Powers of Observation

November 6, 2011

The next time I go into a crowded coffee shop, I plan to splash some water on the floor, fall on my face, and lie there, counting the hours until someone speaks to me.
And while I’m lying there, I will ponder life’s great obstacles.
Life’s hard. I get it.
Many days, there are absolutely no reasons to smile. Yeah, I’m aware.
But why does that give anyone the license to ignore, body check, and reveal total unconsciousness when a fellow human being is talking?
I used to avoid children. I could tolerate them for about an hour—tops—but after that, get me out of there. I never liked the pressure that I felt from them to be entertaining. Kids just want adults to play games and make them laugh.
I can’t take the expectations. I’m not that kind of girl!
But my stance is changing as my adult interactions increase with the passing years.
Children possess a love of life and innocence that pretty much disappears by age 16, and, for most, it does not return.
And that’s not surprising. As we age, we deal with health problems, economic pressures, and failed relationships; disillusionment with life replaces our starry-eyed youthful hopes.
Even if we manage to maintain a level of sunny-ness into adulthood, it is constantly under attack by everyone who resides permanently under a dark, thunder-y raincloud.
It’s a wonder the whole world hasn’t already imploded.
Maybe that’s because we have not bothered to notice that everyone else is as miserable as we are.
I think Gaga has it right. She has obviously cracked the secret code that dressing loudly brings the same effect as yelling, but with more respect. Her outfits mirror childlike tantrums in department stores. Try as you might, ignoring is not an option.
I am still working on attaining the level of personal esteem it requires to don a meat dress or a bubble bodysuit.
So, until I do, Grumpy Man hovering in front of the napkin dispenser, oblivious to the 20 people with spilled coffee desirous of a linen, and Entitled 10-year-old Cheerleader in booty shorts and Uggs in desperate need of a healthy parental figure, I know you know I’m here. But until you gain the maturity to acknowledge me, I will continue my personal pep talks. And remind myself that with my powers of intuitiveness comes increased knowledge of human failings.
Just call me Observergirl.
I’ll work on the name.

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after the wedding cake

January 27, 2011

A wedding signifies the beginning of a new life. Something very deserving of celebration. Very similar to the birth of a child–a day filled with excitement and expectation of the future life of this new human.

A wedding is a symbol and celebration of another new life—the coming together of two people to create one, united existence. The result can be beautiful. Or not so much.

But whichever result the union brings, one ingredient that has arguably zero say in the final outcome is the wedding day.

The wedding day is supposed to be a never-to-be-repeated, joyous day, but I repeat, the wedding does not a life make.

How many times I have heard a woman say that she just can’t wait for her wedding, or, even more so, for the moment when the doors open and everyone turns and gazes upon her beauty thanks to her breathtaking gown that caused her parents to take out a third mortgage on their home.

Possibly, for many women, this feels like the only day where all eyes will be on them. People will think only of her. And the wedding is all about the bride. Grooms can attest to that.

But, frankly, the only person to really and truly enforce this rule is the couple–and maybe just the bride, depending on the groom’s constitution.

I overheard a woman discussing a current reality show in which soon-to-be brides compete to win a dream wedding. Each episode has a challenge and a subsequent challenge winner who, as her prize, receives a cosmetic surgery of her choice so she can look just like Barbie on her wedding day. Did Heidi Montag design this perverted horror story masquerading as a light-hearted contest?

It sounds like the love child of Extreme Makeover and A Wedding Story with a sizeable implant from The Real Housewives of Orange County.

There are just no words.

Except for the comment from my chatty tablemate. She described this embarrassing and degrading parade as “neat.”

Sounds like a phrase from her era–something the Beave would say. But I don’t think Mrs. Cleaver would agree with Bridalplasty nor with the moral code of the a-moral execs who decided over strippers and beer to air this pathetic excuse for entertainment.

the tale of the moneymakers

November 25, 2010

Let’s admit it. Nothing anyone says is original anymore. “There is nothing new under the sun,” as the old addage goes.

Tired storylines are recycled again and again. (The farther I go back in my search for good movies, the more I find that to be true.) Hair and clothing styles of earlier decades return for seconds. Musical arrangements and beats fade in and out of popularity.

Yes, barring the constant progression and innovation of science and technology, even the general human being finds him/herself at a loss for an original thought many times.

And yet, what I find most astounding is how any person of seeming prominence can utter a commonplace statement, such as I really appreciate that the grass is green, and the whole world stops and stares. It could be, I suppose, that everyone is gaping in amazement at this person’s ability to put together a complete sentence. Or maybe they are thinking, Wow, I never thought about that! Either way, the fact remains that the statement couldn’t be less imaginative; I’m sure the homeless people who spend their summer evenings sprawled out on the lawn have shared similar sentiments. As have the retirees admiring the landscape as they fly in from a weekend with the grandchildren. But, being that the person saying it brings in $50 million a year or “has the voice of an angel,” nothing they say is ever questioned.

Garth Brooks commented on a talk show that he talked to his daughters about boys recently. Oh, hold on. Take a breath here, Garth, while your host and audience share a rip-roaring laugh. Because who in the world ever knew that celebrities talk to their kids? And about boys?! I mean, that’s so average.

Once the talk show host recovered from her starstruck astonishment, Garth proceeded to take us word-by-word through his conversation. And there wasn’t a breath to be heard in all the studio.

Please, let me hear Garth’s girl-power statements about being true to yourself and not giving it up. Because, after all, this is completely new information.

And he certainly is an authority on the matter. I mean, he’s a musician.

My inevitable conclusion: Maybe when the world stops treating celebrities, and anyone touting an over-seven-figure income, as if they are gods, then they will be forced to use their brains.

Oh Oprah

November 5, 2010

Variety is the spice of life. If I don’t vary my writing topics, what kind of journalist would I be?

I know this. And I try. Really, I do.

My rantings about the current landscape of television sludge, the absolute chaos that makes up the celebrity world and our society’s obsession with beanpole women–I try to keep these to a minimum. There’s an enormously vast landscape of information still to uncover, and yet I find my struggle to be somewhat in vain.

I make every effort to look the other way, to ignore the stupidity, to focus on the bigger picture. And then I make one false step. I turn the TV on for five minutes, shielding my eyes (and ears) as I quickly flip to a station airing a “personally approved” show with actual entertainment value. But, alas, it seems I am never quick enough.

Today, it was the Oprah Winfrey Show.

I think this personage tops the list of people in need of a reality check.

Maybe after 24 years on television and with the level of fame she’s received, her reality has become a tad skewed. Because, what viewers, in their right mind, willingly submit to an hour of blatant home videos of Oprah and Gayle what’s-her-name attempting to camp? (Really realistic, might I add. That whole roughing-it, surviving-on-your-own storyline. Yeah, that survival element kinda disapates with the appearance of the camera crew and the invisible assistant who we know is waiting on the sidelines with a bottle of water and a masseuse.)

Does fame make a person that delusional? I guess the difference is that most celebrities, while knowing that people will watch whatever crap they put out on the tube, do not have the easy access to do it. Oprah, however, does in fact rule the world. Her 80 million delirious fans will tell you that.

I keep dreading the inevitable–which is, if I ever want to really understand her appeal, I must do the unthinkable. Watch her show. I have tried before and almost made it through a full hour, but my nausea got the better of me. I fear I will continue to roam the earth without the life-changing understanding of Oprah’s powers.

Fortunately for me, her reign has about ended. But you can bet, before it’s all over, her audience members will traipse off with new homes, Africa will be cured of AIDS and poverty will be a thing of the past.

At least, that’s what her female army expects.

malleable trick-or-treaters

November 1, 2010

It just isn’t Halloween without a few smashed pumpkins in the street.

Two grown adults walked into a Starbucks days before Halloween dressed as a mummy and a grim reaper. Children lined the streets of Brookside and downtown Tulsa on Saturday as ballerinas and devils in order to hear “Awwww how sweet” and to add to their cavities. Maybe Tulsa should host more events featuring free candy and decorated children. That should give a boost to our downtown.

After all, Halloween is just about make believe and fun.

So says the witch hanging from a rope next door and the gravestones and skeletons haunting the yards one street over. It’s natural to feel fearful and repulsed by these images. Observe any child going through their first Halloween. It’s the much wiser, celebrating adults that say it’s normal. Torture, hauntings, murder, glorification of death. And I’m weird if I don’t like these things?

Remind me again, why do we smash pumpkins and vandalize on this ancient holiday? Is it our way of rebelling against societal norms in a “safe,” non-illegal way? Do children find it thrilling? Is it their first act of vandalism on their way to a life of law obstruction?

Yes, Halloween obviously is a very harmless day of celebration. Don’t worry about the meaning behind the day or the images glorified by celebrities, religion, the average Joe down the street.

There’s nothing creepy about children and adults garnishing knives, dripping blood–er, I mean, ketchup, wearing demon masks, pretending to be zombies.

On any other day of the year, we would hear, “Hide the children!,” but on this special day they say, “Bring on the impressionable kiddos.”

Major Television Vomit

September 14, 2010

I had another subject all lined up for my blog today, but, in tribute to the VMA aftermath, I will lay that subject aside for now, and focus on what’s on the minds of most young America tonight.

I never listen to the radio; I prefer to spend time with musicians with actual, ahem, talent –Elton John, Billy Joel, The Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, to name a few.

Of course, all good music has not been lost. There are many present bands who have not yet been conquered with million-dollar deals to exploit their sexuality and flaunt their drug excesses all in the name of music. They endeavor to follow in the gifted footsteps of artists of the past rather than rely on showy outfits and lasers to distract from their abismal melodies and horrific lyrical choices.

Now, you’re probably thinking, hold on a minute; all of these “talented musicians” exploited their sexuality and drug excesses. In fact, many lived very short lives because of it. And yes, you are right. However, I would argue that most of them did not become famous for these qualities. It was their musical talent that skyrocketed them first. Now, take a look at today, and compare.

These things said: it’s extremely obvious that I’m out of touch with mainstream pop of today. I know it, and I’m unspeakably grateful. But I didn’t realize just how much that was true . . . until the VMA’s, of course.

I only recognized about a third of the “artists”–if you can call them that.

I can safely assert that there was not one moment from the show that would persuade me to spend any of my time or money on any of them.

I ask, what did these people do to become famous?

Jersey Shore? Are you kidding me?

These kids are rich and adored thanks to their glorification of their white trashiness. They get drunk, fight, cuss, sleep around, don’t work, can’t string two intelligent sentences together, and look like they just walked out of a greasers gang from the ’60s. I mean, am I really seeing this?

Sigh. Yep.

And they’re not the only disgusting excuses for human beings. They may just be the most visible.

I’m not gonna touch Lady Gaga because words can’t even come close to what I feel for her. And besides that, her fans are almost as crazy as she is. I’m afraid one of them would knife me in the night.

I just have one word for her: blink. It’s okay. We all do it.

And Kesha? Her outfit was so laughable, I couldn’t look at her straight on. The garbage bag dress was really not that bad; it was more the hair and the feathers. I mean, just calm. it. down.

And of course, there’s more where that came from.

Did you catch Will.i.am and Nikki Minaj’s performance? I wonder how I can get her hair? So pink and spacelike. Reminded me of a jelly bean. That would have made a nice finale, have someone fly down and eat her hair, maybe even her whole head. Very Gaga-esque. I’m surprised MTV didn’t think of that. They were probably too busy trying to coerce Kanye and Taylor to duke it out in jello on stage.

For me, though, what made this night the most difficult to bear is what I noticed in the performers underneath the costumes. Nothing. Total emptiness. Blank expressions. No ability to speak their mind–only the mind of the collective public, who, after all, determine whether they succeed or fail.

They are solely concerned with what will be big tomorrow, where they rank, and how they can be more famous than the person next to them–and if that means showing their breasts and talking about their favorite sexual position, it’s all in a day’s work.

At the gym this morning, I glanced at the television to see two men on Fox & Friends interviewing three Victoria’s Secret models in all of their luscious glory.

I’m sure those two had some mighty fights on their hands in order to receive those coveted interviewing chairs.

And, I’d like to interject that the topic was completely male appropriate.

Apparently Victoria’s Secret is unveiling a new bra . . . .
Yes, you heard me right: the PhD genuises at a top news organization decided that its viewers’ time would be best spent listening to two googly-eyed males ask three beautiful, but not the greatest at intelligent talk, women about cup sizes, adjustable straps and adequate support.

Are you kidding me?

No, sadly Fox & Friends was not kidding, and neither am I.

Maybe Fox researchers decided that America has had enough political, environmental, military and terrorist discussions to last us till 2020, so let’s add in a little fluff fun for the masses.

And, if that was their thought, they’re right to a certain extent.

Let’s not forget too that Fox & Friends is far from the most highly respected nor reliable source of news information. And they don’t tout themselves as such–for the most part. So I guess that merits them some acknowledgement.

However, that does not in some way allow them license to use a somewhat-credentialed national news service in order to make a mockery of the American people.

But, then again, I guess that’s never stopped them before.

And, frankly, if I were from a foreign nation,–oh, how I wish I was–and I ran across that broadcast, I would cackle all week long about the laughableness that has become our nation.

relative entitlement

June 23, 2010

The woman said she didn’t “want to throw around numbers” before confiding in us that her car cost more than $90,000.

And all I could think about was how much it costs her to get her oil changed.

Now, if you’re willing to spend the same amount of money on your vehicle as you would on a small house, you can probably afford routine maintenance on your car. At least, let’s hope you can, because those bills could otherwise leave you with quite a tummy ache.

It’s not for me to say how much an individual should spend on anything. We all make money and can spend it how we please.

But could the flaunting, rich people please keep their upturned noses and heavily-perfumed, entitled bodies turned in the opposite direction of me?

Entitlement doesn’t have to be bad. We all have things that we feel we deserve. We all have things that we may grow up having. But there’s a very fine and definite line between having and deserving that the rich do not always comprehend. Need we discuss the countless monarchies, past and present, who would rather watch their people go hungry than give up their frivolous luxuries in order to feed them? Or the many Wall Street executives who continue to bank outrageous bonuses while their clients lose everything they have.

That’s not to say that the less-fortunate people don’t feel entitled as well. Using the system, loop-holing the Man, pumping out child after sad, unfortunate child just to have their fellow Americans support them.

Pride in a day’s work is long gone. It went out the window with trust, decency, humanity, compassion, to name a few.

I read an inspiring quote the other day that said to “look for the humanity in every person you meet.”

Well, I’m trying, but I gotta tell ya, I think I need a new assignment.

Humanity seems to have disappeared with the advent of the Internet. And what replaced it is violence, pornography, self-obsession and deceit. The key elements to a truly successful society. A glance at the world scene surely reveals how far our society has advanced and how much closer we are to world peace and harmony than ever before. At least, that’s what our warring nations would have us believe.

kill the writer

May 22, 2010

I’m trying to be more observant. Paying better attention to my surroundings and the people around me. Even to what I hear on tv. Once I started doing that, I vetoed every show I’ve ever watched.

First, I felt shock and abhorrence. Then, after those emotions came an action. Laughter. It’s no wonder we have so many programs mocking the embarrassment that is cable television. That’s the kind of laughter I’m talking about. Mocking disbelief laughter. The way someone might laugh at the ridiculous woman who honks at the old man in front of her, in a drive thru line, because he’s not putting his car into Drive fast enough–that pitying, I Can’t Believe This Is Happening Right Now, kind of laugh.

We all know the shows. They’re similar to people. Vapid and self-obsessed; repeating the same problems week after week. Never knowing when to change or just to stop talking about it. Case in point, The Hills, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, Two and a Half Men, and all talk shows, where hosts try to keep audiences interested week after week, whether it’s with the aid of a dog in a tutu or a prank call to the hospital. Hilarious! Or, of course, the talk shows that try to hit us right in the gut by interviewing real-life people, “just like me.” Because I know that all I want in my day is more stories about the hardships of life. I especially enjoy Dr. Phil who spouts off every proverb ever found in a fortune cookie but in nice hickish drawl so no one will notice.

Just as a recent example, I’ll quote The Hills. Need I say more?

-I just want her to be happy.
-Screw that. I don’t want her to be happy. I, like, want her to be normal again.

(Yes, your idea of normalcy is totally on point.)

-I’ve never had to deal with people losing their minds when it’s not due to some kind of substance.

(Well that’s a relief. You sound like you know some really great people.)

sex kitten at 17

May 16, 2010

I don’t know what else there is to say about pop culture and its love of 12 year olds and obsession with manipulating them into sex-crazed 16 year olds with heroin addictions and STDs and then subsequent pleasure in cackling over their utter destruction: multiple rehab stints, abuses, addictions, divorces, sex tapes, money scandals, all the while aging 20 years before our eyes. (Have you seen Lindsey Lohan lately?)

My tirade comes on the heels of the recent Miley Cyrus happenings.

What would entertainment news do without her? Giving lap dances to a gay man, gyrating with her female dancers, pole dancing for her audiences. Parents of Hannah Montana fans must be so happy that their children have such a stand-up role model.

And all of this success at only 17. I see so many exciting things in her future. Sex tape at 18, alcohol addiction at 19, rehab at 20, abuse allegations at 22, drug addiction at 23, total meltdown at 24, rehab at 25.

Has Britney been secretly tutoring her? Or has she found a way to actually transfer her life into Miley’s body? Because Miley’s not just taking tips from Britney’s steller example; she’s a carbon copy. Only about four years ahead of her. I mean, at 17, Brit was still singing about sunny meadows and flowers. Miley, on the other hand, skipped right to post-virginal Britney.

Well, at least she’s being honest. No lies about chastity. Just pure, raw sexuality for this teenage puppet.

And I can tell you one thing, Billy Ray couldn’t be prouder. His buttons were surely bursting when she slid down that pole just a few feet from him and her mama. And he no doubt approved of the video of her lap dance for Mr. Shankman and saw to its distribution all over the Internet. After all, according to him, all 17-year-old girls enjoy a little stripper pole, or lap dance, once in a while.

Needless to say, if you’re a 17-year-old girl and you’re not engaging in these activities, you better get on the bandwagon. Because with a name like Billy Ray and a daughter like Miley, how could he be wrong–or a completely inept parental figure at that?

Just remember his hit song and mullet from 20 years back. That should reinstate his respect.