SL 688

Currently, at the home of Apt. 11D, the big kid is upstairs constructing his promposal by gluing chicken wings on poster board. Yeah, I have no idea either. (For those without high school kids, a promposal is an invitation to the prom, which is a grand gesture that is captured on your buddies’ iphone and broadcast to thousands of friends and acquaintances on social media.)

The little guy is griping about being forced to practice his drum rolls, because he thinks drum rolls are boring. When hubby get home at 7, he will first inspect his tomato plants before he says hi to me. I finished work for the day and have an easy dinner planned. Steve requested Taco Tuesday. Taco Tuesday means I have time for Blog Tuesday. Here goes:

Not all heroes wear capes. This guy did a half marathon without training. He got over his worries about finishing the race by downing a beer at every mile point.

Is there something icky about Obama collecting $400,000 speaking fees?

We finally caught up to the latest “Americans” and now can tweet about the latest episode at the same time as the rest of the world. Thank God. I need another series to binge watch. I’m thinking about “Big Little Lies.”

Scary story about plastic surgery on your neck. I regularly google “saggy neck” and “turkey neck,” so I related to this woman.

Middle class families are stressed out by the crap in their house. I’m stressed out by chicken wings and promposals.

65 thoughts on “SL 688

    1. oh yeah. That topic has been kicking around here, too. I’ll check with the editor to see if she has someone doing something. I’m booked solid throughout the week.


    2. There’s an angle based on how schools are trying to handle the show — I’m hearing middle schools are the concerned target audience, ’cause it’s the younger kids who are more tempted & the national association of school counselors issued a talking points/letter of concern.


  1. What is it with kids SUDDENLY dating senior year?

    I have three data points for this (including Laura’s kid) this year–so, totally enough for an NYT story.


    1. Lifting of pressure to prepare for college applicants? Need to be able to say they attended at least one prom? Losening of parental rules?


    2. I’m one of the data points. S is now dating a bassoonist in her HS band. 🙂 They started dating after he promposed to her (the prom is this Friday night–early for a prom, no?). Oh, I’m sorry. They don’t call it dating. They call it “talking”: “He’s not my boyfriend! We’re just talking.”

      Sigh. I was not ready for this AT ALL.


      1. “They don’t call it dating. They call it ‘talking’: ‘He’s not my boyfriend! We’re just talking.'”

        I knew this as a mostly African-American usage back before anyone named Bush had been president: “You talk to her?”


      2. Promposals don’t necessarily mean dating, though, do they?

        And, I hope that “talking” isn’t a euphemism, because my kiddo “talks” with lots of people. I’ve been assured that there is no “dating” which I also don’t mean as a euphemism for anything more than a romantic interest, and that I will be told when a relationship is dating.

        I admit to being hopelessly naive, though.


      3. bj said:

        “And, I hope that “talking” isn’t a euphemism, because my kiddo “talks” with lots of people.”

        I suspect that what it usually means (in these electronic days) is incessantly texting with, as a precursor to a more in-person type relationship.


  2. Big Little Lies was good.

    Have you watched Catastrophe, an Amazon series? We also really enjoy The Detour on TBS.

    Did you watch Breaking Bad? We are enjoying Better Call Saul.

    Also, Underground S1 is amazing. S2 has been less focused but still interesting.

    Fargo S2 is one of the best seasons of tv I’ve ever seen.


    1. I found Catastrophe funny at first, but it just got depressing. Can’t wait for season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt and whenever season 2 of The Crown comes out.

      Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is my latest favorite. Here are some of the lyrics to the theme song to give you a feel for the tone. The performers are all fabulous and the writing is really sharp and funny.

      [Backup singers] She’s the crazy ex-girlfriend!

      [Rebecca, speaking] What? No, I’m not

      [Backup singers] She’s the crazy ex-girlfriend!

      [Rebecca, speaking] That’s a sexist term!

      [Backup singers] She’s the crazy ex-girlfriend!

      [Rebecca, speaking] Can you guys just stop singing for a second?

      [Backup singers] She’s so broken inside!

      [Rebecca, speaking] The situation’s a lot more nuanced that that!


      1. Checking out crazy ex girlfriend, am hopeful after seeing the very first line “I’m as corny as Kansas in August, High as flag on the fourth of July”. Will check it out.


      2. I adore Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

        Catastrophe and The Detour remind me of each other except I think Catastrophe is a bit funnier.

        Love Kimmy Schmidt. We’re heading into awesome tv season. We currently watch Americans, Better Call Saul and Underground, then coming up in the next 3 months we have Catastrophe, Kimmy Schmidt, Orange Is the New Black, Orphan Black, and Game of Thrones.


    1. He sent me to the supermarket to find an orange, a piece of cheese, a taco shell, and a chicken wing. He gave me very strict instructions that I should buy the most chicken-y looking chicken wing and the most cheese-y looking cheese that I could find. I had to buy an ideal-type chicken and cheese. He refused to tell me why. This is my life.


      1. “Orange” you going with me to prom?

        My kid was promposed to by a kid in a red white and blue suit and a sign that said “Prom would be better with red white and you.” Uuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhhhh.


  3. One of my boys in eleventh grade was prom-posed by a senior. She barely got through it before the teacher shooed her out of the room. Things have proceeded about as you would expect for that lad. I kind of like the idea of ‘grampa Dave’, but not this year, nor next, thankyouverymuch.



    “Garages are often used to store anything but the car.”


    “”Fathers would walk into the same rooms and make no mention whatsoever of the messiness. They were unaffected physiologically,” said co-author Jeanne Arnold, a UCLA archaeologist.”

    I think there are dads who do get affected by clutter–but they’re not a lot of fun.

    I find that I don’t even know what half the stuff in our home is, so it makes it really hard for me to do anything with it.

    “Only 25 percent of garages could be used to store cars because they were so packed with household overflow.”


    “CELF researchers estimate that each new child in a household leads to a 30 per cent increase in a family’s possessions during the preschool years alone. Several multi-child homes had at least 250 toys on view, and most had at least 100. Untold numbers of other toys were tucked away in closets and under beds.”


    And many of those toys have many, many pieces.

    “Nearly three-quarters of the parents and about half of the children spent no leisure time in their backyards over the course of the study. They could not manage to carve out time to relax, play, eat, read or swim outside, despite the presence of such pricey features as built-in pools, spas, dining sets and lounges.”

    We don’t have any pricey backyard stuff, but we also don’t spend a lot of time back there.

    But I have one word in our defense: Zika.

    “Just 17 per cent of dinners were consumed with everyone together.”

    We do a lot better than that, but we eat at the cafeteria most of the time.

    “Additionally, most of the families relied heavily on convenience foods like frozen meals and par-baked bread, yet they saved an average of only 10 to 12 minutes per meal in doing so.”

    That’s because it takes FOREVER to run 4+ frozen meals through a microwave one at a time.

    “Upgrading the master bedroom was the single most common remodelling project among the families.”



    1. I remember my parents complaining about how our rooms looked like toy stores as kids, and it looks like the amount of stuff has increased geometrically.

      I think with food, a big part of it is not knowing how to or being intimidated by cooking. Lots of cooking and baking is quite easy and just as quick as convenience food if you know how to do it, but there’s a pretty steep learning curve, and it can be hard to even start. If you know nothing (I know people who can’t even boil an egg), even to learn enough to be able to follow a recipe takes a decent amount of work, and then learning enough to be able to improvise takes even longer. I was very lucky to grow up around excellent cooks who made everything from scratch, but lots of people, especially those my age, don’t have mothers or even grandmothers who cooked either. Also, if you’ve never had fresh food from scratch, you also don’t know how much better and cheaper it is.

      (This is one thing I’ve found puzzling is how many people insist cooking from scratch is more expensive than prepared foods. But then I realized learning how to shop frugally is also acquired knowledge some people don’t get in their house. Like, some people don’t realize produce grows in seasons, that some cuts of meat are cheaper, or that you can substitute a more expensive ingredient for a cheaper one, or that you can stretch more expensive tastier ingredients with cheap filler.* Also some people don’t learn to price compare, or learn what is worth buying cheaper in bulk vs. what isn’t, or when they start cooking, they pick some fancy recipe with fiddly, hard to get, expensive ingredients. I am VERY frugal, and I realized that I can save money and be very popular by baking things rather than bringing alcohol to parties. I can make a pie with about 30 mins of work for about $2-3 worth of ingredients, and everyone is very impressed.)

      *Hello meatballs!


  5. I feel like I’m turning into a cranky old man about new series, I hate them all. The characters are mean, cheat, lie, and have no moral compass. They reach further and further into the realm of implausible unreality and what we used to call soap opera gimmicks for drama.

    So no help for binge watch selections. I am watching Sabrina with my my kiddo and searching futilely for things for myself — relying on British mysteries for the most part.

    13 reasons fits into the genre I’m getting cranky about (which includes Americans and Pretty Little liars. I dislike it’s portrayal of suicide and worry that it might affect vulnerable teens and death is the worst, but the inappropriate student teacher relationship in pretty little liars is bad, too.


    1. I have a new philosophy of life, which is that the world would be a better place if we all ready more romance novels. And by “we” I mean other people because I read plenty. 🙂 I think our pop culture is making us very cynical and pessimistic, so it’s no wonder we have elected a corrupt Cheeto for president. We don’t believe we deserve anything better because we think everyone sucks.

      I watch both PLL and The Americans, hm. The Americans is actually getting more of a moral compass, believe it or not, as it turns towards the inevitable conclusion of 1989. PLL is just crack tv. I hang out with the crowd that HATES Ezria. As a teacher, that is especially horrible, squeaky and immoral to me.


    2. Another cranky old man here.

      Shocking TV is so commonplace now that it’s no longer compelling or, well, shocking. A suburban father who is a meth dealer, a teenager who commits suicide. Lying, cheating, violence, nudity. Ho hum. It’s gotten boring.

      I really like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for this reason. It actually does venture into the realm of the serious, but does so in a novel way that doesn’t rely at all on shock value.

      Seconding, Catastrophe. Another great show that doesn’t use heavy-handed distress to show how oh-so-very-important-and-serious it is.


      1. I find the schocking tv boring and also a lazy storytelling trope. How many times do I need to see a story that starts out with a woman/girl being brutally murdered and then have some guys figure out what happened?

        Another lazy strategy is remaking foreign television shows and movies. I’ll watch the original which is usually better.

        Tell me a good story. Engage me with interesting strong characters. Challenge me.


    3. BTW, I am not secretly watching PLL, while being cranky about it. I read quick plot summaries about it while thinking about 13 reasons and what teens watch.

      I think that there have been significant advances on the research on talking about suicide, including the mental illness/depression that underlies suicide, the concerns about contagion effects, especially with revenge fantasies that cast individuals as being the “reason” for the suicide, and the understanding that depression and suicidal ideation are a chronic illness, that can be treated, that adults can and do help. 13 reasons violates almost all of those tenets.

      But, 13 reasons is fictional drama, of the extreme kind that appears to be popular now (really, I’m cranky enough to feel nostalgia for the rules that forbade showing a married couple in the same bed, and feet on the ground). And, I think most children will experience it as fiction, as with PLL, and not, for example, decide that teachers exploiting their students or weird/murder/torture among cliques or vampirical men obsessing about your blood are reasonable expectations for real life. The concerns about 13 reasons are valid, but I think we have to respect the intelligence of the teens.

      I do think children with depression/mental health issues should be monitored, and that parents should talk to their children about the real information about suicide.


    1. You threw me off your trail this time by use of the phrase “cranky old man.”

      We like a nice, wholesome British murder, too.

      Here’s a favorite Portlandia clip on the dangers of Early Onset Grumpiness:


      1. Also relevant–Portlandia solves the problem of how to deal with all-day concerts not being any fun once you’re over 40:


      2. I also hate loud concerts and bars, and I think, “why should I pay money to be miserable and uncomfortable?” I’m a beautiful combination of cheap and curmudgeonly.


  6. Hmm, my daughter didn’t really start dating until junior year of college. (By “dating,” I mean hanging out one on one with a member of the opposite sex in whom you have a romantic interest.) Her high school social life was perhaps unusual, because she went to an all girls school. None of the girls dated very much. In fact, they dated less than my wife did 40-some years previous when she attended the same school. For prom, the daughter had an escort, but he was just a guy she knew, not a boyfriend.


    1. I also went to an all girl school, and there, I remember a small subgroup of the girls, maybe a quarter? dating (and, a phenomenon I considered weird was that they all dated the same boys, trading around as needed. A group of 3 pairs of sisters once did a very funny skit about the common boy they had all dated.) It was like Friends, potentially for similar reasons (i.e. a desire not to introduce any new characters).

      I do think dating as portrayed in books for 50+ years ago has substantially changed (my knowledge comes purely from the Beverly Cleary teen books — like Sister of the Bride). I think these days there is significant pressure for relationships to become physical and that has created pressure on “dating”.


      1. Actually, I think my wife’s and daughter’s school was similar, over the 40 year span; it’s just that my wife was in the one-quarter and my daughter was not. (That’s my read, anyway; neither one of them is much interested in discussing their high school romantic escapades with me.)


      2. I think it depends on peer group. There was no pressure around sex in my high school circle but I have plenty of friends who say they had sex in high school because everyone was. One male friend told me of having heterosexual intercourse for the first time without birth control and spending weeks stressing that he was going to be a father. (No pregnancy luckily). He was really angry at the girl for pressuring him, and at his peer group too, which resulted in him choosing a college where none of his high school friends went. He and I both went to high school in the early 80s. I didn’t date in high school and felt very uncool especially for not going to prom (cried in my room) but by my first week of college realized how insignificant prom was.


  7. PS: We are waiting with baited breath to hear about Jonah’s promposal. Will we? or does Jonah think it’s creepy that a bunch of old strangers he doesn’t know are interested?


    1. If he didn’t want a bunch of creepy internet people to be interested, he shouldn’t have involved the platonic ideal of a chicken. (Let alone glued it to a poster board.)


    2. Ha. He’s doing it after school today. I’ll steal a picture off Instagram and post it in the comment section. He’s entirely disinterested in anything that I do, including posting information about him on blogs.


  8. I really like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and also Jane the Virgin. It’s incredibly smart and real beneath all the telenovela wackiness. I started watching Stranger Things with my husband before he left and it seems like it could be promising, but it’s too scary for me to watch on my own. (I’m a giant wimp when it comes to horror or spooky/scary things.)

    I’ve been rewatching the Great British Baking Show because it’s the equivalent of puppy GIFs in terms of being lovely and soothing.


    1. Stranger Things is great! I also am a horror wimp and perhaps would not have watched it without my boyfriend, but it was definitely worth it. I also love the Great British Baking Show and have liked the parts of Jane the Virgin that I’ve seen.

      B.I., did you recently switch from having a fiance to having a husband?


      1. I did! We actually eloped last week. We’re long distance again so it’s pretty anticlimactic, but we wanted to get married so we could get paperwork started on dual citizenship. I still have a hard time saying ‘husband,’ but he thought my calling him my ‘former boyfriend’ would send the wrong message.


      2. Congratulations! I suppose a husband is almost always a former boyfriend, but it does seem misleading!


  9. This is not a rant against Jonah, because I know he didn’t start this, but what ever happened to just asking someone to prom? Someone ought to find the person who did the first cutesy promposal and punch him as he upped the game for everyone. It would be so much easier for so many of us (boys, moms of boys, dads of boys, girls asking someone to prom, etc.) if we could just go back to the old way.

    It’s like the ratcheting up of holidays for young kids. Now Santa isn’t enough – you have to do Elf on the Shelf. And you have to set a leprechaun trap on St. Patrick’s? Thank god my kids are too old to fall for that shit now or I’d be one hot mess. But I am staring down the promposal in a few years, and I am NOT looking forward to it.


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