest order: Apron Parking! Produced by The Dukakis Project, it's a high-stakes game of municipal chess, with the former Mass guv and adjunct UCLA prof taking on LA's high-density, car-loving lifestyle. "Maybe those parked illegally should take the bus. She looked at me like I had 10 heads or something," Dukakis said. Powerful stuff indeed.