Category Archives: Entertainment

“Being a Mom is Great” Moved to SoapboxMom.com!!

It’s official!

The Being a Mom is Great blog will now be called simply, SOAPBOX MOM!

Soapbox Mom Avatar

So, BMG Mom (aka bimmgee) is now soapbox mom or “SoapB” or Soapbox or soap!

Please join me over there now at soapboxmom.com.

And, when you find it, please let me know you did by leaving a comment.  As always, I appreciate your support!

😉

Also, if you’ve been so kind as to include me on your blogroll, please add me back as Soapbox Mom (and if I’ve lost your site, just let me know and I’ll be sure to add it right back onto my blogroll)!

Thanks!!

See you on the soapbox!!

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Filed under Children, Entertainment, family, Fun, games, life, parenting, personal, Thoughts

Free Rice – A Site with a Purpose

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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I’m so excited about a website our friends told us about last night.

It’s called Free Rice and it looks like this:

Free Rice Home Page

It’s great for your (older) kids, but don’t be surprised if you join in and try it, too. But be warned: it might be hard to stop.

Here’s how it works:

They give you a word and four other words beneath it. Then, you choose which of the four words most accurately defines or describes the first word. The site tracks each right answer and increases the degree of difficulty to keep you (or your kids) at the right level.

But here’s the best part: for each right answer, they’ll* donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

Wanna try it?

Just click the picture (below) or go to freerice.com.

Free Rice - A Site with a Purpose - for Your Kids!

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*The rice is paid for by adverstisers/sponsors of the Free Rice website. So you don’t have to contribute a cent. It’s fun! Give it a try! And I’m not getting anything for telling you about it either. I just think it’s cool and worth a look!

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Filed under Children, Education, Entertainment, family, Fun, reviews

What Did Paula Do Before American Idol?

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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-written by bmg mom (Being a Mom is Great blog)

That phenomenon, American Idol, started up again last week. Hey, by the way, did you know that Idol “loser” Chris Daughtry managed to get five hit songs off of his CD, Daughtry, while Taylor Hicks (2006 American Idol winner) is in some kind of dispute with his record company? Fascinating. Those folks were from a couple years back. As for this season, we watched one of the episodes last week and actually did begin humming Renaldo Lapuz’s song, “Brothers Forever.”

“I am your bro-other. Your best friend forever…”

You just have to see it. Go on — give this guy just a couple minutes of your time. He is truly endearing and seems to have a good heart. Well, at least you can agree that he’s coming from a…special place. No?

Renaldo Lapuz’s “Audition”

So…did you start humming it? Singing it?

Anyway…

We’re sitting there watching it when one of the kids asks me, “Hey, Mom. What did Paula do before she was on American Idol?”

Well, thanks to that wonder of wonders called YouTube I was able to show them (because my description was sorely lacking). And now, in case you, too, were wondering, here it is:

Paula’s “Audition”*

Somehow I like Renaldo’s audition much, much more…

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*Just for the record, I showed the kids Opposites Attract, not this one.

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Filed under American Idol, Culture, Entertainment, family, Fun, life, TV

The Office, The Sopranos and Other Families

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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Tony Soprano (HBO)

I love The Office starring Steve Carell. It’s an NBC series about everyday life in an office in smalltown USA (actually Scranton, PA) but it has something in common with The Sopranos. Yes, really. Part of the magic of The Sopranos was that the lead character, Tony Soprano, in many ways represented any-man USA. He could have been the head of a major corporation or a power partner in a law firm. I know he wasn’t…I mean he was the head of a family which happened to be involved in organized crime. But the point is that the series creator, David Chase, humanized Tony. It’s kind of the opposite of war mentality – soldiers are taught to dehumanize the enemy to make the vicious acts of war more tolerable. Chase did the opposite, he humanized a vicious criminal to somehow make him endearing.

Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) NBC

Ricky Gervais is the genius behind The Office. He created the original (English/UK) version and still has a big role in the American version. In my opinion, he works the same kind of magic with the character of Michael Scott.

Not that he humanizes a criminal, but rather, I think the workings of his office are often analogous to the workings of a family. Yes, I know, that would make the mom (in most families) Michael, the manager of the office. And that’s not a good thing. He’s an example of everything you don’t want in a manager.

So, I’m not saying that I want to be like him or that I parent the way he manages. Rather, he experiences situations to which I really can relate. Take, for example, the episode where he wants to order pizza for the office members. They’re excited for this relatively rare delight and seem happy about it and eager for its arrival until one of the members tries to clarify precisely which kind of pizza they should be expecting — pizza from Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe or Pizza by Alfredo. They all love Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe but they all hate Pizza by Alfredo. So, when Michael says he ordered from Pizza by Alfredo, they all groan.

Okay, stop there!

The Office (NBC)

How many moms can honestly say they haven’t experienced something similar to that little situation? A group of kids are in your house at dinnertime and you say you ordered pizza. They all say, “Great!” Then one of your kids says, “Where did you order it from? Pizza Hut or Dominos?” (or whatever pizza places you have where you live) You answer one or the other and the kids all say, “Awww. That’s not the good kind of pizza. We like [the other one] way more!”

Okay, now back to the episode of The Office. Michael drops his head and simply says, “Harumpf. Okay…” Then figures out what to do next. He’s the doormat I’ve been too many times in my short career as a mom.

But the most recent episode, Money, was different. Different from any I can remember (and I think I’ve seen them all). It struck me as…well…sad. It’s a comedy, right? But so many things happened that made members of my family look at each other and say, “Aww…” For example, the office geek, Dwight, is distraught over a recent breakup and finds himself wailing in a stairwell. Office manager, Michael, has serious financial problems, tries to take on a second job but fails miserably, then tries (and fails) to run away on a freight train. Just when it’s looking its bleakest, the episode turns the corner with touching moments of caring and support.

Isn’t that the way many, many families operate? When times are really tough, our family members or friends are there to emotionally support us. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it ’til I die…this life is all about love. It’s not about the snazzy cars or the bling or the handbag that costs thousands of dollars. It’s not about bossing people around or pushing your kids to be the best on the sports team or the smartest in the class.

No matter whether you’re the head of a crime family, an office manager or a mom, when you’re 85 (God willing) and you’re sitting in a rocking chair somewhere (I really hope I have a cool rocking chair when I’m 85) and someone asks you if you have any regrets, I sure hope you’re able to answer with a smile on your face and a twinkle in your eye, “Oh, no. I’ve really enjoyed my life.” If you take a moment right now, right this very minute, to just imagine what that would be like…what do you hear yourself saying?? If the answer is yes (with a lengthy list of regrets), I would compassionately suggest that you get to work on ridding yourself of those regrets…whatever they may be. If it’s “I wish I would have gone sky diving. I always wanted to go skydiving.” Then, heck do a little research and figure out how you could make that happen. If it’s “I wish I would have told my kids I loved them more.” Then, well, you know what to do. Whatever it is, take care of it today. It’s worth it. You’ll be happy you did.

As for me, I’m going to stop taking myself so darn seriously and work on letting go. And if Michael reminds me of myself in any way, I won’t get defensive, I’ll just smile.

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Images from hbo.com and nbc.com.

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Filed under Culture, Entertainment, family, Thoughts, TV

John Mayer’s Music is Just What This Mom Needed

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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John Mayer Playing Guitar

Have you heard John Mayer play the guitar? Have you been lucky enough to attend one of his concerts so that you could actually see him play the guitar? Ahhh, grace in motion.

Before going to his concert this summer, I listened to his music, but didn’t truly appreciate it. I mean, it was nice to have playing in the background, nice to sing along with occasionally, but didn’t exactly make me sit down and breathe it in, you know what I mean?

Then I saw him perform live.

Oh my goodness…

I really don’t know how to describe the experience. I’ve tried to explain it to friends but I just couldn’t capture my feelings in words. When I told the moms in my book club about it, they looked at me like I was slightly nuts, asked me whether I was going through a midlife crisis then concluded I must have a crush on the guy!

No, no, no. I’m a happily married woman. It’s nothing like that. Not at all. It’s more like a deep appreciation for great talent. I had the same kind of feeling when I saw Michael Jordan moving (well, flying) around the basketball court. Or even when I watch Roger Federer play tennis. Or (yes, really) when I watch my husband cook or paint portraits. It’s the creative artistry that I admire and fawn over. That’s what makes my heart skip a beat. It’s grace in motion. God given talent at work right before my very eyes.

In the case of John Mayer, his music is full of passion. His vocals are just so pleasing to hear. They fall gently on my ears at first and then drift deeper in. You know what I mean?

Here’s an example. I listened to his song, Gravity, from his Continuum album (do they still refer to them as “albums”?) and thought it was okay. Fine song. Then I saw him perform it and…oh…my…goodness…back to that part where I simply can’t describe the experience.

If you want a sample, click on the “play” button below. That song is called “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” about the agony of a doomed relationship. Honestly, doesn’t sound as good on the video as it does in person (or even on the Continuum CD).

He’s an artist. He plays guitar with so much talent, passion, and skill. He makes that guitar sing. No, he makes it speak to you. Oh, these words just don’t do it justice.

Just listen to the song Gravity. It’s a ballad that starts out slowly, in a fabulous, bluesy way. Some people might give up there. But…stay with it…stay with it. And listen.

Interpretation of all art is necessarily subjective, right? To me, Gravity is about negativity, excess and greed. Specifically, it’s about negative people trying to drag you down into their pessimistic, dark world. Later in the song he makes a plea to keep him “where the light is” (i.e., to stay positive, healthy and grounded and out of their muck (which they often characterize as ‘reality’ even though it is just not…not…my reality!)).

You might interpret the song in a completely different way, but for me, it’s an uplifting song that picks me up, helps me lift my head again whenever I’m feeling low–whenever I’ve been subjected to people being rude, snotty, whiny or unreasonably negative.

Take this morning, for example. I checked my email before starting my daily running-around-town chaos and found a formally worded, snotty, harsh message from some parent saying she never got our check for our order of cheap, goofy gift wrap that the school pushes on us every year. I put the check (in an envelope) in my daughter’s backpack (and told her it was there) nearly three weeks ago. Okay, so she was irresponsible and still hasn’t turned in the envelope. Acknowledged. She should have turned it in. Agreed. So send me a simple e-mail saying, “Hey we still don’t have that check.” Instead, Miss Serious sends me an e-mail threatening to withhold the order until payment is received, blah, blah, blah. Are you kidding me? This fundraiser is like a crumb on my floor. Fine, keep the two or three stupid pieces of junk that you practically coerced me to order. I could care less. I don’t even want them anyway. Grrrrr. She needs to read that “Power of Kindness” book I posted about (earlier this month). Heck, I think at this point, I need to re-read it…or turn up the John Mayer music. Breathe, girly, breathe….like our measly little order is going to hold up the closing of your accounting books. I don’t buy it. Or if it is, then please, just cancel it. I don’t want to support the program anymore anyway!

It’s like customer service at some big box store. If they treat me harshly and/or disrespectfully, I don’t go to that store. Why the heck should I patronize a store that treats its customers poorly? I won’t. That’s what competition is all about, isn’t it? Vote with your feet.

Oh, gosh, I’m way off on a tangent I certainly didn’t intend to explore.

The point is that, after refraining from sending back a nasty email, I went off and did my errands while listening to John Mayer’s music and I felt much better (and, as I said earlier, I’ll be cranking it up again soon). I hope you take a moment to listen to it. If you find it’s just not for you, then I hope you have some other music that you can play when you’re feeling blue. Good music has a way of speaking to our souls. Today, instead of focusing on that unreasonably negative email, I’m choosing to focus on Mayer’s music and to feel grateful that he’s in this world making music that makes my heart sing.

Thanks, John.

Image from his MySpace page (but you’d be better off visiting his site or his Facebook page).

Read more about him here:

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Filed under Culture, Entertainment

Emmy Awards – Yawn…

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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Thank goodness I Tivoed the Emmy Awards show. I would have never been able to sit through it. I watched the beginning, flew through the middle, just caught the bits about “The Office” and Stewart/Colbert, then moved right to the end. As for this year’s host, Ryan Seacrest? Could he have been any more bland?

I don’t get these awards shows anymore. First of all, there are way too many of them. Secondly, it should be more about the awards and less about The Jersey Boys and other inane, staged routines. All the little lip-synced dance numbers might make a good show for the audience (well, 2/3 of the audience, forget about the people behind the action most of the time, thanks to the goofy theater-in-the-round stage they tried this year). But for those of us at home? Yawn…just tell me who won. They’re making it so much more appealing to catch highlights the next day. It ends up being a much better use of everyone’s time. Just cut to the chase. Give me the bottom line. Show me who looked beautiful…

And, come on, James Gandolfini lost to James Spader?! James Spader?!! Ridiculous. And, as for the women…I like Sally Field. I mean, yes, I really, really like her…but being awarded the Emmy over Edie Falco? What do these Academy folks have against the cast of “The Sopranos?” Sure, they awarded the show Best Drama, but I still think Gandolfini and Falco deserved awards. As even James Spader somewhat graciously acknowledged, they were robbed! The Academy apparently tried to make up for it with a cheesy tribute — what I’ve heard described as a curtain call. The Jersey Boys did their number, then all (or most of) the Sopranos cast members walked up on the silly round stage thing and received a fairly enthusiastic round of applause. It was all pretty goofy. I think they’d have preferred the awards. Okay, the awards AND the tribute.

sopranos-cast.png

What a disappointment.

On a positive note, I’m happy that Jeremy Piven (see photos below) won for his work on Entourage. He gives depth, interest and heart to the otherwise despicable character of Ari.

Jeremy Piven rejoices!Jeremy Piven Wins Emmy

And I loved the elegant dresses and beauty of these two women:
Eva Longoria and Katherine Heigl
Eva LongoriaKatherine Heigl at Emmys 2007

But I’ve decided that next year I’m just watching the highlights.

See more Emmy info in today’s New York Times.

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Images from the New York Times, Getty Images and the BBC.

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Filed under Culture, Entertainment, TV