OPINIONATRIX…because my opinions dominate

{January 26, 2009}   I’m Back from Hiatus…

I apologize for my noticeable absence over the past month or so, but with all the holiday hubbub, inauguration mania and other general life issues I have been rather busy.  However I am now back and ready to espouse my opinions on all matters both substantial and trivial.  I hope you continue to join me!


{July 26, 2008}   Sticker Shock…

It has now been about a week since the law requiring all fast food chains in NYC to post calories on their menu boards went into effect, and I feel pretty safe in saying that many New Yorkers are experiencing “sticker shock.” 400 calories in a low fat muffin?! Are you kidding me? YIKES!!!!

I don’t really know how I feel about this particular piece of legislation. On the one hand it aims to help people make healthier choices, but I would argue that those of us who care, are already aware that a double quarter pounder with cheese is not a healthy dinner. Sure, I have spoken to many friends who have abstained from a Starbucks pastry after finding out it had enough calories to count as a meal, but I can’t help but feel that there are other things that need to be done in addition to help all New Yorkers achieve better health.

Research has shown that Obesity tends to affect those in poorer neighborhoods. This is obviously due to the fact that fresh and healthy food is often unavailable, while fast food restaurants are overly abundant. Perhaps a better place to start would have been finding a way to get produce into these areas at affordable prices. California is now trying to enact legislation that forbids any new fast food restaurants to open in poor neighborhoods – this seems like a much more direct approach, no? I honestly believe that children (and adults) from poor backgrounds often eat fast food out of necessity. I think anyone would be hard pressed to argue that the best food around can be found in a Burger King! Fast food chains are cheap and easy. Faced with the decision to buy apples at $2.39 per lb. or taking the kids to McDonalds where they can get a meal for under a dollar, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the real problem here.

All that being said, I have found the hubbub and water-cooler conversations that this law has inspired to be pretty interesting. I hope that faced with a downturn in sales chain restaurants may add some healthier fare to their menus. Starbucks recently added healthy, protein packed smoothies and even though they taste pretty gross (in my opinion) I have to applaud their efforts.

So I guess I straddle the line on this one. I like the opportunity to be informed about my food choices, but I think that this has to be just a first step in a long journey in order for real effective change to occur. Hear that Mayor Bloomberg? OK, now get on it!

Among all this talk of political campaigns, the climate crisis, and a downward facing economy, you’ve gotta love NY Magazine for this awesome little article. The basic gist of the article is they interviewed a bunch of different kids who run lemonade stands about “the lemonade business.” The kids give the absolute greatest answers to the reporters’ questions. I think the following is my favorite exchange:

How did you lure customers? WILL: We made up a word that was Oreo and lemonade: OREONADEOL!
Does it work? WILL: Sort of. We have a lot of customers, and a few were hobos. SAM: No customers were hobos.
How did you know what to charge? SAM: My personal financial advice is 25 cents, because everyone can afford it. Even if your allowance is $1, you will be able to afford four glasses. Also, you can make a classy combo with Oreos, or do three glasses for 50 cents.
Do you have advice about giving good customer service? SAM: You might want to joke with them. WILL: But not a lot. Sam does it too much. SAM: You know it’s good if they point their finger at you, “Ahahahaha.” Laughing is contagious.
Do you enjoy having lemonade stands? SAM: If there’s a definition of fun, that would be the definition of it.


I don’t think I ever successfully ran a lemonade stand (or any business for that matter), but my sister and I did once try to sell a concoction we cooked up in our kitchen called “sweet milk.” Essentially we took some milk, added any other ingredients we could find and stirred… not surprisingly, no one stopped to buy any. Not even my mother would try it (she used the “I’m on a diet” excuse). Come to think of it, I don’t even think we tried any. Clearly we were not natural chefs (or businesswomen).

My only other experience with “sales” were the toy sales my siblings and I would hold in which we tried to sell each other our old toys. I was actually VERY good at this, though I must admit that by being the oldest I probably had the upper hand. I once managed to sell my sister 2 one dollar bills for 1 ten dollar bill, which I later got in trouble for and was made to “refund.” Stupid parents! They ruined everything…

I guess the real reason I love pieces like this is because it’s so much fun to read a humorous article that triggers memories that I have somehow managed to forget. I truly believe there is nothing more important than our pasts (and by association our memories) because it is those experiences that have shaped who we become. Granted, I don’t know how much can be learned from my unsuccessful foray into the “sweet milk” business or my underhanded money making schemes at the expense of my siblings, but nonetheless at least I learned at an early age that perhaps business just isn’t my thing.

With all the media coverage and superstar status that has been bestowed upon the 2008 presidential candidates, it is sometimes hard to remember that they are just regular people. It is for this reason that I loved this article published in the Sydney Morning Herald. In it Malia – Barack’s 10 year old daughter – talks about how her dad embarrasses her by shaking her friends’ hands. Malia then goes on to say:

“You really don’t shake kids’ hands that much … You just wave or say hi.

This is so endearing, and it brings Obama back down to earth. It makes him look like more of a real guy, rather than a superstar politician.

I can totally relate to Malia! My Dad was SO embarrassing, it sometimes seemed he went out of his way to humiliate me in front of my friends. Seriously, I could write a book. And in true embarrassing style, he always made sure he went the extra mile. For example: it wasn’t bad enough that he collected dollhouses (which he displayed all over the house) – he insists on calling them folk art – he was also profiled in an article written in Miniatures Magazine. Also, not only did he own various “classic cars” throughout my childhood, but he drove me to school in them while blasting music from yesteryear and singing along – loudly. Sure people thought he was funny, if not somewhat eccentric, but can you imagine how mortifying this is for a teen? (If you have trouble imagining, trust me it was truly awful)

So to all the 10 year olds out there, I wish I could tell you that things will get better and your parents will mature along with you. Sadly, I am currently in my mid 20’s and my father continues to find ways to make me cringe… the upside though? As you get older, you start to care less and less. Dare I say, the things I used to be embarrassed by, I now find almost cute. Almost.

{July 7, 2008}   This is unbelievable

South Dakota has just passed a new law REQUIRING doctors to inform women that come in requesting an abortion that their fetus is a whole individual, and that abortion leads to a higher rate in suicide (a statistic which has never been proven).

Abortion always brings up mixed feelings for me. On the one hand, I am all for womens reproductive rights and whole heartedly believe that the right to an abortion is important and should not be abolished. However, on a personal level, it is not something I would ever be able to do. Of course never having been in the situation, I cannot say for sure, but I feel pretty confident in saying that for me abortion would not be an option.

What so angers me about this piece of legislation is that it serves to brow beat and apply pressure to women who have already come to a very hard decision. Furthermore, to require a doctor to tell a woman that

“the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,” and that they have “an existing relationship with that unborn human being”

is infringing on a doctors’ freedom of speech. What if that doctor doesn’t believe a fetus is an unborn human being? Or what if the doctor thinks that an abortion is medically the best route for the mother, and has to first espouse this literature to in essence try to get the woman to change her mind?

This whole things just feels so wrong. Could you imagine if the same law were required for vaccinations? I know if my doctor went on about all the possible side effects that could result from each vaccination, I would definitely think twice about getting them, and that doesn’t even take the guilt of “terminating and unborn human being” into account.

I sincerely hope that this is not the beginning of a trend. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they are not entitled to force others to espouse it for them.

{July 4, 2008}   HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Happy Birthday America

{June 23, 2008}   This Camp sorta rocked!


Maybe it’s because I actually went to performing arts camp, or maybe it’s because my inner 12 year old secretly loves schmaltzy Disney movies, but whatever the reason I really enjoyed Disney’s newest movie musical Camp Rock.

Ok, the script was horrible, the characters under-developed and the ending was clear before the movie even began.  However, under all this mediocrity was a cheesy musical that brought me back to childhood days when dreaming of being a super star was still a feasible life plan. 

Having actually been to a real life version of “Camp Rock,” called Stagedoor Manor, and experiencing this type of camp first hand, I have to hand it to them they weren’t that far off.  Sure they ramped things up a bit, but at the heart of it, kids at these camps tend to be super talented, devoted and uber competitive. Unfortunately, I did not have the privilege of a first class super star as one of my camp counsellors although I imagine that would have been completely awesome.

Camp Rock took the basic disney formula and churned it through the machine to get a ‘new’ story.  I thought the performances by the actors were good and I really enjoyed some of the music.  Sure it is cheesy “believe in yourself” kind of stuff… but this is Disney- what did you expect?? 

I know this was supposed to be a vehicle for the Jonas Brothers, but the only one who really got any serious airtime was middle bro Joe.  The other two throw in a couple of lines here and there and intermittently show up on screen — is there a reason they are in this movie other than the fact that they wanted to be? Probably not, but when you rule the tween scene I guess this is reason enough. I do have to hand it to them though, their music is pretty good (not to mention they write it all themselves), and it also doesn’t hurt that Joe Jonas is adorable and completely fun to watch prance across the screen… it is no wonder he is the newest teen heart-throb.

All in all I enjoyed this.  I realize it wasn’t very good, but that is even more reason to give it a look.  It’s perfect for a lazy summer evening when you just want to kick back, veg out and spend a little time with your inner pre-teen.  The only real bummer is the realization that you are probably too old to go back to camp this summer.


Hooray for summer! Bring on the warm weather, flip flops, fun and sun. It’s now officially summer time and I am so excited. I always think of summer as a time to relax, regroup and tackle all the things I’ve been putting off. Unfortunately I live in New York City, and lack access to a nearby beach, pool or even a really convenient place to just lay out in the sun (although on my non lazy days I can just head to the park). Don’t get me wrong, I love the city! I seriously would not give up living here for anything… except maybe some outdoor space and a Barbecue.

I went to visit my family last weekend and while I enjoyed seeing them, I really enjoyed all the grilling we did! It is truly unbelievable the magic a grill can do with just a simple hot dog or piece of chicken. Today as I was outside, relishing the beautiful weather and warm sunshine, I couldn’t help but wish that I had a small outdoor space of my own, complete with a simple barbecue.

A George Foreman Grill just doesn’t cut it… that thing is nothing more than a portable heating surface masquerading as a grill! Nice try George, but next time stick to boxing.

{June 21, 2008}   In Defense of Michelle Obama

I’m just gonna come out and say it: I LOVE Michelle Obama! I don’t know exactly why or what it is that makes her so appealing, but I am getting sick and tired of the media constantly hating on her. It is so refreshing to have a potential first lady who is strong, independent and smart. I think in a way I look up to Michelle Obama, because against all the odds she has prevailed. Even once she was at the top – married to a successful politician and living “the good life” – she still continued to work and forge her own path. She is her own person, not just ‘Barack Obama’s wife.’

While I do not agree with the criticism Michelle has garnered, I do understand where it is coming from. This is a woman who doesn’t parse words. She says what she feels and she does it directly and firmly. I think this is a reason to love her; who wants another first lady who is content to read stories and plan garden parties? I like that Michelle has opinions and is not afraid to express them. I also like the way she humanizes her husband – together they seem to really have a great thing going.

I think what I really like about Michelle Obama is that in many ways she reminds me a little of my own mother. A strong (occasionally harsh) and opinionated woman, unafraid to tell you exactly what she thinks (even when you don’t want to hear it) with a great sense of style. I can only say that America would be lucky to have Michelle as the first lady… a woman with a multifaceted personality who all girls young and old can look to for wisdom, advice and of course a little fashion sense.

{June 18, 2008}   Cookiegate 2008

I think its pretty safe to assume that Cindy McCain cannot bake. A short time ago she was caught plagiarizing recipes from the Food Networks Giada de Laurentiis and Rachel Ray. The McCain campaign apologized, we all had a good snicker and then we moved on. I had assumed she learned her lesson – personally I think that was a safe assumption. Apparently Cindy is a slow learner.

Instead of submitting her own recipe to Family Circle’s first wives cookie contest, she plagiarized again – this time from Hershey’s. I don’t get it, is it so hard to come up with a simple cookie recipe? And if you are a rich heiress with a personal chef and no culinary skills to speak of just be honest and say you don’t bake, get your chef to give you a recipe or offer your best store bought suggestion.

Personally I think the entire contest is a little outdated, why not ask the potential first ladies about their opinions or views on pertinent issues? I don’t know, the whole thing seems the slight bit sexist to me. If Hillary were the nominee would Bill have submitted a recipe? Probably… in fact I bet Bill’s favorite cookies are ladyfingers – although he probably likes those Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes – you know the ones I’m talking about… they look like cigars.

et cetera