Month: October 2014

Mac’n’Cheese Porn : Nevermind Jeans, Now Even Comfort Foods Are Sexed Up!

Mac’n’Cheese Porn : Nevermind Jeans, Now Even Comfort Foods Are Sexed Up!

Sex in advertising is nothing new, but macaroni and cheese porn? Yesterday, midday, I looked up from reading as my husband was flipping between a race and football. There, dancing to Give a Little Bit (Shame on you, Supertramp!) were two, ah, well, amorous?? boxes of macaroni and cheese coming on to each other! Unbelievably, they slid in behind a toaster where we are to believe they are, ah, “making more pasta”…and four little containers of mac and cheese come pitter-pattering out after them!
Really? Do advertisers have to sex up everything? Not even comfort food is safe!
I hate to list the brand name of this company, and ones like it because it only does what they want. Push their brand and sell their products.
At risk of doing so, I have to rant about a leading jean company that goes WAY beyond imagination and decency in selling their red-tag-on-the-pocket jeans. The unconscionable company’s “Live in *****’s,Just Don’t Bore Them” campaign, does anything but bore. It makes me abhor the company. I happened to catch a lascivious ad recently. In a swift but indelible scene,a twenties-something man steps back from a woman who is bent backwards over a kitchen counter. He hoists up his jeans suggesting he’s been caught in the act or just finished with her.
Nothing left to the imagination. How do we explain something like this to young children? How do we protect our youth from what is broadcast as the norm? I was grateful that I was not watching with young children, teens, or really anyone besides my husband. I feel the same way as One Million Moms director Monica Cole in her post Levi’s Makes One Million Moms Mad With This Commercial.Check it out. What do you think? Is it OK, humorous, or inappropriate that we are subjected, (in some cases barraged by) overtly suggestive and sexual advertisements?

At Odds with Your Brother or Sister? We Must Negate Sibling Hate!

At Odds with Your Brother or Sister? We Must Negate Sibling Hate!

Last Thursday in my hometown, an angry, troubled brother poured copious amounts of gasoline on his older brother’s house and barn and then struck a match. He came back to the property a few hours with burns on his arms and face and a scorched esophagus to confess.

What on earth? What would drive a brother to hurt another like this? I can only surmise that a series of horribly sad conditions contributed to this desperate act.
This younger brother, 50, had grown up near my childhood home in a modest, yet decent cape, with at least two siblings and parents. He seemed to be a typical kid—in the scouts, in the halls at elementary school back in the 70s. We didn’t hang out—he was a year ahead of me and we were not in the same circles.

Later after high school, I had heard he’d become a state trooper for a short time, but was dismissed.
Apparently, the unfortunate guy didn’t bounce back. My heart goes out to him and his family.

Who knows what happened? What makes siblings snap like this? Extreme jealousy, perceived or real parental favoritism? Being left out of a will? Sheer mental illness? I don’t know the particulars of these two brothers, but lots of people are adversely affected by these sorts of things. I’ve personally witnessed sibs making questionable choices and later misplacing anguish for their own deeds, taking it out on “more successful” siblings.

Think of Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, Saul and Esau.

There are estranged sibling relationships on every side of my own extended family. Members refuse to talk to each other, have any kind of positive relationship with each other. For real, perceived, deserved or undeserved reasons. Where does it start? When will it end? As one who has been intentional on trying to heal, I’ve done extensive research in effort to try to understand why generations have such ugly issues and some continue to be so estranged. Why some are so unable to function and why some are successful in spite of identical circumstances.

It is complex to be sure.

I see that in some cases it’s the sins of the fathers and mothers (addiction, neglect, abuse) that have spread like poisoned roots into subsequent generations. Unchecked, they take hold in new lives, sprouting and producing more rotten fruit. This produce can seem intoxicating, righteous, even validating, but when consumed it can figuratively and literally makes us sick.

So what can we do to have healthier relationships with our siblings? Try to have some grace, forgive them, ask for forgiveness, pray for the relationship. Try to communicate honestly, but kindly. Try professional family therapy. Some of the hurt is so deep-rooted, so acute, however, that we may never fully get there in this lifetime.

What can we do? At the very least we must keep our own kids from this bad fruit. We must do everything in our power to nurture our own offspring’s relationships with one another, from day one and every day after. Cultivate the soil so they can grow to be true friends. Be painfully fair to each of them. Step in and help them stay on a healthy path. Teach them to love each other, root for each other, to get each others backs. Maybe then, a new, healthier branch can be grafted on the family tree and grow its own new fruit for their offspring.

Politically Incorrect Girl Scout Songs of the 70s: Did We Have A Clue?

Politically Incorrect Girl Scout Songs of the 70s: Did We Have A Clue?

In 1975, I was ten and had no clue of what I was singing. Some of the songs we sang around the old campfire in Girl Scouts back then would get you burned, or maybe even a lawsuit today! Consider these lyrics: “Big red indian, beats upon his drum, rum tum-tum, rum, tum-tum. Woo-Woo-Woo!” There was an obnoxious hand gesture of hitting your lips in a war cry on the woo-woos!

Another song, which I didn’t get at the time, was about a man named Ruffus Rassius Johnston Brown not paying his rent on time. Another one that I thought was so funny was about Fried Ham, Fried Ham, Cheese and Baloney. Each of the four verses was sung in different ethnically-slurred accents! Gads!

The topper had to be “Just plant a watermelon right on my grave and let the juice slip through…Now Southern fried chicken might taste mighty fine, but nothin’ tastes better than a watermelon rind..”

A sign of the times. Don’t make it right.

I don’t mean to pick on the Girl Scouts. In fact, some of my best childhood memories are from Camp Higganumpus, a Girl Scout camp in Higganum.

We kids picked up politically insensitive lyrics on our transistor radios. At recess, we’d march across the playground belting out, “Half Breed” by Cher at the top of our prepubescent lungs.

It was around this time, thank goodness, of the advent of Archie Bunker and All In the Family. The creators did us a favor by holding up a mirror. Each episode was blaring hyperbole of how small-minded and racist we could be.

Do you remember thinking your older relatives “were just like Archie Bunker”?

There was still some of it going on in the 80s, though. Recall the movie Sixteen Candles by John Hughes starring Molly Ringwald? Whenever the international student staying at the main character’s house appeared in a scene, a gong would sound punctuating his obvious Asian background.

So what is my point? As decades are unfolding now, just rounding my fifth one, I have to believe we are a little less coarse and more sensitive as a society today. I am pretty sure the Girl Scouts of 2014 would only allow sanctioned ditties that are 100% PC as a matter of good conscience, and not fear of litigation.

What do you think? Are we politically correct enough today? Do you think we’ve gone overboard and are too overly PC?

A Slice of Swiss and “God’s Baby Girl”

A Slice of Swiss and “God’s Baby Girl”

I started going to a women’s Bible study group at the Wethersfield United Methodist Church to be open for what God has planned for me. The group, as well as the whole church, is very welcoming. We have embarked on a nine-week Beth Moore study, “Children of the Day: 1 & 2 Thessalonians.” I didn’t know what to expect, content-wise, but so far, it’s good stuff!

I am learning about the importance of (and am experiencing) a healthy spiritual community. I am gaining strength to get up again after being “knocked down for the count.”
Today’s biggie, to see God/Jesus as my Parent. To be a secure Child of God, I need to embrace and be embraced by God’s paternal and maternal attributes. “To be nurtured, affectionately desired (not just tolerated), exhorted (instructed), encouraged (inspired), and “charged to walk worthy” (get up and do what God charges us to do).

I’ve heard the phrase “Child of God” a thousand times. I just hadn’t wrapped my head around how it applied to me. I have biological parents and God had been more of a go-to “big guy” for mercy, relief, answers, grace and gratitude. I also never quite understood how God can have both female and male characteristics. I’ve struggled with God—the Father in defiance with previously unresolved Daddy issues. I never saw myself as  “God’s Baby Girl,” as Beth Moore suggested.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had to be a serious, big girl, big-sister, parent-partner to my newly divorced mother in the late 70s. My “childhood” lasted until I was in first or second grade before I was really aware and worried about the dysfunction at home.

For years, I could and did place blame, was a victim, made excuses… but that hasn’t served me too well.

During the video portion of the study, Beth Moore said something that helped bring things into even greater perspective. She compared earthly parents to various kinds of cheeses. Yes, cheeses, but she wasn’t trying to be funny.  She pointed out that we’re all human and imperfect. We can be swiss—though we try to be solid for our kids—we might have holes that leave them wanting. We can be bleu, sad parents. Feta, parents that crumble. Cheddar, too sharp or too mild.

Great analogy, Beth! Of course I thought of my earthly parents and what kind of cheese categories they might fit into.

To be fair,  I know as a parent myself, that I’ve fallen into various cheese categories, too.  I’m sure I’ve left some holes, been too sharp, etc.  Though I tried to be a more stable parent in a less chaotic home environment, I know there were times I’ve fallen short.

It seems to me that each of us feel holes left from childhood in some way or another. Nobody has perfect parents or are perfect parents, themselves.

I agree with Beth Moore, that we all could use to connect with God in a parent/child role, to be filled. As she said, “If we have a missing piece, we are missing peace.”

Many of us, especially women, are consummate care-givers to our children, our spouses, our aging parents. I’ve had to assume this role at an early age and later as a conservator.

Even though we may have great life partners we can lean on, they too, are merely human and cannot be there for us 100% of the time. They can let us down, surely as we let them down. But God doesn’t let us down. Anytime we call out, Jesus is there.

As part of trying to see God in a new way, I’m going try to see God as a Parent. To fill the holes that even after years of therapy, still can feel rather sizable. To rub my shoulders, soothe my brow, wipe my tears. Pick me up, dust me off, and put me gently back on the path with a gentle prod.