That Jealousy Thing

Anonymous Mormon girls

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I am absolutely fascinated by that TLC Channel television program Sister Wives. Although religion is hardly EVER touched on in this program, we know that the particular sect they belong to is a fundamentalist LDS sect that still practices polygamy openly in their Utah town. And really, it’s not polygamy because they don’t legally marry their extra wives. They are only legally married to the first one and then have “spiritual” marriages after that. We will also never see the ceremony because Latter Day Saints are notoriously secretive with their ceremonies.

Last night was the season finale with the fourth wedding for Kody Brown and while it may be a flash in the pan or a tiny glimpse of what goes on in polygamous marriages, the entire season was worth watching. I watched all of them with mixed emotions. At first you are curious. Then you find yourself really sympathizing with the wives. I must say there were some very touching moments, like the birth of third wife, Christine, and Kody’s baby girl and a very poignant scene where Meri, Kody’s first wife, is helping him get dressed for his fourth “wedding.” There’s a moment where it’s just the two of them looking at each other and smiling and you can feel the love and/or sexual tension in the air and then you have to snap out of it and go, “wait, what?” she’s helping her husband marry again!! In a very odd sort of way, it works for them. They share duties with the children and they share the husband. What they cannot seem to get away from is the jealousy and that’s only natural. How can you not be jealous that the man you love is sleeping next door with another woman, even if it is another “wife?”  What’s even worse is that they DO consider it marriage so that you cannot even protest it. Meri and Kody go out for their 20th anniversary and Meri confesses her struggle with jealousy to him. She asks him, “What would you think if I wanted to have another husband?” and he answered, “I think that would be vulgar!”

And that right there is the message of polygamous marriages where the husband is king and the woman is an object used to satisfy her husband’s needs, wants, and fulfill his dreams of fatherhood; populating the earth and the next realm to come with little Browns. He can sleep with whomever he wishes after a “spiritual” marriage, but if she does, it’s “vulgar.” Yet these women all appear very happy with Cody and I guess kudos for him for keeping them all satisfied…. ahem! Or maybe in their innocence or ignorance they don’t know what that means. Who knows?  However, they are not really breaking any laws. Their children seem well-adjusted and happy. And the wives? I wonder how many wives will be “allowed” into the family fold before it’s all over?

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Big Bridal Bliss

This is a photograph of Margaret Forrest (1844...

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I admire bloggers who write about weight issues unashamed and unabashedly. They admit they are fat, write about issues that are in the public eye and some even glory in their fatness as completely part of themselves. As always I am leery of those who espouse it as a “lifestyle” and try to increase their sizes to unrealistic proportions, but I am completely sympathetic to those who bring fat discrimination to light and fight it with their blogging skills. I also don’t believe that people are obese merely because they are bigger than arbitrary numbers made up by “scientists” paid off by the diet industry. But that’s another blog.

I’ve never had to struggle with weight all my life as some fat women and men have. My weight was gained primarily when I was pregnant three times in 5 years. Before that, I had no problem, meaning I thought I was of “normal” weight in high school. More pounds were added with each child and stayed with me for good. As I got older, pounds also creeped up on me and stayed. I’ve had my share of ridicule from insensitive people making comments about my weight and like every woman, I’ve suffered the personal disappointment of trying to buy attractive clothes in my size that also fit well instead of looking like I was trying to put on bed sheets in the changing room. I won’t go into the politics of the obesity myth right now. Many fine blogs do this already. What I want to talk about are television shows that focus on weight issues.

Television is the worst culprit of the fat hatred movement. There is a very fine line between acting concerned about someone because of their weight and assuming that all people should be the same size, shape, and weight because they believe any fat, any fat at all, is unhealthy. This isn’t true and a little research will show this. Still there is a Stepford mentality in our society that assumes women and men should be publicly ridiculed and scrutinized as this, they believe, will be an acceptable form of motivational treatment. Some even do it to themselves! I refuse to watch television shows like The Biggest Loser or any show that offers people up for shaming due to their attempts to lose weight. There are other shows that don’t focus on weight loss but try to show the plight of large people attempting to do ordinary things that others of smaller frame take for granted; like buying a wedding dress for those most joyous of events; their marriages.

I was skeptical when I saw Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss. I thought, oh here we go, making fun of the big girls. Let’s watch them make fools of themselves and laugh! I was a little surprised however. First, I was pleased to know that Kleinfeld’s, the store in New York where the show is set, offers wedding dress sizes up to 30! They don’t offer very many and the designs are, again, mostly the same, but they do offer them. I was surprised to see that  Randy, the bridal consultant, really understands the psychology of big women and how hard it is to try to fit into an increasingly shrinking world around them.  He lectures the consultants to be particularly cognizant of their clients’ feelings when trying to fit dresses. Almost all of the clients cry as a result of not being able to look good in a dress that’s really not designed for them, but just made larger. Sometimes they look long and hard and find nothing. We are indeed fragile in our emotional makeup precisely because we’ve dealt with this most if not all of our lives, even when we were kids! There is no commercial on TV that isn’t selling clothes to make you appear smaller, food that has absolutely the least calories and tastes like cardboard to boot, and activities that all end in exercising your butt, legs, thighs, you name it. Even Cosmopolitan once told us how many calories one could lose having sex!!

All clothes items must be utilitarian and useful and every action must shrink us to fit a culture that will not accept those of us who take up more room. Until that changes, I will pick and choose my television shows very carefully. SYTTD: Big Bliss isn’t perfect, but it’s better than humiliation at the hands of a trainer like Jillian!

Of Mad Men and Conspiracy Theories

I watch entirely too much television. How do I know this? Because I can’t seem to read enough books that I want to that’s how I know. I have stacks and stacks of books in my place and haven’t read half of them. So, some television shows have to go to make more reading time. It is indeed a hypnotic box that keeps us transfixed in front of it for no good reason. However, that said, I cannot give up good quality TV no matter what beckons me and there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 of those I spend sleeping and 8 working. So what am I watching and what have I given up? Let’s list those I’ve given up first:

Survivor: I’ve watched this show since it started. This is what… the 17th season? Unreal. I mean, how different can each season be? You watch ruthless people win through lying and manipulation and you watch the others lose because they weren’t willing to compromise their principles or friendships for $1,000,000. It’s the same thing over and over. What the losers don’t seem to realize is that it’s just a game and if you don’t play by the rules of the game, you’ll lose. You’d think someone would be learning this by now. The last straw was watching this season’s premier. Every season they seem to want to find the most unlikeable characters they can so people will watch who they LOVE to hate. I was sitting there listening to the latest blowhard talk about how smart he was and how dumb all the women were and how easily manipulated and I said, enough is enough. Here’s one woman who’s not falling for that again. End of story. I haven’t watched it since.

Lost: Like The X-Files, I thought I would watch this to the end; because I like Science Fiction and because I like mysteries. However, the mistake I made in watching the X-Files to the end was assuming that Chris Carter would give us some answers. Instead, I don’t think he knew any of the answers and just strung us along and made things up as he went along. However it was vastly entertaining and each episode pretty much stood on it’s own. Lost however grew tiresome very quickly. After watching two seasons, I wasn’t willing to take this trip any longer. I am convinced J.J. Abrams has no idea where this show is going or where it went in the last couple of seasons. He did an EXCELLENT job on the last Star Trek movie!! However, Lost is no longer on my list of “must see TV.”

The Mentalist: (Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.) I gave this show a whole season because I like the lead character played by Simon Barker. He’s amusing. But I can’t seem to work up any liking for Robin Tunney’s character. The plots aren’t compelling enough; not that they have to feature murders and gore. Mad Men supplies none of that and delivers the goods week after week. It’s just not substantive enough for me.

Shows that I continue to watch:

The Amazing Race: (Sunday nights at 7 p.m.) This is a fun show that uses my favorite game format: a scavenger hunt. The values promoted are worthy; play dirty and it usually comes back to bite you in the end. Take your time and read the clues and you’ll be fine. Rush too quickly and sloppily and something’s going to go awry. Plus you get to learn a little bit of history and see some cities along the way. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for grown-ups.

Ghost Hunters: (Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.) Do I know it’s probably fake? Sure. But just the fact that there are no psychics on these hunts, that they have “scientific” equipment and that they are trying to debunk evidence and do many times, is enough to keep me watching. Oh and Jason and Grant and Steve are just the type of guys I’d love to hang out with especially while visiting spooky places. What more fun is there?

Supernatural: (Thursday nights at 8 p.m.) Well there are only two reasons why I watch this show at my age: Jenson Ackles and Jared Padalecki. ’nuff said.

The Closer: (Monday nights at 9 p.m.) I love the whole cast of this show. They work well together. However, Kyra Sedgwick’s character can be annoying sometimes and there are moments that even I want to slap her. The plots are standard police procedural and even though the whole premise was ripped off from the UK’s excellent Prime Suspect series starring Helen Mirren, it’s interesting enough to garner a TiVo slot.

Project Runway: (Thursday nights at 9 p.m.) The chief thing going for this show is to see how people can creatively design clothing and make it out of fabric. Fascinating. I can’t create a paper bag, let alone a dress. Oh and let’s not forget Tim Gunn! “Five minutes people!!”

Dancing With the Stars: (Monday and Tuesday nights at 7 & 8 p.m.) The judging is snarky and inconsistent. The stars only have nominal talent sometimes.  So why do I watch? Because I want to do that. I love dancing and seeing someone blossom into a good dancer is fun and rewarding.  The elimination shows are a complete waste of time however. Just post it on the internet already!

My new husband :-)

My new husband 🙂

Mad Men: (Sunday nights at 9 p.m.) Probably THE MOST intelligent show on television right now. This last episode should be Emmy material for next year because the underlying themes are so complex and intertwined and the actors so flawless in their delivery that you actually believe Sterling Cooper ad agency exists out there in an alternate time-line somewhere. Brilliant, brilliant is all I can say.

And speaking of conspiracy theories….Sadly, the books I managed to read recently I can count on one hand: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is only worth throwing with the other hand. I can only say the ending did not justify the plot or to put it in fictional terms: Did I have to wade through this stupid plot to get to THIS???  Ugh.  Someone let his own positive press over Angels and Demons get to him. Kind of like Book 6 of that other series people are wild about. Mr. Potter or Twilight whose popularity still stuns me as its horribly written and the main character is a stalker let alone a vampire!

On the good side, I read Ruth Rendell’s Adam and Eve and Pinch Me. (I hate it that some books are only available in the UK, like Barbara Erskine’s books. Why?) Anyway, Rendell’s was available, so I picked this up over there and finished it very quickly, which is saying something. Ruth Rendell is always, always a good read. I also did NOT know that Ruth Rendell wrote under the name Barbara Vine, whom I also like. Go figure. Why do people do that? Dean Koontz’s last Odd Thomas book Odd Hours wasn’t as good as some of his others either. I suppose some authors can’t be consistently good. Or maybe it’s just me and my tastes have changed. That’s probably it.  I seem to have less patience with some that are mildly books and more patience with some that makes my brain hurt. Perhaps I get a sense that time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted on such things? Age. Hmmm. Sometimes we have to let go of a few things to make room for others. This is a great time to do some letting go and to hunker down for winter. Gather the acorns, so to speak.

Where Am I?

…And what have I been doing? Man-o-man I’m not sure. It’s been a very weird week or so. I’ve been reading some books, watching good movies and TV, had a strange episode in the bedroom, and generally hibernating until Spring.

blaze_richard_bachman.jpgFirst the book. I’ve been reading Blaze by the pseudonymous Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King). As the note at the beginning says, King “found” this manuscript among his early writings and decided to dust it off and put it out there for our consumption. Well, folks, I believe him, because this is Stephen King at his absolute FINEST. I’ve been reading King since I was a teenager. I own every one of his books, his novellas, his short story collections, and his non-fiction. I’ve read all of them except the newest, Dumas Key, and that’s sitting on my shelf, awaiting my perusal as we speak. I know this is a bad thing to say in front of the kiddies, but when King wrote his early stuff (pre-The Stand), which included such gems as Carrie, Cujo, The Shining, Dead Zone, and ‘Salem’s Lot, he admitted to having a drug and alcohol problem. He freely writes about it in his biographical material so it’s no secret and it’s not intended as slander. Unfortunately, he wrote his best fiction under the influence of alcohol and drugs. His early works have clearly defined, heart-felt characters and tight plots that wrung the emotions out of you.

However, after The Stand, his handle on characterization and plot started to unravel. Don’t get me wrong! I loved and wrote part of my Master’s Thesis using Rose Madder. All of his “middle period” books were almost as good as the early ones: It, The Tommyknockers, Insomnia. However, I’ve noticed a shift since then and maybe it’s just because, like all writers, he has a hard time coming up with original material. But Blaze is absolutely breathtaking, in my opinion. The story centers on Clayton Blaisdell, Jr. (Blaze), who along with his partner in crimes, decide to pull off a kidnapping on a scale comparable to the Lindbergh kidnapping. The writing is tight, smooth, witty, and boy do I really care about Blaze. It’s a tragic story which leaves you rooting for the “bad” guy, in this case Blaze who can’t help that his father prevented Blaze from ever living a normal life after throwing him down the stairs a time or two. I love this character and I’m not even done with it yet, but I’m sure it doesn’t end well.

Another excellent foray into storytelling netted an anxiety riddled, hard-to-watchhardcandyposter.jpg movie called Hard Candy, starring Oscar winner, Ellen Page (i.e. Juno). She plays a 14 year old girl who is far, far wiser than her chronological age. She meets men on the internet and we think she goes home with them to have sex, but she has ulterior motives, all of which we are privy to for the remainder of the gut-wrenching film. All online predators should watch the movie. I’m not kidding, but of course they won’t, their too busy preying on underage girls and boys. Perhaps teen girls should watch this film, but they should realize that putting yourself in this situation is far more dangerous than playing around on the internet and in online chat rooms. It’s about taking that extra step into madness. In other words, “Don’t try this at home!” Page’s character is insane, there’s no other word for it. But you are compelled to root for her and, like her, feel some vindication in the face of the predatory monster that she takes on. It will make you angry or it will upset you, depending on whether you try to “feel” for the man or not. Interesting how movies make you think strongly about what it is you are feeling as you watch. I would say this movie is NOT for anyone under 18.

Well, and now to my bedroom story. Please stop reading if you don’t like frank and sexually honest discussions…….. Ok, have all the squeamish left the room? Well, this weekend the hubby and I were engaging in a little romp in the bedroom. I was on top, which I dislike, but thought, what the hey. Well, things were going quite well, but right at the point of orgasm, WHAM! I felt this pressure climbing up my spine, pool at the base of my skull, and slam around my head like an icepick hat just got rammed onto the top of my head!! I mean I grabbed my head and fell off and had to lay there for 15 minutes before the dizziness stopped and I could get up. Talk about a Buzzkill! Scared the daylights out of the hubby. The rest of the day I felt nauseous and dizzy. It didn’t really go away until later that night and the next day I felt like a blanket had been thrown over me.

Now, like everyone else, I’ve had sinus problems during the change of seasons. I’ve had cold symptoms and both my daughter and husband have had the flu. Still, I called my gynecologist (since I had a hysterectomy 6 months ago) and my cardiologist (since I had a stent put in over a year ago) (I’m a mess). Both said they’d never heard of such a thing, but a quick search on the internet got some results. In both calls, the doctors only said, “If it happens again, call us.” I’m sorry, but if it happens again, I’m DEAD!! It was the worst headache of my life and I don’t get migraines. I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning, water all day long, and MAYBE one soda at night. Anyway, it was frightening and to read about it on the internet gives me all kinds of horrifying diagnoses and “cures” (apparently being overweight is also a cause of this too and every other ill doctors know nothing about. Sheesh! Get off it already!). Well, last night, we tried to recreate the event only with me laying down. I started to get that pressure buildup feeling in my head again and right at the moment of orgasm, I did get a general pressure headache, but not as intense and not as debilitating as the one on Saturday. Today, my ears feel a little stuffy as well. I feel as if during the last year, I’ve gone to hell in a hand basket, health wise and it’s a little frightening since come this Saturday, I’ll be 48! Scary.

Anyway, that’s my tale of woe. That’s what I’ve been doing. And all this politics stuff on TV makes me sick, but apparently not as sick as the bedroom! TTFN!

The Only News Worth Talking About Right Now

You guessed it! Fall TV! Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!

Premiers of shows I watch:

Supernatural 4: Yes it’ll be back October 4, Thursdays at 8 p.m.!

Dancing With the Stars 5: September 24, Mondays at 7 p.m. (all Central times)

Survivor: China: September 20, Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Amazing Race 12: Delayed until mid-season

Ghost Hunters 4: October premier, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. (Don’t forget the 6 hour LIVE Halloween event)
The New Adventures of Old Christine: Apparently the asshats at CBS are not renewing this funny show. Must be the same naval-gazng execs that canceled Deadwood and Carnivale on HBO.

Two and a Half Men: September 24, Mondays at 8 p.m. (I may boycott CBS on Monday nights just for canceling Old Christine).

Eureka: Has already started on the SciFi Channel. Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (You really should give this quiet little show a try).

Shows finishing up their truncated or split season runs in the next couple of weeks:

Dr. Who, The Closer, Mad Men, The First 48 (can you believe the people at HBO turned DOWN Mad Men?????? Are they insane? Apparently)

New shows that look promising:

Torchwood (on BBC America. I’m a sucker for sci-fi or X-Files wannabes)

Mid-Season TV Musings

Well, it’s mid-season in TV land, meaning that the new schedules run from October-December and then February-March. I hate that. We used to watch The Sopranos until we got rid of HBO because the hiatuses would be so long, you no longer cared what happened on the show. Not only that, they cancelled Carnivale which clinched it for me. Lost and Dancing With the Stars are on hiatus, which is fine, because I need a break from both. Ghost Hunters is also on hiatus again. Good grief, can they show MORE than 5 shows per season???!!! My favorite crime drama, The Closer, will be returning December 4 with a two-hour season premier, ruining the weird TV schedule even more. Thank goodness for TiVo or I’d never be able to find all the premiers myself on DirecTV!

I finished watching The Monastery last Sunday and was very pleasantly surprised at the monks living in Christ in the Desert monastery. They were fun, loving, articulate, and very well educated in human psychology and theology (of course). I would like to spend some time there myself, trying to get my head together and soak up the silence (if you haven’t noticed, I’m developing a “thing” for silence). The series was too short for my taste, but 40 days is a long time to be at a monastery!

Amazing Race 10 has become old hat, as has Survivor but I still watch because you never know what might happen. 🙂 Supernatural just keeps getting better and better and my son and I have the same crush on Jensen Ackles. (shhhhhh. Don’t tell my husband!) 🙂

Emmitt Smith: The King of Effortless Cool

Emmitt and Cheryl

Judge Bruno labeled Emmitt Smith “the king of effortless cool” and he would be correct!Apparently millions of viewers thought so too. Emmitt and Cheryl won last night on Dancing With the Stars. You can’t help but want to dance with this guy, whom judges labeled the “Big Easy.” 🙂 Mario Lopez was very good and a technically correct dancer, but he and his partner exhibited a little cockiness that I think turned the older fans of the show off. Sure, he’s cute and all, but…Emmitt exuded enthusiasm and improved steadily week by week. He deserved to win, having never danced ballroom before, and was always humble and gracious. Check out the video of their hot samba here. I think this was the show’s best season and Cheryl is unstoppable. She’s the reason both Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith won. She knows her partners’ strengths and plays to those strengths without making things more difficult for them. Plus, she’s an impeccable dresser and choreographer. It made this season…Fun!