New York Recap Part3: Best burlesque show ever

If I haven’t given you enough evidence of how awesome my sister-in-law Erin is, she took me to Coney Island for a burlesque show. Not just any burlesque show… but Colonel Cornstar’s Cuntry Fair. Complete with a heavy petting zoo.Yes, a farm themed burlesque show. You know it had to be awesome.

But the cherry on top was the celebrity sighting we had there. We were standing in line waiting to get in when someone walked by who looked oddly familiar. I thought maybe I was seeing things, since 1) he was way more stubbly looking than usual and 2) we had just talked about seeing celebrities not an hour before, so maybe I just had celebrities on the brain. I peered at him as he was buying a drink two feet away, and eventually poked Erin, and she confirmed.

It was Ted Allen of Chopped, Food Detectives, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy! I’m a Food Network fan and he’s my favorite persona (well, tied with Alton Brown), not to mention my favorite one from the Fab Five. He was there with his boyfriend and a couple of friends. I definitely flailed with glee. By pure luck I ended up sitting about two seats away from him.

The show itself was hilarious and awesome. I loved the pig who was covered in balloons, popped them with her tail, and then jumped in a bucket of “mud.” Ted Allen appeared to really get a kick out of the I Want Candy bit:

As the night went on, the skits became more bizarre and less farm themed. They included:

  • A conservative homophobic uber Christian coming out looking like Hester Prynne, stripping down as she has a crisis of faith, and then pulling fifteen feet of rainbow rope out of her vagina. If you think I’m making this up, there’s a NSFW video here.
  • A “white trash” girl screwed herself with one of those long skinny spiral lollipops. Yes, literally. I have no idea why or what that had to do with the rest of the show, but it definitely got a reaction out of the audience.
  • The inspiration for all of my future nightmares. She came out wearing a terrifying clown mask and 6 inch heels, and threw squirt guns into the audience while holding a sign that said “Shoot the Freak.”

Here she is:And here’s Ted Allen shooting the freak:Unfortunately he was always busy with his friends or getting a picture taken with the naked Pig Girl, so I didn’t get a chance to butt in and awkwardly ask for a photo. I didn’t realize until later that he was also a Purdue alumni – I could have had a good intro! Ah well. The experience alone was worth it. I mean, how many people get to say they watched a burlesque show with Ted Allen?

Delightfully bizarre.

(Videos via Year in Dance, the blog of the dancer with the magical rainbow rope hiding vagina)

New York Recap Part2: SEX!

On the Friday after my photoshoot I decided to hit up a couple New York museums. First I headed over to the Museum of Sex, which a bunch of my readers suggested to me. Man, I have no idea why you guys thought I would want to go to this place. Do I look like some sex obsessed biologist to you?
…Don’t answer that.

The gift shop alone was worth the visit. It included everything from sex books and sex toys, to sex themed plates to this horrifying bunny bondage mask:
I thought the Donnie Darko bunny mask was as scary as it gets. I was wrong.

The museum itself was very cool. It was a little weird going through it without a friend, because I was That One Creepy Loner Person staring at bondage get ups and famous pornos. But it was still neat. The first exhibit was all on kinks. It ranged from typical stuff like porn to stuff like balloon popping or feeder fetishes. I was particularly amused by this antique fanfiction:
I know, you’ll never look at Donald Duck or Olive Oil the same way. You’re welcome.

As a perfect example of why I needed a partner in crime, they had Real Dolls on display that you could touch. I was going to try it out of curiosity, but then another Creepy Loner Guy came up and rubbed at the female, and it was just creepy as hell. So, yeah, I wimped out. I regret it!
One of their special exhibits was on condoms. A lot of it was educational, so not really new to me, but I loved all the different condom cases they had on display. These three were by far my favorite (click image for larger):
For those of you who can’t read it, Sarah Palin’s says “When abortion is not an option,” Obama’s says “Use with good judgement,” and McCain’s says “Old but not expired.” Though I like my sister-in-law’s suggestion for an Obama condom – “For when hope is not enough.”

The final exhibit was on animal sexuality, so I definitely spent the most time in there geeking out. It was odd reading all the information and seeing names of people that I not only recognized, but have actually met. I knew a lot of the stuff, but I learned a lot of fun facts. Did you know elephant clitorises are 17 inches when erect? Well now you do, and you can’t forget that. Again, you’re welcome.

I was a bit disappointed they didn’t have anything on copulatory plugs, though. Who doesn’t want to learn about natural chastity belts?! I’ll have to send them my paper once it’s published.

On the way out, I was greeted by a cute mime wearing nothing but an American flag speedo on stilts. Yay New York!
My next stop was the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. I absolutely loved it. I didn’t research it much before going, so I was shocked by how many famous pieces were there. Persistence of Memory, Girl Before a Mirror, Christina’s World, I and the Village, the Campbell Soup Cans… I was overwhelmed. I literally got goosebumps when I turned the corner and there was Starry Night.

But I also enjoyed the less traditional modern art, partially for its silliness. I mean, how can you not like Yoko Ono’s wall of butts?
The best part was the young girl who was pointing at the butts giggling like crazy, trying to point it out to her mom. In French. I don’t speak any French, but it was like the universal language of juvenile humor.

Arsonists strike future Tennessee Islamic Center

New York is not the only city that currently has a mosque controversy. Conservative Christian wackies in Murfreesboro, Tennessee are opposing the expansion of their local Islamic Center. Because, you know, it’s just for training more terrorists and stuff. Oddly I first heard about the story from the hilarious clip The Daily Show ran on it last week.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Tennessee No Evil
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

In a not so hilarious turn of events, arsonists have set fire to the construction equipment at the site of the Islamic Center’s expansion.

Hey, Conspiracy Theorists Who Think All Muslims Are Terrorists? Maybe going around setting things on fire and destroying property in an attempt to cause fear and silence a whole group of people isn’t the best way to say those people are the terrorists. Just sayin’.


Exposed scientific dishonesty illustrates why science is so great

That title may sound counter intuitive, but give me a chance to explain.

You may have heard about the bit of academic scandal that’s been happening at Harvard recently. Marc Hauser is a Professor in the Departments of Psychology, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, and Biological Anthropology. He was the leading researcher on the evolution of morality and moral behavior in primates and humans and an author of a number of books, including Moral Minds and (in progress) Evilicious: Our Evolved Taste for Being Bad.

In a somewhat amusingly ironic twist, he was found guilty of scientific misconduct, including fabrication of data that will result in several papers being retracted.

This is a very serious situation, especially since Marc Hauser was such a big name in his field. His career is effectively over, and now reseachers in the field have to rethink everything they’ve learned from him (and cited from him). It’s even more serious for his students, whose futures are uncertain when their graduate advisor has such a black mark on his record. It’s upsetting to the field of science as a whole, which does rely on a certain level of trust for practical reasons. We peer review to the best of our abilities, but you still have to hope everyone else is being honest like you since it can take time to expose problems.

It’s also a little jarring to me personally. Not only will I have to reexamine what I read in one of his books that I greatly enjoyed, but I almost went to graduate school in one of the departments he teaches in. Academic scandals aren’t the best way to start your graduate career.

But we have to remember this is what makes science so great. Science is not dogmatic. It’s based on peer review and constant criticism. Scientists are still human and make errors, sometimes purposefully and sometimes not, so it’s important to have these checks in place. Hauser was a giant in his field, but even he was not immune to scrutiny. It was his own graduate students who brought these problems to our attention at great personal risk.

Some people are using this as a chance to pooh-pooh the whole field of evolutionary psychology. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time for creationists like Ken Ham to squeal with glee and twist the facts for their own “Never trust science!!!” agenda. But I really don’t think this is quite so tragic. Isn’t it good to know that we still expose bad science, even when we may have political reasons to not? Would we rather have evolutionary psychology trucking on without criticism, or get the fraudulent data out in the open? I’d be more concerned with the field if it was just being swept under the table. While it’s sad such dishonesty occured, I’m happy to know that we can still sniff it out, correct it, and punish those who perpetuate it.

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic (I know, unusual for me). But I think it’s good to use this as an example of why science is the best way of exploring the world around us: Because when our findings are wrong, we’ll admit it.

New York Recap Part1

I saw a ton of interesting and silly things during my trip to New York, so it would be a shame not to share it. So here are some of the highlights, with lots of photos!

The hotel I stayed in the first night was super fancy. At least, super fancy to a poor college student. But I liked it because it had a particular geeky bent to it, since it was in an old “Chemists’ Club” building. Beakers for glasses! Petri dish for the soap holder! Wooo!It also was a wonderful location – just a couple blocks from Grand Central Terminal, The New York Public Library, and Times Square. I figured I would go check out Times Square since it was a Wednesday night, rather than an insane weekend visit. My sister-in-law pleaded that I check out the new Pop-Tart Store that everyone has been talking about, and try the disgusting-yet-intriguing sounding Pop-Tart Sushi.The idea of Pop-Tart having it’s own store is kind of odd. I mean, I’ll eat Pop-Tarts occasionally…but they’re just Pop-Tarts. They’re not even all that good. To have a whole store decorated like a Pop-Tart LSD rave was just weird.

But I did order one piece of the “Pop-Tart Sushi,” which was Raspberry, Blueberry, and Wildberry Pop-Tarts mushed up together and held together with a fruit roll-up. If you think that sounds weird, just see how it looks:It was hard to put that thing in my mouth, it was so disgusting looking. It looked like a piece of fruity salami that had been pooped out by a unicorn. The flavor was okay – vaguely fruity – but the consistancy was gross. It was this gritty yet soft texture, like someone had chewed up a Pop-Tart, spit it out, and formed it into a nice little wedge. Thankfully it was only 75 cents.

I then wandered to the heart of Times Square. All the lights were kind of cool, but I don’t know why it’s such a big draw. It’s basically just a lot of flashy advertisements, with the occasional weird person on the street.
Though my “favorite” weird thing was the Times Square Elmo. It was something out of a nightmare movie. The outfit was super old and dirty, like Elmo had been rolling around in the gutter. Something about the matted fur and human fingers sticking out of holes in the glove was unsettling. What was more unsettling was the parents who still let their children run up and hug Nasty Elmo. Eeewww.
I stopped in a couple random stores to pass the time. The coolest was definitely the Lego Store, where they had amazing Lego sculptures and individual lego pieces in every color.
This is totally different from the Pop-Tart store because Legoes, unlike Pop-Tarts, are super awesome. Just to clarify that.

I didn’t spend too much time exploring that night since I was tired from my flight and needed my beauty rest for the photo shoot. I was tempted to get a last minute ticket for Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party, but ended up being too cheap. I did get to see an awesome sunset before turning in.

Douchey women ask for raises

…Wait, what?Yes, because your vagina has to smell minty fresh before you dare do serious business. Oh, and don’t forget to eat. Or be on time. Or think about what you’re going to say. Those things may just be important, in case you were too worried about your smelly vagina to remember.

…I hate women-targeted advertisements, in case you couldn’t tell.

Oh, and ladies? Douching is bad for you. Don’t do it.

(Via BoingBoing)

My big photoshoot!

The photoshoot was completely surreal.

I’m not sure what I’m really supposed to say other than that, but I’ll try. The day started with us young feminists being shipped to our photo shoot location in Queens. I believe our age range was 27 to 17 – imagine doing this before your senior year of high school! At first we were a little confused when our van stopped in front of what looked to be a creepy abandoned warehouse. But man, it was awesome on the inside.
It was very rustic, with tons of odd antique props – suitcases, bird cages, old chairs, pillars, chandeliers, and tons of mirrors. It was a very artsy place. Later my sister-in-law informed me that that area of Queens is frequently used for photoshoots and movies – the more you know.We had breakfast and chatted a bit before we’re sent off to get ready. My first destination was makeup. I was a little nervous when his first question was “Sooo, how do you usually do your makeup?” since my answer was “I don’t,” but it went fine. He kept it fairly natural looking, though it did look good. Still not good enough for me to go through that every morning, though – especially since it would take me ten times longer than him.

The makeup set up!

Then I had to get my wardrobe. I basically told the guy in charge to just pick stuff out he thought he’d look good on me, since I have absolutely no sense of fashion. Knowing me, I would have done best picking the opposite of what I originally wanted to pick. Throughout the course of the day I kept changing my outfit depending on what the photographer thought was best for the shot, and I actually ended up in something pretty tame. One of the coordinators even commented that she would have liked to see more skin on me – sorry guys.

The shoot set up. The mirror area is what we were all standing in front of.

My hair also kept changing through the day. First it was down, then behind the ears, and then finally pulled back in a pony tail. Hearing all these fashion people say how I looked best with it back made me a bit annoyed with myself at having cut it short not long ago. Boo.

What it looked like from our point of view.

Some funny observations:

  • A bunch of feminists wearing body shapers. That’s all I need to say.
  • They didn’t have any shoes in my size that weren’t heels. Since I was too tall for the heels, they just ended up cutting off the back of my shoes for me to waddle around in. Fashion secret!
  • Half of our jokes were about being crazy sex obsessed third wavers. Yay being around feminists who can poke fun at ourselves!
  • Everyone was tweeting and fiddling with their smart phones the whole time. Oh bloggers. We joked the shoot should be of all of us tweeting, but we couldn’t convince the photographer.

It took about 6 hours for all 10 women to get “processed,” and the actual shoot took about a half hour. Oh fashion. I do have a better respect for it now. There were so many details that went into it that I never thought of, especially for a group shot. And everyone was super friendly to work with, which was especially nice since none of us had done this before. We weren’t exactly professional models, so guidance and patience was definitely appreciated. It was pretty awesome hanging out with fellow young feminists all day!

Some of the feminists. I ended up looking nothing like that by the end of the day.

I’m not sure exactly what else to say, but if you have any specific questions about the day, I’ll try to answer them in the comments. The interview and photo will be in the November issue of More Magazine, which comes out late October – I’ll be sure to remind all of you!

Yep, my life is official surreal.

Stephen Colbert called me “smoking hot”

I thought it couldn’t get any better than having a piece on me. I was wrong.Some context:

I got in line for the show with Nikki (my now Favorite Blog Reader for giving me a ticket) at 4:30. We were assigned tickets, and I was number 42. Yes, I think it was fate:
We were let into the lobby at 5:30, where we waited until they were ready to seat us. Thankfully they had old Colbert clips playing so it wasn’t totally boring. Around 6:30 they seated us, and I had a great seat. You can see me when they pan to the audience – I’m in the middle section five rows back wearing a bright blue shirt. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take any photos or have him autograph anything.

Before the show they had a stand up comedian as a warm up act, letting us know when to go extra crazy and to warm us up. Colbert then ran out, and we were able to do a Q&A session with him out of character, which was amazing. We were told to ask him anything random, or even comment on something if we didn’t have a question. Or as he said, “Now’s your chance to ask me something so I can redeem myself.”

After he called on a couple people, he called on me. I usually hate people who do self serving comments instead of asking a question, but I thought, fuck it. How often do I get to speak to Stephen Colbert? This is how it went (though I probably stammered through it):

Me: I just wanted to thank you for the piece you did on boobquake in April –
Colbert: I’m afraid I don’t quite remember what that was. …Wait, was that you?
Me: Yes, that was me! And having you talk about me on your show was about the most awesome thing ever.
Colbert: Remind me what it was about.
Me: An Iranian cleric said immodestly dressed women cause earthquakes, and I said we should test that scientifically. And it kind of took off like crazy, well, I guess which is why it was on your show.
Colbert: And what did you wear that day?
Me: Uh, oh, something similar to this I guess.
Colbert: Now, now, young lady, I think it was a little less than that. You do look smoking hot though.
Me: …*die*
Colbert: And wasn’t there an earthquake that day?
Me: Yes, in Taiwan. But it wasn’t statistically significant!
Colbert: *pauses and smiles* Don’t underestimate yourself, you look good.

And then he moved on. And the gal sitting next to me said she loved boobquake.

The show itself was absolutely hilarious. I’m sure you can look on their website, but it included the “Ground Zero Mosque,” Iranian politics, social media, religious jokes, and people riding dinosaurs. It was like it was tailor made for me.

On the way out another young woman came up to me and said she loved boobquake. What she said pretty much summarizes how I feel:

Her: That’s so awesome having Stephen Colbert do a piece on you. Can it get any better than that?
Me: I used to think not, but yes, it can. Stephen Colbert just called me smoking hot.
Her: …Very true.

I can think of no better end to this New York vacation. I just can’t make stuff like this up (Nikki can confirm). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go die of glee.

A Flying Spaghetti Monster Wedding

From What are the guidelines to a Flying Spagetti Monster wedding? Are the roles gender specific? Can they be substituted easily for gay/lesbian couples?

Pastafarians aren’t known for being particular devout, so I’m not sure if we have any strict wedding traditions. But here are somethings you can try to do:

1. It is preferred to have the officiator dressed in full pirate regala for an occasion blessed by His Noodliness. But if you want to be accomidating of non-Pastafarians in attendence (like confused in-laws), subtle touches will do:2. If you’re having a reception, you must serve at least one pasta dish. Marinara, alfredo, and pesto are all acceptable sects.

3. Don’t miss an opportunity to count how many times you’ve been blessed by his noodly appendage. Pay the FSM homage on your wedding cake too:Pastafarians are also very GLBT friendly, so these traditions need not be limited to heterosexual couples.

Are there any other Pastafarian wedding traditions I’m forgeting? I may be out of the loop because I’m one of those Talk Like a Pirate Day/Halloween Pastafarians (I know, lazy – don’t judge me for not worshipping every Friday).