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. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Costume Party winners announced: Aggiemom and FotK!

Thank you everyone for coming to the costume party. The two winners that were drawn this evening are:

Comment 99 from Aggiemom:
"I think I'll be a lunchbox with a day old sandwich in it.
or maybe a grape..."

You're cute as a button, Aggie!

And the second winner is FotK, who brought organic slop dip to the party, which no one ate, though that doesn't disqualify her from the prize.

Comment 117 from FotK ... 
Why is no one eating the slop - er, um - organic dip I brought? Honestly. I mean, to be honest. It is NOT mediocre. There's lots and lots and lots of cheese and organic canned black beans in it. And guacamole. It's supposed to be served with those 503 loaves of bread I baked in my 2 Cuisinart breadmakers

Mmm, cheesey and bready.

Please e-mail with the e-mail address you wish to use to collect your prize--a $25 Kindle or Amazon gift card, your choice!