Showing posts with label programs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label programs. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Let’s Override Bullying and Manipulation

It’s been a couple of months since I took Jenna and her friend to see The Mysterious Happy Life of Brown Bag by Greg Near. I honestly did not know what it was about – but it was playing at the library and gave us something to do for free.

It started out cute and funny.  Jaime, Trume and I all laughed.  Towards the end though, they both got bored with it and I don’t think they realized what had even taken place.  The one act play had taken me from laughter to tears in just a matter of seconds.  Brown Bag had been bullied because he was different.  He so desperately wished to have friends that he allowed them to manipulate him – even though he knew that because they were trying to hurt him, they really weren’t his friends.

After the play the cast members and writer and some others held a discussion panel.  Trume and Jenna both wanted to leave – which I understood.  It’s not a comfortable subject. But I thought it was important that we stay and get some feedback.

So many of the children (what little there are) that surround us are from broken homes and dysfunctional families and perhaps it’s just what they’ve learned from their own surrounding circumstances and upbringings.  I wouldn’t classify any of them as bullies (just yet anyway) though there are a few that have been able to manipulate Jenna.

Jenna had always been the leader when we lived in our first part.  Yes, she was a bit manipulative – but in a positive way.  She never tried to hurt her friends.  She never tried to seek pleasure by embarrassing another or enjoying watching others get into trouble or what have you.  She’s just always had a head full of great ideas and would strongly suggest that her friends play her games.  But they always had fun together.  There was never anything cruel about her domination.

Over here things are different.  She has somehow allowed herself to get sucked up into things that she hasn’t been comfortable doing – and I repeatedly tell her to stand up for herself and not to get sucked in.  A real friend wouldn’t allow a friend to feel uncomfortable.  I’ve used my own examples as well as referring to The Mysterious Happy Life of Brown Bag and repeatedly asking if she remembers what happened to him.

I used to worry about Tony, too.  Tony has always seemed socially awkward (actually, both two oldest boys have) and I was afraid he would fall in with the wrong crowd.  He is swayed so easily. Even as an adult I think he is easily manipulated. I’ve always wished that he would stand up for himself and not allow others to walk all over him.  But he has been walked on a lot.  

Jenna and I are over here to learn something.  I don’t know what it is.  Gratitude perhaps.  Because right now we are not very grateful.  I’m finally comfortable in my own ward, but not with the neighborhood.  Not with Jenna’s friends (or lack thereof)


I don’t deal well with bullying.  I am so upset with the results and the pain.  Manipulation needs to vanish.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reverence? NOT our primary

I don’t know who suggested to the primary children to stand at the front (in Sacrament meeting) with their arms folded to set an example for those that were entering the chapel. I didn’t have a problem with it – except when Parker would try to outrun whatever other child was headed to the stand.  But as long as the children were on the stand with their arms folded, there really was a reverence there – though it seemed to vanish the minute they sat down.

A visiting high councilman had given the command to the bishopric that he didn’t want the children up there.  Maybe because he knew on a first hand account that some of those standing there ordinarily do NOT represent reverence – though the three in particular (the three most irreverent – actually there are four – which is just about half of the primary) come from very devout homes, it’s just that reverence has taken a back seat.  The more we try to enforce it, the stronger the misbehavior becomes. 

I say “we” as I am a parent of one of the instigators, though Jenna generally keeps her irreverent activities to herself. Examples: twisting her bracelet, moving her fingers, or sliding her hair band (as mentioned here) but has not misbehaved as poorly as the three boys.  Two of them brothers. And I don't mean to put down the entire primary as it is basically just those four.  But in our ward, that truly does account for just about half.

Now I don’t know that anyone from my ward even reads this post – but because of our really small primary and the descriptions I use, the children will be more easily to identify than I am.  But I will still change the names of all the children who are/were involved.

Yesterday Jenna and I attended a baptism for two of her friends – not good friends, but she has played with each of them and sometimes both together – though it hasn’t been often.  There names are Wesley and Jorge.

Wesley is an only child.  I can fully understand.  If my child had Wesley’s personality, I would not be trying for more children.  He reminds me of one who has had too much caffeine.  He climbs the walls (literally) and lands himself into all kinds of mischief.  He’s definitely not focused.  I don’t know what kind of grades he gets.  I know he goes to some kind of a therapist – or at least he used to.  He has improved a lot – or so I believed until yesterday.

Jorge and his mother are from Mongolia.  I often pick them up and give them rides to and from church.  We don’t communicate much except for, “Would you like a ride?” and “Thank you.” 

She likes to give him snacks and keeps him entertained with his iPad (or whatever it is) during sacrament – which I think is not right – but who am I to judge.  It does keep him quiet – so long as it’s just him focused on the screen.  But I remember one time both Jenna and Wesley stuck their faces just as close to the screen as Jorge’s – and I think Wesley actually took it over.

Okay.  So our ward was in charge of the stake baptism.  It is actually the first time I remember going to a stake baptism in which our ward was conducting. The program was nice.  And then came dismissal to the font.

So the first ward was dismissed and told to meet in the primary room.  Anna played the piano.  The music would have been nice if those attending would allowed themselves to just listen and to meditate – but the conversations started among the adults.  Some about the children being baptized, but most of the ones that I heard were irrelevant and surely could have waited for 45 minutes to an hour.

The next group goes.  I don’t know what room they announced to go into following the baptism – but I think they should have been allowed to return to the chapel as they accounted for more than half of everybody in the congregation.  (They would have been squished in the primary room)
Our ward was last.  We had two that were being baptized and ironically the smallest group left. 

So the primary children go towards the font and are banging on the glass (two boys in particular; Jenna was actually reverent – well as reverent as one in a dress can be while squatting down) At that point, I don’t know who was worse: Wesley or Hunter. 

Wesley should have gone through the door that leads to the font, but was too busy giving headlocks to the other boys who had come to watch.  I don’t know if it was before the baptism or after (I think it was after) that Hunter took his rolled programs (he had two of them) and started using them as drumsticks as he beat on the heads of those who sat ahead of him. And Parker started using his rolled up program as a sword.

I thought I heard some adult laughter which only encouraged the children.  I honestly did not see what Jenna was doing as the bad behavior of the two boys outshined whatever anything she has ever done.

Nick and Vickie were great.  I had no qualms with them whatsoever, especially Nick, who truly was being reverent.  Jorge’s behavior was about the same.  But I think it was right before the confirmation that Jorge’s mom came across an entire lute of treats in her bag (I wonder if it was the only thing in her bag) and called Jenna over and doused her with an arm full and so Jenna continues to pass the treats along and I look back behind me. Jenna (who had moved to the back row) and three boys are munching on these goodies (the crumb producing kind) during the program.  Are you kidding me?

But the treats did come from Jorge’s mom – one of the moms whose child had been baptized.  I don’t know how long she’s been a member of the Church or if she decided to move to the states after becoming a member or what.  She did it with love.  She had snacks for all the children. 

Hannah was in front of me with her son and didn’t want to appear rude by not taking it, but I’m guessing may have felt the same discomfort that I was feeling.  And yet there’s my husband, first counselor no less, that I don’t think would have had a problem with it (I know because he’s given Jenna messy treats in sacrament meeting!)

Actually, that “small talk” and visitation has become a popular thing between the baptism and the confirmation - especially this day as the waiting time between baptism and confirmation took longer than normal.  Jorge's mom didn't think to pack dry underwear and so someone was sent to the store to purchase a dry pair to wear for his confirmation.  

The conversations seemed to stir even louder.  I didn't want irreverant (and irrelevant) conversation at Jenna's baptism which is why I had asked Bill and Corey to sing at Jenna’s baptism found here so that the spirit would not be lost.  And it wasn’t.  At least not to my understanding. 

I had been in the dressing room with Jenna, but from what I understand, everyone in attendance listened.  They did not visit.  They did not distract from the Spirit – not even Hunter and Parker who sat on the front row.  And Parker, actually caught up in the Spirit, was trying to sing along with them.  That was awesome to watch.

I think every baptism ought to have an intermediate between the baptism and the confirmation – more than the background music on the piano (which it seems most people seem to tune out – at least in the baptisms that I’ve gone to) but something that will hold the attention of those in the audience – that the Spirit will continue to be present. Or else have the youth confirmed in sacrament meeting as it was done when I was in primary.

Our bishop said he felt the Spirit strongly.  I did too, when we were in the chapel.  I think the Spirit must have followed the bishop into the men’s dressing room and the font, for I did not feel the Spirit in the RS room AT ALL

And I realize that I’m just as much to blame for not having felt the Spirit’s presence (as it is up to me to invite Him in).  I really had tried to find the awesomeness, but the conversations around me seemed to be much louder than the Spirit (provided He was actually there) and I suppose my griping about it on this blog post isn’t going to help matters either.  Well, maybe not entirely.

 I can’t change the events of yesterday.  Perhaps one of my blog readers can change the outcome of baptism reverence to come.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Addicted to the Middle

          I don’t know which episode it was, but I was watching “the Middle” and Jenna decided to watch it with me.   That one episode got her hooked.  And now she’ll watch it and rewatch it and memorize it.  I don’t like it near as much as she does.   Nor do I enjoy it as much as I once did.

          What’s funny is Jenna has gotten Biff hooked on “the Middle” which is surprising to me as I really didn’t think they spent that much time together.  But he went out and purchased the first season and brought it home.  Jenna’s certain that he purchased it for her.

          I recently learned that Corey also likes  “the Middle”.  They are such a quirky family. It’s actually kind of an odd show. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vegetating with Veggie Tales

          There are multiple Sunday School teachers in my current ward – team teaching the same classes – including the youth class.  I find it odd in a way – though I understand the need for variety.  I don’t think the two instructors who face the youth currently are the greatest choice. 

          When Wade taught the youth, I believe they fully related to him – as they really are not that many years apart – or so it appears.  I know that Wade is actually older than fresh out of high school – he just has that youthful look.  He was released to take on another call.  And so it was Lori and I who’d been called to teach.

          Lori’s husband attended the class along with Wade and each would contribute to the lesson with such force and such power it was no surprise that they had all been called to serve or work with the youth.  Except me.  I mean, I didn’t fully relate to the youth when I was one of them.  I had already felt like the “grandma” of the group when I had served in young women’s almost twenty years ago. So given the circumstances, I feel even further removed than I had then.

          Lori was put in the primary and the one who has newly been called seems just as distant from the youth as I am – though her husband currently serves in young men’s and has some character with the youth – a lot more than Kim and I anyway.

          I have gone to Sunday School the last two weeks, but have left right after class.  Last week Kim’s husband contributed quite a bit to my lesson as well as Jack, the only youth present last week.  But the fact that he allowed himself to be a part of the class was such a great thing.  And I was grateful for Mike’s comments as well.

          Kim has taught only one lesson and had told Roland that she and Mike would be out of town this week.  He told me that on Friday.  And so Saturday I tried to scrape up some more material and ended up getting Wade to substitute my class yesterday.  I still have a cough I’d rather not share, and Jenna is in far worse shape than I am.

          So yesterday morning we watched videos – well, she did anyway.  I hadn’t put in “Veggie Tales” to keep with a Sunday theme.  I wasn’t even thinking about that.

          She thanked me, especially when “Dave and the Giant Pickle” came on.  I think “Rack, Shack and Benny” is actually her favorite – but I had not recorded that one.  She wasn’t big on Veggie Tales when we had daily access.  Now that we don’t have access anymore, that’s what she would like to watch.

          I used to record snips of music and play songs for her all day.  I had three tapes.  I’ve since given one to Kayla to play for my two year old niece, but have also kept one for myself.  When Jenna is at school and Anna is in dire need of taking a nap, I’ll whip out the music tape for her to watch while she lies down.  She especially likes the songs in which Elmo takes part.

          After Veggie Tales Jenna watched a few tales from “Happily Ever After”

Friday, February 22, 2013

I seem to identify with Emily Owens

          I could have never become a doctor.  I especially couldn’t have been a surgeon.  For one thing I’m really not smart enough.  Even moreso, I am squeamish.  Major squeamish.  Finding myself nauseated by special effects shown in medical shows and even commercials.  I am a whimp. There really is no denying it.  I can’t pretend that I’m not.  Anybody who knows me knows that I can act my way out of a lot of situations, but not when it comes to my extremely weak guts.  I don’t have nerves of steel.  They’re more like silly putty.
          So except for the given profession, I just seem to relate a lot to the Emily Owens character on CW’s Emily Owen, MD.

          She has compassion for her patients – perhaps too much compassion.  She feels things and allows emotions to get in the way.  Sometimes what she says doesn’t match what she thinks.  Often it does as she scolds herself for saying the words. 
          She understands hurt feelings.  She understands feeling left out.  She understands certain emotions expressed by others.  She would like to be there for everybody and spread comfort and joy and has been told by her colleagues and supervisors NOT to get involved. 

          She’s attempted friendships with the friendless, has hurt feelings when “profession” gets in the way of others whom she’d like to be close to.  And has a rival who continues to insult her no matter how hard Emily tries to reverse it.

          It’s also given me a better understanding of doctors who seem to be inhumane with emotion – they have to be.  Otherwise they would be basket cases.  Tearing up during surgery is not a cool thing for the surgeon or any of the assistants.  They are actually better to do their jobs by not getting emotionally involved.  Perhaps that’s with any profession. includes lyrics

I wish the lyrics were included in the actual video.  I’m big on KNOWING what’s being sung.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Maybe it’s the Media that Needs to Be Controlled

I don’t think more enforced gun control is necessarily the answer. Those that desire guns in their possession are going to find a way to get them – strict laws or not.

In my opinion it is cleaning up the media that needs the enforcing. The media needs to quit glorifying horrific crimes and violence. Even the commercials are getting out of hand.

John Wilkes Booth wanted to be remembered – and he is. Perhaps not in the manner he would have preferred – yet his name lives on. We associate his name with Lincoln’s murder.

At least two movies were made about Amy Fisher the crazed teen who shot the wife of her former lover or Wanda Holloway the famous pom-pom mom who plotted to kill the mom of a cheerleader who was/is the same age as her own daughter so that her cheer-leading daughter would be so devastated and uncheerleader-like that there would be a position open for her own daughter to become a cheerleader at the school in Channelview, Texas.

You want your name to live on, commit a horrific crime and it will be made into a movie. Maybe several.

There are so many advertisements now that seem to promote disrespect and crude behavior along with their products. Many unfortunately see this as “funny” and “acceptable”

There are several video games that promote violence. Extra points or levels or whatever are awarded when you have “killed” or overthrown or whatever. I suppose that has always existed in fairytales and cartoons. But wasn’t there a time when we could separate all that from reality?

Bullies, in my opinion, are normally bullied by family members. In order to overcome their own pain, they must turn around and treat others as they are being treated. For them it may provide a temporary relief. I don’t know. But their behavior is getting out of control. And I think the media has already gone out of control in some aspects.

There is still a wholesomeness which exists if you look for it – but you do have to look for it. It’s not like it was 40 years ago when all the families were cookie cutter stereotypes. When the biggest problems that occurred were when Wally forgot to take out the trash or Princess didn’t get asked to the prom.
I do like how commercials have developed into not always putting the man on a pedestal and giving him the opportunity to stay at home and change the diapers. And fewer and fewer representatives look like man-made models – they have real people who have flawed faces. They are more human than those fashionly faces that had nothing to do with the product whatsoever.

But the media is not always careful. Unfortunately there are endangerments readily available on the tube, on the internet, on the iPhone, etc. that sometimes teaches our children more than the classroom does – especially those who have been bullied, especially those who feel like outsiders, especially those who enjoy the escape of the media because those on the screen are not teasing the one who is watching. They are not making fun. They are being unkind to that individual. They are showing how to get even. They are displaying how you, too, can keep your name alive. They are instilling ideas into the heads of Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and Adam Lanza that you can get revenge and that your name can live on. You will get the last word in. You will become a glorified hero. Is that really the message we want our children to learn?  Not me!


Stricter gun control is not going to resolve the issue in my opinion – at least not completely.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Inside Jokes and Saturday Morning Cartoons

          When Roland has been out of town (which really has not been too often) I will allow Jenna to sleep in my bed. 

          At 6:00 last night she went toward her room and announced that she’d be going to bed – which I really didn’t believe until I saw her in her pajamas.  She had returned to ask if she could watch something in my room.  She really was tired – I could see that the second time.  I knew she wouldn’t finish seeing whatever video she chose. 

          She loves the reality show “What WouldYou Do?”  which doesn’t start until 8:00.  By that time I decided I would go into my room as well.  I turned off the DVD player and turned the TV to ABC and got in bed.  Jenna was asleep. 
          Then comes the advertisement for “What Would You Do?” and Jenna comes to life.  She’s not the only one who’s tired – and actually has more focus during the show and I am the one nodding off. 

          An advertisement came on for a hamburger – I don’t recall which fast food place it is for but the logo says, “It’s not as expensive as you think” – although I’m guessing we heard it wrong.

          I actually had not paid attention to the commercial, but guessed that maybe that’s how it was phrased when Jenna turned to me and asked, “Why would they advertise something is more expensive than you think?”

          It struck me funny – and I continued laughing as I would imitate, “you may think you can afford this – but it’s more expensive than you think.”

          I tried to control my laughter – but kept on going out of tiredness more than anything.  Jenna became offended with my taunting and making fun of her error.  To make her feel better, I shared one of my own.

          “Have you seen those lights that blink – they are usually located far above the ground to warn planes that they are flying too low?  If the pilot can see the light, he knows he has to make the plane go higher.

          “Well, one time I was asking about one that I saw, but I said the wrong thing.  I asked if it was a warning for planes that were flying too high.

          “Of course Patrick and his friend couldn’t let that slide and so they teased me about it. ‘Yes, it is a warning for pilots who might be flying into the sun.’  ‘Watch out for the sun!’ It was a long while before they stopped teasing me about it”

          And so the joke that Jenna and I now share between us is that she will say, “Look out! You’re going to hit the sun.”  And I will come back with, “It’s more expensive than you think.”

          This morning she starts in with our new inside joke.  I am still tired.  And so I turn on the TV.  The cartoon selection is quite different on Saturday than it is before she leaves for school.  A wide selection of preschool programs.  The ones shared by the main networks have not started yet.  That leaves some kind of Sci-Fi and a Biblical story.  I select the one from the BYU channel.

          As she is watching the story of Joseph, she interrupts my sleep again, “Mom, is this the same story as “Little Joe” from “Veggie Tales” 


          “They don’t have French accents though”

          “Jenna.  This version is more accurate than Veggie Tales.  Please let me sleep.”

          Joseph ends.  She’s not interested in the workout video that follows.  I hand her the remote. 

          She settles on a pre-school program that is broadcast in Spanish – and then translates it for me.  I’m grateful that she has learned new language skills and that she is actually grateful (for a change) to be learning Spanish – and actually has been excited about it!  I am so happy to hear that!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Birds Gathering in Mom’s Backyard

          In 1963 Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was released in movie theatres.  My mom didn’t seem like a thrill seeker, but had gone to see “The Birds” and was quite freaked out about it.

          For years there was an apple tree in the backyard of the house where I grew up.  I recall several years when birds would fly overhead or gather into our yard as if it was the designated place for the birds to hold their daily or weekly conferences.  And mom would be freaked. 

          It seems quite hilarious really – by today’s standard’s I mean.  I remember mom checking out the video perhaps just a few years and decade after its release.  She sat Patrick and me down to show us this “very scary” movie so that we might understand her fears. 

          Well, it backfired.  The idea of the film was completely silly.  And everything looked fake.  (As an adult, I find the “making of the Birds” so much more interesting than the movie itself.)

          Patrick and I laughed – and even mom could see that it wasn’t really as scary as she had led herself to believe.  But we were watching a video in Patrick’s room with his two large windows and in the middle of the day with lots of sunlight streaming in.  Surely a dark movie theatre with these “bigger-than-life-sized-birds” (as they would appear larger on the big screen) was a lot more scary.  But Patrick and I believed that a large screen would only enhance all the flaws that we saw.

          Oh, I’m not knocking what may have been a horrifying chiller in 1963 – but by today’s standards – or even just the late ‘70’s, it seemed more like a comedy than a thriller.

          When I was at my mom’s house the other day, she pointed out the window and said to Jenna, “Look at all the birds!” 
She took pleasure in the fact that so many birds had gathered outside her window.  She wasn’t scared about or bothered at all.  And I thought back into a time when her reaction was always so much different.

          There has been a plus to the wicked health issues that have seemed to rob both of my parents of their yesteryear’s strength.  And that has been in seeing my parents behave in a different a manner unlike their old selves – but allowing themselves to express new emotions – or one’s that seem to have been buried away seem to rise to the surface.  I don’t often welcome the changes, but sometimes it brings me joy to see an unexpected behavior.  Such as welcoming the birds and not fearing the idea of what could happen (or at least did in someone’s imagination)

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Reflection about the past and Present

          If I can’t get interested in a movie in the first twenty minutes or a novel within the first ten pages, I usually don’t continue.  That may not seem like I am giving a fair chance – maybe so.  But it’s something I have decided not to gamble on – usually. 

`        There have been too many movies and even more books read where I have sat through its entirety and am quite upset with myself for having wasted my time.  That is why I usually don’t go beyond twenty minutes or ten pages.  But sometimes I do.

          “that’s what I am” was actually kind of a slow movie – one I watched in parts because of several interruptions.  I don’t know if I would have continued otherwise – though I was somewhat intrigued by the narration by Greg Kinnear – it reminded me of Jean Shepherd’s “The Christmas Story” or “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of a Bliss” or Jim Carrey as the Adult Joe Wenteworth in “Simon Birch”

I don’t ever remember seeing any advertisements or even heard of “that’s what I am”.  Evidently it came out just over a year ago – must have gone straight to DVD.  I’m thinking it may not have done well at the box office.  But what do I know?

“that’s what I am” is a coming of age story set in 1965.  But there is more to it than the character of Andy Nichol (the character who narrates the story.)  Observations were made about the supporting characters of Andy’s world.

There is bullying against “the geeks” weeded out mostly on looks.  Stanley is a tall boy with red hair.  They call him “Big G” – G stands for ginger, an unkind word associated with red hair.  I don’t see it so much now as I did as a youth.  Many redheaded kids I had known were either shy or rebellious and often treated like outcasts – I think that’s stupid!

Stanley is smart – very smart.  Mr. Simon is the science teacher (or is it social studies?  I suppose it doesn’t really matter) that pairs Stanley and Andy together to complete an assignment (also hated that; grade me on my own merits, not an assigned partner) and Andy can’t seem to get together with Stanley except at lunch – but Stanley has lunch where the geeks are.  

They have been shunned to a lower class by the rest of the school – and if Andy were to cross the line – well, people might think that he’s a geek, too.  But Stanley won’t give up to doing assignments before or after school – Andy’s option is to be seen with Big G or just let Big G do all the work – easy grade, right. 

When a girl gets bullied (I’m guessing sexually – though they didn’t really show it) Mr. Simons takes action and the bully is suspended.  And so he starts an unkind rumor about Mr. Simons that threatens to put his job in jeopardy if he doesn’t deny the rumor.

It’s an unfair thing for this bully’s accusations to cause sparks to fly – to question the integrity of this man who has taught for many years and brought under investigation because of some bad mouth bully whom the principal doesn’t necessarily believe – but still – he has made an accusation nevertheless and the matter needs to be looked into.

Mr. Simon could easily deny the rumor – whether true or false – and there would be no investigation – but he chooses instead not to answer at all – which of course in grounds for dismissal –

Perhaps in 1965 the denial would have been good enough. But today there has to be an investigation, a suspension, a probation – and some of these accusations turn out to be true while others are just months and years of dragging ones good name through the mud so that the rumor is the only thing remembered and the fact that there is no truth to whatever rumor was started seems irrelevant – which is too bad.

Roland’s ex-wife has made false accusations about everyone she’s known, I imagine.  It’s a sickness on her part.  After a while she believes her own lies.  She won’t let up for anything.

Roland and I were not sealed in the temple until three years after we had married.  His membership was in jeopardy – not once – but several times at her wicked hands. She obviously doesn't know that Roland is in the bishopric or else she would do everything in her power to tarnish his good name and present position.

I know that there have been many who have lost their careers due to scandal – whether in the armed services, law enforcement, education, and what have you.  It happens.  There are those who have had to face up to their wrong doings and there are some who have basically had to start over because of the tarnished mishaps that often seem to haunt them.  Some move on with regret – others choose to move on and make the best of it (if that is even possible).

There are some people who are sour grapes and will remain that way no matter what.  I recall once being on a cruise line in which one particular couple would complain about their purser – giving him a bad rating – which of course would come up for investigation.  Each group of people who happened to have the same purser made it a point to complain about the couple and defend the purser.  I don’t know what the results were.  I hope the cruise line realized that the problem was with the couple and not the purser.

          I think the things I enjoyed most about “that’s what I am” happen at the finale, after the bully receives what’s coming to him.  And Mr. Simon went out with a blaze of glory.  But the best was at the very end – because there really is more than one correct way to mow a lawn.  It would be so nice if everybody could see that.  If it’s getting done, don’t harp on how it needs to be done.  Who decides what makes something politically correct anyway?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hardened Heart: If I can’t be happy, NO ONE can!

          For those of you interested in the “Once Upon a Time” series and have NOT watched the April 1st episode in which we learn why Regina is such a witch, you may want to watch it before continuing to read this post as I’m about to reveal a spoiler.

          Flashback to a scene where a horse rider and stable boy are embracing and she expresses her love to him.  But it is a forbidden love – one that her mother just wouldn’t understand.

          I was actually trying to figure out what fairytale it was – and why the female character looked so familiar.  (I didn’t realize it was Lana Parrilla until she said the name of her character;  I hadn’t recognized her as that character because she was nice – likeable – not the character she became – the one we love to hate)

          As she is expressing her love to the stable boy (Daniel) a horse can be seen charging with a girl rider who is screaming for help.  Regina saves her.  She introduces herself to the girl and learns that the girl’s name is Snow White.

          The king tells Regina that Snow White is his daughter and has no mother.  He has been looking for someone and tells Regina he has found her.  He wishes to marry Regina.
          Regina’s mother, played by Barbara Hershey, is overjoyed.  She believes “power” is what brings happiness and accepts his proposal on behalf of Regina.  Regina is devastated.  She doesn’t love the king.  Why would her mother speak for her.  She loved Daniel.

          Regina looks for Daniel in the stables and tells him she wants them to run away and get married.  As they are kissing, Snow White enters the stable and feels like Regina has betrayed her father.  But Regina explains to Snow that she does not love her father and she would like to marry the stable boy.

          She explains to Snow what true love is.  She explains a bit about the relationship she has with her mother.  And begs Snow to keep her secret.

          But Regina’s mom tricks Snow into revealing Regina’s secret.  She goes into the stable to announce to Regina and Daniel that she supports their love and would like to see them be happy – and then she kills Daniel.  She stabs him right in front of Regina. Regina is mortified.

          Seeing Regina in her white bridal gown, Snow compliments her on her appearance and makes a comment in favor of Daniel.  Puzzled, Regina explains that she is NOT marrying Daniel but is wearing the dress for the king.  She seems in a sad daze until Snow mentions that she doesn’t understand as Barbara Hershey’s character said she would be happy to welcome Daniel into the family.

          It is at that moment that Regina realizes that Snow has betrayed her secret.  Snow says she didn’t want Regina to lose her mother and be without, for Snow understood the importance of having a mother.  It is in that moment Regina transforms into a cold unfeeling serpent – even worse than her mother.  She is no longer the kind, feeling person who had expressed love to the stable boy.  She is a bitter witch who seeks vengeance on everybody.  Not just Snow.  Everybody.  Emotions deeper than hate have buried her heart.  It looks as though she may never feel again.

          And though the characters of Snow White and Regina aren’t real people, the emotions are real.  Being consumed by bitterness is real.  We all know people who fit the mold.  And it is sad to watch them and even give up hope that they can ever shed their slithery skin.

          Yul Brynner played Rameses in 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments”.  For me he started out evil.  There was no love.  No positive emotion. I never saw that character as anything but heartless.  But in 1998, Dreamworks released the animated version “Prince of Egypt” portraying Ramses in a different light.  He and Moses were friends.  They had had fun together.  And Rameses threw away all those emotions based on pride.  It hurt to watch him change from a human being into a unfeeling or uncaring ruler.  A serpent who would feast upon rats – and all mankind became his rats.

          I just don’t understand these people who experience this traumatic turmoil so consumed with bitterness that they want to ruin the lives of every other living human being.  And for what?  After a while they seem like they are so consumed up in evil that they forget what got them there in the first place.  Is there any way for any of us to get that spark back for them? Or are there hearts so hardened that there is no turning back?  Not ever.

          I would rather help these people than be afraid of them, or even feel sorry for them.  Not that I personally know anybody who is that heartless.  But I know they exist. 
          I guess it depends on their priorities.  Unfortunately, for some of those that are in power, the focus is on making others miserable.  That is the part that I don’t understand.  Why do they feel that is satisfying?  They are still as miserable as they were when the bitterness set in.  How do we get rid of the darkness that consumes them?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Humor from Children’s Programming

          There are several programs that we know our child has seen at least ten times just this month.  It’s true that many episodes get repeated.  But just as often, many programs just start sounding the same after a while.

          I love the laughable things that are said.  Jenna and I can laugh at the same program, but usually at different parts.  And usually whatever is funny to me makes her wonder exactly why I am laughing.

          There was one time (before Jenna had started going to preschool for four days a week) when she was in my bedroom watching Sesame Street.  I had just finished folding clothes and was going in and out of different rooms and putting the folded laundry away.  So I wasn’t watching Sesame Street, but was in the room long enough to hear this dialogue between Maria and Telly.

          First she praised Baby Bear for having guessed the last sound (I think a horse) correctly.  The next sound was a “vroom, vroom . . .” like that of a motorcycle. 
          Maria asks Telly if he can guess the sound.  He thinks about it before answering that “. . . it sounds like a bunch of lactose intolerant antelope ate a bunch of cottage cheese . . .”

          Jenna didn’t see any humor in it whatsoever and couldn’t figure out why I was laughing. That wasn’t the correct answer.

          Oswald is a unique cartoon that features three friends, Oswald, a purple octopus; Henry, an uptight persnickety penguin; and Daisy – well, a daisy.  They live in a city with some odd shaped buildings like a guitar and teepee.  Other characters include Steve, a tree; Egbert and Leo (egg brothers) Madam Butterfly and her baby caterpillar, Catrina and Johnny the snowman.     

          Oswald is the peacemaker of the show. Usually resolving issues among the different characters.  Usually between Henry and Daisy.  Henry says things that make me laugh – just because he’s so self-centered and persnickety.

          Peep is a cartoon narrated by Joan Cusack.  It involves three foul: Quack – a blue duck; Chirp, a red robin; and Peep, a fairly new yellow chick.  Chirp is the know-it-all who tries to put Quack in his place, and Quack never gets it.  His character reminds me a little bit of Oswald’s Henry – only younger.

          Martha’s voice (from Martha Speaks) alone is enough to make me laugh.  I don’t know what it is about the voice – but it’s not one that I personally could never hear and be able to take it seriously.

          But I think the program I laugh the most at is “Arthur”.  Though I am guilty of having watched Oswald and Peep,  I only hear pieces of Arthur.

          Arthur:        What makes feel so stressed is –

          Buster cuts him off:  a bear?

          A:                I was going to say a test

          B:       Why worry about a test?  I think I’d be much more worried
about a bear

          Even DW (I can’t stand that whiny character) made me laugh in one episode when Pal (the dog) is trying to eat her sandwich and DW says, “Hey, I don’t go around trying to eat your dog food, do I?”

          I suppose it depends on my frame of mind.  It’s nice to be able to laugh.