Archive for Stemware

Another manic Munnday

The last time we checked in with Olivia Munn, back in the spring of 2010, she’d done one of those gratuitous nude photos for PETA, not that we were complaining or anything. But we don’t really pay enough attention to her, which is a shame considering she’s a graduate of Putnam City North who went on to get a journalism degree from OU, then hung around the state just long enough to decide she’d like to try to act instead.

So here’s some of what she’s done in the interim: spent a long time doing Attack of the Show! and a shorter time doing The Daily Show, assumed the role of Elizabeth Braddock aka Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse, and played some golf in inappropriate shoes.

Olivia Munn sitting pretty

Olivia Munn as Psylocke

Olivia Munn in wedges putts

Oh, she also wrote a book called Suck It, Wonder Woman, and was eaten by a cartoon snake.

Olivia Munn goes down the hatch

She’ll be in Ocean’s Eight next year.


Under the metal clouds

Solange Knowles, you know as Beyoncé’s kid sister, and occasionally as a fill-in in Destiny’s Child. But she’s had a recording career of her own, starting with Solo Star in 2002. (Now what could she mean by that?) She’s thirty-one, and distinctively different from Queen Bey.

Solange in yellow

Solange in Complex

Solange in a chair

The first single off her 2016 album A Place at the Table was called “Cranes in the Sky,” and it won her a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. It’s dreamy and reflective and, yes, sorrowful.

And props to Solange for beating the snot out of Jay Z, something that didn’t occur to Beyoncé until several months later.


Frost in June

British actress Sadie Frost, fifty-two this week, is the daughter of an artist who specialized in psychedelia, and said artist’s teenaged muse; after they split, they each went on to several relationships, so Frost (whose original surname was Vaughan) has nine half-siblings.

Sadie Frost at the British Fashion Awards 2008

Frost and friend Jemima French set up a fashion label called Frost French in 1999; it is now mostly defunct.

Sadie Frost on the cover of the Sunday Telegraph magazine in 2015

Sadie Frost on the talk-show couch

She’s appeared in a wide range of films, as good as The Krays and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and as bad as Rancid Aluminum, which rates a 6 from Rotten Tomatoes. Her most recent appearance was in a good film, Set the Thames on Fire (2015).

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Once upon a time in Storybrooke

We presume that every young girl wants to be some sort of Disneyfied princess. In actual fact, some of them aspire to Evil Queen status, and if we’re talking contemporary Evil Queens, we’re definitely talking Queen Regina Mills of the ABC-TV series Once Upon a Time, who at the conclusion of Season Six sacrifices herself. The Queen has been portrayed all these years by Lana Parrilla, who has a few weeks of her thirties left.

Lana Parrilla in a fashion-magazine spread

Lana Parrilla looking Evil Queen-ish

Lana Parrilla relaxes on the couch

Against such an entity, the poor, deluded Charmings don’t stand a chance:

Season 7 will begin in September. Is the Queen really, truly dead? I’m not betting on it.

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Perhaps somewhat devilish

From this week in 2010:

On a whim, Monday I dialed over to Wikipedia for June 14 birthdays, and found the likes of Boy George, Donald Trump, and Che. (Che, of course, rates a footnote.) None of these fit into Rule 5, not even Boy George.

And so I’m doing now what I did then: a brief piece about Oscar-winning screenwriter (for Juno) and former stripper Diablo Cody.

Diablo Cody with David Letterman

Diablo Cody in something sort of filmy

Diablo Cody in something sort of autumn-y

Among some of her current projects: a musical based on the Sweet Valley High book series; a pilot for Fox called Prodigy, about a girl genius who up to that point had been homeschooled; and the current Amazon Prime series One Mississippi, starring Tig Notaro.

And while she’s legendary for passing on the occasional barb, she’s all sentimental here accepting her Academy Award:

That Kinks tune, of course, was heard on the Juno soundtrack.

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Stan tall

Actually, Romanian singer/songwriter Alexandra Stan is a middling five foot six, but it’s her birthday — she’s twenty-eight — and she has, shall we say, a certain visual appeal.

Alexandra Stan on the cover of FHM

Alexandra Stan looking sort of rural

Alexandra Stan looking not even slightly rural

Her signature song, “Mr. Saxobeat,” was #1 in Romania for eight weeks in 2011, and just missed the US Billboard Top 20.

She sold well in Japan, which may well explain “Cherry Pop,” a J-pop pastiche she recorded in 2014:

And her most recent single, “9 Lives,” got little chart action but lots of airplay. The chap who looks like a Bulgarian reggae jammer is Jahmmi, a Bulgarian reggae jammer.

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She’s half the band

The synthpop group Goldfrapp consists of two individuals: Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp. Both of them write, and both of them synthesize, if that’s the word, but generally only Alison sings. And they’ve been at it since 1999.

Alison Goldfrapp about the time of Super Nature

Alison Goldfrapp in some magazine spread

Alison Goldfrapp in multiple colors

This came up largely because I’d stumbled across a few tracks by the band, including “Beautiful,” which showed up on Sex and the City, Vol. 2: More Music alongside tracks by Ingrid Michaelson and Amy Winehouse. The melodies tend to be catchy, the vocals wide-ranging. (Alison is rumored to have a five-octave range, which might be something of a stretch.) My favorite of the bunch has been the Eighties-drenched “Rocket,” from the 2010 album Head First:

But lest you think they’re just pure pop for now people, here’s a 2001 live version of “Utopia,” from the Felt Mountain album, in front of Conan O’Brien.

At the very end, I got the feeling that Conan figured out what the song was about, and made up his mind not to mention it.

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By her gams shalt thou know her

I was Farking along one evening when I caught this ad for Katy Perry’s new shoe line:

Online ad for Katy Perry Collections

The logo was swell, I thought, but what’s with the disembodied legs? I mean, yeah, hers are fine, but it’s not like they’re much of a trademark. And the last time there were any serious candids of Katy, she found herself upstaged by Orlando Bloom’s tallywhacker. (They are no longer a couple.)

Still, this is apparently what she wants. Dial up and this is the second sliding image:

Online splash for Katy Perry Collections

And from the About page:

Katy Perry’s vision, eye for detail and cheeky spirit give her footwear collection a distinct personality.

Inspired by Katy’s travels, humor and extraordinary imagination, the footwear reflect her whimsical approach towards life.

Designed 100% by Katy Perry

Okay, I’ll take “whimsical.”

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Aquiline noses of blue

We got to hear from some of those beaks this past week:

Megastar actress Priyanka Chopra has been bombarded with accusations of immodesty after sharing a picture of herself meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week. In a post made to Instagram, the former Miss World competition winner and star of ABC’s Quantico could be seen sitting with Modi after the two took advantage of an opportunity to meet while in Berlin, where their paths crossed. Chopra was there promoting Baywatch, in which she stars.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, conservative users on social media took exception to the photo. Some complained that the 34-year-old’s dress showed too much of her legs, and accused her of forgetting her Indian heritage. Other users even complained about Chopra crossing her legs for the photo, claiming that in so doing she had shown the prime minister a lack of respect.

Whatever she showed Mr Modi, he didn’t look like he was complaining about it:

Priyanka Chopra with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Just to give you a verbal picture of the Prime Minister:

Modi has also been called a fashion-icon for his signature crisply ironed, half-sleeved kurta, as well as for a suit with his name embroidered repeatedly in the pinstripes that he wore during a state visit by US President Barack Obama, which drew public and media attention and criticism. Modi’s personality has been variously described by scholars and biographers as energetic, arrogant, and charismatic.

He’s sixty-six years old and evidently not losing his vision.

And Priyanka isn’t the sort to hide herself in fabric:

Priyanka Chopra in Hello for November 2016

Priyanka Chopra in not much of a swimsuit

Priyanka Chopra relaxes on the sofa

And her own reaction to the controversy? Subtle as a flying mallet.

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The real MacGraw

What do you say about a 78-year-old woman whom you thought had died?

For me, at least, Ali MacGraw was identified so strongly with Jenny Cavalleri, the doomed twentysomething heroine of 1970’s Love Story, that I tended to assume she’s gone on to whatever world follows. Not so. In fact, just last year MacGraw and Love Story costar Ryan O’Neal appeared on stage in A. R. Gurney’s play Love Letters.

Ali MacGraw with dramatic lighting

Ali MacGraw wields a mighty stick

Ali MacGraw waiting by the car door

When she wasn’t acting, she was in the fashion biz, working at Harper’s Bazaar and later at Vogue, occasionally getting a modeling gig. (For example: the Laura Mae blouse advertisement seen in the previous post.) More recently, she was represented by Trump Model Management, which is in the process of folding.

And, of course, there’s this:

(Optional antidote, should it be necessary.)

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Sweet jazz lady

Dee Dee Bridgewater has been singing for half a century, mostly jazz, some show tunes, but always, always singing. On her 67th birthday, we owe her a look and a listen.

She spent 23 of those years as host of NPR’s Jazz Set, whence comes this first image.

Dee Dee Bridgewater from her Jazz Set days

Dee Dee Bridgewater at Echo Jazz

Cover of Dee Dee Bridgewater's Feathers album

This latter shot appears on the front cover of Dee Dee’s Feathers, a 2015 album with Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. A track therefrom, with deep New Orleans roots:

Dee Dee has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards; she’s won three — so far.

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Let’s not call her “Catgirl”

Three minutes into this project, I had two problems. The first was purely a matter of identification: she’s not Carmen, but Camren Bicondova. (Dyslexia can warn without striking.) The second, propriety: she’s eighteen years old today, which means that anything I might post about her dates from a time before she was eighteen. Noting that she has steady work — she’s Selina Kyle on Fox’s Gotham, going into Season Four this fall — and that the mean streets of Gotham City presumably would age anyone prematurely, I decided I’d go for it. Besides, she’s been working since she was six, when she took her first dance classes.

Camren Bicondova at Wizard World Comic Con Chicago 2014

Camren Bicondova waits by the gate

Camren Bicondova at AOL Build 2016

Camren’s dance troupe, 8 Flavahz, took second place in season seven of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. Here, she busts some solo moves while Pharrell wails:

And hey, if you’re going to be Catwoman some day, you need moves like that.

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A definitive femme fatale

Scene: Beside a roulette wheel.

Jeff: That’s not the way to win.
Kathie: Is there a way to win?
Jeff: There’s a way to lose more slowly.

You need to explain film noir to someone, you could practically do it with those three lines from Out of the Past, a 1947 thriller starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer. You may be certain that what goes around eventually comes around.

Jane was originally “Bettiejane,” but truncated her name shortly after turning 21. “It’s a sissy name,” she said, and maybe it was for someone who was already doing darkish films.

Jane Greer in late November

Jane Greer in late October

Jane Greer in a good mood

Jane Greer by the pool

A pertinent scene from Out of the Past:

Speaking of things coming around, Out of the Past was remade in 1984 as Against All Odds, perhaps best known for its weedy Phil Collins theme. Jane Greer was in that too, as the mother of the femme fatale character played by Rachel Ward. Still a working actress, she went on to do three episodes of Twin Peaks (!), in which she played the mother of Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton). Alas, she won’t be in Twin Peaks: The Return, which starts on Showtime tomorrow; she died of cancer in 2001, aged 76.


A new(ish) face

Where have you seen this face?

The sunny side of Son Na-eun

Another side of Son Na-eun

Answer: In the PSY video “New Face,” debuted last week, and presented right here yesterday.

Son Na-eun, twenty-three, born in Seoul, is perhaps better known for being in the K-pop girl-group Apink, here seen in the video for “Mr. Chu” (2014):

On her own, she’s done a couple of films, a lot of television, and several TV commercials, including this spot for a Korean diet supplement:

“Calobye,” indeed.

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London calling

“It’s only a thimbleful of a voice,” Julie London once explained, “and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate.”

She’d been singing for a decade before her breakout hit, “Cry Me a River.”

Julie Is Her Name sold a heck of a lot of copies for Liberty Records, partly on the basis of that song, but also partly because of that cover. (Edsel Records reprinted the cover photo for this vinyl reissue in 1980.)

Reissue of Julie Is Her Name on LP

In fact, a lot of Julie’s LPs sold pretty well, for reasons that weren’t always in the grooves — although she herself was always in the groove.

Swing Me an Old Song by Julie London

Marginally more modest materials were used to support her acting career:

Portrait of Julie London

And she continued to have hit records through the 1960s, the last of which was perhaps extremely unlikely but was suitably oversmoked:

Never quite made the Hot 100, but no one who ever heard it ever forgot it.

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Goal achieved

So Monday night it occurred to me: “Why not a football player for Rule 5 this week?”

Why not, indeed:

Stephanie Roche out of uniform

Stephanie Roche is Number 10

Stephanie Roche at the ball

Number 10 is Stephanie Roche, forward for Sunderland Association Football Club Ladies, and a member of the Republic of Ireland’s national team; she was briefly signed by the Houston Dash of the NWSL, but was subsequently waived.

And it wouldn’t be sporting if we didn’t include some video:

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Forget that 867 thing

A throwaway remark from earlier this week:

Miami TV host Jenny Scordamaglia effortlessly switches back and forth between English and Spanish without missing a beat. It’s an inspiring phenomenon to witness, no matter what (if anything) she happens to be wearing.

The operative phrase here is “if anything.” The Sun is there:

DECIDING what to wear on a night out can be a troublesome task.

But rather than trawling through her wardrobe, Jenny Scordamaglia took an innovative approach and decided to hit the club NAKED.

The 28-year-old model, who is based in Florida, was photographed partying at Café Iguana Pines in little more than a neck scarf and a bit of body paint.

It’s actually easier to find risqué pictures of Jenny than more modest shots. On the basis that you’re probably dialing over to look for them, I figured I could get by here with the PG-13 stuff.

Jenny Scordamaglia not looking at her computer

Jenny Scordamaglia lets it all, or most of it anyway, hang out

Jenny Scordamaglia on the air

Just because, here’s a bilingual (and clean!) promo video from last year.

And 867 is perfect here: not only does it invoke the memory of Tommy Tutone, but it’s an area code, about as far from Miami as you can get and still have an area code.

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I think she’s the other one

I’m not aware of any time during the last 31 years when I was confident of my ability to distinguish between Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, and technically they’re not even identical twins. (They have a younger sister, Elizabeth, whom I find easier on my eyes, but of course your mileage may vary.)

The Olsen twins, benched

Similarities aside, Mary-Kate has gotten slightly more attention in these pages, mostly for this absurd tale from a decade ago:

Blogdom has been much amused by the fourteen-page spread in Harper’s Bazaar (October) in which Mary-Kate Olsen dresses up with Lauren Hutton and declaims, “I run around my house naked with heels all the time.”

I have no doubt that she does — why would anyone make up something like that? — but I suspect that the running is at a pretty slow pace, what with the heels and all.

What made me think of this, in case you’re curious, was this tweet from this past weekend:

Yeah, like I’d know anything about that.

Anyway, here are a couple of shots of Mary-Kate, or at least I think it’s Mary-Kate. She’s not running around, naked or otherwise.

Mary-Kate Olsen at her least comfortable

Mary-Kate Olsen at her least comfortable

Enough eye makeup there for any five normal women, or three Dusty Springfields.

Speaking of a decade ago, here’s MK getting the once-over from David Letterman:

Darling Dave apparently hadn’t yet grown into the professional perv we’d see later in life, though clearly he was working on it.

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KD at 35

Tomorrow, Kirsten Dunst turns thirty-five, and that seems almost impossible; was it that long ago that her character in Interview with the Vampire got a kiss from no less than Brad Pitt? (Later, she said that she thought Pitt had cooties, which might explain something some day.)

What I can’t figure out is why she’s not a bigger star than she is. She has an enviable track record, including Little Women, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and various Spider-Man vehicles.

Kirsten Dunst takes a sip

Kirsten Dunst goes casual

Kirsten Dunst goes somewhat less casual

This breezy little yellow number caught my eye — WTF? What’s the deal with those shoes?

Kirsten Dunst wears shoes with a backward heel

Wow. Wonder how well that would go over in Japan?

No one would even notice. (I really think so.)

This copy of the video is better, but it’s not embeddable.

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Silver standard

When you get as old as I am, you start snickering at the phrase “younger woman”: aren’t they all younger women? Of course not. But I’m long past the point where anyone over 29 seems to have gone to seed.

Of course, it helps if you’re in a position to take care of yourself, as is Christine Lagarde, sixty-one, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, now in her second term despite this little contretemps:

From 1993 to 2008 there was a long legal battle between [Bernard] Tapie and the Crédit Lyonnais bank (partly state-owned bank). Crédit Lyonnais had allegedly defrauded Tapie in 1993 and 1994 when it sold Adidas on his behalf to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, apparently by arranging a larger sale with Dreyfus without Tapie’s knowledge.

In 2008 a special judicial panel ruled that Tapie should receive compensation of €404 million from the French Ministry of Finance, headed by Christine Lagarde. She decided not to challenge the ruling. On December 3, 2015, a French court ruled that Tapie should return this compensation with interest. A few days later, the Court of Justice of the Republic ordered that Lagarde should stand trial for negligence. On December 19, 2016, Lagarde was convicted of negligence; however, the conviction was not deemed a criminal record and Lagarde was not sentenced to a punishment.

The US has been supportive of Lagarde, who has been something of a hardliner in office, but only to a point: for example, as Greece circled the drain in 2015, she called for massive debt relief, but when concrete plans for such relief were not forthcoming, she subsequently declined to assist the Eurozone.

Behold the hardliner:

Christine Lagarde on the rise

Christine Lagarde in silver

Christine Lagarde stretches out

Looking for brief samples of her voice, I stumbled across this AP squib from the IMF spring meetings — not quite a minute and a half — in which Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin complains about the US tax code.

I think she just might be sympathetic to the cause.

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Keeping it Friel

It’s Courtney Friel’s thirty-seventh birthday, and I suspect rather a lot of folks think she’s still stirring somewhere in the mighty Fox News machine. Um, no. For the moment, she’s the weekend anchor on KTLA, the Los Angeles affiliate of The CW. Then again, as a former Fox person, it is likely that she possesses certain, um, decorative qualities, and no one is likely to mention her BA in Political Science from San Diego State.

Courtney Friel, probably not on YouTube

Courtney Friel all almost-dressed up

Courtney Friel in the director's chair

I suspect this picture was not taken in Los Angeles:

Courtney Friel in the winter

She’s originally from Philadelphia. Do women from there typically wear flip-flops in the snow?

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Standing on her own

“Schrödinger’s pants,” quipped a Facebook wag. The truth of the matter is not much more plausible:

[L]et us focus on the pant. Yes, pant. I don’t think it can be called “pants” if one half has been deleted. If you’re wondering what it looks like from the back … well, so am I, and she perhaps wisely did not indulge that curiosity. The culprit did at least thoughtfully leave the waistband so that her belt would have a soft place to land, but otherwise this is an extremely clean and almost surgical amputation.

“Forget that,” you show me. “Show me the damn pant.”

Ryan Destiny wearing something vaguely resembling pants

Anyway, this is Ryan Destiny Irons, twenty-two, from Detroit, currently appearing in Lee Daniels’ musical drama Star on Fox. Sensibly enough, she’d shortened up her billing to “Ryan Destiny” several years before, and she spent a few years in a girl group called Love Dollhouse.

“Can I” came out in 2014; the group broke up the next year, and Destiny signed a solo deal, though she probably won’t be doing any recording while Star goes on. Still, there’s always the bedroom cover, a staple of YouTube, and in this one, she’s singing Beyoncé’s “I Miss You.”

In the meantime, let’s dress her up a bit:

Ryan Destiny in leather

Ryan Destiny at the Star premiere

Apparently wearing half a pair of pants is not something she usually does.

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Purely decorative

One of the easiest ways to spot so-called “chick lit” on the shelves of your local bookseller: look for an incomplete picture of a woman. The reasoning, I assume, is that you can more easily identify with a character if you only get to see part of her.

The end result is something like this:

Here’s Jen’s book cover:

Save the Date by Jen Doll

I wonder how many other covers our unknown model might have done.


The lonely princess

This is the poster for the 70th anniversary edition of the Cannes Film Festival:

Official poster for Cannes 2017

And it’s all of a sudden controversial, because of the image of Claudia Cardinale at its center.

Claudia, who turns 79 today, is not concerned about it:

Despite the rumblings in the French press and social media, Cardinale … described the controversy as a “fake row.” Speaking to The Huffington Post, the Leopard star said, “[T]his image has been retouched to accentuate this effect of lightness and transpose me into a dream character.”

She added: “This concern for realism has no place here, and as a committed feminist, I see no affront to the female body. There are many more important things to discuss in our world. It’s only cinema.”

Through more than 140 films, she’s played plenty of dream characters, some of whom might have seemed awfully down to earth.

Claudia Cardinale on the balcony

Claudia Cardinale on the cover of Tempo

Claudia Cardinale on the rocks

I have to figure this was the inevitable fate of the woman who won the title of “Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia” at nineteen, and who appeared in many Italian films before she ever learned to speak Italian well.

(Mr Johnston is a cultural historian at University College, London. The title here is a reference to Claudia’s character in 1963’s The Pink Panther.)

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Uee, Uee

Her family named her Kim Yu-jin, but for most of her life she’s been simply Uee, and you might think that one does not adopt a name shorter than Cher’s without some attitude slipping in. I’m not seeing any myself. I’d mentioned yesterday that she’d had a solo hit in 2011, and there were others, but most of her musical career has been spent as a member of the girl group After School.

Uee recommends this soft drink

Uee stretches out

Uee stands tall-ish

“First Love,” whose title would seem to belie its pole-dancing imagery, sold over 600,000 copies for After School in 2013.

And Uee’s a far better singer, or actor, or dancer even, than she is a pitcher:

She’d be the first to admit it, too.


The go-go bhoot

The sort of person who sends me a link to something like this can be safely said to, um, know me entirely too well:

A young man Kanan (Suraj Sharma) returns to India from Canada to marry his long-term girlfriend Anu (Mehreen Pirzada), but comes to know that as he is a manglik (born under an unlucky star) he has to get married to a tree before getting married to her. He very reluctantly marries the tree, which is duly chopped down after the completion of the ceremony. As a result, from that day onwards he is haunted by the spirit of a woman named Shashi (Anushka Sharma), who lived in that particular tree and hence claims to now be “married” to him.

This is consistent with Hindu astrology:

In Hindu astrology, Mangal Dosha is an astrological combination that occurs if Mars (Mangal) is in the 1st, 2nd (Considered by South Indian Astrologers), 4th, 7th, 8th, or 12th house of the ascendant chart. A person born in the presence of this condition is termed a manglik.

It is believed to be unfavorable for marriages, causing discomfort and tension in relationship, leading to severe disharmony among the spouses and eventually to other bigger problems. This is believed to be caused due to the “fiery” nature of the planet Mars, named after the Roman god of war.

There is a belief that the negative consequences for a single-manglik marriage can be resolved if the manglik first performs a ceremony called a kumbh vivah, in which the manglik “marries” a banana tree, a peepal tree, or a silver or gold idol of the Hindu God Vishnu.

And what of this mysterious tree-dweller?

Anushka Sharma looking pensive

Anushka Sharma, twenty-eight, is a model turned motion-picture star; according to one source, she was the highest-grossing actress in all of India in 2016.

Anushka Sharma posing for one of those lad mags

Anushka Sharma strikes a pose

Her first release in 2017 is Phillauri, which doesn’t seem to have anything much to do with famed Hindu writer Shardha Ram Phillauri. There is, however, a lot of poetry, and, as mentioned before, a wedding to a tree. This being Bollywood, there is also a lot of music:

She has almost 10 million Twitter followers. I can’t imagine why.

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The business of knees

That infamous Daily Mail front page, focusing attention on the legs of two UK politicians, has inevitably drawn flak from rival newspapers:

The U.K. Daily Mail is in hot water with for running a photo of UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that included the two political leaders’ legs.

May and Sturgeon were sitting down and gabbing in Glasgow about Brexit (most Scots oppose) and Sturgeon’s hints that Scotland could declare independence if May lets the Brits go ahead with their desire to leave the EU (she has). Both ladies, despite their sharp political differences, were attired in the kind of stylish and elegant professional-wear that female politicians in Europe do so well and that female politicians in America ought to aspire to. Both outfits included knee-length pencil skirts that, as we females all know, ride up a few inches above the knee when the wearer is seated.

Sample flak, from Owen Jones at the Guardian:

But while it should be mocked, parodied, ridiculed, it should terrify us: because it is indicative of what is happening in Brexit Britain…

But there is something far more sinister about this front page. Britain is now in the throes of a national counter-revolution. Thought Brexit was all about Britain’s relationship with the EU? It wasn’t even just about immigration. While millions who voted leave had multiple, complex reasons for their choice, the most bigoted elements of British society decided that the referendum presented them with a mandate.

And farther up the umbrage scale:

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of Britain’s Green Party, formally reported the Daily Mail to the country’s press regulators, the Indepedent Press Standards Organisation, accusing the tabloid of violating a code provision stating that editors must “avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”.

I’m guessing the references here were “prejudicial,” because there certainly wasn’t anything pejorative about them. From that original Daily Mail article:

There is no doubt that both women consider their pins to be the finest weapon in their physical arsenal. Consequently, both have been unsheathed.

May’s famously long extremities are demurely arranged in her customary finishing-school stance — knees tightly together, calves at a flattering diagonal, feet neatly aligned. It’s a studied pose that reminds us that for all her confidence, she is ever the vicar’s daughter, always respectful and anxious not to put a foot wrong.

Sturgeon’s shorter but undeniably more shapely shanks are altogether more flirty, tantalisingly crossed, with the dominant leg pointing towards her audience. It’s a direct attempt at seduction: her stiletto is not quite dangling off her foot, but it could be. “Come, succumb to my revolutionary allure,” she seems to be saying. “You know you want to.”

The message to the Scottish electorate is clear. They have a simple choice: on the one hand the reliable, measured, considerate and cautious politics of Mrs May and the safety of a Union that has endured for 300 years — on the other a wild, dangerous leap into the unknown, a glorious moment of rebellion which could all too easily lead to a lifetime of regrets.

The exact balance between political metaphor and outright leer is left as an exercise for the student.

In the best, or at least the blandest, of all possible worlds, this tempest would never have breached the boundaries of its teacup.

Me, I tend to side with Charlotte Allen of IWF:

I’m sorry, but I thought Sturgeon and May, legs, stilettos, and all, looked great. They demonstrated that middle-aged women can look as attractive as their younger counterparts without sacrificing their dignity, professional appearance or age-appropriateness in dress. As I said above, American women politicians could take a leaf from their book. And isn’t it nice that you can still be regarded as objects of “sexism”?

And I might point out that if you don’t want people noticing your legs, wear a long full skirt. So take a chill pill, outraged feminists.

Besides, this little contretemps shows up the current American whine — that Vice President Pence would rather not be seen with women other than his wife — for the idiocy it is.

And just to bring things full circle, here’s three minutes of Karen Pence’s legs:

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A likely story

Jane Powell, I am delighted to report, is still with us today, her 88th birthday. She’s been performing for more than 75 years; before she was 13, she had a singing gig on a radio station in Portland, Oregon, making music and selling Victory Bonds for the war effort. (Yes, that war.) She was Suzanne Burce back then; in 1943, after winning a talent competition, she auditioned for Louis B. Mayer of MGM, was signed to a seven-year contract, and was promptly loaned out to United Artists for the lead in the 1944 musical Song of the Open Road, not at all related to the Walt Whitman poem of that title, playing a child star named, um, Jane Powell. MGM thought this name was swell, and before the film was even released, assigned her the stage name “Jane Powell.”

Jane Powell does a boudoir shot

Jane Powell stands tall

Apparently she wasn’t impressed by life in MGM’s musical unit:

Those movies didn’t reflect reality. I was at MGM for 11 years and nobody ever let me play anything but teenagers. I was 25 years old with kids of my own and it was getting ridiculous. Publicity was froth. Everything you said was monitored. With me, they didn’t have to worry. I never had anything to say, anyway.

She did, however, have things to sing:

Jane Powell's The Girl Most Likely LP

The Girl Most Likely, a 1958 RKO picture, starred Jane as a girl who wound up engaged to three guys. Capitol issued no single from the soundtrack, though I remember “I Don’t Know What I Want”. She did have one hit single: a cover of Cole Porter’s “True Love,” from the soundtrack of High Society (1956), where it was sung by Bing Crosby with a couple of words from Grace Kelly.

Jane’s recording (Verve 2018) charted at #15, not bad at all for a one-hit wonder, but nothing was going to beat der Bingle, who claimed the #3 spot.

Jane Powell was married five times, the last time to child star turned PR man Dickie Moore, whom she met in 1984 while he was writing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: (But Don’t Have Sex or Take the Car) They had 27 years together, from 1988 until Moore’s death last year.


Knees of the business

This morning’s Daily Mail front page inevitably turned up on Twitter, tagged as #everydaysexism:

Front page of the Daily Mail 28 March 2007

Let the record show that I told you it’s irrelevant in the grand scheme of things whether the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom or the First Minister of Scotland has nicer legs.

And having said that, I whisper my unofficial thoughts on the matter:

  • As I learned a long time ago, the legs are among the last things to go. (Theresa May is sixty; Nicola Sturgeon is forty-eight.)
  • I have done a Rule 5 feature on May, but not on Sturgeon.
  • On the other, um, hand, She Politico, a YouTube channel composed entirely of three-minute musings on the legs of women in politics, has never featured May, but has featured Sturgeon.
  • Sturgeon, in public at least, prefers shoes more conservative than May’s, though the Daily Mail photo does not really reflect that preference.

Speaking of She Politico, their most recent subjects were Kamala Harris (Senator from California) and Elaine Chao (Secretary of Transportation). But none of that matters, right?

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Madame President

Roberta Anastase, born on this date in 1976, served as the first female President of Romania’s Chamber of Deputies, from 2008 to 2012. She was a member of the Democratic Liberal Party, which held 115 of the 334 seats in the Chamber. In 2009, the Social Democratic Party, which held 114 seats, withdrew from the governing coalition; the government subsequently fell in a vote of no confidence, though Anastase held on to her seat until 2012.

Roberta Anastase at work

Roberta Anastase waits

Before all this political stuff, Anastase represented Romania in the 1996 Miss Universe competition, though this took some time on the pageant circuit:

Roberta Anastase in the swimsuit competition

Peripheral note: Before you ask: 1996 was the first year that Donald Trump (remember him?) owned the Miss Universe operation; he is no longer connected to Miss Universe.

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