Thursday, September 29, 2011

The commercial queen...

Remember this post about the annoying Yoplait commercial?  Since then, I have noticed Melanie Deanne Moore aka Melanie Paxson, the star of the "Bear Sheriff" Yoplait ad has been on a lot more ads...

There's Yoplait...


Ace Hardware

State Farm...

And I've heard her do voiceovers for other ads.  That voice is unmistakable.

I wonder what makes her such a hot choice for commercial casting agents...  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jillian Michaels on The Doctors...

I don't really enjoy watching The Doctors much.  I have it on at 10am on weekdays, though, out of habit.  Until recently, it was just hosted by several medical doctors, but a couple of weeks ago, the cast expanded to include obnoxious personal trainer Jillian Michaels.

I understand why Jillian Michaels was put on this show.  She's an exercise specialist and a lot of Americans need to exercise more.  I know I'm one of them!  And she has a track record, having been on other reality shows focusing on weight loss.

I still find her incredibly annoying, though.  She's loud, argumentative, and thinks nothing of casually dropping the f bomb.  She insults people.  I find her style very offensive and irritating.

Moreover, this show has always had too many people stirring the pot.  Bringing in Jillian Michaels just raised the decibel level and made it even harder for people to be heard.

Once again, I'm reminded why I need to get a life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pat Robertson says it's okay to divorce if...

your spouse has Alzheimer's disease.  I read about this a few days ago and was interested because I came of age in the shadow of Pat Robertson's influence.  I used to watch his channel, WYAH, when I was growing up.

Anyway, like a lot of people, I had quite a reaction when he told a caller that it would be okay for a person to get divorced if his or her spouse had Alzheimer's disease.  At first, it struck me as a ridiculous suggestion, especially coming from a evangelical Christian.  Then I thought about it and realized that there were some situations where it would be "okay" to divorce someone with dementia.  But it still seemed wrong that Pat Robertson was issuing such serious advice to someone who had just called his TV show.  Worse, his comments were so glib and off the top of his head.  Yeah, I know he's 81 years old.  Maybe it's time he hung it up.

Divorce is such a personal issue.  People get divorced for all kinds of reasons.  I know some people can handle dealing with dementia and some people can't.  And I know that people go to Pat Robertson because some folks trust his judgment.  I mean, people must think he's somewhat wise.  He's been on TV for ages.  I just think his answer was irresponsible.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels this way.  There was quite a backlash over Robertson's comments.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I had the BEST time last night!

About twelve years ago, I worked at a very busy restaurant in Virginia.  I hated the job but grew to love a lot of my co-workers.  They helped me get through a very tough time in my life.

So now that my husband and I live in North Carolina, we're near one of my old friends from that job and his wife.  My friend just had a birthday and threw himself a party.  He invited me and my husband to come help celebrate.

We had so much fun, remembering the old days, eating, drinking wine, and hanging out with their friends. It's been a long time since I had so much fun.  Getting together with them helped me feel a little less alone, too.  I've been feeling very isolated over the past few years.

Seeing my old friends, sharing them with my husband, and meeting new people is one of the coolest things in life.  I hope we can do it again soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Please don't say to me, "You can always adopt"...

Thanks to an unfortunate Facebook message I got this morning, I felt compelled to post this on a messageboard I frequent.

I'm sure most of you know that my husband and I don't have kids, not because we didn't want them, but because he had a vasectomy when he was with his ex wife. He had the vasectomy reversed, but I haven't gotten pregnant and, at this point, probably never will get pregnant on my own. We have come to the decision that we're going to stay childless, unless I happen to get pregnant naturally. It took awhile to come to that decision, but we've finally made peace with it.

There are people in my life who, for whatever reason, feel the need to ask me why I don't have kids. Then they remind me that we could adopt a child who needs a home. Most recently, this was suggested to me by someone who knew me when we were both earning MSWs. If anyone should know that I know adoption is an option, it should be her. But no... apparently, she feels compelled to repeatedly tell me about all the kids over age 2 who need a loving home. She makes it sound like I could just go out to the local adoption center, pick out a kid I want, take the kid home and raise it with my husband, living happily ever after. If anyone should know that adoption isn't always a simple, straightforward process, it should be this woman. But apparently not. Incidentally, she's been asking me about my motherhood status ever since we graduated and I got married. She is herself a single woman in her 40s with no kids. I wonder if she feels the need to live through me vicariously or something.

It's not just my MSW friend who does this, either. Other people have suggested it... even my mom has. I'm flattered that these people apparently think I'd make a good mom, but I do not understand why people feel the need to make suggestions about such a personal matter. It's just as offensive to tell me I "should" adopt as it is for me to tell someone it's time they had a baby, regardless of what might be going on in their lives. It's a personal matter and no one else's business.

I think it's wonderful when people who want to adopt are able to do so. I think it's something that people should feel "called" to do, because I think a lot of adopted kids and parents go through a lot of special issues that people with biological ties don't necessarily go through. I don't feel called to adopt a child. Moreover, I think it's offensive for people to say, "You could adopt." as if I've never considered it or as if an adopted child is some sort of consolation prize because I'm not able to get pregnant by my husband. My feeling is that people should never adopt just because they can't conceive. They should adopt because they really want to be a parent and won't feel complete unless they are one.

I have come to the conclusion that I'm okay with not being someone's mother. I wish my husband and I could have had a baby together, but I don't feel strongly enough about it to spend thousands of dollars on medical procedures trying to conceive or thousands of dollars on legal fees trying to adopt. Maybe the fact that I don't feel strongly enough about being a mother to move me toward an adoption agency is a prime indicator that I shouldn't be one. God knows, there are plenty of parents out there who should have thought twice about it. No one ever seems to consider that, though. People act like they're doing me a huge favor or sending me a news flash by reminding me of how many needy kids are out there in the world that need a home.

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The creepiest PSA about sexual abuse I have ever seen...

I know it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and everybody's blogging about that.  But I'm all about doing something different and today I want to blog about a German PSA about sexual abuse.

I actually found this PSA a couple of years ago when I was living abroad.  It makes my skin crawl to watch this.  It's basically about how sexual abuse affects children who never get help.  The girl in this video grows up and gets old.  But her whole life, she is bound by a repulsive tentacle that alternately resembles a penis, a snake, and someone's arm.  It's with her all the time, when she's studying, on dates, at play, at dinner parties, even in the nursing home.  It ruins every moment and intrudes in every intimate contact, inserting itself every time the girl tries to move on from the abuse.

This PSA is not pleasant to watch.  In fact, watching it makes me feel dirty and uncomfortable.  And yet I am awestruck by how effective this PSA is.  It really makes an effective point about how sexual abuse ruins lives.  We would never see a PSA like this in America... and yet so many of us need the reminder.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jennifer Hudson pitching Weight Watchers... Arghh!

Formerly heavyweight singer Jennifer Hudson has lost scads of weight, apparently due to Weight Watchers.  And now innocent Americans get to watch her gyrate around in tight white pants or a black catsuit as she moans and groans like a cat in heat.  Let me make it clear that I actually admire Jennifer Hudson for several reasons.  She has a fantastic voice.  She made me cry when she sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" in the film version of Dreamgirls.  I was glad to see that she was becoming successful, despite her curvaceous figure.  I thought she was great in the movie and was happy to see she was doing well, despite not winning American Idol.

But now she's pitching Weight Watchers and I have to see her ads several times a day.  It was bad enough when the campaign was new.  Now it's been going for several months and the ever slimming Hudson's ads are becoming less about setting herself free from a fat body and more about sex appeal.  The most recent ad shows her in a white pantsuit that, in my humble opinion, doesn't really do her figure any favors.  Meanwhile, she sings about how good she feels in a way that suggests she's getting laid more often than usual.  She can sing, but damn... that ad is annoying!  Not only am I sick of the Weight Watchers product, I'm sick of the song she sings, too.

On another level, I feel a little sad that Jennifer Hudson has succumbed to the Hollywood image.  When she was heavier, she was unique.  Now she looks like lots of other black singers who have been molded and shaped into the "right" image.

I'm all for people who lose weight to better their health.  I'm someone who should be doing that myself.  And I do think Jennifer Hudson looks good.  But I thought she looked good when she was heavy, too.  And for me, that voice is what makes her great, not weight loss.  And I am sick of hearing her mating calls on my TV...

On the other hand, I think I'd rather watch Jennifer's ad than Marie Osmond's Nutrisystem ad...

Or Carrie Fisher's Jenny Craig ad... 'nuff said.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fight racist attitudes, not symbols...

This morning, a Facebook friend of mine posted an article about Lexington, Virginia, a city near and dear to my heart.  The article was about the city council deciding not to allow the Confederate flag to be flown on city owned flagpoles.  My Facebook friend made the comment that the flag is a part of history and sometimes it is appropriate to display it.  I agreed, because I don't believe that the flag is racist.

It wasn't long before a black man commented on our discussion, reminding us of how much his people suffered during the Civil War and how, to black people, that flag is akin to the Nazi flag to the Jews.  This person rather self-righteously inferred that we were racist for thinking that the Confederate flag is a part of history that should be preserved.  He seems to think the flag is a part of history that should be buried.

I found it interesting that this poster also brought up the swastika, which is linked with Nazi-ism and fascism.  The swastika has been around for ages and was co-opted and bastardized by one group of people to represent something other than what it was originally intended to symbolize.  Likewise, the Confederate flag--aka the stars and bars-- is just one of many different flags that were used during the Confederate era.  It just happens to be the one flag that people associate with the South during the Civil War era, which is unfortunately when black people were enslaved.

I would never deny that black people have suffered throughout American history.  But slavery is an age old condition that has been around since the dawn of man and still goes on today, even in the United States.  It's not an American invention, nor is it an invention of white people.  What's more, while black people have historically suffered and continue to suffer today, they are not the only ones.  They aren't now and they weren't during the Civil War!

Never did I once comment that I felt the Confederate flag was a flag we should honor, per se.  I simply commented that the flag is part of history and history should be preserved.  If it isn't, how can we learn from the past and make progress toward the future?  If we don't talk about the bad things that happened in history, how can we prevent them from happening again?

I don't like the idea of burying language or ideas or symbols, because I think we can learn from them.  And I think that words and symbols are ultimately neutral and innocent.  It's the people and attitudes behind them that make them good or bad.  If I took a Confederate flag to an African tribe that had never seen it before, would the people in that tribe think the flag was racist?  Probably not, because they had never been taught to associate that flag with racism.  Some people choose to be offended by the stars and bars because they have been taught that it represents oppression and hatred.  But the flag doesn't have that power.  It's the people behind the flag that have that power and promote bigoted attitudes.  And it's the people and their attitudes that we should be concerned about, not the symbol... although I'm sure the symbol is easier to suppress than people are.

Just as the swastika was ripped off from Hinduism to represent hatred of Jewish people, so too were the stars and bars ripped off by certain people to represent "white supremacy".  Who's to say that those symbols can't be reclaimed or even repurposed?  It happens in language all the time.  There was a time when the word "fag" was not affiliated with the homophobic slur it is today.  That word actually has a lot of meanings, but only one of them is potentially offensive.  Should we let the offensive use of that word win out over all the other uses for it?

Anyway... it wasn't my intention to belittle anyone.  People have the right to be offended about whatever they want to be offended about.  But I don't think they should force other people to share their offense.  This is America where we presumably have freedom of speech.  My black friends have every right to think whatever they want about the Confederate flag.  And as a fellow American, I have a right to my own thoughts.