Category Archives: Commentary

Dear Facebook, We Need to Talk

Hi Facebook.

Can we talk? Because I need to tell you something.

I don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to say it.

I’ve been seeing someone else.

Get the whole story »

Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Opinions for Free?

This is a paraphrased and slightly embellished version of a conversation I recently had with a phone survey person.

•••

Phone Solicitor: Hi, I’m calling from Company XYZ. This is a survey. We’d like your opinions on (insert product, service or industry here) and it will take about 10-15 minutes. If you’re…

Me: You want me to take a TEN TO FIFTEEN MINUTE survey?  *incredulous*

Phone Solicitor: Yes, we can begin right now if you’re ready

Me: Whoa, hold on… You said this will take 10-15 minutes, right? Are you paying me for my opinions and 10-15 minutes of my time?

Phone Solicitor: Well, no, it’s voluntary. We’re not offering any compensation

Me: I’m sorry but clearly my opinions are worth something if they’re paying you to call me and ask for them   Get the whole story »

What the Real Mad Men Were Up To…

I love to watch retro commercials and look at old print ads because they consistently amaze (and sometimes amuse) me. See for yourself… Get the whole story »

An Open Letter to Google

Dear Friends at Google,

Why don’t you start a video sharing site just like YouTube…except for kids? So much of what’s on YouTube is way inappropriate for children (and that would be putting it mildly) and yet there it is, co-mingled with things that are fine for children.

I know you probably think it’s a parent’s job to keep their kids from watching inappropriate things on your esteemed video sharing site, and you wouldn’t be incorrect, but it’s just not as easy as it sounds. Get the whole story »

Shame on YOU, Target

Obviously, criticizing this ad would have been more relevant before Halloween (and YES,  I may have been the last person in North America to see it) but regardless, I think it was really crappy and mean-spirited of Target to:

a) make kids feel bad about homemade costumes

b) make moms who take their time, energy and creativity to craft a homemade costume look like fools.

Seriously Target… do you really think this is the way to win over the “purse string controlling” demographic—by shaming them?

Let me put this in terms you will surely understand: You don’t bite the hand that pays your shareholders.

Katy Does Sesame: Yet Another Opinion

So, as you’ve probably heard by now…Katy Perry taped a segment for Sesame Street, people complained and they scrapped it—all over the internet, people sounded off on the story.

I watched the clip on BlogHer.com while reading a post called “Katy Perry Cut From Sesame Street For Turning Moms On.” In said clip, Perry is wearing a strapless dress and yes, she shows a little cleavage but honestly, it’s hardly pornographic and she doesn’t do anything I would consider suggestive while singing a G-rated version of her song “Hot & Cold.”

But somehow, I’m still disturbed to see Perry on Sesame Street. I really wasn’t sure why although I can assure you that it’s NOT because she is turning me on, as suggested by the post on BlogHer.com.

After giving it some thought, I finally figured it out—

Perry invaded what I regard as a safe space; a place where kids can tune in and, unlike in the real world, there’s nothing inappropriate waiting to jump out and chip away at their innocence. Nobody gets beat up. Nobody gets shot. Nobody gets murdered. And nothing is sexualized.

There are very few places like that in the television realm but of those that exist, Sesame Street is pretty much the pinnacle and having her on there kind of spoils that for me.

The fact is, I can barely watch regular television with my kids around—if it isn’t the content of the actual show I’m watching, it’s the previews, trailers and ads for other shows that send me leaping for the remote— but I’m not going to launch into a big lecture about that. I think any reasonable, rational, responsible adult can agree that most of what’s on TV, regardless of the time of day, is not fit for young kids. Period.

And yes, I’ve acknowledged that Perry’s performance on Sesame Street was largely benign. BUT…there’s just something disturbing about having a woman who does this in her videos turn up on Sesame Street. Those two worlds should never collide. Ever.

My kids will grow up someday and then they can, if they so desire, watch a woman simulate ejaculation via whipped cream cans attached to her breasts while mimicking double-fisted oral sex, as much as they want.

But RIGHT NOW, one of my many important jobs is to let them have a childhood, to keep them from growing up too fast and according to Chris Rock, keep my daughter off the pole.

Having someone like Katy Perry invade my safe space interferes with that job—I don’t need someone who cannot even BEGIN to conceive of how hard it is to raise kids in today’s world getting in my way and making it any harder.

The verdict: Sesame Street used poor judgment in the first place but at least they had enough sense to rectify their misstep. To all the people that roll their eyes and say “You’d see more skin at the beach” you’re missing the point entirely.

The BP Oil Spill is Your Problem, Too

You know what happens when news coverage of a shocking topic is on 24-7 for months? People become numb to it. They get tired of hearing about it. They feel powerless. Any outrage they may have felt is replaced by resignation.

I know this because it’s how I feel about the “war on terror.” But that’s been going on for almost 10 years. I think indifference is to be expected after that long as there is only so much emotional browbeating people can take every single night on the news. That indifference is, IMO, a form of self-preservation because who can maintain a consistent sense of active outrage for ten years? Most people just can’t.

But the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster (yes, I capitalized it—it deserves to be capitalized) is merely months old and yes, even I have reached my saturation point on many occasions where I just had to retreat and stop thinking about it.

That said, I can, to some degree, understand the indifference I encounter on, say, Twitter when we tweet horrific things about #oilspill but it hurts my heart to see how many people are COMPLETELY detached from what’s going on out there.

This disaster is NOT going away anytime soon and the effects are not going to be limited to MY backyard. The entire world will eventually be affected by this so even if you think this is not your problem because you live in the middle of the country where there are no beaches or fishing industry or stunningly beautiful marine life, you are wrong—it is hurting people YOU know. It is hurting YOUR breathing air. It is hurting YOUR food supply. It is hurting YOUR country.

Again, I understand how easy it is to allow yourself to detach from the intensity of this situation. I really do. I’m guilty of it myself at times but I have to ask…WHERE IS THE COLLECTIVE OUTRAGE? Why are we not standing together AS A NATION and demanding the cover-ups and cost-cutting and responsbility-shirking and victim-blaming STOP? Because THOSE THINGS *ARE* GOING ON.

That’s not to say people aren’t doing anything. There have been a ton of people doing things to try and help but honestly, insofar as I can tell, nothing is going to truly get any better until we demand that our governmental agencies, BP and the media cut the crap—helping BP to cover this up serves nobody’s interests except theirs.

People are getting sick, wildlife is dying, poison “dispersants” are being dumped into OUR water, trained and qualified volunteers are not being allowed to help, respirators are being denied, insurance and loss claims are not being acknowledged and NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE.

Well—and this is where I get nasty—I’m sorry that you’re tired of hearing about this and I’m sorry it’s not as entertaining as, say, The Bachelorette but if you want reality programming…THIS IS IT, PEOPLE. Get off your couch potato asses and write a letter, make a phone call, tweet something, call your representatives, sign a f*cking petition, write a blog post expressing your disgust and outrage—assuming you can muster any up—but please, for the love of your flat screen television, don’t ignore it.

DO SOMETHING—because at some point, this will be YOUR problem, too.

And if you do nothing, you really are letting the “terrorists” (read: BP) win because OUR indifference and complacency is what they’re banking on.

/rant

If you want to hear a first-person civilian account of what BP has been up to for the past two months or so, watch these videos. Kindra Arnesen, a Louisiana resident and wife to a Gulf shrimp fisherman, was invited inside the BP machine and apparently they forgot to censor themselves in her presence because she saw and heard things that will shock you.  These were already covered by some major media outlets already last month but they speak volumes about where BP really stands on all of this and if you haven’t seen them, you need to.

The first video discusses worst case scenarios in the Gulf regarding hurricanes, acid rain etc. and it’s heavy stuff. The second video is Kindra Arnesen discussing her time as an insider at BP.  As noted, what she saw and heard is jaw dropping. PLEASE WATCH BOTH!

These are not ranty, conspiracy nut videos appearing on some left-wing fringe group’s site (as Fox News would have you believe). The web site on which they appear is just a convenient place to send you to see both videos. These have been covered by the mainstream media already (in June 2010). This is the real deal.

We have to do something but like everyone else, I feel largely helpless in the face of such unfathomable tragedy. One thing I DO know? The people living right on affected waterways in places like Louisiana are getting sick from breathing the benzene—and dispersants, I assume. They need to be moved away from there.

Donations to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund will go, primarily, to help the fishermen and residents of the most affected parishes in Louisiana—Plaquemines, St. Bernard, lower Jefferson, Terrebonne, and Lafourche. Please make a donation—if 1 million people gave $10 each, it would do a world of good in helping the sickened residents and those who have lost their livelihoods to rebuild their lives.

If you know of any other reputable charities to help oil spill victims, please let me know.

Just a few of the MANY petitions out there, if you care to sign…

Allow Media Access to Oil Spill Clean-Up

Hold Big Oil Accountable to Paying Full Price

Tell EPA: Take Away BP’s Billions in Federal Contracts

I could post links all day and not even come close to being done so I’ll stop here and get this up. Feel free to share must-see links to news, video, blog posts, petitions etc in the comments.

And I apologize for being so harsh up there. I’m frustrated. I hope you understand.

If you would please TWEET, STUMBLE and DIGG this post, I would be eternally grateful!