Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

Kate Harding over at Salon Broadsheet had an interesting take on the show Britain’s Missing Top Model. It is a reality show, in which disabled women are vying to become the country’s top model. Unfortunately, the online clips did not work for me. So not having seen the show, I like the idea of the modeling industry including many different types of bodies. If it ever comes to the United States, I will definitely watch.

A California man, who is a gay marriage advocate, is collecting signatures and raising money to put a ban on divorce in next election’s ballot, according to the Associated Press. Not surprisingly, the group that put Proposition 8, or the gay marriage ban on the ballot, is not backing him in this initiative because it “isn’t practical.” Whatever.

The White House released details of this year’s Christmas decorations, which were chosen by First Lady Michelle Obama, according to Salon Wires.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

Share

Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

Anti-gay marriage advocates in Maine collected enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Pro-gay marriage advocates just ran their first commercial in the state, which this writer at Open Salon linked to.

Salon’s Tracy Clark-Flory started up a funny conversation on adultery. A woman in Afghanistan left a note in the ballot box asking President Hamid Karzai to stop men from being unfaithful to their wives. “I want to ask you, Mr. President, to notice how much adultery there is among men,” the woman wrote. “I don’t know the right language to tell you, I’m asking you to please get rid of this, for all the hatred and damage it brings upon families.” Like Clark-Flory said, talk about a single-issue voter!

MSN ran a fun list of ways to live to 100.

Everywhere I turn, Nadya “Octomom” Suleman’s reality show debut was trashed by critics. Check out what the Los Angeles Times had to say about it. Did you watch it? What did you think?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

Share

Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

A writer at Open Salon wrote a detailed and fascinating list of the top 10 countries with the longest life expectancies in the world. Hint: The United States, which boasts the “best healthcare system in the world,” did not even come close to making the list. We are actually No. 50 in life expectancy.  

In related healthcare news, the Washington Post just called out the inaccuracies coming from the Republican Party about “rationed care” for seniors and “euthanasia.” Yeah, there is a lot of fear-mongering swirling around President Barack Obama’s plan.

Parenting had a helpful guide to purchasing a booster seat. (Sorry, I could not find the article online!)

Mamasource had a thread about a mother whose husband is unemployed and her mother-in-law has offered to let them move into her home. She decided to leave her own mother’s house — where she, her husband and daughter are living now — and move in with her mother-in-law. But the reader advice was all over the place and interesting.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar who have 18 children and a reality show on TLC are about to become grandparents. Their eldest son and his wife, Josh and Anna Duggar, are expecting a baby girl in October who they plan to name Mackynzie Renée, according to MSN Wonderwall.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

Share

Midday Coffee Break

What’s up?

I got a chuckle from this article in MSN Health & Fitness: Women are better than men in detecting underarm odor even when it is masked by cologne, according to a study in Flavour and Fragrance Journal.

In other bizarre news: A woman in Texas called 911 to report that she didn’t get as much shrimp in her fried rice as she would have liked, according to the Associated Press.

This sounds so wrong, yet in this economy it seems inevitable. The Fox network plans to air a reality show called “Someone’s Gotta Go,” in which the employees of a small business decide which one of their colleagues to lay off, according to Salon Wires. Cruel.

Also in Salon Wires: Melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, is now the likeliest cancer to kill a woman in her 20s in Britain. Please lather on the sunblock, ladies!

The mother of a Columbine shooting victim wrote two poignant columns — here and here — about her reaction to a new book about the massacre that claimed the lives of 15 people, including the two shooters.

In case you missed it, Madonna’s application to adopt a little girl from Malawi was rejected by a judge on Friday, according to the New York Times. The judge said she would not bend the country’s strict residency rules for the pop star. The Anti-Racist Parent blog discussed domestic versus transatlantic adoption and the reasons African-American babies are adopted at a lesser rate than Caucasian children.  

Here are some gratuitous kid pictures at Amalah to make you smile.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

Share

Late-Night Liberty: What’s On the Tee Vee?

As you all know, I am a reality show junkie. American Idol. So You Think You Can Dance. Survivor. The Amazing Race. I love them all. I was bummed that America’s Next Top Model ended, leaving me with no TV on Wednesday nights.

But my husband just turned me on to a new reality show on FOX called Secret Millionaire. I saw the two-hour premiere this past Wednesday and still can’t shake off the good feelings it provoked.

In Secret Millionaire, millionaires leave their lavish lifestyle to go undercover for a week in a poor neighborhood. They must subside on the minimum wage and befriend people in need. At the end of the show, they give away at least $100,000.

For the first episode, an Irvine-based millionaire lawyer and his spoiled adult son rode their yacht to Imperial Beach, California, which is one of the most polluted and impoverished areas in the state. They rented a room in a roach motel and worked as construction workers. At the end of the week, they gave away $25,000 to one of their co-workers — a previously homeless woman — another $50,000 to a woman operating a homeless shelter out of her home and another $50,000 to the uninsured family of a little girl with cancer. They spotted her mug, and the family’s contact information, on a tin can at a liquor store.

I love the premise, and of course, nothing bad can come from millionaires spreading the wealth. My husband and I would have liked to see the millionaires slum it a bit longer, but our guess is those tycoons had to go back to their businesses. Also, we felt that some of them could have given more, like the Irvine lawyer who had multiple fancy cars, private jets, multiple homes and yachts. The millionaire after him, a founder of a chicken-wings chain in Louisiana, gave away $100,000 each to three Katrina victims in his home state.

Nonetheless, you could tell the experience was eye-opening for all involved, a good thing for the show’s participants and viewers alike.

What are you watching this season?

Share

Celebrity Gossip Break: The Lohans

I cracked up at this Entertainment Weekly review of the reality show Living Lohan. Yes, we are talking about that Lohan family, specifically 14-year-old Ali who wants to follow in big sis Lindsay’s footsteps. (Run, Ali, run!)

EW harshly gave the show an F, but only after this hilarious review:

Now Mommy’s in full view with E!’s Living Lohan, in which she invites us to gape at her, Lindsay’s 14-year-old fame-seeking sis Ali, and 11-year-old Cody. And hey, it turns out I don’t want to Live Lohan. The irritation turned to repulsion around the first minute, when Dina, after her morning ritual of scanning the tabloids for Lindsay’s weary mug, announces, ”They’d better not start in on Ali like this.” Hey, I have an idea: Don’t film a reality show in your child’s fricking bedroom!

The woman who last year told Harper’s Bazaar, ”Reality shows, I get sick inside,” now invites cameras to document the launch of Ali’s singing career. (The girl makes song choices with all the focus of a kindergartner insisting on wearing her favoritest shoes.) The remainder of the Lohans’ lives apparently revolves around Googling themselves, watching tabloid TV, and then having an assistant Google more. Mother Lohan defends this gossip-gathering as protecting her daughters, but there’s an uncomfortable sheen of glee to the proceedings. ”Is that Lindsay?” young Ali says, looking over her mother’s shoulder at a still from a sex tape starring a Lindsay look-alike; she seems more curious than upset…Dina snipes about the paparazzi’s invasion of privacy, but thanks to her, there’s not too much left to invade.

 

Oh snap!

Share

Has Presidential Politics Gone Bubblegum Pop?

Prior to the end of the Writers Guild strike, author Stephen King raised an interesting question in Entertainment Weekly: Has presidential politics gone pop? Citing the record-breaking number of people tuning into the news since there were no shows to watch and the celebrities on the campaign trail, King said the race for president was starting to look like a reality show like The Great Presidency Race, or American Political Idol or even White House Survivor.

Knowing our penchant for capitalism and infotainment, I would not be surprised if one day there is a reality show to select the next president!

Are TV viewers’ habits changing because of the writers’ strike? Many reporters who cover entertainment—some at this very periodical—think they are, and that if the strike doesn’t end soon, the changes will accelerate. One change they’ve noted is the ever larger number of TV watchers who are tuning in to coverage of the campaign (which already feels four centuries old). The switch is partly because scripted TV episodes are in increasingly short supply, but it’s also because…damn, people are just interested. If anything has come clear in the last few months, it’s that citizens are tired of the Bush & Cheney Show. They want someone new. Almost anybody, it seems.

Programmers at cable nets like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night, and they’re not stupid. They’ve jumped on the bandwagon and produced a constant din of political palaver. Most is generated by the motormouths my friend the Long-hair calls “the White Guys in Ties Brigade.” But it’s not all Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews; there are also real stars! OMG!!

2008 has become the political equivalent of Celebrity Match Game. Huckabee fans include Ted “I Never Saw a Gun I Didn’t Like” Nugent and Chuck Norris, he of the scary teeth. Hillary Clinton’s got Barbra Streisand. John Edwards is running on empty with Jackson Browne. Rudy Giuliani has got…er, Bo Derek? Romney is trailing the field, celeb-wise, but still trying with Donny Osmond. And even Fred Thompson had a pet celeb: Pat Sajak! (I was hoping my guy Obama would get Sajak, but disappointment is a part of politcs.)

King bemoaned how the election process has turned into a game show. But that is the same argument that has been made about all aspects of American life – not just politics – since self-proclaimed “old fogy” King was a zygote. The fact so many people are tuned into politics and actually participating in our democracy is a good result of the elections gone pop IMHO.

Share