This week, our blogs wondered how nuns got controversial, mused on recent news about brainpower and aging, and giggled at TV’s newest fictional vice-president. 

  •  Ever wish you’d been a fly on the wall to learn the secrets behind famous creative partnerships like Rodgers and Hammerstein, John Cage and Merce Cunningham, or Mike Nichols and Elaine May? Cartoonist Nicole Hollander was: “My personal favorite was the collaboration between Billy Wilder and A.I.L. Diamond (Some Like It Hot).”  At her blog Bad Girl Chats, Hollander turns to WVFC’s Roz Warren, whose recent Salon essay “Will Write for Crab Cakes” describes the dynamic with her humor-writing partner Janet Golden. Continuing a conversation Golden began last fall for us, Warren reflects on their differences: “I spend my evenings reading magazines; Janet prefers movies. She’s happily married; I’m happily divorced. But we’re both opinionated and fairly clever, and neither of us is afraid to fall on her face when reaching for a joke.” Click over for the rest and for photos of the pair, with Roz in her Bad Girl Chats T-shirt.
  • When WVFC ran our Parkinson’s Update on Monday, some of us had no idea that the illness affected designer Sonia Rykiel, someone we mentioned last month during Fashion Week. We first learned the unhappy news from Hayley Phelan at Fashionista.com, who explains that Rykiel is revealing this in a new memoir, N’Oubliez Pas Que Je Joue (in English, Don’t Forget It’s a Game). It features the designer’s reflections on the disease that has plagued her for more thab a decade. “Though the 81-year-old designer appeared increasingly frail in public, it seems that very few knew of her struggle with Parkinson’s. Indeed, Rykiel said she had attempted to keep it a secret for as long as possible.” There’s more at the link, including a cover image for the book and Phelan’s thoughts about the future of the line.
  • Bridget Crawford, at Feminist Law Professors, zooms in on a story that has mesmerized us: the Vatican’s recent rebuke of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the largest organization of U.S. nuns, for its members’ tendency to focus on social-justice issues instead of areas such as abortion and homosexuality. Crawford cites a letter to The New York Times that asks, “How can there ever be too much focus on poverty and economic injustice?” before getting to  what many of us felt: “It is baffling that the Vatican would condemn women religious for public statements that ‘disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals,’ [when] the bishops were responsible for the systematic cover-up of sexual abuse of children.” She predicts, as we do, that Catholic congregations will rally around those working to help them every day: “Advantage, Sisters.”
  • We were surprised and pleased to see all of the New York Times Magazine this past Sunday devoted to “It’s All in Your Mind,” a special issue on keeping your brain healthy. The medical librarian who runs Happy Healthy Long Life agrees: “It’s chock full of news you can use, now!” including “Can Running Make You Happier?” and “How Exercise Leads to a Better Brain.” Click over to see what else she recommends, with fuller descriptions and links.
  • Ms. Magazine gives us the 411 on HBO’s new satire Veep, in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays a Washington insider and half-reluctant VP. “The job is not all it’s cracked up to be for Selina, with awkward public appearances, tricky political agendas and the president ignoring her,” writes Kerensa Cadenas, adding that “Veep does make explicit that many of the things Selina deals with in office are colored by the fact that she’s a woman. Considering that only 90 women serve in Congress–17 in the Senate and 73 in the House–it’s great to see a cultural representation of a woman in as powerful a position as vice president. Although the show is played for laughs” Cadenas adds, “many of the issues Selina deals with are practically ripped from the headlines.” Given that Veep is the brainchild of In the Loop creator Armando Iannucci and contains the hilarious Dreyfus, we suspect it’ll be at least as feminist as our fave Mad Men.