Okay, so I haven’t been writing lately cause of the bloody pony and squirrel. If you’re new, you may not have been introduced. First there is Sad Pony. He might look like a picture, but he’s very real. He enjoys sitting on me and acting sarcastic to hide his deep, dark pain.
Next up is Squirrel. He is also not just a picture, but a real anxiety attack in fuzzy form.
So right, as Merbear, whose post I just stole, said, music can help tame these bad boys here, at least for a little while. At the moment I am looking into new treatments for them because they’re cute and all but I want them kept at bay. I want an actual life. When you can look at your blog posts, giggle a little cause gosh you’re funny, but then realize that crap, you’ve sort of gone downhill over the years, it’s time to do something. Anything. But before I take up drunk hunting, I figured I’d try to write a few posts. Just to say I did. And why music? Cause I can’t think of anything else right now! Awesome!
So I had a record player when I was really little. It was a Winnie the Pooh record player. And I played it quite a bit. I also used the record player in the living room. Sometimes you had to put one of those little circular things inside the single disks, cause they had a bigger hole. I don’t know why they had a bigger hole, they just did. Also you had to play them on a higher speed. This was also a fun thing to do to regular records, so they would song like Chipmunks. Where was I? Right, so I played records, like Ghostbusters. I remember that one, especially on high speed. Also “Bad Boys” by Miami Sound Machine now known as Gloria Estefan. I am dating myself. I’m a great date.
I also had cassette tapes (all you cute little millennials – google this stuff) and the first one I remember was Hall and Oates. My brother gave it to me, because back then he gave me stuff he wanted. Come to think of it, he still kind of does this. I was around eight I think? That was also when my parents gave me my first phone in my room (pink!), so they wouldn’t have to hear me yammer any longer. My parents were progressive that way. My brother and I both got Sony Walkmans, because my parents liked us also shutting up on trips. I would often listen to my player, especially when I needed to cover up my father’s twang Country music. I was pleased to find out that Thing Two was trying to drown out Hakuna Matata the other day while Thing One and I sang at the tops of our lungs. Apparently Disney doesn’t go well with My Chemical Romance. We felt sads about this – haha, no we didn’t.
I can remember thinking I was sooo much older listening to music. I walked home one day and the speakers at the baseball field were playing Cyndi Lauper’s She-Bop and I danced and sang like the bad nine-year-old I was, having blissfully no idea what Cyndi was actually singing about (thank you Cracked for clearing up that mystery). There are other songs that bring back memories of roller skating rinks (look it up) and amusement parks (ours was called Wonderland, for reals). Now that I’m older, I listen to other music, but I still love the 80s. They are the best. I like some of today’s music – some of which I will embarrassingly admit to later, and the oldies too, though not as much as Merbear. We still have this weird ability to finish songs the other one starts, no matter what the time or genre. Sometimes we don’t both like a song and we have to take a breather and say, it’s okay, everyone has faults. But mostly we enjoy the same stuff. While there are songs that you love, there are also songs you hate with equal passion. I’ll talk about that too, maybe.
Music has a magical ability to change your mood. It doesn’t work on everyone – I had tone deaf English students. I asked them how all different genres of music felt, what it made them think of, from classical to modern day, from fast to slow. They said “your music sucks.”. I was 22, they were at least 18. I really don’t think four years should have made a difference. But wow, it can. For me, though, music is powerful. I can feel my heart swell when I hear it, and my soul soar. Like movies, music can take you places. It can actually heal you, and slow down your anxiety (lots of youtube videos are good for this). I even saw a video about this old man with Alzheimer’s who was non responsive – until they put headphones on him with his favorite music from his younger years. He literally came alive.
So yeah, I think I’ll talk about music. Here’s hoping, anyway.
“Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the Beast”
– “Beauty and the Beast”
*Warning Spoiler: The beast turns into a prince at the end. Sorry! Seriously, no spoilers.
Tonight I went to the pre-showing of the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. I bought my tickets early for the “Fan Event” which translated into your tickets cost more, mostly, though we got awesome drinks and popcorn buckets. At first I was thinking I got gipped, because come on, other theaters in big cities got these really pretty pins, and I got a bucket. But still, there were cushy recliners, assigned seating, and a design to the theater that ensured you would see the movie, no matter how tall or fat headed the person in front of you might be.
My husband, who believe me showed his twu luv by coming with me after I bought him a ticket, was literally the legs of the operation. He went back for the popcorn buckets and the drinks, then again back for the 3-D glasses (who knew it was 3-D?) that the stupidhead ticket guy didn’t tell us to take. The special feature was an interview with the guys working on the score (which I’m sure will be on the DVD) and the Beauty and the Beast music video (which has already been on youtube. Check it out, it’s trippin’.)
In case you are wondering about the Things, they were invited to the movie in the same theater at the same time by some friends whose mother actually shelled out for the tickets. Vile betrayers. Thing Two said she hoped that we weren’t close to each other, to which I responded “So do I. Like I want to be near teen girls giggling.” I mean, seriously, I didn’t. I was however, beside an adorable little girl wearing a Belle dress and sparkly shoes. More on her later.
When the movie started, any complaints I might have had vanished. Any other thoughts I had vanished as well. No more political stupidity, no more stress, no more worries, for a little over an hour. Just as I was during my Thing One’s starring role (she was a spoon) in the high school Beauty and the Beast musical, I was transfixed. I was pretty sure my husband was over there, but I didn’t check to see. I did not peel my eyes from the screen.
Was the movie good? Well, I suppose part of it depends on whether you liked the original movie, or Disney period. Though I feel I must point out that the guy playing Gaston is evil but extremely hot, and Emma Watson is obviously beautiful. So you know, there’s something for everybody. Well most people. There were some who, for hateful reasons you can easily discover with a quick Google click, refused to take their unfortunate children to the movie. (Hint: It’s seriously not a big deal and I doubt the kids will notice, parents.) Disney is feeling the hurt, people, I mean with sold out theaters long before the movie began, gosh I’m not sure what they will do!
I was already obsessed long before the movie came out, thanks to them announcing it like ten years early. When the merchandise came out, I completely restrained myself and did not buy a thing. I bought several things. Though not enough to break my budget, so no naysayers. I’ve had my fill of naysayers, most of them found on Disney fan boards. Go away, false fans. Because this was not just a movie. This was an incredible movie, with the ability to make me feel, at forty years old, the awe and wonder and beauty of the film I first watched at fourteen.
It’s a story that is – well not as old as time, I don’t think the dinosaurs did musicals. But close. It’s been retold millions of ways. I love all of them. The heart of the story is always the same – see beyond appearances, for beauty is found within. It is a lesson many people need to take to heart, now more than ever, as they dismiss people based on the color of their skin, the place they grew up, the religion they believe, the people they love. Belle does not fall in love with the Beast as soon as she sees him. She thinks he’s a jerk, since he acts like a jerk. But as she spends time with him, gets to know him, she sees beyond the outside, beyond her first impressions. She finds he is not so different than herself.
“Barely even friends
Then somebody bends
This movie had a lot to live up to, as the original Disney cartoon of Beauty and the Beast is a beloved classic, the only animated feature to be nominated for an Academy Award. I believe it lived up to the original, keeping close with the story, but with twists. For one thing, it briefly mentions why no one realized there was a freaking castle and royalty nearby. That had been bugging me for years! There are also so many touching moments. Like Belle and her father, and their love for each other, and ostracism from a town of people with no imagination, no vision into the future. I know people like those in this “poor provincial town” and – I cannot imagine living that way, with no stories in your head, no new ideas.
They didn’t forget the talking furniture and appliances. They are done in CGI, which some have complained is awful, because they probably come from Belle’s town and can’t see beyond pixels. Though they are very different in appearance than the Disney version, they absolutely fascinated me. Disney created an atmosphere much more conducive to 18th century France. I work in archives, so I tend to like old stuff. The costumes, the enchanted objects, the castle, the town, all of it is very true to the time period. Now some complained that Belle’s dress is too modern, and that lousy feminist Emma Watson should have worn a proper corset. First of all, Belle’s dress is more modern because she’s Belle, always looking to the future, never having to fit in, and also because Emma didn’t want the depiction of unrealistic figures. I for one didn’t even notice, probably because Emma is naturally so thin she doesn’t even need a corset.
Yet with all the beauty, the incredible special effects and imaginative sets, none of it matters if you do not love the characters. And you do love these characters. There is Gaston, the handsome idiot, harmless enough until for the first time he doesn’t get what he wants. The household objects are all lovable as well, which allow you to look past the fact that they aren’t actually on the screen. Emma talked to nothing a lot. There is the Beast, punished severely for his arrogance, filled with anger and despair, but who still has enough humanity to save Belle from a pack of wolves. And there is Belle, who could have escaped when the Beast was attacked, but her morality, her inner goodness, compels her to help nurse the Beast back to health. It starts with small acts of kindness, which lead to more of these acts, more closeness, and more understanding of both themselves and each other, for you cannot love without knowing who you are first. And, as Belle points out, you cannot love unless you are free.
“It is sweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong.”
I’ll admit it. I cried during this movie, with my hands up by my mouth. I cried on the way home. But I wasn’t depressed. They were tears of absolute joy, for this is a story I have written myself, all my life, in books that are never quite good enough, that I have never dared show to any but one friend, that I have never tried to publish, that so often, I say I never have time to work on. But the stories in my head never go away. They are there, urging me on, even as I try to ignore them. But tonight, in the little girl in the Belle dress, I saw not just my girls when they were younger, but I saw myself. The whole world ahead, every day filled with magic, with possibility. I watched as she tried to grab the flakes of gold that shot out of the screen at you. And I delighted when the credits rolled, the song played, and she danced so passionately in the aisle.
It’s time to remember that little girl, or boy, that’s inside you. It’s time to listen to the voice that speaks to you, I mean, as long as it’s not an actual voice you understand. It is simply time for us to find the beauty within ourselves and each other, to love instead of hate, to make the world a better place for the little girls dancing in the aisles, lost in dreamland.
I know things seem kinda dark right now, what with a rabid toddler in the White House. It’s like Richie Rich took over, and the rest of the White House staff has to race around cleaning up his messes (not potty trained yet) and providing him with everything he wants, when he wants it, no matter how insane it is. They also have to explain his actions away like “Well he needed his nap” (one of his people actually said he crank called all those foreign leaders because he was “tired”) because they can’t admit that they are really, really bad parents. If any of you have been parents, or have even known a toddler, you realize that these tiny people are not sane. You have to spend most of your time keeping them from killing themselves. With the president, you have to keep him from killing everybody else. Haha, yeah I’m not kidding. He knows nuke codes, you guys. Nuke codes in the hands of a toddler. If that doesn’t scare the crap out of you, I don’t know what does.
Now I’m not saying he’s going to nuke us all, but he COULD, and really that’s like just giving your toddler a box of matches. We don’t know he’s going to burn down the house. Maybe he’ll just eat them. But they are there, and they really, really should not be around a toddler. Like paint chips. I bet there were golden paint chips near the Donald when he was young. Explains so much.
So how do we deal with this? He’s here, he got elected (How? Just how?) and we have to deal with him in a peaceful manner. I found some great products to help us do just that! Click to Enlarge the Fun!
Trump Voodoo Dolls
This is great. It is so great. Really great. A cheeto with pins in it. I laughed and laughed and laughed. A strange part of me actually wanted to buy it from Ebay. But that would have kept this amazing image away from others. It’s a great marketing strategy. Imagine, an entire bag of voodoo dolls, just waiting for you. And when you’re done, you can eat him. Don’t worry, unlike the original, these are not toxic. Oddly enough, no one paid 3 bucks for a cheeto (I was a little surprised by this) but the seller promised me to relist. We had an interesting conversation about Cheeto here. The seller does not like Cheeto (in case the pins didn’t clue you in) and is hoping it goes viral. Do your part to make it so, guys! Here is the link, which is hopefully updated with a relist soon.
Now some of you may be saying, sure Alice, sticking pins in my snack food is fun and all, but it’s not that sturdy. Plus I’m not sure if I’d doing the voodoo right. Don’t we need to have a doll with some pins to make black magic? Never fear, there is an answer for this as well, and it’s also on Ebay. I ordered one for myself and hope to test it soon. The pictures in the advertisement, though, are very informative.
Yes, that’s right, a genuine voodoo doll, I’m sure of it due to my tireless research (tireless because I did none) . It’s a doll, it looks like Fart (that’s UK for Trump) and you can put a pin anywhere you want. There are so many places. So many. Now I do not advocate actually harming the president, I mean he’ll probably eventually do that himself by ticking off the wrong person. But hey, if you put a pin in his eye, and he happens to get an eye boo boo – that’s hardly your fault. I mean, stuff happens, right? Like the following on the advertisement:
Speaking of furry friends, it seems a shame to leave them out of all the fun. They can smell stupid, and they want to help their owners out however they can. Or, at least, they really like tearing stuff up. Just like Senor Cheeto! That’s why more marketing gurus, this time on Amazon, came up with this.
Trump Cat Toy
Cats come runnin’ for the good taste of Trump! Especially when he’s loaded with drugs, er cat nip. You’ll notice that there is a version for cats and dogs (the dog one comes with a squeaker), and also a variety of politicians you can choose for Fluffy. I’m not sure that Hillary Clinton needs anymore punishment, as she lost to Cheeto here, Bill is just tired, and Bernie is stuck questioning Cheeto’s cabinet contenders which would lead anyone to bang his head repeatedly against his desk. That can’t be good for a guy that old. Our Favorite Russian, Putin, is awesome, though.
Another great thing about these pet toys is the reviews from creative Amazon customers.
But Alice, you might ask, how can you really know how good these products are without testing them? Well, never fear, for I have both the Trump voodoo doll (the cloth one, not the cheeto though I’d be happy to buy a bag for the sake of research), and the cat toy on order. We don’t have a regular cat, but we do have Hazel the stray cat, who graces us with her presence when she wants food. Sometimes she even acts cute about it, but we all know she’s really evil. Still, I hope she loves the doll as much as the other cat customers must, since it’s on back order at the moment.
Donald Trump SqueezeEZ Big Head Collectible Stress Ball
And finally, last but not least, we all need a way to get rid of stress these days. Ripped off the head of your stress ducky? I did once, and the church ladies’ retreat director gave me a funny look when I said “Look, he’s got a tracheotomy”. Some people have no sense of humor. I got another duck, though. Where was I? Oh, right, next up, the Trump stress ball.
These kinda scare me, and we’re talking about me here. I haven’t dared buy one yet. Maybe I’ll put some orange fuzz on my stress cow, donated graciously by Thing Two who told me not to rip off its head. Everyone’s a critic. But if you order one of these squeeze heads, you might get lucky and receive the coveted gold head. It’s still filled with air like the others, but special.
That’s all I have for now! When I get my other products, I promise to show my own personal review with the help of Hazel the cat, my Things, and a bunch of sharp stuff. I’m sure they will push me into it, no matter how Sad Pony I get just because the president wants to invade Australia, or whatever. Also look out for Sim Trump. It’s been a while since I wrote my posts on Boppo the Clown (search for Boppo in my search box if you’re extremely bored and hate clowns), but now I have The Sims 4, which allows you a lot more customization on characters. So, for instance you could make one fat with orange hair. Not sure if I can make him orange yet, but I’ll let you now. I can also give him lots of new awful character traits, like insane.
Stay tuned, and if the world gets you down, do that voodoo that you do so well.
If I go crazy
then will you still call me Superman?
– 3 Doors Down
Even if you aren’t a nerd, you probably know about Superman. The big, tough guy who wears his patriotic underpants over his tights, whose secret identity can be bought at Lens Crafters, and whose greatest weakness is Kryptonite, a green space rock. The fun thing about superheroes is that you can identify with these guys, whether it’s wanting to be like them (for Superman flying, not wearing my underpants over my pants) or having a weakness. And we have many weaknesses. Internet, binge-watching competitive cooking shows, heroin, or secretly liking Justin Bieber.
You’ll note I didn’t add liking Trump to this list. That falls under the category of “evil-doer’s minion”. Justin first must get into politics to qualify for that. I’m thinking 2030 or so, but don’t worry, by then we will probably all be extinct. Accentuate the positive!
Anyway, I recently went to see Captain America: Civil War in the theater with Thing One who had only been nagging about this since the beginning of time. Okay, I was wanting to see it too because I like all the humor mixed in with this latest series of Marvel Comic Books movies. Superman is from another comic company called D.C. The best way to tell them apart is that Marvel got bought out by the great Empire of Disney and makes really profitable movies, while D.C. . . . doesn’t.
What I like most about these movies, in spite of never having read the comic books, is all the humor combined with unbelievable violence that never seems to really affect anything. Also it might be because the guys are super hot (get it?) and wear tight outfits over their muscles. I am not a dirty old woman. For your information Captain America was born like in the 30s or something but was frozen in ice like a popsickle for years because – who cares? And Thor is totally a Norse God so he’s like several thousand years old, give or take you know. I want to be a Norse Goddess in my next career.
As you can see, these back stories make complete sense, so we definitely want these guys to have realistic problems. And this movie did it. If you don’t want SPOILERS, and I do mean this both in revealing secrets and in the way I give this review (SARCASTICALLY) then you might want to run, RUN!
Okay moving on.
This movie took a while to get started. Like a long time. There was this Russian guy, and this other Russian guy, and this dude called Bucky (no really) who was Captain America’s best friend back in World War II but is now an insane assassin but Cap knows there is still GOOD in him even though he kills lots of people. Even more than Captain America does!
And turns out people are bugged about the death and destruction while superheroes fight the super villains and save everybody! Except those dead people. I always assumed that they went back and found the people safely ducking and covering under the smashed cars, then did Habitat for Heroes and rebuilt the buildings. Not really, I honestly didn’t care. But now the U.S. government IS caring about killing random people (this is a first) and decide they need to reign in the superheroes. Maybe it’s because the government prefers to kill them themselves?
That’s what Captain America is thinking. Why trust the government even though he was a loyal soldier back in the 1940s and was eager to fight Nazis for freedom? And Iron Man (played by the adorable, snarky, sarcastic Robert Downey Jr.) normally does whatever the heck he wants partly because it annoys everyone else, especially his teammates. I love people who purposely irritate others and get away with it! But this was not the Iron Man here. This Iron Man wants to give it over the government. Why? Because they had his girlfriend Pepper (no really) played by Gwyneth Paltrow (no really) leave him and people come up and yell at him for killing their children while saving the damn planet and this has him all depressed.
Noooo. Iron Man is what makes these movies so much fun. This is like turning Tigger into Eeyore and expecting the same dynamic. But it’s not really about the other Avengers (Thor and the Hulk are off playing a round of golf or something) but a Captain America movie. That’s why we have Russians and Bucky. Bucky, Bucky, Bucky. Right, well, part of the group are meeting at the United Nations building to sign some contract and KA-BOOM big explosion. The king of *Uganda – for some reason the U.S. is suddenly paying attention to violence in Uganda – is kinda dead. Oops. Luckily Black Widow, one of the two women in this superhero movie, has survived the massive explosion with, I’m not kidding, a bit of dirt on her cheek. Her hair is great, her suit is fine. She hasn’t even broken a nail. At least there was unintentional humor there.
Now in the advertisements there was much to do about Captain America and Iron Man beating the crap out of each other. So I was sort of waiting for that. It took a long time. Really long time. Most of the time Cap is trying to protect Bucky from people wanting to kill him for pretty good reasons. It turns out Bucky is not at fault, though he was for all the other deaths like oh . . . Iron Man’s parents. OOOOPSIES. Iron Man doesn’t take seeing video (by the random Russian guy) of his parents being tortured all that well. So runs after old Bucky, who Captain America protects, so then he starts whackin’ on Captain America, who whacks back, and so forth.
Finally Captain America darn near kills Iron Man, and leaves him there. Cause justice and the American way? Bucky gets frozen again – oh yeah he was frozen too – and later Cap writes a letter saying gee sorry Iron Man, want to rejoin the club? And why not, right? And it just ends there.
Oh there were some good lines here and there. They get a couple of new characters, and when they are all fighting each other and asking if they’re still, like, buds after this, it’s got that same old feel. Humor and violence. But still, it’s not my favorite of the series (and there are a lot of these movies to watch – you actually need a list to figure out the order of all the movies about various characters.) The politics were confusing, like real politics, as was a lot of the story. But maybe my main problem was that everything around me is depressing, and depressing is my Kryptonite. For turn your brain off fun, I recommend the first two Avengers movies, or the Iron Man Movies, or anything with the name “Robert Downey Jr” in it. Or whatever you actually like to watch.
Robert Downey, Jr., please cheer up. Heck with Gywneth. I am available anytime.
* Edited to Add: Thing One informed me the country is Wakanda, not Uganda. So it just sounds like an African country. My bad. In my defense, I think the U.S. wouldn’t care about Wakanda either.
For some fun, check out this video.
I was going to write a Valentine’s Day post, but I did a post on the
completely made up totally true origins of the holiday already. So it’s back to our post on healthy body image! There is a song by Sir Mix-A-Lot, dedicated totally to this, and it is totes romantic.
You see? Even rapper knights from the 80s know that it’s okay for a woman to have some curves on her! So why not Barbie? That’s the conclusion Mattel came to after only 50 years or so. And lots of complaining. And their company profits sort of going down the toilet due to not putting effort into their projects anymore. So they made some gutsy changes that got Barbie on the cover of Time Magazine. No, I’m serious.
Yes, there is now a “curvy” Barbie with an actual behind, a bit of tummy, and healthy thighs. Also a tall, flatter Barbie, and a short “petite” Barbie, for all those freaky tall and short people out there. Just kidding. It’s actually nice to see a variety of doll shapes since some girls are tall and skinny (like I was, and I like my daughters are) and others are just short and petite which I used to envy until I realized I would always be able to reach items on the top shelf that they couldn’t.
I got all three shapes of doll because RESEARCH. Again, apologies for the naked doll pictures, but if you wanna see the shape, you gotta see it without clothes. And we all know Barbie always goes commando underneath her duds, with the exception of those drawn on skin-tone panties that look like she’s got some sort of infection going on. I also pulled back in the Lammily doll, based on an average of normal girl proportions, from my last post for comparison, though she’s a little more annoyed about the nude thing. Barbie is used to it, as she regularly lays around my house with no clothes, just as she did when I was a kid.
The Things, otherwise known as my testers, checked out the dolls and gave their opinions. The short one had a nice dress but scary looking eyes. The tall one was, like, tall. Thing Two strongly favored Miss Curvy. I told them we needed names, so Thing Two decided on presidents. Meet Jenny Clinton, Emma Obama, and Sarah Roosevelt.
Now for the pictures that will probably surface during their campaigns. We brought in highly-flexible yoga Barbie again (her name is Marsha Brady Trump and if you have to ask why, you probably haven’t read my blog much.) Since Curvy Ms. Roosevelt is the most controversial, I concentrated on her for most of the comparison shots.
So Curvy’s legs are noticably thicker, and you can see a bit of thigh. But you need a closer look to really see the junk in the trunk. This post is going to get so many views for all the wrong reasons.
So she has a butt – a real butt. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see very many behinds (not that I spend a lot of time looking but you know what I mean I think I’ll stop talking now) that are so nonexistent as on Flexi Trump. And once again those pencil legs really stand out, even if they can bend behind her body in a scary sort of way that – even scarier – real people are actually able to do in yoga class. Did I mention you can get stress fractures doing yoga? It’s true – a coworker did. And she thought she was getting healthy!
Anyway, I also wanted to compare Curvy Roosevelt’s body to the Lammily more average sized body. Come on, Meg! Come meet someone! No, really, we promise it will be better this time!
Again, we did the strip tease shot. Meg is filing a lawsuit against me, I’m pretty sure. She doesn’t get research.
The two dolls both have some added butt and thigh, though one has a shorter torso, and the other a longer one. I’m not sure really which torso is the most normal. Maybe it’s because women are shaped differently. Nah, it has to be problems with manufacturing! Curvy has skinnier arms and upper body, and her legs get skinnier in the calf down to the feet that are still too small to adequately support a normal person. Plus, while she’s wearing shoes here, I can tell you she still has no toes. Unlike the Lammily doll, who has some very detailed toes there. Evolution in doll making for sure!
My body has always been a bit closer to curvy, which is why I object when people complain – you’re shocked right? – that her body is unrealistic still. It’s called “pear shaped”. There’s also “apple shaped” (if you are bigger around he middle) and “stick shaped” (if you still have to wear undershirts instead of bras and you’ve been desperately searching for your hips.) I’ve had friends of all these body types. Not surprisingly, none of us are happy. Especially when we’re told we’re either too fat or too skinny. Just as this doll, like the Lammily doll, is “fat”, according to people with very thin minds.
Finnick from the Hunger Games doesn’t seem to mind.
Time Magazine complained about a few things. For one, the doll has no clothes to fit her yet, though they are coming out with some in the future. Oh, dear! It’s like someone might have to sew those clothes. And sell them. And they have sewn them and we have come. To Etsy, where I have never gone before. It’s truly amazing the talent out there that “average” people have to sew tiny clothes in perfect detail. Mattel and other companies need to employ these people.
I was asked if kids are really that affected by a doll. No, it’s not the doll – it’s the culture so many embrace, of one nearly impossible body. But as a parent, there are so many ways to combat it. They watch you in whatever you do and say (including how you hate your own looks, which is something I say too often). They also arrive without judgment (most of the time). Like the song in South Pacific, such attitudes toward skin color or body shape “have to be carefully taught”. I liked watching how my kids judged the dolls based on which ones they happened to like best. And they like most dolls with little notice of size, shape, or color. Disney princesses play alongside Ken and Barbie and it’s not totally unknown for My Little Pony or, say, a giant stuffed rabbit to invade from time to time. We like to call it creativity. Or madness. Both have a great spark.
There has been a lot of talk about the issue of body image, especially with women. There’s also been a lot of Barbie trashing, an easy target what with the doll’s obvious impossible proportions which are totally unlike the impossible proportions of many of our models and actresses, and never, ever shown as ideal in the media. But Barbie is a doll meant for children, so parents especially have been griping about this since Barbies were first created. (The idea of the doll came from an “adult toy” for bachelor parties. I can’t understand their complaints at all.) So anyway, one would think they’d be happy when finally, toy companies started making dolls that approach a more natural likeness to a real human body.
You’d be wrong of course! One of the first dolls to get media attention back in 2014 was the Lammily doll, created by Nickolay Lamm, a guy so conceited he named the doll after a combination of his name and family! Totally unlike what Barbie’s creator did, what with naming Barbie and Ken after her children. It had to be tough being her kids. Especially when your mom romantically linked you. But never mind that, back to the unfortunately named Lammily, which sounds like an ointment for sheep. In spite of her name, this is an groundbreaking doll. You see, Lamm decided it’d be interesting to see what Barbie would look like if you made her proportions more like an average of the proportions of a real 19-year-old woman. Note I said an “average” of the statistical measurements of a woman of this age. Meaning some are bigger, some are smaller, yadda yadda. But then he confused it a little by saying “Average is beautiful” as part of the campaign. And you know what Americans think about average.
No one is average! We should all strive for perfection that we can never attain, not settle for realistic dreams! How dare we suggest a girl be content with being “average”. Not even a mathematical average of human body types. But there were enough people who wanted a doll that didn’t make them or their kids feel like fatties wearing size, omg, 12 (The beginning size for plus-size models. I wish I was kidding here.) So in one day, his kickstarter campaign far surpassed what was needed to start the project. When Lammily arrived, the doll the media hyped to no end, calling her the alternative to Barbie, or even better, “fat” Barbie, there were a lot of mixed reactions. Some people were happy. But most were annoyed – on either side of the political spectrum.
Some were disappointed that this doll, started by one guy and a handful of dollars and helpers, did not come up with a huge range of body types and ethnicities with his pilot project. Because yeah, that’s what all small companies are capable of doing. He also made her, omg, white, but at least he made her brunette, and not wearing pink! Also no make-up! A plus, right? Nope. Now the ones who wanted a “family friendly modest doll” said she was “plain” and her clothes were boring and what kid (or parent) would want to play with that? Also, not every girl looked exactly like the Lammily doll. Which would mean – not every girl is average? Just like not every girl has crazy proportions? (There are some women who are naturally long legged, tall, skinny and perfect looking. It’s called the genetic lottery.) And then were the people, many of them women, who said this doll was “fat”. A doll statistically made by mathematical averages of a real female.
Even worse, he came up with a package of stickers with everything from cellulite to acne to various wounds (broken leg, scars, bruises – is Lammily in a bad relationship?) to help kids identify with the crap that puberty throws their way by sticking them on their dolls. Personally, I think I would have loved this as a kid. In fact, I might have to still order these stickers, if only to enjoy slapping them on Barbie and the Disney Princesses myself. Because it just makes the world feel a little more fair, that’s why.
So basically, Barbie is bad because she has too much makeup and no pimples, is too sexualized, and has a body that is not natural. And Lammily is bad because she has no makeup and has pimples, is not sexualized, and has a body that at least approaches natural. And then there were the people who, inexplicably, said Barbie is great and they were never, ever influenced to think they had to have a body like her. These are some of the same people who said Lammily was fat. Are you sensing a bit of disconnect here? Cause I sure am. Sorry, Lamm, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
What’s most ironic is that when you hear or see actual stories of how kids play with these dolls (not the ones in advertising, but actual stories) the kids really don’t care that much. UNLESS the parent makes it a big deal. For instance, one youtube video, labeled “Kids react to ‘Fat’ Barbie”, shows a woman purposely sticking Lammily marks on the doll before showing it to her small child along with a Barbie in a fancy dress. Guess which one the kid picked? Yeah, she chose the fancy one, and I’m sure she was not at all influenced by mom’s body language or purposeful attempts to make the Lammily doll more unattractive. I think this is one insecure lady. God forbid she gain weight herself one day.
So in response to the very, very horrific examples of human-kind seen in the comment sections of many articles and reviews on these dolls, I bought a Lammily. Because that’s the kind of research I will do for my fans, and not because I like buying dolls anyway. I bought her an extra set of clothes to experiment with as well, since she doesn’t fit in any of Barbie’s “no ribs” fashions. Thing Two announced that Lammily (Who has been renamed “Meg” by the Things. But not, as Thing Two vehemently insists, “Megyn.”) looks like me. I think that’s a compliment. I’ll take it as one, because Lammily has some nice muscular legs (which mine are not any longer) and a young, pretty face.
I have to admit, when I first saw this doll I thought she looked strange. She was thicker, without much of a waist (the hips probably could have been a little more hippy – girls do actually have hips) an actual butt, and (gasp) thighs. And then I realized with startling clarity that I had looked at myself for years, even back when I was a young, very thin woman, as someone with enormous thighs. So much so that I did not, and still do not, wear shorter dresses or skirts. To realize that this was normal was amazing, and somehow this doll showed it better than anything else I had experienced, possibly because I could physically hold this thing in my hand and compare it with other dolls. The Things were amazed as well. Forgive the nudie pics but it is the best way to see the comparison between body types. For actual doll porn, please see the rest of the Internet.
“Good grief, her legs are like pencils, Mom!” Thing One said, looking at Meg and then Barbie. And this is a kid who is thin, but with legs that can actually support her. Thing One immediately made Meg one of her super flexible yoga Barbie’s younger sister. Because why not? Both can live together, as they do in the real world. They are still toys, and not just political agendas. It might be nice to let the kids decide what they want and don’t want. And even it is only the parents who really like Lammily, and not kids, that’s okay – cause guess who has the money to buy the dolls? The parents. But parents can do best by their kids by just letting the dolls go, and seeing what happens – without preconceived notions. It’s an opportunity to talk with your kids about what they think, and why. And it’s a chance to play again. Which more adults should do – in my humble opinion.
P.S. No I haven’t been blind to Mattel hopping on the body image bandwagon with a brand new line of fashionista Barbies – a tall, a petite, and – oh oh – a curvy. More on them in part two.
I had a lot planned, but just when I thought I was better, I was sick again and stressed and bummed and just in time for the holiday! The one with the turkey, not Black Friday. So I figured I would throw together a few posts because starting tomorrow is gonna be the FUN countdown to Xmas! Happy Holidays, Fox!
“Thing One: The Musical”
Thing One was in the musical “Crazy for You”. She had a small role yet was the star because Thing One. We enjoyed playing “Where’s Waldo” with her each time they changed scenery. “Where is she?” I’d ask my parents. “Oh, THERE she is, in the corner.” And while she may not have had but one line “Thank you, Mr. Zangler.” she was always animated, unlike some of the other kids who learned to nap with eyes open.
The fairly new musical was built around a bunch of old songs because – because. Quick rundown of the plot. Guy’s rich mom wants him to be a banker, but he wants to sing and dance and wear shiny pants. Zangler is there with his Folly Girls (Thing One was one of them and wore this awesome slinky dress and make up and her hair done up so beautifully, aw) and he tells Shiny he’s a moron. (I liked that part) So Shiny goes to the Old West (or Nevada, whatever) and he meets this cowgirl and they are sort of in love but bad news their theater is going under, but Shiny has a way to save it – put on a musical! He pretends to be Zangler, and gets a LOT of girls to come down to do the show. For some reason, it doesn’t occur to him that there are only 13 people in the town, so this idea is probably not going to work.
Cowgirl falls in love with Zangler, not realizing that duh it’s Shiny. Then dancing girls showed up who I thought were just doing random numbers but no, they were supposed to be his delusions. They came out a LOT, so prayers for Shiny. Thing One was this lady with a suitcase, or sitting or standing off to the side, looking awesome. Since I was just a few days out of surgery, I began feeling very sore midway through. So that’s when they really brought out the songs. I mean there was a song for everyone and for everything, even stuff that wasn’t happening. But the songs finally ended, and the musical. Thing One had a wonderful time, and went back to one of her favorite activities: sleep.
I watched a show on the history channel that was, shock, about history, the history of Thanksgiving. Did you know that we made a lot of that up? Shock! Like they found a letter from one Pilgrim who said yeah some Indians did help with the planting. The Pilgrims showed gratitude by shooting off their guns in an attempt to scare off the Indians. The Indians sent out a big scout party to check this crap out, right when the Pilgrims decided to have a big meal after reaping this awesome harvest all by themselves! Well, the Indians see this, and decide to invite themselves, seeing as how there were twice as many of them as there were Pilgrims.
Guess who’s coming to dinner?
I would have loved to see the looks on the Pilgrims’ faces when they showed up. But anyway, the Things took some pictures of “A Pocahontas Thanksgiving”, which makes as much sense as the other made up version.
“25 days of Olaf”
Get ready, folks. Since I was little too disturbed by Mr. Elf on the Shelf and his network of spies, I bought the Frozen version. You’re supposed to hide Olaf the stuffed snowman in a new place every day. The Things and I have already thought of many, many places to stick that snowman. We’re planning to take a new pic each day for you guyz. Also to scare the crap out of each other with the places and situations we put the snowman in. Stay tuned!
Same old thing as yesterday.
Thanks, Sting, I knew you’d understand. It’s raining today. I live in Texas, which being the size of about half the rest of the United States (we exaggerate sometimes here) has several of its own climates. The one I have is semi-arid which means mostly desert except when the weather feels like throwing stupid stuff your way. Like rain and snow. I don’t really like either of these, unless the snow is so significant it cancels work and school. Then snow is like, my pal.
Fun fact: There are more suicides in Seattle,Washington than in Alaska cause light bounces off of snow, but rain is just gray and dreary. There’s a source for this, but I’m not looking it up.
It’s raining right now. Everyone is supposed to be happy about this because sometimes we are so dry a loose spark can set off massive dry grass explosions. But it messes with my asthma and my depression – a double combo so to speak. I cough and I’m bummed. And I can be bummed when it is bright and sunny (how dare it be bright and sunny?) so I don’t need actual dreary. I don’t think I’m the only one who dislikes rain. I’m pretty sure rain is at least partly why England was off conquering other nations once upon a time. They didn’t want to be at home.
There’s even a song about rain everyone knows. “Rain, rain, go away.”
“Rain, rain, go away
Come again some other day.” (like never)
I learned it as a kid, and I remembered there were some whack lyrics about an old man in a coma, but I wasn’t sure what they were so I actually researched some for this one. According to my authentic source, Wikipedia, the modern English song dates back to the 17th century when James Howell wrote “Raine raine goe to Spain: faire weather come againe.” I like this version. Hey, bad weather, go to Spain. We hate those guys. I wish my rain to go to political conventions. Either party. Please do so when the candidates are out there speaking. I’d love to see the Donald’s hair piece wash away.
But the Wikipedia article didn’t touch on the old dude, so I had to do more searching. I found an educational site that, predictably, screwed up the lyrics making it “Rain, rain go away, Mommy / Daddy / Sister / the dog / Donald Trump wants to play” but that was lame and not the real song at all. Boo. I had to add in “the old man is snoring” to get a positive result. Turns out the song can be called “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” as well as “Rain, Rain, Go Away.” So here is the version they didn’t make PC for today’s children, but which was perfectly fine for me to learn.
The old man is snoring.
He bumped his head
When he went to bed
And he couldn’t get up in the morning
Cue the chorus “Rain, rain go away.” Just – wait, what? I always wondered about that part. I mean, what the heck does a snoring old man who gets a concussion and is now in a coma have to do with rain? Why put this in a song for kids? Were we not traumatized enough by the mutilation of the three blind mice? Well, I say traumatized, but we were kids and took great delight in singing about chopping off rodent tails and unconscious old dudes in comas – who are lying in the rain? But kids are evil. As adults we should be wondering – who is this old guy and won’t someone shut off the camera and go get him medical attention?
Unless it’s foul play. Now I can believe hitting your head on the headboard of your bed hard enough to cause a concussion because I routinely smack my head and other body parts into things on accident. But while I’m no doctor, I think you really shouldn’t go back to sleep after this. Unless someone MADE you. Like say a disgruntled wife who was bugged by her snoring husband so hit him in the head when he went to bed so that he couldn’t get up in the morning. Consciousness go away, come again another day . . .
It should be noted that I found the real lyrics on another teaching site that advises teachers after singing the first part to ask the kids to put their names into the song. “Blah blah old man dead, rain, rain go away, little (Madison, Madisyn, Maddisson) wants to play.” Yes, let’s put our names into a song about an unfortunate old dude. Sounds fun to me! Go on, little (Brayden, Britin, Braxton) sing! It’s fun!
And we wonder why our children grow up to be stuff like serial killers and politicians. But I digress. It’s raining here and the water is seeping under my house where wood will probably rot and suck us into a giant hole one day. Maybe I could make a song about it?
As this post was inspired partly by Merbear’s inspirational Annie post, I feel I should give her credit here while stealing the cartoon she found.
Have a nice day, rain or shine. And pay no attention to Eddie Rabbit, who “loves a rainy night”. He clearly never heard of that poor old guy.
Thing One is an actress, you guyz. She is a freshman this year (how did she go from second grade to that – no matter) and is playing a Folly girl in the high schools’ grand musical comedy production “Crazy for You.” I had never heard of this musical before, but I knew the songs, and now they are stuck in my head. “I’ve got rhythm, I’ve got music, I’ve got a migraine, who could ask for anything more?” Still, it’s her drama teacher who is to be admired. He gets to hear the songs over and over and over and try to get high school students to stop texting and making out (Thing One will point out that she does not do either of these things, partly because she has no phone) long enough to learn lines, songs, and dances. He’s been doing it since my older brother was in high school, so his brain is probably permanently damaged by now, which makes him the perfect one for the job.
Thing One is playing a Folly girl, like from the Ziegfeld Follies. I’d heard of them, but vaguely, so we decided to look it up on Youtube. And wow – we learned a lot. Stuff you really can’t unlearn. First we found a clip about Ziegfeld Follies from another musical comedy (you’ll soon see why “comedy” so often comes up when speaking of these guys), the 1946 film appropriately titled “Ziegfeld Follies.” You’ve got everything here guys. Fred Astaire, dancing girls with 6 ft tall fluffy boa hats, an enormous merry-go-round with real horses, a set that was thrown up on by a giant bottle of Pepto-Bismol, a dead serious Lucille Ball cracking a whip over chorus girls, who could ask for anything more?
The Things and I watched it once, scarred for life, then watched it again to make sure we had really just seen that. Here’s a few screen shots.
Here’s the whole clip for you to watch! Put to music it’s even better!
WTF? I mean seriously – what was that??? I thought you couldn’t get more bizarre than that horrific pink carousel of mid-rif showing, boa covered girls standing on top of actual freaking horses (how many times did they have to rehearse that scene? I could see some issues with the horses.) And then comes Lucy looking like she just completed brain surgery. And then comes the whip. And then the cat girls. And the whipping. And the fingernails. And . . . that was not a Lady Gaga video, you guys, she just wishes she could be this innovative.
But this was a comedy film, so they weren’t seriously that weird right? We watched a clip of a PBS (the ones who made Sesame Street) documentary on the Follies to find out.
I love how the PBS commentator (a guy of course) reflects that it was all very innocent and American! We’re talking 1907 through 1936 here. This is why knowing history is oh so important. We’re repeating it now, only we are much more boring about it.
So my Thing One is going to be a folly girl! I can’t wait to see her costume. I hope it has a giant pink feather boa hat.