Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Couple of Thoughts on "The Biggest Loser"

It's Tuesday, which means that The Biggest Loser will be on NBC tonight.  The Hubby and I will most likely switch between that and the Phillies game this evening.  (And I am thinking that we might even fit a game or two of Carcassonne in there somewhere!)  A lazy, relaxing, fun evening--which is exactly what I need tonight!

I like the Biggest Loser.  I think that it is reality t.v. with a very positive and motivating message: to get fit and healthy.

The show has had its fair share of controversy.  People say that the contestants lose too much too quickly; that it is unrealistic; that they won't be able to maintain their weight loss; that the trainers use faulty methods; etc.

So with so much controversy, what is there to like?

The contestants are inspired to live better lives by taking care of their bodies.  This healthy attitude is infectious.  I know that after watching an episode I work harder during my workouts and I make better food choices.  (Although, for some reason it seems like I always *need* dessert on Tuesdays.  Today is no different, as I am currently snacking on cookies.)

I love seeing how the people change week to week--and not just how much they lose.  It is really wonderful to hear that someone who was on various medications for high blood pressure, etc, now doesn't need to take a prescription.  And this happens every season!  I'm not anti-medicine, but I really think that in general Americans pop too many pills, especially for things that are in their control!

It also is inspiring to watch someone barely able to walk a mile in week one run a marathon a couple of months later.  It is a good reminder that everyone starts somewhere, and sometimes all you have to do is start.  When I watch someone that is twice, or three times, or even more, my weight doing push-ups I am reminded that I have no excuse not to drop and give 50, or maybe just 15.

The people that participate on this show are lucky to have access to trainers, a gym available to them 24/7, doctors and dietitians helping them, and very importantly being removed from all other distractions. This combination really helps them to succeed, when they have failed in the past.  Of course, it is still reality t.v., so there is also the drama of who gets voted out, how the teams work, etc.  And the producers do their job and make it as sensational as possible.

Sadly, not all of the contestants are able to keep the weight off when they return home from the Ranch.  This doesn't seem that surprising to me, considering that while there they spend 4-6 hours a day exercising and a very strict food plan.  I don't know about you, but I have a hard enough time fitting in an hour of exercise a day and I'm a stay-at-home-mom!  Also, I imagine that it is easier to fall into old habits by yourself at home than at the Ranch on national television.
Well, that ends my ramblings for now--the show will be on in a few minutes.

I beg your forgiveness if this is completely incoherent, a certain little girl 
thought that she might miss something last night between 3:30 and 6:15 a.m. and 
I am in a sleep-deprived daze.

Friday, September 23, 2011

THE Dress

One of my (many) guilty pleasures is TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress".  We don't have cable, but I recently stumbled across it on Netflix.  (I should admit that my first introduction was when we had free cable--and yes we told the company that we got it, we didn't want it--I mean we didn't want to pay for it, and they should take it away.  They said it would take a few days, which in reality was almost two years.  Sigh, I miss HGTV, the Food Network, and USA.)

The amount of money that some brides are willing to drop for a dress sometimes truly astounds me.  Some of these women spend more on their dresses than our little house in South Bend cost!  (Granted, it was a very small house in a very sad and dejected market . . . but still!)  Almost all of the dresses on the show cost more than our current Ford Taurus; and I think I've only seen one dress cost less than my first car, the Hyundai Elantra.

I can't find a full length picture that is already on the computer to
show you the awesomeness of my dress, so here's a sampling.
Don't get me wrong, I totally understand wanting the perfect dress for your wedding day.  It is a once in a lifetime experience.  The feeling of walking down the aisle, feeling your best, with the man of your dreams waiting at the foot of the altar is almost impossible to describe.  It is an amazingly special day and your attire should reflect the awesomeness that is happening.  But, the dresses the cost as much as a house or car don't really seem that much better than an . . . gasp . . . off the rack dress.

Personally, I loved my dress!  I was able to find almost exactly what I wanted at David's Bridal and a very talented friend of mine was able to add gorgeous straps--with beading to match the rest of the dress!  (She really did a fantastic job!)  I could gush about it for a long time . . .


I have a quick rant before I finish.  It bothers me when people refer to the wedding as "the best day of your life".  It certainly is ONE of them, but the implication that it is all downhill from there is just wrong and downright depressing!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What I Don't Understand About Baseball

Ah, the great American pastime--baseball.  I enjoy both watching and playing this sport.  I grew up with the Cincinnati Reds and am now also a Phillies fan.  (Woohoo for the fifth straight National League East title!)

Here are a couple of things that I just don't "get":

Why aren't pitchers better batters?  They should know better than any other player, other than maybe the catcher, how to read what pitch is coming.  They should be able to anticipate what pitch is coming their way by knowing their own strengths and weaknesses and knowing what they would pitch to themselves.  Once they see the pitch they should be able to react accordingly.  

Do umpires have schedules like the players?  Do they stay in one city or do they move around?  What type of rotation do they have?  What types of checks and balances do they have?  I know the players spend a lot of time away from home, but they also get paid the big bucks to sleep in a hotel bed about a third of the year (give or take some)--do the umps also make the big bucks?

What is the deal with rally caps?  Why does turning them inside out mean good luck?  Where did this bizarre tradition start?  And why?  And how?  When I first saw this phenominon I thought it was a thing the local little league did--I was rather surprised to find it is national oddity.

Why does the number of players allowed on the roster change during the year?

How does a team with no fan base get the money to build a brand new stadium? 

Where does all of the money come from that pays the player's salaries?

I am sure that there are more, but that's enough for now!

Friday, September 9, 2011

What constitutes a "girlie" beer?

I guess this stuff fits the bill.  Chick Premium Light Beer, according to its creators is "the only American beer created just for women."  The label certainly is feminine, with its pink and black color scheme.  Which, of course, does happen to be a favorite color combination of mine!  The box is a "purse" and each bottle is adorned with a LBD.  (Little Black Dress--just to be clear.)  The packaging is adorable and eye catching!  I know I would be drawn to this beer if I saw it in the store.  As it is currently it is only available in Maryland, maybe I will see it somewhere on a shelf!

Chick Beer
However . . . 

It does seem a little "patronizing" as one Reporter put it, to think that women will want it just because its cute.  That might work once, or maybe even twice, but this product will only make money if the taste can compete with the big guns.  

Also, competing in the light beer market with Chick's 97 calories will be difficult.  Michelob Ultra only has 73 calories.  Miller Genuine Draft has 64.  Budweiser Select has 99.  Budweiser Select 55 has the fewest that I've seen at a mere 55. 

I do love success stories--regular people seeing a need for something and doing something about it.  Maybe a beer for women isn't the most noble thing ever, but they are donating some of the proceeds and that's pretty cool!  Will this beer make it?  It is hard to say.  

By the way, I barely drink beer.  The most I've ever had was when I visited Ireland--I had about half a Guinness in a local pub.  But if I ever cross paths with this beer I will try it. 


UPDATE ONE: Peter claims that saying I had "about half" of the Guinness was being extremely generous.

UPDATE TWO: Here's an article that MSN just put out about the decline of certain beer sales--notably light beers.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Save the Babies' Bums!

I just read this article, which claims that due to the "constipated" economy diapers are getting changed more infrequently.  The poor kids!  I hope that (if this is true) those parents have cut other things first--like their daily Starbucks or McDonalds fix, or their weekly eating out, or need  for a new shirt, or (heaven forbid!) their daily Dr. Pepper!  You get the idea; those little luxuries can add up fast, and the poor little one's bum doesn't deserve to be the one to suffer!

The cheap, I mean, frugal side of me also just about had a heart attack when they said the American family spends about fifteen hundred dollars a year on diapers!  Oh my goodness.  If we spent that money on diapers our budget would be shot to pieces.  Seriously people, even if you don't want to use coupons (and I realize they aren't for everyone) use Amazon Mom.

Also, I wonder why the kids in India get their diapers changed three more times a day than those here do?  I did a quick search, and after reading this blogger's post, it seems that they have basically the same stuff we have here in the States, so it shouldn't be a quality issue.  Is is that, on average, we are a lazier nation?  I hope that's not the answer, but I am afraid that it might be true.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What is it about Mr. Darcy?

Like any good English major, I enjoy a bit of Austen.  Of course I've read some of her work and I've enjoyed various film versions of her works.  I love the "gold-standard" edition the BBC put out in 1995.

I recently watched "Lost in Austen", a British mini-series where the modern day heroine, Amanda Price, switches places with Elizabeth Bennet and reeks havoc with Austen's famous story.  (Spoiler alert!)  All of the couples are tampered with--Mr. Collins and Jane, Bingley and Lydia, and Darcy falls for Amanda!  Amanda, who has loved Jane Austen's classic since she was fifteen, finds herself in love with Darcy.

So, it got me thinking, what is it about Mr. Darcy that makes women swoon?

He's handsome.  He's a gentleman.  He's rich. He's aloof.  He's arrogant.  He's meddlesome.  He's conceited.  

But it seems that every woman is looking for her Darcy.  I had to laugh when I found a wikiHow article entitled: "How to Find a Modern Mr. Darcy."  Darcy is not a particularly likable or sympathetic character early on in the story.  Sure, eventually I was rooting for him to win Elizabeth's heart, but that wasn't until the end!

So, again, why?

He's intelligent.  He's persistent.  He's a provider.  He's honest.  He's loyal.  He has morals.  He cares for his family and friends quite strongly.  He goes to great lengths to "protect" those he cares about.  He eventually is willing to change and learn a little humility.  He also seems to have the capacity to love passionately.

For whatever the reason, Darcy is forever anchored in history as one of the greatest greatest romantic heroes in all literature.

Here's an odd note, I found this statement is near the bottom of the Wiki page on Darcy: "Darcy's status as a romantic hero transcends literature. In 2010 a protein sex pheromone in male mouse urine, that is sexually attractive to female mice, was named Darcin in honour of the character."  Bizarre.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Little Girl

Catherine has certainly entered the impish toddler stage!  She gets into trouble because she is so curious about the world around her.  Obviously, that curiosity is something that I want to encourage and I love that she is so interested and engaging in the world around her.

But . . .

She gets into everything.  Even when I could have sworn it was out of reach!

"Look Mommy!  I found the tortilla chips, and I crunched them up, and just in case I missed any I am sitting on the bag!"

She can now climb.  On everything.  For a little while the only thing that she could get up on was the coffee table.  So we did the obvious thing, we turned it upside-down.  She really enjoys playing in/on it.  Now she can get up on the chairs, the couch, bins, the air conditioner, you name it.  We won't be opening any windows in our apartment this autumn!