Let's Get Silly

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer: A Time for Learning. Duh


If you are visiting via the lovely Julie Gardner, we are happy to have you here at Fond of the Silliness.  You will find that around these parts we like sarcasm, silliness and have a tendency towards irreverence.  Also phrases like "Christ on a bike" can pop up where you least expect them.

When you enter the blogging world, you will undoubtedly fall in love with someone else's writing.  If you are very lucky, you get to actually become friends with the person who writes the words.  And if you are very, very lucky, you find your new blogging friend turns out to have the same qualities that you loved in their words.   

That is how I see my friend,  Julie Gardner, from By Any Other Name.  

Have I mentioned that she was chosen as one of BlogHer Voices of The Year?  

Julie holds a place in my heart, because from her I've learned the fact that I don't blog everyday does not mean I am not great at blogging.  It means that I want to write when it moves me, which she's assured me is just fine.  And while it may hold me back from a certain status as a blogger, it will keep my writing the way that I want it to be.  

Julie has graciously agreed to guest post here on my little blog.  

Thank you, Julie.  I'm so glad that today we can call you silly. 

You are going to want to read more of Julie's work, so please visit her website By Any Other Name and follow her on Twitter here.

If you are visiting, you may want to check out these posts to get a better taste for Fond of the Silliness:  

Here she is folks:

Summer: A Time for Learning. Duh.

People, have you checked your calendars lately? It’s June 18th.  And you know what that means, don’t you?

We’re just two short days away from the official start of summer! 

Yes, as the days stretch longer and the kids finish school, we’re about to gain hours and days and weeks and months of free time to enjoy the spoils of the season.

We’ll go to the beach and the park. Invite friends over to swim. Ride bikes and feed the ducks at that lake behind the library. We’ll actually go inside the library.


Because of course we’ll be reading a lot. Like Dostoyevsky. Or something even more literarily literary.  
50 Shades of Grey, perhaps. I hear it’s a trilogy. Or a threesome. Or something like that.


I should basically be done with all of these activities by Thursday. 

And at that point, the leftover cake I baked for my son’s promotion to high school will be gone. 

(Oh, who am I kidding? I finished it last night.)

Either way, the truth of the matter is this:

Books and ducks and threesomes can keep a girl occupied for only so long. 

And what’s the next step toward a summer jam-packed with fun?

That’s right. Television. 


When I was a kid, I didn’t have a TV in my bedroom so gathering around the tube meant family bonding. (Stop laughing. It did.)

Every day we sat on the great-room couch watching Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart; or Soap and M*A*S*H* and Barney Miller, with a cat or a bowl of ice cream (sometimes both) in our laps.

These were good times, believe me. The best. 

Which is what I want for my kids, naturally. And I’m pretty sure those shows continue to air on TVland or some other earnest station dedicated to nostalgia. 

Still. In my old age I’ve gotten more high-brow. Not “PBS high-brow.” Oh no. 

A woman only needs one tote bag when carting stale bread across town to chuck at mallards.

So lately we’ve begun watching TLC. You know. The Learning Channel. 

Because learning is good. 

(You may quote me.)

Take Toddlers & Tiaras, a delightful train wreck in which pageant moms shout “Get it girl!” at their four-year-olds who parade around stage dressed like Julia Roberts’ hooker character in Pretty Woman

From this my 13-year-old daughter has learned I’m not a total idiot. And when she gushes, “Thanks for not spray-tanning me Mom,” it’s pretty much music to my ears.

After watching Sister Wives, my 15-year-old son has learned that the challenge of juggling multiple spouses and houses and kids (oh my!) is perhaps not worth the fringe benefits. Ahem. Or amen. 

Or both of those things.


And we’ve all gotten sucked into My Strange Addiction where viewers learn America is the land of the free and the home of the depraved.

It’s easier to feel better about your own habit of spooning Breyer’s Rocky Road directly into your mouth from the carton when they’re profiling a guy who licks the bottom of his bird’s cage. 

Or some lady who eats the cushions off her sofa.

I mean, we’re just sitting on ours. So yeah. I guess we’re doing okay.

Then there’s Cake Boss (yum) and LA Ink (ouch) and a few other shows in which people can’t stop bearing children either one at a time or in litters.

But I don’t judge.

After all, these programs foster discussions about choices and self-control and ohmygod we’re just trying to make it through summer without having to read Crime and Punishment again.


If the flat screen’s what does it for us? I say, “Get it Girl!”

I mean, “Carry on!”

Because I really liked Barney Miller. And when my kids are grown, I want them to have equally great memories of their own childhoods. 

Featuring televisions and cats and ice cream in our laps.

Except without the cats. Because Bill claims he’s allergic and we put up with this limitation on account of we love him.

Still. The man better not turn up lactose intolerant. Or that weak link will be voted out of the family. 



julie gardner said...

Amanda, It's a pleasure to be here at one of my favorite places on the internet.

Thanks again for hosting me and letting me share my true TV confessions.

You're the best, my friend.
I'd watch Strange Addiction with you any day...

Alex@LateEnough said...

I heart TV and I can't wait until my kids are old enough for me to not feel guilty about them watching it.

Annabelle Archer said...

Oh Julie, why can't we be neighbors? This is my kind of summer fun. I love watching these kinds of shows, purely for the what not to do factor.

Can't wait to cruise around this gem of a blog.

Julie said...


Thanks so much for that super-sweet intro.

I'm not sure I deserve it but I'm thrilled to be here today.

You're the best for trusting your space to me and my craziness.

I'd be your Sister Wife any day...

By Word of Mouth Musings said...

Seriously, I have three cats and I am allergic.
And I am pretty much lactose intolerant ... and am addicted to drive thro Mickey D's icecream.
But love me anyway, flatulence and all ;)

Suniverse said...

We've been watching The X Files, which is about science, so I feel like we're accomplishing a lot this summer with the curtains closed and the AC cranking.

tracy@sellabitmum said...

Dance Moms 8pm central on Tuesdays. What else does one need?

Lori Dyan said...

My kids started vacation last week (!) and my son has taken to wearing my pink, fuzzy bathrobe around the house. As a result, my husband has demanded that I sign him up for camp, pronto.

Cheryl said...


Be happy your kids are too old for Shake it Up and Jessie and Good Luck Charlie (altho that one I love). You just don't learn the same lessons from those shows as you do from Toddlers and Tiaras!

Julie said...

@Alex - No joke, isn't TV the BEST?! I only wish I were kidding...

@Annabelle - You will love this blog. And I LOVE to surround myself with evidence of moms who are worse than I am. Hooray!

@Nicole - I will take you and your cats and your flatulence any day of the week. Promise.

@Suni - God Bless AC. Amen.

@Tracy - Haven't watched Dance Moms yet. Clearly, I've been an underachiever and must remedy immediately.

@Lori - Does that mean I can borrow your pink fuzzy bathrobe?

@Cheryl - Thanks. I have the theme song to Jessie playing in my head now. Because my daughter won't give up her kid shows completely yet. Selfish.

Terri Sonoda said...

All of a sudden I don't feel quite so ashamed of watching Hells Kitchen and Master Chef on the cooking channel. I do venture over to The Learning Channel occasionally, but I tread lightly so as not to disturb the crazy.
Today's TV = a crap shoot. Luckily, I learned how to use an M-16 in the Air Force.
And besides, Big Brother starts soon and my summer will be complete!
Funny funny post Julie!

jrzgrrl said...

Honestly, I think I would rather reread Crime and Punishment or maybe even Moby Dick. Happy summer!!!

Poppy said...

I love that my kids are getting old enough to watch some shows with. Just wish Hank would quit licking the flat screen during Cupcake Wars.

NannyK said...

Jules, you don't have to watch Dance Moms after our own Mother's stellar immitation of Abbey Lee Miller last Saturday night!

Mom, if you're reading this, I'm absolutely NOT bashing you. Your willingness to be silly (a.k.a. Make a fool of yourself) all these years has paved the way for your daughters, who seem to reach new heights in ridiculosity as the years go by.

And seeing that Amanda has a blog post entitled "Fancy Nancy Can Bite Me" makes me her new biggest fan!!!

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

Have you got my cup of tea ready? Because I'm coming over to watch telly with you.

Julie said...

@Terri - Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef are SUPER high-brow around here. My kids love Chef Ramsey. Shhhh...

@Diane (aka Jrzgrrl) - Not Moby Dick. Say it isn't so....

@Poppy - As long as Hank doesn't try any beauty pageants...he's good.

@Nance - I forgot about her imitation. Because she's not just cool. She's bitchin'.

@Alison - I love how poor taste knows no time zones. I'm waiting for you my friend. You can bring the boys, too.

Mrs. Tuna said...

Love me, love my blog.....

Love you Julie xoxoxo

John said...

I was just thinking about the fact that summer meant TV for me. I, also, didn't have a TV in my room, so TV watching was a family ordeal. But, during the summers, I'd watch most of my TV during the day, and that meant watching game shows. Oh, how I loved Press Your Luck.

Truthfully, though, my first great memories as a family involved the Dukes of Hazzard and The Muppet Show with my parents.

But now, I hate being so busy, I can barely keep up with any TV...I feel like I'm neglecting my DVR.

Robin Bielman said...

Hi Amanda! Hi Julie! As usual, Julie, it's a good thing I wasn't drinking anything when I read this. (I've learned.) We, too, gather around the TV for family time. Our selections are all over the place, but my secret guilty pleasure when no one's looking? The Real Housewives. Only of Beverly Hills, though. I do have to draw the line somewhere. :) (Oh, and I was in Vons with one of them a few months ago! Not that I went all, OMG, look who it is. Okay, I did. Totally should have said hi. I didn't.)

Robin Bielman said...

Oh, forgot to say Congrats on being one of the BlogHer Voices of the Year, Julie! That's awesome!

Jessica said...

I love this and reality TV. No, wait, I don't just love reality TV. I think I'm addicted to it. My girls are still too young to enjoy it with me, so it's my late night indulgence.

Bridget said...

Is it weird that I hear your voice reading these posts to me even though I've never heard your voice?

No? Good, thanks.

M*A*S*H was a staple of family viewing in my house too. I wish I could say it was in reruns. Right now I'm watching some horrible show. About horrible females who look impossibly cute and incredibly young.

I miss HotLips Houlihan.

Lady Jennie said...

How crazy! We totally miss out on these shows and I'm devastated.

Not really, but I'm finding it hard to think of things to do with the kids. :-)

Janie Fox said...

I adore Julie. She cracks me up. She says this blog is the cat's meow or pajamas or one of those...I can't care but I will be back.

Julie said...

@Mrs. Tuna - I think you already read Amanda here...because we have good taste!

@John - OH did we EVER watch game shows. Match Game, Password, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy (but now I'm starting to sound smart. So I'll stop).

@Robin - I hate myself a little whenever I catch an episode of RHO anywhere...but I hate them even more!

@Jessica - Someday your girls will be older and you can corrupt them as I've done with my children. (Fingers crossed...)

@Bridget - HotLips was the best. And I watched M*A*S*H* in real time, too. Because we're like fine wine. (Or boxed wine. Either one.)

@Jennie - And now, I can't move to France. (Okay. Maybe yes, I still can. If you cook for me.)

@Janie - It's both the pajamas and the meow. Two cat-compliments in one. XO

Amanda said...

Thank you to ALL the visitors that came to see me yesterday!

Please, do come back : )

Greta @gfunkified said...

EXACTLY. Why do people say there's anything wrong with television?! Television is what's right with the world, I say.

Duffy Batzer said...

My children are already familar with The Doctor and his TARDIS. My work here is done.

Galit Breen said...

Hee! Love this, Julie!

Do you want to watch V together?

I totally mean Quality TV. Of course I do.

(I watched Cheers with my dad growing up. Good 'ol days, anyone?!)

Renee Schuls-Jacobson said...

Julie, you know my thing about Hoarders, right? And Intervention? I can't not watch them. The people are disasters -- but I cannot look away.

Well, at least I'm not eating the bed sheets. Yet.

I love you, girl.

I mean, bitch, let me insert these Ben-Wa balls in your duck's rump-shaker.

Wow. Look where you've made me go, Julie. ;-)

Enjoy summer. I know you'll be reading.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one whose teenage daughter thanks her for not putting her in pageants when watching "Toddlers and Tiaras."

I had often wondered how TLC can keep using it as an acronym for The Learning Channel, but you make a good case for actual learning being done in spite of their programming. Well played.

And I loved Barney Miller, but Fish was always my favorite.

My Inner Chick said...

nice to see you back in the blogmosphere :) x

Anonymous said...

CLASSIC Julie Gardner material. LOVED it.

Katie said...


I want Eddie to get old enough that I can watch stuff I like without feeling like the kind of parents I complain about.

wait. what?

Missy@Wonder, Friend said...

Thanks for introducing me to a great new blog! And for validating my stance on TV. It's not completely evil (only the reality dating shows are evil). I would never have known the joys of the early bird dinner if I hadn't watched all those episodes of The Golden Girls with my parents.

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