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  Sunday January 25th, 2015    

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Old stars (03/31/2013)
By Frances Edstrom

I didn’t watch much television prior to this winter. This winter was such a succession of long, cold, lonely nights I decided to tune in to a few shows to see if I was missing anything. I’ve found a couple of shows I enjoy, notably “Castle,” because I read the mystery books that Richard Castle writes, and they are fairly intelligent for the genre.

What has struck me, however, is all the old (really old) movie stars and singers who now make a living shilling for some very embarrassing products on TV. It’s one thing when Andie MacDowell and Gwyneth Paltrow do ads for make-up. It’s quite another thing when Gwyneth’s mother, Blythe Danner, is stuck doing osteoporosis ads wearing a big scarf around her neck to hide her saggy neck.

And Pat Boone! How did the guy go from “Love Letters in the Sand” to “Step into my Tub for Old Guys,” I wonder? Poor Florence Henderson. Do you know there are a couple of generations who don’t know the mother of the original Brady Bunch? They only know old Florence for ads about denture cream. Those same generations probably wonder how Sally Field, whom they’ve only seen selling osteoporosis pills, was nominated for an Oscar.

If I see Mick Jagger doing ads for men’s “erectile dysfunction” products, I’m quitting TV forever.

What is it that I find so disturbing about actors selling things on TV? I don’t object to TV. I don’t object to products, and I certainly don’t object to a good sales pitch. It’s just so…unromantic. I remember my first shock. I was watching an old film of “Little Women,” one of my favorites, when in bounced the character Jo March, played by…the Depends lady??? C’mon! I know you have to make a living, but really.

These people make millions during their working years. And they get paid for doing all the things we have to pay to do. Do you know how much Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got for having kids? Magazines have paid them $11,000,000 to run the kids’ pictures. When’s the last time someone paid you for a photo of your kid? (And wouldn’t you be a little suspicious of a guy’s motive if he offered?) When I’m with a bunch of grandmothers, I can barely get them to look at the pics for free!

It isn’t fair that movie stars have all that money, to spend on mansions and yachts and five or six cars…maybe a jet…and here they are stealing jobs from other old people who really need the money. Heck, I know a lot of people who would be willing to say, “I wear Depends and you’d never know it!” for a big wad of cash. Some would even do it for nothing if they got a free trip to California.

It’s just another example of how unfair life is. Or is it? We may not get rich doing TV commercials, but they don’t get to live in the Winona area, which is just on the cusp of awakening for the spring. They may have a yacht on the ocean, but we can fish off the dock at Lake Winona. They can ski in Switzerland, but we can ski at Saint Mary’s or on the river. They can eat caviar, but we can eat bratwurst made right here. Who do you think has a better life? I don’t think it’s even a contest. Caviar’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Happy Easter

It will be a little different egg hunt this year. We are either going to have an indoor event, or the kids will have to wear rubber boots.

I boiled the eggs on Thursday night, and only two of them burst open. I’m not the best at boiled eggs. That was John’s job, because he loved deviled eggs and egg salad so much.

Our photo albums are full of photos of the kids in their Easter finery. Some years the trees were in bud, the tulips were up, and we ate rhubarb dessert. Other years, Easter dresses were covered by the same old winter jacket we’d been wearing for months.

Whatever the weather, Easter signals many things to us, both religious and secular. Enjoy it!



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