Archive for April, 2011

CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE, our short film, has been chosen as an official selection at the Hoboken International Film Festival and will screen there in June…


*Best Performance by a ‘Commoner’ in a Regal Role: the day belonged to KATE and she rose to the occasion, showing that being regal is not about bloodlines.  In a demonstration of ‘grace under pressure,’ Kate showed true poise as one third of the world watched her take her vows.  Litotes, our resident wit, summed up why William finally chose Kate: “He knows that she is hot and that she can take the heat.”

*Best ‘Best Moments Reel’: CNN takes the cake with these vivid clips

Pippa flirting with Prince Phillip

*Best Decision for 4AM programing: CBS rewarding those of us who rose at 4AM by replaying nearly the whole of Charles and Diana’s wedding. Time and tragedy have only intensified those iconic images…

Best Set design: The trees in the Abbey!

Best Budget Cut: the ‘minor European royalty’ arriving via mini-vans!

Best Comic Relief:  Prince Harry cracking who knows what joke to his bro as the bride headed down the aisle…

Best ‘Extras’:The million or so bystanders who provided rousing medieval cheers…

Best Performance by a Supporting Sister: Pippa!  A Star is Born. Pippa rocked her own sleek white dress, served her sister and kept the kiddies in hand beautifully during the service and flirted gamely with 90 year old Prince Phillip on the balcony– then with who-knows-how-many eligible men later on…

Best Directorial Decision by a Royal Couple: William and Kate declaring that even if it rained they would ride in the open coach, because they didn’t want to ‘disappoint’ the waiting crowds and they would not ‘mind getting wet’…

Luckily even the British weather co-operated for the big day.  ‘Good Show’!

(photos: socialvixen.com, uzgexuwa.blogspot.com, ibtimes.com)

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For the latest on KATE (and on PIPPA) see Princess Kate & Scandal-Sister Pippa; CONGRATS TO THE ROYAL COUPLE on their ANNIVERSAY! CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE, our short film, played as an official selection at the Hoboken International Film Festival

HONEYMOON READING for KATE… by Elizabeth Searle

I love a good Royal Wedding.  Years ago I woke at 4AM and painted Kachina Dolls (my high school job) while raptly watching  Prince Charles and– the undeniable unforgettable star of that long-ago show– ‘Lady Di’ take their festive and ill-fated vows.

As noted in my previous post (Is Kate Middleton the anti-Di?), compared to ‘Chuck and Di’, Kate and Wills seem to have– with their longtime courtship, relatively lowkey personas and media savvy– both feet on the ground.

My Wedding Wish for the pretty, smart and sensible Kate Middleton is that her own wedding scores much lower TV ratings than that of her groom’s all-too-famous ‘mum.’  And if Kate is seeking Honeymoon Reading, try Tina Brown.  For a vivid analysis of how Diana’s love affair with the besotted public drained her and her marriage, Kate should brave Brown‘s brilliantly entertaining book, The Diana Chronicles.  I was up till 2AM last weekend reading it.

The witty British-born Brown, new editor at Newsweek, is ideally suited to tell this tale as a former Tatler reporter with insider access to Diana during her reign.  Brown gives Di her due as a true superstar whose unique and genuine connection to ‘her public’ thrilled and comforted countless fans– even as it stole Diana’s best energies and fatally addicted her to heady worldwide fame.

Diana’s personal pains and intriguing contradictions fueled our own addiction to her.  Despite ominous reports of pre-wedding weight loss, Kate Middleton seems to be made of less luminous more sturdy and long-wearing material.  Pre-wedding interest has been high but less than maniacal Di-level, which can only be good news for likable Kate’s marital prospects.

In Brown’s book, the most touching moment was her description of a shaken Charles at the Paris hospital after viewing Diana’s lifeless body, following her final media-frenzy crash.  With the hospital surrounded by grieving fans, officials asked Charles if he wanted Diana’s body to be helicoptored away to the airport.

No, Charles replied firmly in blated recognition and respect for his ex-wife’s deep bond with the public.  “There are people waiting out there who love her.”

Hopefully, for Kate, the main people who ‘love her’ were inside the church, close beside her, while the fans among us take in the show– then let the nice new Princess Bride go.

(photos: thedesignerclothes.com, thumb.php, katemiddletonfan.com.uk)

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Caitlin’s previous posts for us on the DES ‘disgrace’ (one linked by Huffington Post) have helped lead to an historic statement recently issued by the FDA; Caitlin was featured in a DES cover story this month in the Boston Globe magazine.

Caitlin McCarthy is an award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin has a screenplay project in development:   RESISTANCE with  Populus Pictures and Si Wall (SPEED DATE; THE DINNER PARTY).  In addition to screenwriting, Caitlin serves as an English teacher at an inner-city public high school.

The DES (Diethylstilbestrol) Drug Disaster, 40 Years Later: The Tragedy Is Far From Over By Caitlin McCarthy

Caitlin on Boston Globe Magazine cover, April 18, 2011

April 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the DES cancer link being made at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital. DES (diethylstilbestrol), a toxic and carcinogenic synthetic estrogen, is considered the world’s first drug disaster. It was prescribed to millions of pregnant women for decades: from 1938 until 1971 (and in a small number of cases for several years thereafter) in the United States; and until the mid-1980s in parts of Latin America, Europe, Australia, and the Third World. The currently proven effects of exposure include a rare vaginal cancer in DES Daughters; greater risk for breast cancer in DES Mothers; possible risk for testicular cancer in DES Sons; abnormal reproductive organs; infertility; high-risk pregnancies; and an increased risk for breast cancer in DES Daughters after age 40. There are a number of other suspected effects, including auto-immune disorders, but many of these effects are still awaiting further research.

I’m a DES Daughter who was born at the tail end of the tragedy in the U.S. My mother was unknowingly prescribed a prenatal vitamin which contained DES. I didn’t discover my DES exposure until 2005, when a doctor made the connection during a colposcopy. How scary is that?

What’s even scarier is that I’m not alone. Around the world, there are thousands – maybe even millions – of people walking around today, totally unaware that they, too, were exposed to DES. All of these people are not receiving proper medical treatment, or making truly informed decisions about their healthcare, as a result. (more…)

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What did I think of Greg Mortenson ‘morally’? my son asked me after we watched the scorching 60 Minutes expose on the bestselling author and activist.

My son had taken part in an all-school ‘read’ of Motenson’s Three Cups of Tea (which a couple young wits who are his friends dubbed ‘Three Cups of Me,’ given what they and my son found to be Mortenson’s off-putting self-promotional tone).

The kids were onto something.  Sounds like Mortenson may have let fame go to his head.  The facts are not all in yet, but of course he is accused of exaggerating key parts of his narrative and of using his charity to pay for promoting his book.

Dean Rader in the San Francisco Chronicle gave a balanced view of the situation, bringing up the unique difficulties of writing memoirs.  But surely Mortenson would not be in such hot water now if the publisher had paid for ALL major promotions on a book that is making them big bucks.   And didn’t kids collecting ‘Pennies for Peace’ have a right to know some of those pennies may have gone to book promoting?  As our commenter ‘AK’ points out, shouldn’t school systems have vetted this charity more fully?  Mortenson has done good works.  But he has more than his share of writerly egotism.

Whether or not his tale is true, he seems have felt– with all the good he was doing in his noble endeavor to help educate children in Afghanistan and Pakistan– he was entitled to fly on a private jet and chalk up book-publicizing expenses to his charity (which claims in news reports the promoting does benefit their overall cause).

Yes, Mortenson was pushing a worthy cause, as well as building up his own image.  But not everyone will cut him a break.  In fact, idealistic young readers like my son– who had detected that suspiciously self-serving tone in a book that turned many reviewers to mush– may ultimately be an even harder crowd for Mortenson to face down than the hard-nosed reporters on 60 Minutes.  WDYT?

PS: thanks to NED on Facebook for this link to Three Cups of Deceit… & thanks to commenter AK for a glimpse of responses from the smallwarsjournal

(photos: depauu.edu; uploadexperience.com)

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This just in: our own blog commenter BARB has predicted the GOP 2012 ticket, and I am predicting that Barb is right.  In her words (apparently this inspiration struck while she was in the midst of posting a comment on my ‘Has Palin Peaked’ blog post):

I just thought of the perfect Republican ticket–Romney and Bachmann–they would present a glamorous, good looking real Ken and Barbie.

Yikes; I think Barb has hit on something here!  As I replied to her:

Romney plus Bachmann would be a scary strong ticket.  Bachmann would be a perfect running mate for him because she would provide the glamor and pizzazz and campaigning savvy that he lacks.  Also she would offer red meat to the right-wingers who don’t trust Romney…

As a loyal Democrat, I can only hope the GOP is not reading this blog…Commenter Litotes recommends checking out Bachmann’s extreme views via YouTube.  THANKS to Barb for this all-too-likely prediction.  Mitt & Michele: WDYT?

(photos: inforum.com, politio.com)

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Check out ArtSake:  Elizabeth Searle & Lise Haines

HAS PALIN PEAKED… by Elizabeth Searle

It’s official: Sarah Palin– once a burning fixture on this blog, winning Disgraced Celebrity of Summer, 2009– may find her star fading at last, at least politically.

The Huffington Post among others speculated that Palin has reached a ‘Tipping Point’ with her latest Presidential Poll rating at 10% and with rising star Michelle Bachmann poised to step into Palin’s ‘high heels’ as the GOP’s next far-right female rabble-rouser.

What tipped Palin?  I believe the slippage began with Palin cutting and running from her Governorship.  When she chose to go for the money and ditch Alaska, she revealed her essentially frivolous nature and lost the respect of in-between voters who might have (heaven forbid) fueled a Palin Presidential victory.

Sadly, this past week the first female Vice Presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro passed away.  I saw her speak at a thrilling rally in New Haven during the Mondale campaign, her voice and presence as clear and bracing as the fall New England air.

Yes, ‘Gerry’ had her mishaps and ‘scandals.’ But unlike Palin, she kept her sense of dignity, humility and humor.  In later years, she focussed on issues rather than her own image or legacy.

Many commented that the first female President, when she finally belatedly arrises, will be standing on Ferraro’s shoulders.  I have wondered if McCain would have had more of a chance had he chosen a woman of substance like Olympia Snowe as his running mate.  And I sometimes wonder if the country would be better off if bold brilliant Hillary Clinton were holding the reigns.

Perhaps Palin’s legacy will be to make voters more wary of glitzy media-star candidacies and more open to serious sensible women who would do Geraldine Ferraro proud.

(photos: thirdage.com, jillstanek.com, nursesforum.com, W.H.)

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Linda K. Sienkiewicz is a writer and artist from Michigan. Her poetry and short stories have been published in numerous literary journals from Prairie Schooner to Bartleby Snopes online. Her latest poetry chapbook, SECURITY, is published by March Street Press. She has a novel and is represented by Chelsea Gilmore of Maria Carvainis Agency.


Mug shot released by the Aspen Police Department to the AP after Sheen's 2009 arrest

I felt a ripple of pleasure when I read in the Detroit Free Press that Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour, which opened in Detroit on Saturday, was an unmitigated disaster. The Freep reported it as being a disconnected, rambling, self-indulgent show.

The Motor City greeted him with a standing ovation (shame on them) but apparently Sheen’s catch phrases quickly staled when the pointlessness of the show became evident. Even he saw his grip on the audience sliding, and, one point, felt a need to assure them, “Trust me, this is going somewhere.” It didn’t. It was a mere half hour before people started earnestly booing and some headed for the exits, grumbling about wasted money.

Why am I so pleased? It’s about time this man got his due. Unfortunately, his downfall may not happen for what, in my opinion, is the right reason, but at least it’s happening. Maybe. The truth is yet to be seen, but at the very least, people are beginning to question why they adore him. As for me, it’s been a long time since I could stomach his cutesy, bad-boy shtick on “Two and a Half Men” after I learned about his abuse of women. It’s shocking:

Brittany Ashland photo, as shown on ABC news

1. In 1990, he “accidentally” shot his then-fiancée, actress Kelly Preston, in the arm with a .22 inside their Malibu home.
2. In 1994, he allegedly struck a UCLA student in the head after she refused sex with him. He was married to model Donna Peele at the time.

3. In 1996, he allegedly slammed his girlfriend, adult film actress Brittany Ashland, on the tile floor, knocking her unconscious and splitting her lip. She claimed he made her dispose of her bloody clothes and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. He pleaded no contest. (more…)

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