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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Escalated Entertainment

What type of person derives pleasure from watching violent and graphic rape and murder? What about getting wrapped up in the plotting to commit atrocities? Should it be entertaining to discuss demented, psychotic, torturous ways to inflict harm?

"Last year saw Game of Thrones eclipse True Blood as HBO's biggest series, grossing an average 14.4 million viewers every week thanks to live plays, encores, On Demand and HBO Go views." says Michael O'Connell of HollywoodReporter.com. He also notes that 8.2 million people watched the 2014 season opening episode on the first night, that doesn't even include all the people who downloaded it later.

How bad can it be? Here is a quote:
The Hound: You're a talker. Listening to talkers makes me thirsty and hungry. Think I'll take two chickens.
Polliver: You don't seem to understand the situation.
The Hound: I understand that if any more words come pouring out your cunt mouth, I'm going to have to eat every fucking chicken in this room.
Polliver: You lived your life for the king. You're going to die for some chickens?
The Hound: Someone is.
Read more: http://www.tvfanatic.com/2014/04/game-of-thrones-review-everythings-changed/#ixzz2yIyMQrkJ

Let's set the scene here, this exchange comes as part of a discussion of offering a little girl for rape and the "chickens" he references may or may not actually be young women. I wasn't really watching it, but this scene horrifically grabbed my attention.

Point? How did we get to a place where watching the most vicious atrocities played out and described in intensely graphic detail is what 15 or so MILLION people think is entertaining? And how can we imagine that watching this is innocuous?

When you see savage, deranged rapes committed or threatened, you know what happens? "Regular, run of the mill" rapes seem less horrific.

When you see every affront to your family avenged by wrathful, remorseless mass slayings you begin to concoct situations that are seemingly appropriate for this type of scheming and brutality.

When you see every conversation punctuated by "zinger" put downs and women objectified, and children murdered, and sex used as a weapon, you can't help but attach some degree of normalcy to the watered-down  versions of these problems that are around you every day.

Is my only problem with Game of Thrones? Unfortunately, no. There are countless other shows that aren't doing it as "well". Yet. But GoT has upped the ante for adult entertainment and the only thing that new writers are thinking is how to out-do the most successful show. We saw this happen with crime dramas. The "Law and Order" type shows started out bad, but with each success, imitators jumped on, and each one harsher than the next. When ratings would begin to slip, they had to become more shocking, more graphic until we now have shows dedicated to the youngest and most sadistically raped and murdered victims on SVU. Who finds that entertaining? Desensitized people, certainly. When a person can watch one of the crimes depicted while carrying on a conversation about their day, or watching dinner, or folding laundry; there is a problem.

But these are shows for adults, right? And adults can differentiate between fiction and reality, right? No. No, they can't without thinking about it. Your first reaction to a situation comes from your unconscious, the place where you have stored so many violent images and rationales that it takes a second to filter through. We all know that our first reaction is the one that creates the visceral understanding of the situation. After that first second, you may be able to determine that the person who cut you off isn't out to murder your family; or the person who bumps into you at the bar isn't trying to emasculate you; or your wife commenting on how gratuitous and unnerving a show was isn't accusing you of the atrocities committed, but your first blip of emotion thinks that is exactly what is happening.

We are starting kids younger and younger. First of all, series originally created for adults are shown as reruns at all hours of the day. We are becoming more and more lax about what we allow to play in the background even when children are present. And, even kids' shows are pushing limits of appropriateness.

When storylines for young teens on Disney and Nick surround sexual desires and the only way to be popular is to be beautiful and hateful and certainly not smart, then we have a problem. It starts with disrespect. When we devalue people (including ourselves) in any small way, it is a slippery slope. When we allow our recreation to teach poor morals and ethics, when consequences (if any) only last until the end of an episode and then all is forgiven, we inadvertently teach that our emotions are irrelevant and that the one who hits the hardest, and hurts the most deeply, wins. When our most proud moments are those that diminished another human, we all lose.

Unfortunately, this is becoming our reality.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Gloria Lemay Made Me Cry

This is the most beautiful and helpful list for postpartum families I've ever seen. I teared up on several of them, particularly;

4. Come over about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then fold all the piles of laundry that have been dumped on the couch, beds or in the room corners. If there’s no laundry to fold yet, do some.

10. Make me a giant pot of vegetable soup and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house and reline with fresh bags.

Do yourself a favor and read this list, follow the tips, and become the best friend that has ever been!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Just So We're Clear...

I just realized that I post a lot about how inexpensively we eat. What I am not always clear about is the motivation. Anyone who knows Doug or I will not be surprised by this: we have little to no self control. Asking us to deprive ourselves, especially for something as frivolous as staying within a budget would NEVER fly!

The secret is that we eat and plan and shop the way we do because of two incredibly selfish reasons -

  • Laziness
    • If you plan the month's meals in advance and shop so every ingredient is in the house, you can make dinner without having to put real pants and shoes on.
    • I only have to think about what to have for dinner once a month!
  • We are snobby eaters
    • We like the stuff we eat and think most processed food is gross.
    • We want to have control over the kids' diets.
The awesome thing is that when I started keeping track of what I spent, I was pleasantly surprised to find out just how cheap it was! It is rare that you find such a nice perk to being lazy and snobby!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Eating Well on the Cheap, pt 3

So, the first two posts in this series (Part 1 and Part 2) show how we really eat in our house (for the most part). If we have more money to spend, we often do, but it isn't necessary, just fun. :-) 

But, what if you are hit with an unexpected expense and have to REALLY cut back? This is what I would do. Notice that I don't cut out all the meat, or all the snacks, even cookies! Just because things aren't going your way doesn't mean you should have to do without all the good stuff. As a matter of fact, if things aren't going well, you might need more cookies! There is no reason to feel deprived the whole month (or months), you can still eat delicious food, the only difference is that it might not be as varied as when you have more money. That being said, changing up the spices can make two dishes with the same ingredients seem way different! Whole chicken is by far the most economical meat, especially considering the stock you can easily make that will make the bean dishes feel more "meaty". Ideally, you have been slowly building up your pantry and freezer so that you could absorb a grocery budget cut without much changing at least for a month or so. 

Could you spend less? Yes, but if you are in a situation where you have less than $100 to use for groceries for your family for more than a month or two, then you could, and should seek assistance, that's what it is for.

What if you only have $100?

Thrifty Meals (number of meals--name of meal--times I will make in the month)

2 Chicken pot pie X2
2 Chicken and dumplings
2 Spaghetti
2 Lentil loaf
2 Chili
2 Tomato and bean pasta
2 Chicken alfredo pasta
1 Potato salsa chicken X2
1 Frittata
2 Vegetable bean pasta
2 Chicken and veg pasta
2 White bean curry
2 White bean chili
1 Baked pot with chili
2 Diced pot with chk alfredo
1 scrambled eggs, pancakes
2 Beans and rice

Thrifty snack list:

Tortilla chips
Peanut butter
Bean dip
Pumpkin muffins

frozen mix veg (32 oz)
carrots (2 lb)
baking powder
CA blend veg (60 oz)
celery (1 stalk)
frozen corn
onions (2 lb)
frozen peas
potatoes (5 lb)

bananas (20)
eggs (2 dz)
rice (2 lb)
green bell pepper (2)
old fash oats (2)
lentils (1 lb)
brown sugar
pasta (4 lb)

olive oil
spaghetti (1 lb)
sand bread (2)
bouillon cubes
dried beans (6 lb)
loaf bread

can chili beans (3)
whole chicken (3/4-5 lb)
peanut butter
can pumpkin

tortilla chips
can tuna (2)
tomato sauce (2)
refried beans
tomato paste
jar alfredo sauce

can diced tomatoes (4/14 oz)
crackers (2 boxes)

can crushed tomatoes (2/28 oz)



100.82  TOTAL

That's the class, folks, minus the recipes and cooking, obviously, you have to participate for that :-). Thoughts?