What’s cookin’?

As you all know, I’m a Midwesterner, and nothing in the world warms a Midwesterner’s heart like using up leftovers. Last night, I opened the fridge and noticed we had a) lots of eggs; b) a box of Pillsbury ready-made pie crusts, a.k.a. mommy’s dirty little secret; c) some broccoli that was about to go around the bend; and d) an odd lot of cheddar. Fifteen minutes later, I had quiche in the oven. That’s the sort of meal that feeds you twice — in your stomach, and in your frugal little spirit, too.

Then I hit the New York magazine website and said, revolucion!:

…even though year-end bonuses are expected to be (relatively) small across Wall Street, Goldman employees are expected to rake in an average of $600,000 each.

We’re living in a new Gilded Age, which is not news. I’m just wondering how to make a little fairy dust trickle down on me. The reason Goldman Sachs is riding so high, we’re told, is they “bet against the subprime market and won.” Well, hey, I could have give them that advice. “Those people who are getting enormous mortgages based on oral declarations that they make $6,000 a week with no verification? Those are a bad bet. Get out now.” Maybe I could have sold them that information for, say, $50 million. But what is my tiny, non-entrepreneurial mind concerned with? Using up 75 cents worth of broccoli. I just don’t dream big enough.

Elsewhere in the news, I see that Britney Spears’ heretofore-believed-to-be-somewhat-smarter younger sister, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn, is expecting a little bundle of out-of-wedlock joy. Terrific. This is what happens when you let your child watch supposedly wholesome tween-targeted TV shows like “Zoey 101.” You duck the Vanessa what’s-her-name nude-picture missile and get smacked between the eyes by a teen pregnancy. I wonder how long before Kate hears about it, and whether she’ll ask me about it, and what I should say. Might as well start rehearsing a speech now. Would it be wrong to introduce an 11-year-old to the concept of trailer trash, or should I go with Lance Mannion’s oft-stated opinion that all actresses are promiscuous? One seems overly judgmental, the other too much adult-stained reality for a pre-teen. And yet, the naked truth — “Mrs. Spears lived out her dream of showbiz success through her daughters, who now stand before the world, 26 and 16, old before their years and destined for a long, slow slide into a sort of purgatory that will end in drug addiction, early death and where-are-they-now features on VH1” — seems even worse.

Note that “Zoey 101” is a Nickelodeon show. I’d like to think Disney keeps their young moneymakers on a tighter leash, or at least locked in chastity belts, but naked Vanessa proved otherwise. I guess the stupid show is history. Mom Lynne’s “parenting” book has been back-burnered, too. Do we still run people out of town on a rail? Can it be done to this nest of skanks? Bring back the studio system, with its morals clauses, and its pleasing tissue of lies!

(As it relates to our discussion of names below, here are a few character names on “Zoey 101:” Dustin, Quinn, Logan, Chase. Boy, girl, boy, boy.)

OK, bloggage:

Micki Maynard and Nick Bunkley at the NYT examine a local paradox — the flowering of downtown Detroit at the same time the auto industry continues to decline, statewide unemployment stands just short of 8 percent and finding a deeply discounted house to buy is as easy as walking out your front door.

I don’t know why, either. My instinct is to say: What the hell, let’s party. Most amusing passage:

And in the eyes of some, the new casinos, which include the 17-story Motor City Hotel and Casino that opened on Nov. 28, may be doing as much harm as good.

Some of the casino’s patrons include Detroit’s homeless. They used to buy food with the nickels and dimes they received for collecting returnable beverage containers, said Chad Audi, director of the rescue mission, which sits on a side street a few blocks from the Motor City.

Instead, these gamblers are spending their change in slot machines. “It’s turning into a very bad, negative impact on us,” he said.

I wonder if they have this problem in Vegas.

Off to work. Great days for all.

Posted at 10:53 am in Current events, Popculch |

31 responses to “What’s cookin’?”

  1. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Nancy, we liberal arts types scorned the business majors and never took any econ or the like. I still believe that the stock market is inherently immoral. So I too am stuck with chortling over the turkey bones that I can make into five more meals.

    Jamie Lynn Spears’ announcement coincided with the news yesterday of a 3% increase in teen pregnancy. Our 20 year old and I were listening to the discussion on Talk of the Nation as we were driving around. In our world, drive time is great for sex talks, as no eye contact needs to be made. We talked about why abstinence programs are ineffective–I said, because they leave you unprepared when things get out of control.

    He did me proud, though. Having just completed statistics, he immediately questioned whether a 3% increase was anything more than margin of error. I’m always happy when my kids are challenging the information they are given, from whatever source; the government, friends, Wikipedia, NPR, even Mom and Dad.

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  2. ashley said on December 19, 2007 at 11:33 am

    I agree with Lance. What other allegedly respectable profession requires one to be nude as part of the job?

    That, and the Spears girls are just plain trailer trash skank, even for Kentwood.

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  3. Sue said on December 19, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Bridging this post with the last one, the book “Freakonomics” goes into baby names and traces ones which were once popular but now have a lower-class reputation (“trailer trash”). I think Britney with all its various spellings is now on that list. Really entertaining book, by the way. And if we brought back the studio system, all that would result is a bunch of abortions, because we wouldn’t want to have our stars distracted or unable to work, right? I love reading bios of stars from that time because there was no difference between then and now, just a huge publicity machine that was expert at covering up all the horrible behavior.

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  4. Sammy said on December 19, 2007 at 11:36 am

    I, too, thought of Mrs. Spears’ parenting when I heard about her 16-year old daughter….

    As to “Goldman employees are expected to rake in an average of $600,000 each,” I wonder if this includes the minions and amanuenses?

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  5. alex said on December 19, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Hey, where’s my six-figure year-end bonus for predicting correctly in 2002 that Bush’s “intelligence” as regards Iraq was a pile of cooked-up rubbish?

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  6. Sue said on December 19, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Alex, you are mistaken. The six figure amount is your portion of the cost of the last 7 years’ worth of rubbish. You might try to pass it on to your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Who knew rubbish was so expensive?

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  7. brian stouder said on December 19, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Shelby and Grant and I had a somewhat wide-ranging discussion about the Zoey 101 girl this morning, waiting at the bus stop (a pretty solid 20 minutes). They saw the story on the morning news as we prepared to leave.

    Shelby (9) was particularly inquisitive, and wondered how this was going to work out. (Julie is exactly right; car time is one of the best venues for important conversations).

    At one point, Grant (12) said something like “It is her own fault”, and Shelby (who likes Zoey 101) objected to the word “fault” – and then I offered (conciously working to stay at 25 words or less) that “fault” or “blame” is especially tricky when a 16 year old kiddo plunges (or is allowed to plunge) into an adult situation

    Shelby said maybe the Zoey girl could have her parents help her with the baby, while she went to school and did her show, and so on……..prompting me to gently remind her that her mom and I didn’t shuffle her off to grandma’s…which she pondered for a moment, and then reiterated that it’s not all her fault – with which I agreed vigorously! while pointing out that she certainly still made some unwise decisions.

    All in all – I was impressed with how curious they both were about this turn of events

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  8. Mgal said on December 19, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    I was just surfing the Blog feed over at MCB and came over to check out the dish that the little excerpt there was talking about, and went on to read about Brittney’s sister. One question I have to ask is why is this 16 year old getting pregnant, any different or more significant than any other? Because its on the news? Also, what does a 16 year old getting pregnant have anything to do with her parent’s parenting skills. And for some reason the line of the 9 year old above saying maybe her parents could help being rebuffed with – well we didn’t do that with you so it wouldn’t be right (that’s how I interpreted it, so if I got it wrong, I’m sorry) – just seems off to me. Kids make mistakes, big ones sometimes, but does that mean that they aren’t entitled to help. I’m not just referencing the Zoey girl, if this was a normal 16 year old, would your response be the same? I got pregnant at 17. Not because my mom and dad had bad parenting skills, but because I let my judgment slip. Unless they had been standing in the room when it happened there wasn’t a thing they could of done about it. They had already given me all the talks, it was up to me to decide to listen. I was on the high honor roll, club president, band member (all American well rounded child) and it happened to me and it wasn’t the end of the world. With my families help, I went on to college, graduated with a BA in art and have been in the professional world for 4 years. I have own my own home etc. Sorry, this is just one of those subjects that irks me a little when I start to see criticisms and such come out.

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  9. beb said on December 19, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    Note that “Zoey 101″ is a Nickelodeon show. I’d like to think Disney keeps their young moneymakers on a tighter leash…

    Oh, Nancy, it is the other way around. What do all the young distaster – Britnet, Christina, Lindsay – have in common? they were all child actors for the Disney Corporation. Britney and Christina were Mouseketeers, Lindsay a frequent actress there. And now with Vanessa’s nudie pics it’s like there’s some moral disease running through Disiney turning these young people into tarted up trollopes

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  10. Danny said on December 19, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Mgal, the heavy criticism leveled at the parents is not solely for this incident. By all reports, the mother is a celebrity wannabe who has been pimping her daughters out for years so as to live vicariously through them. She has had a damn-the-consequences attitude in pursuit of fame for her daughters.

    This is a recurring theme in the lives of child stars.

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  11. Dorothy said on December 19, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Also, what does a 16 year old getting pregnant have anything to do with her parent’s parenting skills. And for some reason the line of the 9 year old above saying maybe her parents could help being rebuffed with – well we didn’t do that with you so it wouldn’t be right (that’s how I interpreted it, so if I got it wrong, I’m sorry) – just seems off to me. Kids make mistakes, big ones sometimes, but does that mean that they aren’t entitled to help.

    Mgal you are certainly correct about kids making mistakes and being entitled to help. In my mind that doesn’t end just because they reach the age of 21, either. Recently my son (who is almost 23) made some decisions that set into motion some rather life-changing events. His engagement has ended because he wants to join the service. I don’t think this qualifies as a mistake in anyway, but we are helping him through this. His fiance (err, ex-fiance) has made some rash decisions of late, which are impacting him financially. So we are helping out in whatever way we can.

    The Spears family is an easy target, and it’s unfortunate that the younger sister’s pregnancy is getting extra attention due to the antics of her older sister. Scorn gets heaped on her because it seems like more of the same. But honestly, we should give the girl a chance. She might turn out to be a much better parent than her ghastly sister.

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  12. Joe Kobiela said on December 19, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    How about this thought gang, although teen and or out of wedlock pregnancy has been going on since the dawn of time, only in the last 10yrs or so has it been deemed ACCEPTABLE, We as a nation look the other way when unwed actresses become pregnant. No one has the guts to stand up and say THIS IS WRONG. Oh wait there was one person who stood up and said that and was crucified for it. Any one remember who? How about a Vice President from Indiana.
    I am not saying unwed mothers are bad people, but until people take a stand and say this is not right we have a problem.
    flame away

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  13. Connie said on December 19, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Joe, I would hate to see the attitude toward unwed mothers in society go back to what it was during my teenaged years when pregnant 16 yr olds either had shotgun marriages or got whisked away to have their babies in secret and give them up. I highly recommend the book “The Girls Who Went Away” an oral history of that experience.

    And Nance, my daughter certainly understood “trailer park trash” when she was 11, but then we lived in southern Indiana. Sorry.

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  14. alex said on December 19, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Not sure I agree with your absolutism there, Joe. Murphy Brown was a mature and well-off woman watching her biological clock ticking away. To even mention her in the same breath as a 16-year-old getting knocked up is an unfair comparison. I don’t think anyone believes the latter should be the norm. And even if you don’t approve of the former, it shouldn’t be anybody’s goddamned business what adults do.

    And as for Mr. Quayle, he took it on the chin because nobody likes a bluenose and a scold. Especially one whose own family deviates from the “family values” he so shamelessly tries to exploit for votes.

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  15. Mgal said on December 19, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Joe – can you tell me how this is wrong (without bringing religion into it – because while it may be your belief system it isn’t everyones). I mean a real reason it is wrong. I will say that it isn’t the smartest, easiest, wisest decision a girl of 16 could make – but what makes it wrong?

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  16. Jen said on December 19, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Julie, my friend Theresa’s mother also always talked to her about sex while driving down the interstate. It wasn’t so much because they didn’t have to make eye contact, but rather so Theresa wouldn’t leap out of the car.

    I don’t really know how to feel about Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy, mainly because I hadn’t even heard of Zoey 101. I think it’s sad that the Spears girls have such screwed-up lives. I feel bad for Brit’s kids and Jamie Lynn’s unborn kid because they’re going to have a lot to overcome, I think. I would hate to think that anyone would condemn pregnant teens, or that a parent would kick their pregnant daughter out of their house or anything like that. However, I think they can be loving, caring parents and still express their disappointment.

    The parents have a responsibility to teach their children good morals and good decision-making skills, but ultimately it’s the child’s decision of what they’re going to do, and the parents have little control. However, they can, to a certain extent, try to keep their children out of situations where they might have the opportunity to misbehave. For example, my parents never let me go to a guy’s house when their parents weren’t home. Guys couldn’t go upstairs in our house without my parents being around. And so on. It was annoying – I missed out on a few good get-togethers because of it – but definitely not unreasonable.

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  17. brian stouder said on December 19, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    And for some reason the line of the 9 year old above saying maybe her parents could help being rebuffed with – well we didn’t do that with you so it wouldn’t be right

    Mgal – see, the problem was, first – NOT to go into ‘lecture mode’; and second – NOT to wave a green flag for bad judgement, and offer a too-easy answer such as “we’d stick together and all get by, somehow”.

    It seemed to me (at the time) our nine year old had glimpsed the complexity of the situation that the Zoey girl finds herself in….and that seemed to me to be a good thing.

    As you know, this parenting stuff is often grey and somewhat difficult; and when a ‘biggie’ conversation comes along, one wants to handle the opportunity carefully – which is what I was trying to convey, up thread.

    When you asked “why is this 16 year old getting pregnant, any different or more significant than any other?” – I honestly answer “because it got my nine year old asking me big questions”….which is a good thing!

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  18. Mgal said on December 19, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you for explaining – as I mentioned it was the way I interpreted it so the clarification is welcome :). I have a 9 year old too, and we haven’t had to have a discussion about this yet – don’t know what i’ll find when I get home today :). Its not an easy topic, and it is difficult to explain to someone that it isn’t the best thing / easiest thing, and still make sure they know that you will love and support them even if it did happen.

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  19. Joe Kobiela said on December 19, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    I am not slamming them,
    I am saying as a whole we have made it acceptable.
    It should be taught that it is not acceptable.
    Little Spears has the money to care for the child.
    How many 16yr olds have those means??
    My wife and I raised 2 girls one is now 22 the other is 20, we talked openly that what is acceptable in Hollywood or the media is not acceptable in this home.
    Guess what?
    Both turned out great, both college grads.
    No Kids.
    and I cant’ make the argument without religion, because that is part of our family that is most important.

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  20. Mgal said on December 19, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks Joe. I think the point I was trying to make is that you really can’t make the statement of its wrong in the broad stroke. Unacceptable for your family (and others I’m sure), wonderful. I fully respect that. It wasn’t what my parents hoped would happen to me, but it wasn’t considered the end of the world when it happened to me.

    Guess what? I turned out great, college grad – one kid.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Whatever our faith, we can agree that having a child requires huge amounts of energy and money. So it just stands to reason it’s better to wait until you are older and married or in a very committed relationship. Our kids know that we waited but it sure wasn’t easy, and that we want them to wait too, but if not to use protection! There have been plenty of cautionary tales around for them to observe what happens when you don’t. They are now 27 and 20, and though they have certainly made decisions we disagree with, they are both fantastic young people that we are very proud of and glad to claim as ours.

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  22. 4dbirds said on December 19, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    FWIW, I was of age and married when I had my children and they’re all totally messed up. 🙂

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  23. Connie said on December 19, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Just saw this headline at cnn.com: What will you tell kids about Britney’s sister?

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  24. del said on December 19, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    4dbirds, funny! Talking in the car about sex sounds so as to avoid eye contact — Julie you must be one of those awesome moms. I’ve had important conversations while driving with my wife but she made me stop the car so she could get out and walk home rather than abide my impertinence. Guess I’m not so awesome.

    Mgal’s comments stood out. There’s a bit of schadenfreude here. Why do we care about the younger Spears girl so much? Brian’s right on — the key is to keep the kids asking questions. We were just talking about this very subject today and my wife warned me never to refer the kids to her if they ask a sex related question. Said they’re asking me for a reason and if I defer they’ll sense my unease and communication will close.

    And nobody wants teens to have kids out of wedlock. It takes maturity and money to raise them we’re agreed. Religion, in my opinion, has a tendency to mess things up because it shames the kids into closing the lines of communication and denying their humanity. Ya know, Zoey met her guy in church . . .

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  25. del said on December 19, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Ya gotta make the kid understand the the choices he or she makes will affect THEM. Your shame or disappointment is a very, very, distant consideration.

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  26. a different Connie said on December 19, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Luckily, Nancy, there’s a headline article on CNN right now: How to talk about Brittney’s sister’s pregnancy with your kids!


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  27. Mgal said on December 19, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Del – that’s what my parents did. A couple of girls I knew also had babies in high school / first years of college and their mom’s practically took their babies and raised them for them. My mom didn’t, she said my daughter was mine and I could take care of her. Now they helped, babysat for night classes and so I could work and let us live there. But I was responsible for getting up at night, for getting her to the doctor and taking care of her while she was sick. I got her to preschool, etc etc.

    I also agree that the “shaming” effect closes down the communication lines because they will make up their own mind what they are going to do, but if the reaction from their parents if they ask for birthcontrol etc is going to be to shame them, lock them in their room for eternity, send them to a convent (ok exaggeration) the kid isn’t ever going to say anything until its to late.

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  28. Jeff said on December 19, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Still coughing over “her long-time boyfriend” in re a young woman of 16. Apparently Mom Spears lives vicariously through her daughters, but doesn’t much encourage them to live with her — the indications are that the 18 and 16 year old have been living together, and more to the point, on their own, for some time.

    On the other hand, that would be a fairly typical couple for the first couple hundred years of the republic, including pregnancy leading to marriage (wouldn’t want to tie up real estate in a contract/covenant where children weren’t happening). I’m impressed enough that she’s having the baby, and that the guy is making plans to take some responsibility — but (grand)mom deserves every bit of derision and disdain we can muster, on grounds that i think transcend religious feelings. As for Aunt Britney, Craig Ferguson said it all — still findable on YouTube, and discussed here earlier.

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  29. del said on December 20, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Mgal – When my wife and I were dealing with our first child and things were challenging I remember us asking “Can you imagine doing this on your own?” Great work! My comment about making your teens know that having a child will affect them is more about deterrent effect than post-child. It’s hard to comprehend the big picture as a teen; especially a hormonal one.

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  30. joodyb said on December 20, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    4db: thanks for the shot of relativity.
    you can get your kids through school and see them pummeled by love and the workaday world, not to mention the loss of childhood friends to suicide and war. you can’t fix it; you’re not a bad parent.
    there are much, much worse things in life than an unwelcome pregnancy. knock wood.

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  31. Ricardo said on December 23, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Honest-to-God. My first thought after hearing about Jamie Lynn was “is the father of the baby Jamie’s cousin?”

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