Monday, April 9, 2012

Fame and Tawny Kitaen

"Fame is very big and very visible professional success. It is the key to the good side of life's velvet ropes. For those who win it, society will grant them wealth, power, access, recognition, and other tools to live an extraordinary life" - Jay Jessup

I found this quote on the front of a book recently while looking for the definition of the word "fame". Obviously, this is not an actual definition, but it does give you a clear understanding of what fame can do for a person. To paraphrase, fame gives you special things that an average person wouldn't have, because you are really good at something.

I find it interesting when I mention a famous actor to a friend, and they have no idea who I am talking about. Imagine mentioning someone like Tom Hanks to a buddy, and they don't know who he is. Does that make Tom Hanks less famous, or is my friend just ignorant? I say neither. I came to the conclusion that fame, like most other concepts of value, is relative to the perceiver. Since that is true, then why are people ever considered famous in the first place?

I want to share with you what I have been calling "The Tawny Kitaen Effect". For those of you who are not familiar with Tawny Kitaen, I will share this music video with you.

Let me give you a quick synopsis of her life so far. She was a rather poor actress/model wannabe, who was conveniently dating a soon-to-be rock star in high school. She eventually hooked up with yet another rock star, who whored her out to the hungry eyes of the 80s prepubescent male population through the wonders of MTV. Her career slowly dissolved into pathetic variety shows, failed remakes, and eventually she was arrested for drug posession. Now where is she? On a reality show hosted by Dr. Drew called "Celebrity Rehab".

She was, by far, one of the most attractive girls in the 80s... amazing legs and a smile that could light up a room. I'm sure many a tissue was sacrificed in her name by thousands of pimple-faced worshippers. But now, she is a pathetic shell of her former self, and has resorted to airing her dirty laundry, just for a paycheck.

What's wrong with that? Some might say, "Well, that is just the price you pay when you are famous." or "I'm sure she's had such an amazing life and that it was all worth it." Huh?

How can anyone rationalize her current status by simply canceling it out by her previous success? I never understood the concept of "Live Fast, Die Young". Billy Joel wrote a song about it, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and a few dozen others actually lived it. We hold these people as idols of eternal youth, forever young and forever famous. Why? Because they all died before they could become the disasterous messes they all were destined to become.

Tawny has the unfortunate experience of having lived beyond her fame. Had she died at 27, we would look back at her with fond memories of that flowing white dress, and doing the splits on the hoods of cars. But she didn't die. She just slowly destroyed herself. Let's consider the alternative to her fame. She was a pretty girl. She might have had some natural talents in other areas of life, such as cooking or writing. She might have been able to meet a nice boy, settle down, raise a family, and live the middle class dream. She may have been able to have a long productive life with many personal accomplishments and a feeling of personal accomplishment that many of us strive for. But... she didn't. She found value in the concept of fame, and traded the chance of a normal life for the appeal of notoriety and the lime light. I wonder if someone had shown her the outcome of her choices if she would make the same choices.

Let's bring the lottery into the equation. Recently, there was an absurd lottery amount of several hundred million dollars. Why would anyone want that? Imagine having so much money that you don't know what to do with it. I'm sure that most of you have it all planned out. Travel the world, build a huge mansion, feed the hungry, whatever. While it's fun to dream about that alternate reality, consider the consequences to that amount of money. Would your children ever appreciate the value of a day's work? Would you friends and family be able to interact with you without picturing a huge dollar sign above your head? What about gifts from others? How do you buy a gift for someone who already can buy anything they want? And the worst part, everyone would KNOW that you have that money. The level of fame, whether good or bad, would prevent you from having any level of privacy. Imagine not being able to go to the mall or a movie without people approaching you constantly with their hands outstretched, or a camera scrutinizing your every move.

Tawny exemplifies the problem with fame, but there are plenty of others out there that are slowly and inevitably approaching the same fate. Paris Hilton and the Kardashians are just modern day Tawny Kitaens. They are famous for no reason at all, and the world allows it. Why? Because we love to watch the mighty fall. We artificially inflate their fame, simply to watch them destroy themselves. There are television shows on right now whose sole purpose is to show us how much fame has destroyed these peoples' lives. Pathetic.

Andy Warhol introduced us to the concept of "15 Minutes of Fame". I wonder if he was being cynical or sincere when he said that. Today, as a result of the internet, everyone has the opportunity to be heard by the whole world at once. The idea that this article could be read by millions of people is a very real possibility... or not. As a result of my own personal internet endeavours, I have gained a small level of notoriety in certain circles. Am I famous? No. I do not produce my internet content to raise myself up in the publics' eyes. I do it to benefit the communities that I belong to, and for a sense of personal accomplishment. I do not want fame. I am not special.

It's unfortunate, but the world does not see how fame can destroy lives. Just like the story of "The Monkey's Paw", there is going to be consequences to disturbing fate. Nobody on this planet is meant to be more important than anyone else. I don't care if you are the Pope, a life saving doctor, the president of a bankrupt country, or a soldier standing at the front line of an impossible war... all lives should be valued equally. Every person should see value in themselves and should not need validation by others. I wrote this, not to be published, not to become famous, but to share my views of the world. That is good enough for me.

But if someone DOES want to publish this, call me. We'll do lunch.

Friday, October 21, 2011


To those of you who are coming from MSNBC, I welcome you. If you find the Rapture Dad stuff funny, I encourage you to take moment and read some of my other blog entries. You may be equally entertained.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rapture Dad Meme Pics

Rapture Dad now has his own twitter account.

Follow him at @RaptureDad

Check out the pics:

Rapture Dad

It's intriguing to find out that a silly photo you took with your kids has become an internet "thing". When Gizmodo decided that it would be fun to photo bomb the Rapture on May 21, 2011, I decided to participate. Now, it seems as if the sad fate of the known infamous Rapture Dad has been born.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm Really Tea'd Off

A pet peeve (or pet hate) is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to him or her, to a greater degree than others may find it. – Wikipedia.

I’m going to start this blog with a very brief botany/beverage lesson.

Tea is the product of processing leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant using a variety of methods, and then pouring hot or boiling water over it. The oil from the processed leaves then incorporates into the water and creates an aromatic and slightly bitter beverage. There are several methods of processing the leaves, which produces several varieties, such as white, yellow, green, oolong, and the most common, black tea. Other teas, such as “herbal” teas, are not really teas at all, since there is no presence of Camellia sinensis. Tea can be served in a variety of ways, the most popular in the United States being “Iced” tea.

This is where my gripe begins…

I have, on numerous occasions, enjoyed a nice dinner out with my family. And by family, I mean the whole gang, Mom, Dad, sister, brother-in-law, wife, kids, dogs, etc. My family usually takes up that big round table in the corner of a restaurant. You know, the empty one that you always stare at when you’re waiting for your two person booth for an hour. I always feel sorry for the waitress who gets to serve us, since we are such a “boisterous” lot.

The first request is our drink choice, which varies among my family members. We order root beer for the kids, some form of raspberry tea for Mom and sis, and Coke for the rest, except me. I usually order an iced tea.

Using the definition above, I expect that if I order an “iced tea”, that I would receive a water based beverage that has been run over crushed, dried Camellia sinensis leaves, and served over ice. However, this is almost never the case. I almost always have to predicate my order with “…and no lemon please.” I understand that it is common to garnish iced tea with a wedge of lemon, but I personally do not have a taste for lemon in my tea. It’s easy enough to remove the lemon if it’s dangling from the edge of the glass, but please don’t submerge it into my tea, letting loose all of its pulpy invaders and inevitable seed plugs for my straw. Plus, I can only imagine the journey that lemon went through prior to tainting my drink. I always picture a greasy fat man in the back of the kitchen, picking a lemon off the floor from behind the garbage can, wiping his nose from the crook of his elbow to the tip of his index finger, and then cutting a wedge with a rusty knife and tossing it in my tea. I know, that seems awfully extreme, but I’ve heard stories, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So the drinks finally come out and I take a long draw from my straw...

“Excuse me, waitress?”

“Yes sir. What do you need?”

“Umm… why does my iced tea taste like Kool-Aid?”

“What do you mean?”

“My tea tastes sweet. It’s not supposed to be sweet, it’s iced tea.”

“Oh, well you didn’t specify ‘unsweet’, so I brought you ‘sweet’ tea.”

“Why would you do that? Why do I have to specify ‘unsweet’?”


Someone please explain this to me. There seems to be a growing trend of “sweet” tea taking over as the norm. I am fully aware that in the southern states, it is much more common for people to order sweet tea. I’ve been to the south, and they always ask you “sweet or unsweet?” There is no assumption, and there shouldn’t be one. If OHIO wants to start including itself in the southern states, then at the very least, they should ASK me if I want sweet or unsweet.

And what exactly does “unsweet” mean? Why would you use such an absurd adjective to denote a style of beverage? How many blank stares would I get if I ordered an “unsalty” iced tea. It seems like asking for an unsalty iced would be an equally correct description of what I desire. “Unbitter” iced tea would be ridiculous since tea is always bitter in its natural state. It SHOULD be denoted as “tea” or “sweet tea”. If you order "sweet tea", you get sweet tea; if you order "tea", you get tea with nothing in it.

Imagine for a moment if other areas of our food had the same problem.

“Waitress! There is cinnamon all over my apple sauce.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. You didn’t say you wanted ‘uncinnamon’.”

“...and what the hell is all over my fries?”

“That’s poutine. Did you want your fries ‘unpoutine’?”

(Poutine is a Canadian dish consisting of French fries covered with cheese curds and brown gravy.)

Like I said before, I have no problem taking a wedge of lemon off the side of my glass, but it is physically impossible to undiffuse sugar from my iced tea. I would at least like the courtesy of being asked instead of them assuming that if I order tea, that I want it sweet.

The other thing that grind my gears is when my iced tea comes out and there is NO ICE. That means one of two things, either the waitress is an idiot and didn’t put enough ice in my glass, or she let it sit for 10 minutes before bringing it out to me. Both means that you suck as a waitress.

I don’t want people to think that I am some sort of over picky ass who waitresses loathe to get. It’s not like I have ridiculous requests like ordering liver & onions and telling them to hold the onions. It’s not like I am ordering a three bean chili, but I only want two of the three beans. It’s not like I’m ordering a bowl of vegetable soup without the carrots or celery. I am asking for something very simple. Get some tea leaves, pour hot water over it, dump it into a glass full of ice, and DON”T PUT ANY SUGAR IN IT!

Now I'm thirsty.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

♫ You must have been a beautiful baby...or not.

♫ Does your mother realize
The stork delivered quite a prize
The day he left you on the family tree?
Does your dad appreciate
That you're merely supergreat
The miracle of any century? ♫

-Bing Crosby, singer, songwriter, optimist.

So...I just had a baby. Not me personally, although I'd like to think that I had a big part in it. And by big part, I mean...well, you get the idea.

This is my fourth child, so a lot of this was very routine for me. Check in, sit in room, wait for baby, etc. My wife and I have this pretty much down to a science. As a matter of fact, we were so comfortable this time around, we had a fun time scrutinizing the entire event from a more candid perspective.

A few quick things and then I'll get to my main point. First off, I find it very humorous how much attention the hospitals give to making the mother comfortable during the birth. The birthing room was massively spacious and extremely luxurious. There was actually a couch with a fold out double bed in our room. I guess that is if you decide you want to start working on the next baby right away. Keep in mind that I'm talking about the delivery room, the room you actually give birth in. This is not the room you stay in through the night. No, after the baby is born, they move you into a teeny tiny room. In that room is a really old fold out chair that is about as comfortable as a sleeping bag full of marbles...and it barely fits in there. I had to move it parallel to my wife's hospital bed just so it would fold out completely. And once it was fully expanded, there was no room to walk around it. Needless to say, there wasn't much sleep happening on my end.

The other quick point I wanted to make was regarding the food. FYI to the men out there who may be having a child in the future, there is a wonderful room called the "Nourishment Center" that is LOADED with all sorts of food, just for YOU! Sure, they bring Mommy a nice tray of food every couple of hours, and the baby is "tapping the keg" when its time for her to eat, but what about you? Dads get ignored when it comes time for a feeding. But the Nourishment Center is a convenient little treasure trove located over by the nurse's station that becomes your own personal banquet room. They had bagels, danishes, eight types of juice, turkey sandwiches, soup, crackers, etc. I was very pleased. Hell, I even found ice cream in the freezer. The only problem was the odd looks that I kept getting from the nurses each time I walked by. Even though I was told that this stuff was for the me to take as I wish, I still felt a little self-consious each time I walked by with a stack of bagels and a pocket full of graham crackers. Luckily, they seem to rotate out every couple of hours, so I would just peer out at the desk, and when I saw a fresh batch of nurses, it was time for another trip to the fridge for a sammich and a Good Humor bar.

Now to get to my main point. Once the baby is born, you have a revolving door of nurses and doctors and whatnot coming in and out of your room all day and night. You end up having the exact same conversation with everyone of them.

"Congratulations on your new baby!"
"So, what's her name?"
"Oh, that is such a great name, and she is sooo cute!"

It's the last sentence that struck a chord with me. Every single one of them responded with "She's so cute" and "What a great name." It was starting to sound like a broken record. I mean, What if it wasn't? What if you had an ugly baby and named it something freaky stupid? Would they still respond this way?

I stopped taking stock in their opinion of my child and her name after this dawned on me. It would be very improbable that a nurse would come in, see a baby, and say,

"Oh wow....gosh...that's a...butt ugly baby."

followed by

"You really named her that? Man, do you hate all kids, or just this one?"

I was really tempted to start answering the name question with something ridiculous, just so I could provoke a different response from one these people. Just once I wanted to say,

"Well, we wanted to give her a unique name with a really deep meaning, so we named her 'Ravine'"

I can only imagine that the fake smiles and forced admiration go away quickly when these people go home and they share with their husbands/wives stories of all the ugly babies with ridiculous names.

Whatever. Like I said before, my wife and I had a much more cynical perspective of the birthing process this time around, and had a fun time with it. Despite my petty qualms about a few pieces of the process, this was a textbook delivery with a beautiful, well named result.