Category Archives: fads

Oh, What a Night!

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The song, “December, 1963 / Oh, What a Night” leads me to

believe we all have wonderful memories of particular musical

artists for each period of our lives.  We may think of songs

which are sad and mournful, when we wish to ‘wallow’ in our

sorrow. Then there are the songs which transport us out of

ourselves to special places, soaring above or out of this world.

“Oh, What a Night” refers to new love found in 1963, but it

also stands for a different timeline in my own life. . .

I felt transfixed during each of the musical numbers in “Jersey

Boys.”  I felt that I was there in the midst of tragedy when one

of the members lost his daughter. I felt excited when another

of the members of the band  wrote a new song, one that had a

unique beat and message. Some of Frankie Valli and the Four

Seasons’ playlist, was like lining up memories of my own life,

where I was when I heard this one, who I danced with while

the other song was played by a small local band at a wedding.

If you have grown up in the fifties, sixties or even, seventies,

you may be a ‘fan’ or a fond listener to Frankie Valli and the

Four Seasons. I had heard the songs but didn’t really know

the way the group’s story began, nor what happened to the

members, causing them to ‘stall out’ for about 24 years.

Only to meet again at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Induction performance.

The director, Clint Eastwood, is known for wishing details

to fit the situations and fulfilling the character of the times

the movie is supposed to be set into.  A perfect example of

NOT following the book was when he filmed the movie

version of the famous book, “Bridges of Madison County.”

It is about an Italian homemaker and her adventures over

one weekend, while her children and husband are at the state

fair. Robert James Waller has the homemaker wearing jeans,

(possibly to emphasize her figure) while Clint explained in

an interview, he felt this woman could have been his own

mother, so she would wear a common house dress. There

are more examples in many of his movies, some where

the music takes a big part of the film and others where it

is just the background sound behind the story. I liked

finding out during the credits his son, Kyle Eastwood

was a musical assistant and helped with the soundtrack.

Also, Clint’s daughter, Francesco Eastwood plays one of

the wives in the film.

Frankie Valli’s character was played by John Lloyd Young,

who portrayed and sang on Broadway.  In “Jersey Boys,”

(up close and personal in the movie) he captures your

attention and his voice is very similar to Frankie Valli’s.

If you saw the musical play, you may know the characters

each take turns talking directly to the audience. It is a

very interesting technique for telling their individual

stories.

I felt sympathy for the way the real man became  part of

the underbelly of his neighborhood, by being  pulled into

the mob and illegal dealings by his friend and eventual

member of the band, Tommy.  You realize his gambling,

drinking and other vices, such as trying to trade with

stolen goods, would eventually ‘catch up’ with Tommy.

As a viewer, you may possibly worry about his pulling

his good friend, Frankie down.  Their musical career

eventually helps them to get out of their neighborhood

but they could barely escape the ties.

The raw emotions of a death and funeral of one of the

member’s children, still just a teenager, rocks their

group to the very core.

Christopher Walken’s scenes as the ‘benefactor’ and

supposed friend among the mob members ‘steal the

show,’ at times. He is a versatile and fine actor.

The executive producers are Frankie Valli and Bob

Gaudio. The slow building of the band, its members

and their story unfolds and is beautifully portrayed

with the songs many of us loved, sang and danced to.

In a semblance of order, illustrating the sequence and

growth of the band’s body of work is shown in this list

of songs,

“Who Loves You, Pretty Baby?”

“Big Girls, Don’t Cry”

“Walk Like a Man”

“Dawn”

“Rag Doll”

“Sherry”

“Bye Bye Baby”

“You’re Just Too Good to Be True”

“My Eyes Adored You”

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”

and repeating the title song,

“Oh, What a Night.”

The members of the band, Nicky (Massi), Tommy

De Vito, Bob Gaudio (writer/lyricist) and Frankie

performed at the R and R Hall of Fame, after 24

years apart.

* They were inducted in 1990 into the Rock and

Roll Hall of Fame.

They joked,  saying singing together came natural,

even after all the years. They only had to lower the

octave and sing in a lower key.

*They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of

Fame in 1999.

*In 2012, they performed together in England at

the Royal Albert Hall, honored for their body of

music which included 29 Top Ten (on American

music award charts) Hits.

This brief ‘sketch’ of the musical movie, “Jersey Boys”

which came out in 2014 is to persuade you to celebrate

someday soon, by listening to one or more of Frankie

Valli and the Four Seasons’ lifetime of songs. They grew

up together on the streets of New Jersey, sang and lived

quite fantastic lives.

The movie captured it nicely. Too bad it didn’t win any

awards for “Best Soundtrack” or “Best Song.” Tough year

and competition.

What is your favorite song from this group?

Which is one you played the most?

If you never really liked their music, did

one of your family members enjoy them?

You know, “You’re just too good to be true.”

October’s This and That

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When I have a few odds and ends, loose ends which need to stop unraveling, I usually

post a “this and that” summary. It is a little like when you go to a garage sale, flea

market or thrift store, some history and strange things may show up.

First of all, this is more of a serious subject. When I wrote my slightly negative review

of the movie, “August: Osage County,” you may remember that I said the movie had

one ‘saving grace?’ It was in the calm, interesting Native American housekeeper.

Little did I know that she would turn up missing just a week after my article was

posted. Her real name is “Misty Upham,” and she has been missing a week. There

have been people ‘close to her,’ mentioning that she has had some financial trouble,

along with being depressed. Her father filed a “Missing Persons” report on October

6, 2014.

Here is a brief biography of Missy Upham. She was born July 6, 1982. My daughter

was born in 1980 and son in 1981, which makes my heart stop, worrying about this

young woman. She could be a classmate or friend of theirs. . . Missy walked out of an

apartment in Auburn, Washington more than a week ago. She was born in Kalispell,

Montana and went to school in Auburn. This is located about 20 miles south of Seattle,

WA. Her biggest acting award was for a movie called, “Frozen River,” where she won an

Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female Actor. She made a series of Native

American television movies, “Skinwalkers,” “Dreamkeeper,” and “Edge of America.” She

played a recurring role in the t.v. series about polygamy called, “Big Love.” She had a role

in “Django Unchained.”

I certainly hope nothing happens to her. I know this is rather unusual but I plan on

keeping Misty Upham in my prayers…

Note: Family and friends are convinced her death was not due to depression. They

believe Misty’s views on Native Americans, may have caused her to get in ‘trouble’

and get murdered. They don’t believe she would commit suicide. I am sad that this

happened to someone who had talent, intelligence and died too young. So sorry

to have to add this, too. (Friday October 17,.)

 

In the Summer of 1986, a man from Tuxedo Park, New York traveled to England.

He had been invited to visit the Palace to dine with the Prince of Wales . This man

was named, James Brown Potter. (I wonder if he was related to Beatrix Potter?)

Anyway, he moved in some fancy, ‘high society’ circles, where he was used to

wearing what they casually called, “an evening suit.”

When he went to an English tailor, J. B. Potter was impressed so much with the

design of a shorter black jacket, on display.  The jacket had a refined look and he

felt distinguished while wearing it to dinner with the Prince of Wales. The satin

lapels were what set it apart from other suits. Later, the added satin, grosgrain

stripe along the matching black pants and a cummerbund were part of the final,

complete “Tuxedo,” otherwise known as a “Tux.”

This was found in the Tuxedo Park ‘archives’ of the local community news.

When J.B. Potter came back to America, he had a New York tailor create this suit,

which he labeled, a “Tuxedo.” In the Fall of 1986, at the Autumn Ball held in New

York City, a man named  Griswold Lorillard, wore the American design of the

styled suit jacket. This is where many people noticed and  commented about

his “Tuxedo”  jacket.

And here, I had imagined someone had visited Antarctica, viewed penguins and

got the idea from their dapper appearance!

 

In an AARP article that comes out in a newsletter, filling in ‘gaps’ of information

during the off months that “AARP Magazine” is not published I found several

famous people who have been diagnosed with Diabetes (Type 2).  I feel this is

an ongoing concern for my good friend, Pat, along with other friends. I think

knowing how others handle their disease can be helpful and encouraging. When

anyone doesn’t feel ‘alone,’ it is good to spread this around. My youngest girl,

who deals with ongoing arthritis, started out at age 12, which helps her to feel

better when she reads about others and their techniques in coping with this

physically debilitating disease. So, in this vein, hope you may find this helpful

to know of some famous people over 5o coping with Diabetes, type 2.

Since 1995, Larry King was diagnosed. He eats many small meals, includes

30 minutes of daily exercise and is careful monitoring his foods.

Patti LaBelle has written three books about Type 2 Diabetes, including some

delicious recipes and light-hearted suggestions. Can you believe her exercise

includes walking her 20 dogs? This would take ME all day, taking only 2 at

a time…

Tom Hanks was diagnosed in 2013 with diabetes and works out, eating healthy

foods. His wife, Rita Wilson, likes to go out on walks with him. Did you know

they met on the movie set of “Volunteers?” It is a funny movie and I had to get

it out from the library to remember this one!

Sherri Shepherd, dropped 40 pounds when she decided to handle her diabetes

starting with a serious weight loss. She has written a humorous book about her

challenges and includes recipes for this particular diet of low carbs and  no white

processed foods and sugar.

Billie Jean King, tennis professional, has been an active spokesperson for Diabetes

and supports fund-raising by appearances on television and in person. She is given

credit for raising public awareness on the subject.

Paula Deen admitted that she was diabetic, after she had many books published

having desserts and mashed potatoes included. She has made significant efforts

speaking and addressing the foods she used to support. Paula has also changed

her famous fat, sugar and butter-laden recipes making them more healthy. She

went through a big controversy over this unfortunate situation and another

situation which does not pertain to diabetes. She admits to still struggling with

what she calls, “stress eating.”

Ben Vereen, the dancer/actor, has been dealing with his diabetes since 2007.

He believes there are “opportunities for a better life.” His positive attitude,

along with continuing exercise, diet and awareness in his regimen have helped

him immensely.

 

Last night I watched a fantastic episode of “Madam Secretary” and I wish to

recommend it again. I had included it on the (at the time, Upcoming Fall

Television shows)  new shows to watch. Then, I had recently commented on

someone’s blog that I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped. It turns out this

man made an effort to convince me, through comparing it to the excellent writing,

cast and ensemble, “West Wing,” television series. I decided to give it a second

chance, which involved a Chinese young woman seeking asylum in America. It

was a really fascinating plot, it kept me wondering what the Secretary of State

would do.  Whether she would agree to having her stay or send her back. I won’t

ruin this plot for you, since it was a good and satisfying ending, the way it played

out. There was a diplomacy issue, a treaty to sign, involved also. Well acted by

many of the famous people in this cast.  I especially like the marital dynamics

between the leading role of Secretary of State played by Tea Leoni and her nice

husband, played by Tim Daly,  as supportive, sympathetic and understanding.

If you remember “Frasier,” you may also know and recognize Bebe Neuwirth,

starred, off and on, as Frasier’s ex-wife. She came across as  a  ‘mean’ or ‘witchy’

woman in one of the scenes on Sunday’s current show she is part of, but you find

out more about her reasons for being this way. I like when a show takes the time

to include character development.

I am still watching, “Forever,” and “Scorpion.” I am giving up on the quirky plot

lines of “The Red Band Society.” My regular television shows seemed to have

very exciting Season Premiere episodes, catching my interest and keeping me

a faithful viewer.

 

What’s new in your area of the world? Anything bothering you or causing you

concern?

 

If you have a new show you would like to recommend, please let us know. We

still have time to catch up on t.v. shows, by watching on the channels’ websites.

 

 

 

 

100 Years

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Happy Centennial Celebrations for two products that go so well together!

Morton’s Salt and “Jolly Time Popcorn!” Although popcorn has been around

for many more than 100 years, the first time that it was labeled and sold was as,

“Jolly Time Popcorn.” The little girl on the Morton’s Salt is looking still young

for her 100 years representing her company!

Workers at the “Jolly Time” factory have packaged millions of pounds of non-

GMO kernels from local owned farms in Mid-West U. S. A. Popping corn was

considered a treat to be made in a pan on the stove, sometimes over a fire or in

a special popcorn ‘cooker’/popper. My grandkids probably would recognize

the air popper I have and microwave popcorn their parents pop for them.

Then, some people decided that it was not ‘good’ for us, since we tend to cover

it (smother it!) with butter or melted margarine.

Finally, as many food situations evolve or do a complete turn-around, we are

embracing popcorn once again! Yeah!  I like to use my ‘air popper’ and add

parmesan cheese or Bragg’s yeast that is cheesy tasting. You can find it in the

health food aisle, I read about it in Prevention Magazine, along with hearing

about it from my youngest daughter, who sprinkles it on broccoli or cauliflower

for added nutrients and flavor.

I sure do love movie theater popcorn, caramel corn or popcorn balls. I like

that they have now decided popcorn is “healthy for us,” with its three good

qualities:

~whole grain

~fiber

~anti-oxidants.

Let’s be jolly and jovial while celebrating 100 years of this delicious popcorn!

 

In 1914, the Morton Salt girl looked like Shirley Temple. She is so cute, in her

pictures,  as her logo still lives on their website. In this American icon blue

and white picture, she holds her umbrella in one hand and her upside down

box of salt, in its circular canister, is sprinkling salt behind her.

In 1941, the Morton Salt girl now resembles Dorothy, with her hair in braids

and yellow is now included as ‘accents’ in the design on the ‘box.’

In 1956, the Morton Salt girl has a pinafore that seems like what may look like

an apron,  with it being reminiscent of the little girl Lisle, in the “Sound of Music.”

Why an umbrella? Because. . .

“When it rains, it pours!”

Morton Salt is not supposed to clump.

Here are some of its favorable traits-

~Salt unlocks the flavor of foods.

~Salt has helped roads, sidewalks and driveways be safer. (Yes, there is a newer

kind of salt, but this is still given credit to Morton’s for its being always available

for these responsibilities.)

~Salt is in our water system, it flows into our baths, kitchens and pools.

~If you make a salt solution or sprinkle salt directly into cracks in sidewalks, you

can kill weeds and unwanted grass.

Have you ever played this ‘switch’ April Fool’s Day trick?

My brother put salt into the sugar bowl and sugar into the salt shaker. Boy, did

he get into trouble! My Dad did not want anyone to ‘mess around with his morning

coffee!’

 

The Morton Salt girl still has ‘new places to go,’

‘new friends to make,’

and ‘new stories to share.’

If you should wish to join those who are sharing, you may check out this:

http://mortonsaltgirl100.com

 

Someone told me this sweet ‘joke’ that is really just a special treat since it

goes with the little girl with the umbrella. Susie’s mother was waiting a

block away from the school. She stood on the corner and watched her

kindergartener approaching, both mother and daughter had their umbrellas

open. Every few steps, Susie’s chin would raise, her eyes looking up at the

sky, she would give a big grin, then continue walking. When she reached

her Mommy at the agreed upon location, she gave her a big hug.

Susie’s mother asked her, “Susie, why were you looking up at the sky,

then it seemed like you were smiling at the sky?”

Susie answered, “Because God was taking my picture!”

(Her mother smiled and agreed, that was such a better outlook at the

startling bursts of lightning, like a ‘flash’ going off on a camera!)

When I mentioned to this woman, Chris, at work about my celebration

post for the two ingredients, popcorn and Morton’s salt, she immediately

thought of this appropriate ‘story’ or ‘joke.’

 

I found two light-hearted quotes for this celebratory post:

 

Albert Einstein is credited for saying,

“Life is like riding a bicycle.

In order to keep your balance,

You must keep moving.”

 

Samuel Butler brings some smiles to my face with this one,

“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool

of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you,

but he will make a fool of himself, too.”

 

I could not resist reminding you of that hauntingly pretty, but

oh so meaningful song, “100 Years.”

It captures how we feel time is flying by and so fleeting…

“I’m 15 for a moment,

Caught in between 10 and 20,

And I’m just dreaming

Counting the way to where you are.

 

15, there’s still time for you,

Time to buy and time to lose,

15, there’s never a wish

Better than this

When you only got 100 years to live.”

 

(The next section has a child on the way…)

 

“I’m 45 for a moment,

The sea is high

And I’m heading into a crisis,

Chasing the years of my life.”

 

Sung by Five for Fighting, who is actually John Ondrasik, 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

“Lassie” and Television’s Progress

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On Friday, September 12, 2014, 60 years of television had passed by, since “Lassie’s”

first debut episode. The show was simple, meaningful and encompassed all areas of

rural living, (1954 – 1973). When they list the ‘longest lasting television series,’ they

place this show close to top of the list.

 

The years I remember the show, “Lassie,” best had June Lockhart as portraying my

favorite mother of all time. The father was genuinely well-acted by Hugh Reilly and

my favorite little boy, “Timmy,” was played by Jon Provost.

 

Although the leading “human” roles changed over the years, there was always the

faithful dog, “Lassie.” (Many dogs played this role, of course, through the years.) I

enjoyed the various transitions of “Lassie,” having family values and including life

lessons.

 

Fast forward to September and October, 2014 for the New Fall, 2014 television

season.

It would be nearly impossible to picture most of the newest additions to our current

television programming to last ten years, let alone 19 years.

 

The “CSI” and “NCIS” shows are still going strong and on this Fall’s t.v. line-up.

I am going to miss having the original show, “CSI,” with its location of Las Vegas,

when it moves to its new Sunday evening slot. Sunday is my favorite ‘catch up’ night,

with PBS, Hallmark and I still am a big fan of “Once Upon A Time” and “Revenge.”

The new Fall line up is already getting over-crowded on my own Sunday night.

 

I was talking to a good friend who thinks some of the shows sound “silly” and was

pointing out a Columbus Dispatch critic thought Debra Messing would be hard to

imagine being a cop, in the new show called, “”Mysteries of Laura.”

Since I would first respond, I love the silly show, “Mike and Molly.” I may be quite

blasphemous to say that “Mike” would NEVER make it on a real police force, due

to his large size…

Criticism from someone who loves all kinds of wild SyFy shows like, “Haven” and

“Eureka,”  and on regular network t.v., “Under the Dome,” should be wondering

about their own ways they stretch their imagination! I am laughing with you; not

at you, my friend!

 

Can you suspend your sense of disbelief and let your imagination go?

I remember the funny ways we learned, as children to open our ‘escape hatches’

and step into the Lands of Wonderment.

 

I shall try all the shows with female-driven plot lines. They have had ‘good fortune’

in the past. Imagine “The Good Wife” not being on,  not receiving another round of

Emmy Award nominations. I think it is nice to see women in professional situations,

not wearing an ‘apron’ and carrying out the character of a ‘housewife and mother.’

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy programs that have women who have chosen to

stay at home to do

this very important job and having this be part of the plot line, too. Choices are what

makes this a different world from the Fifties and Sixties’ television programming.

 

“We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”

I like the characters in this sweet little show about a single mother with a son, you may

recognize him from big screen movies, I “About a Boy.” I am sadly not pleased with

where they tucked this show into a 9:30 time slot. It is ‘not cute’ but original and quirky.

We, if you are a viewer, are ‘rooting’ for the handsome neighbor man to become the single

mother’s date. Although it is about a boy, it is definitely about the mother, too. Having

raised 3 children on my own, I am particularly happy to watch this one. I also like the

upcoming role of Katherine Heigl getting another chance on television in “State of

Affairs.” While Katherine Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy,” definitely getting better comedic

roles in movies, she is still sorely missed as the character of “Izzy,” on that show. I am

looking forward to seeing her as a CIA agent. She was funny in “One for the Money,” a

movie based on the hilarious antics of a bondswoman in more than 20 books by Janet

Evanovich.

 

If you liked Tea Leoni’s funny past roles you may have seen her show her acting chops

in serious dramas, too. We will see which direction she heads in, “Madame Secretary.”

She was one of the wackiest women on television for 2 years in a show called, “The Naked

Truth.”

 

I have read a decent review of “Red Band Society.” It is not a “Breakfast Club,” nor

is it one that will be all laughs, but will tackle diseases and illnesses with a touch of

humor and give it an uplifting spin. It is a group of young people who are ones who

have hospital experiences, who are dealing with personal challenges. I picture it more

like the movie, “Stand By Me,” in its tone and togetherness. It is about a ‘band

of young misfits.’

 

Critics are harsh when it comes to some and not so much with others. I remember

when I discovered, “How I Met Your Mother.” It was before the critics endorsed it,

awhile back. I am sad how they chose to end it, with the death of the mother but

happy the main gal, Robin, got her ‘man.’

 

The serious shows genre are tougher to predict. I would imagine Scott Backula will

knock the New Orleans’ version of “NCIS” out of the park. I happen to have liked his

‘goofy’ portrayal of character in “Quantum Leap.” I am not sure about, “Stalkers,” but

will support Dylan McDermott, since he is still okay after all these years since his role

as a non-supportive ‘husband’ for Julia Robert’s dying ‘wife’ role in “Steel Magnolias.”

 

Another serious plot line can be found in “Gracepoint.” (Not to be confused with the

CIA/FBI show about the safe house, “Graceland.”) David Tennant, from the British

show, “Broadchurch,”and Anna Gunn are two strong actors that will head up the

already critically-acclaimed and well-promoted television show. This show is set in a

fictional California coastal community.

 

I think that the “Forever” show that is listed on two consecutive days, for its kick-off

first two episodes sounds good.  Sadly, I lost “Journeyman” and also another traveling

through  time show just in the past two years. I will hope this one ‘sticks’ because I like

the concept. I used to enjoy “Time Tunnel” on television and “Back to the Future,” on

the movie screen.

 

I have been a fan of Josh Dushamel ever since the show, “Vegas.” I have enjoyed his

forte into romantic comedies, too. The actor, Dushamel will be on a new show called,

“Battle Creek,” This will be loosely based on likely crimes to be found in Battle Creek,

Michigan. His co-star/partner will be that of Dean Winters. You will recognize him,

but not necessarily ‘place’ him. I will check this one out simply because I love crime-

solving television series.

 

I will return to comedies. This is what a good friend in Lancaster, Ohio mentioned

when we turned 50: “Try to laugh more, watch comedies!”

I came up with a slogan, which I will hope no one else has coined:

“Humor is found in the ‘ear’ of the listener.”

(“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”)

So, if you liked “My Favorite Martian” did you ever try 2 seasons of “Neighbors?”

I think not, since it did not make it. This was clever, witty writing with four likable

adults, along with poking fun at Suburbia. I will miss this, unless it is on a later

schedule, it did not make the ‘cut.’

 

If you liked “Scrubs,” you probably followed the guy who was the janitor on over

into “The Middle,” who became the ever patient, sometimes ‘clueless’ Dad in this

sit-com. This also includes Patricia Heaton, who played the Mom/wife roles in

“Everyone Loves Raymond.”

 

If you liked “Taxi,” “Barney Miller” and “Psych,” you may have discovered last year’s

Emmy-awarding comedy, “Brooklyn 9-9.” Hilarious, quirky and goofy at times, but

watch out, you may laugh out loud anyway.

 

I am wishing that Nielson’s Rating chart were in my mailbox, because I had such a

lovely time about eight years ago, studying and analyzing the television Fall Season

Line-ups back then. The first time I had the full control of a remote control.  I wrote

some comprehensive and profuse notes for those receiving my multiple page Nielson

Ratings Report. I  am not a paid writer nor do I write for a newspaper. I was able to

honestly say this, it was all for the love of television and the future of programming

that I was inspired to carry out my ‘duties’ in this report.

 

My final thoughts on the Progress television has made since “Lassie” was on.

You are invited to ‘debate’ these comments, too. I love a good and lively discussion!

 

I personally feel current shows embrace more ethnicities, culture and show characters

with wider world views in our programming. They encompasses much more ‘diversity’

on television since my childhood days. This means the people who are represented

are not stereotyped as much, anymore.

 

I like that there are two children with special needs included in some popular shows.

I recommend, “Parenthood,” and if you have never seen this, start by watching the

first shows. It is cool to watch this fine young actor, “grow up” with two caring

‘parents’ who disagree about how to handle him, along with a supportive ‘family.’

I am not sure how they would ‘label’ the character, “Brick,” in the show “The Middle,”

but the family accepts him just as he is.

I feel the shows today give better examples of the way families really act, showing

varied relationships, how to handle or not able handle serious and controversial

subjects such as addictions, challenges and sexual orientations.

 

We have heroes and villains. The same as in the past, sometimes more graphically

(and honestly presented.)

 

World conflicts and images are horrifying.  We cannot ignore what is going on, bury

our head in the sand. Powerful, and yet maddening, events are daily depicted (some

consider, ‘bombarded’) on our television sets.

We are urged to ‘act’ and ‘choose’ which side of the dilemmas we will take, as a nation

and other countries must, too.

Along with this serious, somewhat negative impact of television’s immediacy to

situations, we have positives.

We have the opportunity to watch the Olympics, sporting events and international

specials, shown across the world. My coworkers and friends from the Philippines

were captivated by Pope Francis being chosen to be the Roman Catholic Pope.

Other friends were entranced by the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana. Then,

many followed the tragic ending to Lady Diana’s life. They were hopeful for the

more recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The baby’s birth and

now, the next one on its way, are subjects that many feel are happy bits of news.

 

History, social studies, geography and science are subjects of programs, for

everyone to  learn about, grow to enjoy and get more educated. There are so

many fascinating shows to watch. Nature, musical and art works may never be viewed

or listened to, first hand. Other countries and animals, places that may not be within

everyone’s budget or ability to travel.

 

Some people are not necessarily able to buy or read the newspaper. They find out

information about the world they live in, from the television news shows.

Hurray For National Geographic, Travel Channel, PBS, Weather Channel and

other quality network programming!

 

We have real and make-believe images still, with our magic carpet rides taking off,

from our own homes.

 

There are subjects and shows I may never care to watch. I embrace and support

those who like QVC shopping, cooking shows, reality shows and true dramas,

because they are part of the wide community of television watchers.

 

Many of the shows I choose to watch, you may not want to watch. I got hooked on a

soap opera, during our second break at work. For the past six years, I am ‘guilty’ of

watching, “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

All the years I stayed home and babysat, I did not watch any soap operas. I did in

college, much to the chagrin of my parents, when I mentioned I was scheduling my

courses around a couple of soap operas!

 

I was listening, the first year of American Idol, to all the animated conversations in

the teachers’ break room. They were talking about the ‘bad’ try-outs and the odd

characters. It was in the very beginning of the national search for those who would

make it to “Hollywood.” This caught my attention and I am so glad that I started

watching it.  I can say, “I remember when I first heard Carrie Underwood’s fantastic

voice, was medium built and had frizzy hair!” Along with several well-known singers

who made it to the Top Ten or higher.

 

I am grateful that I don’t have to sit on a sofa and listen to radio to imagine the

great radio characters of the “Green Hornet,” “Gracie Allen and George Burns,”

or how the President of the United States looks like as he is speaking. I enjoy

hearing my Mom’s excitement when she heard about Amelia Earhart’s trans-

Atlantic plane trip and her memories of the “Fireside Chats,” with President

Roosevelt, though.

 

I liked how we  used to watch to find out if we had school on Snow Days. Later,

if our children or grandchildren have school cancelled. I enjoy watching to see

how ‘my’ candidates or ‘my’ issues are doing, as the voting polls report in their

results.

 

I am saddened that there are blind people who cannot see, but grateful for the

inventions of special devices and increased equipment due to new technology

allowing them ‘to see’ the shows. The descriptions of the setting, characters and

other visual ‘clues’ are given. I have read about these and think the inventors are

brilliant for creating and providing this service. There are new creations in hearing-

impaired equipment, too.

 

Many people cannot afford to go to the movies or take a vacation with their families.

They may not go to Broadway but on PBS, they can see a Broadway play or musical.

They get their main form of entertainment from television.

 

There are others, lying on their back sometimes, healing from surgery or permanent

disabilities. My Dad liked to watch the comedies, while getting his chemo treatments.

Laughing made him feel so much better on those days he was nauseous.

 

The elderly in the nursing home I worked at for 4 1/2 years, liked to watch the shows

on TV Land, old reruns of “Lawrence Welk” and  “Bonanza,” along with their church

programming on Sunday mornings. The beauty of fireworks in our country and

celebrations around the world, brought big smiles to their faces. They enjoyed, as

I still do, the lovely creations in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

 

We get a sense of conscience from our ‘small screens.’  The night I watched, “Stand

Up 2 Cancer” impacted me, along with millions of other people watching. It moved

us to donate to some form of Cancer (Society) fund-raising, including Hospice Care,

research and local hospitals.

 

Remember “One Small Step for Mankind?” We now look forward to continued

space travel, inventions and research. When we hear of satellites making it to

Mars or other planets this gives us information that we may use in the future.

 

A quote about freedom from H.L. Mencken, American author and journalist

(1880-1956):

“We must be willing to pay a price for freedom,

for no price that is ever  asked for it,

is half the cost of doing without it.”

 

My soap box, put away for now. . .

 

 

 

What do you watch?

Have you heard about any new t.v. show compelling you

to ‘set your DVR’?

 

Healthy Food Choices for Kids

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I have sometimes wandered away from my theme of witless dating,

but I stay strong in the area of relationships. With helpful

information on how to make healthy food choices, I hope to

inspire you to make some changes in your lives. This includes

any children that you are in communication with, neighbor’s

kids or your grandchildren. Every time you choose to change

something in your family’s diet, it can impact the guests

and friends of your children, too.

The facts that are here may startle you. I was shocked!

I had known our country, in particular, was having trouble

living longer, healthier lives but I did not know, to the

large extent, the numbers involved. Obesity has doubled in

children, ages 6-11 and tripled in teens, age 12-19.

These numbers, collected by the National Center for Health

Statistics are just unbelievable! The time period is from

1980 until 2010. By 2013, there have been a few reversals

in these numbers but not of significant amounts; yet.

Understanding food labels and the amount of news and media

coverage have helped this trend to start heading in the

right direction. I am pleased that Michelle Obama’s part

is playing a big impact, along with magazines that usually

feature articles with juicy and delicious foods that have

saturated fat and hydrogenated fat have also joined forces,

by including good and tasty alternatives.

Here are five ways to educate children to become more

‘savvy’ in the area of food choices.

1. Help your children (and yourself) visualize serving sizes.

Assemble products that you regularly include in your or their

diet. Examples of applesauce, oatmeal and cereals can be an

easy way to measure what is considered ‘regular’ portions.

When labels with nutrition information are looked at, it

helps to realize these are written for an adult’s size or a

2000 calorie adult diet.

Kids from four to eight, are about 2/3rds the size of an

adult. Teens should consume between 80-90% size of the adult

amounts.

Measure out single servings. This will take your cell phone’s

calculator and/or paper to figure out! Serving sizes of bars

of candy and little pints of ice cream can sometimes be based

on only a portion of the actual whole content!

2. Help your child to check out the details. These are in the

little fine print on the label. When there is a long list of

names of ingredients that you don’t even recognize, this food

item may not be healthy! Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners,

high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated anything

should signal this food product is of lower nutritional value.

Making this process a game rather than a ‘lecture’ will help

to interact and make this meaningful. Ingredients which you

cannot pronounce often mean, ‘lab-created, fake, food-like

items.’ This was a suggestion from a registered dietitian,

Tara Dellolacono-Thies.

Of course, going to natural food places, including farmer’s

markets, can be a wonderful fun activity for families. Point

out, there are usually no labels on foods that are actual

fruits, vegetables and homemade products, usually include

more natural ingredients.

Comparisons can be made while watching television, with

advertisements that may mislead people into thinking they

are ‘good for you.’ Any opportunity, including driving

down the road, on billboards, can open up discussions on

food choices. Asking, rather than telling, really helps in

these ‘off the cuff’ situations.

I remember, as a child, my parents really wanting us to stay

away from sugary cereals. We still considered it a ‘treat’ to

get ones like, “Sugar Crisp” or “Frosted Flakes.”

When I went away to college, I gorged on dumb things like,

“Captain Crunch” and “Count Chocula,” which came out in 1971.

Buying things, like Hostess products out of the dorm vending

machines, ostensibly to ‘help me study and stay awake,’ such

as “Twinkies,” “Ho Ho’s,” and those pink-colored, coconut

marshmallow iced chocolate balls, called, “Sno-balls” were

my downfalls.

When they talk about “Freshman 5 pound weight gains,” I had

probably ten pounds! I read recently of a famous person,

Maria Menounos, who gained 40 lbs. There is a photo of her,

in April’s “Ladies Home Journal,” that is unrecognizable!

3. Evaluate the numbers and figure out how that computes in your

child’s daily intake. Immediately, I think of salt and sugar

levels in foods, in this message! Discuss the listed numbers

noted for calories, fat, sugar, fiber and cholesterol.

I have been shocked how sugary items, including cereals, have

salt in them. Then, salty items like snacks, have tons of sugar

in them. When evaluating a packaged food for an elementary

school’s lunch box, aim for 175 calories or less per serving,

one gram or less of saturated fat, no trans fats, no more than

13 grams of sugars and no more than 210 milligrams of sodium

content. Try for at least 2 grams of fiber. These were also

suggested by the woman dietitian named, Tara D.-T. I usually

look for 5 grams’ fiber in my whole wheat or whole mixed grains

bread. I have found better cereals these days, particularly, in

the natural foods’ aisles.

4. Compare and contrast whenever you have a chance to do this.

No matter when you see food products, on television, in ads

and even on billboards, you have an opportunity to bring up the

subject of good food choices.

My grandchildren and I play that fun game of, “My father/

grandfather/mother or whomever, owns a grocery store and in it,

he/she sells something that starts with a __ (insert first letter)”

This has often been a way to find out where they find the item,

which is one of the many questions that you ask: “Can you find

it in the Meats’ department?” Once we discover from questions,

the product they were thinking of, I get an idea of their favorite

foods. Also, it gives me a moment to prosthelytize.

Under this category, Tara D-T. suggests looking for a high-percent

daily value of important growth vitamins, such as calcium, iron,

zinc and Vitamin D. These important nutrients, by the way, are

also important for all of us, during our aging process, to keep

our brains and bodies strong and healthy!

5. A plan of action should be to translate this knowledge into

good, healthy choices. Once you, your child and family have

become more adept and practiced in this area, you can be less

worried about the times you do ‘slip up,’ with a fast food meal

or a fun time at the movies, eating the popcorn with partially-

hydrogenated fat poured over it. Our Delaware Strand buys a

better product, made from Promise margarine. It isn’t nearly

as high in fat content.

Sorry, this is one of my big downfalls, along with donuts,

candy and ice cream! I have been unable to give up these and

simply, try to limit them.

The trend for teens to drink those high calorie pops, energy

drinks, with loads of caffeine, and flavored coffees, needs to

be addressed. I hope that if this seems to be common among

your teens’ friends or group, that you may wish to suggest some

limits to this. I would say, after my own experience of being

‘denied’ certain foods, that it is best not to boycott these

altogether. As parents you could instead suggest moderation.

Limiting to an extreme, I will remind all of you who were teen

‘rebels’ out there, causes the reverse action to be produced!

With time and practice, children will begin to include the power

of reading food labels before choosing foods. Teens may think

twice, as they stand in front of the vending machines at their

school, work or play centers. By understanding food labels,

the more kids know about what they are eating, the more often

they will choose healthier food choices.

I hope that this will be another way to start Spring, with a

renewal of your New Year’s resolutions to become healthier and

lead longer lives. This include all members of your family,

beginning with the little ones! They are much more open and

less resistant to changes and as mentioned, this can be an

interactive experience.

Intermissions: Oscars’ Commercials

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As with the televising the Golden Globes, the

Grammy’s and the Super Bowl 2014, the 86th Academy

Awards show had the best, most fun commercials I had

seen for at least a couple of weeks!

I think the most imaginative and creative commercial

used one of my own personal favorite “devices,” of

wordplay! The word was “garage” and the writers went

‘to town’ with that and the variations that we all

associate with the use of the word.

Do you know which product I am talking about?

Can you guess what the name brand is yet?

I like that the commercial, itself, doesn’t

reveal the product until they have fun playing

with word usage.

The advertisers start by listing inventors. Leading

your imagination to fill in the blanks.

“The Wright Brothers started out in a garage. The

companies of HP, Apple, and Amazon were created,

out in garages. Famous ‘garage bands,’ like the

Ramones, made music in a garage…

Some of the most remarkable innovations in the

world have rolled out of a garage. . .

Introducing the 2014 Cadillac.

It goes to show you, never underestimate the

power of a garage.”

(This is paraphrased, may have extra details

in the actual commercial!)

J.C. Penney has come up with a new advertising

campaign, capturing my attention. I find myself

studying and staring at the people out in the

world, enjoying the outdoors, some dressed up in

classily designed clothes. Watching others in

casual wear clothes on urban streets. I think

the CEO’s have some fabulous clothing designers

on ‘board’ at JCP!

I like the nostalgic device of using the song,

“Everybody’s Talking.” This great Harry Nilsson

song includes the lyrics of, “Only the echoes of

my mind.” I also love sweet, green and good ole’

Kermit the Frog, too. These memory-evoking ploys

are being utilized by the Lipton Tea Company.

I loved the new Google Play stories and movies

commercial. It has short clips of famous books

characters and movies. I think this is always

good product placement, during an award ceremony,

to have intermissions giving ‘homage’ to film and

the power of WORDS, too!

The montage of clips of international heroes,

including comic strip ones, like Captain America

and Superman, has a clever product attached.

One source on the internet (beliefnet) said:

“The Pepsi Mini had a better tribute to the magic

of movies than the Oscar’s broadcast clip reels.”

Here are 2 of the advertising slogan for Pepsi

Minis:

“Pepsi- Little cans with Epic Satisfaction.”

and,

“A movie quote can be as satisfying as a

Pepsi Mini.”

Whoever doesn’t laugh out loud or snort their

drink while watching Tina Fey’s newest two or

three commercials for the American Express

company, doesn’t have a sense of humor!

I was actually drinking an iced cappuccino, that

I have created and make my ‘week’s consumption’

on Sunday. I was in the middle of a sip when here

is Tina Fey, of Saturday Night Live fame, writer

and director of several movies, actress in the

movie I think is both hilarious and heart-warming,

“Admission” and the famous ‘impersonator’ of

Sarah Palin. She is in a black and white short

film, crouching down by her washer with piles of

laundry around her, avoiding her family. She is

saying something about trying to get work done

and then she has to head out to the store for

something needed. I am too busy laughing to

hear her narration, sorry! She ends up at a

store, using her Am Ex credit card.

Another one has her somehow feeding a baby?

Doing something where she has somehow ended

up with yogurt in her hair, does she care?

No! She is off to the store, getting something

and talking to a stranger in line, while she

is grabbing stuff. She has a bag of potpourri

in her hand, stuffing some in her mouth. She

says something wacky about it giving her good

breath. “It smells good in my mouth,” the line

she delivers to someone.

Each commercial is like a short precisely timed

and well delivered comedy sketch! Love all of

these, maybe they have been around longer than

this, but I paid attention to the commercials

on Sunday night.

Hope you enjoyed my trio of Oscar’s posts and

found something among them to chuckle at. I

was told by someone in one of my own recent

post comments’ section that I wrote so much

they had to go get a snack in between reading,

to be able to finish it!

***This made me think seriously about how

we write on our blogs, in our posts.

We may wish to entertain ourselves, pouring

out our thoughts and salving our wounds.

We may wish to bring something into another

person’s life and meet their needs with some

shared lessons, learned in our own lives.

We may want to meet our ‘audience,’ learn

from them and become better writers.

Or all of the above!***

(reocochran. 3/4/14)

The Opening Act: Oscar’s Red Carpet

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The first thing I would like to say about the Red

Carpet is that this summary was broken into three

parts, so there may be more ‘palatable’ chunks and

easier to read. This part is about style, charisma

and other details noted during pre-Oscar interviews.

Mainly, my comments are reflecting my own personal

thoughts, although I may mention something that

was a fact or opinion of someone else, also.

When I had gathered up my snacks and iced coffee

in preparation for what I knew would be a long

night, I was very excited to sit down to watch

the 86th Academy Awards Show. I turned on to watch

the preliminary Red Carpet event.

The first person I saw was the handsome, quirky

(remember he liked to play his bongos in the nude?)

and very honest Matthew McConaughey. I always felt he

had ‘deserved an Oscar,’ for his early career, lawyer

character he played in “A Time to Kill.” This was an

outstanding movie version of John Grisham’s book of

the same name.

Here Matthew’s character was in the South, trying

to defend a man who was accused of killing two men

who had raped and killed his 10 year old daughter.

Race comes into play, as the man Samuel L. Jackson’s

portraying is black, while the men who raped and

discarded the child are white. Sandra Bullock portrays

the lawyer’s wife. There are fascinating characters

including ones portrayed by Donald Sutherland and

Kevin Spacey portray. It is an intense drama, made

in 1996, Matthew was able to ‘sink his acting chops’

into this role and did a fine job, too!

Matthew McConaughey has never been nominated for an

Oscar, which is shocking in itself. That movie was

like a variation of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” for

which I am pretty sure won Gregory Peck an Academy

Award!

Matthew had his beautiful wife and mother of his

three children, Camilla, on one arm and his now

famous mother, who has accompanied him to prior

award shows, on the other arm.

Naomi Watts looked outstanding in a glittering white

dress which had cap sleeves. She wore accents of a

silver necklace and held a black and white small

clutch, it sported a zigzag pattern on it.

I really loved Kerry Washington’s lavender dress,

which was made of satin, off her shoulder and

not trying to cover her pregnancy. She is on a

television show that I don’t watch, “Scandals.”

Viola Davis looked very fashionable in a green,

almost aquamarine, colored dress, while showing her

natural ‘down to earth’ beauty. Her husband, of

over ten years, accompanied Viola. When she was

asked, “Who is your date tonight?” by interviewer,

Lara (rhymes with Sarah) Spencer, I thought to

myself,

“You didn’t do your homework!”

There will be an even more major ‘faux pas’ by this

Ms. Spencer, in my mind, later…

I like the relationship Jason Sudeikis has with his

wife, Olivia Wilde, who looked lovely in black.

Jason is a comedian, with his roots in Saturday

Night Live, branching out into many comedy roles.

(In such comedies as “We Are the Millers,” “Hall

Pass,” and “Horrible Bosses,” mainly R rated and

not ones to watch for plot or character growth,

but funny!) While his wife, Olivia, has played

conniving, yet beautiful and intriguing characters.

They were smiling and it seemed there were a few

private jokes in their glances at each other. She

is expecting and the black silky dress showed her

‘baby bump.’

Cate Blanchett, in a gorgeous Armani dress which

was sheer with a vine pattern of golden sequins,

just shimmered! Her hair style resembled the 50’s

like the way famous actress, Lauren Bacall, wore

her hair about shoulder length, curled under and one

side pulled back.

I would say Cate looked ‘bejeweled’ and ‘enchanting.’

Sandra Bullock wore a fabulous dress of a deep blue

with purple tones, it was designed by Alexander

McQueen, for her. I liked that interviewer Robin

Roberts, a more serious newscaster, asked her about

Sandra’s role in the movie, “Gravity.”

The way Ms. Roberts asked, it helped draw Sandra out.

She gave a revealing expression of her feelings while

in her role as an astronaut, floating in space and

dangerously disconnected from the spacecraft, left

her a “changed woman.”

She further told Robin that she is quite emotional

about her experience “and hasn’t quite sorted all

of it out yet.”

This is the kind of candid remarks I like to have

the interviewers, in their brief moments, make their

time worthwhile. By asking a serious and thoughtful

question, this makes the Red Carpet a great feature.

Jennifer Lawrence has been sporting a nice, short

young-looking hair style this whole season of awards.

Her portrayal in “American Hustle” was a whole

different look, matching the seventies movie. Her

short blonde hair and red satin dress, made her look

like a classic beauty. I did not mind her flat waist

with red ruffles on the side continuing onto her

back. The dress flattered her, emphasizing her curves.

Now, here goes the problem with Lara Spencer, when

Sidney Poitier approached her, being told to head

that way, (off camera) she recognizes him, or maybe

there are big cards with his name, hidden from our

view? But really, who doesn’t know how to pronounce

his last name? She mangled it, not sure if anyone

else will notice, but he did! He did not seem too

pleased, very quiet and not answering her questions

too frankly, either. He deserved respect. Surely she

knew who he was, 87 years old, presenting later, during

the Oscars’ show. On the Red Carpet, this is something

that really bothered me about this woman and other

interviewers in the past. I would have loved a chance

to ask.

“Mr. Poitier, which was your favorite role?”

I liked him in many movies and he played different

kinds of men. Educated, in “To Sir With Love” and a

handyman stranded amongst nuns in “Lilies of the Field.”

He won an Academy Award in 1963, for this role, as the

first male black actor, winning “Best Actor.”

(I did a post about this movie, actor, director and

diplomat.)

Then proving himself a major star, drawing large

audiences to the box office, Poitier played a great

police detective, in “The Heat of the Night,”

followed by two other sequels, “They Call Me MISTER

Tibbs” and “The Organization.”

Jonah Hill, nominated for his role in “Wolf on Wall

Street” has ventured into dramatic roles, growing from

his comic roots. He looked like he is trimmer, nicely

dressed in a tuxedo, having brought his mother as his

‘date.’ His first Oscar was for an interesting movie,

I had not expected to like him, in “Moneyball.”

Chiwetel Ejiofor was the only man in my forecasts and

posts for the Academy Awards, 2014. I predicted he

would win “Best Actor,” for his role in the intense

movie, “12 Years a Slave.” He has acted for years,

contributed to a lot of fantastic movies, an edgy

character role of a transvestite, included.

Ejiofor comes across, in interviews and on the Red

Carpet, as a very dignified and articulate man. The

interviewer labeled him, “Dapper,” and I agreed.

Lupita Nyong’O looked very beautiful in her light

blue, airy like the lightest turquoise colored

sky dress with a low cut v-neckline. She was very

attractive, beaming and spinning for the cameras.

She portrays a young slave woman in “12 Years a

Slave.”

I have yet to find an “ugly” dress or someone who

didn’t look ravishing or handsome. I do wish to say

that Julia Roberts’s black dress was very pretty,

but upon closer look I found the ruffle around her

waist made her look ‘thicker’

than her sleek body usually looks. I remember this

style, had a jacket that had the ruffle, my mother

had pointed it out as ‘not very flattering.’ I hate

to say much about Julia because her hair, makeup and

jewelry were ‘just right.’ She looked glamorous,

except for the odd weave to the black lace on her

bodice and ruffled waistline.

Julia looks great in what is called a “mermaid style”

dress.

We will hear during the different follow up shows on

“E!” channel, “Entertainment Tonight” and the “Billy

Bush” show, who the ‘worst dressed’ were…

soon enough!

Another unattractive look was that Bill Murray had

no makeup or cover up over his age spots. I thought

his whole appearance looked like a disheveled, absent-

minded professor. He is a very humble man, when asked

by an interviewer what makes you laugh? Murray said,

“The two sportscasters on ESPN, my kids and good

humor in comedies.” (Paraphrased, I started to

not get things down as quickly at this point!)

The last glamorous couple who look like they fit

together and show an easy going relationship,

were Will and wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. She looked

effervescent in pink. Her Versace dress had a

stylish twisted halter top with another twist of

fabric on one side of her waist. It suited her

well. Will Smith’s tuxedo looked very handsome

with a black vest and tie.

Later, during the Oscars, there was some concern

about Kim Novak’s plastic surgery and her outward

appearance. She seemed distracted or flighty, but

she may have been nervous. It has been a long time

since she was the beautiful actress in “Vertigo.”

After all, that was 1958 and she is now 81 years old!

On to the Main Event…

Please join me in the next post!