Monday, February 28, 2011

Disappointed in Glee

This post is going to say a couple of things beyond what I want to get at, so let's address those things first so we can get to the nitty gritty. Yes, I watch Glee. Yes, I enjoy it. Yes, I also like musicals--in fact, being in the pit orchestra for my high school's production of Guys and Dolls was pretty sweet. I realize all these things may make you question my manhood. Go ahead and question it. I'm comfortable enough to admit these things (also that I don't follow any professional sport, don't have a gun, don't see the point in owning a truck when I live in the city [but having friends who have trucks is nice when the occasion calls for it], I like to cook, I like Alanis Morissette and Tori Amos, and--while I'm still able to kill them--spiders freak me out), and I still don't feel the need to figure out sports statistics because you might tease me if I don't know anything about sports (though I'll still say the Chicago Bears are my favorite team, even if I don't even know the name of their quarterback). I'm comfortable in my skin. Also, when I rant, my blog posts are really long. So now let's move on.

Glee the other night was a huge disappointment. The singing was fun and all, but the overall message was that teenage drinking is fine, except when it makes you throw up. The producers and writers of the show thought it was ok to show high school kids drinking at parties (where the kids broke into the parent's liquor cabinet to get plastered), in the halls of school, and while performing at an assembly in school, and have no repercussions whatsoever. Oh, except for hangovers and throwing up.

That's not the biggest disappointment, either. None of the adults could offer any reasons why teenage kids shouldn't drink. The biggest argument the kids could provide was, "You adults drink to take off the edge or have fun, so why can't we?" In the end, the only resolution to this argument was, "Well, I'll stop drinking then, too." While I'm all for abstaining from alcohol at any age, I'm not na├»ve enough to think that everyone stays stone cold sober all the time, and many people do drink responsibly. So to those who may eventually drink in their lifetime, it might be better to give stronger arguments against underage drinking than I'll-stop-drinking-if-that-makes-you-stop-drinking. Because if you drink alcohol as an adult who has influence over kids, there is a likelihood that there are other adults in the lives of the kids you're trying to influence who also drink. And you can't make EVERYONE in the world stop drinking all at once. Remember Prohibition? The world just isn't ready for that.

So, Glee, while I don't mind that the weekly stories often have holes or don't really make sense, and any viewer with half a brain can see that all you're trying to do is figure out some way to transition from Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" to Britney Spears's "Toxic," at least TRY to do a little research before treating underage alcohol abuse so lightly. There are, in fact, MUCH WORSE outcomes to underage drinking than just headaches and upset stomachs. Here are a few:
  • In 2006, more than 19% of drivers ages 16 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking alcohol.*
  • The younger you are when you start drinking, the greater your chance of becoming addicted to alcohol at some point in your life. More than 4 in 10 people who begin drinking before age 15 eventually become alcoholics.**
  • Underage drinking is a leading contributor to death from injuries, which are the main cause of death for people under age 21. Each year, approximately 5,000 persons under the age of 21 die from causes related to underage drinking. These deaths include about 1,600 homicides and 300 suicides.***
  • Long-term risks of alcohol use include liver damage, pancreatitis, certain cancers, and literal shrinkage of the brain.****
  • Studies with animals and alcohol dependent adolescents show that alcohol has the potential to impact adolescent brain development. Given recent research which shows that the human brain continues to develop throughout adolescence, we need to better understand the short- and longterm effects of alcohol on the developing brain. (Basically, the human brain is still developing even when you're a teenager. Alcohol can screw up how your brain develops and damage it irreparably, especially if you binge drink like the kids on Glee were doing)***
  • Youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience school problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades; social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities; legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk; physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses; unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity; disruption of normal growth and sexual development; physical and sexual assault; higher risk for suicide and homicide; alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning; memory problems; abuse of other drugs; changes in brain development that may have life-long effects; death from alcohol poisoning.*****
What I listed above were just things I know about, but now have sources to back up my knowledge. Check out the references below to find out even more crap that can happen to underage drinkers.

Finding these resources wasn't hard, Glee writers. Come on. Everyone knows that teenage drinking is a big deal. We know your key demographic probably consists of teenagers that want to be cool but may not be very popular, so you don't want to make them change the channel if they feel like they're getting some kind of lecture, but seriously, all you could come up with is to make the Glee coach say he wasn't going to drink either? No mention of liver disease, brain development, alcohol poisoning leading to death, or anything?? It was all a big game to these kids, and there were no consequences. In real life, almost half of these kids would go to binge drinking parties again, become addicts, and ruin their lives.

The Glee kids drank on multiple occasions AT SCHOOL, and no one was even sent to detention. Their teacher knew about a few occasions of the drinking, and not only didn't do anything to stop it, he didn't give them any kind of consequence for BREAKING THE LAW. (As a side note, Hayley and I have steeper consequences for the kids in our Sunday school class who talk too much during a lesson!) At the very least, the kids should have been suspended. In my opinion, they should have been suspended, banned from regionals or sectionals or whatever (I watch mostly just for the singing and the quirky, mean wit of Sue Sylvester, I can't be bothered with details like the name of the competition), and required to attend some kind of underage alcohol education course to be held after school hours. Expulsion wouldn't really be out of the question. But that would make for bad TV, wouldn't it.

Underage alcohol use is a big deal, Glee. There is a lot more at stake than just hangovers and puking in public. Next time, be a little more adult about how you deal with issues that result in the deaths of thousands of Americans each year.

I'm still trying to decide if I should stop watching the show altogether because of that episode...

*http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810801.PDF
**http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa59.htm
***http://www.nih.gov/about/researchresultsforthepublic/UnderageDrinking.pdf
****http://www.teendrugabuse.us/teensandalcohol.html
*****http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm
(The links to Glee are left out on purpose. You'll find the show if you want to, but I don't need to promote it on my blog right now...)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stupid ear holes...

Mikey and I have ear infections. I think I gave him the sick I got. I'm pretty sure I got it from the plane ride back from my last work trip to Austin. The day after I got home, I started getting a sore throat, started losing my voice, and got all congested. The day after I started feeling sick, Mikey started getting congested and coughing, too. Hayley started getting a little congested a couple days after that. Then last night, poor little Mikey cried for four hours. We're new at this, so we didn't take him right to the doctor, but later on came to our senses.

When we got home from my parents' place (we're having a little stay-cation because the cabin we were all going to go to had some frozen pipes and flooding. So sad!), I FINALLY got the little guy calmed down enough to sleep. By then, the pediatrician on call had called us back, and recommended taking him to insta-care. I was really torn because he was finally asleep, but we decided to just take him in. He slept on the way there, slept through most of his exam, and slept in the car while we waited for his prescription (with a little help from his Baby Mine Lullabyes CD and driving laps around the parking lot now and then). When we got home, he woke up, so we gave him his first dose of meddies, and got him back to sleep. He woke up an hour or so after that, and then about two hours after that. It was a rough night--especially because we're used to him sleeping for 10 to 12 hours at night.

This morning was a little better. He cried waking up, but I eventually got him to smile at me! Yesterday, it took a lot to get him to smile, when all I usually need to do is say, "Hi!" or, "Mikey boy!" and he's so excited, his arms start flailing. He's now had two doses of his meddies, and is feeling better. He just woke up from a little nap, so he's having brunch. We're hoping his appetite starts coming back, too. That'd mean lunch is in a couple hours.

My doctor's appointment is later today. Hopefully, we'll all start feeling better soon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fun with neti pots

Before seeing an episode of Cougar Town, I didn't even know what a neti pot was. Bobby was a little skeptic at first, but then finally tried it out. See?



(The "Hero" song playing in the background makes more sense if you watch the full episode...)

Then, a day or so ago, one of my friends on facebook said how glad she was she had a neti pot, or what a life saver it was or something. So I had to ask if it really worked. She said it was great. Didn't take away your cold if you have one, but it lets you breathe for while.

I did a little online research (consisting of googling "neti pot," visiting two sites, and watching one online instructional video) and found out people have been using them for a long time, and they can help clear sinuses when you have allergies, too. So I asked Hayley if she's ever used one, and she looked at me like I was crazy, then composed herself a little more and said, "No, but Heather and her family use one." Now I was more intrigued. So when I went to get milk last night, I checked out the neti pot isle, and decided to try it out.

It definitely feels weird the first time or two, but you can breathe after! With this cold I've had since getting home from my last work trip, I've been trying to keep my voice and be able to breathe. This little pot totally helps. If you were skeptic before (or had never heard of the thing like me), come on over and I'll let you try it out.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is me trying it out for the first time. I was pretty sure it needed to be documented and shared on the interwebs.



Oh, and I made Hayley do it, too. And I recorded it. :)



Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!


I love you, Hayley! I love that we can spend so much time together, and have fun.


I think we sat in Mikey's room switching out his small clothes for ones that fit for like an hour, and it was time well spent together.

I'm grateful to have you in my life, and watch how great you are with Mikey. I just love you! Mikey loves you, too. He told me so.

Hope you have a wonderful day today!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What does an English degree do for you anyway?

Hayley is reading a book called House Rules. It's a Jodi Picoult book about a kid with aspergers. She laughed at a couple paragraphs and read them to me, and I thought it was pretty spot on.
I graduated with honors from the University of Vermont with a degree in English. Here’s a little nugget of wisdom for you just in case you’re interested: you can’t practice English in the real world. What skills did I have, honestly? I could outread anyone in a quick draw? I could write a totally smoking analytical essay about the homoerotic overtones of Shakespeare’s sonnets?
Yeah, that and a dollar fifty will get you a cup of coffee.
Luckily, I added the "with emphasis in professional and technical writing" to my English degree. That has made quite a difference in my life. But don't get me started on how incompetent I think my professors were... that's a rant for a different day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Best Laughing ever!

Mikey gets so excited in this video, he's screaming! It's pretty awesome. Most of you may have already seen this, but it's one of my favorite videos, so I'm posting it. So there.

I wish that blog was my idea

You may not want to share the following picture with your children, especially if they can read.




So here is some space to allow you to have them turn their heads while you read this post, especially if they were in the room with you.





Today, I saw this picture and nearly crapped my pants laughing. I can't put a finger on exactly why I think it's so funny, but it really is to me.

If you've never heard of Hyperbole and a Half, you really should check it out. Be forewarned: she's sometimes a potty mouth (as you can guess from this picture). You can read her post about animals here. Just add it to your reader if you haven't already. Hayley's already endorsed it, so just do it. Do it.