"Martha Stewart writes picture books about gracious living. She says there's not a problem in the world that can't be solved with a dried floral arrangement. I worship her."

--Patrick Stewart, "Jeffrey"

This is probably the nicest sounding thing I've heard uttered about Martha Stewart. It also pretty much sums up the Martha Stewart Experience (tm) succinctly. Patrick Stewart (no relation) can make any sentence sound complimentary.

I used to ridicule Martha Stewart, but no more. ALL IS FORGIVEN, MARTHA!

I went to the grocery store today to stock up on frozen pizzas and lard (the weekend's coming, ya know). I was standing in the check-out line boredly perusing the check-out library: the National Enquirer, the Weekly World News, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, People, etc., and I saw this special Halloween issue of "Martha Stewart Living." I'm a sucker for Halloween, so I picked it up and flipped through it, expecting to see the usual crap you see in Halloween craft guides -- stuff that only a professional carpenter/chef/seamstress/metalworker/avant-garde artist with a billion-dollar budget could put together.

Damn, was I surprised.

All my life, I've wanted to do Big Halloween Productions -- haunted houses, fancy Halloween food, neat costumes, cool (and non-Hallmark-cutesy) decorations -- anything to allow me to properly demonstrate my devotion to my favorite holiday. But my lack of artistic expertise, inability to sew, and general clumsiness with a mitre saw doomed any plans more ornate than cutting out construction paper pumpkins.


I can make "lady fingers" with pretzel dough and red almonds! I can make scary owl silhouette decorations! I can make dried apple shrunken heads! I can make fake blood with corn syrup and food coloring! I can make spooky decorations to hang in the front yard! I can carve a really cool jack-o-lantern! I know they won't look like the pictures in the magazine, I know I can't do the really artistic stuff, I know some of this stuff is too expensive, but I also know that I, a fat, unshaven, beer-drinkin', butt-scratchin' pizza-and-lard-eatin' ex-headbanger, can do all these cool things! Ridicule Martha Stewart?! Why the hell would I do that?! Martha Stewart ROCKS!

Ooo, dried flower arrangements! And tulle! Sign me up for that!

Addendum: Ichiro2k3 says: Her website (http://www.marthastewart.com) also has some of the finest written instructions for knitting and crochet I've seen, if you're into that sorta thing.

Martha Stewart, considered by many to be the deity of dried floral arrangements, is often viewed as a quiet, elegant woman who has a wonderful knack for interior design. Others, however, know her as her own apparent foil; an arrogant, foul-mouthed individual with a temper that can shame the most Latin of men. Undisputed, though, is her shrewdness as a business woman, and her seemingly limitless drive.

Martha, despite her demeanor of sheer elegance, was actually born to quite a humble family on August 3rd, 1941 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Their parents, Martha and Edward Kostyra, a schoolteacher and pharmaceuticals salesman, respectively, were characterized by an unrelenting ambition for their children. Edward began teacher Martha gardening at the age of 3, roughly the same age her mother began giving her the skills cooking, baking, and sewing. This rubbed off on Martha, apparently, as she was a very hard-working person, both at home, and in her studies, which eventually earned a partial scholarship to Barnard College in New York City. Off shooting some of the costs of college by working as a part-time model, Martha originally intended on studying chemistry, but shortly changed her major to art, European history and architectural history.

After graduating and marrying her husband, Andrew Stewart, Martha continued a successful modeling career until she had her first child in 1965. Shortly afterward, she followed in her father-in-law's path and became a professional stockbroker until the crash of 1973 when she left to move to Westport, Connecticut. In 1976, she began a catering business with a college friend, who was eventually bought out. After 10 years of running this operation out of the basement of her farmhouse, it became a $1 million dollar enterprise. Throughout the 1980s, Martha's business boomed and she wrote columns for magazines and papers such as the New York Times, House Beautiful, Family Circle, and her own Martha Stewart Living. She also increased her product line through television appearances, seminars (which usually earned her $10,000 each), books, and consulting contracts with companies such as K-Mart.

In 1990, Martha got what she long considered her dream; a half-hour show dedicated to teaching everyday women how to entertain and decorate, cook and bake, garden and craft, named Martha Stewart Living, after her magazine. Seeking further control and consolidation over the multitude of branches of her business, Martha established Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. By the end of 1999, her company was doing well over $240 million dollars in sales a year. Even further good news came at the IPO in October of 2000, where in a day's time, she made over one billion dollars.

However, not all is good in Marthaville. On May 21st, 1997, in an action that many people close to her say is typical, allegedly tried to run over and pin down a neighbor who she was having a dispute over a shared fence with. Although no charges were ever filed, many give this as one of the most blatant examples of the anger she possesses.

The biggest threat remains questions involving shady business practices she has engaged in. On December 27th, 2001, Stewart sold almost 4000 shares of pharmaceutical company ImClone Systems, Inc. whose CEO is a friend of Stewart's. The very next day, the FDA announces that it will not be approving ImClone's chief drug Erbitux, a cancer-fighter, sending stock prices plunging. Martha denies any involvement in the situation and says that the sale was a preconditioned sale negotiated with her broker before hand. The problem is, the investigators cannot find any conclusive proof that this agreement was ever made. On June 4th, a federal grand jury indicted her for 9 counts, including perjury, obstruction of justice, and securities fraud, which were plead Not Guilty. Later the same day, Stewart stepped down as CEO of OmniMedia.

The outcome of Martha Stewart's legal problems remains to be seen, but no matter what, Martha Stewart, in her incredible entrepreneurship and massive fortune, will remain steadfast.

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