WBEZ | leah pickett http://www.wbez.org/tags/leah-pickett Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How to have the best Friendsgiving ever http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/how-have-best-friendsgiving-ever-109233 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Friends, S10, The One with the Late Thanksgiving.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/gC11LBLgecc" width="560"></iframe></p><p>With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, many Chicagoans are already preparing to travel home and spend time with their respective families, whether they be tucked away in the suburbs or scattered across the United States.</p><p>But for the significant number of college students and transplants who may not be able to afford a plane ticket home this year, or for those who have no family to go to, the holiday most commonly associated with food, football, and family can certainly extend to friends as well.&nbsp;</p><p>As a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/10-misconceptions-about-chicago-107424" target="_blank">Texas transplant</a> who has spent many holidays away from home while pursuing a film degree at Columbia College Chicago, I have had the pleasure of attending and hosting many &quot;Friendsgivings&quot; with similarily displaced twenty-somethings.</p><p>Some of my fondest memories have taken place around those makeshift holiday tables, as we laughed over the smorgasbord of dishes we had miraculously cooked without the use of a microwave and realized, perhaps for the first time, that adulthood wouldn&#39;t be so scary after all. As long as we had each other, we would be alright.&nbsp;</p><p>Friendsgiving has become something of a rite of passage for urban millennials; I know few young city-dwellers who have not attended at least one. And yet, an occasion to give thanks and celebrate with friends (because for many people, their friends are their family) amounts to much more than a passing trend or a buzzword for the <a href="http://www.hollywood.com/news/tv/44636122/we-rank-the-best-friends-thanksgiving-episodes" target="_blank">fab five</a>&nbsp;generation.</p><p>Ready to have the best Friendsgiving ever?</p><p>First, some universal ground rules:</p><p><strong>Offer to arrive early and help the host. </strong></p><p>As soon as the official announcement goes out, ask the host if you can lend a hand with cooking, cleaning, or dessert-frosting before the majority of guests are scheduled to arrive. Hopeless in the kitchen? Help set the table, string lights, or put up decorations instead.</p><p><strong>Do not show up empty-handed.</strong></p><p>Be a gracious guest. This applies to any party to which one is invited; but the whole point of Friendsgiving is to share what you have with others, so providing at least one token of gratitude is essential. A homemade casserole or a six-pack of locally-brewed beer is always welcome, but thinking outside the box helps too. Arriving with extra napkins, plates, cups, silverware, serving spoons, records, or a perfect playlist could save the day!</p><p><b>Negotiate the potluck beforehand.</b></p><p>When making a Facebook event or sending e-vites, also make sure to coordinate who will be bringing what. Otherwise, you might end up with more PBR than food, or three pumpkin pies and no pecan. Accomodate for guests who are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, and make sure that all food groups (turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cornbread, pie, booze) are properly covered.&nbsp;</p><p>Next, a few pro-tips:</p><p><strong>Get crafty.</strong></p><p>On an inherently creative holiday like Friendsgiving, arts and crafts aren&#39;t just reserved for the kids&#39; table. Keep guests entertained with <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/23-clever-crafts-to-keep-the-kids-busy-on-thanksgiving" target="_blank">clever crafts</a>&nbsp;they can take home as souveneirs, like hand-painted Plymouth rocks or thankful jars. Look to design blogs like <a href="http://www.decoist.com/2013-11-13/stylish-friendsgiving-feast-decor/" target="_blank">Decoist</a>&nbsp;for direction on&nbsp;festive table-settings and other whimsical decor.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Drink and be merry.</strong></p><p>Without the usual bevy of impressionable young children and strait-laced older relatives to accomodate, the typical Friendsgiving has become an ideal occasion for drinking games, post food coma bar outings, and endless rounds of <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-08-18/business/ct-biz-0818-confidential-cards-20130818_1_josh-dillon-facebook-page-co-creators" target="_blank">Cards Against Humanity</a>. If you don&#39;t drink, body-warming beverages like virgin egg nog or crisp apple cider will also hit the spot.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Make new traditions.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Perhaps the Thanksgiving traditions in your family include waking up early to watch the Macy&#39;s Thanksgiving Day Parade, turning the channel to college football, or playing a game of pigskin in your own backyard. The beauty of Friendsgiving is that you can either recreate these memories with your best buds or make some new ones.</p><p>Watch the Thanksgiving episodes of &quot;Friends&quot; and &quot;How I Met Your Mother.&quot; Run the Turkey Trot together. Bring a new dish (like<a href="http://www.austin360.com/weblogs/relish-austin/2013/nov/20/thanksgiving-2013-discovering-joys-friendsgiving/" target="_blank"> cheesy hashbrown casserole</a>)&nbsp;or drink (like<a href="http://food52.com/blog/8845-my-broke-friendsgiving" target="_blank"> apple rye punch</a>)&nbsp;to begin a new Friendsgiving staple.</p><p>Most importantly, let your friends know how much you care. Loved ones are the reason for the season, after all.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/tqpPFT-F-bs" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/how-have-best-friendsgiving-ever-109233 Classic young adult heroines of the past http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/classic-young-adult-heroines-past-109184 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4261108036_1d9ababf05_z.jpg" title="Inside spread from a vintage copy of the book, &quot;Harriet the Spy&quot; written and illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh. (Flickr/CalsidyRose)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Study after study has shown that children are <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/appsblog/2013/sep/26/children-reading-less-apps-games" target="_blank">reading less</a> in the digital age, with the number of kids picking up books in their spare time <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10353148/Children-too-embarrassed-to-read-in-front-of-friends.html" target="_blank">dropping dramatically</a> amid claims that they are &quot;too embarrassed to read in front of friends.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Furthermore, a <a href="http://skills.oecd.org/SkillsOutlook_2013_KeyFindings.pdf" target="_blank">new study</a> by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that for the first time, America has fallen &quot;below average&quot; in the developed world for educational achievements and now ranks 16th in the world in literacy.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In recent years, America also has become the only free-market OECD&nbsp;country where the current generation is <a href="http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-literacy-america" target="_blank">less well educated</a> than the previous.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And yet in an era dominated by smartphone apps, tablet games, and YouTube videos glowing under children&#39;s blankets at night instead of books read by flashlight, are youngsters still finding joy in literature?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If book sales for certain millennial hits like &quot;Ender&#39;s Game,&quot; &quot;Divergent,&quot; and &quot;The Hunger Games&quot; are to be believed, then the answer is yes: children and young adults still enjoy reading, especially when the story is set in a sci-fi dystopian universe and the hero or heroine is close to their age.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This got me thinking about how the literary heroes of today compare to those of young adult novels past, and why girls cling to an abysmal role model like <a href="http://screencrave.com/2009-11-11/twilights-bella-swan-is-a-feminists-nightmare/" target="_blank">Bella Swan</a> when they have so many others from classic literature to admire.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Would the fame of &quot;The Hunger Games&#39;&quot; Katniss&nbsp;even exist without the spunky, brave, and arguably more complex heroines who came before?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div>From the perspective of a female bookworm who attached herself to other similarly nerdy and spirited female characters from an early age, the following classic young adult heroines stand out.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Hermione Granger,&nbsp;from the &quot;Harry Potter&quot; series by J.K. Rowling&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Hermione is a terrific role model for young girls, not only because of her eager intelligence, courage, and loyalty to her friends, but also because of her vulnerability. She faces insecurity about her looks, her grades, and her birthright as a &quot;Mudblood&quot; in a wizarding school, but ultimately learns to rise above her fears of failure and find the strength in herself to prove her naysayers wrong.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Jo March,&nbsp;</strong><strong>from &quot;Little Women&quot; by Louisa May Alcott</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As the plucky second daughter of four &quot;little women&quot; in the March family, Jo has emerged as an almost universal fan favorite. She is an opinionated, free-spirited tomboy who writes plays that are Shakespearean in nature, dreams of becoming a published author instead of a housewife, chops off all of her hair, and thinks nothing of wearing pants and insisting that a man treat her as an equal in Civil War-era Boston. Basically, Jo is a feminist way ahead of her time.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Anne Shirley,&nbsp;from the &quot;Anne of Green Gables&quot; books by L.M. Montgomery</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Anne is perpetually &quot;heedless and impulsive,&quot; which is exactly why readers can&#39;t help but fall in love with her. In contrast to the mostly prim and proper characters who surround her in&nbsp;Montgomery&#39;s series, Anne is the very definiton of a sparkplug: a talkative redheaded orphan who brings light, joy, and boundless enthusiasm wherever she goes. Runnerups in this category: Pippi Longstocking, Madeleine, Pollyanna, and Eloise.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Harriet M. Welsch,&nbsp;from &quot;Harriet the Spy&quot; by Louise Fitzhugh</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As far as lovable misfits go, Harriet M. Welsch ranks near the top. She longs to be a writer one day, but seeing as she&#39;s only 11 and still in elementary school, she decides to become a &quot;spy&quot; and write about her neighbors, family, and friends in her top-secret notebook during her formative years. Harriet is imaginative, curious, and precocious, but also struggles with feeling like an outsider &mdash; a sentiment to which many adolescents can relate.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Meg Murry,&nbsp;from &quot;A Wrinkle in Time&quot; by Madeleine L&#39;Engle</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meg is ambivalent about romantic love, which is a nice change of pace from all of the boy-crazy Bellas of the world. She is a stubborn and self-conscious teenager who relies upon her smarts to succeed, despite the fact that her incredible abilities often go unappreciated. Her anger is not only relatable, but justified, as new generations of readers continue to root for Meg and see themselves in her struggle.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><b>Nancy Drew</b><strong>,&nbsp;from the &quot;Nancy Drew&quot; books by Carolyn Keene</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This cultural icon has been cited as an influence by a number of prolific women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O&#39;Connor and Sonia Sotomeyer to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and it&#39;s easy to see why. Nancy is a fearless and feisty young amatuer detective who is wise beyond her years, no doubt inspiring modern-day heroines like Veronica Mars to gain similarly devoted fan followings.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Matilda Wormwood,&nbsp;from &quot;Matilda&quot; by Roald Dahl</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As one of the most recognizable characters in Dahl&#39;s illustrious canon of children&#39;s books, Matilda is more than just a child genius with magicial abilities. She is a symbol of someone born into less-than-ideal circumstances (in this case, horrible parents who neglect her and an evil principal terrorizing her school) who recognizes the unique power that lives within her. In a way, Matilda&#39;s telekinetic powers are a metaphor for acknowledging her own strengths, and realizing that just by virtue of being born, she has an inherent value that no other person can take away.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Matilda also had a great <a href="http://madbibliophile.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/matildas-booklist/">booklist</a>&nbsp;that inspired me to keep reading classic literature throughout my adolescence and into adulthood as well.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Who were your favorite characters to read and relate to in your childhood?&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</em></div></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/classic-young-adult-heroines-past-109184 Morning Shift: The big personalities and big wins of the 1985 Chicago Bears http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-28/morning-shift-big-personalities-and-big-wins-1985 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bears Flickr The Downstairs Lounge.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk with Rich Cohen about his new book on the Chicago Bears&#39; magical 1985 season. We also hear reactions to the long-awaited Lake Shore Drive extension and delve into the complications that come with labeling sexuality.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The big personalities and big wins of the 1985 Chicago Bears" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 28 Oct 2013 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-28/morning-shift-big-personalities-and-big-wins-1985 Morning Shift: How can the Web be a better and safer place? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-23/morning-shift-how-can-web-be-better-and-safer-place <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Internet-Flickr-Asimetrica Juniper.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Web and social media can be used to spark positive, social chance. But it can also be plagued by bullies and trolls intent on bringing you down. We talk pros and cons of the Web and strategies to make it a safer place.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-dennis-farina-aldermanic-privilege-a.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-dennis-farina-aldermanic-privilege-a" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: How can the Web be a better and safer place? " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 23 Jul 2013 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-23/morning-shift-how-can-web-be-better-and-safer-place Join WBEZ's digital Oscar party http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-02/join-wbezs-digital-oscar-party-105638 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/beaconradio_oscar_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/wbezoscars.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/wbezoscars" target="_blank">View the story "#wbezoscars" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p><p>I love a good awards show (by which I mean I love a really, really bad one). So I&rsquo;m looking forward to the 85th annual Academy Awards with my usual anticipation. But also a fair bit of head-scratching.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Like, how could Hugh Jackman&rsquo;s performance in Les Miz possibly be the biggest threat to Daniel Day Lewis winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Lincoln? That&rsquo;d be like me trying to block a Michael Jordan slam dunk. Come on!</p><p>Or how has favored son of Hollywood Ben Affleck become the plucky underdog? Sure Argo&rsquo;s good movie fun. But Best Picture material?&nbsp; Nah.</p><p>Or whose teeth will create the greater solar flare: Supporting Actress nominee (gag) Anne Hathaway? Or host Seth MacFarlane?</p><p>Well, we&rsquo;ll have plenty of time - hours of it! - to resolve these burning questions. And I do hope you&rsquo;ll spend them with WBEZ at our virtual Oscar party.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve invited a couple of people to my place to watch the show. I&rsquo;ll be serving cocktails and live tweeting their reactions - and mine. WBEZ blogger Leah Pickett will weigh in too.</p><p>Share your surprise, disappointments and snark (and maybe a few sentimental sobs?) at #wbezoscars to join our conversation. We&#39;ll pull our favorite moments into this page too.</p></p> Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-02/join-wbezs-digital-oscar-party-105638