Posted in July 2012

Cait on Culture: Do You Love A Spectacle?

By Caitlin Abber

When I was growing up, big events on TV were often big events for the entire family. We would huddle around the living room and watch The Academy Awards, major news broadcasts about the death of famous people and, most memorably, The Olympics. While we weren’t serious athletes ourselves, watching total champions of sport compete for gold was major family bonding time.

As I’ve gotten older, I have developed a need to always be tapped in to the major events in the world (social media has of course increased this need ten-fold). If an important news story is breaking, or Beyonce is about to win an award for anything, I want to be watching. That is why I am at my most jazzed right now, during what feels like the most exciting summer Olympics in a long time (or at least 4 years).

The opening ceremony kicked off with a bizarre reenactment, but I loved every minute of it. From the rising smoke stacks to the musical montage, I was cheering and whooping along with the rest of the world. I even enjoyed what most people deem the boring part — the parade of countries. What is not to like about watching people who are in the best possible physical shape people can be in walk around insanely proud, with big smiles on their faces? It’s a moment (okay, more like hour), of pure joy for everyone involved!

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Fabri-Kate: Show off your magnetic personality

By Kathleen Neafsey

If you watched the season premiere of Breaking Bad, then you know where my inspiration came from for this week’s project.  To make the epic “Magnets” quote my tagline would probably seem crass, so I will refrain.  As always, I wanted to share with you something affordable, easy and useful. And, if you’ve read this column before, you know how I enjoy making things personal and one-of-a-kind.

The running theme in my house these past few months has been getting my eldest daughter, Deirdre, ready for college — I’ve been trying to pick up all those little things for her that you don’t realize you need until you go to use them and they’re not there:  sewing kit, flashlight, safety pins, magnets for the dorm fridge, etc. The other big to-do in our family is my niece, Megan’s, wedding — again, new home, new fridge, magnets!  Okay, enough, you get the picture.

The short list of must-have supplies should include:

  • Clear glass gems. I found mine in the dollar store – 25 in a bag for, you guessed it, $1.
  • Alene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue
  • Magnets
  • Scissors. A circle punch or craft knife will also work.
  • Gorilla Glue. Or an equally strong adhesive
  • Toothpicks. For spreading the Clear Gel glue smoothly and evenly.

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Kat Dennings shows off the girls

Kate Dennings

Last night, at a promo event for her show “2 Broke Girls,” Kat Dennings arrived in a cleavage-squishing navy blue dress. As The Gloss points out, the vibe was very, very Christina Hendricks on the red carpet. Which Dennings just doesn’t pull off with quite the same retro pastiche.

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ExpliKate: Why we need to laugh

By Kate Hakala

What’s making you laugh right now? In my corner, it’s pretty consistently Louis C.K., misheard lyrics, and stories about wayward bodily functions.

But the truth is, scientifically, most of what you laugh at and why you laugh strangely has nothing to do with farts, Jon Stewart or banana peels — hilarious though they might be. It does, however, have a whole lot to do with your socialization.

A few weeks back, I wrote about why you cry, and we learned that crying is an evolutionary tactic to illicit sympathy and forge bonds — and surprise, surprise, scientists say laughing might be its own social survival mechanism. Much like crying, laughter is a global phenomenon in need of no translation. And while we can fake laugh or cry on command, the genuine tears and giggles only happen when we’re unconscious of the behavior.

All You Playas: It’s no coincidence that you feel sort of chimpish when snickering, because laughter is an evolutionary gift from the apes. All signs point to laughter being an instinctive rather than learned behavior. Robert Provine, leading giggle-expert at the University of Maryland, cites the origin of laughter as, “the sound of labored breathing from rough and tumble play,” first heard amongst chimpanzees. As we’ve developed, human play has transitioned largely from the physical to the cognitive, though our first hee-haws can still be heard through the labored breathing of games like tickling and tag. Laughing often signifies discovery, surprise, and social engagement. Because of the hilarity of novelty, babies laugh a reported 300 times a day compared to the average 20 times of a stick-in-the-mud grown adult. Once we grow up, giggling transitions from a reaction to playing with cereal into an interpretation of much more sophisticated cultural marvels like, you know, Tyra Banks.

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Trivia: Curvy Kate, the name-appropriate bra for the well-endowed Kate

By Kate E. Stephenson

Last week I extolled the virtues of the name Kate. This week, I’ve found a tidbit about a different kind of virtue. As an abundantly blessed woman, I was especially happy to stumble upon this week’s trivia find.

See, the fashion world is not always accommodating of diverse body shapes. I have a friend who is forever dejected because she can’t find shoes narrow enough for her feet. Another who bemoans the lack of room in the backside of her dress pants. For myself, finding that perfect bosom support can be difficult. Well, I haven’t found a solution for my friends, but I have found one for myself and my well-endowed comrades out there.

Curvy Kate is a new company specializing in lingerie and swimwear in bras sizes D-K cup. (Yes, I did say through K! That’s D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, and K … whew.) But it’s not just about size, it’s about image. Straight from the horse’s mouth:

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What’s up with Kate Hudson’s neck in this Ann Taylor ad?

Kate Hudson for Ann Taylor

By Kate Torgovnick

I think it’s absolutely brilliant that Ann Taylor has tapped Kate Hudson to be their spokeswoman for the past few seasons — she brings the perfect dose of youth to the retailer informally known as “Forever 41,” not to mention the perfect boho edge to the brand known for work-wear. And I totally love the looks Hudson was photographed in for the brand’s fall collection. My favorite? This sleek navy blue peplum ensemble with a pink belt.

However, as the Huffington Post notes, something seems off here. Hudson’s head is at a truly bizarre angle to her body. I mean, if she were stretching her neck sideways, wouldn’t her head by tilted a bit too? Could this be a Photshop fail?

Regardless, check out two more gorgeous Kate Hudson for Ann Taylor looks after the jump.

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The Week in Kate: Katie Holmes heading back to Broadway, assorted Kates prep for the Olympics

By Kate Torgovnick

As per usual, it looks like the Kates, Katies, Catherines, and Katys of the world have been mighty busy this week. Here, your weekly roundup of name-specific news.

  • Woo hoo! Katie Holmes is returning to Broadway in the play “Dead Accounts” this fall. [NY Times]
  • Speaking of Holmes, she gave an interview to C Magazine just a day before announcing her split from Cruise. So did she drop any hints? [E! Online]
  • Sales of Katie’s clothing line, Holmes & Yang, are extremely up, by the way. [LA Times]
  • Kathleen Hanna, formerly of the band Bikini Kill, says we should all ask “What Would Beyonce Do?” Amen to that. [The Frisky]
  • Kate Beckinsale admits that she and her husband Len Wiseman have recruited Bruce Willis to stand on the doorstep and “scare the s***” out of their daughter’s potential suitors. [Starpulse]
  • Beckinsale also stunned in this one-shoulder gown this week. [Red Carpet Fashion Awards]
  • A woman named Catherine Venusto has been charged with hacking into her daughter’s school’s computer, in order to change her daughter’s grades. [ABC News]
  • Katy Perry‘s hair is back to black. [MTV News]
  • Speaking of Perry, her ex-husband Russell Brand joked about their sex life on Howard Stern, saying, “She was very willing to do wheelchair porn. That woman spent ninety percent of our marriage in a little electric wheel chair.” [Us Magazine]
  • Perry is also facing an indecency charge in India. Why? Because while onstage, she brought up Australian cricketer Doug Bollinger to show her some moves. [MTV News]
  • Behold, career lessons gleaned from Katy Perry. [Forbes]
  • Mary Kate Steinmiller of Teen Vogue has launched a jewelry collection. [Fashionista]
  • Kate Major showed off her baby bump in a bikini, while reading an issue of Brides on the beach. [Radar Online]
  • Katherine Jackson, mother of Michael, made a miraculous disappearance … and subsequent reappearance this week. [E! Online]
  • Her lawyer has called the events of the past week “one gigantic misunderstanding.” [Huffington Post]
  • Kate Bosworth passed on the movie “The Lifeguard,” thereby giving Kristen Bell a chance. [Just Jared]
  • American swimmer Kathleen Hersey had a crazy idea for how to train for the London Olympics. She swam with the University of Texas men’s swim team, giving up her eligibility for the women’s, to push herself harder. [USA Today]

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Kate’s Television Musings: Two comedic Kates who should get more love

By Kate Emswiler

The Emmy nominations came out last week, and although I’m glad to see certain folks nominated in the comedy category (Amy Poehler, Lena Dunham, Julia Louis-Dreyfus), I couldn’t help but notice that there’s a significant lack of Kates on that list.  Specifically, there are two “Kates” (though neither one is technically named Kate) who definitely deserve more recognition for their comedic talents:  Kathryn Hahn (above left) and Kaitlin Olson (above right).

1. Kathryn Hahn

I am always weary of the qualification “female comedian”. Because Hahn is easily more comedically gifted than many male comedians — or, as they’re usually called, just “comedians”. (Slate’s culture blog BrowBeat already brow beat me to the punch on this one, and eloquently so.) After Hahn was the only thing I remembered about the otherwise lackluster comedies “How Do You Know” and “Our Idiot Brother”, I started to take notice of Hahn in all of her many supporting roles — on both the big and small screens.  On “Parks and Recreation”, a show that is positively lousy with funny people, Hahn managed to steal the spotlight as Jennifer — the shrewd, smarmy political strategist to Amy Poehler’s rival in the race for city council.

She’s also had a recurring role on “Girls” — as a character named Katherine, no less! — and most recently as a one-time paramour for Jeff Daniels’ character on Aaron Sorkin’s “Newsroom”.

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9 Olympians who are named Katie

I have a theory. While Kates tend not to be the most athletic gals on the block, Katies are a whole different story. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that every time I’ve written about an athlete on this site, her name has been Katie – from high school basketball phenom Katie Collier to runner Katie Flood, who holds the record for the world’s second fastest mile.

So I’m not too surprised to see that there are a lot Katies competing in the London Summer Olympics, kicking off tomorrow. Here, meet 9 of them.

The verdict on the most Katie-filled Olympic team? Britain’s synchronized swimming team, which runs three Katies deep.

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Kate Flashback: Barbra Streisand as Katie Morosky in “The Way We Were”

I would normally write “spoiler alert” before showing you the ending of a film, even if it’s one that came out in 1973. But I feel no such qualms about posting the final six minutes of the classic “The Way We Were,” which tells the story of  ill-fated couple Hubbell Gardner (Robert Redford) and Katie Morosky (Barbra Streisand). Why? Because, please, even if you haven’t seen the original movie, you remember this from the “Sex and the City” episode “Ex and the City,” when Carrie finally concedes Mr. Big to Natasha.

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Dear Kate: My fiance hit me on the arm. Will it happen again?

Dear-Kate-column-identityBy Katharine Luckinbill

Dear Kate,

My fiancé and I have been together for 2 years. Yesterday, I was arguing with him and it escalated to yelling, which is very, very rare for us. Push came to shove, as they say, and my husband-to-be smacked me on the arm. It wasn’t hard enough to leave a mark, but it scared the hell out of me because it felt unprovoked. Should I try to work through this with him, or is this a sign that I should cut and run?

Thank you,

Really Cold Feet


Dear Really Cold Feet,

First off I want to start by stating that people have a wide variety of opinions on this kind of thing, most of them very strong, and that can easily heat up a conversation fast. So, while I am going to give you my opinion – since you asked for it and, well, because it’s my job – please remember that I only have a very miniscule amount of information about the two of you from your question. You alone have to be smart, alert, and conscious of your partner’s patterns and behavior within your relationship. Only you can know your own boundaries. For some, a harsh word would be enough to cross the line into inappropriate behavior, and for others, smacking someone across the face when they are being rude is okay.

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Captainess Kirk: The Sum of My Foreign Food Experience

By Kathleen Kirk

Way back when I first met my Militantly Nerdy Boyfriend Alex, he saw my xenophilia and attempted to exploit it head-on when he offered to cook “a traditional Russian meal” for me. Ethnically and sometimes culturally, Alex is a product of the immediate fallout of the end of the Soviet Union, so I anticipated some complicated cooking in the works.

Unfortunately, my previous exposure to cuisine in a similar part of the world had left me more than mildly wary of this romantic gesture, so at the time, I politely refused in favor of Chinese.

I expected “a traditional Russian meal” to be about on par with “a traditional Finnish meal.” It seemed logical to me that Finnish cuisine and Russian cuisine would share some ethnic markers, since Finland existed as part of Russia for about a century. Russia released them in 1918, the end of the “autonomous time.”

Finnish cuisine is weird by American standards, to say the least. Where Western Europe has that infamous blood or black pudding, Finland has verilettu. Popular in school cafeterias across the country, verilettu is a nutritious pancake made of pig’s blood. You read that right. They actually take pig’s blood and fry it up.

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