“Mrs. Clinton, who are you wearing tonight?”

Ever since last Monday’s presidential debate, I’ve been struggling with how to say this. It’s a controversial statement, and no one in my circle wants to touch it. But I can’t keep it in anymore.

Hillary Clinton looked great in that red suit.

I know. I just complimented a woman running for the highest office in the U.S. on her choice of outfit. The only way I could have made that worse is if I started by saying, “I’m not a sexist, but…”

HRC pantsuit aficionado.jpg

Older screenshot. TBD has been updated, but “pantsuit afficianado” remains.

For the record, I’m not a pantsuit enthusiast, but Clinton has carved out her sartorial niche. Since 2007, Mrs. Clinton has been wearing pantsuits by Susanna Beverly Hills (I fact checked it, because I’m a professional, y’all), but maybe now that she has made history as the first woman to participate in a bipartisan presidential debate, the runways at Fashion Week will be full of avante garde ensembles that could double as mother-of-the-bride outfits.

One of Clinton’s many uphill battles as a woman competing in a male dominated field is that men have a dress code—their biggest decision is their tie: power red or reassuring blue. Women have a dress code, too, but it’s a subliminal one, unspoken and byzantine in its sociological complexity.

Some historical perspective: the first televised presidential debate was between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960. (Read more here.) Kennedy appeared well-groomed and confident, and Nixon looked rather unkempt and haggard. (Nixon was recovering from a knee injury.) Radio listeners considered Nixon’s answers more substantive, and television viewers thought Kennedy had the edge.

Now we describe candidates looking “presidential,” meaning “composed and confident,” but also not-so-secretly meaning, “well-groomed, well-tailored, and looking strong and healthy.” That is to say “attractive” in a Darwinian “I want that person taking care of my pack” sort of way.

It’s not a nice fact, but it’s a fact. FDR knew this and took great pains to never be photographed in his wheelchair.

Going back to fashion, and skipping the minefield that is hair, makeup, and whether a woman should smile more

rainbow pantsuit.pngThe traditional man’s business suit is a symbol of authority and success, whereas a woman’s pantsuit is often ridiculed. Skirts and dresses are dodgy, because the hemline has to fall in the magical spot between slutty and frumpy. And lets face it, the more gravitas the jacket, the more it gives you flashbacks to your high school principal (usually not a good thing).

So, taking all that into account, I feel like I need to trade in my Feminist card when I point out that Clinton looked great in that outfit during the debate. It played well on camera, the color was super flattering, which made her look healthy, and of course, red is a power color. It was a great tactical choice.

Incidentally,  a day or two before the debate, Clinton made fun of Trump’s signature red power tie. Not, I think, coincidentally, he wore a blue tie…leaving the power-red up for grabs. Think about that for a minute.


I have never talked politics on this blog, but the fact is this political season is the most infuriating, perplexing, embarrassing (as an American), troubling… and ANTHROPOLOGICALLY FACINATING one I can remember. I’m not here to campaign for anyone—though I’m  not going to hide my bias against Trump.

If you’ve made up your mind for one of the two main party candidates, nothing I say is likely to change your mind.

But if you’re on the fence over whether it’s worth it to vote, IT IS. If you want to not vote for either Trump or Clinton, you can still contribute to the process in seriously meaningful way by casting your vote for the open congressional seats, and in your state and local governments.

vote_buttonThere are 7 days left to register to vote. Have you done it yet?


Momentary: Star Wars VII Edition

Vintage TV WatchingThis weekend, Mom and I watched The Force Awakens. She hadn’t seen it before, which is not unusual because I have to preview most things so I can tell her everything is going to be okay. Sort of like her personal Does The Dog Die. It’s a good system for us. I can reassure her, and I get at least one uninterrupted viewing.

Because Mom usually has a lot to say.

Speaking of SPOILERS (which I will be; this is your warning)…

As the opening crawl appears, I’m debating how much to tell her. This is my job, after all. I figure, I’ll get the basics out of the way, and let the details unfold.

Me: So, you should know, a major character gets killed.

Mom: What??

Me: You know it has to happen. Obi Wan had to die in the first one so Luke could do his Hero’s Journey thing.

lightsaber handoff

Probably Important

Mom: Luke dies??????

Me: No.

Mom: Is it Leia?

Me: No.

Mom: Chewbacca?

Me: No.

Mom: *thinks*  Is it Han?

Me: Yes. *watches warily for reaction*

Mom: Oh, well. He’s gotten really old anyway.

[I would have called that a burn, but it was too cold.]

Finn gets shot at, nearly blasted. Entire planets blow up. Cantina Castle implodes. 


Me: Jeez, Mom. Priorities.

Mom: If that lady with the glasses kept it in a box all this time, it must be important. Does she die? I really like her. Get on the Internet and find out.

Kylo Ren gets emo while the Darth Vader music plays. Cut to reveal Darth Vader Mask. 

Mom: Wait. So he’s Luke’s son?

Me: No, Mom. He’s Han’s kid.

Mom: How… but how is Vader his grandfather then?

Me: He’s Han and Leia’s kid.

Mom: Really?  Huh. I can’t picture them as good parents.

Me: Apparently they weren’t.

Luke and Kenobi Star Wars

Also could have used a haircut.

Mom: *pause*  He really needs a haircut.

Finn and Kylo Ren fight at the end. 

Mom: Does he (meaning Finn) die?

Me: No.

Mom: Does she (meaning Rey) die?

Me: No.

Mom: Does the bad guy (meaning Kylo Ren)  die?

Me: No.

Mom: *pause* Well, that’s disappointing.

Big awesome fight between Ren and Rey. 

Mom: (re: Kylo Ren and Rey)  They’re brother and sister.

Me: We don’t know yet.

Mom: No, I’m saying, I bet they’re brother and sister.

Me: They won’t do that. They already did that with Luke and Leia.

Mom: I don’t know. They keep rebuilding the Death Star with an access tunnel.

The credits roll.

Mom: Well, I’m glad the Hilter guy died.

Me: He didn’t die, Mom. The Supreme Leader Gollum told him to take a ship and get Kylo Ren and meet him.

Mom: *sigh* What I want to know is why are there so many people who want to be the supreme ruler. Sauron, and Voldemort, and the Emperor, now this guy. Why do all these guys want to be in charge? Where do they come from?

Me: Trump Tower, I think.

Mom: That’s not funny. She notices I’ve been taking notes. You’re not going to Tweet this, are you?

Me: I think I’m going to start a blog thing. I’ll call it a “Mom-entary.” What do you think?

Mom: I think that’s too much pressure on me. Just make me seem funny and nice.

Me: Not a problem. [Note: I didn’t make any of this stuff up.]

Mom: And don’t tell them that I called Han Solo old. I think he’s younger than me.

Me: Actually, I think he’s older.

Mom: Well, that’s a relief.

Be nice in the comments, she may read this to keep me honest.



You Are Here.

Welcome to Read Rosemary Central, homebase for author Rosemary Clement-Moore (plus screennames, @readrosemary, @rclementmoore, and I write novels (Sprit and Dust, Texas Gothic) and blog here at least once a month. Accept no immitations.

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and you can email me at rosemary at rosemaryclement dot com.

So, what have you taken for that?


I don’t go to the doctor unless my mother makes me.

Let’s be clear on this. It’s not that I’m afraid of the doctor. I just need hard evidence that there’s something wrong with me before I feel professional intervention is justified. It’s the only way I can be sure I’m not just being a wimp.

Doctor Who.jpg

Picture is not related. I just like it.

This doesn’t mean I’m stoic about pain or sickness. I’ll whine about it plenty. Well, I’ll whine until Mom says, “Have you taken anything for it?”

So, last week I’m trying to work but I have this mosquito bite (or something) on my finger that’s very distracting. And then it’s very painful. And then it’s very red and puffy. But no way am I going to the doctor just because I have an owie on Mr. Pinky. Pass the ibuprophen and the Neosporin.

Yeah, I also have a hard time admitting I can’t just fix everything myself.

Only it’s like I’m suddening in Zac Snyder’s DC verse, and I’ve got this germ  like General Zod, and the Neosporin is like the army tanks, and my white corpuscles are like Superman, and my finger is Metropolis.

And Mom is like, “You need to go to the doctor.”

And I’m like, “Pshaw. I’ll just look up how to treat this at home.”

And WebMD is like, “You have a flesh-eating bacteria and your finger is going to fall off.”

And I’m like, “Hello, doctor’s office? I’d like to make an appointment, please.”



Besides, I couldn’t wait anymore for it to get better on it’s own, because I couldn’t type. Or write. Or sleep. Or do anything but hold my hand up in the air to keep it from throbbing.

So what’s the moral of the story?  I really really hate to say it, but…the moral of the story is listen to your mother when she says go to the doctor. Some things aren’t meant to be DIY.


The (Cookie) Monster in All of Us (Movie Monday: Blooper Reel Edition)

The only thing that makes pop culture iconography better is when it involves Cookie Monster. Like the Siri/iPhone commercial where CM is waiting impatiently for Siri to count down the timer for his cookies in the oven. I have this theory that as adults we love CM as much as (or more than) we did as kids, because we’re all a little bit Cookie Monster, really, deep inside.

Apple just released the outtakes from the filming of that commercial. I have a bad feeling this is exactly how I’d be on set. Or in real life. Or all the time. So, enjoy.

Accio Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

I’m not saying I’m lazy, but sometimes it’s a lot of trouble getting up off my couch.

For one thing, it’s an old couch—well, love seat, really—and it doesn’t look like a sinkhole, but like a lot of older things, it’s not as springy as it used to be. Especially when you’ve been smooshed into the corner for a few episodes of Agents of Shield on Netflix. And by “a few” I mean long enough to get the “Are you still watching?” message. (Don’t judge. We all have our days.)

tea earl grey Also, I’ve got an ottoman pushed up against the front of it. This isn’t for me–my legs are short enough that I can sit comfortably sideways. It’s for the dog, who insists on being next to me whether it’s convenient or not. Usually not. But because I don’t want her (or anything else, like my snacks) to fall into the crack between the ottoman and the couch, I put this very specific quilt over both, and my legs hold it in place. And then Penny insists on being covered up by another very specific blanket. And then I often have my laptop on my, well, lap.

Which is all to say that every time I have to get off the couch, even just to pour another cup of tea, I have to set aside my laptop where it won’t get stepped or sat on, kick off one afghan, swing my legs over the dog, over the ottoman, which pushes me further into the La Brea Cushion Pit so that I have to shove myself up and out, somehow managing not to scoot the sofa back, the ottoman forward, or dislodge the quilt-hammock and drop Penny into the couch chasm.

That’s assuming she doesn’t jump up and start bounding around the sofa trying to grab the afghan and pull it back over herself, or just generally make a nuisance of herself.

I tell you all this because it is not at all infrequent that I wish I had a house elf to bring me a cup of tea. Then I feel guilty for wishing I had a house elf. So I wish I had Mrs. Weasley’s domestic spell skill set so I could just accio a nice cuppa without it becoming a whole production. Because of course once the dog is disturbed, there’s no guarantee she’ll settle down again soon. (In fact, it’s almost a certainty that as soon as I’m ensconced once more, and have rearranged the ottoman/quilt/afghan/laptop to their original positions, she will ask to go outside.)

Anyway. This is what made me think about the conveniences of magic. (I mean, more than I usually think about how cool it would be to have magic.) Yeah, it would be something to be the Dark Lord and take over the world and all, but enough

Penny Undercover

Shhh. I’m undercover(s).

money will let you do the same thing. What intrigues me–and this is why I’m a writer, I guess–in any fantasy or high-tech science fiction world is the way it would affect daily life. The way you brush your teeth or make your bed or call for a taxi.

The fact that (other than the ability to apparate or the invention of a transporter, and even then maybe not) the spell I find myself wishing for most is the “accio” spell. You know, for those times when the remote control is…just…out…of…reach.

Not because I’m lazy, though.

Just because it would be cool.


Thor vs. the White Whale (Movie Monday: seafaring edition)

I am a total geek for maritime history. I’m a total geek about a lot of things, but my love of all things Tall Ship related goes under the radar because it hasn’t come up in a book yet (which is about to change). There’s actually a long seafaring tradition on both sides of my family–with Dutch pirates privateers and East India Company merchant marines on one side and captains in the Texas Navy and WWII Gulf patrol boats on the other. CH Heart of the sea.jpg

I, on the other hand, get seasick at the IMAX and am sort of afraid of drowning. So much line my love of ballet and swordfighting, my love remains theoretical rather than practical.

Which is all to say that I was really geeked about The Heart of the Sea movie, directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth. It’s based on a book about the real life whaling ship Essex, and its bizarre encounter with a monster whale that attacked the ship and sank it like a son of a bitch (link). As the trailer points out, it’s “the true story that inspired Moby Dick.” Which is a terrible tagline, because I know how 99% of my English class felt about reading Moby Dick. They should have tagged it: “Chris Hemsworth fights a giant whale.”

01-heart-sea-lead-image.jpgIf only.  I mean, that happens, and it’s cool. And leading up to that is about 30-40 minutes of topgallants and capstans and fo’c’sles and gales and a whole mess of money shots of badass sailorific seatasticness.

Then the whale sinks the ship, leaving our crew adrift and marooned with no food or water in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which might as well be Mars. Only without Matt Damon to science the shit out of things. So it gets grim.*

And that’s the main flaw of this movie—not that things go to a dark, Donner party place. But that it happens about halfway in, and that’s a lot of movie time to spend with your characters literally adrift. Heart of the Sea Hemsworth.jpg

It’s a “man’s will to survive” story from there, and so the hardest decision they make to survive should be the climax of the movie. In the framing story where the last living crewman of the Essex relates this story, Brendan Gleeson sells this reveal in a fantastic bit of acting, one of those two minutes of a movie where the veteran basically gives a masterclass to rest of the cast. (See also, Peter O’Toole asking Brad Pitt’s Achilles for Hector’s body back in Troy. Also, Michelle Fairley plays Gleeson’s wife, which made my nerd heart so happy.)In-the-Heart-of-the-Sea-Brendan-Gleeson-Ben-Whishaw.jpgWhere was I?  Oh yeah. Basically, once you find out what’s haunting Gleeson’s character, the story should have wrapped up as quickly as possible.

So from a movie-watcher standpoint, the first hour or so was really satisfying to watch. The rest was a bit grueling, but Gleeson gives some payoff there. And I got knitting done.

On the other hand, I thought about the movie for a long time, because there were a lot of great ingredients that should have made a more delicious stew.**  How would I restructure this? Some deeper characterization would have been nice, and if the actual sinking were moved to the Act III break instead of the midpoint, that would allow for that plus more white whale action.***  Then recognize where the story really ends, and bring it home from there.

Or, we could just make a movie of Mad Eye Moody and Catelyn Stark play a married couple running a tumbledown boarding house full of eccentric characters who pay their rent in chickens and gillyweed.

So, this a wait for Netflix one, I’m sad to say. There’s some good stuff here, it’s just kind of out of balance. Everything aboard the Essex delighted and excited. When the story turns dark, it’s simply spread over too much screen time.But Gleeson gives some payoff there. And I got knitting done.

In the meantime, rent Master and Commander. That one has beat to quarters in the first three minutes, takes it’s lull in the middle, then gets all broadsides and boarding party again for the end.


*Here’s where I discovered that I have this ability–maybe it’s a talent, maybe it’s just a bad habit–of mentally glossing over the stuff I don’t like about a story, either ignoring it or completely rewriting it in my head. (Like the movie I talked about last week. Something happens to the little dog offscreen, and in my head, I’m like, oh, the dog totally got away, to the point where I convinced myself that actually happened, not just maybe happened if you’re in serious denial. So, sorry about that if anyone was traumatized. But it lead to my discover of the site So that’s a plus.)

**This is kind of an unfortunate analogy for this movie.

***This is not a euphemism for anything dirty.