Last night, LOST kicked off its final season with a bang. Below, five Mother Jones staffers chat about Sayid's resurrection, Hugo's leadership abilities, Kate's line-jumping, and what they hope the show's enigmatic creators have in store for viewers.

Ben Buchwalter, Editorial Fellow: I'm in the chat room, reporting from 1974.
Nikki Gloudeman, New Media Fellow: Nice gchat entrance, Ben.
Jen Phillips, Assistant Editor: So what did you guys think? Did the first episode answer questions, or just frustrate you?
Nikki: I think they wanted to let fans know that they are going to give answers, by doing things like answering the smoke monster question right off the bat.
Ben: Yeah, this is a much better role for the actor formerly known as Locke.
Jen: I couldn't take any more of Locke feeling sorry for himself. Terry O’Quinn makes an excellent badass. And he's still got his knife!

Nikki: Favorite scene of the show? Mine was Jack and Locke rehashing their philosophical debate in the airport waiting room.
Ben: Hugo taking control and being a prophet.
Jen: Kate trying to steal a cab from Frogurt.

Jen: What do you think about Aaron? If he's raised by someone else, will it mess things up? The psychic said Claire had to raise Aaron.
Nikki: Yes, he couldn’t be raised by "another" (or "an other"?) but why?!
Samantha Schaberg, Administrative Assistant: Isn't Aaron the only child to be born on the island?
Nikki: What’s up with Aaron? Is he infant Jacob? He kinda looks like it. That’s my ridiculous theory of the chat!

This post first appeared at Alternet.

What's wrong with your vagina? If you answered "nothing," you're probably wrong. According to the beauty-industrial complex, it's ugly, and it smells bad. But don't worry—there's nothing that money can't fix.

1. Problem: Your Vagina Smells Bad

Solution: Vaginal Deodorant

In the seventies, Massengill tried to marry feminism and its vaginal deodorant spray ("With Hexachlorophene") in an ad that declared the product to be "The Freedom Spray." It was "...the better way to be free to enjoy being a woman. Free from worry about external vaginal odor." Because you're going to need that time you used to spend worrying about your vaginal odor to flirt your way through the glass ceiling. Oh, and Hexachlorophene? It's a disinfectant that can be lethal when absorbed through the skin. In 1972, it was added to baby powder in France due to a manufacturing error and killed thirty-six children.

In case you think vaginal deodorant is a relic of the past, just take a trip to the drug store. (I did, and I took notes. The staff of my local Walgreens is convinced that I'm both very thorough and that my vagina smells really bad.) There are several kinds of vaginal deodorants still for sale (Walgreens even manufactures a generic version). You can buy scented vaginal suppositories called Norforms in Island Escape and Summer's Eve Deodorant Spray in Island Splash. (Norforms contain something called Benzethonium chloride, which is also used as a hard surface disinfectant for fruit and classified as a poison in Switzerland. Exotic!) And you can buy FDS (Feminine, Discreet, Sensual) Spray ("For the woman who cares.") in a myriad of scents including Sheer Tropics and Fresh Island Breeze.

Because if you really cared, you'd make your vagina smell like a poisonous island.

Academy award nominations are out, and three films reviewed in Mother Jones last year are up for awards in the Best Documentary category:

  • The Cove, about the hidden dolphin slaughter in a Japanese town. (Read my interview with the filmmakers here.)
  • Food, Inc., about the horrors of factory farms, slaughterhouses, and meat plants.
  • Burma VJ, about citizen journalists who risk their lives to document government brutality in Burma.

More Mother Jones film coverage here.


A bit of drama over at CBS, where the television network, after approving an anti-abortion Super Bowl ad sponsored by Focus on the Family, found itself in the awkward position of having to review an ad from ManCrunch, a gay online dating site. CBS ultimately rejected the ManCrunch ad, and a number of bloggers on the left are calling it everything from blatant discrimination to reasonably nixing a lame ad that was never worth fighting for anyway. (See AtlanticWire for a good round-up.)
For the record, the Focus on the Family ad shows that not having an abortion significantly increases your chances of having a famous football player for a son, and the ManCrunch ad shows that even if you’re two straight-ish-looking commercial actors, an accidental brushing of hands in the chip bowl raises your chances of experiencing a spontaneous man-on-man make out session. 


Meanwhile, Liliana Segura at AlterNet wonders whether NFL quarterback Tim Tebow’s birth story, which provides the juicy material for the Focus on the Family ad, is even true.
Interesting to note that Focus on the Family recently hired 27-year-old Esther Fleece to bring Twitter-savvy millenials—who, according to Fleece, find some of their older predecessors’ anti-gay rhetoric alienating—into the conservative Christian fold. To read more about Fleece, be sure to check out Stephanie Mencimer’s excellent article in the most recent issue of Mother Jones. Also see Tim Murphy's post on the ongoing rift at Focus on the Family.


Kora Records

This sophomore effort by Swedish indie rockers Fredrik is actually a compilation of three EPs: Holm, Ava, and Ner, which translate roughly to "frozen forest island," "water through sound," and "the inside underground." In 2006, Fredrik made a splash within the American experimental rock circuit, so Trilogi, released last week, will probably do well among Animal Collective and Sigur Rós fans. Complete with a low-fi music box, sparse mandolin, and gentle harmonies, it is ethereal and enchanting. On first listen, it rises above run-of-the-mill psych-folk sensations like the Decemberists. And yet, I'm not entirely sold.

Trilogi was my introduction to Fredrik, which is apparently its very own ethos—to the point where I half expected the musicians to break into their own elfin sister tongue. The press notes describe the record as "contemporized viewpoints of the Lovecraftian dream passage—orientation at great cost and understanding at the risk of sanity." Huh? Each EP "was surreptitiously self-released on highly limited 3" CDs in hand made origami packaging," the notes explain.

Jacqui Naylor may be the most conventional and unconventional jazz singer on the scene today. Her smoky alto and syncopated interpretations are straight out of the Billie Holiday playbook. But her song choices, which include rock covers and genre-mixed tunes, are anything but.

This duality was on full display last Thursday as she wowed Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland, California. After opening with a couple of straightforward tunes celebrating life and love, she launched into an eclectic set that included a slow, sultry version of Prince's "Kiss," and "Summertime" sung over the musical line for Greg Allman's "Whipping Post" (a mashup style she likes to call "acoustic smashing").

Along the way, she bantered wittily with her talented backup musicians—a keyboardist/guitarist, bass player, and drummer—and unveiled a few surprises. The director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium, recipient of half the proceeds of the benefit show, gave a heartfelt speech. And there was a cutesy moment when Naylor invited an 11-year old to jam out on keyboard and guitar with her band.