T.V. Fails

Every time, and I mean every time (because it seems I don’t learn), I’m running through the t.v. guide a bit too quickly and I happen to catch a glimpse of “Keeping up…,” my nerdy, British-t.v. loving brain races with joy for the briefest little moment until, with utter and complete disappointment, I finish reading “…with the Kardashians.”

 

click photo for link to show bloopers -- sooo worth it

click photo for link to Keeping up Appearances bloopers — sooo worth it

Small Town Problems

So you may or may not have heard of the Village of Whitesboro, New York. But there’s been a heated controversy going on up there that rivals the skills of talented sitcom writers everywhere. Okay, maybe not everywhere. But definitely one specific set of sitcom writers.  I mean, the Parks and Rec crew couldn’t have come up with a better storyline if they tried.

It all centers around a town seal. No, not the horn blowing, smart as anything, cute as a button, yet can be a ferocious predator so stay away from them seals. But rather, a town seal. The kind towns put on their letterhead, their Town Hall, their police cars, their memorabilia, and everything else they widely share in order to let the world know just what kind of people live in their little town. Yeah. That kind of seal.

What could cause such controversy you ask? How could a (normally) boring town seal be such a problem? Well, this particular seal, because Whitesboro didn’t want some lame old seal no one would notice, depicts a white man strangling a Native American “friendly” wrestling match that the town founder, Hugh White, had with the Chief of the Oneida people way back in the day. This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, but seriously, who is going to research all of this history when looking at the seal? First impressions, people.  First. Impressions.

And, believe it or not, this is not Pawnee, Indiana as one would expect from the sheer outrageousness of it all. With everything going on, it sure seems like an issue Leslie Knope would find herself valiantly battling, albeit most likely failing, in her small, less than enlightened, town. But unfortunately not. This is real, it’s happening, and it’s the truth of today. Unable to decide for themselves, or you know, do their jobs, the authorities of the town decided to put the decision, of either keeping or redesigning the seal, up to a vote among the citizens.  Who would have guessed that this is how it would end up?

I found it extremely interesting (cause I’m a nerd and do research and find odd things interesting) that what the town is so proud of that they had to go and put it on a seal to begin with is based on a cheat. From their OWN story, as told on their OWN website, it would appear their founder cheated his way to victory on that fateful wrestling day.

From the town’s website:

“He accepted the challenge, took hold of the Indian and by a fortunate trip, succeeded almost instantly in throwing him. As he saw him falling, in order to prevent another challenge, he fell upon the Indian for an instant and it was some moments before he could rise.”

A fortunate trip indeed.  And fearful of a challenge that he knew he would most likely lose, the founder did what any self-respecting politician would do. He took advantage of the situation for his own personal gain. IF this is even close to the truth. Reality may be even less kind to ol’ Hugh White. Nevertheless, good Hugh came out a hero, forever immortalized on a seal for the ages.

And he will be immortalized for the ages, because the town has decided to keep this seal.  When this news story first broke, I thought to myself, it’s okay, the town will surely turn out in droves and vote this ridiculous seal into oblivion. I mean, one would hope that the town could get their act together and vote for one of the many lovely, artistic options that were being offered up as an alternative. I mean, c’mon people. No one wants to see a real life Pawnee in the world. Right?  Right!?

But alas, I was wrong, as I am so often wrong in these matters.  Just 200 steadfast individuals out of the entire 3,000 Whitesboro citizenry bothered to show up on voting day. And their voices were heard loud and clear.

Changing the seal to something that would show their town in a positive light – something their town could be truly proud of – was apparently just not an option for them.

 

Whitesboro Seal

Guess that Song

If you read my blog regularly, then you know that I’ve written before about my love for different types of music. You may also know that I am not in the least bit ashamed to admit (okay, well, a little bit maybe) that I like my daughter’s music. Although, I do try to keep my dancing in the car to only a slightly embarrassing level. I’ve also written about the great use of soundtracks these days, and how they are instilling in my children (in I hope all children), a love of some of the best music ever released…even if it is creating some confusion in my own music loving head.

I feel like I must revisit this subject because I’ve come to the realization that while I can apparently remember the lyrics to pretty much every song ever written, I can’t remember the titles to those same songs! What I CAN remember is which soundtrack each song comes from because, as you know, all the best songs are found on soundtracks these days. I would feel bad about not being able to remember the titles, but in my own defense, neither can my daughter, and since she is younger, my memory should be worse than hers, right?

So, as we head down the road, running errands or simply on a road trip to wherever, and we’re looking for music that suits the mood, we (okay, it’s more often I as in me) play the game of “guess the song I want to listen to.”

For instance, I’ll say, “hey, play that song from that scene in Guardians of the Galaxy where Peter Quill is zooming back to join them as they make their getaway…you know the one. No, no, no! Play the song from the opening, I LOVE that one! The one where Peter Quill gyrates his hips! And uses the poor little lizard thingy as a microphone. That’s a good one!”

Or “put in that audition song from Pitch Perfect, the one I can’t sing right…you know the one.”

Or “how about that song from the commercial with the actress that used to be in Life with Damien Lewis, love his red hair!, but then she was a lawyer in her own show called Fairly Legal, which is a shame it didn’t last that long, it was a decent show, and the song was on the radio like all the time only I can never remember the name of it…” This is the part where my oh-so-patient daughter always sighs and reminds me that it’s Stronger by Kelly Clarkson because she hears that whole spiel from me so often.

 Or, “I know! Play that song that’s in Delivery Man. NOT the one by Imagine Dragons that starts out like the song in Delivery Man and fools us into thinking it’s the right one, but the actual song from Delivery Man.”

It’s like a game of charades, but it’s guess the soundtrack instead. Maybe we could call it sound-rades? Or maybe track-rades…? I think I like song-rades.

Parenting Styles

Not exactly the best parenting technique in the world, but I’ve never been one to be able to contain my sense of humor…and it’s very difficult to give a stern lecture or punishment when you’re giggling or outright laughing at something your children have done or said. Worse yet, when it involves the very kind of sarcasm that so often falls out of your very own mouth and so you “get it.” Even worse yet is when you hear said sarcasm repeated to you via an authority figure such as a principal or teacher or other parent during a meeting to discuss the troublemaker (aka your intelligently witty impertinent child) and you have to suck it up and be a “responsible parent” until you can get to the car where you can finally, and with relief, let out the laughter or have that vehement shaking of the head moment (not at the child mind you, but at whomever the sarcasm had been directed to) that has been bubbling to the surface the entire time.

Parenting is tough.  Ugh.

golden rule

 

 

Dark Musings

On May 14, 1998, the Seinfeld show aired its last episode.

This was seventeen years ago, but the plot of the show was incredibly perceptive, both of the characters and society as a whole. And as it turns out – prophetic.

In this episode the four main characters of Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George are spending a few hours in a tiny town in Massachusetts. They witness a mugging from an opposite street corner. Instead of trying to stop it, they simply watch and make jokes because the victim is extremely overweight. In addition, Kramer starts to film the mugging with a camcorder. Then they simply turn and walk away from the scene, completely unconcerned with the fate of the victim.

I have to say that when I watched this episode, my feelings for the foursome changed drastically from like to dislike. I’ve never felt the same about the show since. I mean they were always self-absorbed, one and all, but good grief.

So in the finale (should I say spoiler alert for a show that aired 17 years ago??), the four of them are arrested for violating a “duty to rescue” law (which I don’t think actually exists because really, if it did, our jails would be overflowing even more than they are now) and the rest of the two-part show consists of clips from past episodes showing the utter lack of compassion and empathy that these four friends have shown to the people they’ve interacted with during the ten years of the Seinfeld series’ run. Spoiler alert (ha!). They were found guilty and the karma they had been racking up for the past nine seasons came back to bite them in the ass and they wound up in jail.

Fast forward to today.

There are people today who actually do this – witness a crime or a tragedy and not only do nothing about it but actually whip out their cellphones to record it! Or in the case of the recent fire in Dubai, take a selfie in front of said tragedy (before possibly being able to know if deaths are involved or not).

Go to YouTube and you’ll see thousands of videos like this. Someone getting beat up in a fast food restaurant or on a bus or something of that nature (usually in a big city) and instead of trying to stop it, a bystander films it and uploads it to YouTube. It would be one thing if they filmed it in order to help in the prosecution of the criminal involved, but I think their main reason to film it is to put it on YouTube or their Facebook account! Take this guy for example. He saw a car crash, and since helping is for suckers, he naturally just broke into the smashed up vehicle to record the two dying kids to post on his Facebook page instead and oh, hey, wait…maybe there’s some money to be made here… so according to police, he tried to peddle the recording to news stations.

Seinfeld had an uncanny knack for mirroring society right back at you through the t.v. screen, they just made it funny. In real life it’s not quite so amusing.

We wonder why some people, especially young people, have no empathy or why situations such as rape or bullying might get videotaped but not reported (or god forbid, stopped) as its taking place. I mean, it’s no exaggeration to say the first thought of the majority of the crowd is not, “let’s stop this,” but rather, “hey, did you get that!?” or “whoa, are you getting this!?”  Of course meaning on one’s phone.

I think it’s because our society has created – and is constantly creating – voyeurs and people who are just completely immune to or simply don’t care about tragedy or violence, even when it’s right in front of them. There seems to be little respect for, well…anything anymore. People are taking playful selfies at Auschwitz these days for goodness sake. I hear it’s a “thing.”

I don’t know what the solution is. Stronger laws and more repercussions for heinous acts such as, oh, I don’t know, squeezing into a mangled car to film dying children up-close just to make a buck, would be a good start. It’s easy to say better parenting is the key, but is that it? Is that all it will take? Life is never that simple. As a society shouldn’t we do something? But really, are we even capable of pulling together as a group to create change? Or should we all just resign ourselves to the fact that the world is destined for that long trip waayy south in a hand basket when all is said and done?