Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones & Maureen McCormick

If Bad Things Come in 3's....

then I've had my trio for the week.

On Monday afternoon, upon scanning the news headlines after lunch I was astonished to see report of a student in Chardon (about 30 miles away from my hometown) opening fire on his fellow students in a high school cafeteria. In total, there are five victims, 3 dead, 1 just released from the hospital, and another still in serious condition. The student who fired the shots is being held in a juvenile facility, but will likely be tried as an adult, on at least 3 counts of murder (depending on the outcome of the 4th victim).

Although I was shocked and saddened by Columbine and Virginia Tech, it never really hits home until it literally hits home. As the aunt of four nieces and three nephews, two of which attend school probably less than 30 miles from Chardon, and the oldest of which will start high school in the fall, I can't help but fear for their safety every day. The world is a scary place to grow up in these days, and I'm just glad we only had to put up with the occasional bomb scare (like the time where it turned out some of the outdated chemicals in the chem lab were more volatile than the bomb that was never found). My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of both the victims and the shooter.

One final thought - earlier that same day a co-worker and I were having a conversation about how easy it is to buy guns in Ohio, as opposed to Maryland, where it can take up to a couple months. Maybe Ohio ought to toughen up on their laws a bit more. It should be made as difficult to buy a weapon as it is getting a mortgage for a house, and there should be as much paperwork involved too.

On Tuesday my husband called in sick to work after suffering a mild bout of food poisoning. Okay, so that's not anywhere near as dramatic as Monday's events, but it still counts when it disrupts your life and its routines. He's back at work today, but still feeling a bit rough. I also have a coworker still out sick with some sort of a stomach bug too.

Like on Monday after lunch, I was scanning the news headlines while checking my e-mail and saw a news flash that my favorite Monkee, Davy Jones, who was just 66 (which I realize makes him old enough to be my father), died of a heart attack this morning. Not only had I seen him on the short-lived Monkees TV program, I remember the time he made a guest appearance on "The Brady Bunch." I bet Maureen McCormick is probably more distraught by this news than I am. I also recall a couple guest appearances on "My Two Dads" back in the 80's where he played a friend of Joey (one of the dads). I remember him still looking pretty hot while wearing some sort of a gladiator uniform for one of his concerts. I guess there's no hope for a Monkees reunion now (not that there ever was since Mike Nesmith has completely disassociated himself with the other three after his mother invented White Out of Liquid Paper or whatever).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Moments in Television this Week

Rarely does anything ever make me laugh out loud, which is why it was so nice when I came across a couple moments in some of my favorite TV programs this week.

In last week's episode of "Modern Family" Hayley and Alex torture their little brother by dressing him up as a girl the family affectionately calls "Betty Lou." If that's not humiliation enough, when his parents come home and see him like that, they immediately whip out their camera phones and Claire, the mother, tells him to smile because she didn't get a very good picture last time. Phil, the father, says something like, "We've missed you Betty Lou." Okay, so maybe this shouldn't be funny, but I think what amused me was the parents' reaction. I pretty much expected them to scold their daughters for what they did, but instead they seemed to appreciate the fact that they managed to get their little brother into a dress and make-up.

The other thing I found funny this week was a scene in the new program called "Are You There, Chelsea?" based on the books by Chelsea Handler. In the episode, Chelsea and her co-worker, Nikki, and Chelsea's roommate, Dee Dee are on a chartered fishing boat with two gay doctors (whom they don't know are gay). Dee Dee, the resident fishing expert, is in a cabin cutting up their haul while chatting with the young and geeky captain. She pulls a fish out of the cooler and sees it's still flopping around a bit, so she gleefully picks up her small wooden club and whacks it up side its head before slapping it down onto the cutting board to cut up. Okay, so physical humor like that where someone or something has to suffer is perhaps a bit juvenile. What's funny about this scene is that Dee Dee is usually a very mild mannered and somewhat naive young woman. To see her inflict violence on anything doesn't really fit with her character.

Not only did my favorite shows amuse me this week, but they moved me almost to tears once too. In this week's episode of "Parenthood," the character of Max Braverman, an 11 year old with Asperger's makes a new friend. Due to his condition, he hasn't had many, or really, any friends for that matter. While sitting out of gym class one day, he starts talking with his classmate, Micah, who has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair. Even though it's a brief conversation while both play with their Nintendo DSLs, they obviously hit it off, because Max spontaneously invites Micah to come over after school. Both sets of parents meet each other. Micah's parents express their gratitude that Max invited him over since Micah hasn't really had a friend before. Though Max's parents don't really make that same admission out loud, we all know that's what they're thinking and are tearfully grateful for the same reason. How could you not be moved by that?

Friday, February 10, 2012

February blahs

Like most people during this time of year, I've got the blahs. The cold, gray, dreary weather, coupled with an unfulfilling full-time (busy on and off) job (I know I shouldn't complain), and a new hobby (tap dancing)* that takes more practice than I had imagined, have left me feeling drained of motivation to do much outside of planting myself on the couch as soon after dinner as possible.

*My friend recently e-mailed me this: "I had the strangest dream about you last night, I dreamt that everything finally clicked with you about tap dancing and you tap danced your way into the office from your car this morning! It was a fun little dream!"

On a brighter note, sticking to my new minimal dessert resolution and not eating hand-outs at work, I have managed to lose my winter weight. Last I checked I was back down to 115 lbs (which, I have decided, is my goal weight to maintain). Hurrah for sticking to resolutions!

Lately everyone (my sister and friend at work) has been telling me about all these good movies they've seen lately. When asked what the last movie I saw at a theatre was, it was (last month) "We Bought a Zoo." I think the last movie I saw with my husband was "The Descendants" the day after Christmas.

Anyone who knows us knows this is most unusual. We used to go to movies practically every weekend - rain or snow or shine. We were the ones who used to brag to everyone else about the latest movie we just saw. I remember berating a co-worker because she usually preferred to just wait for a movie to be released on dvd before going to see it.

So what happened? Movie prices went up; the couch got more comfortable; we got old, tired, and just lazy perhaps. I do, however, hope to get out at least once this weekend since it's the time of year again when The Gateway Cinema near (OSU) campus shows several Oscar nominated shorts programs (animated, documentaries and live action). We may just see the animated ones as I seem to recall finding some of the others rather boring and/or depressing, and sometimes I nodded off (esp. when seeing more than one program in a day).

This weekend a new series of "The Walking Dead" starts, while in a couple weeks "Downton Abbey" ends its run (until autumn), so we'll go from watching a gentile English period soap opera to a blood and guts zombie piece set in the south. Combine the two and you have Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (yes, an actual book - avail. for $10.36 on

We're slowly planning our trip to Australia for next month. Just need to book a couple hotels up in the Cairns region, and then I think the details are all sorted. Part of me is anxious as I feel I desperately need a vacation right now. The other part of me sort of dreads it as I fear all the creepy crawlies that I hear are South American-sized. Of course shaking out your shoes before putting them on is something we had to do out in Arizona (scorpions), so it shouldn't be a big deal. Also, staying with unfamiliar relatives for a week (when a weekend was just long enough for me previously), doesn't thrill me. At least there will be wine...