Category Archives: entertainment

What Would Susan B. Say: “The Bachelor”


“I would not object to marriage if it were not that women throw away every plan and purpose of their own life, to conform to the plans and purposes of the man’s life. I wonder if it is woman’s real, true nature always to abnegate self.”

- Susan B. Anthony, letter, 1888 (as quoted in “Failure is Impossible”, by Lynn Sherr)

I’m embarrassed to admit it but I’ve been watching this season of “The Bachelor”. Not because I’m enjoying the show, but because it’s like a massive train wreck that I can’t tear my eyes away from.

Am I the only one who sees this show for what it is: a dating game that sets women’s rights back a hundred years?

If you’re not familiar with the premise of the show, here’s a recap: Handsome Guy is presented with a group of about two dozen women, all who are vying to become Mrs. Handsome Guy. Handsome Guy whittles the group down by wooing the ladies with outings to exotic locales, fancy dinners and romance, and generally trying to get them all to fall in love with him. Once he’s done that, he picks the one he wants and offers her a proposal of marrige. The women, on the other hand, have convinced themselves the day they meet Handsome Guy that they’re desperately in love with him; they then befriend and betray each other, all with the goal of sticking around to the end and hopefully get the coveted marriage proposal.

It looks very much like emotional prostitution. Continue reading

Davy Jones dies; goodbye, my childhood!

Sad news today: Davy Jones of The Monkees died today at 66. Goodbye childhood!

Of my earliest childhood entertainment memories, The Monkees are at the front of the line (followed very closely by “That Girl” and Carol Burnett, but that’s a story for another day).

In fact, as a child I got to meet The Monkees. How’s that for cool? (And possibly where the seeds for my entertainment writing stint were sown? We’ll never know, will we.)

The Monkees had flown into the Rochester, NY airport. It was maybe 1967 and I was maybe three-years-old, but I was old enough for the memory to be imprinted on my brain. I knew where we were going and who we were going to see. There was a crowd, and I remember being at the fence as the guys got off the plane – this was back when people got off the plane and walked around on the tarmac.

And then they came over to us, and I remember being scared. One of them had a beard and was carrying a movie camera and had it pointed as the crowd; my mom thinks it was Mickey. Someone – she thinks Davy Jones – wanted to reach over the fence to hold me and I started screaming like a baby.

Well, I pretty much was still a baby!

My mom thinks there may be a slide photo of the moment somewhere in the cases and cases of projector carousels I have stored in my spare bedroom that date back to the early 60s.

Yes, Kodak holds a special place in our hearts here in Rochester, and in our personal photo albums. It’s more than the decline of a company as Kodak gets out of the picture business; it’s the end of an era of memory-making. But I digress

Watching the video clip of the opening and closing credits from “The Monkees”, I realize how much pop culture really does shape our lives. It can be for good or bad – methinks today’s music falls on the bad side of the spectrum.

But in this case, it was good. Very bubble gum, pop rock, innocent cutesy, let’s try and walk like The Monkees because it’s fun kind of good. Super innocent, puppy love, Marcia Brady falls in love with Davy Jones kind of good.

It probably won’t surprise you that from The Monkees I graduated to … ta da! The Osmonds!

My sister and I reminisced today about seeing The Osmonds in concert – I was seven years old, I’m pretty sure. My dad took me and my sister, and my cousins came in from Pittsfield to see the show with a guy named Ernie who was dating their mom. I remember the opening act – Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods, of ” One Is The Loneliest Number” – and that my dad bought me a life sized poster of Donny Osmond that hung on the back of my bedroom door until til it fell apart.

Sigh. Innocent pop music. Those were the days.

Today is a sad day. Rest in peace, Davy Jones. And thanks for the memories!

PS: My dad just called. He now lives in Pennsylania and he’d forgotten until he saw the local news tonight that Davy Jones actually lived in Middleburg, PA, just up the road half hour from where he is in Milton. Who would have guessed? See, your childhood never really goes too far away, does it? They’re going to have a celebration this weekend. Wish I could make the trip; it would be fun to have another Monkees moment, even if it is a sad one.

TripBase “My 7 Links” Blog Project – My favorite posts and 5 blogs for you to check out

I was “tagged” this week by Carol Bryant at Fido Friendly’s blog to take part in the TripBase “My 7 Links” blog projects, designed “To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.” Thanks, Carol!

My task: to share with you 7 links from my blog and then 5 blogs you ought to check out. So here goes!

My most popular post – Strictly in terms of page views, this is the post that has gotten the most views all time on the Notes From The Funny Farm blog: Continue reading

Conan’s advice to Dartmouth grads good advice for middle aged writers, too

My friend Kelsey Timmerman, writer of all things fun and cool, posted this video of Conan O’Brien’s commencement address to Dartmouth College, pointing out Conan’s advice about failure as good advice for grads.

But listening to Conan’s speech, it’s also great advice for … well, me.

Like Conan, I’m 47. And lately, I’ve been wondering if this is all there is. I mean, I’m past middle age – unless I’m going to live to my mid-90s, and even in that case the likelihood that I’ll be able to do anything more noteworthy than wipe my own nose is slim. So I’ve been musing – have I missed my chance to do something significant?

Then along comes Conan, and with his advice to graduates (offered up after 20 laugh out loud minutes) reminds me that sometimes the best years come after you think the best is behind you. Some of his key points:

“There are few things in life more liberating than having your worst fear realized.”

“Your path at 22 will not be your path at 32 or 42. One’s dream is constantly evolving, rising and falling and changing course.”

“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy. But if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention.”

“Whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

If you have 20 minutes, watch the video. It’s hilarious, and if nothing else you’ll get a good laugh. But you might also find a little inspiration in there, too.

Country star Trace Adkins teams up with Waggin’ Train brand for dog jingle contest

Country music star Trace Adkins and his dogs Bella and Daisy.

Waggin’ Train dog treats has teamed up with country music star Trace Adkins for a fun contest designed to celebrate the special relationships people have with their dogs – and you and you pup are the stars!

The Waggin’ Train Tail Waggin’ Jingle Contest is searching the country for dog owners who have such a “tail waggin” good time with their best buddies that it inspires them to sing a jingle about it. One lucky Grand Prize winner will win the chance-of-a-lifetime to perform his or her jingle in a recording session produced by country music star Trace Adkins. Continue reading

Charlie Sheen: if life imitates art, what’s the problem?

For days now, we’ve all been having a good chuckle – or at least a head scratch – over Charlie Sheen’s interviews about his drug and alcohol problems. While he claims to be clean, you only have to watch a few minutes of interviews to realize that there is something not right about him.

But one thing I haven’t heard any bring up is this: Charlie Sheen is a drug and alcohol addicted, misogynistic narcissist playing a drug and alcohol addicted, misogynistic narcissist on the most highly rated television show on the air.

So … we love one and mock the other? It seems a little bit hypocritical, if you ask me.

Not that I’m trying to justify Sheen’s actions. Yeesh, the guy has gone totally off the deep end. Just watch the interviews.

But really, didn’t we as the American viewing audience – or at least those who watch the show – just encourage his behavior? Who are we, really, to make a show like “Two and a Half Men” #1 and then turn around when life imitates art and shake our heads in judgement?

Give yourself the gift of forgiveness

I love this segment from Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning. What a great idea – start the new year with a gift of forgiveness – for others and yourself!

The fork in the canal path

As you may or may not know, I’ve been taking a breather from covering Christian entertainment for a few months. (I’m so far behind I didn’t even know they were making Blue Like Jazz into a movie, something I would have covered at Beliefnet had I still been blogging at Beliefnet, which I was supposed to be doing until the end of October.)

But I digress.

A few months ago I told the papers who carried my music column that I was taking a few months off, which means that I’m at that pivotal decision-making moment: go back or not go back.

I have to confess that my stress level has dropped considerably since I’m not scurrying for stories daily for Beliefnet. I loved blogging there but trying to 1) find a story every day that would 2) generate page views and 3) get people to comment was exhausting. When CDs come in, I just plop them in a pile.

On the other hand, I have zero income coming in. Zilch. Nada. Not a dime. I do have some publications that owe me money but it’s not much.

I was thinking about this all today while I was walking on the canal with the dogs. I should have been writing, or attempting to write, or at the very least thinking about what I was going to write. But I was just meandering along with the pups, my mind almost blank.

It’s kind of a nice feeling, if I can be honest.

Then the dogmobile started squealing again on the drive home and I remembered that meandering – either on the canal or in my mind – doesn’t pay the bills.

I’m really enjoying the blog, but I feel like I’m such a slacker for not following through with other writing projects. (Same story, different year.)

So I’m at the fork; which way do I go?

Oh well. At this point, the dogs are curled up on the couch and I have a bag of organic cheese puffs and “Eureka” season 2 on my Roku calling. I’ll think about work tomorrow.

Page view whoring and the dark side of online writing

Do we really need to know who slept with whom and what other skeletons celebrities have in their closets?

Over on another blog where I cover Christian music, I posted a quick note about American Idol season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino’s alleged overdose on “aspirin and sleep aids”.

I briefly commented in the post - again, because I rant about this frequently on that blog – that I hate writing about celebrity news. I mean, in the whole scheme of things do we need to know that a pop star may or may not have had an affair with a married man, and do the parties involved really need their dirty laundry hung out for the world to see?

But my job on that blog is to write about music, Christian music, and anything remotely related to Christian music, and since American Idol has been one of the driving forces on that blog for two years, I felt I needed to at least mention the story.

That, and I’m expected to generate a certain number of page views every month if I want to get paid.

And after two years, I have learned that news about the release of a new worship album generates zero page views and pop star gossip draws all the readers.

I call it page view whoring, and it’s the dark side of online writing. Continue reading featured on Martha Stewart Show Friday, April 2

 Regular readers of this blog will know that these cranky, funky chickens in my back yard were once fluffy little day old chicks who arrived via Express Mail from My Pet Chicken. And you also know that my go-to chicken expert is Joyce Martz, whom I’ve dubbed “The Chicken Goddess,” from My Pet Chicken.

Well, on Friday, April 2, you can watch My Pet Chicken founder Traci Torres talk about backyard chicken farming and the company’s “chocolate layers” – chickens like Partridge Penedesenca and Black Copper Maranswho lay dark brown “chocolate” eggs – on the Martha Stewart Show.

Torres will also talk about baby chick starter kits, coops and more.

You can watch a preview at the Martha Stewart Show website. Check your local listings to find out when the show airs in your viewing area.

 You can learn more about raising chicks at the My Pet Chicken website.

You can follow along with my backyard chicken adventures on my Chicken Adventure blog.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!