Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kate’s Top Ten Worst Moments of 2012

Our third annual recap of Kate's worst moments of the year is here.  Last year it was difficult to narrow it down to only 10. This year, it was an even greater challenge. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions. There were so many dirty deeds they could fill an encyclopedia, but we've attempted our Cliff Note's version here. Enjoy! 

10. Around the World in 80 Days, or How to Be a Truly Terrible Parent. 

Lots of Kate's blogs this year about parenting were real head scratchers, but this one, Lessons Learned from the Gosselin Globe, was so bad it rightly earned the title "Globe Gate." When one of the kids peeled back the equator on their globe (surely a crime worthy of 100 lashes as we soon realized), Kate was "disgusted" and went after her resident scapegoat, Joel, allowing the rest of the pack to gain up on him like wolves, too. Turns out, it was one of the girls who did it (naturally, Kate won't say which girl, but was happy to single out Joel). The real kicker was she never let the rest of the kids know that. So everyone still thinks it's innocent Joel! Free Joel! Ugh, she deserved every bit of the Hitler parody video we made about the incident. Lessons learned? Kate's a grade-A bitch. Class dismissed.

9. One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong! Cher, Madonna, Sting, KATE. 

Sweet and generous Em Tanner, a designer from Tennessee, has grifted Kate untold amounts of merchandise through the years, especially when the children were toddlers. (Remember those shirts numbered 1-8? Those were Em's.) When a sheeple this year alerted Kate that Em was calling one of her calendars "Kate's Calendar," Kate threw a fit. Mind you, not Kate Gosselin's Calendar, not Kate Plus 8's Calendar. Just Kate's calendar! (No where on the calendar's sale page did Em even mention the Gosselins or the show.) We must have missed when Kate copyrighted the name Kate. Kate Middleton might have something to say about that one. Kate's immature rampage about the incident on Twitter (why not just call Em privately, or contact a lawyer?), prompted Em to tweet back surprise at why she was being "badmouthed so randomly," as well as this well-deserved doosey, "I'm so sorry you lost your way, I really am." Shockingly, Kate later actually admitted that she started it, and that she didn't mean to cause a war. Em Tanner: 1, Kate the Great: 0.

8. Dance With the Devil

Poor Tony Dovolani can't get through an interview these days without someone asking him, notwithstanding all the incredible divas he has been paired with over the past decade, how in the world he put up with Kate Gosselin. I guess no one has been satisfied with his answers yet, LOL. It was no different on Anderson Cooper last spring when Tony told the CNN reporter "there was a lot of therapy involved" after being partnered with Kate. Ha! What was clearly just a joke was as serious as the Cuban Missile Crisis to Kate (if she knows what that is), who decided to pen an entire diatribe responding to the comment, oddly, on Coupon Cabin instead of her own web site's blog! Huh? Is DWTS offering coupons for tap shoes now? Why was that even there? we all wanted to know. Anyway, Kate told Tony it was a shame his remembrance of their time was only negative (he never said that, Kate) and challenged Anderson to go on Dancing With the Stars, where she would be watching front row. He wouldn't lower himself. The best part of all? Not a word in response to this craziness from Anderson or Tony. It was like she was talking to a brick wall. Baw-haha! Coupon Cabin later swiffered that post and all the others when they fired her. Oops, shoulda put it on your own blog for posterity. She's bananas. 

7. Running on crazy
Kate had spent a lot of effort trying to convince us the kids just love, love running, but her "Catfish" facade of a life was never more apparent when she dragged the kids up to Connecticut to run a race with her and several other schoolchildren (who, unlike the Gosselins, had been working very hard together to prepare for the event). One of the girls was even crying as Steve encouraged her along. We also learned a lot about her serious lack of boundaries when she let one of the kids sit on the lap of a fan, and stranger. Run, crazy, run, but leave the kids out of it.

6. Ah yes, divorce. From the Latin word for to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet.

This year marked the third anniversary of Jon and Kate's divorce, but you would think it only happened three days ago the way Kate couldn't stop ragging on Jon this year. There were many sour moments where she threw the children's beloved father under the bus, including when she claimed that she relieved him of child support obligations out of the goodness of her heart (she didn't count on anyone knowing that's not possible under Pennsylvania law once an order has been put in place), told everyone that the kids preferred to be with her over the Christmas holidays, and even just let her sheeple believe that Jon couldn't pay his utility bills when she announced that his power was off (even though news reports revealed thousands were without power also in his area). One of the worst was when she told a sympathetic Dr. Drew that Jon was "trying" to be a good dad. The....f&%$ ??? Of course nothing can top her infamous mediocre comment from the year before, but she sure tried. Meanwhile over at Jon's, a few discreetly tweeted photos reveal happy, calm, relaxed kids. Good to know.

5. If Timmy had a pit bull, he wouldn't have been in the well in the first place.

This fall, Jon's girlfriend posted a few sweet photos of the sextuplets with her adorable pit bull, and however misguided, it set Kate off into yet another unnecessary public twitter war. Why, because the children have never looked more at peace? Figures. She retweeted several negative articles about pit bulls and implied that her request the children not be around the dog was ignored. Liz snapped right back that Kate rolled her window up in Liz's face. Forget dogs, where are the cats?! Meeow! Kate's accusations were so over the top, she drew criticism from Animal Planet's Pitbulls and Parolees for spreading misinformation about the "nanny dog" breed and contributing to their unjustified reputation. What takes the bone is that Kate owns a German Shepherd herself, also listed on many "dangerous breeds" dog lists! Woof.

4. "Gaping maw of a fame hole."

Kate's tweeted too many embarrassing photos of the kids this year, but one of the creepiest was a revealing photo of Mady's legs in Kate's hooker heels. The fact that Kate failed to realize that no matter how innocent her intentions were, a good parent has to think about others who may be using the photos for less-than innocent purposes, spoke to exactly how screwed up her noggin is. We weren't the only ones. This one attracted backlash from around the web, including from popular Mommyish bloggers. As Eve Vawter put it, "Kate Gosselin didn’t need to post it, but I suppose it can also be argued that Kate Gosselin uses any excuse to exploit any of her eight children for attention and publicity, whether good or bad, to feed her gaping maw of a fame hole."  Kate learned absolutely nothing from Bill Blankinship's arrest and subsequent conviction this year. #ParentingFail

3. Stop Child Abuse.

The truth is, numerous non-fans have quietly speculated for years there might be child abuse going on in the Gosselin home, and even an ex-staffer tried to come forward in 2009 about some disturbing things they saw and gave a story to the tabloids anonymously, but without proof, it's been just that, quiet speculation. However photog Robert Hoffman was finally able to prove it this year after discovering some old computer files of Kate's that contained her journals and publishing them in a book. Among many disturbing entries, Kate writes that she whipped Collin into his crib and pulled him by the hair. The information Robert uncovered in his research also suggests that Kate is bipolar, and was physically and sexually abused as a child. For those of us with backgrounds in this area, it sure made a lot of sense. Hoffman's book was perhaps the most chilling moment not just of this year, but since this family first came across our radar.

2. Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic.

We feel like a white squall hit us after this one. WTF! Okay, so, the year kicked off to a hysterical start with Kate trying to organize a fan cruise to the Caribbean this summer during the height of hurricane season, and with the twins, like she were actually a real celeb. The whole thing was so vague and unaffordable, not to mention exploitive, it had white flags of doom written all over it from the very start. It got all the weirder when it became clear that Cindy, a cruise rep running the show, well, basically was a trust fund baby idiot who hadn't the first clue what she was doing. She enlisted the help of some of the creepiest sheeple to "vet" potential cruise goers, something even our most seasoned cruise-goers here had never seen done in their entire vacationing lives (I guess they were afraid a non-fan would sign up and, I don't know, maybe report back here??? The horror!). Only, the vetting was actually scaring the beJesus out of legitimate fans who just wanted to have a nice time with their families. Cindy would also send out mass emails to anyone interested and forget to BCC, thereby exposing everyone's real names and e-mails to each other, and she would talk publicly about her clients, a huge no-no.  As we oh-so-accurately predicted, Kate cancelled the whole thing and jumped ship in May just before final payments were due, muttering something about not enough people had signed up, and promising to try to meet up and treat cruise goers to a lunch before they embarked. Think that ever happened? Take a guess. This whole thing was so bizarre you would think hands down it should make number one on our list, right? Think again. She did something even worse.

Before we get to number one, once again this year there were so many bad deeds they couldn't possibly all fit into ten, nor could they all fit into the runner's up list either! (We practically need a runner's up list to the runner's up list) But here are a few that didn't make the top 10.

  • Kate's year saw her picking more Twitter battles than if she were to suit up in Troy. When Kate called out the Dance Moms, saying they were "horrible" and she would never "ever" do that to her own kids, star Melissa Ziegler couldn't believe the hypocrisy. Yeah, neither could we. Ziegler tweeted back that she's from the same part of PA as Kate and has always supported her and her show. We're guessing this was her last turn with Kate. Kate also picked another bizarre and unnecessary Twitter war with a reporter at the Red Cross Gala this year. This one went on for pages before she finally gave up. Bloody hell. 
  • Kate never stopped accepting gifts from fans and even encouraged it, even in the wake of terrible tragedies like Hurricane Sandy and the shootings in Newtown. Her selfishness and sense of entitlement is astounding, and is being passed right on down to the kids.
  • Kate tried to pretend she was still fighting traffic during the president debates, but Bravo's Andy Cohen actually called her out for the lying compulsive liar that she is and told us all he saw her watching The Real Housewives, actually. That was classic. And typical. Voting records revealed Kate never bothered to change her polling place when she moved, what was it, four years ago?
  • Kate's made many inappropriate comments about body weight and exercise over the years, encouraging unhealthy preoccupations with appearance in her young impressionable fans, but the worst was when she tweeted a fan "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." Ugh. 
  • Hide the bunny. Kate's manic posts on Easter were just odd, and creepy. 
  •  We couldn't believe our ears when we heard Kate talking about periods and bra shopping with the twins. We used to joke that's what would be exploited next, only Kate was for real. We wish there were room for this one in the top 10. 

And now, the long awaited worst moment of the year....
1. Coupon Crapin

It was a really tough call this year between whether the cruise cancellation or the Coupon Cabin firing was Kate's worst moment of the year. Ultimately, Coupon Cabin just barely edged out the cruise, due to one generous CEO named Scott. Instead of just quietly letting her go, Scott decided to put it all out there in a brief but succinct letter. In it, he laid out exactly why he could no longer have her on his team, from her lack of authenticity, to her utter inability to fit in with everyone else, to her entourage, to her polarizing posts. The letter so aptly described the joke of a celebrity we've all for so long tried to explain she is, it was sort of our own personal vindication. Or if you like, "We told you so, suckers!" To this day, it's fun to speculate what in the world she did this time that would prompt Scott to fire off such a scathing Dear John. The world may never know. Here it is again:

A Letter from CouponCabin CEO Scott Kluth

To all our Kate blog readers:
Some nine-plus years ago, I started CouponCabin with the thought of creating a single website that had all the best coupons… no gimmicks, no fluff, just a site that was easy to use and that had great deals. Along the way, we’ve helped our users collectively save hundreds of millions of dollars.
A series of recent events have made it clear to me that Kate Gosselin and her contributions do not align with the authenticity which we set out to build almost a decade ago, and that Ms. Gosselin is simply not a good fit with the wonderful team and culture at CouponCabin.
It’s with this that I am writing to inform you of our decision to discontinue Ms. Gosselin’s feature blog on Ms. Gosselin’s contributions garnered both positive attention and criticism, but as always, I respect and appreciate your candid opinions, which often encourage us not to lose sight of our mission — to help YOU save money.
We wish Kate, her family and her support staff all the best.

Scott Kluth
Founder and CEO of
And now for our annual "best of" of the year. This year we couldn't just name one. We found three that deserved the spot.

3. Tony finally wins Dancing With the Stars! May his prize be no one ever asks him about Kate again.

2. No more child exploitation. Rep. Murt's bill, inspired by disturbing information he heard from us and others about working conditions on the Gosselins' set, was signed into law.

1. YOU! Yes, You. And you, and you, and you. The people on this blog have always been close, but what's been really cool about this year is to watch this blog really progress into a true community. Comments on posts increased dramatically this year (some posts had over 1,000 after only a few days!) as it became more of a porch gathering every day and sometimes late into the night. We threw a few virtual parties and had a blast, screened some fantastic quality reality T.V. like The Farmer's Wife and The Dust Bowl, and we even invented our own drink. We hit 8 million hits this year and surpassed 9 million just this week. So bottoms up, here's a round of Rumspringas on us. Happy New Year, everyone.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A bad year. For Kate anyway.

Much like last year when Kate made some "worst of" lists, on one of them even being compared to Gadhafi, she's popping up again on 2012 lists.

Time Magazine put her in their "bad year" category opposite Kate Middleton in the good year column, blasting Kate for being fired from Coupon Cabin. Ha.

Click to enlarge.

Merry Christmas from the staff!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Discovery pulls 'American Guns' from line-up

The Discovery Channel announced yesterday that they've cancelled their successful reality series about a Colorado family that restores firearms. They also won't be showing any reruns. Other shows have delayed or pulled episodes, including TLC's new special "Best Funeral Ever," which was pushed back to January. Actually growing a heart, or just concerned about bad PR? Sadly, probably the latter.

In other news, it was heartwarming to see the Red Cross blankets providing their intended comfort to those who need it. Several people were spotted wrapped in the blankets attending a memorial service on Sunday in Newtown.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Spirit of Giving

This is a time of year that is about love, family, friends and most of all giving. Discuss holiday plans, recipes, gifts (the tangible and intangible) and more here.

Meanwhile, just in time for the season, Netflix and have released for streaming a raw and intense documentary about giving, Craigslist Joe.

In December 2011, 29-year-old Joe Garner decided to see if he could live solely off the generosity of others all month long. He empties his wallet and takes to Craigslist. The dozens and dozens of heartwarming (and often funny!) encounters Joe has with people from Craigslist moves him, and viewers, to tears. In particular, he is once invited to stay with an Iraqi family in Seattle. They tell him about their experiences, good and bad, as immigrants in the U.S. And in New York, he meets an eccentric woman named Fran with cancer. Joe quickly realizes Fran has a severe hoarding problem. Without judgement, he spends a few hours at her place clearing one small area for her to sit, bringing joy and peace to Fran. Will Joe find a place to rest his head and food to eat every day? The answer may surprise you. 

A Zach Galifianakis produced film (yes, that crazy guy from The Hangover!) Craigslist Joe is the ultimate 31-day grifting plan--and yet this grifting had a greater purpose. To see if most people really are generous, open, and good at heart. Perhaps the most moving moment of all is when Joe's mother talks about the experience. She says she wasn't going to worry about her son out there. She was confident her boy would find plenty of good people to help him. We were rooting throughout the film for Joe to prove his mom right. Thank you, Joe and Zach.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

1940's House: Part 2

The pursuit of happiness in hard times 

Many of the great moments of 1940s House involved watching the Hymers experience the hardships of life in the 1940s while still finding a way to create fun and joy during long days of rations, bomb raids and frightening news of war. The Hymers truly took the experience to heart, and the lessons they learned that continued even after the experience were inspiring.

For fun during "wartime," they took a "holiday at home," by going on a picnic nearby and visiting a local cave. Holidays at home were encouraged by the British government, because traveling far was too dangerous, expensive, and would clog the roads the military needed.

After it was over, Ben and Thomas, the children, talked about creating fun without the T.V. or Playstation, such as creating their own board game or building a treehouse. Granny Lynn writes more handwritten letters, and started shopping more locally. She said she had managed to cut her grocery bill in half. Grandpa Michael restored an old car. Kirstie, a single mom whose husband left her, grew much more independent as a result of the experience. Today's hard economic times are not nearly as bad as what Great Britain endured in the 1940s, but the same lessons of creating lemons out of lemonade still apply.

Part 2 is available on Youtube and for purchase on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

1940's House: Part 1

"The war years were times of problems, but I think it gave many of us a chance to discover depths which we didn't know we had, talents which we didn't know we had before ... Pretty good sex we were. We managed beautifully." ~Marguerite Patton

The House series that aired on PBS and the BBC were some of the most educational and riveting programs we've ever seen. And they were all made in the dreaded reality T.V. format. One of the best was Britain's 1940s House. The Hymers, hand picked from many hopeful candidates, were so dedicated to the authenticity of the project, there seemed to be no better choice to cast.

In particular, single mom Kirstie Hymer, along with her two sweet sons, fully embraced every aspect of the project, even going hungry when the rations ran low. Their commitment to making the most of the experience and gaining an appreciation for what their country went through during World War II is inspiring.

Kirstie, age 29: This single mom who was just a teenager when her first child was born had one priority: her boys. Her heart and head in the right place throughout the project, she made sure Ben and Thomas got to the bomb shelter first, even getting fined for turning on a light doing so, gave up her rations so they wouldn't go hungry, and was horrified and ashamed to find out other children at school had been giving them food. "I can't have people thinking you're not getting enough food!" she bemoans, and then bakes a cake for them. Oh, and she even finds time to give blood and volunteer at a local daycare. Meanwhile, she discovers a talent for baking. (Margurite Patton, a ration book recipe guru during the war and fascinating in her own right, helps Kirstie with authenticity.)

Ben, age 10: At his tender age, Ben takes on the role of man of the house while his grandfather is away on business. The self-appointed family "Fuel Warden," he guards the family's expenditure of resources so carefully (he even paints a water line in the bathtub) his Granny heckles him with a sign that says "Fuel Warden Stinks."

Thomas, age 7: After shedding a few tears at having to leave his home, carefree Thomas quickly grows to love living 1940's style, pitching in, helping with the bomb shelter and offering to take a bath with his brother to save water, and always making everyone smile. His cheerfulness in the face of such adversity is a reminder how resilient children can be.

This beautiful portrait of a family from modern times who somehow found a way to pull together during wartime just like the families of yesteryear had to, is definitely worth screening together. Enjoy!

Part 1 is available on Youtube and Amazon.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kate runs Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

Kate Gosselin

#8, Half Marathon

PointTimeTime of DayPace
START00:00:004:34:10 pm--
5K00:28:525:03:01 pm09:18
10K00:58:235:32:32 pm09:30
10M01:36:156:10:24 pm10:01
FINISH02:10:106:44:19 pm10:55
Avg. Pace09:56

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Catfish: The movie

Nev is in love. With a woman he has never met. At least not in real life. The 24-year-old New Yorker's sweet, sincere online romance with Megan, a musician from Michigan, is the most important thing that ever happened to him in his young life. So important, he starts making a documentary about it. His friendships with her talented younger sister Abby, and her beautiful mother Angela, are equally deep and fulfilling. But when the curtain is drawn back, Nev and his filmmaker friend and brother are in for something so shocking, Nev wants to quit making his film.

Catfish is a fascinating psychological study of people so desperate to escape their sad reality they will toy with modern technology, and other people's emotions, to do it. Who are they? Why do they do it? How do they do it? And are they to be pitied, or vilified? How similar is Angela's fantasy life to Kate's fantasy life on Twitter? A must see film. (Check out the trailer here.)

Catfish is available in a variety of forms. It airs on MTV early Sunday Dec. 2 at midnight, as well as at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Check local listenings. It is also available on Netflix and streaming on Amazon for $1.99. In addition, 20/20's story on the film, which includes Angela's only interview (also a must see), is available for free on ABCgo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Dancing With the Stars' Tony Dovolani won the biggest prize of them all last night with his partner Melissa Rycroft. When asked on Jimmy Kimmel about Kate Gosselin, he said: "She's a sweetheart. I'm sure she voted for us." Kate tweeted her congratulations late today.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The reality T.V. relationships curse

The learning curve

Reality T.V. seems to have played a role in many couples in love ending up in divorce court. Seems Tia and Tamera Mowry, child stars who now have their own reality show about married life (Tia & Tamera), have picked up on the obvious: reality T.V. is hard on relationships. 

Said Tia: “I can see why marriages deteriorate after being on a reality show for a while. At the end of the day, the reality show is a show, and they’re looking for conflict. For any relationship, always focusing on a conflict is not healthy.”

And Tamera had this to say: “You don’t want to put everything out on television. That’s what makes a marriage. It’s between you two and not you and 2 billion people who can watch it over and over on YouTube.”

Jon and Kate Gosselin are perhaps reality T.V.'s most infamous break-up. Here are just a few of the many other couples who split during or after their reality shows.

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. The show may have boosted sales of Chicken of the Sea, but it didn't make being newlyweds seem like much fun. The Newlyweds.

Linda Marie Bollea and Hulk Hogan. They endured 24 years of marital bliss. It wasn't until they signed on for a reality show that they split. Hogan Knows Best.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. It's widely been rumored the Kardashians orchestrated this entire relationship just for ratings, but poor Kris actually seemed to be in love with her. Kris is fighting this out in court. Said his attorney, Kim had "no intention of proceeding with this marriage. That it was basically a contrivance for the benefit of her show and to make money." Go Kris! Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Darrel and Juanita Boeschkoetter. We laughed, we cried, we rooted for them to pull through, we prayed for rain when it was dry and sun when it was wet. But the happy ending we desperately wanted wasn't to be. Juanita and Darrel eventually split. The Farmer's Wife.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Oops, that's not a turkey! We're always searching for reality worth watching to tell you about, and here's another. If you're looking for something light after a heavy Thanksgiving meal, try some sushi. Jiro Dreams of Sushi, that is. Jiro Dreams is a 2011 Japanese documentary (it has subtitles) about Michelin three-star sushi chef Jiro Ono, whose small, simple restaurant makes the best sushi in the world.

Ono has been working nearly his whole life. At age seven, his alcoholic father abandoned him, and at age nine, he started working in a sushi shop. He never stopped.

Ono's hard work and dedication is admirable, but his perfectionism is controversial among some. Once, one of his employees had to make 200 batches of egg sushi before Ono was satisfied. His sons, who are in their 50's, are still waiting to take over the restaurant. Ono admits he treats them harder than anyone else who worked for him. How far do you have to go to make a perfect plate, and can you go too far?

Discuss Thanksgiving, recipes, Black Friday, whatever suits your fancy, and Jiro, which is available for streaming or rent on Netflix, as well as Enjoy your holiday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lessons learned from Ken Burns's 'The Dust Bowl'

We want it now. And if it makes money now, it's a good idea. But it isn't necessarily a good idea if the things we're doing are going to mess up the future--it wasn't a good idea. Don't deal on the moment. Take the long term look at things." --Wayne Lewis, child of the Dust Bowl.

Discuss PBS’s The Dust Bowl, airing November 18th and 19th. Check local listings. Order on DVD/Blu-ray here

What caused all the terrifying images of dust storms we saw? According to scientists and historians, a number of things. Some natural, like drought:

Some not so natural, like overplowing:

Planting the same crops over and over:

And most of all greed:

Ken Burns created another masterpiece, but this time his documentary went beyond his usual comprehensive collection of anecdotes woven together into a beautiful patchwork quilt to tell the story of a generation--there was something much more ominous about this one. It came in its surprisingly dark warnings to us as the film drew to a close. Don't be lured in by what sounds good and makes money now. Rather, think of the future. In all that we do we must think carefully of the future. This could happen again. And he wasn't just talking about dust storms. The message is as applicable today as it was then. But will those who need to hear it the most listen?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Real Working Women: The Dust Bowl, Part 2 “Reaping the Whirlwind”

"They are proud, strong people--patient, uncomplaining, intelligent. They want first of all to work, to have a home for their families, to educate their children." ~Sanora Babb, social worker

Discuss PBS’s The Dust Bowl, airing November 18th and 19th. Check local listings. Pre-order on DVD/Blu-ray here

Sanora Babb and her boss, Tom Collins, help hang laundry at a farmers' camp

Out of the dust of this Great Depression emerged some independent, bright, hard-working career women. Women out in the field rolling up their sleeves trying to help when careers just weren't fashionable. Two such working women were Sanora Babb, a social worker (though later well known as a writer), and Dorothea Lange, a photographer for the state of California. The Dust Bowl will profile these two women tonight. 

Sanora Babb didn't attend school until she was eleven years old, but graduated valedictorian of her class. During the Dust Bowl, she took a job with the Farm Security Administration, and in addition to helping set up migrant camps, traveled around to families providing assistance and resources for food, medical assistance, housing and education. She was just 30 years old when she took the job. Sanora Babb's notes on what she experienced were borrowed by John Steinbeck for his great novel The Grapes of Wrath.

Dorothea Lange also worked for the government, hired by California to photograph the hardships of the Dust Bowl. Her famous Migrant Mother photograph has come to epitomize the Great Depression. Neither Lange nor the family pictured was paid for the photo, as it belonged to the state of California. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Real Mothers: The Dust Bowl, Part 1 “The Great Plow up”

“She never had a lot, but she always made sure we had something. She didn't eat sometimes, but she made sure us children ate. That's one thing she did do.” ~daughter of Migrant Mother

Discuss PBS’s The Dust Bowl, airing November 18th and 19th. Check local listings. Pre-order on DVD/Blu-ray here

Unidentified mother and her seven children, courtesy of Library of Congress.
It was our nation’s longest, deadliest environmental disaster and representative of the nationwide economic crisis. But the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s often merits no more than a few lines in the history books. Acclaimed film director Ken Burns (The Civil War) delves deeper into this troubled time, tracking down survivors to preserve their often heartbreaking, always courageous stories on film. The American dream had never been so shattered, but the unlikely heroes were the women and children. The mothers, grandmothers, sons and daughters who kept their families together while the men tried to make sense of the land or scrounge for low-paying jobs elsewhere. We watch for their stories in particular tonight.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

'Dance Moms' mom reveals shocking amount of hours the child stars film

Christi Lukasiak says the popular reality show, which features kids in nearly every frame of the episodes, films for 70 hours a week.

Christie and daughter Chloe

Yeah, we bet you are, Chloe. Poor kid. The controversial reality show out of Pittsburgh has been renewed for another season, and now one of the moms is revealing exactly how hard those kids are working for the cameras. But PA Rep. Murt's recently passed child labor law should put a damper on Lifetime's cozy little sweat shop. The bill would only permit the Dance Moms children age 9 to 16 to film for five hours a day (even less for some of the younger dancers), with four hours left over for mandated school and rest time, and a mandatory 12 hour rest period between consecutive shooting days. The new law also requires that set teachers be on set at all times, as well as a parent or guardian. Will all these changes have any bearing on Lifetime's product, or will they still be able to churn out a good show without exploiting the living crap out of their young subjects to do so?

Click on the Dance Moms tag below to see our past posts on this reality show. Red flags have been raised more than once.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

On this special day, we honor veteran Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, our military parents, siblings and friends, and all those who served.

Odds are you don't know the name Michael Strobl. But you may have heard of the essay he wrote, A Marine's Journey Home, which was subsequently turned into the moving film Taking Chance. Occasionally, there are "reality" stories that should be told. This was one of them.

Wrote Strobl: "I didn't know how to express my sympathy for their loss and my gratitude for their sacrifice. Now, however, they were repeatedly thanking me for bringing their son home and for my service. I was humbled beyond words. I told them that I had some of his things and asked if we could find a quiet place. The five of us ended up in what appeared to be a computer lab -- not what I had envisioned for this occasion.

After we had arranged five chairs around a small table, I told them about our trip. I told them how, at every step, Chance was treated with respect, dignity, and honor. I told them about the staff at Dover and all the folks at Northwest Airlines. I tried to convey how the entire nation -- from Dover to Philadelphia to Minneapolis to Billings and Riverton -- expressed grief and sympathy over their loss."

Taking Chance is available around the web including on Netflix, Amazon, and HBOgo.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pit Bulls and Parolees says Kate 'knows nothing about pit bulls'

The dog rescuer and pit bull expert seen on Animal Planet says Kate's negative retweets about the breed are 'nonsense' and the oft-vilified dogs are 'very loving, very protective and gentle around children.'

Courtesy of "Pit Bulls and Kids,"

Kate's done it again. Last week Jon's girlfriend tweeted two remarkably sweet and candid Instagram photos, each featuring one of the sextuplets (one of the girls and one of the boys) lovingly cuddling with her pit bull. We've never seen the children look so relaxed, happy and natural. In typical fashion however, along came Kate to ruin it all. Subsequently, Kate retweeted some negative tweets about injuries to children as a result of pit bull attacks. A twitter war ensued, the champions of the misunderstood breed on one side, Kate maintaining her passive aggressive stance on the other. Several people pointed out that Kate's German Shepherd Shoka also makes the "dangerous breeds" lists.

Yesterday, Animal Planet star Tia Maria Torres spoke out in support of the breed, pointing to the nanny dog's good nature with children, and saying she would send Kate some educational DVDs on the dogs. Torres said aggressive and ignorant owners are responsible for attacks. Meanwhile, Animal Planet's web site has called the breed eager to please, faithful, enthusiastic friends and pleasant with children.

"Kate should know better than anyone what it's like to be vilified, what it’s like for people to say untruths about you," Torres said. "I would also like to know if Kate has had any personal experiences with pit bulls that she believes she is the authority on their behavior." Oh, snap!
Helen Keller and her pit Sir Thomas

Famous pit bull owners who also have children in the home include Michael J. Fox (who even gave voice to a pit bull determined to make it home to his family in the classic 1993 family film Homeward Bound), Jamie Foxx, and Alicia Silverstone, whose son Bear is 18 months old. Helen Keller also owned a pit bull. 

Suggestion for Kate: Next time you have an issue with someone who is around your children, pick up the phone and call them and discuss it like grown adults. Leave Twitter and your fans out of it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Election Day!

Breaking News: PA Rep. Tom Murt is projected to be re-elected in Montgomery County

No, not that one, who cares about that one?! This one! The election for Pennsylvania's 152nd legislative district, a race that really matters. To us here, anyway.

In this corner we have the challenger, Ronald Kolla:

No, really, that's the guy running against Murt, Ronald KollaOrganist at Woodside Presbyterian Church, believes the youth can lead America (& txt rlly gud 2), has knocked on, like, more than 1,700 doors--his campaign slogan is "Make It Happen." Yeah, dude! Oh, and his Facebook status says he's "in a relationship." Aw.

And in this corner, we have the incumbent, ho-ho-ho Santa!

Oops, we mean Rep. Tom MurtLoves to visit special needs kids dressed as Kris Kringle (Santa, lay off the salads, you look positively sickly!), calls Nellie Olsen and that cute kid from Lassie his friends (Hollywood poser), served in Iraq--his campaign slogan is.....well, we couldn't find one. Appears he was too busy authoring the Jon and Kate bill and finally putting an end once and for all to child exploitation in his great state to bother with much of a campaign. Thanks, Murt.

And after long and careful thought and much roundtable debate (the pool boys even stormed off at one point), the staff at Realitytvkids has officially endorsed ...

Santa! Rep. Thomas Murt!

Unlike the nail biter the general election is sure to be, projections are that Rep. Murt is expected to take his seat once again in a landslide (in 2010 he handily beat his opponent with 68% of the votes).

Election Graph: The polling girls have calculated that Rep. Murt will win by a landslide.

But could a choir boy pull off an upset? Stay tuned and follow the results online!

The Rules: It may seem counterintuitive, but even though this is a candidate thread, please do not discuss the general elections. However, you may discuss Rep. Murt's projected re-election as it does not appear to be very contentious here. You may also use the thread for a typical general discussion thread, as usual.