Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This Just In

Goodness gracious, how my heart sang upon reading the New York Post’s coverage of the recent Kardashian-West nuptials:

If only every news outlet gave it to us this straight and then shut up about it.

I confess, though, that I don’t watch much news, don’t read much news, and don’t really care that I might be perceived as a bit ignorant when topics of conversation turn to current events. Oh, did I mention that I used to work in broadcast news?   Quite frankly, the media inundates us from every angle, and I vowed a while back not to give them the satisfaction of my attention.  Most of what society perceives as news isn’t really newsworthy at all.  It’s time-wasting filler. 

Example 1:  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that rain has consistently fallen in the Houston area for three days.  Parts of the city flood easily.  I know not to drive in it. I don’t need round-the-clock coverage.  Next.

Example 2:  All things Kardashian.  Who are these people, and why won’t they and their ilk go away? 

Example 3:  A man running for office sought treatment for depression thirty years ago.  And this affects me how?

And don’t get me started on investigative reports that pop up during a ratings period.  If you buy into this propaganda, you’ll come to believe that any and all germs will immediately kill you, your suburb is filled with loose housewives, and that we should all start wearing helmets when walking to and from our cars (dangerous sun rays or angry birds, I’m not sure which one…).  I officially proclaim us as a nation of scaredy-cat, star struck drama queens. 

Back in my brief days as a journalist, a news director told me that my written copy came off as a little ‘upper crust’.  ‘Tone it down.  Pretend you’re writing for a seventh grader.’  I don’t know if that old rule still applies, but perhaps it’s one of the reasons our language skills have drastically declined. But that’s an entirely different post that I shall save for another time.

Anyway, Sweeties, I vote we end this madness now.  Who’s with me?  Stop Klicking (;) on links leading us to the latest in celebrity drivel.  Turn off the telly at 6 and 10 PM. Read a book.   Listen to an entertaining podcast while you’re driving. Turn on some good music (Dean Martin comes to mind), pour a glass of wine, and find someone interesting to talk to (they may very well live in your house, but you haven’t noticed because you’re too busy pressing your face to a screen absorbing the latest headlines).  Call a friend.  Sit and stare into space.  I don’t really care what you do provided it’s safe and legal.  My point is, let’s band together, get real, give our attention where it’s needed, and start enjoying ourselves.  It certainly won’t garner a reporter’s attention, but that’s a good thing, don’t you think?" id="WL614">dreamhost coupons

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Have a Kitchen Because It Came With the House

I don’t give a damn about broccoli, and I feel the same way about certain spatulas.  Only chumps sift flour, and if you think I’m spending one precious moment of my time carving rosebuds out of radishes, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of hurt.
Don’t get me wrong, Sweeties, for I do enjoy spending time in my kitchen, especially when I’m not cooking.  Truthfully though, I do like preparing meals, particularly if they’re a) relatively healthy, and b) extremely easy.  I used to tell everyone (and by everyone, I mean me, myself, and I) that I simply didn’t have time to learn all the fancy-schmancy nuances that come along with creating a stunning and satisfying meal.  That’s a lie, however, and I’ll own it.  I’ve got time, but I simply prefer to spend it in other ways (napping, devising effective-but-humane devices for warding off squirrels, etc.)
Mr. Newman and I have been on a juicing/smoothie kick lately.  Like a fine meatloaf, you can put anything in a smoothie and it will turn out okay.  The Mister is a little more particular than I, however.    My ‘Green Goodness’ concoction was met with a look of disgust I hope to never witness again, along with an inquiry about the deal I struck with the yard man following a full day of mowing.  Mr. Newman will rue the day he mocked my super food efforts, once he notices my line-free face, svelte figure, and shiny hair.  My energy shall be boundless, too.  At least that’s what the dirty hippie who gave me the recipe promised. 
Many evenings we work, which doesn’t allow us the opportunity to sit down together and enjoy a full meal.  Juicing is a great way to get that end-of-the-day, much-needed sustenance.  Have you ever tried to suck a sandwich through a straw?  It can’t be done.  Liquid meals are fast, and there isn’t much clean-up afterward.
I sometimes think society puts too much emphasis on food.  I can always find something to eat – just ask my neighbor, whose oranges mysteriously disappear from her tree on a regular basis.  I commend those who can whip up a seven-course meal at the drop of the hat.  I wish I had that sort of enthusiasm, but I don’t.   No one in my house is starving, so I suppose that it’s alright.
Green Goodness Smoothie:
½ cucumber
2 stalks celery
4 leaves of Kale
Parsley (to taste)
Lemon Juice (to taste)
One small apple
Blend until smooth (duh)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Teach 'Em What They Don't Know How

Sitting in a meeting with high school educators and community leaders the other day, the topic of life skills arose.  On one side, we had several who expressed dissatisfaction because too many young people, according to them, didn’t have any.  Some blamed the system, while others blamed parents.  I kept my mouth shut, for I really didn’t have a dog in this fight, and it was getting close to 5pm.  On a Monday.  Following a nice long weekend at the beach.  Remind me never to schedule a work thing the day I return from a vacation.  Anyway, getting back to the point of pointing fingers, I silently played for both teams on the issue.

As someone who’s worked in education now for almost twenty years (egad!), I’ve noticed a slight downward movement within classrooms.  There’s an awful lot of apathy amongst many educators, for myriad reasons, I’m sure:  the pressure of teaching to standardized tests, the fear of calling a kid out on bad behavior for fear of a lawsuit, the anxiety that comes with underfunded schools that have cut the arts in order to beef up security.  It’s a long list, and I empathize with the good teachers who are still out there swinging, trying to make a difference.  I say good teachers, because there are an awful lot of bad ones simply making time.  You’d think that the hoops one must jump through in order to land a job teaching would cut out the riff raff, but they don’t. 

With that kind of pressure, it’s no wonder teachers can’t schedule a lesson or two on good manners.  You know, to reinforce what’s being taught at home?

Oh, yeah, that’s right – so little of it is taught at home these days, according to others attending the meeting. I agreed with them on several – not all – points.

We have, unfortunately lost the art of thank you notes.  Looking an adult in the eye and speaking to her is long gone, too, as is the good old-fashioned handshake.  Sure, every young person I know can show me how to close the apps on my phone properly, but ask them to set the table and they’re lost.   They can communicate up a storm via text, but try to talk to them one-on-one and see where that might get you.

Other complaints from the meeting included the following:

Give a kid $20 for a $12.99 item, and he can’t make change without a calculator (neither can I, I thought)

They’re too busy looking at their phones to interact with anyone (I do that on occasion, but only when surrounded by idiots and thumping bores)

They can’t eyeball measurements for recipes (that’s why God gave us measuring cups, lady).

They can’t figure the circumference of a room (Mister, is this really keeping you awake at night? Really?)

Their music is too loud (my parents voiced the same complaint against me in the 80’s …this is a generational thing, and had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.  This was merely some yahoo desperate to throw in, unaware that I had a pile of laundry and a glass of wine to get home to.  Jerk.)

Sure, I’d like to see young people better behaved, and I’m happy to report that I personally know a number of young people who do understand the importance of saying and doing the right thing. They may not know how to make change or convert measurements, but those sorts of things don’t matter in my world.  Sure, their mannerly efforts may not be implemented with the greatest finesse, but at least they’re trying.  Some of them have fantastic support from their homes and their schools, while others do not.  I truly believe it’s a crapshoot as to who will make it and who won’t.  The ones who are making it seem to share a couple of common traits, though:   the right attitude and the desire to succeed. 

Perhaps if we recognized them a little more, and turned a blind eye to the others, things might actually turn out okay for us all.  Additionally, if we offered better examples of courtesy and how to host snazzy, classy parties, we might not have to say to them, “This is how you do it.”  They’re smart, these young people, and incredibly savvy.  They’d figure it out, eventually, I’m sure.