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.

“I’ll have what she’s having.”

Have we no minds or imaginations anymore?!? I’m not one to talk — I’ve been suffering from a major lack of ideas of what to write about lately. I find it a little ironic that this is what I came up with.

But if anyone can respect a good movie or song reference, it’s me. A ton of my type of humor relies on pop culture references. But there’s a fine line between a witty reference or an inventive use of “sampling,” and becoming a mindless pop culture spewing drone.

Two birds with one stone: A Futurama reference and an illustration depicting mindless drones

Summer has long been known as the season of the sequel at the movie theater. And with the list of sequels getting longer each season, the lack of original movies becomes pretty apparent. If you’ve clamored to 12 a.m. sneak preview showings to see Transformers 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hangover 2, and already are the proud owner of tickets to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, you’re not alone. (I haven’t seen the first two, but I admit, I enjoyed The Hangover 2 … Even more than the original, which stressed me out a lot. Yeah, that’s how neurotic I am.)

But at least movie sequels make it obvious what the original is they’re referencing. Sampling is a practice that’s becoming increasingly popular in mainstream music. I’m not knocking it — It can be a real art. I think it’s usually a great way for an artist to repurpose a song that inspired them and make it their own. The thing I have beef with is when songs I liked months or years ago are sampled and the resulting song becomes more popular. Top 40 lovers know every word to the new song, but in my experience, an alarming amount have no idea that there was an original song behind it.

If you like any of the songs on the left, you may want to have a listen to the songs on the right. Click the links to hear the songs.

“The Show Goes On” by Lupe Fiasco ——- “Float On” by Modest Mouse (I recently heard a local DJ try to credit the original song, but mis-identified the band as Muse. It took all I had not to call in to the radio station and start screeching.)

“Paper Planes” by M.I.A. ——- “Straight to Hell” by The Clash – My dad is a fan of The Clash and would play them a lot when I was younger, which is probably the reason I like “Paper Planes” so much. “It ain’t Coca-Cola, it’s rice.

“Whatcha Say” by Jason Derulo —— “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap (If you have some trouble recognizing it, skip to 2:51 in the video)

“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys ——- “Love on a Two Way Street” by The Moments

“S & M” by Rihanna ——- “Let’s Go to Bed” by The Cure (As you may know, I already discussed my thoughts on “S & M.” The song not the — uh … practice.)

Is the practice of sampling and referencing burrowing its way into everyday life? I can almost never get through a conversation without making or hearing a reference to something. I know I do it all the time. Is that okay?

Well, Houston, we may have a problem. It seems what we have here is a failure to communicate. Then again, perhaps frankly, my dears, we shouldn’t give a damn. After all, if all we do is make sequels, sample songs, and quote movies in conversations, our brains will have so much more room for activities. Maybe we can’t handle the truth that we’re just running out of original thoughts. Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow, and we’ll think up some stuff on our own for a change. Until then, hasta la vista, baby.

I’ll be back.

Super Sweet 16…and Pregnant

There are few shows I find myself hopelessly addicted to, which is good because I only get like 10 channels. But, there are a few reasons I miss cable. One of them is my fascination with pregnant teenagers.  I can’t miss an episode of Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant.

When 16 and Pregnant first came out, I thought to myself, They have enough pregnant teenagers willing to put their pregnancy on TV to make a whole series out of this? As I’ve now learned, there’s no shortage of teens who find themselves preggo and proud enough to be on MTV, and that’s a good thing:  What else would I do on a Tuesday night at 9?

The recipe for every episode of 16 and Pregnant is almost always the same:

  • Teen gets pregnant. Oops.

"Oh, crap."

  • Teen tells boyfriend, who:
    A. Runs away screaming
    B. Sticks around until the kid is born, and then runs away screaming or
    C. Asks her to marry him, at least attempting to make an honest woman out of her. (This usually ends catastrophically.)

Like this episode, which ended with this guy speeding away in a fit of rage with his twin infants in the back seat of his car, leaving his baby mama on the side of a busy road in the rain ...

  • Teen tells parents, who either:
    A. Freak out and disown her or
    B. Support her
  • Teen has kid
  • Teen realizes raising kid is harder than she thought
  • Show usually ends in tears

In this case, because Father of the Year ended their relationship via text message, calling her a "stretch-marked b****" and asking where he could "sign off" responsibility for their "mistake."

Teen Mom basically picks up where 16 & Pregnant leaves off, illustrating the way the young moms’ lives haven’t gotten any easier.

The shows are intended to be a form of birth control, providing a raw perspective into the unglamorous life of a teenaged mother. But many of the girls’ lives seem anything but unglamorous since their launch to celebrity status, featured on entertainment TV shows and in magazines. I can’t walk down an aisle in the grocery store without seeing headlines like “TEEN MOM’S PREGNANCY SHOCKER” and “SEE TEEN MOMS IN BIKINIS” (which, if I didn’t know better, might prevent me from opening the magazine).

Monsters, strange men, and felons! Oh, my!

As if we don’t get enough of drama-filled pregnancies between the tabloids and TV, each of the Teen Moms has countless Facebook fan pages, some official, and some … hardly. Hey, you go, girls. I’ll admit I’m a fan of them — I couldn’t do what they’re doing even in my early 20s. But these pages have grown to several thousands of fans who swarm every post the teen moms write with hundreds of comments, which usually turn into in virtual fan catfights. Meow.

The teen moms act annoyed with the amount of prying these fans are doing online, constantly sending them messages asking them to confirm or deny rumors they see in the tabloids. (And I hate to say it, but it kind of makes me think, Come on, you’re sorta asking for it.) In any case, the fame must not seem too bad, since others are jumping on the bandwagon.

In a recent incident, Jordan Ward, who was featured on the first episode of this season’s 16 and Pregnant, has just announced she’s pregnant with her and her husband’s second child … at 18. And her husband was just deployed with some branch of the military — or maybe he’s just gone for training. It’s hard to know for sure because she recently took down her official Facebook fan page that declared what she was doing every second of the day. (The link above is to her identical twin sister’s Facebook fan page … All of these things contributing to my point.)

Chelsea Houska, a South Dakota teen featured on 16 and Pregnant and later Teen Mom 2, battled baby daddy drama with the very public help of her friend and roommate Megan Nelson. (Who, by the way, gets the award for Friend of the Year. The 18 year-old not only lived with Chelsea and her baby, she helped out regularly, even occasionally giving up her weekends to babysit.)

Fans apparently enjoyed Megan on the show so much that they prompted her to create a Facebook fan page. Megan must have really caught baby fever living with Chelsea and her daughter because, not long after her rise to “fame,” it came out that Megan is pregnant herself. Her page now has over 23,000 fans, who clamor for every detail of her pregnancy, from the sex of the baby, to the name ideas, to details about the baby shower and where she is registered.

Megan’s dad now even has a Facebook page with over 1,000 fans, as well as other “randoms” who may or may not have appeared on the show for like 10 seconds. Some teen moms and fans have even set up fan pages for their babies.

But the really troubling thing is when average high school girls get pregnant and create fan pages for themselves. Since I first noticed this happening last fall, the teens have refrained from labeling them “fan pages,” making the fame whores a little harder to spot. (This was probably due to the blatant ridicule they endured by others on their public pages. I wish I had taken a screen shot.) A few girls placed themselves on the 16 and Pregnant Facebook page before the season started, tricking fans who thought these girls would be featured on the show into becoming fans of their personal pages.

Because that's what finding out you're pregnant when you're 16 looks like. OMG so fun!

Since then, teen mom “fan pages” have developed a semblance of a community support forum rather than a place to gain fame. Even Megan Nelson’s page now includes a disclaimer in the info section declaring that her page is NOT a fan page. (Although it used to proclaim it was in the page’s title.)

Of course, there are still countless pregnant teens who sneakily seek the kind of attention MTV’s teen moms are getting, like this couple who posts every detail about their pregnancy on their page, and frequently comments on the pages of the girls featured on MTV to gain traffic.

The fact that teen parents have a way to come together and support one another online is fabulous. And I’m not saying MTV is causing the teen birth rate to explode. (It’s actually doing the opposite.) I’m merely observing with surprise that a general air of “Meh, oh well,” has gradually increased toward the phenomenon of publicizing teen pregnancy. When I was in high school, people treated the few pregnant girls like they were diagnosed with a terminal illness — and that was only 3 years ago. But after 16 and Pregnant, girls in the situation can think, She did it. So can I. Still, I’m both loving and hating that the show has made teen pregnancy seem a little less scary. Especially since the days when this was preached:

Ahhhh!

“I guess this is growing up …”

As I approach my 21st birthday next Thursday, I’m realizing I’m already feeling signs of getting older. Not like 21 is a magical number — I’m no different this week (or, for that matter, 6 months ago) than I will be next week, except that I will somehow magically be recognized as “mature” enough to legally consume alcohol. But I’m just realizing that something my dad told me once has some truth behind it: 21 is the last age you really look forward to turning. It’s a little bleak, but when you think about it, no one particularly enjoys saying they’re 50, or even 30, even if they don’t act or look “old.” It seems like there’s just a stigma with getting older that occurs sometime between 22-29 that makes birthdays seem more like something to dread than to be excited for.

I remember as a kid when every birthday was amazing; I had a countdown to it on my calendar for months. Probably because my birthday was an extravaganza in the Ring household. I usually had my “kid party” on a family-friendly weekend if my real birthday didn’t fall on one, so that extended the celebration into two days. I had mountains of presents from friends and family. My mom would organize games and prizes and activities for the guests. The entire house would be decorated in the theme I’d chosen that year, and it ranged from unicorns to Spongebob. I’m not saying I ever had one of those outrageous kid parties, but my family made sure I always had a good time. So, I came to feel that my birthday was the best day of the year to me. Better than Christmas even. I always loved having an excuse to just be happy and have fun with everyone I liked — Plus, everyone had to be nice to me, or else they were just jerks.

Even if I had demanded a camel at one of my birthday parties, Williston, ND, wouldn't have been able to accommodate it. We had about three options for birthday party locales: the bowling alley, McDonald's, or a hotel swimming pool. I usually opted for my house.

Last year was the first birthday that it really seemed like just another day. I didn’t get the day off from work (first sign of being a “big girl”). No one there remembered that it was my birthday, either, so no one wished me it. I almost forgot it was my favorite day of the year the entire time I was there. (And I don’t care how selfish that sounds — I enjoy my birthday, dammit.)

After work, my mom surprised me with a giant smorgasbord and presents she had delivered to my door, which was a monumental gesture that  made my whole day. But after that, my boyfriend and I went out for a quiet dinner and ate the cake my mom sent. That was about it. No pony. No bouncy castle. No “Happy Birthday” song. In a way, it was a sad indication of a departure from my childhood. But in another way, it was oddly exactly what I wanted — A relaxing day where I could be inherently happy just because it was June 23. No excuses. I guess I should make more days that way. I’ll add it to my to-do list. 😉

A year later, I’m thinking about how the maturity of my last birthday was an indication of the rest of my year. By no means am I complaining that I’m getting old; I know I’m still very young. I’m just amazed by these changes because I’ve never experienced this strange phenomenon of aging outside of my childhood and teenage years, when getting another year older was different. It was all about cake and presents. Here are some of the reasons from the past year that have made me decide I’m growing up.

  • I bought my first welcome mat yesterday. This might not seem like anything to you, but to me, it felt like a rite of passage. I have a place to welcome people to. My welcome mat may sit uselessly in the hallway of an apartment building outside of a studio apartment that hardly sees any visitors, but it’s my welcome mat at my apartment. The fact that I think this way about it seems like a sign of maturation … or maybe just a sign that I’m really lame and need to get a life. I prefer the former, but you can decide for yourself.

    This is actually the exact doormat that sits outside my door.

  • I have acquired a taste for stores like Lowes, Pier 1, and other home interior outlets. I remember when I was a kid and my family would make the two hour drive to get to the nearest mall. I always got so excited to get out of town for a day or two, but I dreaded the inevitable trip to Menard’s. Up until about a year ago, it was a dreadful experience to me — the most boring place in the world. Now, the possibilities there are endless. I talk about decorations and improvements I could make to my little apartment. I have day projects. I spend money on decorations. How has this happened?!

    I have an obsession with wall decals. This one's over my doorway.

  • My palette has greatly expanded. I used to be a semi picky kid. I didn’t like vegetables or fish or other yucky stuff. But since my high school years, my taste in foods has steadily expanded. I’d now consider myself to be the opposite of picky. Whatever that is. A lardy? Anyway, if there’s food in front of me, even if I’m not particularly the biggest fan, I’ll eat it and enjoy it. (Unless there happens to be a crusty food chunk leftover on my plate/glass/utensil — MAJOR pet peeve — can’t touch it after that.) I like almost everything, with the strict exceptions of Greek food that includes feta cheese and kalamata olives. Being open to a wide variety of foods is a sign of maturity, right? Either that or it’s just a warning sign to myself that I’ll eat pretty much anything, since soon I won’t be able to depend on my metabolism anymore to keep it from catching up with me.

    One of the few food dishes that's not my cup of tea.

  • I hit 20 and fell apart. I guess my first cavity happened when I was 18, not 20, but that was a sign of the things to come. Last summer, I started having stomach pains every time I ate. I went to the doctor, who told me my colon was in the wrong spot and made me endure a whole day of worrying what the heck that would mean for the rest of my life before I came back the next day and they told me they read the X-ray wrong. I never did figure out what exactly was wrong with me, but I never got any better either. In the past year, I caught almost every cold that oozed its way around UND’s campus. My hips, knees, and ankles now hurt when I run — I got shin splints from walking my boyfriend’s dog. I could keep the chiropractor in business, but I’ve learned to crack most of my issues myself (not good, I know). My fingernails, which were always strong and grew fine, started getting brittle and peeling. I’ve probably developed multiple ulcers from stressing out and worrying too much. And then I start worrying about that … It’s a vicious cycle. I see what people mean when they say things stop working as you get older — What the heck am I going to be like when I’m 50?

    This would happen to me.

  • I’m tired — Always. I never took a nap as a child. Ever. I still can hardly ever nap during the day unless I’m really sick. Because of this, I’ve become a die-hard caffeine addict. I can’t function without coffee, and I usually need another cup or a jolt of soda for an afternoon pick-me-up. I know it’s cliche, but I now strongly believe in the saying “I wish I could take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was little.” Yet, I never go to bed early. I’m always up late doing either really stupid or really productive things. That’s got to be a sign that my tastes aren’t getting too mature for my age yet.
Like every other little kid, I spent my whole childhood so excited to be “big.” It’s just really weird for it to actually happen. I thought junior high would be the only awkward phase I’d go through, but adjusting to all this is pretty different too. (Except way easier – Less acne, raging hormones, and snooty girls.)
Is there some other later stage of life when you feel these kinds of changes? If there are, no one ever says much about them — You mostly hear about adolescence and mid-life crises. Any other twentysomethings feeling any of the same weirdness toward the first steps of growing up?

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.

Had a bad day?

I can’t be in a bad mood after a YouTube fix containing a few of these. Don’t knock the multiple Rocko’s Modern Life listings on here. It’s classic.

  1. “Fortune Cookie” – Rocko’s Modern Life
    Here’s the gist of the episode, and all you need to really watch to crack a smile.
  2.  The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack
    Some friends and I used to get together every week and watch this little-known show on Cartoon Network. I still laugh every time I see this clip.
  3. Family Guy
    Peter stops at the drive-thru on his way to take a woman in labor to the hospital.
  4. “Jetscream” – Rocko’s Modern Life
    I can’t find a clip for this one, but here’s the quote. Such hilarious social commentary I didn’t get when I was little:
    Flight Attendant: Flight 1313 to Las Vegas is now boarding. Will all one-legged weasels born on the right side of a watermelon please board?
  5. Googly Eyes Gardener Saturday Night Live skit
    I just think the concept of this is hilarious.

    Embedding this one isn’t working, so here’s the link.I did this before I left for my freshman year of college so I’d have a “companion.” I had a picture, but it must be on my old phone. 😦 I got a two-stemmed cactus from Wal-Mart for $.99, glued googly eyes to both of them, and named them Carlos and Juanita. It’s a shame I don’t have a picture of them.
  6.  My weird cat, Mr. Trouble
    He was an orphan kitty that was left in my parents’ garage one stormy night. We have untamed domesticated cats living in the fields around my house, and they must have abandoned him. My dad affectionately calls him a “bastard from a basket.”

    "Are you my mother?"

    He grew up to be a bit of a trouble-maker.

    Classy.

    He’s now huge and terrorizes my parents’ house, bathing himself under the sink stream every time someone turns on the water because he has an obsession with it. My brother refers to him as a pygmy mountain lion.

Ever heard the phrase “I’d sell my kidney for a [insert object here]?”

Well, this guy actually did.

My burning question: Was it worth it?

Known only as “Zheng,” this 17 year-old Chinese high school student was scanning the Internet looking for ways to make quick cash to buy an iPad 2. He claims a “broker” (which is apparently a euphemism for “black market organ hustler“) contacted him, offering to help him sell his kidney for the equivalent of $3,100 US.

After the surgery, Zheng came home with his prized iPad 2 and a new laptop. His mom wondered where he’d gotten the money to buy them and noticed he had a “deep red scar on his body, which was caused by the surgery.” I’m thinking we have a contestant for the Mother of the Year award. Anyway, she called the police soon after, but hasn’t been able to find the broker responsible.

It turns out, Zheng is realizing it might not have been the best trade-off. He’s been suffering post-surgery complications. And, get this, the hospital that performed the surgery isn’t even qualified to do organ transplants. Oh, Zheng.

This can’t help but remind me of the first episode of this season’s South Park. You know, the one where Kyle doesn’t read the iTunes update license agreement and accidentally agrees to becoming a part of Apple’s new product, the Human CentiPad, which gives Apple permission to “sew his mouth to the butthole of another Apple user.” Cartman desperately wants an iPad and resorts to — to put it nicely — throwing his mom under the bus to get it. But the Human CentiPad makes Kyle’s life miserable, so Cartman wants that even more.

If you haven’t seen the Human Centipede, I don’t recommend it — It’s gross. But let’s just say this mad scientist guy has some fetish for connecting three living beings together via the GI tract. The creepier thing to me is wondering what sick werido even thinks of this stuff!

In any case, after watching the Human CentiPad South Park episode, I now either scan through license agreements or do a search for the words “mouth,” “sew,” and “butthole.” Maybe a little ridiculous, but you can never be too careful. Especially after news that people are willing to buy and sell kidneys to get these things too.