Thursday, July 30, 2009

Erin Andrews is Worse Than Britney Spears

In his great book of essays "Shock Value," filmmaker and public speaker John Waters offers the following observations on sports:

Whenever I hear a friend casually mention an interest in a sporting event, I immediately reconsider our friendship. After all, I argue, sports are responsible for lowering college academic standards and ruining holidays by dominating every family get-together with a loud and obnoxious "big game." All sports are contemptible. Basketball: freakish giants with midget IQs "dunking" balls in macrame baskets that are the exact height of the players. Football: fat hogs knocking each other down and huddling to tell secrets that no one in his right mind would care to repeat. Boxing: ugly, notoriously underprivileged men beating each other up without the thrill of breaking the law. And skiing: eager-beaver masochists in polyester outfits anxious to break a leg in the name of fitness.

To that I would add: Spoiled, rich assh*le owners who exploit the "players" and the citizens of the cities in which their teams are located.

I will always and forever resent the fact that my tax money goes to "subsidize" these stadium deals that are supposed to give cities "prestige" and encourage "economic development," all the while actually costing the cities money.

That is why I know so little of professional sports. Most of what I read about them comes from gossip web sites. For instance, there is one player, Reggie Bush, who plays the football ("the pigskin," American football, not to be confused English football, which is apparently what David Beckham plays), who recently either dumped or was dumped by the irritating Kim Kardashian. Either way, he is better off. Then, there is a player for the reprehensible Jerry Jones' Dallas Cowboys, Tony Romo. Apparently, he dumped the comically foolish Jessica Simpson the day before her birthday.

(Aside: Why is it so scandalous that Romo dumped her the day before her birthday? Setting someone free is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give someone. Especially if things just are not working out. And really, can you imagine anything ever working out with that woman?)

This brings me back to Erin Andrews. She is the sports "sideline reporter" who was surreptitiously filmed naked in her hotel room. Prior to this, she was known for her attractive physique and, I suppose, her "sideline reporting" skills, whatever that entails (does she "interview" players during games? does she provide important news commentary or reporting on the "plays" being "run"?).

Now, however, her primary notoriety is from that disturbing video. The filming of that was reprehensible. The posting of it online was just as bad, perhaps even worse. No one should have to deal with that.

And, on top of that, Andrews recently had "two assh*les sitting outside [her] house." That, according to her 911 call, which can be heard here. Erin Andrews, "sideline reporter" and object of sports fanboy fantasies has to deal with the papparazi, just like Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, and Jon & Kate Gosselin. To that end, when she saw some strange men sitting outside her house, she called 911:

EA: "I'm all over the news right now"

Operator: "I'm not familiar. Why are you all over the news?"

This Operator is to be commended for not knowing who Erin Andrews is. Wouldn't it be nice if I could say the same thing?

Later in the call, she laments:

EA: "I did nothing wrong, and I'm being treated like f*cking Britney Spears."

Not Britney Spears.

Still not Britney Spears.

Nope, still not Britney Spears.

Here is where Erin Andrews loses me. In reference to being filmed in her hotel room without her knowledge, yes, she "did nothing wrong." But I think that title "sideline reporter" has gone to her head. She must think she's a "journalist." No, she is not. She is a sideline reporter. For sports.

"Sports" is not news. "Sports" consist of two private businesses competing against one another inside a stadium, in front of a crowd of gullible rowdies. "Sports reporting" is nothing more than commercials for those private businesses. ESPN is a network devoted to stories about businesses, that control access to their employees ("the players," "the coaches") and their product ("the games"). Erin Andrews, you are an entertainer.

Erin Andrews, you are "f*cking Britney Spears."

Actually, come to think of it, you're worse. You're a cheerleader for crooked businesses that cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year. You are part of a massive megaconglomerate (ESPN/Disney) that promotes other conglomerates (teams). Yes, so was Britney Spears. But at least she recorded "Oops, I Did it Again."

Have you ever done anything so entertaining, Erin Andrews?

The great Richard Thompson performing what is probably the only listenable song Britney Spears ever recorded, "Oops, I Did it Again."

First EA pic source.
Second EA pic source.
Third EA pic source.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rorschach Test "Answers" on Wikipedia

The New York Times has an article in which some stuffy psychologists complain that the most common Rorschach ink blot test answers have been posted on Wikipedia's Rorschach test page.

What had been a simmering dispute over the reproduction of a single plate reached new heights in June when James Heilman, an emergency-room doctor from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, posted images of all 10 plates to the bottom of the article about the test, along with what research had found to be the most popular responses for each.

First of all, I did not realize "Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan" was a real place. I thought it was made-up for the Canadian sit-com "Corner Gas." Second of all, and more important than that- what do psychologists care?

“The more test materials are promulgated widely, the more possibility there is to game it,” said Bruce L. Smith, a psychologist and president of the International Society of the Rorschach and Projective Methods, who has posted under the user name SPAdoc. He quickly added that he did not mean that a coached subject could fool the person giving the test into making the wrong diagnosis, but rather “render the results meaningless.”

So, you can't fool the person giving the test into misdiagnosing you, but you can render the results of the test meaningless. The test that was just given by the person you can't fool into misdiagnosing you. Just so we're clear.

Still, I have to wonder, if you can't fool the person giving the test, why are they so concerned?

And, more fundamentally, the psychologists object whenever diagnostic tools fall into the hands of amateurs who haven’t been trained to administer them. “Our ethics code that governs the behavior of psychologists talks about maintaining test security,” Steve J. Breckler, the executive director for science at the American Psychological Association, said in an interview. “We wouldn’t be in favor of putting the plates out where anyone can get hold of them.”

Aha! Now, we're getting somewhere. The uneducated laypeople can't be trusted with this amazing diagnostic tool. Because they're not trained to use them. Because they're so complicated.

I really don't understand what the big deal is, anyway, since every ink blot depicts the same thing: My mother, holding a rolling pin and berating me for being a failure.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"More to Love" and the Humorous Belittling of Overweight People

Tonight, Fox aired a television program titled "More to Love," in which Luke Conley, a 26 year-old real estate investor from California takes his pick from among twenty women. The twist is that he is 330 pounds.

And, he likes voluptuous, curvy women, because he feels they have more fun in life. He says that he "enjoys being a man of large stature." It took him years to reach a point at which he could accept himself for who he was. He was teased as a boy.

Well, he and the ladies from which he is to choose shouldn't feel they're immune to vituperation. Daring to leave their homes- daring, even, to exist, is enough to make them fair game for some.

There is a particularly charming article by a woman called Debbie Schlussel entitled "The Fat-chelor: As America Gets Fatter, Weird Fat Chicks Shows Invade TV." She starts by noting an article in USAToday about medical costs related to obesity. She then chastises Fox for airing a show featuring overweight people looking for love, and the overweight people themselves, with unequivocal language:

And while the headlines scream that, tonight FOX is debuting a show that screams something else: that it’s okay for these fatties to wear a size 24 and cost Americans gazillions in extra medical bills.

I nickname the show, “The Fat-chelor.” But, in PC-victimhood style, it has a far more sympathetic, compassionate, sensitive name: “More to Love.” More like, More to Laugh At. ABC’s “The Bachelor” is bad enough. But now the producer of that show, Mike Fleiss (cousin of hooker Heidi) brings us this “bigger” version. A guy who weighs 330 pounds “dates” several women, all of whom are fat, er . . . “plus-sized”–and all but two of whom weigh over 200 pounds. (The show would be far more interesting if they made the Fat-chelor and his weighty concubines get in an elevator to see if they exceed capacity and find out what happens. )

Anna, one of the "fatties" of "More to Love."

Her wit is obvious to any reader. Calling women who are overweight "fatties" is a clever use of the root word "fat," which is a synonym of "overweight." Nicknaming the show "The Fat-chelor" is an almost-punning reference to the popular show "The Bachelor," which has generally the same concept as "More to Love," but with smaller women (i.e., not "fatties").

Using the term "PC-victimhood style" is a subtle reference to the tone she herself employs in the article. Belittling the idea of a compassionate and sensitive portrayal of "fatties" reminds the reader that these people deserve the ridicule she is heaping upon them.

Of course, the fact that the producer is the brother of the famous "Hollywood Madame" is of vital importance.

Telling the reader that "all but two of [the "fatties"] weigh over 200 pounds" is an inaccuracy that I'm sure Ms. Schlussel employed for its hyperbolic effect. (In fact, in the first episode, according to on-screen titles, there were nine of twenty women who weighed under 200 pounds. Two of the women are said to weight 200 exactly, and the remaining nine weigh more than 200 pounds.)

The joke about getting the "weighty concubines" in an elevator to see what happens is an amusing way to wish a painful death upon a group of people you don't like, because they are different from you.

Malissa, one of the "weighty concubines" of "More to Love."

The article, in short, is exactly what you might expect from someone whose reading list includes "The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain." Clearly, she is taking his satirical and humorous writing as inspiration.

From Ms. Schlussel's website- her reading list. "Fat Pig," and "The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain."

Of course, like most clever people who use hilarious language to belittle others, Ms. Schlussel's reasons for doing so stem from her righteous concern for their welfare:

Yes, we’re supposed to feel sympathetic that these women ate and ate and ate, and sat and sat and sat. We’re supposed to have compassion and saw, “Aww . . . isn’t that cute and nice. Finally a show for them.” Uh, no. Sorry, but in a society–ours–in which 34% of adults are obese (as of 2006, the latest year for which such numbers are available) and growing (according to the National Center for Health Statistics/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), we need LESS shows promoting that it’s okay to be sickly and in a poor health condition of your own doing.

"Fatties" deserve to be fat. They brought it on themselves, because they lack the willpower to just stop feeding themselves. And, they're a burden on society. The USAToday article that she references tells us that:

Americans who are 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight cost the country an estimated $147 billion in weight-related medical bills in 2008, double the amount a decade ago, according to a study by government scientists and the non-profit research group RTI International.

Obesity now accounts for 9.1% of all medical spending, up from 6.5% in 1998. Overall, an obese patient has $4,871 in medical bills a year compared with $3,442 for a patient at a healthy weight.

But, just because overweight people having higher yearly costs, does not mean that they have higher lifetime costs. As a matter of fact, here is a bit of information that I'm sure will tickle Ms. Schlussel to no end: "Fatties" cost less than "healthy" people, over the course of their lives. According to a study published last year.

Because of differences in life expectancy, however, lifetime health expenditure was highest among healthy-living people and lowest for smokers. Obese individuals held an intermediate position. Alternative values of epidemiologic parameters and cost definitions did not alter these conclusions.
Although effective obesity prevention leads to a decrease in costs of obesity-related diseases, this decrease is offset by cost increases due to diseases unrelated to obesity in life-years gained. Obesity prevention may be an important and cost-effective way of improving public health, but it is not a cure for increasing health expenditures.

Perhaps the "fatties" should be complaining about the obviously-clean living Ms. Schlussel and her svelte friends. Their increased life spans contribute to higher medical costs, for all of us.

I hope Ms. Schlussel doesn't learn about the work of artist Peter Paul Rubens. One shudders to think what her clever, jaundiced eye would make of his "fatties."

And, as I'm sure Ms. Schlussel is aware, a study from 2007 found that underweight people tend to die sooner than overweight people.

Underweight was associated with significantly increased mortality from noncancer, non-CVD causes (23 455 excess deaths; 95% confidence interval [CI], 11 848 to 35 061) but not associated with cancer or CVD mortality. Overweight was associated with significantly decreased mortality from noncancer, non-CVD causes (–69 299 excess deaths; 95% CI, –100 702 to –37 897) but not associated with cancer or CVD mortality.

I expect Ms. Schlussel will next write a scathing and witty article decrying all the "skinnies" on television- the people who don't eat enough and die younger than- well, the "fatties."

She also states that "34% of adults are obese and growing." I assume that she means the number of adults who are obese is growing, and not the adults themselves (although that would be very clever of her!). However, according to a study released last year by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the prevalence of obesity among children has leveled off since 1999:

The prevalence of high BMI for age among children and adolescents showed no significant changes between 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 and no significant trends between 1999 and 2006.

A New York Times article published around the same time concluded:

Childhood obesity, rising for more than two decades, appears to have hit a plateau, a potentially significant milestone in the battle against excessive weight gain among children.

So, that should be good news for Ms. Schlussel, who is so very concerned about "fatties." You can tell how concerned she is, based on the clever language she employs in her article. It is particularly gratifying to belittle people who clearly show so little self-control, and get what they deserve through their own bad behavior.

Like short people. And bald people. And skinny people. People with "bad" genes.

Children's genes are more important than their environment in determining whether they will become overweight, new research shows.

"Fatties" are even more hilarious, when you consider they might not actually have any choice in the matter of their body size. People who have the "acceptable" body type can make fun of the "fatties" all they want. And be exceptionally clever while doing it.

And here, I hardly got a chance to talk about the show. Many of the women, touchingly, displayed more heart and compassion than the tawdry Ms. Schlussel could ever hope for. Sadly, because Ms. Schlussel's attitude is the prevailing one, many of them- in their twenties, still haven't had a boyfriend, or even gone on a date. One of them said she was afraid to go on a date, because she's "scared it's a joke."

One of the five eliminated women, Michelle, says, "I have a huge heart... I really want to have that love story." It's only too bad she's a "fatty," right, Ms. Schlussel? Maybe then she'd deserve to find someone.

Anna pic source.
Malissa pic source.
Rubens pic source.

Charm School 3 Episode 10: Fighting the Manipulation

Can you guess which of the three will finally take a stand against the manipulation?

The final “commandment” is even more meaningless than all the others. “Thou Shalt be Fully Charmed.” I do not know what that means, but that doesn’t matter, since no one else, including the “deans” does, either. This show has never made any sense, so why would it start now?

Stryker says, “What better way to see how charming you’ve become than to re-acquaint you with people from the past.” I couldn’t tell if he was making a statement or posing a question but, again, it doesn’t matter. Risky’s mother is introduced, followed by Ashley’s boyfriend and son, and then Marcia’s mother. Stryker leaves them alone to show them around Charm School.

Marcia asks her mother, in Portuguese, “Did they speak to you in Portuguese?” to which her mother Maria replies, with touching naïveté, “Yeah, I was treated very well. They treated me very well.”

That is about to change, Maria.

After a few moments with their family members, they return to the Lecture Hall where Ricki Lake is waiting with The Fear Liberator herself, Scott Baio’s therapist, the poisonous “Doc Ali.” Apparently not content with the damage she did in her previous appearance, she’s come back to wreak some more emotional devastation.

Risky wonders what The Fear Liberator’s going to do to them. Ashley says that The Fear Liberator always brings things out of her that she didn’t expect.

Bulls hit artists are skilled with that kind of thing. It’s why people buy junked used cars, and vote for politicians. She is a professional manipulator, Ashley.

Risky hugging an as shole.

Maria, Marcia’s mother, needs an interpreter, meaning Ricki Lake is making one more person complicit in this corruption. At least they had the decency to leave Ashley’s son with “a babysitter.” Ashley’s son would have been better off being left with a bottle full of Everclear in a room with Lindsay Lohan and Amy Winehouse than being stuck in a “therapy” session with The Fear Liberator.

Ricki Lake interviews that she wants “the girls” to open up during their therapy session, but that is a lie. She wants “the girls” to wallow like infants (“the girls”), and tell their families how wonderful and enlightening has been their “Charm School” (with Ricki Lake!) experience.

First up for manipulation: Risky and her mother, whose name I admit I didn’t catch. The Fear Liberator innovatively has the two women sit facing each other, for a game of “T.A.G.” This being Charm School, and The Fear Liberator being the manipulative as shole she is, you can bet those letters stand for something therapeutic. Sure enough, the T is for “truth,” the A is for “amends,” and the G is for “gratitude.”

Risky tells her mother she did a great job raising her and her siblings. She should take credit for all the great things they do, and not feel guilty or responsible about any of their screw-ups. Risky is an adult, as are her siblings, so I don’t understand why mother should take credit for some of their actions, but not others. Let the adults be adults.

Mother says that’s great to hear, because she held herself accountable for her own mistakes in raising them. I’m not sure why someone shouldn’t feel accountable for their own mistakes, most especially mistakes you’ve made when raising your children, but then again, I’m not a manipulative bulls hit artist like The Fear Liberator.

Risky is sorry about certain things she’s done, in response to what she perceived as mistakes of her mother. The Fear Liberator isn’t satisfied with that. She wants specifics. She feeds off the wallowing of others- it’s what sustains her. It’s where her super villain powers come from- emotional pain. Wallow, Risky. We need to see you bleed. The Fear Liberator calls it “owning your truth, speaking your truth, and knowing you’re still okay with that.” It almost sounds like she’s trying to help, but she is a bulls hit artist.

Risky then mentions “the situation with my stepfather.” She’s sorry that her mother didn’t find out about it until it was too late to do anything about it. Apparently, the stepfather made her mother happy, so she never told her about “the situation.”

Risky’s mother says, “I forgive you.”

Really? Is this happening? Risky’s mother forgives? We don’t know what “the situation” was, but does RISKY need her MOTHER’S forgiveness?

Mother says she’s sorry for not knowing about the pain her daughter was going through.

Risky then plays the game, and tells Ricki and The Fear Liberator how much she’s learned from the two of them, and how she can’t wait to get out into the world and share everything she’s learned.

Let that be a warning to all of us.

Risky and her mother seek comfort in the face of The Fear Liberator.

Being a one-trick manipulative pony, The Fear Liberator plays “T.A.G.” with Ashley and her boyfriend James. I remember that James is his name because it’s tattooed above one of her breasts. It’s sort of like a name tag, convenient for the viewers, and, presumably, for James, if he’s ever looking at Ashley’s chest and happens to forget his own name.

Ashley is worried that James might not love her as much as she loves him. You know how much she loves him- she demonstrated that when she went on Rock of Love Bus, and pursued a romantic relationship with Bret Michaels. Or, pursued fame and a paycheck with Bret Michaels.

And James demonstrated how much he loved her, by telling Mr. Michaels they were still living and sleeping together, and that he could have her any time he wanted. Remember how romantic that was? Remember the tugging you felt, deep in the darkest, murkiest part of your heart?

Ashley’s also concerned because James cheated on her. Now- was that before or after Rock of Love Bus?

It doesn’t matter, because James is fully committed now, and it won’t happen again. Maybe he doesn’t show it, but he loves her as much as she loves him.

That’s quite a statement.

Furthermore, James is sorry for cheating. Ashley says she’s waited THREE YEARS for that apology. Really? In THREE YEARS he hasn’t apologized for “cheating”? And you’ve been living with him all this time? I understand, she’s been doing it for her son, but come on, move out and move on already. All your son is seeing is two people who live together, cheat on each other, and don’t apologize for three years.

Ashley’s session concludes with her saying she’s changed because she feels like she deserves respect. They don’t get nearly as much air time as Risky and Marcia because, let’s face it, no one thinks Ashley will win.

Ashley and James love each other equally. They also appear to have at least mild disdain for The Fear Liberator.

And The Fear Liberator wants to see the mothers cry. Which leads us to our Main Event:

The Fear Liberator tells Marcia to “speak the truth to your mom, as if it were the last time you were going to speak to her.” One has to wonder how many families this horrid woman has torn asunder- who stopped speaking to one another after a session with her. She seems to speak from experience.

Puffy-faced Marcia has a hard time telling her mother that she drinks a lot. But she promises to be better, and not look so foolish by drinking to excess. So, Marcia is worried that other people might think she appears foolish when she drinks. Does The Fear Liberator really think we should care what others think of us? Does The Fear Liberator, who encourages people to “own their truth” and “knowing you’re okay with that” really want someone to change their behavior because of the way others perceive it?

Maybe drinking is Marcia’s “truth,” Fear Liberator.

Maria understands, and is not mad, the interpreter says. Tearful hug with Marcia. Marcia and her mother Maria, not with Marcia and the interpreter.

Ricki Lake tells The Fear Liberator that Marcia is one of the strongest women she’s ever met. In a real “Boy Named Sue” moment, Marcia thanks her abusive stepfather for that. “The reason I am so strong is that my stepdad—he was very abusive. He would like get a plate and put it up like he wanted to hit me, and I would say, ‘Well, you man enough to put the plate up, now you man enough to hit me, so hit me.’ So it make me strong.”

Strangely, The Fear Liberator doesn’t ask Marcia to articulate the words “Thank you” to her stepfather, for empowering her. No doubt, The Fear Liberator recognizes Marcia’s stepfather as a rival to her. Only she can use abusive techniques to empower people. She’s a professional. Marcia’s stepfather is only an amateur.

Marcia attempts to resist The Fear Liberator.

The Fear Liberator shows just how devastating she can be by pointing out that people often drink because they feel GUILTY. Does Marcia feel guilty that her mother was with her stepfather?

Marcia does not talk about that with her mom.

The Fear Liberator’s hold over Marcia is wavering. She presses on, like a vulture circling her prey. “Protecting your mom, holding this truth inside, is what poisons you,” she says.

Just so we’re clear: Marcia wants to protect her mother by not blaming her for things she does an adult. The Fear Liberator wants her to spread poison. That is exactly what she’s said. She wants Marcia to poison her own mother.

Ricki Lake, also sensing that they might be losing Marcia, jumps in, panicked. She thinks it’s worse if you don’t spread your poison and try to make your mother feel guilty. “Your mother wants to be there for you,” she says.

Or course, Maria doesn’t seem to have been consulted at any point in all this. The poor woman doesn’t speak or understand English, and the interpreter doesn’t seem to have said anything.

Marcia is battling The Fear Liberator. Not to be too melodramatic, but the prize is Marcia's soul.

Marcia then confides, as if to explain herself to the vultures (she still wants their approval- or at least, the $100K) that her mother once told her that she was the only reason she was alive. That’s a lot of pressure for a mother to put on a daughter.

But The Fear Liberator doesn’t care about that. She’s after destruction. She wants to tear Marcia down further. To that end, she tells Marcia that she feels Marcia’s backsliding. “Withholding the truth to protect others,” the despicable, callous, selfish, loathsome as shole says, “will lead you back to a path of drinking.”

The Fear Liberator is a menace. Sometimes, you withhold the truth to spare a loved one’s feelings. Sometimes, you rotten waste of life, you do something positive for yourself- such as stop drinking for nine or ten days or whatever it’s been- and deal with your problems yourself, without inflicting more misery on others.

The Fear Liberator moves in for the kill. She says, straight-faced, “Is there something you could share with your mom now, that would take a step towards not protecting her, and speaking the truth.”

That’s an exact quote. The Fear Liberator, with one question, has laid bare the squalid tawdriness of her mind. She instructs Marcia to say something that will HURT her MOTHER.

Hurt your mother, Marcia. Hurt your mother.

Astonishingly, hearteningly, Marcia resists The Fear Liberator. She fights her way free of the manipulation. She will not do it. She won’t blame her mother.

She has defeated The Fear Liberator. She has defeated Ricki Lake. She has defeated Charm School. Marcia is the winner.

Marcia won something better than $100K. She won- um, not to be melodramatic or anything- her soul. She resisted the manipulations of Ricki Lake and The Fear Liberator, and chose a path of righteousness. She would rather protect her loved ones than give in to a couple of as sholes who couldn't give less of a sh*t about her.

Not of the $100K. No way. Risky wins the money. She played the game, went along, and gave Ricki et al everything they wanted. That’s too bad, I guess, although I don’t really have anything against Risky. I don’t believe she really took seriously everything Ricki said.

But, in a season that was a total disaster from the beginning, and only got worse, Marcia’s standing up to the manipulators came as close to “inspiring” as anything that happened on this awful, manipulative show.

Good riddance, Charm School. Crawl back under your stone, Ricki.

"The girls" were made to dress in debutante outfits and compose groveling speeches about how wonderful Ricki Lake was. Ricki liked Risky's the best, and she won. It was the least suspenseful ending to a VH1 reality show since "Daisy of Love."

Pics source.

Monday, July 27, 2009

RE: Wallets Containing Photos of Babies are More Likely to be Returned, and Watching "Toddlers & Tiaras"

I missed this story from a couple of weeks ago, but apparently researchers claim that wallets containing photographs of babies are more likely to be returned than those that do not:

The baby photograph wallets had the highest return rate, with 88 per cent of the 40 being sent back.

But we're not shown the baby photos in question. What if you found a wallet that had pictures of babies and small children that looked like these:

What would you do with the wallet in that case?

There is a television program on TLC called “Toddlers & Tiaras” that has escaped my notice up to now. Since I care for neither children nor beauty pageants- and, as I’ve previously written, I dislike ampersands- I am not the target audience. But I did manage to muddle my way through the first episode of the second season, which has been sitting on the TiVo since last Wednesday.

The episode followed three families with children competing in a beauty pageant in Texas called the Universal Royalty Pageant, or something like that. The overall winner from all age groups and genders is called the “Ultimate Grand Supreme” winner, and awarded $1,000 in cash.

I know. What is a small child going to do with $1,000 cash? Well, they could spend it on makeup, nails, hairpieces, or outfits. As five or six year old Eden Wood’s mother, Mickie says, she’s probably spent about $50K or so on clothes.

One of Eden’s outfits (for the pageant’s “Outfit of Choice” competition) is a Vegas Showgirl, which Mickie describes as “a real Vegas Showgirl outfit that was cut down.” When Eden steps out onto the stage decked out in that Vegas regalia she- to use her own terms- “rocks the stage.”

Another family is that of Michelle Treder, whose sons, Cavin Treder and Cameron Fletcher-Cantu are competing in the boys categories. Because they’re both boys, much to mother Michelle’s regret. She is a pageant winner herself (in fact, she was the first winner of the Universal Royalty Pageant 15 years before) and hoped to have girls that she could dress and train. With boys, all you can really do is put them in a tuxedo and cut their hair.

Cameron is a funny seven year-old kid, and enjoys being on stage. He will compete in pageants until he’s in his grave. “The stage is my home,” he says.

Cameron’s brother, Cavin, is silent on the subject of competing in beauty pageants. Because he is two weeks old.

“I think Cavin’s going to be really outgoing,” his mother says. He is still so small and fragile that he cannot even lift his head, and his dazed expression remains unchanged.

Cameron says that Cavin “wants to win really, really badly. But he doesn’t know that.” Mother Michelle brings the tiny tuxedo-clad baby on stage, and displays him like a piece of matter. He looks cute, but cuteness isn’t all the judges are looking for. As one of them interviews, the judges want “personality, confidence, and it looks like they’re having a lot of fun on stage.”

Poor little Cavin just looks surprised to be at a pageant. He looks surprised to be anywhere; only three weeks before, he was a fetus.

Then there was the Sterling family. There were several daughters, maybe five or six total (too bad they can’t swap one of their daughters for one of Michelle Treder’s sons), including a pair of fraternal twins, AshLynn and BreAnne. They’re not identical, and mother Sterling catalogs the physical defects of the “less cute” one. I honestly could not tell them apart, but then I was not examining them with a mother’s critical eye.

Mother Sterling (sorry, I didn’t catch the name and I can’t go back and watch any more of it) is a pageant girl herself. Her husband is less sympathetic to pageants. He’s concerned about his fraternal twin daughters competing against one another, but he doesn’t want to cause any friction with his wife, so he “compromises” by allowing his wife to do whatever she wants.

That worked so well with Jon and Kate Gosselin.

In preparation for the pageant, the twins are coached in walks and stances. One of the girls- the mother’s favorite, again, I can’t tell them apart- is interested in it, and enjoying herself. The other is not. Later, one of the daughters- AshLynn- cries over a ripped dress. This could cost her the competition, as her mother points out. Repairing the dress is just one more thing that Mother Sterling has to do that she doesn’t have time for.

The punchline, of course, is that even after all that passive-aggressive guilt-tripping, mother still didn’t repair the dress. On competition day, part of the fabric is hanging down from the bottom.

BreAnne flatly states, “I don’t like doing this,” on the day of pageant. This prompts Mother to interview: “BreAnne has had a bad attitude, and she’s not listening at all or behaving or minding.” The husband adds, “If I had to, I would pull her from the pageant. Jamie (the mother’s name, I just remembered!) would probably lose it, but I would do what I had to do.”

Finally, no one can stand BreAnne’s attitude anymore, and Father pulls her from the competition. He says, without any detectable trace of irony in his voice, “She’s the child and I’m the parent, and I’m responsible for how she behaves in public.”

AshLynn’s left to muddle through the rest of the competition without her sister, and as she dances on the stage in her pink tank top and pleather skirt and leggings, Mother laments, “It seems so forced with AshLynn.” With that cold, analytical eye of a mother of six year-old daughters.

Maybe that’s why I have little desire to procreate. Being a parent is stressful.

First pic source.
Second pic source via this.
Third pic source.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jane Austen's "Daisy of Love" Chapter 11


Daisy’s spirits- having been subjected alternately to fear, trepidation, anxiety, and vexation, now rose to playfulness, as she embraced tenderly her chosen one. She engaged him to provide a full accounting of his falling in love with her. “Surely it is unreasonable,” she said, charmingly, “that we should have found so strong a connection under these circumstances.”

“Indeed,” replied her chosen gentleman. “But that first day, when I saw you dancing and singing with your backing dancers, a firm foundation of affection was established.”

“But was it merely my talent that attracted you?” Daisy inquired. “I know that my musical skills are quite wonderful, and of course my physical beauty is the stuff of hymns itself. But were those my only attractive qualities?”

“Those, and more,” he said.

“Is it my flightiness? Is it my uncanny ability to put out of my mind any care for the feelings of others? Is it my self-possession? My regard solely for my own approbation? Is it my singular sensibility? Is it my rocker-chick attitude? You simply must tell me what it is that your find the most remarkable about me, my chosen gentleman!” Daisy’s eyes sparkled in the Hawaiian moonlight.

“It was all of those things, Daisy,” was her chosen gentleman’s reply. “All of those things, coupled with my own desire to remove myself from the pursuit of civility, deference, and affection. Having reached such a point in my life, my dearest, you were the epitome of my perfect mate.”

12 Pack with Heather on "I Love Money." He has really taken a tumble.

Daisy had journeyed to Maui with her three remaining gentleman suitors, Flex, 12 Pack, and London. These three having endured the arduous and emotionally trying journey to uppermost regard in Daisy’s estimation. Despite the camaraderie that the three gentlemen shared, there was still some lingering resentment toward London; for, although he had drunk Tabasco sauce only a few days before, 12 Pack and Flex were still angered at his leaving Daisy’s estate after only a few days; only to return to her after a period of some weeks.

“If London wins her heart,” Flex confided to himself, “I shall feel most aggrieved.”

The gentlemen having packed their bags in anticipation of their trip to the exotic island, awaited Daisy’s arrival at the foot of the stairs. With charming glee she sent her bag down the steps, and then followed behind it. As she reached the marble floor below, she tripped over her own ego, and sprawled on the cold floor, laughing.

The gentlemen, being gentlemen, joined her revelry. All were most excited about the trip on which they were to embark.

“Are you gentlemen ready to go to Maui?” Daisy inquired, after dusting herself off.

The gentlemen were ready.

“Let’s go,” Daisy announced, as if she were fully in charge.

An aerial carriage was engaged, and the four passed an idle few hours in the journey. This time spent in the air merely served to double the sense of anticipation. Their trip would be one of leisure and comfort, and most conducive for the romantic engagement of which they were contractually obligated.

Contractually obligated by the felicities of the heart, of course. For this was a journey of a most romantic sort. And the three remaining gentlemen were there for all the right reasons.

“There is plenty of room for you in the trunk, London,” 12 Pack remarked, as they were placing their bags upon the horseless carriage.

London went away for awhile, then returned with renewed vigor, and pointed his nicotine-stained love finger straight at Daisy's heart.

“Oh, how they do chide one another,” Daisy thought, remarkably. Then added, to herself, “I have never been to Maui before- and I am most excited by the prospect of sharing this adventure with three gentlemen who would happily spend time with so charming a one as me anywhere on earth.”

They were greeted at the lodging place by Mr. Rachtman. Daisy’s faithful manservant had made the perilous journey on the same aerial transport, but had retrieved his bag several hours before Daisy et al (owing to the fact that Mr. Rachtman had not gotten lost in the airport), and therefore gotten to the lodging place early enough to hire native dancing women and drummers.

“Aloha, gentlemen,” Mr. Rachtman announced, employing the native language of the island.

The gentleman split their attention between Mr Rachtman, and the festive drinks they held in their hands.

The gentlemen were shown to their quarters, while Mr. Rachtman took Daisy to hers.

The gentlemen’s quarters contained a room in which was located two small bunks. Each of the three attempted to claim one of them- but it was Flex and 12 Pack who asserted their authority over London. Disheartened, London proceeded to explore the rest of the room, and was rewarded for his natural curiosity by the discovery of another bedroom, in which was located a full, adult-sized bed.

“I am calling this one!” London declared, in reference to the bed in question.

London: "I left once. Would it be poor form to leave again?"

“No, I like this one,” 12 Pack asserted.

12 Pack and Flex then proceeded, in the style of gentlemanly hazing, to wipe their horse-dirt covered boots upon the pillows, and to urinate upon the sheets.

“We are breaking in your bed, as a favor to you,” Flex told him.

“Thank you, gentlemen,” London said, with equal good-nature. “I sleep on a filthy couch, anyway,” he explained. “Please, feel free to rub the sheets upon your scrotum, Flex.”

It was at this point that Mr. Rachtman made his entrance.

“Already have you wrought devastation upon this room!” he declared.

“Oh, no,” 12 Pack said. “We were merely having some good-natured fun.”

12 Pack discusses "Daisy of Love" strategy with Heather and Frank the Entertainer. No wonder he did so well.

Mr. Rachtman’s tone became serious. “Gentlemen, I have something serious to impart. Daisy has written for each of you a letter, with a special, personalized message, full of importance. These letters are so important, and so personal, that Daisy wants you to read them aloud to one another.”

To Flex was the first such letter handed. He read,


I have never dated a gentleman like you. At first our romance was sort of not that great, but it has grown like crazy. I am falling for you, but I have some concerns about your youth and immaturity, for you are less wise and mature than I.

MOST Sincerely YRS and Affectionately,

To 12 Pack went the second letter:

My MOST DEAR and etc 12 PACK,

You are so confident! But sometimes you are too cool for me.

YRS with great affection,

And to London was the third addressed:


I fear you will-

London had to stop reading for a moment. “My letter is tear-stained,” he complained. “I cannot read this word- is it ‘run away’? or ‘fun a day’?”

12 Pack offered his help and encouragement. “It says ‘run away,’ you runaway,” he said.

London continued reading,

I fear you will run away, if we get together. You will leave me heartbroken. It could be amazing, but-

“What is this word?”

London's letter was seven pages long; it is not the purpose of this narrative to recount it in its entirety.

YRS sincerely,

“Be on the beach in 45 minutes,” Mr. Rachtman said.

On the beach, the gentlemen went paddle boarding with Daisy. Naturally, Flex was the first in the water, and Daisy admired his willingness to try anything, as he swam out into waters that were full of serpents and large fish that had yet to be discovered by naturalists.

12 Pack and London were not long in joining him. Each of the gentlemen endeavored to impress her with their falling down in the water; all the while Daisy, who’d been given a lesson prior to the gentlemens’ arrival, stood upright on the paddle board and paddled to the Orient and back.

Unfortunately, upon her return, she announced that there would be a serious dinner that night. Two hours later, Daisy was carried on the shoulders of native Hawaiians, and joined the gentlemen at the table.

They watched as the Hawaiians chopped coconuts, and danced native skirt dances, as is the wont of the peoples of the island.

The revelry passed, the time came for serious discussion. London was the first to offer his sincerest thoughts.

“Daisy, I have thought much of the heartfelt letter that you wrote. Having finished reading it after three hours, I came to realize that the reason I left before was that I was afraid. My vulnerability is both frustrating, and charming, I am sure. I am trying to remove the ‘frustrating’ aspects of it, while retaining the ‘charming.’”

Daisy nodded knowingly. “I, too, am charming,” she said.

“I left because of my feelings for you.” He then borrowed a line from a film he’d seen, many years ago: “You make me want to be a better person,” he concluded.

“What a heartfelt answer,” Flex said, unimpressed.

“I make mistakes,” London said.

“All you do is make mistakes,” Flex said. “You are 30 years old!”

“Why do you have to attack London?” Daisy asked.

“I fear I must point out his foibles,” Flex said, “for I fear that you might miss them if I do not.”

Daisy nodded. “That has nothing to do with us,” she said.

12 Pack, sitting back in his seat, observed with satisfaction as his rivals undercut one another. “Daisy,” he began, “when you said in your heartfelt letter that you wondered about my affection for you, I was most curious.”

“You say that you like me,” Daisy said. “And we certainly have shared some wonderfully tender kisses, in our undergarments. However, I need a gentleman to be more demonstrative in his declarations of obvious affections.”

“I would rather not share that with you before the other gentlemen,” 12 Pack said.

“I could name a million things about you that I admire,” Flex said. He then proceeded to name Daisy’s worst qualities, and proclaimed them to be assets.

Daisy smiled and nodded knowingly. “Our relationship would be most healthy,” Daisy thought.

Flex in a shirtless, contemplative moment. "Do I really want true love?"

12 Pack, thus inspired, was moved to finally reveal his true feelings for her. “Daisy, I am falling so in love with you,” he declared, his voice thick with emotion.

For his trouble, he earned from his beloved a tender kiss.

“Tomorrow, I shall make a most important decision,” Daisy said. “One of you shall be going home.”

Daisy de la Hoya- the final prize.

The next day were the gentlemen’s hearts heavy, as they applied their makeup and styled their hair. So heavy were their hearts that the gentlemen compared their feelings of unease to that of being sent to a gas chamber. Clearly had their perspective been skewed, and all for their deep and abiding affections for the lovely Daisy.

The gentlemen were taken by horseless carriage to the aerial transport livery. The three stood before their beloved, fearful and sad. The sound of their own hearts were so loud that they nearly drowned out the sounds of the aerial transport vehicles, which in turn drowned out the sounds of Daisy’s words, as she declared that London would not be leaving.

Luckily, neither Flex nor 12 Pack was surprised by this turn.

Next, Daisy called up 12 Pack, and sent him home.

Disappointment filled his heart. “There is no ‘good’ in ‘goodbye,’” 12 Pack said, walking away.

Flex took his beloved in his arms and offered her reassurance. “You made the right choice,” he said.

12 Pack stood there, miserably considering his past experiences on televised reality competitions. Disappointment after disappointment. He’d lost the affections of his beloved New York, then missed out on the chance for a fortune in Mexico; but this was the most stinging rejection of all.

He watched as Daisy and Flex retired to a rotary aerial transport vehicle, so as to embark upon their own special solo date. As his heart sank, he watched 12 Pack and Daisy rise up into the air, squealing with delight.

“Every time I tell a lady I am falling for her, she leaves me alone in a parking lot,” 12 Pack lamented. “I don’t know if I will ever again reveal so much about myself to any lady.”

12 Pack with Megan Hauserman. "Hey, Megan- I know you've got a show coming up...Can I be on that one, too?"

Surprisingly, Daisy spared one thought for 12 Pack, as she and Flex soared into the heavens. “I hate being a heartbreaker,” she thought. “But, then, that was the entire point of this exercise.”

Daisy and Flex soared over island, above the treetops and waterfalls. She held his arm, and kissed him tenderly.

That night, at dinner, Flex revealed that he felt a great deal of affection for her. “I have so much affection for you, it’s ridiculous,” he confided. “Every time I touch you, I feel your skin. I am falling in love with you.”

“Part of me feels the same way,” Daisy said.

“That’s all I need to hear,” Flex said, having heard her say that she was falling in love with him, as well. At least, part of her was.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Flex just looks like one of those guys who could have any woman he wanted. So why does he want Daisy?

They shared a tender kiss, then retired to her lodging room, where rose petals decorated the floor and bed. More tender kisses were exchanged, each with increasing ardor and affection.

London, composing for Daisy a song of love, found himself unable to sleep, in anticipation of Flex’s return.

When Flex did not return, London naturally contacted the lodging’s security team, to inquire as to Flex’s whereabouts. “Perhaps it was that he got lost between the dinner table, and our room,” he wondered.

“He retired to the lady de la Hoya’s lodgings,” was the reply.

London channeled his tempestuous feelings into his musical efforts.

“Daisy, Daisy, you’re driving me crazy,” he sang.

The next morning, Flex knocked upon the room’s door. “I left my keys in Daisy’s room,” he told London, as he opened the door.

“Congratulations,” London said.

Daisy and London were taken by horseless carriage to a horse ranch, where they engaged in the gentlemanly and ladylike activity of horseback riding.

“I had no idea that animals could be so unpredictable, as to defecate and produce such foul odors,” Daisy declared. “I expected there to be more romance, around the horses.”

“Perhaps we should away to a more intimate surrounding,” London offered.

They returned to Daisy’s lodgings.

As they exchanged tender kisses, London inquired, “Would you like to hear the song I promised you, back during our first challenge?”

“I would be most flattered and moved to hear your song.”

“Because, this song is from the heart, and is most real to me, in an emotional way,” London said.

“Please, play for me!”

London sang with such emotion and feeling that Daisy found it difficult to clearly understand all the words. But she understood the feeling behind the words.

London from Daisy of Love Pictures, Images and Photos
London is a for-real rock and roll musician. He steals his lyrics from Daisy's myspace page and sleeps on couches. Also, he takes cool photos.

“I am afraid of you,” Daisy confided. She then made the statement she’d been practicing before her mirror: “Sometimes I think you could be everything I’ve been looking for, but nothing that I’ll ever have.”

London left the room, worried. Daisy sent him away, crying. “I hate this,” Daisy thought. She stared plaintively out over the balcony. Finally, she sought the wise counsel of her faithful friend and servant Mr. Rachtman.

“Love doesn’t come without risk,” he observed, with an astuteness of attitude that Daisy had come to rely upon.

“London is the biggest risk,” he continued. “For he is the gentleman most like those you have had romantic feelings for in the past. And here you sit, still feeling great sadness, after having spent a day with him in such an exotic location. Such circumstances should bring tears of joy to your visage, not tears of sorrow.”

Mr. Rachtman, having just given his sage advice, took his leave.

That night did the gentlemen take the long horseless carriage ride to the beach setting, where their beloved Daisy arrived in a short dress that tastefully showed off her most ladylike qualities.

Mr. Rachtman offered a few words of encouragement to her, then took his leave.

“It’s down to two gentlemen,” Daisy observed. “Flex- you are so much more than just a beautiful specimen. You are everything that I should want.”

“London, I almost kicked you out of my estate on the first night. But I kept you, only to have you break my heart. You are selfish, egotistical, emotionally damaged, capricious, silly, frivolous, foolhardy, casually cruel, suffer an overabundance of sentiment, and you spend entirely too much time on hygiene. In short, I believe the reason I am so drawn to you is that you remind me of myself.”

Each gentleman heard statements from Daisy that gave them reason to believe they were to be chosen, and each gentlemen heard statements that made them believe they would be sent away.

“London is the one I want,” she said.

“Where do I go?” Flex thought. As he approached Daisy, he confided to her, “I understand. What you want is what you want.”

“I have to follow my heart,” Daisy agreed, in her most agreeable and charming way.

“I am much aggrieved, but I shall endure,” Flex continued, “for I know that you want what you want.”

As he took his leave, Flex thought about everything he’d done to ensure Daisy’s happiness and well-being. He worried over her future with London. And then he wondered how long it might take him to find another woman. It might take him awhile- perhaps as long as six hours.

After Daisy and London shared the conversation recounted at the beginning of this chapter, the two began planning their wedding, for it was obvious to both that they were fated to be together.

“You are my rock star,” each said to the other. Never before had two people ever meant those words more than did Daisy and her gentleman, London.


This is how I choose to remember London. Passed out drunk, with a concerned Flipper hovering over him, worried.

12 Pack with Heather pic source.
12 Pack with Megan pic source.
Heather 12 Pack Entertainer pic source.
Flex modeling pic source.
Prize Daisy pic source.
Shirtless Flex pic source.
London's love finger pic source.
London rocking and rolling pic source.
Contemplative London pic source.
London passed out drunk pic source.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Poodle Bitch Has But One Message for Human Babies

Poodle Bitch's eye was caught yet again this week by something in the news. This time, it was a headline declaring that "Babies Can Comprehend 'Canine' Language".

Naturally, Poodle Bitch was intrigued. For that reason, she took a few moments to come out from under the bed to read the article accompanying the eye-catching headline.

Poodle Bitch was disappointed by what she saw. Oh, it started promisingly enough:

What's in a bark? A new study suggests that 6-month-old babies know the answer.

A study, Poodle Bitch thought. A study that suggests that 6-month-old (human) babies can tell what dog barks mean. It sounds so scientific. It sounds as if new frontiers in human-canine communication are opening before Poodle Bitch's very eyes.

Then came the second paragraph:

Researchers found that most infants who were tested could figure out that an aggressive bark goes with an angry-looking dog. They also seemed to know that friendly-looking pooches voice their feelings in a different way.

Ah, Poodle Bitch began to note the subtle shift in the language employed by the author of the article. "[M]ost infants." "They also seemed to know."

Suddenly, Poodle Bitch was wondering why she bothered to come out from under the bed. Her gaze became much more harsh. And just a few paragraphs later, she was feeling downright misled by that eye-catching headline:

The researchers showed the (128) babies video stills of aggressive and non-aggressive dogs, and watched what they did when they heard sounds of barking.
The researchers believe that they can glean whether a baby is making a connection between two things by monitoring how long they look at a picture. In this case, 6-month-old babies were more likely to look longer at the picture of a canine expression that matched the bark.

Only about 15 percent of the babies spent more time looking at the wrong dog picture or looked equally at both, Flom said.

Just so Poodle Bitch is absolutely clear on this: The article's headline declares that (human) babies can understand the language of dogs. The reason for this bold declaration is that "about" 85% of the 128 babies in the study let their infantile gaze linger for a few seconds longer on one picture than another.

Poodle Bitch would like to see the pictures. Did these small, newly-formed human specimens have a choice between a picture of a poodle and, say, well- any other breed? Because, frankly, Poodle Bitch believes that would unfair.

Poodle Bitch would like to hear the sounds to which these tiny volunteers were subjected. Did they hear the dulcet tones of the poodle's announcement of her desire for food, or to be let out for her walk? Or did they have to suffer through the harsh and bothersome bark of the- well, any other breed?

If only these researchers had bothered to consult with Poodle Bitch, she would have been only too glad to reveal to them the only message that truly sophisticated canines have for human babies:

"Stay away from me."

This ridiculous non-story with its misleading headline about a half-hearted "study" earns nothing but a raspberry from Poodle Bitch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

From "Jon & Kate Plus 8" to "Jon Plus 8 Girlfriends"

Jon Gosselin, one of the stars of the reality television show "Jon & Kate Plus 8," has had an active social life since he and co-star Kate Gosselin filed for divorce. He has been romantically linked to at least three other women: A third grade teacher named Deanna Hummel, daughter of Kate Gosselin's plastic surgeon Hailey Glassman, and now, former Star magazine reporter Kate Major. I say former, because, well:

Star Senior Reporter Kate Major resigned this morning, Thursday, July 23, citing a conflict of interest between her reporting duties for the magazine and her relationship with Jon Gosselin.

That conflict of interest arose from this:

"I didn't mean it to happen, it just did," Star reporter Kate Major, 26, said Tuesday. "I went to do a story on Jon and ended up falling for him."

Powerful stuff. But, the heart wants what it wants. Kate Major wants to leave her position as a senior reporter at Star magazine to pursue a reality television character who's been romantically linked to two other women in the past few months, after having spent a few years married to a woman who can be described as "controlling."

And what does Jon Gosselin want? I'm just guessing here, but I suspect he wants what anyone would want, in his situation. 8 girlfriends to join him for a new reality show. "Jon Plus 8 Girlfriends." Imagine the hilarity, and the tension- they all know about each other, but they're still resentful. Each of them believes she's right for him, and can finally help him to settle down with a woman who won't emasculate him on camera, the way his ex-wife did.

Every week he could take a few of them out on dates, to the museum, or a dairy farm, or a finger painting class, or the "Ace of Cakes" show, or a birthday party with a bouncy house.

Women cannot resist this man's charms. Seriously.

Poodle Bitch Has to Wonder About the New York Times

Poodle Bitch will not come out from under the bed until she's had her free range grilled chicken.

Poodle Bitch has a fairly high tolerance for the absurd. But even she was rather surprised to discover this column in the New York Times.

"The Puppy Diaries" is one woman's story of the death of her beloved West Highland terrier called Buddy, and the adoption of a new English standard golden retriever named Scout. It is also one woman's precious story of how wonderful and affluent she is.

My two children, who grew up with him but flew the nest years before his demise, joked that Buddy was my one perfect relationship in life. I spoiled him, terribly. Houseguests often awoke to the aroma of my grilling free-range chicken for Buddy.

Poodle Bitch would like to note first of all just how lucky are the author's children. She would then like to consider the New York Times' audience. Poodle Bitch was given to understand that humans were going through a recession. These are tough times, she has been told, and it's necessary to make sacrifices. She has even heard on NPR that some humans are giving up their dogs, because they haven't enough money to keep them.

Is the average reader of the New York Times so immune from the vagaries of everyday existence that he can nod his head in knowing approval at the image of someone grilling free-range chicken for her dog? Or does the New York Times believe it is providing a service to its less affluent readers, allowing them a peek inside the life of someone grilling free-range chicken for her dog?

Poodle Bitch has to wonder why it is that the author did not mention the name of the company that manufactured the grill. She is certain it must be one of those free range grilling companies.

The author details how she waited two years following the death of the free-range chicken eating Buddy before deciding to adopt another canine companion. Her epiphany is described thus:

But this spring I was overcome by puppy lust, looking at all the cute, companionable dogs on the sidewalks of Lower Manhattan.

Poodle Bitch wonders if perhaps the author is one of the more than 9.3% unemployed in New York City, that she has so much free time as to stand around lusting after puppy dogs on the sidewalks of Lower Manhattan. Poodle Bitch would also like to note that she considers herself attractive, but is made to feel uncomfortable when older humans stand around "lusting" after her.

But after all that lusting, the author is not put on any type of dog predator list. Instead, she wonders what puppy she should adopt:

If we adopted a dog from a shelter, as my sister has done twice, we would be taking the more virtuous, good-for-animals (and society) route. Saving a dog that needs a home or had been mistreated by a previous owner is an unselfish act. But we were leaning selfish.

Poodle Bitch is shocked. Any woman who grills for her dog free-range chicken is in no way selfish. As far as Poodle Bitch is concerned, that is the action of someone who is "attentive." And the author would agree with that assessment, as she herself helpfully provides examples of just how attentive she is to her new family member:

It’s not only the made-up games, the hide-and-seek and stuffed animals. There is the special puppy smell, much like the distinctive scent, better than perfume, of a new baby’s head. There is the reflexive urge to smother with kisses. There is the getting up in the middle of the night. There is the singing of lullabies to sleep, lying next to Scout’s crate as if it were a cradle. There is the arrangement of play dates for socialization. (My husband, who is doing the lion’s share of the work these first weeks, jokes that the high point of his day is the 4 p.m. play date with Cyon, our friends’ older golden.) There are the books written by experts (our puppy manual is by the Monks of New Skete). There is the feeling of total relief in seeing tired eyes close for a nap.

Yes, Poodle Bitch fondly remembers her own puppyhood, when her human companion sang her lullabies (actually, it was Death Cab for Cutie songs) and anxiously fretted over her as she fell asleep in bed (Poodle Bitch's own human companion never forced her to sleep in a crate). Unfortunately, Poodle Bitch missed out on the no-doubt wonderful puppy manual written by the Monks of New Skete. (Poodle Bitch would like to observe that "dog" is merely "god" spelled backwards, so who better to offer guidance than a "contemplative monastic community of men and women dedicated to living the monastic life together within the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church.") Perhaps she would be better behaved if her human companion had used that particular book.

But Poodle Bitch has to wonder about the author's husband. He "jokes" that the high point of his day is when he gets away from her and takes their new puppy to his "play dates" with another friends' dog. Could there be trouble in the idyllic free-range chicken grilling paradise described in the column?

The column's punchline is actually contained in its first sentence:

This is the first article in a weekly series about the challenges and satisfactions of raising a puppy through its first year of life.

Poodle Bitch truly feels nothing but envy for the readers of the New York Times. This is going to be an exciting and absolutely adorable 52 weeks for them!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

RE: Erin Andrews Peeping Tom and Moon Landing Videos

Is that headline merely a cheap and sleazy ploy to get the name "Erin Andrews" in a sentence with the word "moon"? Could be.

I am not much of a "sporting fan," or "fanatic," or "follower of sports," so I have only a vague idea of who "Erin Andrews" is. Apparently, however, she is a "sideline reporter" for a sporting events cable network called ESPN, and she travels the country, reporting on sports. Things like the baseball and the football. Sports bloggers are apparently quite fond of posting images of her doing her sideline reporting. Here are some of those images:

Sports fanboys appreciate her, and I am not one to judge them. If I were forced to watch a professional sporting event that consisted of a bunch of sweaty men bumping into one another and throwing balls around, I would want there to be an attractive woman to gaze upon now and then, myself.

But, the sports fanboy obsession with Ms. Andrews seems to have taken a rather sinister turn, with the surfacing of video showing her walking around in hotel rooms, nude. Now, TMZ is reporting that the video might have been "an inside job":

The videos raise the suspicion that the person who shot them may have been familiar with her work schedule and may have been traveling with her. Erin's people are on the hunt for the culprit.

So it's possible that the skeevy videographer was a co-worker of Ms. Andrews. Someone at this ESPN channel, possibly. (I think this is the network that MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann got his start.) The reason for this suspicion is that the video shows Ms. Andrews at two different hotels, in two different rooms. So this person is not just skeevy, but stupid.

And, what does this fascinating video feature?

In the first set of videos, Erin is naked, curling her hair while looking into a mirror. It appears all four clips are from the same video. In the second set of clips, Erin is also naked, ironing a pair of pants.

I realize there are some fetishists out there- but naked pants ironing? I don't care how physically attractive the woman is, I just don't see how that could be interesting.

The video was apparently widely available on the internet for a day or two- and, while it's still less widely available, you can probably find it if you're really interested. That video is out there now, and we're always going to be able to find it, if we really want.

Which brings me to my point about the moon landing tapes. Back in 2006, NASA admitted it lost original video of the 1969 moon landing. Or, they didn't lose the video- the tape on which the video was taken was reused.

The bad news is they were part of a batch of 200,000 tapes that were degaussed -- magnetically erased -- and re-used to save money.

Some other copies of the footage was found--

They found good copies in the archives of CBS news and some recordings called kinescopes found in film vaults at Johnson Space Center.

--so there's still some footage. But still, NASA's original video is gone. Erin Andrews' naked ironing video will never be gone. Neither will that photo of yourself drunk that you used as your facebook profile picture.

Also, on a related note: Mary Louise Parker ass.

Erin Andrews bottom pic source.
Erin Andrews breezy hair pic source.
Erin Andrews arms stretched pic source.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A New "World's Oldest Man"- That's Like a Death Sentence

The newest holder of the title "World's Oldest Man" is a 112 year-old gentleman from Montana:

The 112-year-old resident of Great Falls, Mont., apparently became the world's oldest man when 113-year-old Henry Allingham of England died Saturday. Breuning was born Sept. 21, 1896.

The previous holder of the title died. Think about it: Would you like to have the title "World's Oldest Person"? I wouldn't. Because the "World's Oldest Person" always- without fail- dies. Even the current title holder understands this:

Breuning said he's more grateful for his health than he is for a world title.

"If you're in good health, you've got everything there is," he told the Great Falls Tribune.

That is an understatement. I'll take the health, but if I had the title, I'd be pretty anxious to pass it along to someone else. Seriously, earning that title is like receiving a death sentence.

Charm School 3 Clip Show Conspiracy Theory

VH1 had the new Charm School "highlight"/clip show scheduled to air today at 10 AM, but it has since been pulled, and replaced by last week's "Daisy of Love." The change was made so surreptitiously that even my TiVo didn't know of the switch until the show was about one-third of the way through.

The show is still on the schedule for prime time.

But why the switch from this morning?

The answer is that there are NO HIGHLIGHTS from this season of "Charm School." It's been a train wreck from the beginning. Condensing the entire mess into one single hour is going to put this fact into stark perspective. From the hosts' disastrous decisions to the contestants' behavior, nothing good can come from a clip show.

Ricki Lake knows this, and it's why she had the episode pulled. At least, that is my conspiracy theory.

The producers are contractually obligated to deliver to VH1 a certain number of episodes, so the clip show will probably air- but expect it to be far different from what would have aired, this morning. Of course, we won't know that because we'll never get to see the first cut. So I have no way of proving this. But, as I've said before, you don't need proof for a conspiracy theory. That's why it's a "theory."

In this photo, Charm School 3 host Ricki Lake rubs her hands together like a silent movie villain.

Pic source.