Bye Bye Tori and Dean

Actress Tori Spelling, during an interview

Image via Wikipedia

  A group of mommies stood around chatting, impatiently waiting for our sons to wrap up baseball practice as we shivered in the twilight.  A little girl prancing around her mom’s feet found an unconventional treasure…a hole in the grass that was about a foot and a half deep and a foot wide.  It was the type of hole that was perfectly deceptive because it wasn’t big enough for a body to fall in but just the right size to miss, step in and twist an ankle.  The tiny girl stood at the very edge peering into the hole.  She was transfixed and couldn’t take her eyes off it. 

Her mother suggested she stay away from the hole.  So the little girl backed up but kept her gaze steady on it.  As her mom returned to yapping with her friends, I saw the little girl back up and start running towards the hole.  With a great leap she jumped over it and laughed in delight.  Her mother watched in chagrin as over and over she ran to the hole and launched her little body over it.  The little girl thought she had discovered a loophole; she could obey her mom and yet still be near the dangerous hole. 

I chuckled to myself as I watched her, then picked up my son and headed home.  But, the image of the child continued to play in my mind long after I left the baseball field.

And then I it hit me, all too often I am the little girl who pranced around the hole, maybe not falling in per se, but delicately dancing around the temptation. 

My husband recently cut back on some of our satellite cable channels to save a few bucks each month (strangely enough ESPN was not one of them).  But a few of my favorite channels have been axed-Bravo, WE and the E Channel.  All my favorite dishy shows, Tori and Dean, The Real Housewives and E News Daily have disappeared into the land of non-subscriber channel land. 

When I scroll through the viewer bar, I can even see what I am missing.  It’s there, but I can’t access it.  Painful! My vicarious addiction to reality TV viewing has been interrupted and I am truly bummed out. Even though I know I should be rejoicing in cutting off my hand that sins (or eyes in this case), my spirit is reluctant and indignant.

I am always surprised at this constant tension of fleshly desires and faith battling in my inner psyche: One moment I am convicted and the next the princess of justification.  I tell myself it’s important to understand culture, while secretly knowing the lives of celebrities offer nothing of value for me to emulate. 

I empathize with Tori Spelling, a working mom just like me, and look for any redeeming characteristic in the show to somehow make it alright. Of course the one and only time I got my pastor husband to watch the program with me; Tori invited a witch doctor over to do a spiritual cleansing involving a mud bath and Tori in a bikini.  That didn’t go over so well.

Despite the best of intentions, and my sincere desire to always do the right thing, I am still prone to obsessing on the tantalizing holes in my life.  And even though I might not succumb to the temptation, my thoughts wage an internal battle untill I submit to the Spirit.  Like Paul said, I do what I don’t want to do.  And sometimes, if it’s an itty-bitty thing (like Tori and Dean), I simply do the bad thing and make excuses.  

So, I am both happy and sad I can no longer watch Kimora, Tori and Tamara, I will miss my glitzy and superficial friends. But I am also strangely excited to relinquish my little vice and find shows more honoring to God.

And maybe, just maybe, I can find some shows that are a little more Holy than hole-y.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13 NIV)

No Tweets for CIA

Detail, Panel Three of Jenny Holzer's 2006 Tri...

Image by takomabibelot via Flickr

I have a secret.  I am totally obsessed with spies right now.  I started researching the CIA for an article, and now I am having a proverbial field day, ruminating on codes, pondering treachery and analyzing patterns of security breaches.  My brain is a convoluted mess of Hollywood idealism interspersed with car bombs in Iraq, Egyptian revolt and CIA headlines insinuating data errors.

Sadly, I don’t think I am alone in my fascination with our country’s defense, or lack thereof right now.  The media have pretty much guaranteed every quagmire in the world is played out before our very eyes.  And the effect of this supersaturation is an uprising in my spirit of an inner (dormant) bad-ass that wants to be freed. 

I am shocked at my own intensity because I am a relatively passive gal. I want to rally the troops, hack into satellite imagery of North Africa and go get the bad guys. Call it the “Ironman” syndrome, but deep down I think there is a hero in all of us, just waiting for an opportunity to get our hands dirty and fight for the oppressed.

I feel so helpless watching Cairo crumble. I  walked those streets, now filled with angry protestors, and sailed on the Nile only a few short years ago when my husband and I spent our honeymoon in the Mediterranean.

I have to laugh now at my naivete…because I  expected Cairo to look like the charming scenes of white washed buildings, dates and monkeys from the pre-World War II days depicted in Raiders of the Lost Ark

But reality is a far cry from Hollywood, and while the history and ruins were truly remarkable, the city itself was disturbing.  It was overcrowded, polluted and unsettling as an American.  I remember the guards on every corner with machine guns; the trash piled so high it created mountains, and the rebar stretching out like tentacles on unfinished buildings in a never-ending sea of millions of squatters.

 The whole time we were in Egypt, three very long days to be exact; I struggled to relax or let down my defense.  Just like Jason Bourne, I was acutely aware of my surroundings.  Unlike Jason Bourne, my ninja skills are limited to dangerous words and inciting comments. So, in the back of my mind, I plotted escape routes and assessed each pyramid for dudes with guns and danger.  Of course, just about everyone there has a gun, so it was a rather limiting exercise.

I almost had a heart attack when my husband decided to take a walk along the beach in Alexandria by himself without his shirt on(trust me…the abs were smoking).  I  knew he would be kidnapped and ransomed off as a sex slave. And then I would have to join the CIA and hunt him down myself!

But on a more serious note, when I saw this article on Yahoo news yesterday, Should spies spend more time on Twitter, my interest was piqued. It begs the question whether our Intelligence analysts should have the right to be eavesdropping on evil doers plotting death and destruction.  Hmmm…this is a tough one!  In all honesty, there are some days I only wish big brother would censure  people and their incessant updates. 

I struggle with the argument that free speech is being hindered by Intelligence analysts tracking known terrorists or even suspected terrorists on Twitter and Facebook? It’s not like the CIA is interested in anyone’s 400th picture of their baby with cereal on his face, or even for that matter,  those questionable pics from the office Christmas party that you “accidentally” got tagged in.  They are looking for something a little darker…like Osama Bin Laden and his minions!

But I may be alone in this sentiment, along with House Republicans and even president Obama, because the extension of the Patriot Act was voted down on Tuesday. Come again?

That’s right…voted down. 

I am getting pretty frustrated here.  Because by the time I am in ready to join the CIA, they will have had their hands completely tied by Washington, have almost no power left, and will be run by a bunch of teenagers whom, oh, by the way will be Tweeting all day, but not actually allowed to use Twitter for any real good; as in catching terrorists (see my last article.)

Where is Jack Ryan when we need him?

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