Thursday, December 4, 2008

Editor Mourns End of Playgirl Magazine

Last Updated: Thursday, December 4, 2008 4:16 PM ET Comments6Recommend15
CBC News

The demise of Playgirl leaves a void in the North American magazine landscape for women's erotica, says the title's final editor in chief.

After a 35-year run, Playgirl will continue in an online version only. The last print issue, completed in early October, is now available on newsstands.

Since its launch in 1973, the magazine has struggled with new publishers, changing editors and a shifting readership over the years.

Though there was "an element of surprise" when staff learned of the print edition's demise in July, "we weren't terribly surprised to hear it was all going online," editor in chief Nicole Caldwell told CBC Radio's cultural affairs show Q on Thursday.

"We did find it pretty unfortunate, because we had been enjoying higher numbers in the last year and a half or so. We were feeling quite confident in the direction we were taking it," she said.

By the end, the magazine was completed with just Caldwell and two staffers, bolstered by "a team of unpaid interns and a lot of freelancers."

Established in a completely different era, Playgirl originally mixed its sexy shots of men with articles exploring topics like abortion, drug addiction, birth control and other female health issues, as well as writing by the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou and Tennessee Williams.

It was also born during a time when feminists had the mentality that "what's good for the guys is good for the women," said Globe and Mail columnist and cultural commentator Karen von Hahn.

"Now it seems to be very much about a recognition that men and women are fundamentally different," said the Toronto writer. "I don't think [the magazine] was ever what women wanted. I think they tried on the pantsuit and they tried being the guy and looking at sexuality and experiencing sexuality that same way, but it never really fit."

Read the rest of this article here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

De Beers Keeps Forevermark at Bay with Generic Ad Push in U.S. Market

DeBeers Keeps Forevermark at Bay with Generic Ad Push in U.S. Market
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DeBeers, Forevermark

[Originally published in December 2008 issue of Diamond District News]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Former Playgirl Editor Schools Fox News On What Women Want

Last night, Nicole Caldwell, former Playgirl editor-in-chief, was interviewed on Fox News' Red Eye about the demise of her former home away from home. In between a bunch of dick jokes, Caldwell discussed the fact that — despite Playgirl's reputation of being more for gay men than women — it was part of her job to provide content that appealed to women. (It was, after all, originally founded as a feminist response to Playboy.) Caldwell chastised host Greg Gutfeld after he insisted that Playgirl's demise was due to the fact that men are more visually stimulated than women, telling him, "I'm not going to accuse you of having no emotional component just because women are perceived as being more emotional."

[Originally posted at Jezebel.com]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NYTimes: They Couldn't Get Past the 'Mimbos'


They Couldn’t Get Past the ‘Mimbos’
By CARA BUCKLEY

NOT long after Nicole Caldwell became editor in chief of Playgirl magazine, she realized that looking at photos of naked men all day was not everything she had imagined it would be. When she would meet them, there was often a curious vapidity to the men, who Ms. Caldwell took to describing as “mimbos.”

Readers, Ms. Caldwell decided, deserved more.

So she and her fellow editors, all women in their 20s and all relative neophytes to the world of magazines — and pornography — resolved to fill Playgirl with something different. They aspired to bring Playgirl back to its roots, back to a time when the magazine covered issues like abortion and equal rights, interspersing sexy shots of men with work from writers like Raymond Carver and Joyce Carol Oates.

All the while, the editors juggled the demands of the publisher, Blue Horizon Media, which they said pushed to fill Playgirl with even more nudes and fewer words.

“It always felt like this uphill battle,” said Jessanne Collins, 29, who was Playgirl’s senior editor.
The women’s dreams crashed when Blue Horizon Media, which also puts out hard-core magazines, announced it was shutting Playgirl. The last issue, dated January/February 2009, recently arrived on newsstands.

[Read the rest of this article here]
[Originally published in the New York Times, Styles section, November 16, 2008]

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Extell Denies Rumors of Diamond Tower's Demise

Extell Denies Rumors of Diamond Tower's Demise
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[Originally published in Diamond District News, November 2008]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sexbama For Prez: Vote with your head, not your hormones

SEXBAMA FOR PREZ: VOTE WITH YOUR HEAD, NOT YOUR HORMONES
NICOLE CALDWELL, Former editor-in-chief of Playgirl, ponders the size of Obama’s penis, the power of the Presidential paunch and whether all the fetishization will hurt the Barack Star on election day.
By Nicole Caldwell
You know you’ve reached celebrity status when your name replaces God’s in the sack—and you’re not even the one getting laid. “Mike,” a 52-year-old moderate Republican in financial services, recently picked up a hot blond twenty-something at Townhouse Bar on East 58th Street in Manhattan.“He was very excited about Obama,” Mike recalls, “very into the campaign. I didn’t want to talk politics, but as he rambled on and got more and more excited, I expressed a few reservations about the anointed one. He dismissed them outright.”
Mike bit his tongue, worried that admitting his intention to vote McCain Nov. 4 would end the encounter.The two eventually wandered to Mike’s place on the Upper East Side for more drinks. One thing led to another, and soon the pair was naked. That’s when, Mike says, things got weird.The young Democrat was a bottom; and as Mike mounted him, the younger man grew animated. “Ohhhh, ohhhhh,” Mike says the man cried. “Obaaaama!”Although Mike is white, it seems that the young blond had his own fantasies about who was fucking him.

Let’s face it: Barack Obama is hot. As we move into the final days until the election, it’s become more apparent, however, that people are not making rational decisions based on voting records or even debating skills. They are voting with their emotions, their passions, even their fantasies about who they would rather kiss, fondle or fuck.
Bammers has single-handedly inspired the kind of adoration usually reserved for cultural icons like The Beatles, Elvis or Tom Cruise (circa Risky Business). That’s right, he’s a Barack star. Women weep at his rallies. Photos of him frolicking shirtless on a beach get splayed across pages of People. The media can’t get enough of him. He’s America’s sweetheart. Even Barbara Walters, during Obama’s guest appearance last March on The View, couldn’t resist a little flirtation. “We thought you were very sexy,” she told Obama, when he said his distant cousin Brad Pitt got all the hot genes. Oh, please.
[Read the rest of this post here]
[Originally published in New York Press, Oct. 29, 2008]

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thrillist and Showtime Party Coverage


Burning Down The House With Thrillist and Showtime

Thrillist-Showtime House Party, 23 Gramercy Park South, New York
October 13, 2008

by Kelly Samardak

Thrillist is so manly isn't it? All that metro guidance, revealings of the underbelly of your favorite city, the sick flights (you know... sick as in sweet) to Vegas with questionable press, and the latest takeover of a gorgeous mansion. Named the Showtime Mansion (just this once?), the spot on Gramercy where Tiffany Winbush joked that she'd be placing an offer, delivered room after cleverly decorated room -- all elegantly carrying the theme of hit Showtime time-suckers. Did people partake in illegal tobacco puffing in the "Weeds" room? Did randy wannabe socialites try to make a naked name for themselves on the beach-themed patio? Was anyone dismembered and shoved into the "Dexter" kitchen? I gblahuess you'll have to read on to find out...

Upon arrival, I was immediately introduced to John Wiseman, Thrillist Director of Marketing, Paul Magyar, Thrillist East Coast Sales Manager, and the edibily cute Ben Lerer, Thrillist Founder. I'm sure that, as accomplished as he is, Ben loves being called cute. Onto the rooms! My +1 grabbed the cleaver from the Dexter kitchen and grinned while stroking the blade. I gasped "That's not really sharp, is it?" "Sharp enough," he sneered, hacking off my hand just below the wrist, making it difficult to sip and shoot at the same time. Bleeding profusely, I wandered from the Dexter kitchen and up the stairs into the "L Word" boudoir, which begged me to question my sexual orientation. I kept walking in and out of the "Weeds"-themed room forgetting I had been there as soon as I left. Which made me hungry. Good thing we ran into the sushi gal outside the "Weeds" room -- perfect location. Ack! Vegetarian sushi! Boo! I plucked up a roll and ate it anyway. Uh oh, our drinks were already low, so we headed all the way upstairs where another bar was situated.

On the way there, I ran into a photophobe from NY1 and her guest Stephanie, who was "just along for the ride". NY1 went straight for Justin Fluck, formerly of The Onion, currently taking a run at Thrillist. It was only his seventh day on the job and he was still going through introductions within Thrillist. Not a bad seventh day. My seventh day wasn't in a mansion; I think it was in the supply closet. Anyway, up at the bar I ran into the adorable Tiffany Winbush, who was waiting for her very stylish hubby (can't go wrong with a tie tucked into a sweater, kids!). She'd told him to arrive early with her to avoid the line and he opted out, which means he opted into the line.

Joe Ciarallo completed the Twitter/PRNewser reunion with Nicole Caldwell, who just left her position as Editor In Chief at Playgirl. Turns out that due to Playgirl's decision to ditch the print and hit the Web 100%, their site will be more of a ... uh... video download extravaganza. And I think you know what I mean. This didn't really align with Nicole's love and respect for journalism, so she cut the cord and is heading down a new path pursuing other editing and writing opportunities.

Of course I ran into the always silly, always fauxhawk-coiffed Adam Francisco of MediaVest, who recently met my favorite childhood star, Zack Morris... er, Mark-Paul Gosselaar. The JetVegas reunion hits kept coming with Mike Rothman, Thrillist Director of Advertising Sales, in his chocolate brown velvety jacket, making like a non-VIP and waiting in line with Brian Kantor, Associate Publisher, BlackBook Guides. Out on the patio I re-ran into David Blend, Executive Editor Thrillist.com who was nyucking it up with Dean "Sawyer" Chandler, Sales Director, Gawker Media. "We've been together forever!" Dean offered, with David remembering a fabulous past photo of the two of them. Apparently in it Dean's shirt is completely unbuttoned and David has an enormous 'fro. Please, someone, dig that up. Keeping the seat warm behind David and Dean was Gwen Barbee of Vanguard S&P with her pal Gary in the green suit. Or olive. Sparring for best-hued jacket was Richard Blakely sporting one in salmon, who was jawing with Eric Krangel of the Alley Insider.

I popped a steaming dumpling into my mouth as I moved along the top floor, aiming to hit the stairs and out the door for meat. Oh yes, that dumpling was so hot I almost spit it out. I looked up and saw Joe Ciarallo had the same reaction, eyes watering as the roof of his mouth began to dangle onto his tongue. One of my last photo stops found Jonathan Faulhaber, Producer, The View, manning what looked like an uncomfortable seat -- but somehow he made it look comfortable with his Dapper Dan-layered look. He was with Caroline Bubnis, Publicist, The Door and Nicole Pierce, Beauty Expert, fancyandexpensive.blogspot.com.

I left too soon, in search of oval-shaped meat because according to my sources still peppered about the party, the green stuff made an appearance on the patio as did the, well, naked stuff. Seriously people, keep your clothes on. You do NOT want to be famous for public attempts at baby-making.

Invite kelly@mediapost.com to your shack party and get covered in Just An Online Minute!

Check out the bloodbath on Flickr!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PRNewser First-Birthday Party Coverage


Just An Online Minute… Good, Good, Good, Good Libations with PRNewser

Posted October 13th, 2008 by Kelly Samardak

PRNewser's First Birthday Party, Libation, New York
October 9, 2008

Getcha PRNewser Heahhh, says Joe Ciarallo. Not really, but put that guy in a newsie hat and some knickers and we've got ourselves a winner. Joe's not just one Editor of the now year old Newser, he's also Mr. NiceGuy, so it's safe to say that you won't find a negative word in any of my posts about anything he's attached to. Call me biased and I'll call you correct. It's easy to write nice things about good people. However, my camera did get me into a near altercation with a non-PRNewser guest. Trouble follows me, people, like that clubfoot squirrel in Madison Square Park.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brave New Beauty

Sexy science and space age spas
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[Originally published in Playgirl, November/December 2008]

News & Culture

Reviews of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Outfoxed, and Juliana Hatfield's How to Walk Away

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[Originally published in Playgirl, November/December 2008 issue]

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Starving, Hysterical, Naked: Welcome to another year of HOWL!

eStarving, Hysterical, Naked: Welcome to another year of Howl!

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[Originally published in New York Press, Sept. 3-10 2008 issue]

Monday, September 1, 2008

Flirty Foreign Policy: Is the road to peace in the Middle East paved with porn?

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[Originally published in Playgirl, September 2008]

News & Culture

Reviews of The Bette Davis Collection, Prude, V Cuisine, and Rusty Belle's debut album

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[Originally published in September/October 2008 issue of Playgirl]

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lookin' Good, Feelin' Good!

A few clever scientists tested what happens when the chest feathers of a few New Jersey barn swallows are darkened—the extension of a test three years ago that found males with these deeper colors mated more often, Science News reported.

So, marker in hand, rust-colored breast feathers transformed 30 lighter birds to among the darkest. The results? Males formerly exhibiting, well, “girlie-man” behavior turned quickly into Don Juans, with upped testosterone levels and some healthy weight loss. So does a more attractive appearance translate into improved body chemistry?

Kevin McGraw, a co-author of the study (published in Current Biology) and evolutionary biology professor at Arizona State University, thinks so. "Other females might be looking at them as being a little more sexy, and the birds might be feeling better about themselves in response to that." But he noted his surprise at the fact hormonal changes in the birds occurred within one week of their “transformations.”

Of the 30 male barn swallows darkened, testosterone rose 36 percent after seven days. This was during a time of year when testosterone levels normally decrease—as demonstrated by the 33 birds that didn't get the coloring treatment; whose levels fell by half. Perhaps most interesting is the fact hormones are usually in control, dictating changes in behavior and appearance. But perhaps this exchange is a two-way street?

"It's the 'clothes make the man'" idea, said lead author Rebecca Safran, an evolutionary biology professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. "It's like you walk down the street and you're driving a Rolls Royce and people notice. And your physiology accommodates this." Other researchers suggest that because of the darkened color, those lucky birds mate more often, thereby altering testosterone levels. Maybe it's got to do with intimidations: Other males perceive this influx of dark feathers as a sign of a new pecking order, which boosts the swallows' hormone levels.

As for the weight loss, it's obvious: More mating means more exercise, which means more calories burned.

In a similar study with humans in 1998, die-hard male sports fans experienced a 20-percent rise in testosterone when their teams won. As Safran pointed out, barn swallows are "socially monogamous and genetically promiscuous, same as humans. There are some interesting parallels, but we do need to be careful about making them."

[Originally published at playgirl.com/blog]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stamford's Rich History


Stamford’s Rich History

Stamford, Conn., was signed over to European settlers in July of 1640, and has been home to a mixed bag of historic landmarks, happenings and people ever since. Originally called Rippowam by the natives, the city has transformed itself in many ways not limited to its name. Signs of change in Stamford are visible; from new developments and renewal projects, to historic buildings still standing in the city, to a meticulous historical society determined to maintain the city’s old-world integrity and charm. Stamford has a rich history still available for you to see—you need only know where to look. Those of you traveling by foot may want to stroll Stamford’s South-End historic district, bordered by Penn Central railroad tracks, Stamford Canal, Woodland Cemetery, and Washington Boulevard. For information about other sites in Stamford, be sure to contact the city’s historic center (information listed below).

Stamford Historic Center
1508 High Ridge Road
(203) 329-1183
First stop on any tour of Stamford’s historic sites is the Stamford Historic Center, established in 1901, where you can treat yourself to some of the most knowledgeable historians in the area. Through September, you can also catch the organization’s current art exhibit, “The Lost Streets of Stamford”, which takes visitors on a visual tour of photographs documenting streets destroyed in Stamford’s urban downtown redevelopment plan, begun in 1952. Visit the center’s Web site for information on upcoming exhibits, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Sterling Farms
1349 Newfield Ave.
(203) 461-9090
Sterling Farms is an interesting example of urban renewal—and one of the best places in Stamford to sample delicious seafood. Once a 144-acre dairy farm servicing Stamford, the property now houses an 18-hole public golf facility.

Read the rest of this post here.

[Originally posted at StamfordCTGuide.com]

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Main Street Pub Crawl: Stamford, CT

Main Street Pub Crawl

European cities and towns have historically used the pub crawl (or “gin” or “beer” crawl) as a social networking tool for people living in or visiting a certain area. Pub crawls, by design, blend communities, tourists, landmarks, and (of course!) drinking by guiding revelers along a given route to enjoy brief visits at a number of watering holes offering food, drink, entertainment, and unrivaled atmosphere. It’s a great way to reacquaint yourself with the place in which you live, or an excellent way to sample local fare and meet a lot of interesting people.

Spanning less than half a mile along Main Street, the below bars offer one of the best concentrations of excellent pubs in Stamford. From plasma televisions showing round-the-clock sporting events to island décor to outdoor patios, a few even have free wireless (not that you’ll be doing any work!), dart boards, and pool tables. And full menus to boot!

So grab some friends, and spend your next happy hour checking out some of the best spots Stamford has to offer. But be sure to call for a cab to get home!

1. Tiernan’s Bar & Restaurant
187 Main St.
Stamford, CT 06877
(203) 353-8566
Starting the pub crawl off on an appropriately Irish foot, we begin with Tiernan’s; noted for its wide selection of delicious imported beers and reputation for being the best venue for rock in Fairfield County. Sample the delicious Irish fare, enjoy live entertainment Thursdays through Saturdays, surf the Internet with Tiernan’s free wireless access, bask on the outdoor patio, or park yourself in front of one of eight plasma televisions. Happy hour runs 5-7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and there is never a cover charge.

Read the rest of this post here.

[Originally posted at StamfordGuide.com]

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

News & Culture

Review of Yonder Mountain String Band's Mountain Tracks: Volume 5
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[Originally published in Playgirl, July 2008]

Playgirl Sex Tips with Country Icon Dolly Parton

[Click on article for larger size] See full Dolly interview here.
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[Originally published in Playgirl, July 2008 issue]

Friday, June 27, 2008

Eat My Shorts

In yet another story about people who're uptight ruining everyone else's good time, some people in and around Westmore, Vt., are trying to pull the proverbial swimtrunks onto a longtime nude beach.

Southwest Cove is one of the most famous nude beaches in the country, enjoying for the last several decades bare bottoms resting on pristine Lake Willoughby's sandy shores. The beach is public land, visibly removed from a nearby highway, and is marked with signs letting passersby know the score.

The Westmore residents raising all the fuss are using their kids as decoys, claiming they only want to protect the children.

"For me, it's about common public decency - getting families and kids and people and Westmore back down to what they all talk about as being the most beautiful place, and they don't go there any more," said Tony Strange, who lives about one-half mile from Southwest Cove and helped circulate a petition asking the Select Board to enact an anti-nudity ordinance.

Let's all join hands in a collective plea for Mr. Strange to get a grip, let loose, and drop his shorts.

[apnews.myway.com]
[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cover Your Ears: 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy forces more ladies from Army, Air Force


Pentagon statistics show the Army and Air Force discharging a disproportionate number of women in 2007 under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy which, doncha know, prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military.

You'd think the folks in charge would busy themselves working through other looming issues for women who serve—like the fact women in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq, as the LA Times reported in March.

In spite of women comprising a mere 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women, the Seattle Times reported. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women. In 2006, 35 percent of the Army's discharges and 36 percent of the Air Force's were women, according to the statistics. These numbers were gathered under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a policy advocacy organization.

Pentagon officials did not explain why the numbers for women increased last year. Curious.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Today in Censorship...

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels recently signed into law a bill requiring bookstores to register with the governor and pay a $250 fine if they sell "sexually explicit materials" (bye bye, Kama Sutra).

As pointed out in a newsletter distributed by the National Coalition Against Censorship, "sexually explicit" "could include Lady Chatterly's Lover, Fear of Flying, and The Joy of Sex. Yikes.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Friday, June 20, 2008

A New Way For Lonely Men to Up Their Creepiness Factor

Those cuh-razy inventors over in Japan have outdone themselves yet again—this time with a robot designed for guys who just can't get a date. A Japanese firm, Sega Toys, created the 15-inch robotic girlfriend that kisses on command, hands out business cards, sings and dances.

So I know you're all wondering how this tough little mankiller, called "EMA" (Eternal Maiden Actualization), works. How good of you to ask! You can chalk her "love mode" up to some infrared sensors and battery power.

"She's very lovable and though she's not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend," Minako Sakanoue, a spokeswoman for Sega Toys, told Reuters. Rrrrriiiight.

Sega hopes to sell 10,000 in the first year. Want to be at the front of the checkout line? The sweet young thing goes on sale in September and can be yours for only $175.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Newsflash: Teenagers have poor decision-making skills



A bunch of regular Columbos looking into a marked rise in teen pregnancy at Gloucester High School came up with some amazing information: Of the 17 student mommies-to-be, almost half made a pact to get that way.

All the expectant mothers are younger than 16; those in on this brilliant plan agreed to raise the little darlings together, a la that old adage about a village and babies. Amazing. Also amazing: Top officials at the Massachusetts school's health center resigned last month over a disagreement regarding the distribution of contraceptives:
Medical Director Dr. Brian Orr and chief nurse practitioner Kim Daly support confidentially giving contraceptives to students. They were outraged about resistance from Addison Gilbert Hospital, which administers the state public health grant that funds the school clinic.
The school, in a "normal" year, has about four pregnancies. When an exhorbitantly high number of hormone-riddled baby mamas visited the school clinic for pregnancy tests, officials' curiousity was piqued. Best part—one of the fathers is allegedly some 24-year-old homeless dude. Oh, to be young again!

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

'Natural Condom' to Prevent the Spread of AIDS?

Applying the female hormone estrogen to a man's junk once a week can quadruple the amount of a defensive protein that may prevent the spread of AIDS, breitbart.com reported.

Applying estrogen in cream-form to the penis creates a biological membrane impermeable to the AIDS virus by upping keratin proteins on the skin, doctors claim.

Researchers said the technique, which does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy, could provide a cheap and simple method of guarding against HIV around the world. Stay tuned! Clinical trials are expected soon in Africa.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fox's Latest Offense

You'd think news outlets would know the meanings of words used in headlines and broadcasts; and avoid using blatantly offensive phrases. Not so for Fox News, which blazed the headline "Outraged Liberals: Stop Picking on Obama's Baby Mama!" (screen grab above) under clips of Michelle Obama during a news segment about the right's "alleged" attacking of Barack Obama's wife.

Had anyone bothered to look up "baby mama" in an urban dictionary, the following definitions may have provided some pause:
  • The mother of a man's child when the parents are not married
  • The mother of one's child. The connotation is that mother and father do not and never did have any relationship beyond being sex partners. Contrast: ex-wife, ex-girlfriend.
  • The mother of your child(ren), whom you did not marry and with whom you are not currently involved.
  • A term used to define an unmarried young woman (but can be a woman of any age) who has had a child. As mentioned before in another definition, most of the time it is used for when it was simply a sexual relationship, compared to ex-wife or girlfriend. Usually this has a negative connotation, a lot of baby mamas are seen as desperate, gold digging, emotionally starved, shady women who had a baby out of spite or to keep a man. Sometimes they may act like this because of missed child support payments, unfulfilled promises by the father, or convenient sex by the father.
Just keeps getting better and better, no? Fasten your seatbelts, America: This political season is only going to get classier.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

'My Lonesome Cowboy' Cums Upon Big Bucks

Takashi Murakami's "My Lonesome Cowboy" sculpture (pictured at left) sold for $15.2 million at a Sotheby's auction in May, New York Magazine reported.

The sculpture, if you haven't already figured it out, features a naked man holding his penis and creating a long, curly lasso out of his ejaculate.

Some art critics call Murakami the Japanese Warhol, for Murakami's penchant for repackaging cultural kitch. But, as one blogger so aptly put it, "did Warhol ever depict a badass anime guy with spikey hair whipping the semen coming from his member into a skillful lasso with a triumphant expression on his face? I think not." Either way, we're pleased as punch to see the male form, ahem, popping up everywhere.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Holy Crap!

A woman suffering a strange compulsion of eating her own hair produced a 10-pound hairball (pictured at right; thanks a lot NBC). Yikes.

The 18-year-old went to doctors after five months of abdominal pain and the loss of 40 pounds. Sensing something was up, the good docs took a look inside—and discovered the hairball, which took up almost all of the woman's stomach.

Confronted, she admitted to making a habit of eating her own hair; a condition doctors refer to as trichophagia, but we can just call "being off your rocker".

Small incisions were no match for the mass, which had to be removed entirely through a good, old-fashioned surgery. The patient was released from the hospital after five days, and urged to pay a visit to the shrink. Fast-forward one year: She's regained about half of the weight she lost and claims to have stopped eating her hair.

Don't you just love happy endings?

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mincing up Michelle: Maureen Dowd assesses the black-femme situation

The issue of feminism in politics is one that's been particularly prevalent in recent months as Hillary Clinton campaigned for the spot of Prezzy. There were questions about Clinton surrounding herself with girly men; whether the country is ready for a female president; and general weirdness of a woman showing emotion on the campaign trail.

Maureen Dowd in her column yesterday railed against Republicans looking to transfer their barbs from the recently ousted Clinton into the ultra-fabulous flanks of Michelle Obama.
It’s good news for Obama that Hillary’s out of the race. But it’s also bad news. Now Republicans can turn their full attention to demonizing Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama is the new, unwilling contestant in Round Two of the sulfurous national game of “Kill the witch.”

There are some who think it will be harder for America to accept a black first lady — the national hostess who serenely presides over the White House Christmas festivities and the Easter egg roll — than a black president.

Read the full text of the article here.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Utah City Council to Lift Bikini Ban

Hey butterflies! Slip on some duds, comb out your fros, and dig out that teeny, weeny, yellow polka-dot bikini. Less than one month after a city-wide bikini ban, Utah's Kanab City Council is lifting the painfully conservative ruling to allow two-pieces and Speedos at the town's soon-to-open public pool, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Councilwoman Nina Laycook claimed the ban on bikinis and Speedos was unintentional; instead stating her "recommendation is going to be no thongs or string bikinis.

"We were so engrossed with safety and health issues we overlooked the wording [about swimming attire]," she said. "We are addressing that now by amending the policy."

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Holy Hymen! Muslim Women Enjoy a Surgical V Replacement

An increasing number of Muslim women are undergoing "hymenoplasties" to restore their hymens and fool unwitting grooms-to-be into thinking the babes are still untouched below-the-belt, the International Herald Tribune reported.

Gynecologists told the Tribune that more Muslim women in recent years have requested certificates of virginity before marriage to prove to husbands-to-be the women are chaste.
That trend in turn has created a demand among cosmetic surgeons for hymen replacements; which, if done properly, they say, will not be detected and will produce tell-tale vaginal bleeding on the wedding night. The service is widely advertised on the Internet; there are medical tourism packages to countries like Tunisia where the procedure is less expensive.

Friday, June 6, 2008

From Cheeks to Chest

Preparation H, the topical medication some unfortunate souls use to treat hemorrhoids, has more uses than you can shake a stick at, apparently. Because the ointment shrinks blood vessels to relieve swelling, the stuff is a miracle for puffy eyes. But dudes have a different use for it: slathering Preparation H on their chests to make themselves look more ripped.

Body builders have been known to use the ointment to help with “problem areas” before competitions; but don't go thinking this is endorsed by the company. No, no! A spokeswoman with Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Preparation H, told ABCNews.com the company doesn't approve or endorse off-label uses for the drug. Typical.

Some docs say the drug can cause uncomfortable side effects such as rashes, as well as more serious side effects such as elevated blood pressure. Eh; those risks pale in comparison to some ointmented-up chest muscles. Right?

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Monday, June 2, 2008

Let the Sun Shine In!

Put your girls to good use on the beach this summer with the new solar-powered bra by Triumph International, a Japanese women's underwear company. The cumbersome gadget has enough exposed (get it?!) panels to power an iPod or cell phone (hell, why not go ahead and power a vibrator?). And for some strange reason, there are also inexplicable water pouches on these puppies—so you don't have to use wasteful water containers. Doubles as a boob-enhancer!

Other Triumph specials: a baseball bra (with fielder's-mitt-shaped cups) and heated bra (with microwavable gel pads to warm the cups). Does it get any better than this?

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Sunday, June 1, 2008

News & Culture

Reviews of Romance and Cigarettes and Film Noir Classics
[Click on article for larger size]
ReviewsJune2008
[Originally published in Playgirl, June 2008]

California Love

Take your man to Monterey
[Click on article for larger viewing size]

Monterey1

Monterey2
[Originally published in Playgirl, June 2008 issue]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paris 'One Big Romp' During Nazi Occupation?

A new book proposes that Paris during the German occupation of France was 'one big romp'; and has all kinds of peeps up-in-arms over other statements regarding women's lib. Like a recent photographic exhibition showing Parisians enjoying themselves under the occupation, the book's depiction of life in Paris as one big party is at odds with the collective memory of hunger, resistance and fear, Fox News reported.

"It is a taboo subject, a story nobody wants to hear," said Patrick Buisson, author of "1940-1945 Années Erotiques" ("erotic years"). "It may hurt our national pride, but the reality is that people adapted to occupation."

Apparently, many women slept with German soldiers and conducted affairs with anyone else who could help them through financially difficult times—all while hubbies were off in prison camps: "They gave way to the advances of the boss, to the tradesman they owed money to, their neighbor," Buisson said. "In times of rationing, the body is the only renewable, inexhaustible currency."

Cold winters, when coal was in short supply, and a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. also encouraged sexual activity, says Buisson, with the result that the birth rate shot up in 1942 even though 2 million men were locked up in prison camps.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Fox 'Sexpert' Determines Whether You're a Freak for Porn

Time to determine once and for all just how filthy that little pea brain of yours is. These points are filed under you being an accident waiting to happen:

*Your relationship, although committed, is sexless.
*Your understanding of sex is that porn equals pleasure.
*It’s easily accessible.
*You view porn as a stress reliever.
*You are having trouble being intimate with another human being.

But let's get to the good stuff!
[Full article here]

1. You’ve become anti-social.

You are spending more time with pornography than you are with the outside world. If you are single (and even if you are putting yourself out there) your preoccupation with porn may be hindering your ability to establish long-term, monogamous relationships. If you are involved with someone, you may find yourself bowing out of couple and familial obligations to steal moments with your laptop or DVD player. Bottom line: You only have eyes for porn stars and no one else.

2. You’re lying to your partner.

Your once honest relationship is now plagued by secrecy and dishonesty as you try to hide your porn habit. About 70 percent of people keep their porn use a secret. And many will go to all sorts of extremes in making sure that they are not found out. Even when busted, many will do or say anything to hide the truth.

3. Your partner is no longer attractive.

Unbeknownst to your partner, s/he has competition – and it’s your favorite porn star. Obsessed with fantasy characters, you find it hard to get turned on to the real thing, including yourself. That’s right; you’re not even letting yourself off the hook. Casting yourself against fiction, you’re sizing yourself up as unattractive. Either way, you are likely avoiding or completely uninterested in sex with your lover.

4. Your sex life with your partner is suffering.

Both your sexual desire and functioning, including arousal, have taken a nose dive. You and your lover are feeling robbed of romance, passion and emotional closeness. This is because you are not truly present with your partner. Emotionally distant, you are too busy having sex with porn. Ultimately, you are dissatisfied with your actual sex life, and this is affecting your relationship.

5. Your concept of “real intimacy” has become warped.

When you re-emerge from the fantasy world, you’re finding that your expectations about sex, sexual partners and intimacy have become unrealistic. You’re only interested in those who look and act like porn stars (which severely limit your dating pool if single). Sadly, you start to think there must be something “wrong” with your lover for not putting out like a porn star. Furthermore, you’re objectifying others, wondering what he or she would look like unclothed or how they would act during sex.

6. The habit is causing you distress.

Torn between desire and shame, your use of porn is causing you physiological and emotional distress. You may feel like a “sex pervert,” or suffer from isolation, shame, anger, unrest, depression and irritability. You may be distressed over the fact that using porn conflicts with your value system. Overall, your porn kink is starting to cause family, work, legal and/or spiritual problems.

7. You are engaging in risky behaviors.

You might be OK with ideas that usually make you think twice, for instance, having unprotected sex, but now you are engaging in behavior that is out of control. Soliciting a prostitute, looking at child pornography or anything involving animals or violence warrants a need for help.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Friday, May 23, 2008

For Shame

Saying the formation of a Gay/Straight Alliance Club at a South Carolina high school will promote sex among students, one douchey principal in Irmo has decided to resign at the close of this school year, Fox News reported.

"I feel the formation of a Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Irmo High school implies that students joining the club will have chosen to or will choose to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, opposite sex, or members of both sexes," Eddie Walker wrote in a letter to Lexington-Richland School District 5 officials.

"Allowing the formation of this club on our campus conflicts with my professional beliefs and religious convictions," Walker wrote in the letter, obtained by FOX affiliate WACH-TV.

[Originally posted at playirl.com/blog]

A New, Improved, Gender-Neutral God

A new prayer book released by the Movement for Reform Judaism in Britain removed all male descriptions of God, opting instead for gender-neutral language, Lancashire Evening Post reported.

Any mention of God as King, Father, Lord, et al has been replaced with expressions such as "Eternal One" and "living God". The prayer book (or Siddur) additionally makes mention of prominent women from the Old Testament for the first time in prayers such as the Amidah, the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy. It's also got prayers for today's main issues, such as environmental and natural disasters and prayers for depression, miscarriage and the death of a child. Awesome!

To coincide with the new prayer book's launch, the organization conducted a survey about people's perceptions of God. Results—gleaned from 1,050 adults in Britain—showed that only 1 percent of people think of God as female, with 62 percent considering God to be male. Three-quarters of those classifying themselves as Christian said they perceive God as male. And 49 percent of all people surveyed agreed that all religions "fundamentally discriminate on grounds of gender''.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Witchy Women Put to Death


Holy shit.

From Breitbart.com: A rampaging mob in western Kenya burnt 15 women accused of witchcraft to death, a local official and villagers told AFP Wednesday.

The gang, numbering around 100, went house-to-house Tuesday night, tying victims up and setting them on fire, the head of the Nyamaiya district said. "We will hunt the suspects down," he added.

Fifty houses were burned down in Nyakeo village, about 180 miles northwest of Nairobi.

In Kenya in the 1990s, dozens of people were killed over suspected sorcery. Are these people serious?

"I can't believe my wife of many years would be killed so brutally by people who cannot prove their case even before God," said Enoch Obiero, a pastor. And another:"My mother has always been a role model to the entire village and why the mob had to kill her will remain a mystery to me forever," said 32-year-old Emily Monari.

The region, populated mainly by the Kisii tribe, has been dubbed Kenya's "sorcery belt" due to mob attacks on women suspected of witchcraft.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Oh Charlotte, You Boozebag!

Kristin Davis, the "Sex and the City" star lovingly known as Charlotte, used to hit the bottle like it was her job.

"I’m a recovering alcoholic," Davis told Health magazine. "I’ve never hid it, but I’ve been sober the whole time I’ve been famous, so it wasn’t like I had to go to rehab publicly." Far out.

"There was a time when people who didn't know me well would say, 'Couldn't you just have one glass of champagne?' And I would say, 'No.' I'm doing well. I still have occasional bad days. Why risk it?" Take that, cosmo-sippers.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Man-Boob Surgery on the Rise

For all their efforts over at Manboobs.co.uk, males proud of their protruding pectorals have done little to curb the rising number of breast-reduction surgeries performed on young men.

Doctors at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool told TimesOnline.com they're seeing dozens of teenagers every year with gynecomastia, the condition in which males develop breasts. Most experts say obesity is to blame for this torrent of "boy-boobs"; and one plastic surgeon said in 12 months he's performed more than 20 breast-reduction operations on young boys who developed the condition.

Other ways to get rid of man-boobs: eating salads and running a few laps. But lest I get too cheeky before I have all the information, facts suggest gynecomastia actually comes from the growth of firm, female breast tissue under the nipples. This phenomenon is caused by a hormone imbalance during puberty; and it often corrects itself. Man-boobs can also bloom from body-building drugs, recreational drugs, cancer, diseases of the liver or kidney, and [duh!] being enormous.

"These are firm female breasts," one doctor said of gynecomastia-induced man-boobs, "something that any woman would be proud of.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fresh Meat: Manuel Uribe

The world's fattest man intends to one day be the person to have lost the most weight, Reuters reported in a recent profile of one Manuel Uribe.

But there's even more to Uribe, who went from more than one-half ton to a mere 717 pounds (518 pounds lost since March 2006). That is to say, his meatstick has gone from being a zero to a hero.

"I was impotent before, but now everything's working again. Ask my girlfriend," he said happily, his Guinness World Records certificate hanging on the wall
.

The secret to his sexcess may be in the weight loss, which he initiated through a diet of grapefruits, egg-white only omelets, fish, chicken, vegetables and peanuts.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oversexed, Insatiable Broads

Adding the roster of weird afflictions Playgirls come across is "Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome" (PSAS), defined as "intense feelings of genital congestion and sensations that are typically unaccompanied by any conscious awareness of sexual desire" by Dr. Sandra Leiblum in an article published for the Cincinnati-based Women's Sexual Health Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to educating women and doctors on conditions that may impact sexual health and function.

Leiblum is director of the Center for Sexual and Relationship Health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and author of "Principles and Practices of Sexual Therapy," which touches upon PSAS.

Over at a PSAS online support group, moderators explain:
Persistent genital arousal is a condition in which a woman experiences insistent and unwanted genital arousal that is unaccompanied by conscious feelings of sexual desire or subjective arousal. The feelings of fullness in the genital area persist for an extended period of time (e.g., days, weeks or months) despite one or more orgasms. Orgasm does not result in resolving the genital arousal. The feelings of genital arousal are perceived as distressing, distracting and worrisome.

Oh, and the kicker: sexual activities intended to relieve the symptoms can reinforce the sensations or provide only temporary relief.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stuff that Used to be Considered Punishment

You wouldn't know it with all the clean-shaven family jewels popping up these days, but there was a time when a hairless situation was considered bad news.

Greek guys who cheated were treated back in the day with a most unusual punishment. The adulterous d-bag was sometimes met with the removal of his pubic hair and the insertion of a large radish into his rectum. I know all you modern-day men are sort of turned on by the idea of those two activities; and we can't say we blame you.

Just goes to show you: One man's punishment is another man's playground.

[stunning-stuff.com]

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hendrix Sex Tape Goes Live

Finally, one for the ladies!

I am sick and tired of all these little pop princesses and their sex tapes. It's high time a rock legend's stuff was strutted on the silver screen. Cue Hendrix!

Vivid Entertainment is releasing a sex tape allegedly starring Jimi Hendrix, Gulf Daily News reported. The Los Angeles-based adult entertainment company said they obtained the sex tape from a memorabilia collector.

The 11-minute footage, reportedly shot in a dimly-lit hotel room about 40 years ago, features Hendrix - or someone who looks like him - engaged in various sexual acts with two brunettes.

Of course, there are skeptics. Charles R Cross, author of the Hendrix biography Room Full of Mirrors, took a look at the flick and has come out as an ardent negative nancy about the whole thing. "It doesn't add up to Jimi," Cross said. But Playgirls, don't give up hope! And of course Kathy Etchingham, Hendrix's former ladyfriend, says it's not him. But that's what we'd expect.

Bob Merlis, a spokesman for Experience Hendrix, which manages the guitarist's estate, said it had no comment on the alleged video.

[Originally posted at playgirl.com/blog]