Sunday, August 31, 2008

Maureen's Got It Goin' On

Vice in Go-Go Boots?
August 31, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist


The guilty pleasure I miss most when I’m out slogging on the campaign trail is the chance to sprawl on the chaise and watch a vacuously spunky and generically sassy chick flick.
So imagine my delight, my absolute astonishment, when the hokey chick flick came out on the trail, a Cinderella story so preposterous it’s hard to believe it’s not premiering on Lifetime. Instead of going home and watching “Miss Congeniality” with Sandra Bullock, I get to stay here and watch “Miss Congeniality” with Sarah Palin. Sheer heaven.

It’s easy to see where this movie is going. It begins, of course, with a cute, cool unknown from Alaska who has never even been on “Meet the Press” triumphing over a cute, cool unknowable from Hawaii who has been on “Meet the Press” a lot.

Americans, suspicious that the Obamas have benefited from affirmative action without being properly grateful, and skeptical that Michelle really likes “The Brady Bunch” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” reject the 47-year-old black contender as too uppity and untested.

Instead, they embrace 72-year-old John McCain and 44-year-old Sarah Palin, whose average age is 58, a mere two years older than the average age of the Obama-Biden ticket. Enthusiastic Republicans don’t see the choice of Palin as affirmative action, despite her thin résumé and gaping absence of foreign policy knowledge, because they expect Republicans to put an underqualified “babe,” as Rush Limbaugh calls her, on the ticket. They have a tradition of nominating fun, bantamweight cheerleaders from the West, like the previous Miss Congeniality types Dan Quayle and W., and then letting them learn on the job. So they crash into the globe a few times while they’re learning to drive, what’s the big deal?

Obama may have been president of The Harvard Law Review, but Palin graduated from the University of Idaho with a minor in poli-sci and worked briefly as a TV sports reporter. And she was tougher on the basketball court than the ethereal Obama, earning the nickname “Sarah Barracuda.”

The legacy of Geraldine Ferraro was supposed to be that no one would ever go on a blind date with history again. But that crazy maverick and gambler McCain does it, and conservatives and evangelicals rally around him in admiration of his refreshingly cynical choice of Sarah, an evangelical Protestant and anti-abortion crusader who became a hero when she decided to have her baby, who has Down syndrome, and when she urged schools to debate creationism as well as that stuffy old evolution thing.

Palinistas, as they are called, love Sarah’s spunky, relentlessly quirky “Northern Exposure” story from being a Miss Alaska runner-up, and winning Miss Congeniality, to being mayor and hockey mom in Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of 6,715, to being governor for two years to being the first woman ever to run on a national Republican ticket. (Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It’s a little insulting.)

Sarah is a zealot, but she’s a fun zealot. She has a beehive and sexy shoes, and the day she’s named she goes shopping with McCain in Ohio for a cheerleader outfit for her daughter. As she once told Vogue, she’s learned the hard way to deal with press comments about her looks. “I wish they’d stick with the issues instead of discussing my black go-go boots,” she said. “A reporter once asked me about it during the campaign, and I assured him I was trying to be as frumpy as I could by wearing my hair on top of my head and these schoolmarm glasses.”
This chick flick, naturally, features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.

The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it’s close to Alaska. “Back off, Commie dude,” she says. “I’m a much better shot than Cheney.”

Then she takes off in her seaplane and lands on the White House lawn, near the new ice fishing hole and hockey rink. The “First Dude,” as she calls the hunky Eskimo in the East Wing, waits on his snowmobile with the kids — Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for “strength.”)

“The P.T.A. is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B.,” President Palin murmurs to Todd, as they kiss in the final scene while she changes Trig’s diaper. “Now that Georgia’s safe, how ’bout I cook you up some caribou hot dogs and moose stew for dinner, babe?”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barbie reports from Route 66

This reporter's job never gets dull. I've done the Olympics with the pagentry and 1/100th second gold medal wins. I've had the thrill of the Obama convention. Now it's time for a little road trip.

It's official the eloping duo leaves Adrian, Michigan early early Friday Morning to begin their Route 66 journey to the Coral Sands.

I'll be pushing off from Chicago as soon as I file this while the boyz will be crossing Ohio and Indiana. We plan to meet up near St. Louis where they will be joining me on Route 66. Don't worry they'll be doing the part of the Mother Road they missed, north into Chicago, on their way home.

The trip should be enlightening. For a roving reporter there is nothing more thrilling than riding that road not taken before. I am very interested in meeting up with this guy and asking him about his hot dog, I hear tell it's the size of Ruby's "Dinah" He's on Route 66 in Atlanta, Illnois just north of Lincoln. He used to work in front of a restaurant called Bunyon’s in Berwyn, Illinois (also on old Route 66) from about 1965 to 2003.

I'll be filing a story or two on our caravan way west, so stay tuned.

(Midge, I'll meet you in Santa Fe, we can always make it a double wedding!)

Reporting from Route 66,

Barbie Doll

Ruby and her Wonderful father, Mel, taking Palm Springs photos...with Lola

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I am going to miss Del. What an inspiration.

in an email sent out today:

Remembers Pioneer Del Martin

Dear Viewers,

It’s with sadness that I write to you with news that longtime LGBT civil rights activist and pioneer Del Martin died this morning. Our hearts go out to Phyllis Lyon, to whom, in life and love, Del was inextricably linked.

As a teenager, reading “Lesbian/Woman” between the stacks in the local library, to one of millions touched by their journey to marriage, I have long admired these formidable champions in the fight for equality. It is a profound honor for In The Life Media to conclude our October season premiere episode with their recent wedding. That episode now becomes a joyous tribute to her life, her relationship with Phyllis, her witness, and struggle for LGBT equality. We are braver and stronger for having had her in our midst.

The 17th Season Premiere episode of IN THE LIFE, "Civil Rites & Civil Rights", takes an in-depth look at the battle for marriage equality in America's most populous state, California. As part of it, we’re privileged to be airing never-before-seen footage of Del and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis, becoming the first same-sex couple to wed in California after the state Supreme Court mandated equal marriage rights for gay men and lesbians.

We hope you will join us in remembering these vanguards of the movement.

Warmest wishes,

Michelle Kristel

Executive Director

In The Life is an American public television series in a news magazine format
that reports on gay and lesbian issues and culture

Del Martin, (in chair), and Phyllis Lyon
got married at San Francisco City Hall
in a ceremony performed by Mayor Gavin Newsom on June 16, 2008.
(Josie Lepe/Mercury News archives)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

As in "separate out the impurities".

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Just a clarification, Sanders. The David and Brian I was referring to in the last post were not THIS David and Brian.

These two ARE NOT getting married by the Reverend Ruby Montana poolside at the Coral Sands. No . . . no.

This David and Brian are merely releasing a new album. It's called "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today". To smooth over any rough feathers this reporter may have caused, were offering Sanders a free download of a song off the new album.
All you do is click on this link.

Hope this clears things up.

kisses from the Windy City,
Barbie Doll

Monday, August 18, 2008

A little announcement from Our Roving Reporter

Barbie Doll, that style setting, journalistic, action figure, will be breaking herself away from the Chicago Jazz Festival later this month to cover a couple of interloping elopers. Those boys from Lenawee County will be making the Mother of All Road Trips on Route 66 from the golden fields of the Midwest to the azure pool of the Coral Sands.

Barbie Reports:
"Although Brian and David were officially 'committed' by city decree in Seattle years ago, they've decided to travel to Palm Springs to get married by the Reverend Ruby Montana. After Ruby got her license, they decided to get theirs.
They couldn't resist the opportunity, I couldn't resist the story. I am totally into the human interest aspect, and I could use the gig."

Since Barbie's been summering in her fabulous Frank Lloyd Wright abode in Chicago, and will have just finished her feature on the Jazz Fest, (Barbie and Sonny Rollins are LIKETHIS), she's decided to follow the two re-fiancés on their journey westward in her vintage coral and turquoise Austin-Healey!

They'll be making their way thorough Illinois, Missouri, a little corner of Kansas, Oklahoma (including El Reno, the birthplace of Ruby Montana), the Texas panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona and California. They'll be leaving Route 66 after Amboy to head over the Bullion Mountains, into Twenty Nine Palms and the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs and a suite at the Coral Sands.

No matter how you get here,
everyone is welcomed at the Coral Sands Hitching Post.

The Reverend is waiting.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sander Vita Alea...lots of folks that read the Blog know her and are excited about her new Grandson, this! What a Grandma!

Wisconsin Woman Magazine September 2008
Pat Alea: Empowering women

By Amanda N. Wegner

Pat Alea has a “career with a sidebar.” Now a management and leadership consultant who has worked with some top local women, Alea has a rich professional history, including high school English teacher, poet, lecturer and publisher, community organizer and marketing executive, to name a few. Moved to empower women, Alea’s “sidebar” includes “an equal measure of work in civil rights, women’s rights and on community issues.”
“My husband calls me a ‘truth and justice’ person … one who believes often against the odds that everything can and will get better. I call myself a ‘pragmatic utopian.’ I want to know the best possible vision, know where we stand at the moment and I will then, usually in partnership with many talented others, find a way to get from here to there!” And every day, whether it was balancing her career with providing care for her out-of-state mother who recently passed away, coaching the likes of Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton and state Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster, consulting with major organizations and corporations, or finding harmony in her backyard garden, Alea continues to get “from here to there.”

Moving with the movement

“My work with women,” says Alea, “is largely an accident of my age.” Growing up in the 1960s, with Title IX, legislation to address domestic violence and sexual assault, and women ascending on the workforce in droves, Alea found her niche. “As soon as a women’s movement began
to move, I was there!” Now, nearly 50 years later, women have a greater place in society, thanks to women like Alea. For those of the younger generations who’ve grown up with relative freedom of choice, economic power and the like, imagining how women’s roles have evolved is a tough exercise. “My daughters still marvel at a world that only a few decades ago now seems like Jurassic Park in relation to women’s roles,” says Alea.
And the work is not done.
While Alea she says she is “humbled” by men proudly standing side-by-side with women, championing equality of the female gender, both men and women need to get on board to affect lasting change. And women need to realize this isn’t a perfect world for them either.
“On a related note, I try to have patience with women who don’t acknowledge the need to address issues of gender equity,” says Alea “[Such as] women who feel that if they’ve made it, [so] other women should be able to do the same. Without the advocacy of those who have succeeded, we lose heart. When men disappoint us, we lose faith in them. When women disappoint us, we lose hope. It may seem unfair, but if we don’t speak for ourselves and enlist the men who want us to succeed, if we don’t take a strong initiative, we will never have power. It can’t be given; it must be taken authentically."

Still working for change
Can anyone be a leader? Can anyone affect change?
“I see the capacity for leadership everywhere. What is leadership but the undiluted will to make something important happen and to enlist others to help?”
But intention and will are easily diluted, especially for women, by the many roles played. There is usually something more or equally as pressing to tend to, be it a sick child, financial responsibilities or time constraints.
“Most women today face both internal and external barriers in pursuing their dreams. It’s important to know which is which,” says Alea. Part of Alea’s job as a consultant is helping clients recognize and challenge these barriers. From it, she’s developed a strong list of leaders who are not only clients, but friends, including Lawton, Burmaster, UW Police Chief Sue Riseling, Tammy Thayer, president of the UW School of Business Center for Advanced Studies in business, and other outstanding women.
“I have been fortunate to work with many of the women who are not only leading our best institutions, but who are addressing institutional change to include women and others who have been sidelined in our culture. I am always eager to understand the unique vision such leaders have crafted. … I have wonderful ongoing relationships with these and dozens of other women with whom I’ve collaborated. The personal friendships are an amazing bonus, and I feel I can call on them when I’m working through a tough problem and need support.” She adds: “The common characteristic I admire in each of these women is courage; an absolute unwillingness to speak anything but the truth.”

Dismantling the chaos
Alea is proof-positive that a career and life can be driven by what someone loves and is passionate about. In fact, she authored a book, The Best Work of your Life, several years ago, on this same topic. So what if we all decided to dedicate ourselves to what we love and long to do?
“I would predict that we would find less than six degrees of separation. I suspect that we would almost effortlessly form collaborations, rich partnerships and inspiration from one another. I am certain we would form natural and diverse communities as we shared goals and activities.”
In fact, this is happening every day. Alea notes that she frequently talks with clients about the importance of living the proverbial “self-examined life” and how important it is to reflect, re-integrate and maintain professional momentum based on the values we hold and want to honor.
“I’m not sure if we’re hampered by ‘excuses’ as much as the increased chaos of our daily lives. Living with passion and being fascinated by our own lives shouldn’t seem like a fantasy. Maybe we need just a conscious dismantling of chaos.”

Freelancer Amanda N. Wegner works hard daily to dismantle the chaos of life to gain the most from it. She can be reached at

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Seattle Times Tribute in Sunday's Paper

Eulogy for canine concierge Louie L'Amour
Louis L'Amour, the official canine greeter at Ruby Montana's Coral Sands Inn in Palm Springs, Calif., passes away at 21

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company, Sunday, August 3, 2008

Louis L'Amour, chief "greeter" at the Coral Sands Inn in Palm Springs, Calif., passed away last week.

L'Amour was 21 years old.

Ah, but don't mourn the death of one so young. L'Amour (better known among his guests as Louie) was a Chihuahua, something like 147 years old in human terms when he left this world — that must be some kind of record in the concierge world.

Louie was the constant companion of Ruby Montana, who for years owned the Pinto Pony — a kitschy, krazy shop in downtown Seattle — before she opened her Coral Sands Inn in Palm Springs in 2000.

Guests — countless numbers of them from the Northwest — made pilgrimages to the converted pink motel, where they were greeted by Louie's attentive barks and then tours of the rooms, designed especially for fans of an era gone by — see the Roy Rogers unit, for example.

Louie's role at the Inn was chronicled in The Seattle Times in 2002. You can read that story online by looking for this article at

Farewell, Louie! Hope you'll consider this little recognition as "one more for the road."

link to Seattle Time article

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Louie's Pals All Over the Country are Mourning His Sudden Departure Here Sander Stella Bennett Raises a Glass To Louie...

Stella remembers floating in her pool chair at The Sands having her usual Bloody Mary...making eyes at Louie. This is hard on everyone.

Littlest Louie Lamour Hoisted on High by his pet Ruby Montana

Louie Lamour patrolling the Sands in July...Littlest Pumpkin...

The Widow Lamour

We are trying everything in our power to get The Widow Lamour our darling Lola to get offa the Blues since her man went down. We're just all Blue around here.
Missing Louie. Veuve Lamour.