With July 4th approaching, perhaps you're planning for the cornerstone of patriotic party-making: the barbeque. An Americana standard, this is the sacred time when friends and family gather round the grill. Dad flips burgers, and Mom, well, she sets out the lemonade or fusses over the napkins or something.
Well ladies, behold the post-feminist era's gift to you: Now you can turn the tables on your unsuspecting spouse/lover/friend/dad with "Girl Grill Power!" a guide to help ladies navigate the open pit, presented by "The Other White Meat" campaign.
Pork Information Bureau
According to the Pork Information Bureau, here's what you need to know to become a lady-grillmaster:
1) Confused? Just pretend your grill is a man you're trying to romance.
This pamphlet is your staple "little black dress" to ensure you look good on your "first date with the grate." Just "work it," and your first hangout with Mr. Char-Broil will be a smashing success!
2) Grilling meat will make you "one hot mamma."
And another thing that will make you the most fetching of grill-ladies? Absolutely no risk-taking at all when it comes to your homecooking. Heaven forbid you should gamble on your family's taste buds! Just make "certain they're satisfied," and you'll "light up the night."
3) You'll probably better understand how to prepare meat for the grill if the directions are couched in a sexual metaphor.
The Pork Information Bureau recommends that, when prepping your grub, you "rub it right" with the "Spicy Girl's Dry Rub," which you can use a little or a lot of, "depending on your mood." Really?
4) But don't forget about gender equity!
Wouldn't want to make your man feel like you're treading his territory, i.e. "the grilling throne". And of course your partner is a man, because meat grilling is something only heterosexual couples do.
5) Everything should be perfect. Always and forever.
If your table is absolutely flawless, all your female friends will be double-floored by your gender-bending grill antics.
6) Grilling is empowerment!
Yeah, enough with the booze already. Think of the calories! And speaking of: You might not know what "loin" means—tough word, I know—but just be sure it's on your meat label. That means it's healthy! And another vocab tip: "Loin" is two words. No, really:
In 1957, New Yorker staffer E.B. White hired 19-year-old Janet Groth, a doe-eyed Midwesterner, as the magazine's receptionist. For 21 years, Groth was gatekeeper to the literati hub, rubbing elbows with J.D. Salinger, Calvin Trillin, and Jamaica Kincaid while dreaming of publishing her own stuff. In the Mad Men-esque meantime, she marshaled staffers' wives and their philandering husbands, minded kids and empty houses, and sorted rejected cartoons. For all its intrigue, her graceful memoir aptly portrays the lot of the aspiring writer: self-loathing, loneliness, and a desperate desire to inhabit the literary world.
Near the end of this film, former Coast Guardswoman Kori Cioca stands at the women's war memorial in DC wondering why she and others who have been raped by their comrades in arms—half a million since the 1950s, estimates one expert—don't deserve a Purple Heart. By this time, Kirby Dick, the film's Oscar-nominated director, has already introduced us to the Kafkaesque system of military justice that's helped keep an epidemic of sexual assault under wraps. The Invisible War is riddled with jaw-dropping stats, humanized by haunting survivor stories. Dick does interview Pentagon officials, but the stark contrast between their spin and painful reality is impossible to miss.
When she first landed in the Bronx, nine-year-old Regina Spektor probably stood out a little. It was the early '90s, and Biggie Smalls and Pearl Jam were flooding the airwaves, but Spektor, whose family had just immigrated from Soviet Moscow, turned up her nose at hip-hop, punk, and even rock and roll. She preferred the classics, the Mozart and Tchaikovsky she played on the family's Petrof upright back in Russia. Estranged from her beloved instrument, the young Spektor would habitually tap out her pieces on windowsills and tabletops—until she came across a shabby piano in the basement of a local synagogue.
Now 32, Spektor has long since changed her tune on pop music, but her offbeat imaginings and daredevil sound still distinguish her from the crowd. Her songs are packed with unlikely metaphors—black holes, blue pianos, trapped paintings—and all manner of vocal experimentation."If something feels right to you, you make a choice," she says of her unorthodoxy. "If everybody is saying, 'Oh this is a really amazing work of art,' pointing at the fire extinguisher in the gallery, and then you walk in and you’re like 'That fire extinguisher? I just saw like 30 of them down the hall.' There's a silent agreement. If you're not agreeing with it, then, you know—everybody's either with you or they're not."
Everybody's with her these days, it seems. On the eve of her sixth album, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (out May 29), Spektor has collaborated with violin maestro Joshua Bell, been sampled by Jay-Z, toured with artists from Kings of Leon to Tom Petty, and played stages from Carnegie Hall to the White House. I caught up with Spektor to chat about her polyglot tendencies, gay rights, and how it feels to be labeled a weirdo.
Ever since the fleet-footed runners and chariot races of ancient Greece, ethics have been at the root of the Olympic games. There's an Olympic oath, creed, and hymn. And then there's the torch, which has come to represent purity or goodwill, depending on who you ask.
So, in the spirit of Olympic integrity, London—which will host the summer Olympics this July—has promised to prepare for its games with an eye towards environmentalism, making London 2012 "the greenest Games ever." Just one problem: Three of the Olympics' official sponsors—BP, Dow Chemical, and Rio Tinto—are all currently embroiled in lawsuits over alleged commission of large-scale environmental harms. (A set of criminal charges against BP were just filed yesterday.)
The irony here has not been lost on some of the UK's environmental watchdogs, who last week launched "Greenwash Gold 2012," a campaign to bring attention to the environmental records of these three sponsors. The groups behind the project—the London Mining Network, Bhopal Medical Appeal, and the UK Tar Sands Network—argue that it's greenwashing to let these eco-harming companies sponsor the games.
The campaign's website offers up details on each company's environmental records alongside biting, animated videos. Visitors are asked to vote on which company "gets the dishonour" of winning the Greenwash Gold for "covering up the most environmental destruction"—to be awarded by the campaign in July, when the Olympics start. (Silver and bronze will also be awarded, so don't worry: all three companies are guaranteed to medal.)