Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Obsessed with Jon and Kate Even Though I Don’t Like Them

Jon and Kate Plus Eight (image from TLC)I have become obsessed with Jon and Kate Plus Eight, and not in a good way.  It’s a show I knew was on TLC but didn’t really watch because, well, watching 8 small children with stressed out parents just isn’t my idea of fun, even if the kids are adorable.  Every once in a while I’d catch a glimpse when nothing else was on or I was waiting for another show that I did watch.  Last weekend there was a marathon of what must have been every show, gearing up the season premier of these wounded, angry, bitter adults with children who need to be enjoying their lives without cameras in their faces every minute.

Every tabloid at the grocery store (which is the only place I see them because they’re not things I seek out) had a picture of Kate on there somewhere, and even papers as reputable as the NY Times have had articles about the show and the unraveling of a family.  There’s even a Gosselins Without Pity blog with armloads of comments from outraged viewers.  The consensus there is that Kate is a witch, Jon is abused but not without responsibility, and the kids need to have the cameras stop now so they don’t have to have wall-to-wall coverage of the dissolution of their family.

I don’t know why this has hooked me.  I don’t have children and don’t want any other than my kitty.  Watching candid reality shows is not on my list of fun things to do.  Watching people of any age or sex be picked on and belittled pushes buttons inside and my heart hurts for them – so it’s not something I voluntarily do.  I don’t have any plans to watch any other episodes of the show (I broke down and watched the premier but it was awful and I don’t want to support the show in any way).  I even wrote to TLC to tell them what I thought, which is something I rarely do.

But yet I do care about the kids and in a train-wreck way, want to know what happens.  I’m not proud of it but will probably do Google searches (or just look at tabloid covers) to keep up with the story.  Let’s hope something more distracting comes along soon.

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In other news, I spent part of the weekend decluttering, inspired by Lori’s success.  I lugged a bag of clothes and some books to Goodwill but this is a particularly congested time there with students moving out of apartments following local college graduations.  I have other things in mind to take down when it’s a bit easier to get a parking space.  I also figured out that the way to get bill paying done more efficiently was to download Quicken to the laptop and move the whole operation to the dining table.  Going to the study to use the old desktop, which is usually turned off, just wasn’t happening.  I’m caught up on reconciling statements and paying bills which isn’t a sexy thing to do but definitely necessary and I like the tidiness of knowing everything is in order.

My parents are coming to visit at the end of June and I’m also debating whether to hire a maid service to do a thorough cleaning.  I hate to clean and somehow need to have things very clean and everything in place when the parents come.  Cat hair will, of course, still adorn everything but perhaps not in a thick layer.  They haven’t met their grandkitty yet so we want the first impressions to be good ones.  Let’s hope she doesn’t hide under the bed the whole time!

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I Want to be Queen Latifah When I Grow Up

Last HolidayI just finished watching Queen Latifah in Last Holiday.  She plays a sales clerk from New Orleans who loves to cook and has a Book of Possibilities but never really lives out the things she wants.  When she gets diagnosed with a fast-moving disease that gives her weeks to live, she quits her job, cashes in her 401K and goes to Europe where she grabs life with both hands.

Queen Latifah is a gorgeous woman.  She has that wonderful voice, incredible skin, a beautiful smile, and a voluptuous body, and she has not been afraid to take risks, moving from rap to Chicago to musical standards  and acting.  She’s accomplished in all that she does and carries herself with style and confidence.

Georgia, her character in the movie, simply blossoms and glows as she does things she has only dreamed of, living with honest exhuberance as though there is no tomorrow.  She stops worrying about dieting and dresses herself in beautiful clothes that fit her curvy body.  She bungee jumps and snowboards, goes to the spa and gambles – and cooks with someone who is her idol.  It brought such a smile to my face and my heart to watch her stand up for herself and her dreams and make them happen.

If there is a lesson – and there were many – it’s that life is not about regrets; go out and fulfill your dreams and enjoy the life you have, because any day could be your last.


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SNL – Palin and Clinton 9/13/08

This was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time – I can see I’m going to have to make Saturday Night Live part of my weekends again.  The video clip has been taken down from YouTube due to copyright violation concern but a sharper better copy is available from the NBC site:

http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/palin-hillary-open/656281/


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The Right Chef Won

Yayyyyy! Stephanie is the winner of Top Chef Season 4! And Lisa didn’t win! Sulky, pouty, bitchy Lisa who I have disliked for weeks and weeks and had no business being in the finale at all.

But enough about her. Richard and Stephanie have cooked circles around everyone else from the beginning. Dale is obviously a great chef and Antonia cooks food I would adore trying, so I was really really pissed, er, upset when Lisa got to the finale instead.

Richard is Mr. Molecular Gastronomy, with playful and innovative food (he gave an unplanned mini liquid nitrogen cooking lesson in the kitchen during the finale). Stephanie’s food is creative, clean and well-balanced, showcasing interesting combos of ingredients and including lots of fruit. Lisa specializes in Asian food. It’s what she likes to eat and likes to cook.

I actually would have liked to have tried most of the food that the three prepared for the final, knowing of course that Stephanie’s would be the ones I’d like the best. Richard had trouble keeping his concentration up and it showed in some of his dishes. Lisa was just annoying by being there, though she was rock-solid calm, which made for a change of pace.

Stephanie won because her total package of the meal was the best of the three. She was the top chef in this season, a leader in the kitchen and well liked and respected by the other cheftestants, and of course with excellent food. I’m thrilled and now I’m watching the repeat again, just in case, you know, I missed something while yawning last night waiting for the commercials to end and the final verdict to be given.

You go, girl. I’d eat in your restaurant any time.


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Mad About the Tudors

I’ve always had a thing for costume epics — not the cheesy ones with Charlton Heston shirtless and parting the Red Sea or that ilk. But there is something timeless about a period drama that doesn’t age quite as badly as a contemporary drama seen 20 years later.

My current passion is for all things Tudor, egged on by the casual purchase of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. I’ve read some of her other books, notably The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a movie last year. Mostly they are a good read but they are definitely historical fiction, not biography. Tonight I discovered that magically I have access to HBO and Showtime, perhaps because of a free weekend preview thing, and caught an episode of The Tudors which I have been dying to see. Lots of yummy costumes, gorgeous people with accents, jousting, and general drama – even if the historical framework is wrong in a lot of ways. It’s entertainment and I don’t need it to be accurate.

Back when I was in junior high, the movie Anne of the Thousand Days came out, starring Richard Burton as Henry and Geneviève Bujold as Anne. I remember it as being appropriately gorgeous and all about the tragic short 1000 days of Anne’s rule as queen before Henry had her head chopped off. Being named Anne myself, and in love with tragic romance, it was a great story.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the movie again while living in Spain during my college years. It was on a double bill with Shaft (incongruous but true). The movie was dubbed into Spanish of course, but the costume drama was the same and still looked gorgeous. What totally shocked me was the reaction of the Spanish audience to the unfolding story – which was as much the story of Katherine of Aragon as of Anne.

Katherine was the daughter of the most powerful king and queen of Spain – Ferdinand and Isabella, the same ones who sent Columbus off to find India. And the Spanish did NOT take lightly the filmed attack on their beloved royal daughter, even 450 years after her death.  When Richard Burton crossed himself in a church scene, they all started laughing. It was the weirdest thing.

I’m not completely sure what about all of this fascinates me. Today it’s the story of Anne of Cleves, Henry’s Wife #4. She is the only one who went from married to annulled and transformed into the king’s sister in a matter of six months. No fool, she knew she was lucky to have escaped with her life in the world of an absolute monarch whose whims changed in a heartbeat.

It’s much more interesting to read about it than to have lived it.


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Wait Wait Update

Wait Wait Don\'t Tell me taping“Wait, Wait” was a blast. It was kind of weird to be watching people record a radio show. Let’s face it, the set is pretty simple because the listeners don’t have a clue.

The stage was set with a table for panelists on one side, podiums for Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell on the other side, and a big green leather chair in the middle for the special guest segment. Above was a giant projection screen so we could see closeups. This feed was also shown over in a satellite theater for folks gathered for a simulcast viewing.

There were preliminary funny bits – Peter Sagal is incredibly quick witted and started off by welcoming us and generally touting the wonderfulness of public radio listeners in general and Nutmeggers in particular. Nutmeggers being people from Connecticut, which sounds kind of silly, but we are the Nutmeg State so it works. Peter thought it was great that they sold enough tickets to fill two theaters, including people sitting there watching a radio program on TV.

Basically the night was them just going through the radio show, with a few short breaks of a minute or two in between segments. So it went quickly with lots of great lines about politics and baseball (Red Sox and Yankees rivalry always gets a response here). Special guest for the “Not my Job” section was Jane Curtin, who is a Nutmegger herself. She and Peter had a long chat about her career, SNL and other shows. I’m thinking that part will be edited down a bit for broadcast.

My friend M and I had a great time visiting and laughing along with 2800 other people. The rest of you will get a chance this weekend. Listen in and see if you can hear me up in the balcony.


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Can’t wait for “Wait, Wait”

Wait Wait Don\'t Tell Me lineupTomorrow night I’m off to Hartford with a friend for a taping of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”, the “oddly informative” news quiz show. The tickets are a pledge benefit but since I pledged last October, it feels almost like a freebie. I totally adore the show and am happy dancing to have the chance to watch they have so much fun with the news.

If you don’t know “Wait Wait”, you can listen to a podcast of the most recent shows from their website. There are 3 panelist who compete against each other on behalf of folks at home, who can win Carl Kassel’s message on their answering machine. Each show features a pretty big name person answering questions in the “Not My Job” segment. The final segment is a lightening round to determine a winner, with questions based on recent stories in the news.

This all sounds pretty blah but trust me, it’s hysterical. The panelists bring wit, sarcasm, humor, and smarts and the show is not only entertaining but, well, oddly informative. Tomorrow night we’ll have 2.5 hours to enjoy a taping and spotting our favorite panelists and personalities from the nosebleed seats in the balcony. But hey, they were free tickets. What’s not to like?

Let me add that Public Radio ranks as #44 on the list of Stuff White People Like. If you haven’t checked that out, go take a look. Maybe while playing the “Wait Wait” podcast 🙂