Where is the love? Right here!

I heard about this on Sunday, but there was really no outside information to pass on besides the fact itself. I guess there still really isn’t much. But maybe for the four or five readers who’ve stuck around ( ūüėČ ) and aren’t from North Dakota (hence, don’t know me personally), this is new to them.

In any case, it’s worth writing about because it’s nice. And I like nice things and nice people. Mean people suck.

But this makes me happy that not everyone sucks. Allow me to cut to the chase: Minot, ND, a central North Dakotan city I would call decent-sized but you non-North Dakotans might consider minuscule, is still picking up the pieces from the disastrous flood they battled earlier this summer. Over 10,000 residents were forced to evacuate in late June. The start of the school year has been delayed, the North Dakota State Fair, the state’s biggest annual event, was canceled, and the cost of the flood is estimated somewhere around $1 billion.

This one’s a tear-jerker. “Fix You” is enough to start the waterworks for me, but a weekend trip to Minot was always one of my biggest treats growing up. It’s sad to see a place you’re so familiar with suffering.

Josh Duhamel — hunky actor, married to Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, you may know him from Las Vegas, the TV show, and movies like Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, When in Rome, the Transformers series, Ramona and Beezus — is from Minot. Pretty sure I would have dropped over dead if I’d ever seen him walking around the mall there.

Prowling the halls of the Dakota Square Mall? Maybe.

He’s been backing his hometown from day one, just like a true North Dakota boy. So, he got the Black Eyed Peas to set up a special concert benefitting the flood fight that’ll be held in Minot on September 3. Awww, *swoon.*

Tickets will go on sale August 12 for $100 a piece, and full information should be available at this site: www.minotrising.com. (Only it’s super faily and just says “Coming soon…” for now. That was the only source they provided when the news first broke. I had to laugh a little.)

Still, I’m glad they’re spreading the love, following the cry from “Where is the Love?,” one of their first hits. (I oftentimes forget that song exists, but I’m glad when I remember because I think it’s my favorite of their songs.)

Oh, and speaking of Duhamel being a North Dakota boy, this is a perfect opportunity to plug this little video, which went semi-viral last summer, but really just never gets old. It’s also where I got the name for my Wild Wild Williston posts.


My Super Sketchy Sixteen … with a Creepy Old Guy.

I may be a bit behind the curve, but I just heard about this “51 year-old Doug Hutchison marrying a 16 year-old” thing. Hutchison is most notable for playing Percy Wetmore, the guy nobody liked in The Green Mile¬†and Horace Goodspeed on Lost. Not that I personally recognized him. He goes back to roles in Party of Five¬†and¬†A Time to Kill, too.¬†(Ironically, he played the child rapist.) But those are a little before my time.

Cue "The Creep" by The Lonely Island.

And a lot before 16 year-old Courtney Alexis Stodden’s. Maybe.

Annnnd that's their wedding picture.

All creepiness and illegality aside, this couple is extra controversial. When I first looked into this, I honestly thought, “Okay, so this Hutchison guy is kind of a creeper. Scandalous, but whatever.” But I watched an interview E! News did with the “happy couple” which I found deeply disturbing. I didn’t notice exactly how disturbing until I caught a glimpse of myself reflexively making a disgusted face in the reflection of my laptop screen.

Stodden doesn’t look a day under 25.

Her profile picture on her official Facebook page.

“So, whatever. She looks a little mature for her age. A lot of girls do nowadays,” I thought. I read in RadarOnline’s article about the E! News interview that people were accusing her of being “fake”: Either she’s had a lot of work done, or she’s older than she’s letting on. I thought that was a little obsessive for something that seemed so irrelevant to anyone’s lives.

But then, my curiosity got the better of me. As the interview went on, Stodden’s mannerisms became more … odd. She was striking ridiculous poses and practicing making coy pouty faces into the camera during their live interview. From the sound of it, she was trying really hard to make incoherent, immature responses to every question asked, whipping herself around and fluttering her hair.

Whatever voice you're giving her in your head to make fun of her right now, I guarantee it's not even as bad as hers in real life.

So I looked her up on Facebook, and I found two different pages of hers. “Courtney Stodden” and “Courtney Alexis Stodden Fanpage.” After spending just a short time on these sites, I decided there is no way one person can possibly be this stupid. Something has to be up — She has to be older, and for some reason faking her young age and total ignorance as some publicity stunt. Either that, or she’s actually 16 with the IQ of a shovel. There is no way any guy even in his mid-20s would put up with idiocy of that degree in a relationship, let alone a man who could easily be her father.

Wow, I bet that's how she always pictured it.

First off, she repeatedly refers to herself as an “inspiring” actress/photographer/model/singer/anything else she can think of to sound “good.” Even after people correct her. A normal human who wanted to be taken seriously would learn that she had made a mistake and change it. Stodden seems to only put it more prominently and more often, reinforcing the blonde bimbo persona.

She's giving me no shortage of material to back this up.

Let’s just take this exchange via Facebook comments on this photo:

And that was the exact point that I decided I needed to blog furiously about this. Not only does her long response defy all logic for how little cognitive functioning a person needs to maintain basic human mechanisms like breathing and blinking, but the incoherence of her short, afterthought comments boggles my mind.

The thing that sent me over the edge, though, was her last comment. It seemed to go just a little too far. I don’t know about you, but I think I see a zipper. “… so you should respect me and stuff.” It seems to me that any 16 year-old who’s trying to prove her maturity would avoid the whole “and stuff” default teen suffix. Its belittling, childlike, and it seems like she wanted it that way.

Um, can I take you back to your ... gutter?

But that’s just me speculating. I really don’t see why an older woman would pretend to be 16 and marry a 51 year-old. I guess I don’t see what a 51 year-old would see in a 16 year-old either … besides the platinum blonde hair and I-claim-they’re-real-but-there’s-no-way-in-hell chest.

How many bras does she have on here?

Maybe Stodden is just a really dumb teenager. And, in that case, Hutchison should probably hire a nanny or something for when he’s out of town. And not let Stodden cross the street unsupervised. E! News claims they have her birth certificate, but claiming they have a little piece of paper isn’t going to convince me. Her body definitely looks … aged, in more ways than just her development.

From her Official Facebook -- Taken when she was "13"

Either way, with celebrity stories like this which, I admit, are a guilty pleasure, I always find myself asking, “Why do I care?” I usually don’t have a good reason, but in this case I do: There’s just something too weird about her … and there’s that off chance that she’s an alien robot sent here from some distant galaxy, and her only way in to¬†infiltrate¬†the government is through Doug Hutchison. (She’s already defiled the flag!)

Creeping justified.

Oh, Gary.

I wanted this not to be true. I really did.

Oh, yes. It's Gary time.

Don’t ask how I stumbled upon this. I don’t even know. Maybe it came from trying to find when the next season of Teen Mom starts (with the original people). It starts July 5, by the way. But, alas, it’s Gary time.

If you’re a Teen Mom fan, or live with/date someone who is, you may remember Gary as the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Amber Portwood on the original season of 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom. Amber was recently in the news for dodging a 2-year jail sentence for the¬†aforementioned¬†domestic battery. Instead of jail, she’s been ordered to get her high school diploma, get some therapy, and set up a college fund with at least $10,000 for her daughter, Leah. Since when does our legal system allow stuff like that?

Best. Screen shot. Ever.

And then I find this Gary thing … I honestly did serious digging because I thought there was no way Gary’s official Facebook fan page would be selling shirts with his face on them. But, lo and behold, it appears to be him, saying it’s “ran [sic] in conjunction with Gary Shirley from MTV’s Teen Mom” and “therefore … is the sole official Facebook page.”

So he’s peddling t-shirts with his face on them. I’m not sure whether Gary and Amber are currently “on again” or “off again,” but at least Gary’s heart seems to be in the right place — His Facebook page declares that portion of the sale from each one of Gary’s shirts goes directly to their daughter, Leah. I guess if you’re going to whore out your face on a t-shirt, you might as well put some of the profits toward your kid.

For $20, all this could be yours.

…By any other name

I was reading this really entertaining post by another (vastly more popular and successful) blogger. I started writing a comment in response to it on her page, but it was turning into a novel, so I figured I’d save her comment section the space and make it a post on my own blog. (Giving her a shout-out, of course: Read her experiences with mispronunciation misadventures here.)

You’d think Kaitlin would be a common enough name by now. Aside from the fact that it’s never spelled right, (which, okay, there are roughly a million ways to spell my name) people try to mess with it all the time. They try calling me Kait (that spelling is the only way I would even moderately consider answering to it), Kat, Katie, Lynn. No, it’s Kaitlin. Don’t try being cute and shortening it — I will mentally place you on my “people who suck” list. (And, actually, it turns out there are 155 plausible ways to spell my name. Who knew?)

A lovely pie chart to illustrate

But aside from that, people still somehow act like they’ve never come across someone with my name. It’s not like it’s some wild, exotic, hard-to-pronounce name. But, alas, during my very first winter formal as a freshman in high school as I nervously made my way into the spotlight with my date for grand march, I stepped forward to hear my name announced as “Cat-lynn.” Really?

I still get “Cat-Line,” “Kate-Line,” “Kathleen,” and even sometimes “Kirsten” … Yeah. People are either really lazy, or slowly becoming illiterate.

And you’d think a last name like “Ring” would be pretty straightforward. Nope. That actually poses more difficulty than my first name. I’ve gotten everything from “Ping,” “King,” and pretty much every other rhyming word. I have no idea if my Midwest accent prevents me from pronouncing my last name correctly, but everyone asks me how to spell it, originally writing “Reng” or “Rang.” I hate this, but I guess it’s my own fault for apparently not being able to pronounce my own name.

But the thing I really started thinking about after reading Tamara’s post, seeing all the empathetic comments from others, and reflecting on my own experience with name mispronunciation is this: Why do celebrities and, increasingly, normal people continue to name their children wacky names they know will plague them throughout their lives? It’s obvious that everyone hates to have their name mispronounced, but if you name your kid Princess Tiaamii, you’re kind of setting her up for a life of frustration in the name area. Since I just can’t get enough of weird things people have named their kids, here’s a list of some of the worst, including Tu Morrow, Jermajesty, and Harley Quinn.

Don’t get me wrong, I love unique names. (My boyfriend says I have no naming privileges for future pets or children.) But I think there’s a distinct line to be drawn between being unique and tormenting your poor kid. Not that naming your kid something common will ensure his name is never mispronounced. I don’t think my parents or Tamara’s, for that matter, expected no one to be able to pronounce it. People will never cease to be careless when it comes to pronouncing names, and it will never cease to be obnoxious.

What’s the weirdest way anyone’s ever mispronounced your name?


I’ve said it for years. Since I was in elementary school I’ve hated my ankles. My legs are pretty much straight from the knee down. I’d post a picture, but I really don’t want to subject myself to that. For many years, most people I mentioned my self consciousness to were like, “Uh, nobody notices people’s ankles.”

I wonder when that ended. Suddenly, everyone’s obsessed¬†with us “poor souls” who are plagued with “cankles.” And that’s fine. Cankles are funny. And popular. ¬†People apparently really like reading about and looking at pictures of cankles. Don’t ask me why. Still, it’s getting a little out of hand. I can’t vouch for any statistical data behind this guy’s claim¬†that cankles have been regarded as one of the most unattractive features since the early 20th century, but the fact that it’s on the Internet will only perpetuate his declaration.

A helpful illustration to show an example of a cankle. Sigh.

I first heard the term in the movie Shallow Hal, when the two main characters are discussing the weight of one of their love interests:

– Hey, all l’m saying is she’s got cankles, for God’s sake.
– What?
– Cankles! She’s got no ankles. lt’s like the calf merged with the foot, cut out the middleman.
– l know what cankles are. Rosemary doesn’t have ’em.

While this probably injected cankles into the mainstream, the term was known to exist before the movie was released in 2001. Even though I was complaining about my fat ankles before the term “cankle” went mainstream, I’ve started to believe that cankles — in some cases — are a myth.

Ok, that¬†is undeniably a cankle. That¬†is what my brother described as “a bologna stuffed into a shoe.” The thing that I — as a cankle-sufferer myself — think is a little ridiculous, is that now people are labeling celebrities as having cankles. Since there’s really nothing aside from cankle liposuction you can do to get rid of fat ankles, I was just learning to deal with it. Some days I’d even think, “Hey, I don’t know if I really have cankles after all.” But now that stars like Miley Cyrus, Mischa Barton, and others are being criticized for having cankles, how am I supposed to compete? I personally don’t see it in most of them, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Cheryl Cole, a British star, is cited as having cankles in this picture. I'd be ok with those ankles.

Victoria Beckham has cankles now? Psh, well then I must be considered obese.

Mischa Barton's cankles? I'm not seeing it.

Hilary Duff's supposed cankles

Miley Cyrus just has a "my legs are so stick thin I don't have room for an ankle" thing going on.

As I Googled “celebrity cankles,” it seemed almost every major celebrity has been accused of having cankles. I know, it’s ridiculous to agonize about cankles when there are so many more important things going on in the world. Believe me, I spent (and admittedly still spend) too much time worrying about it already. But that’s my point exactly. We now have things like Cankle Awareness Month¬†(which is coming up in July, by the way, so get your awareness ribbons ready). Major news sources are covering cankles in more and more stories; the Wall Street Journal even did an article about cankles, often cited by cankle haters everywhere (who can really make some mean personal attacks, by the way — Hey, don’t be offended, it’s not our faults we have cankles).

All in all, I’m ready to let the cankle thing go, and that’s a big step for a lifelong ankle hater. But, like scrutinizing celebrity beach bodies and uncovering which celebs have¬†cellulite, I doubt the critical public eye will let it go soon. Hopefully the rest of us can.