Taking up arms

Okay.  I haven’t had cable for a while, so I’m not sure exactly when the Food Network went the way of MTV.  Does anyone know when it stopped showing people actually cooking?  There isn’t one program that features a chef in a kitchen, for as far as the eye can see!  It’s all reality shows.  Granted some of them are awesome – two that I particularly like are Ace of Cakes and Top Chef – but most of them are ridiculous, relying on schlocky, orchestrated drama and the casting of stupid/bland/catty/[insert stock “personality” here to fulfill common but expected stereotype] to make them marginally watchable.

This whole scenario disappoints me for two reasons.  The first being that this television station used to be a solid promotional tool – it made healthy eating, even healthy living, stylish, sexy, easy and fun.  It was a way to ease into culinary adventures.  Intimidated by the sophistication of Martha?  Take up with the Inn Chef (Michael Smith).  Interested is checking out the East Hamptons?  Take a trip to visit with the Barefoot Contessa herself – Ms. Ina Garten (how good is that?)  If you were feeling frisky, you could easily get naked with one Jamie Oliver, or if it was heat you craved all you needed do was turn it up a notch with Emeril.  BAM!  Most importantly, it promoted the self-affirming mantra that, if Yan could cook, so could you!

So it’s dang unfortunate that the overall strategic vision of the network has moved away from the building and sustaining of a strong relationship between the watching public and the food they eat.  Especially in this day and age when there are so many factors adversely affecting this partnership.

Yet as much as I lament this dearth of programming focused on the acquisition and preparation of food, it is the new shows that have taken the place of the golden oldies that drive me batty.  The biggest crimes these shows commit?  Found, perhaps not where you would first look for them – in their names.  Every single one of these programs is some kind of “war.”  DINNER PARTY WARS!!! CUPCAKE WARS!!! Tonight I was cooking dinner with the TV on in the background and an advertisement came on for a Halloween special airing this Sunday afternoon entitled HALLOWEEN WARS (!!!)  Halloween wars?  For serious?  What the fricken heck is a Halloween war?  All I could summon up what the image of Arthur Fonzarelli soaring over a giant shark head.

Really, it just reminds me again how destructive, while at the same time, diluted our language has become.  Only individuals who have never experienced armed conflict could possibly think to name a television program about a baked goods competition a war.  I just want to scream through the television to the producers who came up with this name: YOUR PRIVILEDGE IS SHOWING MADAMSANDORSIRS.

Although, what can you really expect from someone (or multiple someones) who operate and thrive in a society whose own government is constantly waging wars on intangible entities.  Because remember folks, we are currently at war with TERROR!!! DRUGS!!!  HOMELESSNESS!!!  FOOT ODOR!!!  MALE PATTERN BALDNESS!!!

I suppose I should look forward to whatever else we arbitrarily pick to be in conflict with next (as long as my blood pressure can handle it.)  The feeling I`m getting in my bones tells me that this is going to go the way of women`s Halloween costumes – the more inane and mind-boggling, the better.  TROPICAL FRUIT PLATTER WARS!!! NON-FAT LOW-FOAM HALF-CAF LATTE WARS!!! IT SAYS THIS MILK WENT BAD YESTERDAY BUT I`M WILLING TO RISK IT WARS!!!

Yep folks, just wait and see.  Yo Ina – How good is that?

These little white lines

Dear Women:

Remember when we hated you because you were fat?  Boy did we ever dislike you then!  There aren’t too many worse things a woman can be!  Am I right, or am I right?  Oh, what’s that?  You’ve lost weight?  You joined a gym and started running and lifting weights and trying out new exercises and are the fittest you’ve ever been in your life?  Well good for you!  Too bad we still don’t like you.  I mean, even though you’re not fat anymore, you’re just less fat.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re skinny enough.  Plus, you now have stretch marks and seriously, EW.  I mean, can’t you at least try to take care of yourself?  Good grief women.  Just get your head in gear okay?  You can start off by buying this bullshit product which will do nothing to actually minimize the look of those disgusting lines, but instead, further reinforce a feeling of perpetual failure.  Because goodness knows you have failed.  However, if by chance this product does work for you and reverses this natural process, and then maybe, just maybe, we’ll allow you to take pride in your body.  However, by “your body”, we don’t mean anything more than what you look like.  Lest you begin to think that you can feel good about yourself due to the amazing things you can accomplish with your body, just remember – you’ll never be good enough and you will never be more than the sum of your physical parts.

Sincerely,

The World

I work out at a small gym.  It’s a pretty simple organization – exposed pipes, leaky air conditioners, and minimal equipment.  For relatively low price, I use its facilities between three to four times a week with little complaint.  However, two copies of this ad have been hanging in the ladies change room for over the past four months.  I didn’t pay much attention to it at first, but as I passed by it day after day, it really began to grate my gears.

It drives me crazy that a place committed to promoting healthy choices would chose to hang this ad in the women’s washroom.  While I understand that because the gym is so limited, it probably requires the extra revenue from the ad space, but couldn’t they have chosen something that promoted body acceptance (especially within the medium of healthy living, or healthier living?) over HEY EX-FATTIES!  GET RID OF THOSE STRETCH MARKS BECAUSE THEY, LIKE YOU, ARE SO GROSS!

I am so sick of constantly being told how fat, ugly, pimpled, yellow-teethed, glasses-ed, wrinkled and cellulited I am.  Because ninety-nine percent of the time all this is nothing but water of my rubber ducky back.  I am okay with my “flaws” – but mostly because I am capable of standing back and taking pride in the things my body is capable of doing.  However, this used to never be the case, and as I said, the one percent of the time that this does bother me, it really hits me hard.

And the reason that this is sticking so deeply in my craw right now, is because it is at the gym – the place I go to feel fantastic about myself.  The place where I push my body to its limits and marvel at how strong, fast, agile, flexible – WHATEVER – I can become through commitment and hard work, and not the purchasing (under social pressure) of some crap cream.

I think I may go in tomorrow with a notepad and scotch tape and stick the following onto the glass:

Hey Ladies!  I hope you had a great workout today.  Take a moment to reflect on how much faster or longer you can run, how much more you can lift.  Take a moment to relish how good that feels and keep trying new things!

And then I’m going to watch this and feel bloody brilliant:

Ride it out

Dear Person Who Refuses to Sit Next to the Window on Transit:

Good thinking chum. It’s widely known that those who sit next to the window are never given the opportunity to exit the train.  I once found myself stuck in the window seat and ended up riding the line for five weeks straight!  By the end I was fashioning outfits out of day old Metro newspapers, subsisting off of Starbucks dregs and those four or five french fries that always end up in the bottom of fast food bags.  Lucky for me, I managed to drug one of the travellers sitting next to me (I slipped a crushed up packet of fisherman friends into his latte) and before the guardians of all things translink could catch me, I was out of there.

However, I cannot slag off the non-window sitters too much as this (has to be pathological) need is nowhere as bad as the people who smell as though they’ve spent the last month and a half living in the confines of Pete Doherty’s armpit.

Personally, my big transit rule is I never sit in any of the reserved seating, because if I do I always feel like a giant, fraud of an arsehole and am hyper aware of everyone getting on whom is actually deserving of the space.  (Random aside: the first two suggestions for what I’m actually trying to write instead of arsehole are: areole and hawsehole.  Wondering about the definition of hawsehole?  I was too.  It’s a nautical term for a small hole in the hull of a ship through which hawsers may be passed.  TRUTH.)

Also, whoever is behind the remake of The Thing should be sent to Baffin Island for twenty years hard labour.  SACRILEDGE!

Welcome to Rant and Roll!

Why hello there!  Welcome to Rant and Roll, a new blog project by Ethel the Dean.

I am a twenty-something Canuck, who divides her time between the two Canadian coastlines.  My passions are many and all encompassing.  And it is my passion – for politics, literature, sports, fashion, media, humour, history, pop culture, and of course, the written word – that ensures there are times in my life where I feel overwrought, indeed almost paralyzed with the need to express these thoughts, to subdue the panic, or at least ride out the wave.

HOWEVER, as I am continuously weary of coming across as a shrill harpy, I take extra care to punctuate my discourse with as much humour as possible.

And of course sometimes the thoughts spilling forth from my brain are anything but eloquent, sophisticated or educational.  Sometimes I’m just plain weird.  And I may or may not jump to conclusions – say, about how much you, dear reader, may have in common with me, the giant weirdo.  For instance:

Do you remember that time you spent an entire weekend watching episodes of MI-5 and then spent the next week pretending that Matthew MacFayden was watching you have sex with your husband, because even though the idea of having actual sex with Matthew MacFayden is hot as hell, your internalized concept of fidelity wrecks terrific havoc with your stupid and fairly lame fantasy life?  Or the time you decided you could no longer go running with your ipod because a serial killer was going to run you over coming out of his drive way and there would be nothing you could do because the music blocked the sound of his murderous, murderous tires?  Or that day that octogenarian hip-checked you into that garbage can as he made his way to the bus stop, in an effort to ensure his passage on transit while simultaneously blocking yours?  Or the time you were so enraged by what you heard on your local sports radio station you could hardly sleep for two days, an experience that culminated in you and one of your best friends discussing the endemic sexism in hockey culture, nay, athleticism in general, on another local station (bringing the whole situation full circle in some strange, but oddly poetic way?)

Exactly.

No?  Damn.

Okay, to be specific, I have much too much unchecked, frenetic energy circulating throughout my body, and at any given time I feel as though I am about to jump to my feet and begin waxing eloquent on how important it is for CBC to finally bring back Double Exposure, like, NOW.  However, I’m like to believe that no one actually likes a spontaneous pontificator, much less one whose references are at least fifteen years old.

Hence, the blog.

Here at Rant and Roll I’ll do my best to entertain.  Looking at issues close to my heart, whether serious or silly, important or impetuous,  I’ll prod, poke – perhaps even provoke – and please, always feel free to join the discussion.  Make yourself at home and feel free to check up on ol’ Deaner here in the coming weeks and months to come.  Supervision around these parts is never discouraged.