Tag Archives: entertainment

Social Problems, The Middle, and Popeye’s Chicken

While you’re in school, certain classes, certain lessons, stick with you.  You remember a particular person in history, or a particular formula or math equation, a certain poem you can still recite.  I don’t know why one thing sticks while so many others are forgotten – something about it sparks a flame inside your mind, and it stays lit for years.

One such lesson for me came in a community college course I took called “Social Problems.”  In that class, we studied sociological, economic, political, and environmental issues that we face, some of us daily.  I had a great professor, and I think that’s key in lessons sticking with you.  He was intelligent, personable – he was very much “one of us.”  He was young, and cute, come to think of it…maybe that’s why I remember him.  😉

Anyway, the one thing that stuck with me in this class was a film we watched.  In it, this couple, very poor, could not afford to feed their three kids and themselves.  They would periodically give up one or two kids to the foster system, so that they would be taken better care of, so that they could eat.  I thought that was very noble of them…until I found out that both parents were two-pack-a-day smokers.


People struggle.  I can bitch and moan all day that I’m struggling, being unemployed, but I know that others struggle much, much more than I do.  I know that I don’t know what poor is.  I don’t know what struggle is.  I think most people who “struggle” also have no real concept of the word.

The Middle


ABC’s The Middle is about a middle class family in the Midwest.  It’s a cute little show, with the working parents, the academically challenged child, the socially awkward child, and the bright but quirky child.  They are the typical middle-class family, struggling to raise good kids, keep their marriage together, pay bills, work their jobs, and get dinner on the table.

In this week’s episode, the mother accidentally buys a $200 jar of eye cream, thinking it cost $20, which she already thought of as exorbitant.  She knows her husband will be upset, and he is, but, we find out, not because she made the mistake she made.  He’s upset because a $200 mistake means they both have to take a second job.  He’s upset because he doesn’t want to be in a position where that small of an amount, $200, makes that big of a difference to their finances.  He thinks they should be old enough, have learned enough and saved enough and be making enough, that $200 isn’t a big deal.

It was a great episode, and I think a lot of people, especially these days, are in the same boat, where a $200 mistake is a big deal.

But here’s where I tie all this together:  Being the “typical middle class family,” their dinner regularly consists of fast food.  The mother very rarely cooks, because, like the typical middle class mother, she doesn’t have the time or energy after a long day of work.  And I just flash back to that video of the smoking parents, and I think, Maybe if you didn’t buy fast food all the time, a $200 mistake wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

Of course, the fact that they were eating Popeye’s Chicken at the end of this episode, making me incredibly jealous because I can’t get Popeye’s Chicken where I live, has nothing to do with my angst.  🙂

The Amazing Race, Episode 8

5 teams remain.  Who will be eliminated…NEXT?

Stockholm, Sweden.  Birthplace of “Super Group Abba.” 

Off to Estonia.  Huh – I don’t know much about Estonia.  There’s a “Brotherhood of the Blackheads” there.  Now you know.  And the two hour head start the globetrotters had are completely negated by a 12 hour wait for a ferry.  Yikes.  And a 16 hour ferry trip.  Double Yikes!

Roadblock:  (I hate it when they describe the roadblock before giving the “hint” that the racers get.  How am I supposed to say who would take it if we were on the race?  “Who can solve a menial mystery?”  I need to do a roadblock, so I’ll do it.

The Brotherhood of the Blackheads is a secret society of merchants that has existed for at least 600 years.  The roadblock person must descend to the cellar, find a candelabra, find a room, and find the invisible clue on a scroll. 

Gary & Matt need to do a speed bump – but they’re not super far behind anyone, so it’s not that bad.  And they need to take a 5 minute sauna.  Kind of a silly speed bump, I think.  Although – a sauna bus?  Is that kind of like a relaxi-taxi?  And Matt was sitting next to this beautiful woman, dressed in nothing but a towel.  I think he enjoyed it a little.

And then…Matt doesn’t know what a candelabra is.  Ah, he’s pretty.

Detour:  Serve or Sling.  In Serve, teams play volleyball in a bog.  In Sling, teams use a sling shot to fire veggies at a target.  Hmm – I think Sling.

Poor Matt & Gary – it’s just one mistake after another.  I dont have high hopes.

For some reason, the brothers had their groin areas blurred out – are they flashing everyone????  One brother was wearing his boxer briefs, so I could see if maybe there was a peek through the hole.  But the other brother was wearing khaki shorts!  Seriously, what were they blurring?!

Okay the Globetrotters were getting on my nerves all episode, and it was getting worse and worse.  Then “Elbow-Gate” happened.  The brothers were running for the pit stop.  The Globetrotters were behind them.  They were on this boardwalk, and the Globetrotters tried to outrun the brothers, and something happened where one of the Globetrotters and one of the brothers went down.  The Globetrotter said the brother threw an elbow.  The brother said he didn’t.  I watched it in slo-mo, and I gotta say – I don’t see an elbow.  Then the bigger Globetrotter says, “I’m 6’10”, 260, so….”  Kind of sounds like a threat.  I don’t like it. 

Father and Son are eliminated, thanks to a lot of mistakes, I think.  I don’t think the speed bump did anything, as there was still a team at the Roadblock when they got there.  They could have pulled it out.  And Matt will never forget what a candelabra is, ever again.

Next week, on TAR – Prague!  And the beauty queen is going for the jugular!

The Amazing Race, Episode 3

A late start to the show tonight, thanks to a football game.  But that’s why I set my Tivo to keep recording for an extra hour. 🙂

We start out in Ho Chi Minh City, with the Globetrotters in first place.  And we’re off to…Cambodia.

So, all teams leave within an hour of each other, before 8pm, and the first flight out is at 12:30 the next day.  That’s quite a wait.

Really kind of loving Justin, who took Zev under his wing at some camp, which makes me think they were somewhat young at the time.  A kid who is willing to be friends with “the wierdo,” as I’m sure Zev was known as, and they are still friends…yeah, kind of crushing on him. 🙂

You know, all this talk about two teams not getting on the first flight, people thinking it would be “nice to have some breathing room”…I’m thinking they’re going to get on the flight.  “We need to be on that plane…it’s a race…it’s very important that we get on the first flight…we need to get on that plane…” DunDunDun – commercial.  (And I’m so glad Miss teen SC can make fun of herself…even though I don’t think she realizes that she is, in fact, making fun of herself.)

Back from commercial.  Oh, look at that!!  Both teams got on the flight!  Whodathunkit?  (Note to the usually fabulous editors – when you pump it up that much, it’s not that big a surprise.)  Oh, and Mr. Roid Rage:  “No cheap win, bitches!”   Yeah, dude, calm the F down.

They get a picture of Jackie O, and several of the teams recognize her.  But then…”It’s definetly Queen Elizabeth.”  “Definitely someone of Cambodian descent, she looked like the people of Cambodia.”  Hmm.  I’ve never thought Jackie O looked Asian…

Detour!!!  Cover or Wrap.  In cover, teams have to sell helmets.  In wrap, they have to find someone in an identical wrap as one they are given.  Well, I think Wrap sounds easier, but often on the race, selling to the locals is amazingly easy.  I think this is a rock, paper, scissors moment for The Pilot and me.

Eeek.  Justin & Zev tell their taxi driver they are looking for a woman wearing that particular scarf, in a way that sounds like they expect him to help look.  I wonder if that’s allowed?  The Globetrotters do it, too.

Roadblock:  Who’s ready to go bananas?  No visual clues…I’ll do it.  Oh, great.  I have to learn to be a monkey.  Fabulous.  The Pilot will laugh at me for MONTHS for this one.  Okay, so, Meghan is doing the monkey task, and Cheyne says, “bend over, yes baby, that’s it, that’s it.”  …I have such a dirty mind.

First team – Zev & Justin.  2nd – Sam & Dan.  3rd – Globetrotters.  But then, Zev finds out he lost his passport, and unless they find it, they will be out of the race.  Off they go to retrace their steps, and they lose they’re first place finish.

Mr. Roid Rage does a roundhouse kick on the way to the mat, for some reason. 

And, of course, my love for Justin at the beginning of the race has doomed them at the end.  The Poker Players arrive last, but get to stay because someone didn’t strap their passport to their ass.  That’s one of the top 10 rules, guys. 

Next time, on The Amazing Race:  Off to Dubai, with a lot of extremes.

The Amazing Race, Episode 2

WHOOO!  Episode 2!

(Update from Episode 1 – I was wrong.  The Pilot would have chosen to go to the hotel to book tickets.  I stand corrected.)

At this point, there’s no one I really (really) dislike.  Which is kind of nice.  And certainly a change.

Ah, so there was a monsoon in Vietnam.  Good to know.  10 teams remain.  Who will be eliminated…next?

The pit stop moved while they were resting – I think that’s a first.  And it doesn’t allow the teams to do any recon, which is interesting.  And did Matt dye his hair pink at the pit stop?  I don’t remember it being pink before.

And another actual clue!!!  It’s not just “go here, do this.”  That’s awesome.  I really wish they did more of that.

Detour:  Child’s Play or Word Play.  I vote Word Play.  I’ll have to check with The Pilot.  Only one team chose it, but they couldn’t figure out to ask someone for help.

Okay, Lance is getting on my nerves.  ‘Roid Rage, anyone?

Roadblock:  Who’s ready for a complete breakdown?  Um…no visual clues about what this might be.  I’m thinking this one is The Pilot’s.  Probably a good thing – you had to breakdown and sort electronics.

Okay, so the Pit Stop is at the Reunification Palace, which is historical in that tanks broke the gates to end the Vietnam War.  And, yet, it seems no one they ask knows where it is.  How is that?  If you’re in DC and ask where the White House is, everyone will know.  What’s up with that?

Thoughts:  Lance tore the VCR apart with his hands without bothering to unscrew the bolts because “it’s the man thing to do.”  Really?  I wonder how far behind the older couple were, and if them not asking for help killed them. 

Still no favorites, but definitely a team I dislike now. Actually, just one person I dislike: Lance.  He cannot leave my TV fast enough.

Who are these people, and why am I supposed to care about them?

The number of reality shows is out of control, and I’m not talking about Survivor and The Bachelor.  I’m talking about the shows on cable, the ones starring people I am supposed to know, but I don’t.

Keeping up with the Kardashians.  Why would I want to?

A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.  Who?  At least I know who the heck Bret Michaels is.

I Love New York. No, actually, I don’t.

Celebrity Fit Club – featuring such HUGE celebrities as Dustin Diamond and Biz Markie.  Oh, and don’t forget the Snapple Lady.

Kimora – isn’t that, like, a mythical creature made of two different animals?

Living Lohan – Watch it just in case Lindsey makes a random guest appearance!

All the reality programming certainly make for good mindless TV.  God knows I get sucked into The Girls Next Door on a regular basis.  But at least I know who Hugh Hefner is.