Time for something I haven’t done on here in a while: Clear out a bookmark that’s long been sitting idle in my browser. It’s about a business here in Madison that I’ve highlighted a couple of times on here before: Mallatt’s, which has long been known for its prescription services, home health care and convenience items, and more famously a wide selection of costumes and theatrical makeup. In the autumn of 2016, Mallatt’s made the decision to discontinue its prescription services, due to changing times and increased corporate competition. Then a year ago, they closed their remaining brick-and-mortar locations. Since then, Mallatt’s has concentrated on their online sales and services, both in home care services and costume sales.
I really, really wanted to write about another topic in this post, but it’s a somewhat complex topic that can wait for another day. But I will be able here to clear out a couple of bookmarks related to..
Yep, Supergirl! I must be upfront that although I will watch an episode or two of a comic book-inspired show or motion picture on television, I don’t make a regular habit of tuning in, Supergirl included. (Note to self: It’s good to diversify your TV habits away from all sports all the time.) Part of the reason is that I’m preoccupied by other adult things, sorry. However, I must single out Supergirl for the route it has taken in its second and current season, with episodes obliquely or downright directly tackling real life issues we mortal earthlings are currently facing. Earlier this month, Supergirl aired an episode that had vividly clear and unadulterated parallels to the real life issue of welcoming and tolerating immigrants in the United States. And back in November — right after You Know Who was elected You Know What — one of the show’s significant characters, Alex Danvers (AKA the adoptive sister of Kara/Supergirl), disclosed her attraction for another woman in an episode that was a real pick-me-up from a distressing and horribly impacting election.
I’ve been tied up on so many things this week that I haven’t even logged into WordPress until this evening. But while I’m here, I want to clear a couple more bookmarks from my browser, both of which are related to fashion (one directly, the other in a humorous vein). I’ll start by sharing this recent interview (from about a week and a half ago, actually) NPR’s All Things Considered did with Christian Siriano (that’s him pictured at your right). Siriano studied fashion in London and interned with a couple of fashion houses before competing in — and winning — the 4th season of Fashion Runway in 2008. Since then, Siriano launched his own fashion line; designed red-carpet gowns for several prominent celebrities (from First Lady Michelle Obama to nine stars at the 2016 Emmy Awards); and has a clothing line for Lane Bryant and a shoe line for Payless ShoeSource.
Please forgive me in advance for the baseball metaphors, but I’ve got just enough time this morning before work to take to the mound and deliver a fashion-related (well, obliquely fashion-related, to be honest) pitch into your strike zone. The acclaimed singer Adele has been on tour lately, and a couple weeks ago, she performed a quartet of shows at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre sports arena. According to at least one review, Adele put on a good show while in T.O. No, there was nothing in the vein of bunker-blasting pyrotechnics or laser lights that would befit a typical sports arena concert, but that’s not Adele’s style anyway (leave all that flash to the 80s rock band reunion tours). Adele’s concert appeared to take the restrained route instead: A small backing orchestra; a main stage, a subtle secondary stage; an equally subtle video screen in back; and, yes, Adele, delivering her hits while throwing in some humorous, unguarded chats to the audience in between the “Hellos” and the “Rolling in the Deeps.” As she tells the audience at one point, “If I was AC/DC, I’d just throw every [expletive deleted] hit out there and run up and down the stage … But I want you to get to know me and I want to get to know you, as well.”
Just a couple quick thoughts regarding my nieces. I’ll start with my oldest niece, the same one who had an all-too-brief trip to Alaska this summer. She got into a little bit of an accident Sunday night. From what her mother (my little sister) and our mom told me, Em had been going a little too fast down a narrow road. She tried to make room for an oncoming car, but got a little too close to the shoulder, hit the shoulder and then a tree.
After I went down a dark path with my last post, I figure that I should — really, we all should — brighten things up just a little bit with a clearing of another of my browser bookmarks. Just like the last post, I’m making note of a deceased person. This time, however, it will be more positive, as it involves someone who, unlike someone who preached the discrimination and shunning of others, generally lived a dignified and well respected life in politics, specifically Canadian politics.
The gentleman pictured to your right is The Honourable Jack Layton, and if that name sounds familiar to you, I did indeed mention him in passing in posts here and here. For most of his life, Mr. Layton was known as a respected activist, educator, and, yes, politician. Politics have been a big part of his family, in fact: His father and grandfather were in national and provincial politics; his great-granduncle was one of Canada’s Fathers of Confederation; and his widow, Olivia Chow, was like him a member of the Canadian House of Commons and a Toronto city councilor before that.
Mr. Layton also had an activist spirit during his life, perhaps getting it from his great grandfather, who was an advocate for the visually impaired. During his career as a politician and a community activist, Layton championed issues such as poverty, homelessness, public transportation, and the fights against AIDS and violence toward women. It’s issues such as those that led to his rise as a progressive politician and leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), one of Canada’s more prominent political parties. Using a combination of humor, devotion to progressive issues, and a highly positive and enthusiastic attitude, Layton would lead the New Democrats to their highest Canada-wide plateau in 2011, when the NDP became Her Majesty’s Official Opposition after parliamentary elections.
Time for yours truly to once again clear out a bookmark that has been saved to my web browser for the longest time. Well, a few bookmarks actually, and they’re all about the grand dame you see on your right. She’s Michelle DuBarry, otherwise known as 84-year-old Russell Alldread. The story starts in Alldread’s hometown of Bowmanville, Ontario, where at his mother’s urging he joined his sisters in performing for women’s groups and hospital patients. At the age of 9 and visiting an uncle’s farm, three female cousins dressed him in a gown and pendant and a towel to cover his boyish locks. The young Russell responded by striking a naturally fierce pose, with a hand to the hip and one thigh forward; you can see that pose in this 2011 photo spread from the National Post (cleared bookmark #1) on the occasion of Michelle’s 80th birthday.
Time for a really quick return to a subject I wrote about last month, and it involves something that caught my eye literally in the past 12 hours. The earlier post regarded the cancellation of a radio program I enjoyed listening to on Saturday afternoons, CBC Radio One’s Definitely Not the Opera. As mentioned in the last post, DNTO was a mix of music, interviews, and storytelling. The show’s end came on May 14, which left the program’s host, Sook-Yin Lee (that’s here in the photo, again), a bit bummed out. You know, it was the whole natural “stages of grief” thing that comes with such hard, earth-shattering news as seeing your radio program get cancelled, and it began with eating a lot of potato chips according to Sook-Yin. (Hope it was the kettle-baked kind of potato chips, because those things are good.)
Let’s begin this “Random Stuff” post by singing the praises of another public radio show. I devoted the entirety of my previous post to that Saturday-morning-in-Wisconsin mainstay, Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know? The first segment of this post will be devoted to what has been a Saturday afternoon public radio mainstay on the other side of the 49th parallel. I’m referring to Canada, of course, and the show in question is Definitely Not the Opera. No, really, that’s the name of the show (hence the italics), which has been a part of CBC Radio One’s Saturday afternoon schedule since 1994. Sure, it’s not as long as Whad’Ya Know‘s 31 years (and other radio shows dwarf both for longevity), but it’s still an incredible amount of years for such a radio program.
So, what’s Definitely Not the Opera, you ask? Well, for one, it’s… uh, definitely not the opera. The show got its title from the fact that it airs opposite opera music programming carried by CBC Radio One’s music-oriented sister network. DNTO, as the show is much commonly known, started out as a hodgepodge of magazine-style stories, essays, commentaries, contests, and interviews focusing on entertainment and pop culture and geared towards a youth and young-adult audience. Oh, and it had music, too. Quite a bit of music on some weeks, either interspersed between the features or in recorded concert segments.
But around 2007, five years after current host Sook-Yin Lee (that’s her in the above photo) took the hosting reins, DNTO would evolve. The show’s length would be reduced from four to two hours (and down further to one hour since last fall), and its focus would shift from being a pop culture and music magazine show to a mostly lighthearted documentary and storytelling program. Sure, music would still be included in the interstitials between segments, but DNTO would be devoted to a different topic each week. The topics could be as simple as traveling or sweaters, as meaningful as gratitude or romance, or as powerful as Indigenous life or redemption. But the interviews, music, first-person accounts (a real DNTO hallmark, in my opinion) and Sook-Yin’s own personal stories and anecdotes all had a laser-sharp focus on the topic at hand. Continue reading
A while ago, I learned of a term in the world of sports journalism known as “emptying the notebook,” in which a beat writer or columnist devotes space to subjects, quotes, and tidbits that he or she wrote down in their notebooks but couldn’t fit into their regular columns or reports that week. That term could apply to my web browser, because… yikes! I got a lot of bookmarks I’ve forgotten about.
With that confession out in the open, I thought I could use the “emptying the notebook” approach to my web browser and my blog with a new category I’ll call… [drumroll] “Allison Empties Her Bookmarks.” The posts in this category will include at least one bookmarked article, video, etc. of various topics that piqued my interest and thought about adding to a “random stuff” post (yeah, consider this category a “random stuff” subset). However, these links are (relatively) so old that they’ve somewhat lost their immediacy — all because I forgot that I bookmarked them.
Let’s devote this first “Bookmark Emptying” to this Huffington Post story from November of last year. It’s a LGBT-related move by a very prominent name in the world of keeping you awake:
Yep, Starbucks! The coffee and coffeehouse chain is recognized worldwide and seems so intertwined with its hometown, Seattle, Washington. In fact, it has more locations in Seattle than any other business, at least according to Officer Jim Ritter of the Seattle Police Department. In 2014, Ritter, a 33-year SPD veteran and openly gay, was appointed the SPD’s liaison officer to Seattle’s LGBT community.