Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Dec. 30/12)

A week of people not making sure secret talks are secret, of sturm und drang with our newly minted Californians and of the hideous sight of another May and September affair.

want-a-jobOut of it all, the scene for me was Roy checking to see if Fiz and Chesney’s meals were ok.  His query went:  “Is everything all right? Good, good.  Want a job?”  The rapidity from which he went from one to the other surprised me, and I knew it was coming.  Good for Fiz, though.  Despite her surprise, she knows Roy well enough to not show that he’d thrown her for a loop.  He thank-you-royseemed embarrassed, perhaps because of their almost familial relationship or because the suggestion of hiring Fiz came from Tyrone.  Even Roy is cognizant of the gossip surrounding Fiz and Tyrone and their supposed estrangement.   But bless his heart.  I look forward to Fiz and Roy working together.  It’s been a long time since we saw her in the heart of the Cropper household.

lollipop-barrierAnother bright spot happened Friday, with the lollipop people united in sticking it to Steve.  Oh how wonderful!

As to the rest of it, first Fiz and Tyrone sneaking around to talk but not taking care that they truly have total privacy.  I know it’s a soap standard, but they’ve done it too many times in my book.  Please look around!

Second, Carla and Peter:  I like the new Peter look, but the overlay of laid-back California on Peter crazy intensity is kinda creepy.  And while I believe that Peter ought to take his Carla-leavespartner’s needs and wishes into consideration as much as Simon’s, why couldn’t they both see right off the bat that he could stay in Weatherfield for Christmas and follow Carla to Los Angeles later?  They are both adults and not joined at the hip.  Why put Simon through the torment of ‘here’s daddy, there goes daddy’?  Instead, in the end, Peter does put Simon first and it appeared he and Carla ended things there at airport security.

And lastly, Stella and Jason.  Yes, they are both fit but do we really need to see this?  The time-of-my-lifegak factor is truly overwhelming.  Maybe it’s worse with them than with the other relationships of this kind that we’ve seen.  For me I think, it’s because when you compare Stella’s brains and Jason’s, there is absolutely nothing about them that could possibly fit except, well, the obvious.  I can’t see this going well for anyone.

a-christmas-corrieSince we’re still in the Christmas season, off and on Corrie, there’s a great Coronation Street special of A Christmas Carol.  You can watch it at Corrie Canuck.  And Merry Christmas to all and to all a good 2013.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Dec. 23/12)

Rent-A-Womb

Maybe the whole thing coming out in the Rovers about Tina being a surrogate mother for got-any-questionsIzzy and Gary was just a build up to Tina throwing a pint over David in Wednesday’s episode.  I hope so because I’m just not understanding what the big deal is.

I have thought they were keeping her pregnancy a secret just because it’s early days.  Get past the first trimester and all that.  But after Norris blabbed last week in the Rovers and everyone congratulated why-pick-margarineTommy on being a dad, it seemed to me it was time to ‘fess up.  Horrible to have everyone thinking it was Tommy and Tina’s baby. Awkward for them and embarrassing for all the well-wishers when the truth came out.  But at that time, I thought it’s a hard spot for Tommy, especially when he’s angry and just wants to be left alone.  Gary could set people straight, but emotions were running high.  Maybe a case of coulda, woulda, shoulda.

But when it all started up again on Tuesday, why not just say listen, folks, let us explain.  All the principals were there, so what better time?  What were they planning to do, wait until the baby is born then Tina say “oh, I decided to give her/him to Gary and Izzy”?

you got something to sayAfter worried looks darting back and forth and attempts to put people off the topic (like that’s going to happen!) finally they realized they had no choice but to tell people.  The truth couldn’t be any stranger than what the factory girls and Norris were coming up with on their own.  But I was confounded again by the reactions to what they were told.

Tina-is-carryingAre the people of Coronation Street living in a time warp or a cave?  You’d think this was the first ever case of surrogacy.  No one seemed to have ever heard of such a thing.  It wasn’t just a case of moral disapproval or wondering about the difficulty in handling the emotional bonds of so many parental figures, it was kind of like “Eh?  Wot’s that when it’s at home?”

renting-my-wombThen David came in, upset about his baby-making plan going awry. Totally fed up with everyone, Tina tells him “I’m renting out my womb” in answer to his question about what’s going on.  After he absorbs the news about the surrogacy, the hamsters in his little brain start up their wheel.  Quickly he turns it to being all about him.  You can hear his thoughts:  Tina’s carrying a baby for someone else and Kylie won’t even carry my baby, and Tina aborted my baby.  When the abortion is mentioned, barmaid Tina flings a beer in customer David’s face.

pint-over-DavidNot that I didn’t enjoy seeing him getting a pint thrown over him.  I think they should incorporate that into every episode.  David sitting at home watching tv, someone walks in the door and flings a beer over him.  Crossing the street, someone jumps out and pours a beer over his head.  Especially with the way he’s acting, I think it would be wonderful.  A little message of “grow up David” plus the wherewithal for a new drinking game.

Newtown CT

When smoking was still permitted in restaurants, you’d sometimes see signs:  “No pipes or cigars”. That was because the smoke from those is much stronger. To me, this is a Bonnie Parker Cigar1933 pd wikicommonsway to look at gun access.  There are many valid reasons for owning a gun; for hunting, target shooting, self-protection. Many types and models that serve those purposes well have existed for many years.

Other firearms are designed for specialized purposes. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons, assault and sniper rifles were developed for military actions and are what you want in those situations. But for civilian hunting, sport or protection, their capabilities are not needed. Like cigar smoke, they are too strong for a setting of civility.

Our communities and streets, we hope, are places of civility. So let’s remove the “overkill” weaponry from them. That’s all previous US gun control legislation tried to do, and having even that back would be a vast improvement today.

balloons at Sandy Hook school signThere may well still be people who for whatever reason decide to shoot strangers, family or friends – maybe many of them, maybe even 6 year olds. But if they weren’t carrying firearms that would hold such large ammunition clips, maybe they wouldn’t be able to kill so many.

I think, by definition, those who kill people they don’t even know have something seriously wrong with them. There are ways, perhaps, to redirect or resolve their personal issues. Something more is desperately needed in our mental health support system.

A blog by a woman about life with a potentially violent son is chilling, but her honesty and insight makes it required reading for all of us. Provision of mental health care must be improved. But, please God, not just with psychiatrists prescribing yet more psychotropic drugs.

Gun Culture

26-Newtown-Christmas-trees‘The Culture of Violence’ has been much talked about since the massacre in Newtown. Video games, music, movies, drugs and media hyper-attention have all been blamed. All may contribute, I think. But that’s a very large and amorphous mass – called, indeed, culture. Can’t change it all with legislation.

I wonder if Miss Manners hit the nail on the head in discussing the loss of the dinner party as a social staple. In the NY Times, she says the ability to converse and generally act civilly is gone, replaced by opining and expounding without listening. Courtesy and respect can be taught and practiced at home, with family and friends.

To go back to the smoking analogy, people have adapted to bans on even cigarette smoking. If they can do that, why should it be any more difficult for people to adapt to something much less physiologically distressing like having limits placed on the types of firearms, modifications and firing capacity you can legally have?

 gun manufacturer ad-bushmaster-acrThere is a final irony in what happened Friday in Newtown. Connecticut has some of the strictest firearm laws in the US.  And the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, is based there, in Newtown. The gun industry has a long history in Connecticut. Some of the country’s largest gun manufacturers have their headquarters there. They pay taxes to the state and provide jobs. One may ponder whether the right to unbridled gun ownership and those jobs and tax monies are worth the 28 lives lost Friday.

 

Newtown Kids & Dogs

A lot of dogs in Newtown, Connecticut will be working overtime in the solace department.  There are children and adults who will need Victoria Soto and Roxie from USA Todaythe love of their pets to help them cope after losing a sibling, a son or daughter, a mother or wife.

The pets will need comfort themselves.  They too have lost a beloved member of their family.  Roxie, a Black Labrador, is one.  Victoria Soto, one of the teachers killed in Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was her person.  Ms Soto died protecting the children in her classroom.

Newtown Park & Bark

Trying to learn about Newtown, I went to the municipal website.  In dogpark_july newtownparkandbark.orgthe menu under the “residents” tab, I saw they have been raising money for a dog park called Park & Bark that is scheduled to open in late 2013.  It was sad, yet cheering, to look at the people looking so proud of their fundraising efforts and happy about building a place to play with their dogs.

If you wish to let the people of Newtown know in a practical way that you are thinking of them, consider donating to their dog park.  There’s a donate button newtown park-&-barkon the page.  While it’s not directly related to the tragedy they are enduring, the town and people and dogs will go on.  I hope that Park & Bark will open on schedule as a symbol that Newtown has survived this unspeakable loss.

From my St. Thomas Dog Blog, Dec. 16, 2012 (2 comments)

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Dec. 16/12)

On Friday, a drunk and pouting Tommy Duckworth actually made a lot of sense.  Not the happy-dayspart about suggesting – no, demanding – that Tina abort this medical science-conceived baby.  The part about the Windasses hovering like something out of a horror movie.

Throughout this story, I have wished someone would tell Gary to back off, and Anna and Owen and even Izzy.  Give Tina a bit of space and peace.  Stop plumping her Tommy-wishing-Gary-awaypillows, stop offering cups of tea, stop following her closer than a dog on her heels.  Especially stop following and fussing when Tommy is around.  It’s claustrophobic enough for Tina, but doing it to both her and Tommy?

Whether or not you think that Tommy is being a jerk about this, he and Tina have a relationship that does not include the Windass family.  Tommy could not make his feelings about this whole surrogacy any clearer unless he hit a Windass over the head with a plank, so why can’t they take the hint?  Respect his feelings, be thankful that he’s doing the best he can to be supportive and give him, and Tina, a bit of space.

I do think that Tommy has been a total jerk over this.  I don’t know how Tina has tolerated the sullen pouts, the fits of temper, the incredibly stupid ideas he’s suggested.  And it’s only been a few weeks.  Nine months of Tommy sulking or throwing tantrums?  everyone-knowsAs well as having the Windasses glued to your backside?  If I were Tina, I’d be packing a bag and taking me and Little Armstrong-Windass to Land’s End or somewhere no Windass, Armstrong or Duckworth would ever find me.  Send the baby back to Coronation Street when it’s born if you want to keep your end of the deal.

Failing that, Tina ought to stand up and tell them all to back off a bit.  Tommy’s ranting, enjoy-it-while-you-canafter his hideous experience in the Rovers, gave an accurate assessment of the situation in which he and Tina find themselves.  One or both of them need to calmly and politely explain the same thing to the Windasses.

Tina perhaps also needs to once again remind Tommy of exactly why they need the still-have-a-choicemoney she is being paid for this:  to bail him out of his debts and support both of them while he flails about feeling sorry for himself.

So, words of accurate insight coming out of an unlikely source, Tommy Duckworth.  I hope Tina matches them with words to Tommy and her new surrogate family.

Library Science

Sometimes a simple thing happens that makes you realize what you should have done.  Bancroft-Library-wikicommons-C-S-Imming-2012One day at the library, I was reshelving books that had been left out.  There were a lot of them.  Messy people, I thought, can’t even put back the books they take out to look at.  Before too long fortunately, I noticed a sign:  “Please do not reshelve books.  Survey of book usage in progress.”  Uh-oh.  I quickly unshelved those I could remember reshelving.

That day I acknowledged my inner librarian.  I have loved libraries, small and large, for almost as long as I can remember.  I now wish I’d taken Library Science at university.  I am not sorry I took Anthropology but had I combined that with Library Science I’d have had, for me I think, a perfect combination.

Anthropology provides wonderful tools for looking at the world, and it’s relatively marketable.  I think any government or social services position would be improved by having someone with an anthropology degree in it.  In real life, however, its direct connection to job requirements is usually as “a degree in social sciences.”  But that’s enough, it gets you in the door.  But it won’t get you a librarian job.

Malinowski in Trobriands - library scienceAs an Anthropology student, I could have focused on archival research methods.  That would have taught me, by experience, the nuts and bolts of libraries, archives and museums.  Ironically, historical research has been the largest part of my work.  But, in university, that did not seem as glamorous as ethnographic fieldwork.  So, despite the appeal of libraries to me, I didn’t think to put the two interests together within Anthropology or in studying both.

I love anthropology and it’s stood me in good stead.  But I love the smell and feel of Steacie-Library-York-U-wikicommons-Raysonho-2008libraries.  I love looking through bookshelves and card catalogues, but I’m always curious about what goes on behind them.  How do the books get processed and on the shelves?  How are decisions made about what books and periodicals are bought?  How does the Dewey Decimal System really work?  How has library work changed in the digital era?  People who have studied Library Science know all this.

Librarians are both the gatekeepers and the engineers of the worlds of knowledge.  They Belmont-Library-ON-2012 children's section artwork Patricia Couturelet you in and they stream the supply to their shelves.  They, with teachers, are children’s first encounter with literacy outside the home.  And maybe I’ve been lucky but I’ve never met a librarian who made me think, “wow, you’d be happier in another line of work.”   Maybe that’s due to being a daily part of so many wonderful worlds of art and fact.

So to those in or thinking about undergrad programmes or graduate school:  don’t discount social science and liberal arts disciplines that appear to have no job market Stephen_A_Schwarzman_Building_wikicommons-Blurpeace-2009relevance.  They all do, at least indirectly.  And, most importantly, they teach you to think.  Without that ability, any degree or qualification is of limited use.  But don’t discount the practical career-directed degree either.  If I had it to do all over again, I’d have both Library Science and Anthropology degrees.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week

So many scenes this week in a story quickly developing in the mind of a silly boy.  David David asks Kylie about having babies while she is at workthinks a baby is just what he needs.  Yep, David, makes sense to me. You are living in your mother’s house with a wife and stepson because you don’t make enough money to rent an apartment and you think it’s a good idea to expand your family.

I had started to think David actually was growing up and growing a brain.  Then this started.  Fortunately, Kylie’s apparent maturing process seems to be real.  She realizes that “a baby of our own” is not what they need.  They need to get on with their chosen Kylie setting up tables at Bistrocareers, save some money and deal with the child that they already have, and think about a baby when they’re not living with his mother.

Despite having taken the waitress job at Nick’s Bistro mainly to spite David, she’s come to enjoy it.  She also is taking pleasure in realizing that she can do something well, without scamming or cutting corners.  It utilizes her energy and her quick mind and she gets to dress up and look like Audrey Hepburn.

In a lovely moment, Kylie explained her feelings about her job to Gail:  “Every night it’s like being on stage.”  I’d Kylie and Gail in kitchen discussing waitress jobnever thought of it that way until she said that.  It is a realistic grasp at the stars for a back street, wrong side of the tracks girl who has never believed she could have aspirations.  She can perform and be seen at her best.  It’s been great for her self-esteem.

And that’s what is burning David’s backside.  He feels left out because she’s doing David in a snit yelling at Kyliesomething where she is not reliant on him and she’s enjoying it and doing it well.  But to complain about that would appear childish, so he developed this urgent need to procreate thinking that wanting a child would appear a reasonable and “adult” wish – a manly-man act.  Except when she didn’t leap up and down with joy, he proceeded to whine, pout and go off in a great big sulk.

Kylie pursuing David as he leaves the RoversAnd poor Kylie has dealt with him surprisingly patiently.  She didn’t throw a strop and take off.  She explained why rushing into having a baby wasn’t a good idea and asked what this meant about his feelings for Max as his son – a reasonable question, even fear, for her to have.

Gail dispensing marital advice to KylieGail has had myriad opportunities to tell David what an absolute prat he is being.  But no, she chose to ask Kylie how much she loved David and how much she was willing to give up for him.  Kylie took the cue, and told David she would agree to try for a baby.  But you could see the anguish in her eyes when she saw her dreams going up in smoke.  And they’re for once not crazy dreams.  She just wants to learn the restaurant trade by working in it.

Kylie volunteers to babysitBut she’s a smart girl and it was a treat watching her volunteer herself and David to mind the Brown/Stape David left unwillingly holding the babybabies.  And to see David’s unhappy sulky face as she did so.  Then, oops, she forgot she had to go to work.  Enjoy your baby practice, David!

Santa Bunny

perfume and cosmetics counter decorated for ChristmasThe cosmetics sections of stores have beautiful Christmas displays. Toiletries, creams and bath oils are lovely and easy gifts to give almost anyone. You can do it in one stop shopping in any drugstore or shop cruelty free logodepartment store. But look beyond the pretty packaging. Think of the how the products were made before you start loading up your cart. Look for the bunny or something saying that the product was not tested on animals.

rabbit's eye in cosmetic testThis is what happens to the animals who get sprayed in the eyes or lathered with potentially damaging ingredients so that you can safely stick cosmetics or cleaning products in your eyes. Most of these product formulas are long established and proven in the industry. Also other means of testing for adverse reaction now exist. Animal testing is not needed.

Beagle with side shaved for lab testingBut many companies still do it. Avoiding buying their products can easily be done, but you do have to read labels. Familiarizing yourself with company names that do animal testing can allow you to take shopping shortcuts by just avoiding those brands totally. Do you need to buy from the company that does this to animals?

Finding cruelty-free products

St. Ives lotion no animal testing labelRevlon, Avon and Almay are some of the big cosmetic companies that do not do animal testing.* Neither do Physicians Formula and Smashbox. For lotions and cleansers, St. Ives**. Burt’s Bees** has a greatly expanded line of cruelty-free skin care. Body Shop products say they’re not tested on animals and that Fair Trade ingredients are used. But the Burt's Bees display in Sears cosmetic sectioncompany is owned by L’Oreal, which still tests on animals. That’s a situation where you have to make a judgment call: do you support the ethical branches of a corporation or boycott all lines.

Tints of Nature organic cruelty-free hair dyeHair dye is not something usually given as a Christmas gift but may be part of holiday preparations. I had a hard time finding any hair dye made by companies I knew didn’t test on animals. Then in an aisle of the Atlantic Superstore, way across the store from other skin and hair products, I found a whole section of holistic, organic and cruelty-free lotions, creams, shampoos and conditioners – and two brands of hair dye. Wahoo!

By looking for the “odd” items in pharmacy, grocery and department stores, I found cruelty-free products in my own small towns without ordering online or going to specialty stores. The big names like St. Ives and Revlon are in the cosmetics sections, but there is usually a section somewhere with cruelty-free and/or organic less well-known brands. In the St. Thomas Zellers, for instance, I found that on the other side of the main cosmetics and toiletries shelves there was a whole section of organic and “not tested on animals” lotions and cleansers. They were no more expensive.

Make your own gift sets

As I did, you might find a whole range of neat stuff you never knew about.  If you basket of cruelty-free productsplanned to get pre-made gift baskets of toiletries as easy to buy and easy to please gifts, just put your own together. I found lots of small bottles, sample bath salts and facial packs and soaps. Put them in a basket or box with tissue and ribbon and voilà – a personalized Christmas gift basket.

* See update on changes in companies’ practices in Oct. 30/13 post.

** According to Vegan Rabbit, Burt’s Bees is another of the no-cruelty companies that has an animal-testing parent company. Also there is discussion as to whether St. Ives is still cruelty-free, but the labelling I have seen recently still says no animal testing.

Click Cruelty-free Beauty for my Amazon links to available ethical products.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Dec. 2/12)

Like others, I didn’t see the point of Eva Price when she first appeared on Coronation Eva getting information from hotel clerkStreet.  But over the months I have come to see that there is more to her than the strutting and flouncing and that wonderful way she carries her purse.  And Raquel behind Rovers barTuesday she was absolutely brilliant.  Indeed, as a blogger notes, she is reminiscent of the glorious Raquel.

When she and Steve barged into the Sheffield hotel room, expecting to find Rob with Michelle, they initially thought they’d got it totally wrong girl emerges from bathroom to room full of peoplewhen Michelle came from her room – across the hall.

But then who was in the bathroom showering?  A towel-clad girl came out, surprised to see a room full of strangers.  And the pennies all clinked into place for Eva.  She walked up to Rob, carefully Eva knees Robpositioned herself and kneed him in the groin.

After he recovered, and Michelle and Steve had left the room, he tried to make amends.  Flashing his best smile and waving a bottle of champagne that they “shouldn’t let go to waste”, he told her that girl meant nothing to him, Rob holding champagne and smilingmight as well have been the trouser press in the corner.  After what Eva had done to him, I’m surprised he could put the words trousers and press in the same sentence!

She smiled warmly, walked to him, took the bottle in one hand, put her other hand on his arm and poured the champagne dripping off Rob's headbottle over his head. Then turned on her heel and walked out.

A lovely one-two action that showed a delightful side of her – at least as long as you weren’t Rob.

Back home, she showed her other sides; the ‘why does every man do me dirty?’ one, the rivaling sibling with Leanne, the wishful seductress Eva eats chips and watches Nick and Leanneof Nick, and the lonely girl watching as Leanne and Nick kiss and make up.

Wednesday, after a little advice from Nick to pick herself up and dust herself off, she did just that.  In Eva in red dress at factorykeeping with her insecurity, though, she takes it a little too far, overdoes the makeup and the dress by more than a tad considering she’s going to work.  Still – wowza!!

I don’t like what she’s doing to break Nick and Leanne up, though.  You don’t want him that bad, Eva!  Look a bit further afield than your own backyard.