I was five years old and my great uncle Gene passed away right after going home to France. I remember sitting on my mother's lap while she broke the news and I cried and cried. My great aunt Georgette had sent my sister and myself connecting telephones that we could speak to each with from France. That gift distracted me from my grief for a little while. I am not sure if this memory is related to my uncle's death, but I remember thinking in my bed around the same age realizing that one day I will close my eyes and have darkness forever and my brain won't ever wake up again. That night terrified me, I remember the feeling of being scared and feeling alone by myself.
Not even just a third party, but we need to find a way to give some real meaning to public campaign financing reform, undo the horrific Citizen’s United ruling, dismantle the revolving door between D.C and Wall Street and the Pentagon and weapons manufactures and get journalism back to its investigative and critical thinking mode of operation. This has been three decades in the making and it has developed insidiously from the right but it’s never too late to start pushing back. We really need to stand up for education, public investment, infrastructure and research and development and our social safety programs. America should not be some plaything that the power brokers can just
do with what they please, we were founded on courageous ideals and they should be upheld.
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Do they honestly think that, just by creating s committee that is bigger and has the word super in it, that happy days, we have found the solution, it will work! How can it work when many of the GOP are beholden to Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge and to the Koch brothers, don’t forget the bankers and Wall Street. They won’t negotiate now and they won’t negotiate in a super-sized committee/congress. I’m scared that in the future, the history books will have a chapter or two on the explosive rise and fall of the United States. A nation that burned so brightly with promise but in the end burnt itself out. If the continued cuts come at the expense of education, infrastructure, public research and development and our people themselves, we are going to devolve into a third world nation and some would argue that we are already there.
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There are so very many reality shows, it really is amazing. It could be said that there is actually a reality show for everyone. If you are interested in fashion, there is Project Runway. If you are interested in cooking, there is Iron Chef and The Next Food Network Star. Then it gets a little scary, if you are into the pawn shop scene, there are two shows dedicated to the pawn business. If you are intrigued by teen pregnancy, there is a show called Teen Moms on MTV. I think the popularity of these shows is multiple-fold. Some of them are quite educational, you can learn quite a bit from the cooking shows. If ever you are in need to pawn something, you will learn or at least get a feel as to what the owners of the pawn shop are looking for in the sale. There are also reality shows that investigate addictions like hoarding, morbid obesity, drug and alcohol addictions, so if you are suffering or someone who you know is suffering from an addiction, the shows can give you an idea of where to reach out to and perhaps steps to take to get someone help. These shows also cement the idea that you are not alone in your problems, frustrations and dreams. These shows can allow you to live vicariously through the contestants or players on these shows without fear of getting in too deep or getting hurt. The risk is all on them while you reap the enjoyment and pleasure of watching a show.
And then there is the simple fact that these shows can be entertaining, there is often a competitive edge to them and there is also a voyeuristic quality about them. The Apprentice was a show that interested me for two seasons and then I found it to be formulaic and predictable. I felt the same way with the The Next Food Network Star, the first two seasons were interesting and then it became boring. Hell’s Kitchen was another show that I found entertaining for 2 or 3 seasons and then all the yelling done by Gordon Ramsey, the chef, turned me off. The pattern here seems to indicate that I have only the capacity to stay faithful to a reality show for two years and then my interests start to wander. Right now I’m watching Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, I really like the Simmons’ family, Gene is an egotistical rock star but his spousal equivalent and their two children are a pleasure to watch. I’ve only been watching for a few months, so if the pattern holds up I still have a year and a half left to watch.
I understand how and why the reality shows came about, the writer’s strike was a serious roadblock to the network’s programming schedule and they had to fill up the time slots with something and therefore the wave of all these different reality shows at bargain basement prices to produce. Leave it to Hollywood to get creative. I don’t know how much longer these reality shows will be able to feed the audiences of American with interest and voyeurism, but until it becomes cost prohibitive, I think that the reality show is here to stay.
I am stumped, through my travels I have met many friendly people,here in the States, France, Italy and elsewhere. The hard part of the question is the "most" part. In the States, I would say Bar Harbor. In France, I would say Istres. In Greece, I would say Pelakas. In Italy, I would say Rome. I hope that on one got offended or feels left out.