Monthly Archives: August 2011

This week the WASHINGTON POST published two versions of the same article on a study of obesity by THE LANCET. The first was titled “Global Obesity Requires Government Action”, while the second is titled “Half of US Adults Will Be Obese By 2030, Report Says”. Which one do you think got more traction?

Apparently I’m not the only one regularly checking The Weather Channel for updates on Irene: the network’s ratings are surging along with the storm. Of course it’s hard not to watch: having such a storm hit the city is like a sci-fi blockbuster come to life. But that’s not all for me. New York is like my second hometown. In fact, if I still lived there, my apartment would have been in the evacuation zone. Plus the danger to the city is bringing to mind the tenth anniversary of 9-11 and the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, both imminent. Watching coverage of the empty, rain-washed Times Square tonight was both eerie and gorgeous.

These stills are from EarthCam’s Times Square Cam. The second one is from the camera’s first position, and on the stream, I could see and hear a gaggle gathering to play in the rain. It’ll be interesting to see what it’s like tomorrow morning.

POSTSCRIPT: An NPR story reports that “the street performer known as the Naked Cowboy, who stands at the Crossroads of the World wearing only underwear and a guitar, had a life vest on”.

I have been looking for a good veggie paella recipe for years. Here’s one from this week’s NEW YORK TIMES for future reference.


1 quart chicken stock, vegetable stock or garlic broth

Generous pinch (about 1/2 teaspoon) saffron threads

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 red pepper, cut into strips

1 green pepper, cut into strips

2 cups medium-grain rice

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and grated on the large holes of a box grater; or peeled, seeded and chopped; or 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice

1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths

2 or 3 baby artichokes, trimmed and sliced (may also use frozen artichoke hearts, sliced)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen lima beans

1 cup shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Crush the saffron threads between your fingertips, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon warm water, and set aside.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy frying pan, an earthenware casserole (cazuela) set over a flame tamer, or a paella pan. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the peppers begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika and rice. Cook, stirring, for one minute until the grains begin to crackle. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they cook down slightly and smell fragrant, about five minutes. Stir in the saffron with its soaking water, scraping in every last bit with a rubber spatula. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3. Add the stock, green beans, artichokes and chickpeas or lima beans. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer without stirring until the liquid has just about evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the peas. Continue to simmer until the rice is dry, another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

Yield: Serves six to eight

Advance preparation: This does not have to be piping hot, so it can be made an hour before you wish to serve. If you make it further ahead than that, you can reheat it in the pan.


I can’t resist Bravo’s Bethenny shows; there’s something about her scrappy character that I always find compelling. But on the most recent edition I couldn’t help but notice that our girl was reaching Skeletor levels of skinniness. Maybe it’s her strong jawline, maybe it’s breastfeeding, maybe it’s taking too much of her own brand to heart, which is of course only too convenient to help hawk her Skinnygirl products and related books. Now she’s apparently telling LIFE & STYLE that she’s been too busy to eat. Here’s hoping she doesn’t start shilling for that as her next diet plan.

I finally found a copy of the September 2011 SISTER 2 SISTER featuring the Queen Latifah cover and interview, and no, she doesn’t come out. BUT there are still some interesting tidbits, including this one with publisher and interviewer Jamie Foster Brown on race, size, and stardom.


Jamie: Now, so you being a beautiful, voluptuous, “vibratious”, plus-size woman, has that helped in the industry at all, Latifah? I remember Kym Whitley saying to me–I think it was Kym who said, “Jamie, actually being a bigger woman, as a Black girl in Hollywood, is better than being a skinny woman because you can get more roles”. And I thought that was very interesting. I guess it’s because skinny, really pretty, sexy Black women wouldn’t be chosen over White girls, I guess?

Queen Latifah: I haven’t really thought about it in that particular context, and I can’t say that it’s better or worse to be a curvaceous woman like myself.

Jamie: Mm-hmm.

Queen Latifah: However, I think I’ve just tried to establish a sense of pride, a sense of inner beauty, confidence, and it was more important for me to just to be myself (sic) and show that example. It’s worked for me because I feel like I’ve just been me, and there’s no other person out there like me. We’re all individuals; we’re all different. So for me to try to be a different actress, or try to lose weight specifically to try to follow someone else’s path when it’s not really me, I felt I would be doing the young women out there who do look like me a disservice.

“…the categorization, ordering, and simplification at the heart of any process of stereotyping are necessary components of human interaction and communication. What makes stereotypes so troubling is not that they order and simplify information by reducing complexities to a few limited conventions, but that in doing so, they both reflect and, more important, engender social hierarchies (Hall 1997; Dyer 1993). As a vast literature has clearly shown, stereotypes are never intrinsically positive or negative, but are always historically created and produced in conversation with social hierarchies of daily life (Gilman 1996; Kanellos 1998; Rodríguez 1997). They work by restricting the range of interpretations and therefore facilitating the evaluations that reproduce and valorize the social distinctions at play in the greater society. Even when individuals may interpret these images and ideas differently or imbue them with idiosyncratic meaning, these renditions are necessarily framed within dominant conventions.” (Emphasis added)