Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just No Words.

How far have we fallen as a society when we get our kicks from watching a real life family destroy themselves? How far have parents fallen when they use their family problems to gain RATINGS for a show??

Yes. I am talking about Jon and Kate Gosselin.

I am too disgusted to say anything else. There are just no words. I honestly can't believe this is even an issue.

PLEASE. DO NOT WATCH THEIR SHOW. Please pray for them all, especially the children.

Kate's brother comments- click here

Monday, June 22, 2009

What Happened to the PlayPlace?

Remember the PlayPlace? That's McDonalds' official name for the little playgrounds that used to be attached to every McD's you saw. They were popular places for birthday parties. In the "Old Days" they were all outside. I still remember the first indoor one I ever saw - it was about 1994, we were en route to Colorado and marveled at the genius who decided to put them indoors. No more too-hot slides or puddle-filled ball pits! Gone would be the urban legend about the kid who got killed by the snake in the pit! We guessed the reason for the one we saw was the hostile winters in the area, but we loved the idea, and were thrilled when they started converting the ones in the South.

I spent a lot of time in the PlayPlace when the kids were young. I mean a LOT!! It was the perfect place for a coffee date with a friend. We could sit comfortably - well, relatively so, anyway - and visit while the kids were kept busy and happy for long periods of time. No need to spend a lot on food, either - a couple of shared french fry orders, or some ice cream, was as welcome as a Happy Meal. And the coffee was always hot!

Pretty soon almost every PlayPlace was indoors. I felt sorry for the one McD's in town that didn't convert. You never saw any kids there! They may as well have nothing at all! Then again if you were trying to book a party, you were pretty much guaranteed the date of your choice there.

Speaking of parties - I became a fan of the McD's party early on. I can't remember how many we had there. For forty bucks you had a party for 10 kids complete with invitations, food, cake, ice cream, games, and a gift for the birthday kid. Not to mention the BIRTHDAY THRONE and the ATTENDANT to serve you and - the best part - CLEAN UP! No wonder McD's parties were so popular! It seemed like a no-brainer to me. The hard part of it was planning in time to get a date close to the actual birthday. We tended to have our parties a few weeks after....well, I told the kids it was like having an extra birthday, and they bought it!

PlayPlaces were also a great stopping point during a trip. Even if you didn't want to eat there, you could use the restroom and grab a drink or snack and let the kids run around for a bit before getting back into the car. If you did eat, the prices were good, and the Happy Meal prize guaranteed to entertain for at least a while once you got back on the road.

So the other day it was D's turn to go out to lunch and he asked for McDonald's. As we ran some errands around town we drove past several and that's what got me thinking about this topic. You see, PlayPlaces are disappearing. McD's had to rebuild a few of their local stores after Katrina. Not one of them has a PlayPlace - even the one with the ultra-COOL huge one which for awhile was THE PlayPlace in town, where at one point if you didn't reserve 6 months before your birthday you were having it late! They seem to be competing with Starbucks now...with the McCafe menu and decor. Great idea - but what are we Moms supposed to do with the kids while we sip our gourmet joe?

We ended up at one with a nice PlayPlace (which he is apparently too old for now! We sat in the regular restaurant and he had a regular combo meal!). But we could see inside. On this particular HOT day, every table in there was taken. Kids were running around wild, having a blast (some without SOCKS! Oh, the horror!). Parents sat at their tables eating, chatting, reading the paper, occasionally looking up to check on their kids. Just as I used to do so often. It was a nostaglic moment. We really did do our time! But we loved it. Obviously, people still want the PlayPlace...although I suppose it wouldn't have been as crowded in that one store if there were others around.

As far as I can tell only two, maybe three of the local stores still have them. Hey - it's not that I really care, anymore. Although the triplets are happy to play if we're there, they don't really care that much. We haven't been to one to hang out and keep busy in ages. We don't need the PlayPlace anymore. We've outgrown the PlayPlace (how sad does that sound?!). At the same time, they seem to be going the way of the dinosaur. I wonder why? McD's always catered to families with little kids. I can't help being curious. I'm very glad they didn't do this when we used them so often. I'm sure we would have survived and found something else to do - but I'm glad to have had the option, and now the memories.

McDonald's was a favorite hangout for Grandparents and kids as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Do I Think?

Everyone keeps asking me what I think about Jon and Kate Plus 8. I think it's part of that whole "Multiple Mom Club" thing, I don't know.... Like, we have SO much in common! Since I have multiples, surely I must absolutely ADORE them! And if not, I must just be dreadfully jealous of them! /snark

Frankly, I had never thought or even known of them until around the time I made this post about the reality TV thing and then later this post which ended up being based on them simply because something they did made me think of the topic. I confess I started keeping track after that. I am fanatical about children, specifically about not abusing them. I am always very saddened by the stories of former child stars who had their lives completely screwed up by their fame. What a high price to pay for my personal entertainment...probably one reason I don't care much for TV now. I had been deeply moved by the story of the Dionne quintuplets, particularly the heartfelt plea made by the surviving ladies to the McCaugheys....that letter still brings me to tears. How can anyone read that and NOT be moved?? And I know the Gosselins read it. They said themselves that they did. Sure, it's not a given that their lives will be ruined. But look at the statistics. The permanent damage to their children is a risk they decided to take. That confuses the hell out of me!

So, what do I think about the Gosselins? Well, my views have changed since that first post of mine. I do think their agenda has changed as well in that time. It is clearly NOT just about the kids and paying for college. What do I think? I think not even REAL famous people make the tabloids as much as they do. REAL famous people that the public really cares about. The Gosselins were still largely unknowns in the greater scheme of the world. NOW, on the other hand, everyone knows who they are. My teenagers and their friends, who had never heard of them or their show, are now talking about them regularly. They are dinner table conversation.

What do I think? I think there is a massive publicity campaign going on by either the Gosselins themselves or their publicity team (and therefore, the Gosselins themselves...don't insult our intelligence by saying you can't stop this). There is simply too much evidence to the contrary, and the fact that they are not "big" enough to warrant such attention is just the beginning. Don't take my word for it - use your own Google skills. They WANT this attention. They are orchestrating it.

And that thought is even more sickening than "just" the pimping out of their children.

So that's what I think. Just one woman's opinion, to be sure. Don't ask, if you don't want to know.