Monthly Archives: April 2009

Susan Boyle Wows Everyone…Almost

I love Susan Boyle.  I’ve never watched any of those “Idol,” “Model,” or “Talent” shows.  The only reason I know of Susan Boyle is that she has hit the news big time.  For those of you, like me, who don’t keep up with these shows, Susan Boyle made a big hit on “Britain’s Got Talent” as a singer.

Unfortunately, the news was two-fold:  boy, is she ever unattractive, and boy, can she ever sing.

Susan Boyle is 47, overweight, flabby, and has graying, frizzy hair, bushy eyebrows, and a blubbery face.  Susan Boyle also has the singing ability of an angel, giving a performance of the Les Miserables tune “I Dreamed A Dream”  that has made her an instant star with more than 20 million views on YouTube.

Now the debates rage:  should she or shouldn’t she get some kind of makeover to look prettier on camera?    The United Kingdom’s Guardian published a “no, she shouldn’t; she should stay natural” comment from one of their most “done over” women stars.  Others are repulsed by her looks, and can’t imagine that beautiful voice coming from such a plain, frumpy woman.

Many of those 20 million plus YouTube views very likely occurred simply because of that incredible contrast.  For many, it was like watching a geek or freak show, so they could laugh at her lack of physical attributes, without, of course, looking in the mirror themselves.

Me?  I give her lots of credit for being more focused on her voice than on her lack of beauty.  She is definitely not attractive.  Should she get face work to match the scores of women who all look like they came out of the same factory:  the puffed-up face, abnormally protruding cheeks, and lips that look like the rump side of an orangutan?  I wouldn’t advise it.

Clearly, this is not a woman of means…yet.  So, getting her hair colored and calmed down, learning some makeup tips, and having clothes which best compliment her ample figure is something that is probably in the works now, which means that she’d be spiffing up what she has, and not getting surgically transformed into a vision which will make the snide snickers go away.  Making the best of what you have is admirable and advisable; getting re-made into something nobody is, is not admirable nor advisable.

And the main point is that she has a beautiful voice, and a tremendous amount of talent.  If she were “pretty,” I wonder how many YouTube hits there would have been.  Gosh…I long for the days before television and the Internet, when only the quality of what a person had to offer was revealed.

Quote of the Week

The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
               – Thomas Jefferson
                  Third President of the United States

Outrageous Behavior in Exchange for Instant Fame

When I was a kid, we spent most of our time outside playing…something.  Riding bikes, playing ball, walking, running, performing dramatic vignettes, or finding clues in twigs, among other activities.  Imagination, strategy, and fresh air were the mainstay of life then.

And then….the incredible technology age came along, with chatter, Twitter, and pics, texting and more.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to guess that that isn’t very good.

Kids today aren’t on “friendship” sites to get help with their math homework or discourse on all things philosophical.  They’re basically trying to make a mark, to be somebody, or to impress somebody, all without having done a damn thing to actually earn the attention.

But why should they?  Look at what they see on television:  reality show after reality show where people get “famous” for behaving badly and creating nothing of value or beauty.  Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich may even be getting his own television show after being tossed out of office because of severe wrongdoing.

That’s where kids get the idea that “outrageous” is more important than goodness, patience, commitment to a goal, and values beyond their own immediate “fantasy” gratification.  I don’t know how you parents can shield your children from this “Pinocchio Island,” which ultimately degenerates the value of living and giving to merely depraved acting out.  Removing all TVs and never going to the movies might be a start – maybe the Amish have it right in that regard.  They have long held that so-called “modern” advances don’t necessarily advance the human spirit.

It breaks my heart to hear all the stories each day of children and young adults who, in a rush to feel the power of adulthood freedom, don’t get the matched message of responsibility and nobility.  Religion in this country is breaking down as people go to Easter services or Passover dinners as mostly a yearly reunion, as opposed to a daily profound observance.  Families are breaking down with “shack-up,” out-of-wedlock children lost in a morass of adult yearnings for easy intimacy.  And so it goes.

Do I sound negative?  You bet.  I am worried.  I am heartened by the emails and calls from families struggling in the midst of all this societal turmoil, which has robbed them of the support and respect they so dearly need to help their children find a good and righteous path in life.  My heart goes out to them, and, hopefully, there will be more like them.

Burnout Prevention

A caller with a seemingly simple question has been haunting my mind since Monday.  The caller was a stay-at-home mom with four children under the age of six.  I thought I was heroic chasing after one child who never napped.  I can’t imagine four little tykes going in different directions, all with different personalities and needs.  Wow.

After asking some sneaky questions, I discerned that she was – in two words – BURNED OUT.  It’s difficult to get around the understandable embarrassment or shame that a mother has for even thinking that she wished she were on another planet away from the children for a while.  But this is a totally understandable and normal reaction to a lovely, but draining, situation.

When a woman is at a job, she can take a number of bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, and a lunch break which may even include shopping (a great tension releaser!).  When taking care of a number of children whose needs are relentless and inconsistent, it’s easy to see how one brain and heart can be overwhelmed if the kids don’t nap – mine never did, and I remember feeling mentally exhausted.

Mothers do, but shouldn’t, feel guilt at not always being thrilled out of their ears to be taking care of their children.  My first argument is that there is no one with any career or activity who doesn’t regularly feel the same way.  Human beings need breaks – changes of scenery and input – and activities that help let off steam and revive one’s sense of joy in life.  That’s why in my book, In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms, I’ve written about the necessity of taking guilt-free breaks – and taking them before you break!

First, to the husbands:  Make sure you command and demand that your beloved wife and mother of your progeny go out with her girlfriends, go have a one-hour bath with bubbles and wine, or go ride her bike with a bike club for a morning – something so that she can feel revived and relaxed.  Plan it for her if she’s stubborn (the stubbornness usually comes from feeling guilty).  Tell her that a GOOD mother takes care of herself so that the “giving” flows more readily.

Second, to you mothers:  Grandma is useful for a break while you do nothing or something that relaxes you.  I told this caller to get one of those carriers that attaches to a bicycle, and get a child bike seat affixed behind her bike seat – that takes care of three kids right there, and one is in kindergarten.  Take ‘em all on a bike ride to picnic or relax in a park – that’s only one of the things I did with my child.  Turn on an exercise video and dance along with the music to get a workout – the kids will join in, or play next to you with their toys. 

My message is:  no guilt.  Any profession has tools that must be taken care of to keep working properly:  a computer, a saw and hammer…whatever.  For us mothers, the tool is ourselves.  So, no guilt.  Take it as a responsibility to keep yourself loose and refreshed.

My final message is that being home with your children opens up many opportunities if you think out of the perimeter of your property.  It isn’t supposed to be a “work farm.”  It’s supposed to be a joyous home.  Oh, and here’s why that caller stuck in my mind:  I heard a depth of sadness in her voice that seriously worried me, and I realized that many of you moms try so hard that you forget to take care of yourselves.  In doing so, you lose contact with your mission in the first place.  When that happens, your children miss you.

So, ladies, turn on that music and dance and sing around the house and enjoy!

Behind the Music: An Interview with Benjamin Pratt

I refer to him every day as “the man who orchestrates the music” on my radio program.  While I understand that he really doesn’t do any real orchestration, Benjamin Pratt provides musical “punctuation” to the callers, and is an integral part of the show.  I took some time recently to interview Ben in the studio.  Meet the man behind the music: 

Behind the Music: An Interview with Benjamin Pratt

Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura.

Read transcript here.

Porn Film Screened on College Campuses

When I went to college (I was an undergraduate at the State University of New York at Stony Brook), in addition to the police raids on the campus dorm pot smokers, and the demonstrations against the Vietnam war, there were actually serious academic classes which educated students in math, science, philosophy, literature, engineering, physics, business, and social sciences among other disciplines.

The expressed common goal was to graduate informed students who were competent to take on the next phase of their lives in some productive way, contributing to society, in addition to financially supporting their prospective families.

For the longest while, I fear, colleges and universities have minimized that lofty goal in exchange for ideological “brainwashing” and political correctness, threatening those who hold opinions different from the prevailing political persuasion of the faculty.  I think that colleges and universities have become scary places for individuals of a more traditional bent.

Students at the University of Maryland recently attempted to join in with other so-called bastions of higher learning by playing a triple-x pornographic film for entertainment.  The screening was set up by the school’s student union.  The film got yanked when State Senator Andy Harris threatened to pull state funding from the school’s budget.  Evidently, money talks.

Senator Harris said, “Students can’t light up a cigarette in the student union, but can watch a hardcore XXX porn film.  Occasional viewing of porn is more dangerous than occasionally lighting up a cigarette.  If the movie is being shown for educational reasons [yeah, right], someone should be presenting the dangers too.  Porn breaks up lives.”

Of course, those who don’t remember their history (and how the Tower of London was the final stop for those who contradicted the British monarchy), and think that the US First Amendment is just about ANYTHING, complained that this, the most expensive porn movie ever made, was an issue of free speech.  “Off with their heads,” I say.  The production company actively has been seeking college campuses to screen the film since last summer, because they’re looking to breed future audiences for their debasing tripe. 

The University of Maryland’s student union planned to have a representative from Planned Parenthood talk about safe sex.  HAH!  Planned Parenthood makes money by having girls and women kill the babies in their bodies as a form of “after-the-fact” birth control. I can see why they would want to be there to push their wares, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be explaining why they typically don’t call the police when an underage girl, who has been impregnated by an adult male, comes in for an abortion – bad for business, I guess. 

Eventually, the university reversed its position and allowed the screening, as long as it contained an “educational component.”  Four “experts” spoke on freedom of speech, and then screened the first 30 minutes of the 2 1/2 hour hard-core film. 

The film has already been shown at UCLA, Northwestern University, Carnegie-Mellon, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Southern Connecticut State University.

Aren’t the alumni proud.

Bristol Palin’s Baby Daddy Talks

I am just sickened.  It seems the “male” who impregnated Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter outside of wedlock (and now, with no wedlock to be had) is going on television shows to give “his side” of the story.  What “sides” are there to be had when two teens breach basic moral good sense and have sex when they are in no position emotionally, psychologically or financially to raise a family?  Now there is yet another poor child in the world without an intact, covenantly committed, grown-up and secure two-parent, mom and dad family.  Sad.

In the old days, the man “did the right thing,” and marriage was the solution.  These days, men just walk away, or women declare that they “don’t need” a guy – they can do it all themselves.  Well, the abandonment by a dad is devastating to a child in many painful ways, and no woman, no matter how nurturing, can offer any child what they lose in not having that paternal influence.

So, instead of tarring and feathering this young man for daring to “kiss and tell,” he’s being treated like something special, with polite interviews on television!  I find this utterly disgusting, but typical for TV, which goes looking for situations like this to exploit for ratings, e.g., “We have an exclusive interview with the boy who knocked up Sarah Palin’s daughter!”

During the election, Mrs. Palin paraded her pregnant daughter and the sperm donor around to display family values, saying they were “engaged.”  That, too, was a disgusting display, especially with John McCain embracing this shameful young man on international television.

“Normalizing” children born without the protective womb of family is an assault on the well-being of children everywhere, and a bad influence on young men and women who too often follow that old adage:  “Monkey see, monkey do.”

Children should be our first concern and responsibility – not our incidental playthings.