pThere were enjoyable stories of Pussy Riot, the Fall, Krautrock – and Viv Albertine’s account of the punk scene rocked like no other music memoir this year/ppa href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/29/-sp-writers-pick-best-books-2014"• Writers pick their favourite books of 2014/a/ppa href="https://www.google.com/search?q=best+books+of+2014+site%3Atheguardian.comamp;ie=utf-8amp;oe=utf-8amp;aq=tamp;rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:officialamp;client=firefox-aamp;channel=fflb#q=best+books+of+2014+site:theguardian.comamp;rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:officialamp;channel=fflbamp;tbm=nws"• More best books of 2014/a/ppThe best rock memoir by some distance of 2014 wasn’t written by a big name such as a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/31/john-lydon-my-family-values" title=""John Lydon/a or a href="http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/oct/06/bernard-sumner-chapter-and-verse-new-order" title=""Bernard Sumner/a but by Viv Albertine, former guitarist of cult all-female punk band the Slits. You needn’t be a Slits fan to find a href="http://bookshop.theguardian.com/clothes-clothes-clothes-music-music-music-boys-boys.html" title=""strongClothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys/strong/a (Faber) moving and compelling. a href="http://www.theguardian.com/music/punk" title=""Punk/a fans will enjoy her vivid insights into the scene’s key players, but themes established early on – creativity, belonging, the casual cruelty of men – recur with a vengeance in the book’s bleaker, post-Slits second half. Albertine’s fearless, discomfiting honesty makes this book as radical and valuable an artistic contribution as the music she made./p a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/03/the-best-music-books-of-2014"Continue reading.../a
Hey darlings! Last time I posted my unconventional adventure, I was at the 2014 Emmy Style Lounge, gaining exposure to different celebrities, journalists and experiences in the entertainment industry. Now, I'm back, reporting for the 2014 American Music Awards!
Reporting at the 2014 American Music Awards! Does my dress match the carpet?!
The adventure began on Saturday, November 22, as my dad, sister and I set out to Los Angeles to pick up the press credentials for the event. As we huddled into a red Elantra at 4 in the morning, we rocked out to High School Musical, Ariana Grande and Pharrell. After stopping for coffee and filming a few video updates, we were set for the city that has invaded my thoughts, dreams and ambitions: Los Angeles.
Two hours later, we were in the City of Angels! Since it was 6 a.m., we figured the best thing to do would be to stop for breakfast. Little did I know that my dad, who is extremely familiar with the city, stopped at one of the coolest joints in LA: Philippe's. All around the restaurant is a feeling of a time gone by, a time where joy was found in a 49 cent cup of coffee and a warm smile. The restaurant, established in 1906, is decorated with phone booths, historical artifacts and train station models. I ordered none other but biscuits and gravy, a classic for all Southerners. Since the coffee was 49 cents and didn't offer any refills, my dad and I split six coffees. (Note: this is a VERY bad idea if you don't want to be sick).
Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections
Having time to spare, my dad, sister and I went exploring in downtown L.A., which in my opinion is one of the prettiest sites to see. I know Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau would be disappointed with my love of seeing the industrialized, purposeful buildings, but there's something unique about standing under a fifty foot building. You begin to feel a whole lot smaller and less significant in the world of human progress, yet at the same time a contradictory pride that you belong to the species that created it.
Exploring LA with my Daddy!
Moving away from my philosophical rant, my dad, sister and I decided to go to the Westin Bonaventure, the site where movies like True Lies, Midnight Madness and Hancock were filmed. There's a reason why directors have chosen this to be the site of their production: it's GORGEOUS! Pools filled the hotel lobby, and the elevator was completely open, showing downtown LA as you go up. (Note: my dad and I spent at least a half an hour riding the elevators. No shame!) Also, because I love ya'll, I even made a travel video.
After walking around, exploring gift stores and seeing all the beautiful buildings, we headed to the Nokia Theater to pick up the press credentials. However, what seemed like an easy task turned into a hour of driving, avoiding crazy drivers and most of all, soaking up the sunny feels of Los Angeles. Most people would get frustrated in not finding their destination, but hey, that's part of the adventure! I was surrounded by people I love, a city that I adore and the prospect of attending an event that I've wanted to go for as long as I could remember, so what's there to complain about? Plus, "Beautiful Day" by U2 played on our radio, so what's better than that?!
After a sleepless night, video editing and exploring the city, the time finally came. It was the day of the 2014 American Music Awards! The morning of the awards began with hair and makeup by the fabulous Megan Ashley. With her help, my hair was curled, a smoky eye was created and I was ready to rock the world.
The red carpet arrivals began at 3:00 p.m. at the renown Nokia Theater. After posing for selfies, drinking Coke out of a vintage bottle and meeting other journalists, we were ready to meet as many celebrities as we could! Before the show began, we jammed to Mary Lambert, R5 and Imagine Dragons.
The first interview was with social media studs Jack and Jack and Dylan Dauzat, who inspired me with their ability to rise to the top of the social media ladder. Although they are only in their twenties, they've been able to make a name for themselves simply by doing what they love!
Next up was Frankie Grande, the brother to pop icon Ariana Grande. Strutting on the carpet wearing a painted on t-shirt, Frankie's enthusiasm was contagious! Recently, Frankie began his role as Franz in the Broadway production Rock of Ages.
Interviewing Frankie Grande
"It's so much fun! I love Franz and I love the show, and it's going to be an honor to close the show," explains Frankie. "It's been nothing but a dream. [The best part of performing] is losing yourself in your character and getting to do things that you typically wouldn't do onstage. I don't have many boundaries, but it's still fun to lose yourself."
Katy Tiss, the singer of "The Big Bang" approached us for the next interview! She explained that her new album is releasing at the top of the year, but that was the only details she was able to release. "It's a true rumor, a trumor. More stuff is coming, but I can't talk about it. Look out for it! It's a mix of everything," says Katy.
Time on the red carpet flew by, and before I knew it, we were headed to the media room! At first, I thought a media room would be a room filled of fifty-something men frantically typing on computers, but man, was I wrong! We were fed (thank Jesus!) with decadent spaghetti, sandwiches, macaroons and cake. As we watched the show, I had the opportunity to mingle with other journalists, learning about their specific areas of expertise. In fact, as I handed someone my Disney Dreamers Academy business card, one of the writers explained that she covers the Academy as well! Small world!
As we watched the show from monitors, celebrities would regularly enter the media room and answer two or three questions. Usually, my questions were overshadowed by other journalists, but I had the opportunity to personally interview Luke Bryan on his preshow rituals. Other celebrities, such as 5 Seconds of Summer, Imagine Dragons and Danica McKellar entered the media room during the show.
Backstage with TSwifty
However, my fangirling didn't quite begin until after the show ended, and celebrities flooded the room. We were one foot behind Taylor Swift and One Direction! Now, normal people would use that opportunity to talk to them, get their number, take a selfie, etc. For me, I could only think of filming them exiting the backstage area. Way to go, Julia.
But hey, if you want to see the video of them exiting (I could have grabbed Harry's hat if my entire body wasn't paralyzed), here it is:
Overall, this event was filled with laughter, excitement and the sheer joy of doing what I love the most: journalism. Who knows where my next adventure will be? Follow my adventures on Instagram (@missjuliadarling) and check out #juliasjollyholiday!
Recently, I have seen a surge of Facebook posts proclaiming why people "need feminism." Others retort strongly that they vehemently do not. Websites such as womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com feature women outraged at the trendy "feminist" cult. But I think that these "anti-feminists" are outraged over those who have taken the idea of feminism to an extreme, those who promote the ideas that all men are inherently malicious and, therefore, that women must be superior and should take back their rightful power immediately.
But while disputing terminology, self-proclaimed "feminists" and "anti-feminists" both agree that rape culture is prevalent, and that rape is wrong -- no one can argue that. Both groups believe that women should have equal access to jobs, education and pay. Both feel that women should not be pressured into dressing solely to impress men, but should be free to wear whatever level of provocative clothing they want. I don't think any woman, "feminist" or not, believes that her life should be entirely controlled by men. The main difference, then, is that "anti-feminists" believe that women should not control their lives either.
Maybe if we all stopped getting caught up in labels, and started acting in a civil manner, we could get more done. Something does need to change about the way sexual assault cases are treated at American universities. Obviously, we should respect and admire Hillary Clinton for more than her ability to rock a pastel pantsuit. But then again, women in America can and do go to college. Hillary Clinton can have a driver's license and the power of free speech.
Women in other parts of the world are seriously prevented from gaining access to education and are subjected to violence if they try to seek it. I'm not saying that gender inequality doesn't exist in America; however, me getting a comment about my skinny jeans from a drunken jerk on the street at night is not equal to Malala Yousafzai getting shot in the head for simply going to school. Catcalling in no way compares to the discrimination and violence that women and girls in countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan and many others across the world, face every second of every day.
The terrorist organization Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls for pursuing an education in Nigeria. In the United States, there are more women than men applying to and enrolled in colleges and universities. In terms of really being oppressed, access to education is not biased against women here. Furthermore, women in the United States have been able to vote for nearly one hundred years: in Saudi Arabia and Vatican City, women still can't. And although there are not an equal number of women in Congress (women are only around 20 percent), at the 114th congress, which will begin in January, a record number of women will fill the seats.
Overall, whether you consider yourself a "feminist" or an "anti-feminist," you care about women. So stop disagreeing and calling each other names, and realize what you agree on. As with anything, putting up walls and shutting people out will not help your cause. Let's keep moving forward with the progress American women have been making in our society, but let's also keep our problems in perspective.
For passengers traveling with the kind of medical equipment that is usually unseen, that is personal and essential, air travel can feel like a divulgence, a plea, a battle: This is who I am. Am I allowed?
Last week and with that sense of vulnerability, Lauren Modeen, a breastfeeding mother of a baby girl, was lining up to board her second flight of the day. At a Delta gate in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, she was headed to Minneapolis for a four-day business trip, her child at home.
A careful planner, she had packed her standard carry-on with her breast pump, a purse, and a small cooler with ice packs to transport her breast milk. "The trip was my first time away from my daughter for an extended period," Modeen says. "I was very nervous about how my body, my milk supply, would respond."
She had scrutinized Delta's policies: Like many other airlines, it allows one carry-on bag and one personal item on board. Medical devices, which breast pumps are considered, don't count toward the carry-on allowance, and, per Delta's website, both breastfeeding and pumps are permitted on all of the airline's flights.
The Delta gate agent exercised her own understanding, however. She wouldn't allow Modeen to board the flight with her breast pump, noting that all the passengers had to check their bags -- starting with Modeen. But once she was on the jet bridge, Modeen noticed that some of the passengers behind her were carrying suitcases.
"I am absolutely infuriated," she tweeted to Delta. "This gate agent lied to me and humiliated me for trying to bring on my breast pump."
Breastfeeding is an area ripe for tangled public discourse about sexism and expectation, overexposure and Puritanism, mother's rights and women's rights, working motherhood and stay-at-home parenting, nutrition and science, convenience and cost, entitlement and class, encouragement and pressure. At the center of the fray are mothers like Modeen, who ultimately and simply want women to have a the freedom to supply, if they can and if they choose, what the American Academy of Pediatrics puts forth as the preferred source of nutrition for the first six months of life.
She's starting with planes and has launched a Facebook page, Boobs on Board, to encourage airlines to standardize and implement their pro-breastfeeding and breast-pumping policies. These efforts "may put many mothers at ease," Modeen writes.
By the time she picked up her bags in Minneapolis, Modeen hadn't pumped for eight hours. Delta has since apologized. But the movement has already started: the stories are pouring in from women who gone through similar experiences, Modeen says: "So many are never heard."
Measles Cases Linked to Disneyland Rise, and Debate Over Vaccinations Intensifies
--New York Times, January 21, 2014
Eighty-eight and counting, the number of measles cases reported so far in the 'Disneyland' outbreak, is a lot -- the largest single eruption since 2000, when the United States was declared essentially measles-free. On the other hand, eighty-eight cases aren't many, considering the population as a whole and compared to the past. Before measles vaccines became commonplace in 1963, according to CDC there were three to four million cases a year with four to five hundred of those people dying.
Measles is only part of a larger picture. Visualize the world I was a child and then parented in. Many of the vaccines available to us now, such as the one for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), were not yet developed.
Newborns in the teaching hospital in north China where I was born in 1934 were vaccinated for smallpox before we left the hospital. And again every week until there was a 'take' -- twenty-six times in my case. The pediatrician had lost a baby to smallpox at three months because the natural immunity provided through nursing didn't last as long as the expected six months and she wasn't risking losing a baby again. In the world there, then, smallpox was rampant. Only the fortunate few babies were vaccinated.
As a five-year old I overheard Mother consoling our cook whose son in the village cut himself on something and died of lockjaw. "What's lockjaw, Mummy?" "The disease he got from the germs that got in his cut made his jaw muscles freeze so he couldn't swallow. That's why you had the tetanus shot, so you won't get it." Nonetheless, the idea was the stuff of bad dreams. Ouch! Will that scratch make me sick and my jaws lock?
Classroom exposure and childhood diseases went hand in hand. As an eight year-old, I spent a week in bed in a darkened room with a high fever and a rash -- no reading or coloring, just staring at a ceiling covered with silver wiggly-worm paper -- for fear that the measles would damage my vision.
The next year I was covered in itchy chicken pox. Still have a scar on the side of my nose to show for it. (And as an adult participated in the shingles vaccine trials that tested an antidote to the resurgence of the residual virus from having had chickenpox as a child.)
The summer of 1949 swimming pools were closed to limit a polio epidemic. We stayed out of large crowds. Pictures of children wearing leg braces or living in iron lungs filled the newspapers as well as parents' and children's nightmares.
In the late 50s and early 60s, when our babies came along, they had the standard shots of the day but those didn't protect against everything. On a day that already promised to be overfull, the first, the second, then the third of our gaggle appeared looking like chipmunks with cheeks full of nuts. Mumps. At least the boys got it before puberty when they might have become sterile.
Two years later, our then five year-old daughter came down with rubella. A friend asked if she could bring her daughter over for an 'exposure party' so she too would have it as a child. In an odd way, we were relieved. If girls eventually got rubella while they were pregnant, the fetus could be seriously deformed.
The day before all the cousins were gathering at our house for Christmas 1966, one sister-in-law called. Her brood had chicken pox. "Should we stay home?" After a quick consultation, they came. The other cousins had already had chickenpox, ours hadn't but we decided to get it over with. Two weeks later almost to the hour each of our four popped poxes. At least it didn't bounce from one to another to another over the rest of the winter.
When our children in turn were parents in the late 80s and early 90s, their children had the wider range of then routine shots. Consequently, our grandchildren only had chicken pox, just before that vaccine came into common use in 1995.
Lesson learned: Vaccinations work. The development of safe effective vaccines for such once common diseases as measles, tetanus, mumps, whooping cough, chicken pox, polio and many others topped off by the worldwide eradication of smallpox is one of the major successes of medicine. Ever.
Second lesson: Herd immunity is vital. When a critical portion of a community is immunized, even those who are not eligible for such vaccines -- infants, pregnant women or immunocompromised individuals -- are protected because the spread of contagious disease is limited. In the case of measles, this critical point is perhaps 95% of the community.
The current Disneyland outbreak is a vivid demonstration. Most of the hundreds of people who were exposed didn't get sick. They had been vaccinated. But the vast majority of those who have gotten measles had not been, including children who were too young for the shots and the kids of anti-vaxxers who chose not to vaccinate them.
Which is why the outspoken anti-vaccine movement in this country is so concerning. All it takes is one sick child to cause a serious outbreak in places like Orange County, California, parts of Oregon, or other places where 8-10% and in some private schools even 20-30% of the student body have not been vaccinated. Which threatens not only those children with potentially dangerous illnesses but, more critically, members of the community too young or too compromised to be immunized.
I wonder how many of the parents who opt not to vaccinate their children because they don't believe in them -- or even many of their doctors -- have never ever seen, much less experienced, measles and other childhood diseases. Yet, the world where the childhood diseases are not much of a threat they are raising their small children in is that way because their parents vaccinated them. And grandparents like me vaccinated their parents.
Granted, some people shouldn't be vaccinated. They are few and far between. The belief that measles vaccine causes autism, one of the drivers of the anti-vaccine movement, has been completely repudiated. But the overwhelming evidence is that for others the risk from diseases like measles far outweighs the risks of the vaccines. Those who opt out of immunization are actually depending on everyone else -- the herd -- to keep their children safe. And if enough people act this way, the herd isn't. How responsible is that? Vaccinating children is more than personal choice it is a matter of public health.
And yes, even though they need to have shots, kids don't like needles. They hurt.
So, one more lesson: When I was little we lived where we had to have a lot of shots regularly -- not only small pox, the then usual childhood inoculations and tetanus but also cholera and typhoid. My sister and I didn't like them either. To this day, I can hear my Dad patiently teaching us an important lesson. I passed it on to my children. They told theirs. Tell yours, it works: "You need to have this shot. It will keep you well. Watch the needle go in. It will sting a little. Just say ouch."
This Grandmother blog and previous ones will appear in a book to be published by Red Mountain Press next year.
Expert tips on how to take a stand when you see someone being bullied.
Art by Wesley Johnson
Bullying is an intimidating, deplorable problem, whether it's playing out in the high school cafeteria or around the internship water cooler. But when you're not the bullied party yourself, it can be tough to know exactly how to handle it -- which is one reason that people often don't step in. Another one? When you see someone being victimized, you tend to think someone else will intervene. Psychologists call this the "bystander effect," and it happens when your brain creates a rationale around why you shouldn't take a stand.
But the truth is that you can't count on anyone else to take the lead: Sometimes it has to be you. And since we know that's not always the easiest thing to do, we chatted with Julie Hertzog, the director of PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center, to get her tips on what to do when you see a super uncool situation unfolding, and how to step in without getting caught in the crossfire.
First off: Recognize that yes, it is your problem.
This is not Switzerland, and you are not a neutral party: When bullying is happening at your school, it's everyone's problem. That kind of behavior was a tolerated part of social culture among teens and kids for a long time, "But now we're realizing that there are really serious not only short term consequences, but long term effects on our society as well," says Hertzog. Since it impacts everybody, it's also each individual's responsibility to stand up and stop it. Consider this: Do you really want your school -- a place where you spend nearly half your day -- to feel unsafe, or unwelcoming? We didn't think so.
Look for subtle ways to reach out to bullying victims.
Sure, it seems sort of shallow, but bystanders are often understandably afraid that speaking up on behalf of someone being bullied can negatively impact their social status (we've got two words for you: Regina George). But even if you don't say something in the moment, you can still help in subtle ways -- like reaching out to the victim directly. It's quick and easy to send a text to someone who just got an earful from your school's biggest jerk. Let them know you're on their side, allow a bud who's being picked on lean on you and stay supportive so they can build the necessary confidence to stop the abuse cycle.
Strike while the iron is cool.
It takes guts to stand up to a bully when they're actively harassing someone else, in no small part because situations like that can get heated fast. But you don't have to jump into the middle of an explosive situation to help, explains Hertzog, noting that you can still be effective while remaining more covert in your efforts to help -- and that there's no need to put yourself in harm's way. In not-so-safe situations, your best bet is to alert an authority figure and then wait until things calm down before becoming involved.
Remember that a safe, supportive environment is your right.
One last thing Hertzog thinks students should know? "Almost every state in our nation has a bullying prevention law that says students have the right to be safe at school." Being personally knowledgeable about these laws and what they entitle you to can help you tip off a victim to their options, or even talk to school officials about how they can take steps toward shutting down a bullying problem in your school (organizations like Hertzog's can help get you started -- head over to the site for more info). The bottom line? There's no reason to be a bullying bystander when you can be part of the solution instead.