Sunday, August 28, 2011

Come on Irene

Where would our beloved cable news channels be without the latest breaking news to harp on and spread like a virus in our television wires. A hurricane's a-comin'! A hurricane's a-comin'! So said the pied piper and his faithful and frightened followers flocked to grocery stores and gas stations. They bought ice and bread, canned foods and bottled water. They boarded up their windows and battened down the hatches. (Okay, I got carried away with that last cliche). The day was unusually gray and you could feel the storm, you could smell it. I watched CNN and MSNBC. I saw reporters clad in their rain slickers struggling to stand in demonic downpours and exhausting winds. "Broadcasting live from the eye of Irene, back to you in the studio." Then the rain traveled up the east coast and landed in my neighborhood. It was windy and dark, but the power was still on. I watched the mayors and governors do press conference after press conference and tell us all to stay indoors. They stopped mass transit in its tracks. They shut down airports, malls and restaurants. I was in my house and I felt safe. I was either in denial or too skeptical to believe a hurricane could take us down. Wait for it, wait for it... Irene has arrived! The breeze breaking in through my window felt like a vacation from heat and humidity. It was clean and refreshing, like bottled water on a thirsty night. I wasn't afraid. I woke up this morning and watched a little TV, I tweeted a few times, I watched the wind suck and blow my curtains against my window screen. And just when I thought Irene couldn't phase me, the lights flickered and the power went out. I reverted into a child and I wanted my mother. I hated the silence of the house, the hum of nothingness. Not having power leaves you feeling so helpless and alone. I drove through the hurricane and arrived safely at my mother's house. There were bright lights, there was warm food, television and internet connection as well. Despite whatever Irene's intentions may have been.... life was good. And it still is.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cuz I'm Bored, Cuz I Want To, Cuz I Can!

Teen Mom is blowing my mind this week. Where do I start? I suppose I should go with the biggest bombshell of the night, Maci wants to have a baby with Kyle. To quote her all-too-calm mother, is she out of her mind? Kyle was most obviously not too thrilled with the idea, maybe somewhat flattered, but not over the moon about it. Maci sees how Kyle has adapted to taking care of her son, Bentley and his patience with him is sure to be the fuel behind this wild fire, but Maci's thought process is young and illogical. She barely wants to go to school and Kyle isn't even working. Nevermind the fact that they aren't married. Not that I'm the uber old-fashioned type, but it would be nice if, in this day and age, young people actually saw marriage before sex and children as an actual way of life and not some Biblical fantasy. Maci has no problem telling her mother and her friends that, at 19, she's ready for a second child. She tells Kyle she wants to give him a child of his own, she tells her mother that whenever Bentley is with his father, she's bored and a baby will keep her busy. How about taking your behind to school and actually finishing a semester? That will you keep your mind engaged. Alas, we have Farrah. Follow her on her journey to none other than Los Angeles, to meet up with a realtor to look at houses. Boy, it must be nice: to hop a plane to California for the weekend, to look at houses in a place you've never lived with no job and no family and an associate's degree. And they say this show was to highlight the "struggle" of being a teenaged parent? The life seems pretty damned grand to me! She's looking at houses that are $2000 a month in rent and frowning her nose down at them at that. Those checks that MTV doles out every season must be worth quite the pretty penny. I'm just saying. I don't want this to turn into a never ending rant, but then we have Amber and her fake relationship with her daughter, Leah. After fixing up this modern and quite upscale $600 a month single family house that she found with yes-- a realtor, because everyone shops around for apartments to rent with a realtor, Amber is happy to tell anyone who will listen that she is ecstatic to be getting her baby back. But I can't help to remember the days when a frustrated and angry Amber used to put a screaming Leah in her crib with a bottle and shut out her crying by shutting the door. She would then plop herself on that infamous mattress on the floor and sulk and pout and blame Gary for her life. I suppose these new digs will improve her mother's instinct (or lack thereof)? Amber laughs and plays with Leah, rolling on the floor with her and tickling her tummy, but for some reason, it does not come across as genuine. It almost has a Casey Anthony feel to it. (And if you've ever seen the video of Casey laying on the floor and laughing with her daughter, Caylee, you'll know what I mean.) I am in no way insinuating that Amber is going to harm her child in any way as Casey did... I'm just calling it like I see it, and I wonder how long it will be before Amber's ready to lock the door on her daughter once again. Lastly, what was Tyler's mother thinking, calling the adoptive parents of her son's baby, Carly, and requesting that she be at Tyler and Catelynn's graduation? She didn't even give the couple a chance to ask in their own way. They don't call those people, so who gave her the right to do so? Talk about over-stepping boundaries. Now Tyler and Catelynn must find a way to fix it so that hopefully their baby girl will be able to witness them walk across the stage and get the diplomas they are so proud to be receiving.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Emancipating Ashley

Every household is different, but I think it's safe to say that for me and most of the people I know, if we called our mother's the B word or told them to shut up right before slamming our bedroom doors, we wouldn't be around to see our next birthday. Ashley is out of control and has no respect for her mother, Jackie. It's gotten to the point where her father had to fly in from Texas with his wife just to confront her. But nothing seems to be getting through to her. She starts fights and fights back, she cries and plays the victim role, she needs a wake up call and I think she's about to get one. Jaqueline has had enough and so has her husband Chris. If they put her out, I wouldn't feel an ounce of sympathy. It's time to serve up some tough love to that hard head.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Liberating Libya

After over 40 years of being ruled by a text book "evil dictator", the people of Libya decided they have had enough. They are taking to the streets like the rebels they are, hungry for freedom and starving for a fight. Just last week President Obama called for Mo'Ammar Gadhafi to "step down" and I remember thinking, it's not our place to say so. Various world leaders have often encouraged if not demanded wanna-be revolutionists to do away with life-long tyranny and give democracy a try. But isn't it up to the people of that land to oust the ouster and take their country into their own hands? The news coverage shows a mass of amateur liberators, wild and uncivilized, stomping through the streets. They fire their guns and they burn photos of their eccentric leader, Gadhafi. If this is their plan,then they must carry it out and follow through until the end. Democracy isn't something that is handed out like goodie bags at the end of a birthday celebration, the United States can't send in an army to implement it. There is a monumental price and the Libyans have to be willing to sacrifice their lives for it. Once there are no more bonfires or gunfire, they will have to deal with whatever rises from the ashes. They have been led by a military dictatorship their entire lives, just as it is up to them to overthrow Gadhafi, once they gain control, it will be up to them to decide what to do with it. Who will be their new leader? How will they decide? "Many more will have to suffer, many more will have to die." The world waits and watches.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reality Hurts

I was saddened by the news of the death of Beverly Hills Housewives husband, Russell Armstrong. He was a part of the Housewives franchise and our beloved reality TV world, but he has now become a member of another prestigious club that is grim and growing. The fact of the matter is, we sometimes can get lost in all the hair extensions and breast implants, the wig pulling and the name calling. The children are asleep and we indulge in our guilty pleasure, this phenomena -- and we are pleased and entertained, or we even disturbed and disgusted. Either way, we give these shows the ratings they need and we anticipate the next episode and wait all summer for a new season to begin. There have been many times that I had to pause and remind myself that these are real people. Yes, stories may be slightly scripted and scenes edited to add to the hype, but in the end, these are not characters on a sitcom. These are real people. I remember when Najai Turpin committed suicide back in 2005. It was my birthday and he must have felt like the loneliest person in the world because he sat in his car and he shot himself that Valentine's Day morning. Turpin was a boxer and appeared on the NBC reality-competition show, The Contender, a show that I enjoyed from week to week. There was  speculation that his suicide was related to the show and his performance while he was on it, or may have been because of other personal family and/or business issues he was dealing with at the time, but it was definitely something to think about as the episodes from his season began to air. Fast forward to Celebrity Rehab and the deaths of Jeff Conway and Mike Starr. I find it so hard to understand why that show is still on the VH1 line-up. Talk about reality, these people are battling real addiction to serious drugs and we are supposed to watch them on TV and not be surprised when they die? If Dr. Drew truly cared for his "patients", he would help them outside of the presence of cameras and they would not be offered a paycheck for their time in his "rehab". But I am losing my focus here. A man has died. He killed himself and we may never know why. He had a daughter and a wife. And his dirty laundry was flung all over television every week on Bravo. And we all watched and rolled around in it. His wife accused him of abuse and filed for divorce recently, the tabloids had a field day with the news. His demons must have had one also. The only thing left to do now is pray for his daughter, who is innocent in all of this and couldn't care less if the camera men and producers and directors and television executives all packed their contracts and bags full of money and left her home. I'm sure she would trade it all to be in her daddy's arms again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"It's All About Family"

I'm starting to question Melissa's sincerity and genuine want to get along with Teresa and bring her family together. She puts on a good show, but behind the scenes she's just as catty and mouthy as the rest. She mocks Teresa behind her back and spats her name to the people who she knows will listen. She plays both sides and is so calculated that it comes across as real. So when Teresa calls her out for her "sudden" singing career, disapproves of her brother making plans with anyone but her on Christmas, and when she isn't interested in reconciling with someone who she simply does not like, as immature as it may appear, at least Teresa isn't hiding her feelings or being phony to any of the other parties involved. With that said, Caroline's New Year's Eve party was still a hit, because in the end it was about counting down to a new year and envisioning resolutions. There was tension, but there was also lots of alcohol and just enough family pride and love for these housewives (and their husbands) to make it through to 2011 in one piece.

A Toast, To Your Face

Sweet, smiling simple-minded Jennifer is throwing herself a divorce party and she couldn't be more excited. She is dating a handsome new man thanks to friend Al "How You Doin" Reynolds (of Star Jones and Wendy Williams fame) and she's feeling sexy and free. Suzie, who Jennifer totes around for pure entertainment value, accompanies Jennifer to design a cake and the stage is set for what seems like is going to be a night to remember. Evelyn on the other hand, had a day she would probably like to forget. After intentionally driving by (stalking) her fiance's favourite restaurant, she sees him eating with a female companion. She confronts him and he tells her boldly, the girl was a friend who happened to be in the area. He then proceeded to let her know it's better to be honest and upfront about the people he associates with then to hide and be a sneaky person. When Evelyn starts whining about what people would think, being that they are in a public relationship, I knew her anger was misdirected. All she seemed to care about is what the tabloids would say and how the gossip mills would run if someone saw Chad eating with a woman or -gasp- went as far as to take pictures of this meeting. Chad tells her he couldn't care less what "people" think of him or their relationship and they kiss and make up, if you know what I mean. Back to Jennifer. Her party is a success, I guess. All the girls are present, except Meeka of course. The hunk with the bangs is there and we were treated to the longest, most boring and dry tongue kissing session I've ever witnessed on reality television. I found myself pleading with the network gods, "End scene! End scene!" The best part of the party had to be the cake. Adorned with Jennifer on top holding Eric's severed head, bump included. His body lay at the bottom of the cake, holding a basketball. I'll admit, it was a good laugh. Later in the episode, Jen meets up with Eric to discuss the world's longest divorce, and I swear she must have gotten "some" after her party that night because she was in rare from. Cursing and rotating her neck, flipping her hair and spatting sarcastic comments about Eric's mother; somebody was really feeling themselves! Because of Jennifer's diva-licious behaviour, the conversation goes nowhere and Eric gets up to make an exit. That's when Jennifer arrogantly flings a drink in his direction. Eric could have walked away from this childish act, but instead returns and after a few brief words, he picks up her drink and violently whips it directly into her face. It happened so fast, no one saw it coming. But what's good for the goose is good for the gander, Jennifer. Afterall, you did throw the first blow. He did not put his hands on her, he simply returned the favour and walked away. So I take back my original opinion on the matter, since due to editing, the commercials last week didn't show that Eric's actions were only in retaliation. And that, ladies and gentlemen is the end of this season (and their marriage).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Please CT, Don't Hurt 'Em

I watch Rivals each week and shake my head at these veterans and their paranoid and erratic game play. The vets are like evil dictators or some kind of crazed record label executive. Either way, as long as you are with them, you're not allowed to talk to, smile or look at, and spend any time with those who they oppose. You do and you're no longer in the gang, kicked to the curb and out the circle of trust. Now that Laurel has been befriending CT, the most feared competitor in the house, she has put herself and Cara Maria at risk. The vet boys have warned her, but she has decided that she will continue to explore this "relationship" anyways. And she has every right to do so, in my opinion. But she will suffer for it, because that is just how these games are played. The fear of CT trumps getting to know him or giving him any sort of a chance. If these guys hated him for his past drunken and violent actions, that would be understandable, but it's not that at all. It's the fear of CT's strength and success in these challenges that drives their strategies and shakes their cores. As we get closer to the final day and the big prize money, the vets continue to hang their heads, while CT and his partner, Adam remain flying high.

Pop! Goes the Pink Bubblegum

Now this is mostly a reality TV blog, but who says I can't take a break from the madness of that world and step into the bright pink pop sounds of another? Having been recently introduced to the musical technique of Pink Bubblegum and its lead singer, Ava-Mae (that's @avamaecurah), I have to admit I understood the concept and I bought what they were selling. Listening to the music and watching the videos is like packing your bags and moving into a Barbie dream house or being lost in a never ending aisle of pink baby dolls and lace at Toys R Us. It is a movement. And I was truly transported. Ava-Mae is Punky Brewster and Strawberry Shortcake, she's Jamaican born and still all-American pie. The total idea of "pop" lives in this band's work and I'm more than happy to pass some sunshine along your way, where it's fun to jump up and down like a teenager in love and it's always hot pink in the shade.

Get to know Pink Bubblegum at their website

The Tests of Teenaged Motherhood

It's Halloween on Teen Mom and some of the story lines sure are scary. Amber is dealing with the backlash of her abusive behaviour last season. She is still being investigated by social services as well as her local police department. She is living apart from her on again/off again boyfriend Gary and her daughter, Leah. You can see that Amber is suffering, and although the majority of her problems are self-inflicted, feeling sympathy for her situation is not such an impossible feat. Maci also struggles with young motherhood and a difficult relationship with her ex-boyfriend. She wants to keep Bentley to go trick-or-treating, he says no because it's his visiting day. She wants to have a joint birthday party, he wants to do 2 separate ones. Maci wins on both occasions, but she doesn't necessarily deserve any awards. She made Ryan's family feel outcast and unwanted at Bentley's party, and when she was confronted with their discomfort, she shrugged it off and almost laughed at them. She must have known it would have been awkward for Ryan and his family to see Maci, her new boyfriend Kyle and Bentley sliding down the slide, hugging, kissing and acting like a family while they sat with their backs literally (and figuratively) against the wall. Not nice, Maci. Catelynn and her man both are happy to be on their own, and even happier that they have gotten jobs on their very first try. The MTV cameras must have been a boost to their non-existent resumes. (I'm just saying.) As for Farrah, it looks like she may finally graduate from culinary arts school. So now she's won a no-visitation order against her daughter's grandmother in court, she has new boobs, and hopefully a new and positive outlook on what's to come in her all too complicated life. Sometimes I have to remind myself that even when these moms display lack of judgment and make poor choices that I personally do not agree with, the focus needs to shift from them and on to these babies who didn't ask to be born and have no control over their lives as they play out on TV for all of us to see.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to Basics

The "Wives" are back in Miami and all is well. Evelyn is celebrating her daughter's high school graduation with her fiance, Chad Ochocinco, and her closest family members. This is a proud and emotional time, it's always nice to see the softer side of a woman who comes across so stone-faced and cold. Royce meets with Eric to discuss his movie. (Pause.) She seems to see this as a legitimate opportunity to further her acting career and isn't the least bit concerned about Jennifer's feelings. You know it doesn't take long for Suzie and Royce to get together. They go pet store browsing and the two stand at the same rack of dog leashes for what feels like an hour so Suzie can get the scoop. The fur hadn't even settled on Suzie's puppy's back and it's yet another random outing. Suzie is now shopping for hair products with Jennifer to fill her in on the Royce and Eric encounter even thought Royce made it clear that she was willing to inform Jennifer of her dealings herself. Suzie is the leakiest faucet I ever came across and I'm just glad I don't know her in real life. Her whole life (as shown on this show) revolves around carrying gossip back and forth, the he-said/she-said really makes her come alive. Without the rumours and the scandal, Suzie would be a worthless waste. After a brief chat with Tami, Jennifer agrees to meet with Royce, but at the last minute decides it's a "lost cause" and chooses to stand her up. Royce shrugs it off and deems the act immature. Meanwhile, Jennifer dates a beefy hunk and seems to be enjoying her new venture while Ochocinco treats Evelyn to a romantic dinner on the beach.  Scenes for next week are disturbing to say the least as Eric violently throws a drink directly into Jennifer's face. No matter how poorly I may think these ladies conduct themselves, I can say for sure she couldn't have done anything to deserve that. See you then...

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Jersey, Same Drama

It's still winter in New Jersey, and the spirit of Christmas is in the air. The trees are lit and the presents are wrapped, the real housewives are living the "good life" in New Jersey. Even though the families have some stress and tension between them, they tried their best to make each individual Christmas morning special, and I think they succeeded. The children were happy and the wives were spoiled with gifts, some more than others. Melissa received Louis Vuitton and Rolex branded surprises, while Teresa and her husband exchanged meeker offerings: a simple cross pendant and a coat and gloves. Obviously, it's the middle of summer so it was strangely satisfying watching the families celebrate in snow covered homes. Next week, we watch them try to live up to their new year's resolutions. Caroline's throwing a big bash and everyone's invited. And that means everyone. Melissa resolves to keep the peace between herself, Kathy and Teresa, while Teresa maintains she wants nothing to do with her cousin. So it looks like 2011 is going to begin the way 2010 ended. Stay tuned...