Monday, May 12, 2014

Barbie Vs. Barbie: Plastic Breatharian vs. Brainless Sex Toy

While scrolling through Yahoo news, I came across something. It was like a pretty little train wreck. It was a picture of a woman, which looked like a doll, that looked like a woman. I was mesmerized. I couldn’t figure it out. It was perplexing to me.  I peered closer into my computer screen looking for answers.  Was it a woman? No, couldn’t be. She has a waist that my thumb and pointer finger could reach around. The article says she’s a real woman, but her face was flawless. However, it wasn’t the kind of flawless that a person would want.  It was a plastic-y type of flawlessness. Her expression was, well, doll-like; a cold and empty stare. I couldn’t imagine a person would want to behave like this on purpose. As I read further, peeling my eyes away from the woman/doll abyss, I tried to find an answer to why she wanted this kind of life.

The self-named Barbie with her 18-inch waist and very much doll-like face is 28-year-old Ukrainian Valeria Lukyanova. In the April 2014 edition of GQ magazine, was an interview with Valeria discussing several points ranging from how she renamed herself “Amatue”, a name that came to her in a dream, to how she would never have children claiming, “I'd rather die from torture, because the worst thing in the world is to have a family lifestyle."
She also stated that she desired to live off of light and air. It’s called being Breatharian.  Breatharians believe that they can live without food or water. Rather, they live off of light and air alone called “cosmic micro-food”.


If that wasn’t bad enough, after scouring through the web for videos and other articles written about Ms. Lukyanova, aka Amatue, I stumbled upon another woman,  38 year-old American named Blondie Bennett, who wants to become brainless. Yes, you read that right, brainless in order to be as close to doll-like as possible.  “I want to be the ultimate Barbie. I want to be brainless. I don’t like being human, if that makes sense.”

Well, I suppose it’s starting to make sense. These women are just a big ole’ bowl of froot loopy.

I will run with that thought process and take it a step further. What would Barbie’s reaction be if she saw these women attempting to take on her persona.  I imagine her hauling off and bitch slapping both women in the face for slandering her name.

Let’s go even further down that rabbit hole. Barbie (the toy doll, not the human doll) was in just about every little girl’s bedroom, aspiring to be like her. It wasn't necessarily about looking like Barbie, but what she represented.  She was an independent woman. She had great clothes, matching everything, great cars, a town home, a pool, a camper, boats, jet skis, and not to mention a friggin Ferrari!  She had a boyfriend (Ken), but wasn’t married to him nor did he provide her with any material things in return for sexual favors as inferred by the human Barbie, Blondie Bennett

However, none of Barbie's possessions can be compared to her numerous careers. She had 150 of them. How many jobs does either one of these faux-Barbie women have? The only “job” I see Valeria doing is taking selfies and videos of herself posing doe-eyed and pouting with her head tilted while semi-exercising; completely alone. She uses her phone to produce the videos. 

It's sad, really. Here are two women who could be constructing much more with themselves rather than just a hollow, brainless body image. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. It may be Valeria’s body, but one look into her eyes and anyone can see that the real Valeria left a long time ago.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feeding Tube Diet?! Stop the Insanity!

     Over the decades, there has been many an idea on how to lose weight quickly and with little effort as possible.  In the 1960’s we had the wooden roller machine, hot pant sauna suits that promised to break down fat, and the ever popular belt machine that jiggled away unwanted cellulite.  In the 1970’s there was the Scarsdale Diet and a diet ‘candy’ called Ayds. In the 1980’s the diet pill, Dexatrim became a strong seller for the woman on the go needing a ‘quick fix’.  Slim Fast was new on the market during this time as well.  Then in 1990, we began to think more about what we should be eating rather than taking a pill or jiggling it away.  Atkins began its ascend to fame in the 90’s with the message of no-carb, llow-carbdiet regime.  The new millennium, brought us Trim Spa, Hoodia, and Alli.  Energy drinks such as Monster, Red Bull and Rock Star that jilted and buzzed our insides with the high levels of caffeine to suppress our appetites altogether.

     Where am I going with all of this you ask? Recently, I discovered that there is a new diet fad making its claim to fame. One that involves no exercise, no counting calories, or weighing foods. Heck, there aren’t even any special foods to buy.  The only thing that one needs to do on this diet is just not eat or drink. Anything. For up to two weeks. Yep, you read correctly. You do absolutely nothing and the pounds just melt away.  But there is just one catch; you have to insert a feeding tube into your body for at least ten days. Still sound too good to be true? Hopefully not, but to hundreds of women around the country, they are turning to their doctors requesting this procedure. This diet is called the Feeding Tube Diet or The K-E Diet.  When I found out exactly why women are doing it, I was appalled.  It disgusts me to even type the words onto this page. 

     I’m ashamed as a woman, to think that other women are out there putting this tube up their nose, down their throats into their stomachs for ten days in order to, ready for this? Fit into their wedding gowns. Something that is as shallow as fitting into a dress that a woman is only going to wear for one day.  Albeit the day is a very important one, however, the question here is, if a bride is so concerned that she is not going to fit into a wedding dress ten days before a wedding, why wasn’t she watching what she was eating all along, and why on earth did she buy such a small size in the first place? It just doesn’t make sense. 

     Feeding tubes are for the sick and the dying. Medical professionals usually require feeding tubes to individuals who cannot swallow on their own but still need nutrients administered into their bodies on a daily basis.  According to the Brown University website, “Feeding tubes may provide nutrition to people who have difficulty swallowing or unable to eat for medical reasons. A feeding tube is a device which transports liquid nutrition to your stomach. A feeding tube can be inserted into the stomach (G-tubes), through the nose and into the stomach (NG-tubes), or through the nose and into the small intestine (NJ tubes). The NG and NJ tubes are considered to be temporary and the G tube is considered more permanent but it can be removed.”

     The NY Daily News reported the procedure costs upwards of $1,500.00 for a mere ten day’s treatment. “Jessica Schnaider, a bride from Surfside, Fla., happily paid $1,500 to have the tube inserted for 10 days in order to look just right for her wedding pictures.” Happily? We have turned into a pretty twisted society when the thought of a feeding tube inserted into our bodies make us happy.  

     It’s not just the patients who have become a bit greedy with their body image, but the medical professionals I feel have become equally as greedy to permit this type of procedure to their patients. Dr. Oliver R. Di Pietro told The New York Times that he resisted the idea of using the diet on people who just wanted to drop a few pounds but then changed his mind. “Why should I say 5 or 10 pounds are not enough?” the Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., doctor told The Times. “People want to be perfect.” 

Keep rationalizing your greed doctor.

     Like anything else of a medical nature, there are side effects. Nothing comes without a price.  If you don’t mind the dizziness, nausea, and constipation; not to mention having to carry around a bag o’ nutrition and explain your shallow reasons to friends and family of why you look like you are deathly ill, then this diet may be something for you to consider. 

Sarcastically said, of course.

     Now, I don’t know about you, but another option would be to just rather put the chips and chocolate down, walks at least 30 minutes a day, keeps and intake at the healthy caloric level of around 1,200, drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and oh yeah, buy a wedding dress that fits.

Can our diets cure Cancer?

There was an article posted on the web recently about a 16 year old boy who ran away because he wanted to stop his chemo treatments. This happened 18 years ago and the good news is he’s alive, and well, and most of all cancer free. He had absolutely no chemotherapy treatments once he left his home in Boston back in 1994. Billy Best was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was given six months to live.  He had five rounds of chemotherapy which were making him very ill. "I could smell what I thought was poison coming out of my body. I didn't think I would make it through the treatments," said Best during his interview with television station WCVB – Boston. 
Best decided that taking off to Texas was the only solution.  He lived in a warehouse and learned about the worry of his family for him, not knowing if he was dead or alive. After an outpouring of support and suggestions from people who heard his story, Billy wanted an alternative approach.  He sought out ways to heal himself naturally.  He altered his diet that consisted of no red meat, sugar, white flour, and substituted brown rice for white, and soy for dairy. In addition to that Billy also incorporated a large amount of organic vegetables and filtered water.  He took supplements, Vitamin C, and started drinking Essiac herbal tea.  "Taking a therapy that would boost my immune system so that my body could fight the cancer itself made more sense to me than poisoning me with chemotherapy when I was already so sick," said Best during a WCVB-5 interview. We have to admit, he makes a lot of sense.
The interview also reported that along with his diet, Bill took 714-X, a Canadian immune-system injection that he claims saved his life.  This drug is not available or approved in the United States, and has no real evidence of this injection having effective results in treating cancer according to the National Cancer Research.  However, in March 1995, Bill returned to Dana Farber and after CAT and Gallium scans, Bill was cancer free and is still cancer free today. 

 So is there something to be said for herbal/alternative therapies?  Some say absolutely.  Our own NECC professor, Dr. Michael Speidel strongly believes that diet has everything to do with how we can prevent and fight disease. When asked about what his feelings were about Billy Best’s story Professor Speidel commented, “The Bill Best story is nothing new to doctors. For every ten patients with cancer one patient can be cured by just taking a placebo (water, glucose, herbs, vitamins, etc.). Because with a strong will to survive, the brain can stimulate and boost our immune system and we could win the battle against cancer. 

Sadly, however, most patients with cancer need modern and aggressive treatment. As in the case with Apple creator, Steve Jobs.  Jobs refused the potential life-saving surgery for his pancreatic cancer and decided to use only alternative treatments of diet and spiritual remedies when he was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  A confidant stated in an October 2011 Forbes interview that the reason why Jobs refused the surgery was because, “I didn't want my body to be opened. I didn't want to be violated in that way.”  Jobs waited nine months before having the surgery and deciding on traditional cancer treatments.  He went on record with the man who was writing his biography (Walter Issacson) that he regretted not having the surgery sooner. 

Do we really know what is good for us, or are we just taking a roll of the dice?  There is a balance here that may apply to each individual and each individual’s level and type of cancer illness.  Some say that due to the five rounds of chemo treatments Bill Best had prior to his diet and immune injections, were the only reason why he survived.  Clare Shawcross of Brown University posted this comment from the online article, “Happy ending is awesome but, you know, you gotta figure there's a decent chance those five rounds of chemotherapy played a role in his cure.”   

          For some, this is the only avenue to take. However, there is the other side of the spectrum. Beth Martin, a Licensed Massage Therapist at Northwest Health and Lifestyle Center posted, “Had a good friend who also walked away from chemo for Hodgkin’s. She was in her 20s and when her family said, "don't quit now, honey" she said "You're not listening to me. I won't survive this treatment." She also used diet and today she is a mom in her 40s.” 

          Even though the chemo may have had some effect on his remission, the overall effects of chemotherapy on us or our loved ones are devastating.  There are emotional, physical, and mental challenges that go along with this radical treatment.  It’s stressful for our families, and more so for our bodies.   The American Cancer Society website defines chemotherapy as, “Although the word chemotherapy can mean the use of any drug (such as aspirin or penicillin) to treat any disease, to most people chemotherapy refers to drugs used for cancer treatment. It is often shortened to “chemo.” Two other medical terms often used to describe cancer chemotherapy are antineoplastic (meaning anti-cancer) therapy and cytotoxic (cell-killing) therapy.” “… It was noticed in World War II; a group of people were accidentally exposed to mustard gas and were later found to have very low white blood cell counts. Doctors reasoned that something that damaged the rapidly growing white blood cells might have a similar effect on cancer. So, in the 1940s, several patients with advanced lymphomas (cancers of certain white blood cells) were given the drug by vein, rather than by breathing the irritating gas. Their improvement, although temporary, was remarkable.”

             Do we really know what our bodies are telling us or is it just the exception to the norm? Each of us have natural instincts that signal to us warnings of fear and danger, so why can't the body send us signals of what it needs in times of sickness? Some would say that the body does send us messages, and that we are just not listening.  One of those doctors is Dr. Max Gerson, founder of the Gerson Therapy. According to The American Cancer website, “Max Gerson, MD, was a German doctor who immigrated to the United States in the late 1930s. He designed the dietary program to treat his own migraine headaches. He later expanded his method to treat other conditions such as arthritis, tuberculosis, and cancer. In 1945, Gerson published a preliminary report of his results in treating cancer in the Review of Gastroenterology.”  The therapy is extreme and strict by omitting all sugars, except honey, all white flours, oils and fats. Regular foods consist of certain organic vegetables and soy.  Only after the third week is plain yogurt involved. Some truly believe in this therapy and that it has enabled them to be rid of the disease that inflicted their bodies. 
The discussion on treatments when dealing with cancer is vast and greatly detailed depending on each specific person’s diagnosis and genetic makeup.  Luckily, as it has turned out Bill Best listened to his body and made the right choice for him. For Billy, in my opinion it wasn’t about the quantity of life, it was the quality, and he’s now living proof.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When Getting Thin Goes Too Far

Recently, there has been a growing concern about blogs encouraging women to become ultra-thin posted on The argument is whether or not they are considered a form of free speech. These sites pose as 'support sites' where women can come to express their sickness without judgment and with encouragement. They discuss losing weight through starvation methods and exercise, and diet tips, no matter what the cost. Sadly, the age ranges of women that post on these sites are in their late teens to early twenties.

One of the largest and most popular websites is called “PrettyThin”. The pro-ana, pro-mia (anorexia, bulimia) website provides pictures of skeleton-like women so malnourished that bones can be seen through the skin. Attached are quotes such as, “I want to show bones” or “An imperfect body reflects an imperfect person.” For teens experiencing peer pressure to look thin and “perfect”, stumbling across one of these sites is like opening Pandora's Box. With key words like, “ipretendhappiness-idontfeel”, “thin-k perfection”, and “fattyonthemove”, these could solidify and possibly justify the feelings of inadequacy that a young teen is battling with her body image.

Being curious, I checked out some of these sites and looked up some of the ‘handles’ the girls had. What I found was very disturbing. Pictures of themselves super thin wearing very little – if nothing at all, showing their ribs and pelvic bones with statements like, “I want to take a bath. A nice hot bath. I want to push myself under the water, until I can’t breathe. I want to resurface and see that my fat is no longer a part of me. I want it to float in the water like a shed skin. I want to run my hands over my wet body and feel collar bones, hip bones, ribs a dip in my belly. I want to put my fingers around my thighs. I want to be BEAUTIFUL.” Another is “5kin-ny” who posted a picture of a ripped piece of paper that had “I don’t want to be thin, I want to be SICKLY THIN”, scribbled on it. Her comment below it stated, “So thin on the verge of death.”

Sometimes it doesn’t end with just trying to become thin with an eating disorder. Sometimes it continues on a more severe path such as cutting and burning one’s body with either razors or cigarettes. One blog named, “dying to be thin” talks candidly about her eating disorder, how she began cutting herself and why, and that she spends periods in a mental hospital. She is only seventeen. Extremely disturbing, both emotionally and mentally, she documents her days of hiding food, cutting herself, and the confrontations with her parents on her poor body image and feeling of worthlessness and disgust. She elaborates in raw text how cutting relieves the pain and makes her feel ‘better’. She knows it’s not right, but has a deep desire to continue it.

In one post she provides information on self-injury awareness day and several links to click on for further information and support groups to provide help for people who want to stop hurting themselves. Self-Harm awareness day was on March 1st. According to it is defined as, “a day meant to call attention to the disturbing number of people who deliberately harm their bodies in an attempt to numb emotional stress. Self-injury (SI) can range from cutting, burning or hitting oneself to simply picking at skin, pulling hair or pinching. At its most extreme, SI can lead to bone-breaking and other more serious injuries.” Most feel that this type of action is just to gain attention from peers or family members. However, according to, it is actually a coping mechanism, a way to gain relief from otherwise overwhelming emotions. So even though she posts about her sickness, she is also concerned for others who have the same struggles.
Statements and situations like this are just horrific. There may be young girls out there on the brink of an eating disorder and finding such sites as this may see that it would be OK to attempt. Not realizing that this is an actual sickness and not just something cool to do. One post from “minaturegirl” states, “I never thought I would be the girl with an eating disorder.”

In response to this recent outcry, has posted a draft of what they will be enforcing within the next couple of weeks that pertain to self-harm and pro-ana/mia blogs. Tumblr states: “Active Promotion of Self-Harm. Don’t post content that actively promotes or glorifies self-injury or self-harm. This includes content that urges or encourages readers to cut or mutilate themselves; embrace anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders; or commit suicide rather than, e.g., seek counseling or treatment for depression or other disorders. Online dialogue about these acts and conditions is incredibly important; this prohibition is intended to reach only those blogs that cross the line into active promotion or glorification. For example, joking that you need to starve yourself after Thanksgiving or that you wanted to kill yourself after a humiliating date is fine, but recommending techniques for self-starvation or self-mutilation is not.”

In addition to the new policy, will start showing PSAs on search results for related keywords. “In addition, we plan to start posting “public service announcement”-style language whenever users search for tags that typically go along with pro-self-harm blogs. For example, when a user searches for tags like “anorexia”, “anorexic”, “bulimia”, “bulimic”, “thinspiration”, “thinspo”, “proana”, “purge”, “purging”, etc., we would show PSA language like: Eating disorders can cause serious health problems, and at their most severe can even be life-threatening. Please contact the [resource organization] at [helpline number] or [website].”

So this leaves us with the lasting thought, are these websites a form of free speech even if it could be physically and mentally damaging to others?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Punished for Exercising the First Amendment

On February 16, 2012, Bridgewater State University student writer Destinie Mogg-Barkalow was physically attacked on campus for an opinion story she wrote in support of same-sex marriage. Her story on Proposition 8 enraged a tall man and a red-headed woman enough to seek out, approach Ms. Mogg-Barkalow, and punch her in the eye. The police report that there have been no arrests and are investigating the incident as a hate crime. This is wrong on so many levels, where do I begin?

I’ll tell you where.

By thanking the highly moronic, small minded, hateful couple. Because of their outlandish, ridiculous, one-sided Neanderthal behavior, has sparked news segments and columns all over the U.S. putting them in the spotlight as complete bigots. Local and national news programs and online websites from the Huffington Post to the Advocate, a pro-gay online newspaper, have spread the word in support of the student writer advocating the equality for all and the right to exercise the First Amendment; free speech.

One part of her article, Ms. Mogg-Barkalow states, “I would never want my rights to be forgotten just so people could walk all over me. If you believe legalizing gay marriage is unconstitutional, I think it is time you moved to another country. If you think it is wrong because of procreation, think again. Not even all straight couples have children. When it comes down to it, all I can say is leave us alone. Why are people so concerned about my soul and not their own? If same-sex couples are going to hell, at least I would be in peace and could finally stop worrying about hypocritical judgment.”

The reverberation of supportive comments for this article from the many online newspapers is astounding. Adam Gage, a manager of web applications at Post Holdings, Inc. posts his comment on “The Advocate” site; “To Destinie Mogg-Barkalow, thank you for your strength, courage, and compassion. To those right-wing nut cases, take a look at history... beating us down only makes us stronger and encourages others to join us. Stay strong Destinie, your voice is important to all of us.”

Then there are the hundreds of posted comments directly from the Bridgewater University online newspaper, “The Comment”. Bella Lockhart writes, “Thank you for writing this article. I agree 100%. I found this editorial because I heard you were physically attacked for your opinion. That's just plain wrong, and I hope they find the people who did that to you and lock them up for it. But they proved you right, didn't they? That Prop 8 just generates more hate. Those homophobes who did that to you proved that they're nothing but hateful bigots. Thanks for taking a stand for all LGBT people in the US, and for anyone who is a "second-class citizen!”

Sadly, Ms. Mogg-Barkalow is faced with the high risks a journalist takes when publishing a story of this magnitude. Did she deserve to be attacked for what she wrote? Absolutely not, however, I suppose the reality of being an opinions writer really hit home, and may have given her a new perspective on journalism, possibly empowering her enough to not back down and continue to tackle the controversial stories head on.

The subject that she wrote about is so strong and emotionally powered, that it has obviously enraged both sides of the spectrum. In my opinion, it takes great courage for such a student to boldly voice her thoughts in print. I congratulate Ms. Mogg-Barkalow for taking a stand, voicing her raw opinion, exercising her First Amendment right to free speech, and reporting on a story that is not just about same-sex marriage, but a story about equality across the board regardless of political or religious beliefs. I feel that it is our duty as journalists to keep the public well informed, speak our minds, and to keep the vision of equality for all in the spotlight.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Meals Equal Literacy?

Recently, Yahoo news had a headline that stopped me dead in my tracks. It read, “Could McDonalds’ become a leading book retailer?” My first thought was, “here we go, another crazy marketing scheme.” So of course, I had to click the link and read what it was about. It stated that McDonald's would be substituting their Happy Meal toys with a book to promote literacy for the children in Britain. As I read the article, I am perplexed and pretty disturbed that the review from Britain’s Literary Trust is a positive one. "One in three children in this country don't own a book, which is extremely concerning as there is a clear link between book ownership and children's future success in life," says director Jonathan Douglas. "We are very supportive of McDonald’s decision.”

A part of me gets the feeling that the mighty Mickey-D’s has lined the pockets of the British Literary world.

And to add to that I say, ahh, McDonald’s, we meet again. Just when I thought you couldn’t out do your evil ploys to lure people into eating your artery clogging, obese inducing, fat-laden, salty sustenance, you launch a marketing campaign attempting to veil your fake foods by luring children to connect reading with french fries. I have to say, this has to be one of the best schemes ever. With past campaigns as the illustrious McRib comeback (gag), the highly addictive Monopoly game (guilty) and providing ‘healthy’ choices like organic milk and Newmans’ coffee (feeble attempt), I stumble upon your latest ploy; trying to pass yourself off as a reputable establishment to promote literacy in children. Of course, you won't just settle for any old book, no. You team up with Michael Morpurgo, to promote his award-winning Mudpuddle Farm stories. 

A genius attempt I say.

But how could this be? You are not Barnes and Noble, nor are you Amazon. Heck, you're not even a parent. I say stick to what you know; fats and calories, brainwashing and manipulating adults and children around the world to gorge on your food.

Furthermore, how dare you attempt to come across to parents and children as a place that provides good food for the mind when you can’t provide good food for the body? Please, stop and think about this. While reading these books, the children will be consuming over 500 calories and over 20 grams of fat, with every book they acquire. Then times those numbers by six. That’s if they are lucky enough to get a different book with each meal purchased.
It's clearly apparent that the only thing that is being fed is the shareholders pockets.
Now, I'm sure that your public relations team would inform me that it is truly up to the parent to decide whether or not to purchase a Happy Meal for their children and that you are not solely responsible for the obesity issue in American children today. This may be true, however, if you took the money profited from this ‘literacy’ campaign and put it to completely revamping your menu, scale back the strong subliminal messages that your food equals happiness, or that getting a nine cent toy that will be thrown away in a matter of months (thank you for contributing to the global carbon footprint) maybe, just maybe McDonald's Happy Meals won’t be so addictive to a child, like heroin is to an addict.

Please allow me enlighten you on some facts (as if you already didn't know). According to the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, “Currently 15% of US youth are overweight, a prevalence nearly twice as high in children and three times as high in adolescents compared to 1980 prevalence rates. Almost two-thirds (60%) of overweight children have at least one cardiovascular risk factor (e.g., hypertension, hyperlipidemia) and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is increasing in youth.”

Regardless of whether you think the parent is responsible for this or not is irrelevant. The food that you are providing is a direct link to heart disease. Period. Frankly I don’t know how you sleep at night.  Let’s continue.

IJBHPA states, “While multiple factors influence eating behaviors and food choices of youth, one potent force is food advertising. Today's youth live in a media-saturated environment. Over the past 10 years, US children and adolescents have increasingly been targeted with intensive and aggressive forms of food marketing and advertising practices through a range of channels.” I could go on, but I won’t. I think you already know the statistics and frankly don’t care about the health of children in the years to come. This is just another tactic to gain the urge of millions of people to eat an abundance of your food in order just to be given the opportunity to be turned on to books.

Just one flaw with that. If a child isn't interested in books, it will have to take a whole lot more than six McDonald's visits to hook them. It will however, hook them on Happy Meals just after six visits.

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


So, the holidays are upon us, and the stress levels can’t get any higher. Between final exams, Christmas shopping, bill paying, school plays, and holiday parties, my youngest daughter has decided that this is the perfect time to have a complete meltdown that forces me to think; I wonder how much a ten-year-old is going for on EBay. However, since that is highly frowned upon by Department of Social Services, I opted for her to lose television and computer privileges for an entire week.

Her response to that was another meltdown followed by tears and pleading. I stood my ground. Since things were out of control, she needed to be wrangled in. I think this will be good for her. It will give her time to get back in touch with her inner self and reflect on her poor behavior and the toys [that are on the line] for which she has begged for this Christmas.

For me, it is absolute heaven.

It gave me the opportunity to finish up an eight-page final essay a week early, and get my housework done with no other noise than the radio station that plays Christmas songs around the clock.

After a couple of days with no television, I found that she was able to focus on her homework, study for tests, practice her violin, and amazingly enough, the struggle with nightly routines was diminished. Why, do you ask? Because there is no arguing about missing her favorite shows. We have Netflix, and she can watch them next week.

Crisis averted!

Completely loving this new quiet way of living, I wondered how other people fared with this experiment. Not everyone can handle an entire week without television. After going to my handy dandy internet search engine, I found a link to the Coronado, California Patch online newspaper that ran a story about the town going "Screen Free". Tonia Accetta was asked if she was going to have her family partake in the “Screen-Free Week”.  Her response was, “The dates also coincide with the Easter break. It seems a bit mean to turn off TV when school is out. Plus we have to know who gets kicked off American Idol!” I can’t help but think; Heavens to Murgatroyd! God forbid Tonia is subjected to the daunting task of entertaining her children for the entire school break. Not to mention missing the next singer to get booted off American Idol. Anything but that!

Then there is a comment from Jan Spear on why there shouldn’t be a Screen-Free Week; “Screen-Free Week or National TV-Turnoff week impacts our escapism. Just a suggestion, how about limiting the amount of TV time per week, instead of totally tuning out? I wouldn't want to miss a Tsunami warning.”

Sarcasm wells up inside me.

Well, I can see how that’s justifiable, Jan. Tsunami warnings are so frequent in the United States these days we wouldn’t want to be caught off guard by a spontaneous Tsunami. Oh, and I can see how climbing into bed at night and escaping into a great book is completely out of the question.

Oy Vey, give me a break.

After being surprised and disappointed at the comments coming from highly educated adults on this subject, I decided to look elsewhere, hoping to find other information that I could use. I clicked on the next link to an article written by Charlene Lee, a fourteen-year-old girl from Los Angeles who challenged herself to an entire week of no television after she spent five hours straight watching the “Heroes” series.

What she discovered was surprising. After going through the withdrawal process, (aka the first couple of days with no television), she realized that she was able to be much more productive with her time. She found ways to fill her time with meaningful and important things like homework, studying for her SAT’s and submitting in her draft story for the LA Youth online newspaper early.

She began to not care about her favorite televisions shows and preferred to do something productive. However, by day five, she broke her own rules and went to the movies to catch the opening of Spiderman 3.

While sitting in the theater, she started thinking of other things she could be doing instead of wasting her time watching a movie. I find it pretty amazing for a fourteen-year-old to surmise how much television has impacted her life in a negative way just after five days.

Way to go Charlene!

I can only hope that after this weekend, my daughter will realize all the things she was able to do and that a week without television was not so bad after all.

Or at the very least will think twice before acting up.