Thursday, April 11, 2013

Is This as Low as it Goes? I Hope So

I honestly didn't know what a Kardashian was until last year, so I may not be qualified to even discuss this, but the story in the news this morning was the lowest thing I've read in a long time.

A young woman who had been on MTV's "Teen Mom" show, which I also was unaware of, was desperate to extend her 15 minutes of fame. She'd tried singing, and writing a book, and bikini modeling (why not? What's the difference between being a writer and a bikini model?) Didn't work. So she made a sex tape which then "leaked out" on the Internet. She claims she made it for her own personal use, the fact that her partner is a professional porn star notwithstanding.

There was a survey, gosh, it must have been more than a decade ago now, in which teens were asked what their goal in life was. The majority said they wanted to be "famous." Not a famous singer, or a famous lawyer, or a famous artist or even a famous accountant. They didn't say they wanted to be so good at something that it made them famous. They just wanted fame.

And that's why we have today's news about some 21-year-old woman "leaking" a sex tape online so that people will keep talking about her. She didn't even sell the recording, so there would at least have been a monetary reward. All that mattered was to keep people talking about her.

The story was complete with all the tongue-clucking about pop culture reaching a new low. But the worst part of it was this comment from a woman who runs a pornography production business.

“The fact of the matter is a few weeks ago this girl was just some girl on a past season of a reality TV show. She was actually one of the more responsible moms on the show – yes I watch it – which should be a good thing, but unfortunately it made her yesterday’s news really quickly. The more messed up moms on the show, like A**** and J******, are in gossip magazines all the times because they are constantly in and out of rehab or jail or whatever. In any case, everyone is talking about her now. And what is she going to do, get a ‘real job?’ It’s hard to go from being on TV to being a manager at Best Buy.”

Yesterday's news. Horror of horrors! Is that like the worst thing ever? Might as well be dead as to be yesterdays news. In or out of rehab or jail, whatever it takes to keep the camera on you. Makes it sound like Lindsey Lohan is a role model rather than a cautionary tale. Heaven forbid someone should go from being on TV to having a "real job."

There once was a notion that a celebrity was someone who had done something worth celebrating. Now it's just a person people talk about, for whatever reason. Like the late Zsa Zsa Gabor, who as near as I could figure out was only famous for being famous. The definition of a Kardashian. And really, is this that different from the PBs (professional beauties) of the Edwardian era? The human race has never been short of people willing to sell their soul. Now it's a career goal.

From where I sit, being manager of a Best Buy would be kind of a cool job.

Guess I'm getting old. Very very old.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Big Pot of Red

Made some really good chili. I'm a basic chili kinda guy, nothing fancy and no beans. Spicy but not burn-your-head-off hot.

Stew beef, a bottle of beer, an onion, garlic, chili powder, paprika. A little salt. Would have used a red pepper and cumin, but we were out of both. Then just cook it until you can't recognize any of the constituent parts, about six hours. Adding water as needed, but not much. I like my chili thick.

Man it was good. Tori made a pot of beans and rice for those who just have to have beans with their chili, and there were no complaints. It's probably been 25 years since I made a pot of chili, and I wonder why I waited. So easy, just requires attention so that it doesn't burn, and so damn good.

We realized we'd been falling into a rut at dinner time, the same eight or ten things over and over, and decided to change it up. We began a concerted effort to try new things, or things we haven't made in years, and so far no complaints. Tori turned out some fabulous chicken enchiladas a couple of weeks ago – it's probably been three or four years since she made those and they're always good – and a nice beef stew. I have made the chili, and barbecued pork sandwiches. Well, I can't really call it that since I didn't barbecue the meat, but it gives you the idea.

And it's so much less expensive than buying processed foods, or ordering out, and so much better. And the cooking is fun.

Friday has been pizza night at the Baurs almost as long as we've been married. I came home from work about 20 years ago and the kids were all excited, telling me Tori had decreed that "Friday night is pizza night!" These days we make our own, because it's less expensive and way better – everyone gets what they want on the pizza they make. Kate has taken over making the dough and takes a lot of pride in her bread-making prowess. Max grates the cheese, we all chop of the vegetables and whatever else we've got. It's a family thing.

And now Sunday is turning into, "What have we not made in a while?" night. And so far it's working out.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Weather and GPS

Where was I?

Weather – The weather in Oregon was the primary reason we moved in 2008. Cold and wet almost all the time, except for a couple of months in the summer when it was dry and hot, and a couple of glorious weeks in spring and fall. The rest of the time, cold and wet. My dad once pointed out that every time they visited – every single day they spent in Oregon, even in the dry, hot summers, it rained. So in 2008 we moved to the Caribbean. On St. Croix it was always the same weather unless there was an actual hurricane going on – high in the upper 80s, overnight low in the low 70s, "chance of rain, 30 percent," as the voice on the Weather Channel said. Always.

So getting used to the weather here has been challenging. Not that it got particularly cold, but colder than we're used to. Sometimes. In the last few months we've had cold days followed by sunny warm days followed by muggy days followed by light rain or torrential rain. There have been days when we woke up shivering, and by afternoon had the air conditioning running.

The problem isn't with the kind of weather. It's that there's SO MUCH weather.

Visitors and hobbies – A few weeks ago we had a visit from some Oregon friends, Phil and Linda Brown. Ever since Phil retired a couple of years ago they've been traveling. In fact, they spent a week at St. Croix two weeks after we moved away. Bad timing. We could have made their trip a lot more enjoyable.

Anyway, it was nice to see them, catching up on news. They're daughters are doing well. When the girls got into high school Linda missed the kind of things they used to do, she was a Girl Scout leader for them and had really enjoyed it. So she borrowed Kate and Millie a lot. Took 'em on camping trips, running lemonade stands. Lots of stuff like that. They had a good time.

Linda's new hobby is geocaching, so we spent the afternoon – well part of the afternoon, we spent the longest part of it waiting for service at a really disappointing restaurant – walking around the French Quarter fixated on her GPS device. Found three of them. There's a sense of accomplishment when you find some tiny container that someone hid years ago, some as small as the end of your little finger, few larger than an old film canister (remember those?) You sign your name and the date on a little piece of paper and replace it, then go home and log it on the geocache website.

We found one in Pirate Alley, and as Linda was signing it, a group of college students from South Carolina came by, peering at their GPS devices. We told them to wait, turn their backs, and replaced it. We found another across the street from what is reported to be the New Orleans home of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Tori thought it seemed like fun, so it prompted her to learn to use the GPS feature on her new phone. Right now she and Max are out prowling Mike Miley Park, a half block south of here, tracking down several she found on the website. One we had search for last week, but couldn't find it and then it started raining. (See comment above about lots of weather.) She checked again on Google maps, and the site came up exactly where we'd been standing. I mean, when we clicked for the satellite photo I recognized the area instantly. We'd been standing right there. Either it was extremely well hidden or someone had removed it. She and Max will take apart the fence if need be to find it.

UPDATE – They're home, and they found it! Plus had several other adventures.