Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Study: Lying makes you happier

Not that this is a big surprise, but here goes:

On April 7 Kate tweeted this:

“@XXXX you're so energetic miss gardener:) tomorrow we plant our organic veges inside then will move outside when they sprout yay!” 

However today, when someone asked if she had a garden, she tweeted this:

"no but my kids seem to think we need one"

Oh no she didn't!

According to studies, small embellishments can have positive psychological effects. In a 2008 study, researchers found that college students who exaggerated their GPA in interviews later showed improvement in their grades. Their fiction, in other words, became self-fulfilling. "Exaggerators tend to be more confident and have higher goals for achievement," said Richard Gramzow, a psychologist at the University of Southampton in England and one of the study's coauthors. "Positive biases about the self can be beneficial." People who deceive themselves also tend to be happier than people who do not, some research suggests. There are social payoffs, too: Studies have shown that people who lie frequently are viewed as friendlier and more amiable than their more truthful counterparts.

Kate's web of lies has caught up with her time and time again, and yet something keeps driving her to keep on spinning them. Is it because it makes her happier to put up such a facade?  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Farmer's Wife: When a story of surviving motherhood isn't force fed

We're a little late with our final Farmer's Wife post due to some other Kate-ish news coming up, but better late than never! will be organizing an official summer "book club" screening of The Farmer's Wife. Watch Part 3 this week and discuss it as you go with all the interesting folks here. If you missed Part 1 it can be found here and Part 2 here.

Audrey, Abby, Whitney and Juanita, 1996.

David Sutherland never intended to find a woman like Juanita. However when he did, he didn't succumb to the temptation to write the script for her, give her labels, define her. For three years, he stepped aside and let Juanita just be Juanita. What resulted was not just a beautiful story of a wife's devotion to her husband and one woman's strength in incredible adversity, but a poinant portrait of motherhood. Juanita listened to her children, was there for them as much as she could be, worked hard to improve their situation and give them a better life, and always showered them with positivity and love.

In part three, Juanita takes her family's destiny into her own hands by furthering her education and getting a job in crop insurance. Due to her hard work from the ground up, the family's hard times finally seem to turn around as this wonderful documentary comes to a close. Today, although Juanita is divorced and no longer lives on a farm, she reportedly still works in the farming sector on the business side, helping out the farmers of Nebraska. Darrel reportedly still lives and works on the same farm featured in the documentary. 

Reality T.V. today loves to "define" characters. Kate is the "mother of 8," and has made a career out of this definition. We prefer authenticity, which Sutherland was lucky to find in a little town in Nebraska in 1995.

Whitney, Audrey, Juanita and Abby, on a family trip to Mexico, 2009.

Monday, August 20, 2012

One of America's first sets of famous multiples said no to freebies

No they did not do it, too: Reflecting back on their childhoods, Baltimore's famous Henn quads, born in 1947, say the family didn't want to forever live off the generosity of others.  Their dad "turned all that down, because we just want to be a normal family."

Yet another family in Kate's shoes is going on record saying they wanted something different for their multiples. (Other families have also shunned Kate's choices, including the Headricks.)

In 1947, three boys and one girl were born to a young World War II vet and his British wife who had recently made their home together in the United States. Hard to believe today, but the public was just as curious about the four babies as the much higher-order multiples that made news decades later. 

Publicity and freebies naturally followed, but Dad Charles only accepted a few select offerings and instead worked two jobs to support the family. He taught the children "if you want something, find a way to work and pay for it. That's the way we were brought up."

The Henn family in 2000.
As for the Gosselins, the quads say it's all about the money: "You know, I think they're after the money, versus we at the time didn't care about that. We just wanted to be normal."

The children went on to be just that, normal, well-adjusted adults with successful careers, including real estate, teaching, photography and serving in Vietnam. The only girl, Joan, even coached the University of Arkansas women's basketball and then helped special needs children until her death from cancer in 2000. 

Good job, Mr. and Mrs. Henn.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Farmer's Wife DVD raffle winners!

Congrats to Let's Throw Tomatoes and Kate is a Twit. You are the winners of the contest! Please contact us as soon as possible at to claim your DVDs.

On a brighter note, we've decided to promote a fantastic charity in honor of the truly needy.

Did you know that the cost of toilet paper is literally "wiping" out the budgets of several small nonprofits? Nonprofits that could be spending their money on better things have money tied up in office essentials like TP, which can sometimes cost them thousands of dollars a year. Enter a California chapter of the United Way, which just held its third annual toilet paper drive. This year's drive, for example, helped  St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children save $4,000 that it spent on shelter, food and other services for 33 children for one week. Wellspring Women’s Center saved $5,860 that it spent on breakfasts for 200 women and children for approximately 15 days. Community Housing Opportunities Corp. saved $9,000 it could spend on summertime youth enrichment programs for children in low-income families.

It's just a roll of toilet paper, but it can make all the difference. Consider helping out the United Way by donating toilet paper today. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jodie Foster: 'If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally'

Dang, even Jodie Foster is now describing child stardom as the 'cruelty of a life lived as a moving target' and says you have to 'submerge beneath the foul air and breathe through a straw.' Holy moly.

I don't care if I turned out just fine, you idiots, child stardom still SUCKS: Foster
says when she worked with Stewart on 
The Panic Room,  she tried to get
Stewart's mother to talk young Kristen out of acting.
Oh, snap. Turns out Jodie Foster thinks
 child stardom is just as horrendous as
we've always tried to tell you it is. 
The former child star, so-often cited by naive pro-child exploiters as a "success story" and proof child stardom is not that bad after all, is finally done with playing nice after another former child star, Kristen Stewart, has spent the past few weeks having an unfortunate misstep plastered all over the tabloids. Foster has pretty much avoided the typical pitfalls of former child stars. The drugs, the partying, the depression, the reckless behavior, the affairs .... well, there was that little presidential assassination attempt that was pretty much all about her, but otherwise, she came through her childhood fairly unscathed despite working since she was three years old and having no memory of ever not being famous. 

But, now Foster flat out says there is no way she would want to be a child star in today's culture. In fact, she would call for someone to help lead her out of it (Oh, you mean like Aunt Jodi tried to?): "I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety."

Foster has been rather polite and tight lipped about child stardom previously, however she recently described her mother, who managed her career, as a "mostly negative influence in my life."

An absolute must read:

Holy Rumspringa, oh my! It's Cancellation Party time (and raffle time!)!

It's been one year since Kate Plus 8 was given the axe. And in honor of this milestone, pull up a kangaroo pelt on the cold hard floor ( is not responsible for resulting back problems), stay a spell and help yourself to a Rumspringa (or two)!

It's also raffle time! We're raffling off two DVD copies of our summer "book club" selection, filmmaker David Sutherland's magnum opus, The Farmer's Wife. This intimate documentary of a young Nebraska couple and their sweet girls chronicles three years in their struggle to save the farm and their marriage.

Here are the rules: Anyone who posts on this thread is eligible, except for anonymous posts (unless signed with the name you always use) and staff. will draw two winning numbers from the total numbered comments on Thursday night. Winners will be announced here as soon as we draw. Winners must provide a name and mailing address to to claim your prize. Otherwise you will need to opt out. Good luck!

Be sure to tune in next spring to Frontline for David Sutherland's newest project, Kind Hearted Woman, about Oglala Sioux single mother Robin and her two children.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Farmer's Wife: A rare case of when not paying a family for their work is a good thing

This week: Part Two will be organizing an official summer "book club" screening of The Farmer's Wife. Watch Part 2 the week of August 12, and Part 3 (link to come) the week of August 19 and discuss it as you go with all the interesting folks here. If you missed Part 1 it can be found here .

Juanita faithfully cleaned houses to make ends meet during filming.
The public was outraged when TLC disclosed in 2010 that the first time they ever set up a trust fund for a portion of the Gosselin children's earnings wasn't until November 2009, some four years after they first put the children on T.V. in May 2006. Up until then, the children had never been directly paid (Jon and Kate however have always been paid.)

Many advocacy groups for entertainers believe that reality stars, adults and children alike, should be treated as SAG members and paid fairly for their work (SAG regulations require that actors make a minimum of $4,800 per week). However some reality show productions do not pay, often because they cannot afford to.

Such was the case for filmmaker David Sutherland, the creator of The Farmer's Wife. His tight budget simply didn't allow him to give the Buschkoetters any payment for their three years of work. He even dipped into his retirement savings to fund the $1.3 million project. (Many donations from around the country however came in once the show aired.)

The result was a virtually untouched, brutally honest story of one family's struggle to make ends meet and save a marriage. The filmmaking was so intimate, the crew even once followed Juanita to a meeting with a particularly stubborn creditor as she negotiated their debt with him, successfully.

There were no "make-over" episodes or luxurious trips or other nonsense. Instead we watched a family fall down, hard, then pick themselves up, brush themselves off and figure out a way to make it on their own. If Sutherland had paid the family, it certainly would have helped them put food on the table. But would the story be as "pure"? Would we still be talking about this film fifteen years later? Probably not.

"It's tough watching it," Juanita was once quoted, "Only because it's really what life was like the last three years, really real."

Indeed, the "realest reality show" ever was not Jon and Kate. It was The Farmer's Wife.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Farmer's Wife: When a reality show tells a truly important story

This week: Part One will be organizing an official summer "book club" screening of The Farmer's Wife. Watch Part 1 this week, Part 2 the week of August 12, and Part 3 (link to come) the week of August 19 and discuss it as you go with all the interesting folks here.

The Farmer's Wife first aired on PBS in 1998, a three part documentary, which was in essence a reality show, following three years in the life of Nebraska farmer Darrel Buschkoetter, and his strong but tender-hearted wife Juanita, along with their three sweet young girls.

The Farmer's Wife is one of the few great reality shows to ever grace our small screens. The Farmer's Wife had it all: tough, sincere characters, and a compelling story of hard work and perseverance in small-town America. Heartbreak, struggle, a marriage on the rocks, and the hope to keep a vanishing tradition alive drives this story.

Filmaker David Sutherland originally intended to profile several farming families in Nebraska. However as the project progressed, he became captivated with Juanita's story, and revamped the entire project to focus on her. Said Sutherland"She spoke from her heart, and her love for her husband Darrel's dream touched me deeply."

In the first episode, Juanita reflects on the plans they used to have to have six children. However it turned out three were all they could afford. Although Darrel never said so, Juanita worried he longed for a boy. And yet, said Juanita, "Sometimes I'm almost relieved we don't have a boy ... I'd be scared if we had a boy, he'd be the same way, and I don't know what the future for farming is."

Juanita's soft-spoken candor, and love and dedication to her family and to the farm, was a beautiful character study.

Most reality television out there has been better suited for the dust bin. Most stories need not and often should not be shared. Reality T.V. should just go away, especially shows that feature unprotected children. But once in a great while, a story comes along that should be told. Juanita's story does just that, capturing a moment in time in the late 1990's where a way of life in middle America was fading away, never to be the same again. Sutherland's series is both heartbreakingly tragic and inexplicably beautiful. Enjoy.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kate at BlogHer conference in NYC

Kate is staffing Coupon Cabin's booth at the annual conference in New York.