Saturday, November 7, 2009

Channeling Chanel

MO and I headed over to the Department of Energy the other day to tell them what a great job they’re doing (that’s one of MO’s official FLOTUS job responsibilities – thanking everyone – even if she doesn’t know what they’ve done to deserve it). In this case though, I think it has something to do with blocking the additional development of carbon emitting energy sources.

She wore –against my strong advice to the contrary – one of her favorite black and white ensembles: a Moschino  suit with one of her fun brooches.

mo moschino I’m not taking the flak for this, since I made it clear that - even with my transformative powers - this hand painted fashion forward  look of her favorite Italian job was not going to photograph well. Despite all my efforts, it would still come out looking like a classic Channel suit on drugs.

chanel chanel-suit

mo pin

But she wanted to wear her favorite pin, so there was no talking her out of it.




The whole incident made me a little nostalgic for those day when America was still a shining city on the hill. Does anyone else remember 4% unemployment?

nanct brooch

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Huffpo Huffs About Puff

Ha, ha. That Huffpo, they just crack me up. Here’s a little article they did called ”Sarah Palin Lines Up an Impressive Array of Cupcake Media Appearances”. I mean really, can you believe these guys are complaining about puff pieces? They invented the genre, for goodness sake. And, uh, it’s a book tour, not a policy debate. And just to set the record straight, the book’s title is  “Going Rogue,” not rouge. That’s my department.

sarah and  todd

Believe me, my little sweets, I’ve been around this block a couple of times and I know all about lining up a good supportive interview. Hil and I used to do 3 or 4 a year. Of course that’s chump change in this post partisan environment. If Lady M and I haven’t lined up 3-4 a week we start sending dead fish to the magazine editors and TV producers.

Just to illustrate my point, because this is so just a partial list, here are a few of the “tough” interviews that MO and BO have done, most with me in attendance:

Katie Curic, CBS (How many times?) Here’s a still from the most recent, where we discussed dating advice. Yes, really.

puff katiecouricDATING_100x75 



Then there was, of course, Oprah, CBS (how many times?), Rachel Ray, GMC, ABC (how many times?), TODAY, NBC (how many times?), Ellen, NBC (how many times?), Soledad, CNN, Larry King, CNN, Jay Leno, NBC, David Letterman, CBS…

We also have print media powder puffs like these:

magsimages mags2images mags3images mags7images mags5images mags

Don’t get me wrong: they were a lot of fun. But I think you can tell by the covers we weren’t discussing brain surgery.

Of course this is the best magazine cover of all time, ever:Michelle Obama CoverAnd we got to talk about… dating tips! Again.

So anyway Huffpo, don’t get all huffy over Sarah. She can kill, gut and haul a moose out of the Alaskan wilderness blindfolded. I’ve seen you guys go all postal over a cockroach. So shut your flaps, and I’ll never reveal which cockroach.

Don’t get me wrong – I know what team I’m on - but I could sooooo work with Sarah Cuda.

sarah jeans

Of course, with a new hair stylist and ophthalmologist she wouldn’t really need me very much. Maybe I would have time to write my autobiography.







Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Even We’ve Had Enough Hope and Change

Let’s just say that a year ago tonight was a bit more exciting. Remember our  amazing victory celebration? It was actually my first official trans-imaging of Lady M.  I think it went pretty well, considering that Narciso mess she selected for the event.


I hadn’t quite figured out the whole belt thing yet, and those bow legs threw me off my game a little.

Plus, that whole red/black color scheme with the optional little cardigan was just not a look I was familiar with. I found it a bit overwhelming for my first day on the job.

A rocky start.





But here we are a whole year later! Listening to classical music in the Big White with the students this afternoon, wearing a tasteful gray tweed suit with flower brooch and a silver belt (I’m doing my best with the belts, but I can’t persuade Lady M to leave them in the closet).


We went with an elegant French twist for the occasion, and note how I’ve cropped out the belt and the bow legs.

The classical music theme carried into the evening and Big Guy joined us for a little Paganini: his favorite. He really likes ravioli too, but he hasn’t been eating much lately.


classic music night classic twist

We changed into a sleeve-less sheath for the East Room festivities. Those arms are golden.

Wow.  What a difference a year makes. Last year:Grant Park, a million adoring fans. We were all so excited: hope and change hung in the air like jasmine. Or maybe it was marijuana, since I felt a little buzzed. But after last night’s election results - I don’t know about the rest of the country - but I can tell you that MO and BO are kind of hoping there won’t be any more change. At least not in 2012.


Update: photo of classic white dress for classic music night. Please note this truly is classic, a Talbot! Things are looking up, don’t you think? Sweetheart neckline, no giant bows. That’s change you can believe in, no?

classic no bow

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

MO’s Little Women

mentor2 Lady M announced a mentoring program for 13 young high school girls from the Washington area today. Thirteen  high powered White House staffers – including her band of Chicago molls -Desiree Rogers, Susan Sher, Tina Tchen and Valerie Jarrett –  will be coaching these girls on everything from fiscal responsibility to etiquette.

Some of the girls want to be doctors, lawyers, research scientists and community organizers, but first we’re starting them off with some tips on fashion. Because we all know being smart is important, but looking good is crucial.

mentoring belt

MO has been thinking about this initiative for quite awhile now.

"We thought, what can we do to make the White House different, to make kids in our own new neighborhood know that the White House is a place for them?"

I suggested a sleep over where we could bring in some of the staff and do hair, nail and makeup therapy, but it didn’t even make the final cut. I still think it’s a good idea.

Her voice cracking with emotion, Mrs. Obama said the program was started to let local kids "know that the president of the United States hears you and values you and cares about your growth and development."

That’s right girls, the president wants you to succeed and that’s why MO is personally assigning all of her important staff members to see to it that you do. So let’s start with a little bit of belt mentoring:

Here is a really hot look, two ways:

mentor beltBig Mentoring Belt

mentor belt healthcareBig Health Care Plan Belt

And remember ladies: proper undergarments are necessary for a proper fit.

OK then, there’s more. Lady M said that one goal of her mentoring program is to coach young women on financial literacy, since studies show students especially lack basic financial skills. And when she’s done mentoring the high school kids, she’s going to run the same program for members of Congress. Because we don’t want them passing any more bills that will create another credit crisis, deflate the dollar and ruin the economy. Do we?

carrie In unrelated news, the White House also announced today appointments to the President’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities. They include "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker(whose character, Carrie, would make a fine mentor for any teenage girl). I think this photo displays Ms. Parker’s qualifications for the appointment. Nice flower and I’ll bet those shoes are Martin Margiela’s.


Also named to the panel was talent agent Bryan Lourd (who left his wife, Carrie Fisher, and young daughter for another man, so he’d be a good role model for the young women too).

As I understand it, the panel focuses on arts and humanities education, cultural diplomacy and economic revitalization through the arts and humanities and special events: like voter registration drives and fund raising for the DNC.

So, all we need to do now is get something going with respect to that “financial literacy” issue. Since these girls are going to have a LOT of money at their disposal when they graduate from this mentoring program. And we don’t want them getting “tricked” into investing it in something illegal, immoral or just plain stupid. Like a mortgage that they can’t really afford.


Monday, November 2, 2009

You Have Exceeded Your Expectations

It’s about time. Jodi Kantor’s article about the O’s wonderful life and marriage finally came out last weekend in the New York Times Magazine. We haven’t had such complimentary coverage in the Times now for… days!

O's dancing in the dark

The Whole World’s Their Stage

We expected it a few months back, before the honeymoon was officially over. And it would have been, except that we had to keep sending it back for revisions. Boy, even the supportive media tend to wander off the reservation if you don’t watch them like a hawk.

Anyway, it turns out the timing is great because Nancy and Harry are letting us down big time and it looks like a little boost to the old  Obama magic is in order.

And wow, did Jodi deliver! Just like the pro she is. Al and Tipper might have been the inspiration for Erich Segal’s Love Story and invented the Internet, but BO and MO have re-invented love and marriage!

Jodi begins by talking about how indignant Big Guy was about all the crap they got about flying off to New York on Air Force One for a Broadway show and dinner on date night. BO has said from the start, he’d have been more than happy to have just hopped in the staff car and driven up to the Big Apple, but the uptight Secret Service wouldn’t let him. He explained how annoyed he was about hateful  people ruining their special date night by making it into a “political” thing.  Politics. In the White House. Who’d have expected that?  Being President really sucks!

But anyway, after a little help from our staff writers, Jodi really got a handle on this assignment:  she managed to make MO and BO out to be both elitists and yet somehow charming at the same time. Lady M helped her figure out how to work in the parts about their marriage being a “formidable brand” and  “an ongoing negotiation between two strong-minded people.”  It came out a lot better than it did when people were talking about the merger between Merrill Lynch and Bank of America.

Then there’s this part that Lady M really liked too:

… the two sat a few feet apart in matching striped chairs that made them look more like a pair of heads of state than husband and wife.

MO does like to think of herself as a “head of state.” Plus, it makes all the time she spends with the hair stylists seem somehow noble.

But speaking of stylists, she was a bit miffed about this unauthorized photo that they ran with the article:

mos noseShe said it makes her look like she’s had a nose job. Hello! Just exactly what does she think I do for her every damn day of her enchanted life !?!


A little slimming here, a little rounding there, get rid of that angry look around the brows. Sometimes I feel a bit taken for granted. It’s almost as if Lady M has forgotten what she really looks like without me.



All in all though, both of the O’s feel that Jodi captured the magic of their life. Especially the secret part about simply not settling for second best. A lot of the credit for that must go to Lady M. It was really her sense of style and grace that got them here:

…  the candidate’s wife was constantly trying to upgrade the campaign, eliminating anything that seemed tacky or otherwise redolent of the less-than-exalted standards of Illinois state politics. Instead of a beers-in-a-bar fund-raiser, Michelle arranged a party at the DuSable Museum of African American History with a band and a crowd of young professionals. When Harwell found an inexpensive office space with dingy walls, Michelle vetoed it. “She was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no,’ ” Harwell says. “ ‘Why would we reduce ourselves to this?’ ”

You see, if you think really big, if you have the audacity of hope, you might just end up in the White House yourself. In the words of those immortal souls in Broadcast News:

  Tom: What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?

  Aaron: Keep it to yourself.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lady M’s Purrrrr-fect Halloween Party

In case you couldn’t guess, Halloween is the O’s absolutely favorite holiday. I wonder if they know about the spiritual implications of All Souls Day which falls the day after. It’s also known as the Day of the Dead in Mexico, possibly the result of too many tequila shots. Not that it matters; we function exclusively in the present. If you worry too much about subsequent consequences it really cramps your ability to capitalize on today’s crises and get things done.

So after the pink Halloween card photo shoot, we quickly pulled in the Hollywood crew to transform the place into Obama Halloween World. They repainted the Big White black orange, added all the special creepy effects (poison spiders, death squad musicians, etc.) and brought in the Halloween extras.halloweeen fairies

bomo halloween skeletors

halloween astro

Here’s BO’s new Green Czar. Notice the ironic costume: Deep Sea Diving Suit: with oxygen tanks! Even Al Gore got a chuckle out of that.






 bomo halloween very scary But let’s get on to the real reason you’re here: Lady M and Big Guy.They both picked out their own costumes for the occasion. MO came as her alter-ego: cat woman, although she did get a little help from the Hollywood makeup team to make her eyes look a littler cattier.It’s really a trial run for the inevitable end of the D.C. run and her return to her cougar days in Chicago.


Bo and pumpkin

And BO came as his alter-ego: a Chicago NPR host for fund raising week and part time adjunct professor.



hallow mailUnsure who advised the O’s that Easter baskets were appropriate trick or treat vehicles, but we recycle everything around here.

hallow surprise Here we have Cat Woman trying to persuade the little kiddies to take some of her “treats” left over from last weeks harvest: organic squashes, sweet potatoes and tuscan kale. The kids were having none of it. Kids seem to have an innate sense for what’s good for them.



And here’s Cat Woman trying to bribe this little tyke – who broke into tears upon seeing BO – to stop crying. He seems to have amazing powers of discernment; possibly the next Dali Lama.bomo hallowen cookie

Mo tried to get the kid to stop yelping by bribing him with some sweet treats. Ah, you can take the girl out of Chicago, but you just can’t take Chicago out of the girl. (It worked, the kid accepted the goodie bag, and asked for another.)

But the outside show for 2600 kids and their significant others wasn’t the only show in town. Inside we had another whole party going on for military families and White House staffers. No walking trees or spinning fairies (unless you count Toes, but if you do, prepare to die), but lots more treats, including these adorable shots of Gibbsy dressed up as a Star Wars Commander and Susan Rice, our Ambassador to the UN, dressed up as – wait for it – Goofy!

halloween gbs son susan rice-goofy

What a clever staff, able to transmogrify their day jobs into their Halloween costumes. These guys just crack me up. You too?

And kids, in case you weren’t on the invite list, don’t feel bad. All you missed was the White House special Halloween tax. Here’s a brief exchange that I uploaded to my hard drive.

H/T Paul Shanklin for Rush Limbaugh