Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three for Thursday: Spaghetti Tacos, No Time for Life, No Cheers for Skimpy Uniforms

Image credit: NYT
 Item #1: Spaghetti Tacos

The New York Times ran a feature story this week about a joke from a children's television comedy, iCarly, that has become, unironically, an alleged reality: Spaghetti tacos:

“On an episode of the hit Nickelodeon series iCarly, the lead character’s eccentric older brother, Spencer, makes dinner one night. Glimpsed on screen, the dish consists of red-sauce-coated pasta stuffed into hard taco shells. What could be more unappealing?

. . . That punch line has now become part of American children’s cuisine, fostering a legion of imitators and improvisers across the country. Spurred on by reruns, Internet traffic, slumber parties and simple old-fashioned word of mouth among children, spaghetti tacos are all the rage.”

To crib a bit from Saturday Night Live: Really New York Times? Really? Parents – aided and abetted by “mom blogs and cooking web sites" – are honestly serving their children carbs inside of carbs with a coating of tomato sauce? Really? It looks like something you see on those gross surgery scenes from Grey's Anatomy.

Have any of you heard of this trend? The Picket Fence Post kids watch iCarly, but I'd never heard of spaghetti tacos before reading the story, nor had I fielded any requests to serve spaghetti tacos. You?

Image credit: NBC
 Item #2: No Time for a Life

Maybe I should just write a weekly segment: What happened on the NBC show Parenthood this week? The show has been so on the mark about issues facing today's parents that I sometimes wonder if the writers have planted spy cameras in my house.

This week, the issue of family overscheduling was highlighted via the characters of Adam and Kristina Braverman. They, along with the at-home dad character Joel, were the stand-ins for parents who don't have enough time to have lives of their own -- to enjoy their own hobbies, to connect with their spouse -- because of the fact that the expectations of modern day parents dictates that they be hyper-involved in all areas of their children's lives, to enroll them in myriad activities and ultra-competitive sports, and to sacrifice their lives so that they can take their kids to all their activities and oversee/correct homework assignments. It’s, on the surface, a small story, not having time for a date night, but it goes right to the heart of discontent, at least in my house.

While I find myself struggling not to be negative or resentful about the sheer quantity of the time-demands placed upon our family by our children’s many activities, I cannot escape the fact that I frequently find myself mourning that I don't have the time I crave and need for myself and for my marriage. Time with my friends? Forget about it. Our schedule is almost entirely devoted to work and kids' stuff, with a bit of volunteer work tossed into the mix. (That last hour-and-change after the kids have gone to bed in the evening and the dishes have been cleaned, doesn't count as grown-up time in my book because The Spouse and/or I are frequently doing work or we're both falling asleep.)

You can read my review of Parenthood, including how the at-home dad of a kindergartner freaked out because he said he has no life outside of taking care of her and the house, here. At least when I'm watching the show, I don't feel like I'm the only one trying to figure out a way to deal with these issues without losing my mind.

Image credit: Connecticut Post
Item #3: No Cheers for Skimpy Uniforms

You know things have sunk to a new low when high school cheerleaders have to appeal to the school board, while wearing their cheerleading uniforms, to request that they tell school officials to permit them to wear something else, something more modest, pointing out that the uniforms violate national cheerleading squad rules to which the team must comply in order to enter competitions while wearing said uniforms.

Don’t these things usually go the other way around, with school officials asking the teens to dress more modestly?

It was with great horror that I read about this controversy from Bridgeport, Connecticut where some members of the high school cheerleading squad were embarrassed by their new midriff-bearing uniforms which, in many cases, were deemed too small. Here’s how the Connecticut Post depicted their school board testimony:

“We ask with the utmost respect you do anything in your power to help us," one cheerleader said. "I don’t feel comfortable wearing this."

Another added: “It really hurts our self esteem. I am embarrassed to stand up here dressed like this. Is this how you want Bridgeport to be represented?”

The assistant superintendent blamed the girls for providing the school with the wrong uniform sizes and suggested that “perhaps the cut of the material ran small or the girls’ sizes changed since they were measured,” the Post reported. “She emphasized that only a handful of the 19-member squad had complained.” The assistant superintendent said the athletic director would obtain body suits for the cheerleaders to wear beneath their uniforms, but remarked that, “This had all been addressed before them going to the board.”

I say, good for those cheerleaders.

Image credits: Francesco Tonelli/NYT, NBC and Autumn Driscoll/Connecticut Post.

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