Yesterday, the Sassistas! shared the results of a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey that showed that 21 percent of Americans would give up sex for a year just to have access to the Internet. Last week, singlemommasista emailed the Sassistas! a post from CafeMom in which the writer shares 10 more things she'd "definitely trade sex for" -- for an ENTIRE year. Here's the list:
We don't know about you, but the Sassistas! think the writer of this list is one tired mother. But what about the rest of you? What would you give up sex for -- for an ENTIRE year?
Easy answer for Flannista: reading. I'd give it up for reading.
For Matissta: "Define sex."
What would you give up for access to Facebook?
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently released a survey of approximately 1,000 consumers in the G-20 countries, asking them what lifestyle habit they would sacrifice for one year to keep the Internet. Needless to say, the results are sass-able.
Most of the results for items like coffee, chocolate and fast food were steady with averages of 70-80 percent. The biggest discrepancies among nations were in lifestyle habits like showering, sex and driving. A moderate 21 percent of Americans would give up sex to keep the Internet on for a year. Japan topped the list of citizens who would make the sacrifice, with 56 percent who would abstain from sex. Only 12 percent of Brazilians surveyed would give up sex.
Another interesting finding was the perceived value of the Internet versus its actual cost. Americans value the Internet at $3,000.00. According to BCG, it's value is actually only $472. So Kardashian, don't you think, to mark up the price this much based on perception?
So again, what would you give up to keep the Internet for one year?
Tomorrow's post will focus more specifically on what we'd give up sex for.
We all have one or two. You know what the Sassistas! are talkin' about -- something we enjoy doing and consider pleasurable despite feeling guilty for enjoying it because we fear someone else might discover our lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes.
Time to 'fess up.
Flannista, for example, has several guilty pleasures. One of them is the CBS soap, "The Bold and the Beautiful," which yesterday officially celebrated its 25th anniversary (thus the inspiration for this post). I'd been looking forward to it for weeks and it did not disappoint. Nearly every member of the cast was in the episode all dolled up to celebrate Eric and Stephanie Forrester's recent marriage. (They've been married and divorced from each other about four times.)
Up until about 10 years ago, I also watched its sister soap, "The Young and the Restless," but when it was extended to an hour, I simply couldn't justify 1.5 hours of soaps in the middle of the workday. So I gave it up, but kept my daily 19-minute fix of B&B which is all the longer it is when you exclude commercials (which I mute). Besides, the resident tramp, Brooke Logan, has got to get married at least six more times in the next couple of years -- she's already been married 12 times, mostly to Eric and Stephanie's son, Ridge (five times, I think), but also to their other son, Thorne, and actually a couple of times to Eric. Needless to say, the Forresters and the Logans are constantly feuding. I should mention that Ridge is the biological son of Massimo Marone, some tycoon, but I think Marone died in a plane crash a couple of years ago which means he'll be back some time soon. Either him or his evil twin.
Lest you think I have no taste at all, since its premiere on March 23, 1987, B&B has become the most-watched soap in the world, with an audience of an estimated 26.2 million viewers. It has also won 31 Daytime Emmy Awards, including one for Outstanding Drama Series in 2009 and again in 2010 as well as in 2011.
I'm a bit more proud of another guilty pleasure -- the original drama series, Spartacus, on the Starz cable network. The original series, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" premiered in 2010, followed by a prequel, "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena". This year's dance around the arena is called, "Spartacus: Vengeance".
I could pretend that I watch this series because of my interest in Roman history, but that would be a lie. I watch it because all roads lead to blood, sex and bad language, and this season, it's bloodier and dirtier than ever. Gladiatorial combat and Roman-versus-slave battles are captured in excruciating detail, with the camera clicking into slow motion just in time to savor swords slicing through necks and eye sockets. Last week, some dude's entire face was sliced off, from crown to chin, in three seconds of cinemagraphic gore and beauty. Way cool.
When they aren't slicing and dicing, the gladiators and Romans are having sex. With both male and female full-frontal nudity, the show practically jiggles between battle scenes. But two words capture what keeps Flann's mouth agape every week: Lucy Lawless. She plays Lucretia who survived the gladiator revolt her husband did not. Does she miss her husband? Who cares when she saunters up to the treacherous Ilithyia, the wife of Spartacus' nemesis, Claudius Glaber, and ever-so-firmly plants a big ol' wet one on her lying, conniving kisser, not to mention her right breast last season? Xena is so yesterday.
Eric, Stephanie, Ridge, Thorne, Brooke, Massimo, Spartacus, Crixus, Claudius, Ilithyia, Lucretia -- my guilty pleasures. As they say in the faux oration of "Spartacus" -- gratitude, much gratitude.
Okay -- the rest of you'ins -- your guilty pleasures -- 'fess up.
Technorati Tags: 25th anniversary, Brooke Logan, Claudius Glaber, Crixus, Daytime Emmy Awards, Eric and Stephanie Forrester, guilty pleasures, Ilthyia, Lucy Lawless. Lucretia, Massimo Marone, Outstanding Drama Series, Ridge, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Spartacus: Vengeance, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless, Thorne
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On Saturday evening, while eating dinner with babysis and Matissta, Flannista confessed to not paying much attention to the news. "Like the election, I'm so over it," I said, "or that black kid shot in Florida. Why should I care?" Both babysis and Matissta dropped their jaws, appalled. "You should care," said babysis. "A great injustice has occurred." "Why do black kids need a different code?" pressed Matissta. Babysis then shared that a friend of hers -- a father of black and white sons -- had written a letter to the editor that had been published in the Orlando Sentinel. She suggested I read it. Here is the letter:
The tragic case of Trayvon Martin begs for answers.
The 17-year-old black youth was fatally shot last month by a Hispanic crime-watch volunteer in a gated Sanford community.
I have four sons raised in Seminole County: two white, by natural birth, and two black, through adoption. This case hits home — not just close to home — for their mother and me. If either of my white sons had been walking in that neighborhood that evening, hood up in a drizzling rain, I am confident they would not have been shot. But I wonder now, if either of my black sons had been walking there, whether either might have lost his life that night. This is profoundly troubling.
If this neighborhood-crime-watch volunteer had followed the 911 dispatcher's order to stay in his car, this black youth would not have been shot by George Zimmerman. Period. End of story.
But Zimmerman did leave his car, an altercation did ensue, and Trayvon was shot. Why Zimmerman has not been arrested is confounding. Perhaps the Sanford Police Department is being silent, waiting for federal investigators to take over. But the silence only foments more and more protest, more and more suspicion.
The released 911 recordings, far from clarifying, only fuel the fires of want for answers.
Questions begging for answers:
Why would a teenager with a pocket full of Skittles and an iced tea initiate an altercation with an unknown man? Did Trayvon see a drawn gun and fear for his life?
Why, if Zimmerman was screaming for his life, did his screams for help stop immediately after a shot was fired? Why did he not follow the clear instruction of the 911 dispatcher?
What situation was so life-threatening in Zimmerman's eyes to cause him to leave his car? How far away from Zimmerman's car was the scene of the altercation and shooting? An armed man leaves his car to follow (pursue?) an unknown (suspicious?) boy who ends up dead.
If the Sanford Police have information that exonerates Zimmerman and implicates Martin, the department needs to release it, or arrest Zimmerman. It is that simple. No happy ending to this story is on the way.
But one thing remains true: If Zimmerman had waited in his car as instructed, Trayvon Martin would likely be alive today. The black community is protesting. But every other ethnicity should be equally concerned that justice prevail here.
For this father of black and white sons, complete disclosure from authorities cannot come too soon.
Michael S. Beates
Thank you, babysis and Matissta for waking me up to this profound travesty of justice. Trayvon Martin could have easily been Kevon or Tarae or Emmanuel or any one of the kids in the elementary school where I volunteer teach.
Six birds rise in unison from the roof across the street. They
circle overhead, then they land again on the building's brick
facade. It's dusk, and the birds are a perfect silhouette against
the failing light. The dark is almost upon us. There is a ragged
pink cloud in the sky; it wasn't there a minute ago. The worst
thing you can imagine is not the worst thing that can happen
-- Gary Young, "Six birds rise in unison . . . "
In the heat of late afternoon, lightning streaks from a nearly
cloudless sky to the top of the far mesa. At dusk, the whole south
end of the valley blazes as the clouds turn incandescent with
some distant strike. There is a constant congress here between
the earth and the sky. This afternoon a thunderstorm crossed the
valley. One moment the ground was dry, and the next there were
torrents running down the hillsides and arroyos. A quarter-mile off
I could see a downpour bouncing off the sage and the fine clay
soil. I could see the rain approach, and then it hit, drenching me,
and moved on. Ten minutes later I was dry. The rain comes from
heaven, and we are cleansed by it. Suddenly the meaning of baptism
is clear to me: you can begin again, and we are saved every day.
-- Gary Young, "In the heat of late afternoon . . ."
A week ago tonight, Arthur Miller's Pulitzer-prize winning play, Death of a Salesman, opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City for a limited run of 16 weeks. Directed by Mike Nichols, it stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as the tragic common man, Willy Loman. To read the New York Times review of this revival, click here.
About a month ago, Charles Isherwood, a drama critic for the New York Times, began an online discussion about the play called, "Life of a 'Salesman". Topics discussed include the role of "The Good Wife" and "The Tragic Hero" as well as interviews with those involved in this latest production, including director Mike Nichols. Flannista first began following these discussions on February 26th, when Isherwood published an essay called, "'Salesman' Comes Calling, Right on Time", specifically after reading this paragraph on the essay about why this play is pertinent now:
. . . the sharp economic downturn that followed the bursting of the housing bubble, and the discovery of the dubious financial practices behind it, casts a revivifying new light on the plight of the Loman family. In both its small details — paying off a mortgage after 25 hard years is a plot point — and its implied questions about the hollowness of some cherished American ideals, the play feels unusually, perhaps unhappily, timely.
Curious about how much of myself I might see in Willy Loman, I ordered a copy of "Death of a Salesman" and read it in one sitting.
So are millions of other Americans. We are searching for work, still believing in the American dream that if we are well-liked and work hard, someone will hire us. That dream is now dead thanks to a corporate ethos that places "shareholder value" over all other values. A share price drops, so does your value to a company. The plight of Willy Loman is now my plight and Matissta's plight and the plight of tens of millions of white collar workers who have outlived their usefulness to companies they devoted their lives to and from which they (however misguidedly) derived their sense of self. When "Death of a Salesman" first opened in 1949, the head of Gimbel's department stores sent forth an edict that no one was to be fired for being over age. That would never happen in today's market environment that rewards companies for being able to do more and more with fewer people willing to work for less and less.
Perhaps the most stirring and heartbreaking point of the play is at the end of the First Act, when Willy's sons, Biff and Happy, who bear the scars of Willy's delusional expectations, berate their father (not in the scene) and accuse him of having no character. In response, Linda -- their mother and Willy's wife exclaims:
I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person.
Tragically, Willy Loman does fall into his grave like an old dog, Biff's condemnation screaming in his head: "Pop! I'm a dime a dozen, and so are you!" Willy commits suicide, the man who "didn't know who he was".
Does anyone else know who Willy Loman is? This feckless believer in the middle class? This misguided follower of the American dream?
I know who he is.
I am Willy Loman. A dime a dozen, we are all Willy Loman.
Attention must be paid.
The image at the top of this post is one of the designs by students at Parsons New School for Design in New York City who were asked to come up with their own versions of posters for "Death of a Salesman." Flannista was taken by the fountain pen.
Technorati Tags: " 'Salesman Comes Calling, " Biff, Arthur Miller, Attention must be paid, Ben Brantley, Christopher Isherwood, corporate ethos, Death of a Salesman, Happy, I am Willy Loman, Life of a 'Salesman, New York Times, Right on Time, shareholder value, Willy Loman
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Last week, the First Graders each signed the copy of Ish by Peter Reynolds that I gave to them two weeks earlier and asked me to send it to the author. Thought you'd like to see how they signed the inside front cover. Here is the left side:
Some of this is hard to read, but here is what some of the kids wrote on this side of the front:
And here is the right side of the inside front cover:
Via Facebook, Flannista was able to get an address for Peter Reynolds and plans to send this signed copy to him. Ain't it the best-ish?