Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Am I the only one . . .

. . . who is sick to death of "reality" TV? The ladies on The View were discussing the season finale of The Bachelor this morning. Apparently the bloke finished bleeping his way through the 25 or so contestants and actually chose one to propose to. Whoopie was bleeped during a comment about the chosen one and Joy Behar said that, upon receiving the engagement ring, the contestant was so surprised that she "dropped her calculator."

Now I ask you, where is the reality in a young man tramping (literally) through 25 girls in a matter of nine weeks and finding the love of his life, the woman he wants to spend the rest of with? Saw a few comments on people.com and I'm amazed at how many people say these two are "perfect for each other" and will, no doubt, have a lasting relationship. Lasting? Isn't she about 22 years old? With life spans as they are now that would mean about sixty years. Can a man who chooses from 25 women in nine weeks be expected to spend sixty years with one? Her odds, I would say, are much better for this since she didn't mind "sharing" with the others in order to reach her goal. And was becoming engaged REALLY her goal? Or was she just in for the TV exposure that the rest of her illustrious acting family doesn't get anymore?

Bact to the subject of reality. "Survivor" assured us that a somewhat diverse group of people could be dumped on a tropical island, watched over from afar (or maybe not so far) and would have to survive on only their wits, tenacity, and a helicopter to rescue them from harm. Very realistic; I do that all the time. Would the losers be called "non-survivors," or "dead?" Seems like that's what the newspapers call most of the non-survivors of our daily reality. No, au contraire, they can go on to marry NFL players, have their babies, and make millions spouting their pro-Republican views on daytime TV.

Then there was "The Osbournes." Or more recently "Hogan Knows Best." People in the Tampa Bay area in particular are laughing up their sleeves at that one. A short bald man that wrestles for a living and is raising(?) his family in a $5 million dollar house on the Gulf of Mexico -- now THAT'S reality. What we didn't see on the screen was the reality of Terry Bollea (yeah, that's his real, but not reality, name) ruining his marriage by having an affair with his daughter's best friend. We caught a couple of glimpses, if we watched carefully, of Terry treating his son like a peer, teaching him about fast, expensive cars and slow, expensive women instead of instilling some positive values to prepare him for adult life. I would propose this for a reality show: "Nick Bollea Survives 8 Months in Prison." Guess that one could only air on HBO what with the inevitable dropping of the soap in the shower.

How about some REAL REALITY? No, I don't think that is redundant. Not based on the networks' ideas of "reality." How about following a single mother around trying to raise a couple of kids? We could watch her morning routine with the kiddies, follow her to the office and see what she does to earn her couple of hundred dollars. We could accompany her to the grocery store and watch her agonize over how to stretch the food stamps while trying to provide nutritious food for her babies. Hopefully we won't see her kidnapped, raped and murdered because she has to hitchhike everywhere due to high gas prices.

The way I see it, there are many untested opportunities for the networks to capitalize on in reality TV. How about watching a family disintegrate as the father becomes unemployed and the house goes into foreclosure and they all have to move into the SUV? I would personally tune into a show where Hillary, Barack and old what's-his-name give away their campaign funds to help the poor, but then that's not reality.

This is one topic on which I could blabber forever, but right now it's time for me to get back to my own reality. And BTW, I say the football player is the next dancer eliminated, how about you?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy (end of) Mother's Day . . .

. . . to all of you moms who made it through another day. For some reason unknown to me the universe has, a couple of times, been unnecessarily cruel to me on Mother's Days past, hence my routine: I sleep late, leave the bed cautiously and attempt to fly under the radar for the rest of the day. When the phone calls come, I answer with fear and trepidation. Why, you ask?

A certain child of mine, let's call it Alniece, had a habit of getting itself injured on Mother's Day. You get up, you put on that goofy dress and the kids pin their corsage on you. You go to church where you are handed a flower because, yes, you are a mother and THIS IS YOUR DAY. Any idea how bad it feels to be wearing the dress and the corsage while sitting in the front seat of an ambulance screaming its way to the local hospital?

Now that the kids are grown and living hundreds of miles away I regard my cell phone with mixed feelings on Mother's Day. It rings and I take a very deep breath before answering. What name does it say on the phone display? Okay, that probably means it's the other one who is hurt. What is it this time? Another near concussion from falling off the bike? Another chipped tooth? Or is the lower half of the leg pointing in a direction that it was never meant to take?

Come to think of it, this family has a bit of a history of holiday mishaps. I'm happy to report, though, that despite his work with the electric miter saw today, Jim's fingers are still mostly in their original condition. I'm hopeful at this late hour since I haven't heard from my offspring a second time today that all is well with them also. I'll retire for the evening with visions of Little Tommy tucked in his bed suffering no ill effects from his work with a power tool. And, finally, I believe, I believe, I believe that Little Alniece finished mowing the lawn with all body parts still intact.

My deepest and most heartfelt thanks to the universe for these two, the greatest gifts of my life.

Monday, May 5, 2008

There are worse things . . .

than living in Florida. The longer I live here and the more time I spend in other areas the more I realize none are good or bad, just different. With Jim's work finished in Memphis, we are back at home in Tampa. As soon as he left this morning Peanut and I headed for the sweltering bike path that runs along the Sun Coast Highway. We can walk as many as 42 miles one way on that path but Peanut can't really make it. In Memphis we would have had a sweltering 2.5 mile circle to walk around the man-made lake in the new subdivision. Heat and humidity in both places, but a breeze is much more likely in Tampa. I have to admit I was looking forward to gardening in a more hospitable place, meaning with more of the plants I've known and loved in the midwest and less of the creatures we have here. It was going to be swell to be able to wear jeans and sweaters more than two weeks out of the year and exceptionally great to have a fireplace once again. Oh, well, bloom where you're planted!