Trial Balloon

A Dog by an Ironic Name Is Still a Dog

Posted at 5:30 AM on March 29, 2010 by Radio Heartlander (74 Comments)
Filed under: Guest Bloggers

From the Desk of the Heartlanders
Guest Blogger - elinor

I am going to admit to an embarrassing fact about myself right now and get it out of the way. Occasionally, I will shut myself in my room with a pile of pillows, a cozy mound of blankets, and a DVD to watch Love Letters, a 1999 teleplay of the AR Gurney play by the same name. It's probably embarrassing enough to admit that I have read and reread the play, which is more than a tad concerned with WASP life, but the truth is that, about once a year, I dig this DVD out of the stack to watch a movie that was never even destined for the big screen. Many rationalizations are handily at my disposal: Laura Linney (one of my favorite actresses) is in it after all, the play was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for gosh sake, and, if it was good enough for the guy who directed Singing in the Rain to make for TV, who am I to judge? Still, the fact remains that for me watching this Made-for-TV movie has been a guilty pleasure, in which I have indulged - up until this moment - covertly.

It's been the same with listening to The Carpenters or to Abba. For years, their albums came out of the closet when nobody else was around to hear (quite possibly because no one else wanted to hear), but recently I stumbled upon an emboldening interview with Brian Eno. In Paul Morley's interview "On gospel, Abba and the death of the record: an audience with Brian Eno" in The Observer, Brian Eno talked about his feelings about Abba:

In the 70s, no one would admit that they liked Abba. Now it's fine. It's so kitsch. Kitsch is an excuse to defend the fact that they feel a common emotion. If it is kitsch. you put a sort of frame around something - to suggest you are being ironic. Actually, you aren't. You are really enjoying it. I like Abba. I did then and I didn't admit it. The snobbery of the time wouldn't allow it. I did admit it when I heard 'Fernando'; I could not bear to keep the secret to myself anymore and also because I think there is a difference between Swedish sentimentality and LA sentimentality because the Swedish are so restrained emotionally. When they get sentimental it's rather sweet and charming. What we really got me with "Fernando" was what the lower singer was doing, I don't know her name. I spent months trying to learn that. It's so obscure what she's doing and very hard to sing. And then from being a sceptic I went over the top in the other direction. I really fell for them.

It was pleasantly refreshing to witness an artist I admire unleashing the guiltier pleasure from from its acceptable place behind irony. When my friend Jack (who is a writer) and I were discussing Brian Eno's passion for Abba, I told him about how I had started watching Law & Order SVU for the gems of terrifically bad writing I would encounter without disappointment in each and every episode (the perp left a calling card, for example) but how now it appeared I was just watching the show in earnest. He aptly followed up with something that the writer Flannery O'Connor had said of her mother, "I always thought that if she had a dog she'd name him Spot--without irony. If I had a dog I'd name him Spot, with irony. But for all practical purposes no one would know the difference." Just as an observer would be unable to do, I can no longer tell if I'm watching Special Victim's Unit with or without irony. One thing is certain, though: I have an appointment with the television when Law and Order SVU airs.

What is it for you? What's your kitsch? Do you listen to Barry Manilow, watch the Miami version of CSI, or perhaps watch reruns of Three's Company, whether it be with or without irony? We Heartlanders are all friends here, so your secrets are safe. What are your guiltiest pleasures?

Comments (74)

Morning Heartlanders... thanks elinor for a great start today!

I've been sitting here for about 10 minutes, trying to think if I have any guilty pleasures. I have plenty of pleasures, but nothing that I can think of that I usually keep under wraps. Don't know if it's my age or my father's genetic spillover, but I'm not too apologetic for my choices.

Well, maybe the Cadbury eggs this time every year.

Posted by sherrilee | March 29, 2010 6:10 AM

elinor. you have us off and running daleless for the near forseeable future.
great topic. guilty pleaseures. potato chips. i can't stop. i need to get healthy lose weight enjoy my gourmet cooking bent but the chips call out to me. tv i am a turner movie classics junkie, just about anything they put on. radio, radio heartland and bob edwards and the bob dylan radio hour of xm radio. and oh i know . i am an e sports junkie. fantasy baseball football basketball and golf. i know waty too much and spend way too much time doing lineup updates and knowing who the rising stars in all leagues are. no college, no hockey no nascar but golf and football have become pretty funny the level of intensity. musically i don't feel guilty about my tastes but i never had an abba fetish either. i used to sell a product from electrolux in europe and the company was owned by abba, i always thought that was pretty cool to be working for a rock group.
as for other other guilts wine and procrastination are my enemies. i am a recovering smoker and catholic but you never kick those things completely. just keep battleing.
thanks elinor for starting us off on the daleless stretch with such a provoking topic. lloking forward to finding out all our blog buddies soft underbellies.

Posted by tim | March 29, 2010 6:17 AM

Good Morning Secret Keepers,

Years ago I watched soap operas on TV for a while and found them fascinating. I don't do that now, but I do watch "bad" TV all the time. I don't like the way some of the shows on prime time TV are almost soap operas, but I do often watch one of the most soap opera like ones, Desperate House Wives. I guess this show is so heavily into "soap opera" that it is sort a joke which might make it a form of kitsch.

A show I really liked that many people thought was bad was The Gong Show. I don't know what music I listen to could be thought of as kitsch. Donavan is kind of in the kitsch area, but I think, in spite of his young teenager appeal, he is a talented musican. I like mystery novels, but many of the mystery writers are very good writers, in my opinion, so I don't think they are in the kitsch territory.

Posted by Jim | March 29, 2010 6:21 AM

Interesting post, elinor. Somehow the fact Brian Eno likes Abba doesn't quite make them okay in my book. In music, I used to listen a lot to Fleetwood Mac and their crude three-chord songs.

I used to have food guilty pleasures until my former wife ran her many reform programs and shamed me out of them. In grad school I would heat a can of chicken ala king and dump it over shoestring potatoes. That was a good way to get your weekly salt requirement out of the way with one serving. Then desert would be a bowl of instant chocolate pudding into which I would insert the nozzle of a Redi Whip can and hit the button, causing it to double in size. That was tasty.

The only two movies I can watch over and over are actually quite good: "Princess Bride" and "Tremors." My pleasure there isn't guilty.

The worst I'm guilty of now is red wine chilled in the freezer. In Minnesota that's just an eccentricity, although it might be a capitol offense in France.

I look forward to hearing from everyone else.

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | March 29, 2010 6:22 AM

Glad to know I'm not the only Princess Bride fan.. when it first came out in theatres, I went to see it three nights in a row... with a different friend each night. I can still quote large tracts of it. That and American Dreamer w/ JoBeth Williams and Tom Conti.

Posted by sherrilee | March 29, 2010 6:28 AM

Elinor - you set a high bar for the blog with your excellent writing but i'm glad the topic is down to earth slob stuff :-) but mixing irony, Flannery O'Connor, and the Carpenters - that's pretty good! thanks.

when we had cable tv (long ago) we would scramble to watch "Savoir Faire" - with Canadian Nick Manojlovich. all about hosting parties/events/decorating/flower arranging. nothing we would ever do, but Nick was so cute and charming and sincere.
i'm so uncool i didn't know to be guilty about liking John Denver, Abba, (and who was the group that sang "Cherish??)
while we'll miss Dale, i think we're off to a great start with your question today, Elinore.
happy day all
Alba's kids doing great; Dodger's doing pretty well.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | March 29, 2010 6:38 AM

Barb... do Dodger's goatlings have names yet? Checked the blog, but looks like you and Steve are a little too busy for that right now!

Posted by sherrilee | March 29, 2010 6:54 AM

I went to a funeral this fall for a brilliant, creative, artisitic physician taken from us too soon. In her eulogy his daughter talked about her dad dancing to Abba across the kitchen floor.It was one of her fondest memories.

High culture, low culture it's all good, bad, and indifferent. Many of our guity pleasures become guilty when we are embarassed/snobby about popular culture, I read in the bathtub and let me tell you that you can't read Proust with bubbles so I read lots of junk.

Elinor, I encourage you to go public (or at least to the the kitchen) with Abba. Mamma Mia, Life is too short for guilt over Fernado and Waterloo

Posted by Beth-Ann | March 29, 2010 7:13 AM

I visited with a young woman in Bulgaria who said Abba was her favorite. I was suprised because there seemed to be a lot of good music there, but I guess young people there were really into Abba at that time.

Posted by Jim | March 29, 2010 7:21 AM

Elinor thanks for lifting up the best housecleaning and dishwashing music: Manilow, Abba and the Carpenters. My other guilty pleasure is going right for the People magazine in the dentist's office, airport or blood donation center instead of Time. Thanks for letting us come out of the closet.

Barb congrats on the goats (kids I guess) and Dale/Mike, in honor of guilty pleasures could you play the bobs "slow down Krishna" sometime? Have a great day everyone.

Posted by Cynthia in Minneapolis | March 29, 2010 7:36 AM

Abba, Princess Bride (book before the movie), awful, bloody murder mysteries (which I rationalize by telling myself that the central characters in the series I read are strong, professional women...), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV and movie), John Cusack...

I agree with Beth-Ann, life is too short for guilt over Fernando and Waterloo (or most any other guilty pleasure).

Posted by Anna | March 29, 2010 7:43 AM

Thanks, everyone, for the comments!

sherrilee, I think my seasonal taste for "Peeps" might fall under the umbrella of guilty pleasures. Cadbury eggs seem pretty high brow in comparison!

tim, That's awesome that you worked for a rock group!

Jim, soap operas are a good one! I wonder if the higher profile stars in Desperate Housewives think it a guilty gig to be in the series. I have never seen it.

Steve in Saint Paul, what I like is that Brian Eno quit deferring to the snobbery of the times. Love "Princess Bride"!

barb in Blackhoof, never saw "Savoir Faire" but it reminds me of an old cartoon with a mouse by the name. Was it a mouse? Hope Dodger's kids are giving her a break!

Yes, Beth-Ann, when it comes down to it, they are all just "pleasures"... guilty or not!

Good one, Cynthia in Minneapolis. People Magazine!

And, Anna, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a great one to mention.

Posted by elinor | March 29, 2010 7:47 AM

Guilty time wasters? I love to eat popsicles and read murder the bath tub, preferably at the same time. I also watch the Daniel Day Lewis version of Last of the Mohicans when no one else is around

Posted by Renee | March 29, 2010 7:49 AM

Here goes.....I'm going to admit it. My most guilty pleasure for the past 8 years and this is the 9th; from Jan to late May my mom and I watch every episode of American Idol together. We take notes and talk about who we think will go this week and she tells me about the voted off contestent on Ellen the next week. This year started out rough for me, Lilly Scott was one of my favorite picks and she didn't even make it to the top 12. There, I admit it, I haven't even done that on Facebook.

On the Abba thread, there is a young woman who works the checkout at my local grocery and her name is Abbagail.....

Posted by Kate in Eden Prairie | March 29, 2010 7:59 AM

glad to hear the goats are ok.hope dodgers kids get to good from ok soon.

steve. near as i can tell icewine is simply redwine that gets put in the freezer with a tall skinny bottle. im not sure there is anything more to it than that, maybe a little port like fortifacation, i love cold red more than it loves me. red wine kicks my butt much harder than white (listen to loudan wainwright III white winos)

my movies are harvey and 12 angry men, to kill a mockingbird and born yesterday but anything katherine hepburn or audry hepburn, cary grant alfred hitchcock, tom hanks, jimmy stewart marilyn monroe or marx brothers will do...anything at all. life at the movies can be easy.

tv and radio i am a cbs sunday morning, leave it to beaver and andy griffith guy and a prarie home companion, click and clack, splendid table, this anerican life on the radio, just give me a radio and a saturday in the garage and i am a happy camper .
baseball is starting up and that is a guilty pleasure i allow myself to enjoy. i quit playing golf out of guilt. hours chasing a ball around while chores and family take a back seat is inexcusable but with baseball thats different. most is watching and coaching the kids and the twins are so fun right now i can take the kids and do the new stadium.
someone was talkng about the monkey trap recently where the monkey reaches in and picks up the nut and can't get his hand out without letting go and thus is doomed to be caught by the fact that it never occurs to it to release the nut. i am working on letting go of the nut these days and many of my guilty pleasure fall into an area of this type. doing things and collecting stuff or spending time just becaiuse i do. don't even particularly love it, just do it because thats what i do. makes me guilty not to get to the stuff i know i would love to fit into my life if it were not for all this bloodsucking same old same old stuff that i have dictating my calander. better topic as it sinks in elinor thanks for the start to the week

Posted by tim | March 29, 2010 8:00 AM

What is it about women that they like to lounge in a bathtub with nothing on but public radio and read trashy books? I've never heard of a guy doing that, not that guys are too refined to do almost anything!

Reading in the tub is really gender-linked.

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | March 29, 2010 8:03 AM

elinore. you aren't missing much by not watching Desparate Housewives, although there are some people in my family that find it interesting. I share your interest in Law and Order SUV. I like the actors in that show.

Posted by Jim | March 29, 2010 8:06 AM

steve, i am the exception to the bathtub rule. have done the hourlong bath in the morning, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio and having my tea for 30 or 40 years routine, my kids all picked up on it. if the tv is on its movies disney channell or nick at night or espn sports center instead of all my children but my tub gets a workout. i would guess 40 hours a week on average between all the water therapy kids i have raised. we take turns and have to check to see if it is open before grabbing the reading material and snacks.

Posted by tim | March 29, 2010 8:14 AM

Kate in Eden Prairie, that's a juicy one!

tim, life has too many darn time constraints! We should be able to fit it all in!

Jim, I like the actress who plays Olivia on SVU. I could live without Ice-T. I've also never seen Grey's Anatomy!

Posted by elinor | March 29, 2010 8:18 AM

Ally McBeal, and when we still had TV, yes, Jim, Desparate Housewives.

Janet Evanovich mysteries, and I hear there's a movie coming out!, but I'd be surprised if they can capture all of that... je ne sais qua.

Spam... popcorn... I'm afraid we could go on for a while here.

Fun topic, Elinor, I'm sure I'll be back later with more!

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | March 29, 2010 8:21 AM

Ah, Steve, I can read between the lines. You can confess your guilty pleasure of reading trashy novels in a bubble bath to us - we're you friends, and we are 'coming clean' (is that irony?), so you can too.

I didn't know it was un-cool to love the musical/movie 'Annie' until Dale brought it up one morning. He admitted that he had bought tickets to see the production when it came to Mpls. I love Annie and everyting about her. I also have a crush on Fred Astaire.

Posted by Teri in Zimmerman | March 29, 2010 8:24 AM

Tim, you have a TV in your bathroom? Wow, is that decadent.

Why do I think of old Columbo episodes where someone is electrocuted by dumping a hair drier in the tub? I hope you are on good terms with your kids and they aren't sure how well they come out in your will.

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | March 29, 2010 8:24 AM


Posted by Cly de Brow de Mid | March 29, 2010 8:24 AM

I just thought of a few more-cranking up the stereo and blasting the Who ( and any other music) when no one else is home, blogging on the Trial Balloon at work when I should be typing case notes and treatment plans, and buying dahlia and iris rhizomes even though we really have no more room in our garden to put them. My husband is a great bath tub reader, and he also does cross word puzzles there as well.

Posted by Renee | March 29, 2010 8:28 AM

I stand corrected on the bathtub reading thing.

I choose to view Clyde's post as a confession, not an accusation.

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | March 29, 2010 8:32 AM

clyde, are you calling us names or telling us of your soft spots?

renee any place special you get the dahlias. i am a big fan. i go to a place in washington

Posted by tim | March 29, 2010 8:34 AM

raman noodles

Posted by cly de brow de mid | March 29, 2010 8:36 AM

Tim-Swan Island Dahlias in Oregon

Posted by Renee | March 29, 2010 8:40 AM

..and any kind of GOOD milk chocolate, none of this healthy dark stuff...

Elinor - I discovered NPR's Studio 360 with Kurt... is it Anderson? Anyway last night Laura LInney was interviewed by Alec Baldwin who was sitting in for Kurt:

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | March 29, 2010 8:44 AM

At the U of Chi for their version of freshman comp they had published a set of readings, excellent teaching materials, except for one piece which still bothers me. It was called Highbrow, Lowbrow, and Middlebrow. The gist was that highbrow was excellent and for the rarified few, I suppose those who went to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or the U of Chi. That low brow was all right, and sometimes lowbrow was highbrow, but that middlebrow was always to be condemned. Taste!! Taste??? HB. LB, and MB means what? Still neither know nor care.
Yesterday after taking our two grandkids to hear their parents sing in a cantata, we did drive-through at McD’s. HB, LB, or MB? My 5 year-old grandson got his usual chocolate shake, took a sip and said, “AH, perfect texture.” He is either LB about MB or HB about MB or just MB . . .
Fruitcake, may be about as universally condemned as anything since Johnny Carson got a piece of the public pulpit. But I like it. Two women actually make it just for me because I once said so in a sermon.
Nice wordsmithing, elinor.
Much of this discussion is a water cooler discussion in which I cannot participate. I have not seen any network TV show since about 1987.
Made for TV Movies I love—the Addie movies, like House without a Christmas Tree.

Posted by cly de brow de mush | March 29, 2010 8:44 AM

Our animals have guilty pleasures, too. Sometimes we come home and find all three cats and the dog all cuddled up together ( something they never do when we are home). Our largest cat loves to sneak up on the counter in the morning and scoop the half and half out of the cream pitcher with his paw. He also likes to dip pieces of dog kibble in the dog's water dish, lets it soften up, and then scoops it out and eats it one piece at a time.

Posted by Renee | March 29, 2010 8:48 AM

This isn't a guilty a pleasure, it is sort of a guilty sacrifice. I dislike almost any movie aimed at men—war, spy, thriller, mystery. So basically I do not like very many movies since 99.9% of movies are dumb male movies or chick flicks. But my wife likes to go to movies and will go to most things. So we end up going to almost only chick flicks. So like my grandson I sometimes say “Ah, perfect texture,” about romantic comedies. I watch them to analyze the form and all of that. But on the whole I much prefer them to much of what I am supposed to watch as a male.

Posted by cly de comdei de romatiquie | March 29, 2010 8:54 AM

Reneee-love the pet tales, love your dog. But no cat has a guilty pleasure because cats are incapable of guilt.

Posted by cly de brow de mid | March 29, 2010 8:58 AM

I'd love to do bubble baths and read, but my tub isn't amenable... the faucet isn't high enough up so you can't fill the tub all the way up. Rats.

You'd think the number of people done in by hairdrayers in tubs (Monk, Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder [yes, I admit it, I'm a fan of them all!}), it's a wonder that anyone keeps a hairdryer in there anymore!

Posted by sherrilee | March 29, 2010 8:59 AM

Morning everyone!

Thanks Elinor... a great, fun topic!

Posted by Ben | March 29, 2010 9:02 AM

The 1961 film West side Story.

Posted by Buckner | March 29, 2010 9:05 AM

Great topic, Elinor! We also love Princess Bride, but don't think of it as a guilty pleasure, we watch it medicinally.

I indulge in the complete series of Robin of Sherwood at least once a year-very new agey, great costumes, scenery and fight choreography.

I hear you on those ramen noodles, Clyde.

Posted by catherine | March 29, 2010 9:07 AM

White Castl burgers (but that is almost HB because it's so LB)

What would happen of you dropped a Kindle or one of its other forms in a bath tub with a reader in it?

West Side Story is not a guilty pleasure, is it? Really?

Posted by cly de brow de mid | March 29, 2010 9:14 AM

Can a classic be a guilty pleasure?

You seriously have people who make you fruitcake, Clyde? You are so lucky. I keep thinking I am going to have to learn to make it so I can actually get enough of it, the little bit I do get is just a tease.

Barb-still thinking about those buckling sweaters.....

Posted by catherine | March 29, 2010 9:33 AM

catherine--so good to have you a regular again.
I used to have three who would make me fruitcake but one was my mother. We do not discuss much of my mother's cooking in a positive light. But two women used to make me fruitcake in the church I served in Castle Danger, even after I left. But one died last summer. So only one now. The one who died claimed she once blew the oven door open baking her fruitcake because of all of the rum she added. 8-9 woemn in that church took a class on making fancy candies, the Whitman sampler kind. My pastor Christmas presents used to be truly exceptional. We would get about ten pounds of womderful home made candy from them, and then they slowly died off. Another one would make me fish cakes from fresh caught herring from her family Lake Superior commercial fishery.Of course, none of the that is a guilty pleasure.

Posted by Cly de Fat | March 29, 2010 10:01 AM

Well since I play in a punk rock band ah I guess West Side Story is a guilty pleasure.

Posted by Buckner | March 29, 2010 10:02 AM

Ok, now that everyone's gone...

Wheat bread, peanut butter with miracle whip and mini chocolate chips sprinkled on top.

Posted by Ben | March 29, 2010 10:40 AM

Ben -- you are the first person EVER (besides my mom, from whom I got the habit), who likes pb and miracle whip. This is absolutely a comfort food for me!

Posted by sherrilee | March 29, 2010 10:46 AM

Yes, Buckner, I see it's often a matter of perspective.

Not guilty, and I'm not sure about the kitsch: Movies I'd watch a dozen times: The (original) Parent Trap, The Nun's Story (yes, Tim, Audrey Hepburn)... and I probably have watched WSS that many.

One more bathtub story: Husband, when living on the hippie farm in '72, painted black the inside of their outdoor (no indoor plumbing) clawfoot tub, would fill it up with cold water in the morning, spend the day getting grubby and sweaty in the 1-acre garden, and then have a good warm soak while listening to a Beethoven symphony (long extension cords on the speakers), and looking out over West Burns Valley outside of Winona. Wish I'd been there...

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | March 29, 2010 10:47 AM

Heh heh, not everyone, Ben.

OK, OK, grilled peanut butter sandwiches, still make 'em once on a while, not supposed to have cheese anymore is a good excuse.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | March 29, 2010 10:51 AM

sounds good to me Ben....add some sliced bannana and it's even better!

and Buckner, it goes to show it's all in your perspective....

Posted by Kate in Eden Prairie | March 29, 2010 11:04 AM

When my wife is gone: sardines and swiss cheese pn Rye Krisp.
Buckner--cool to have a punk rocker here--you play what, sing?
To about 95% of the people I know my fondness for Tolkien is a guilty pleasure.

Posted by Clyde | March 29, 2010 11:07 AM

I sort of like those "women's" magazines that my mother used to subscribe to - Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping. (I love the very notion of calling a magazine "Good Housekeeping".) One of them had a regular column called "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" that I couldn't resist reading.

Martha Stewart Living and O are just not for me.

Posted by Linda in St. Paul (West Side) | March 29, 2010 11:10 AM

It's Monday, Elinor...why are you making me think so far all that comes to mind is the pleasure I get reading ELoisa James' romance novels.

But wait, there is more!
I like Neil Diamond...used to be not cool, but now it is least on RH.

I like the Red Green show's word game on PBS Saturday nights, sneaking a peek at Turner Classic Movies, Cheers, Mash, Andy Griffith, Beverly Hillbillies during breaks at work.

So there. no apologies. Happy Monday (got your Lloyd's?) y'all! (Fun one, Elinor. Thanks.)

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | March 29, 2010 11:13 AM

Red Green--there is something high brow because it's low brow. Red Green is much funnier if you know Canadians, by the way.

Posted by cly de Oh, Canada | March 29, 2010 11:21 AM

My guilty pleasures are young adult fantasy books (what I read as a young adult, and now as an adult, I'm "too old" for, haha) and Swiss Cake Rolls. Put the two together and it can be a very long night, haha! I also like to watch Disney movies when I'm feeling down :)

Posted by Alanna in MI | March 29, 2010 11:25 AM

Barbara in Robbinsdale - I'm with you on the Janet Evanovich (though I've found the last couple to have paled in comparison to the first in the series...Grandma Mazur always makes me snort, though).

And, Elinor - I will admit, without guilt, that I have every season of Buffy on DVD. The writing is smart and funny (even if I am probably older than the original target market for the show, I love it).

Can't go to the peanut butter and miracle whip place, though. Not a miracle whip fan. Frozen Thin MInts cookies on a hot August day, that's another story...

Posted by Anna | March 29, 2010 11:45 AM

I have no idea what is a guilty pleasure anymore. Janet Evanovich cannot be a guilty pleasure. I don't read her, but that would seem to make everything not assigned in Survey of English lit a guilt pleasure.

Posted by Cly de confusione | March 29, 2010 11:53 AM

Anna -- how do you manage to still have Thin Mints in August? Even buried in the freezer, I would be finding them WELL before summer!

Posted by sherrilee | March 29, 2010 11:55 AM

If we have any Jews in our group, lurking or blogging, and I sure hope we do, Happy Passover. Two of the highlights of my time at the U of Chi were attending Seder twice in private homes and several times going to a Greek home which was like the home in Big Fat Greek Wedding, right down to the cheek pinching.

Posted by Clyde | March 29, 2010 1:00 PM

I don't think I really count, Clyde, but I am technically a Jew, having converted at the time of my first marriage in NYC - I was told you cannot become un-Jewish once you have become a Jew. I did get to be a part of several seders, etc. - this family called themselves Holiday Jews, and they really did know how to do all the Holidays.

Off topic: Clyde, I left a review of Birchwood at end of Friday's blog.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | March 29, 2010 1:28 PM

Barbara--oops. I forgot to thank you for that. I did see the comments about Birchwood. Everytime the ad pops up on this page it catches my eye because Birkholz means birchwood, and then I noticed where it is. It now sounds more intriquing than ever.
I would be my preference be a non-holiday Chritian--palms, lilies and poinsettias all set me off very badly, but I cannot really avoid them. I did walk out on my daughter doing church yesterday. I have an interesting Easter scheduled: I go to a church and see if I am going to do the service or not. It would take a while to explain. Bet it's a church full of llies. May be a very short sermon if I do it.

Posted by Clyde | March 29, 2010 1:48 PM

Sherrilee - It's easier if you hide the box(es) in the basement chest freezer under a pizza or two. After a month or two they are easily forgotten. (Or you can go with my friend Stephanie's theory that I am just a freak for being able to leave Thin Mints in the freezer for months at a time.)

Posted by Anna | March 29, 2010 2:20 PM

The day got away from me. There are so many great comments here that I can never hope to respond to them all.

Buckner, I would argue that West Side Story is arguably everybody's guilty pleasure!

Buck is my husband. :D

And I am a wannabe convert to Judaism.

Posted by elinor | March 29, 2010 2:38 PM

Wow. I have been seriously into "kitsch" without knowing it all my life. I unabashedly extolled the virtues of Abba all through high school and college, and was a SERIOUS Waltons-watcher (really--you didn't dare get between me and the TV when John-Boy Walton was on.) I also loved the groups Bread, Chicago, and Cat Stevens. I knew I was different; I didn't realize I wasn't cool. Oh well. I admit I even enjoy a little glass of sherry when I watch Masterpiece Theater! One of my all time BBC favorites which I watch over and over is "All Things Great and Small".

Cynthia--I also love the Red Green word game----what a hoot!

And Ben and Sherilee--- I thought my Mom was crazy. Her all time favorite guilty pleasure is her fave sandwich: PB and mayo, with pickles and crushed potato chips. She occasionally tries to get us to "give it a whirl", but so far we've declined, preferring to stick with our more rational (?) PB and banana.

Hah! Fun topic! Thanks.

Posted by audrey in mpls. | March 29, 2010 2:42 PM

Guilty Canadian pleasures, Clyde, are Slings and Arrows and Due South.

There is a scene in one of the Due South episodes where the (male) Mountie dresses as a woman teacher in a girls school...a couple girls confront him with "We know your are tall and are CANADIAN!"

But..Slings and Arrows...a series of three seasons about a Shakespearean Theatre group (backstage and onstage) in Canada. First season they do Hamlet, the second MacBeth, the third King Lear. If you haven't seen it, do go looking for it...well-written, funny and human.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | March 29, 2010 2:42 PM

Thanks for the link, Barbara in Robbinsdale!

I can't promise your secrets will be safe from the spiders that crawl the web to index web content! ;-)

Posted by elinor | March 29, 2010 2:57 PM

Cynthia—have seen Due South. The Canadian Film Board or whatever it was called you used to produce great educational movies. “The Rise and Fall of Lake Superior” was, for one example, very funny and an excellent tool for teaching. Have you ever heard on Graham Green got on the Red Green Show? He walked up to Steve Smith at some public media event and got down on his knees in front of him and begged to be on the show. I have a friend who looks very much like Red Green and even wears that hat all of the time and has fro years before there was a red Green show. I am still amazed that show made it south of Duluth. I have seen it on public TV in Texas and Georgia.

Posted by Clyde | March 29, 2010 3:04 PM

Crazy... all of us that eat variations of PB and MW with various toppings!
I never would have guessed... cool.

Sometimes I spread it on Ritz Crackers and take it to family functions... it goes over OK... I just say it's a secret family recipe... the miracle whip is what puts everyone off so I don't tell them.

Posted by Ben | March 29, 2010 3:14 PM

I used to be a PB fanatic, but never did the MW mix. Heard about it many times. But PB has orven to be one of my triggers. One of the bigger losses in my life. Johnny Carson used to eat PB on pasta. (I have mentioned JC twice today and I did not really like him very much.)

Posted by Clyde | March 29, 2010 3:28 PM

Now if you throw some peanut butter on pasta, it's called Thai Noodles... I did have half a grilled pb sandwich for lunch.

Ben - so do you mix the PB and the MW together? Or just spread it on the Ritz in layers? We have a family gathering Saturday, would be a hoot to bring this!

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | March 29, 2010 4:45 PM

Lots to catch up on today. Elinor - way to spark interest!
Two very pleasurable indulgences for me are fresh roasted coffee beans and ice cream loaded with creamy goodness.

Funny to think how important it was, years back, to try to present myself with an aura of coolness. I can't believe I was that shallow. Now days all that matters to me is popularity.

Posted by Donna | March 29, 2010 5:26 PM

Ha ha, Donna. Too funny.

I really enjoyed catching up on the comments. What fun & informational reading. Thanks for sharing, all.

What makes me extremely uncool is that I am doing so from my CrackBerry.

Posted by elinor | March 29, 2010 5:51 PM

A last thought... A lot of public television programming is really the guilty pleasure dressed up in period clothing and embellished with British accents to create the illusion that it is something other than what it is. ;-)

Posted by elinor | March 29, 2010 6:01 PM

Your guilty pleasures are mine except for the PB and MW sandwich.
Cly de poet - I showed my mom your washing stick poem and when she finished reading it she went into a closet and pulled out the washing stick she used and that her mom used before her.

Posted by Barb in Starbuck | March 29, 2010 6:11 PM

Oh Elinor you are saying that I am a punk rocker who watches soap operas? FYI Eastenders is a 'contemporary social drama'.

Posted by Buckner | March 29, 2010 6:34 PM

Hey, I want to know as much as you do, Buckner, what will happen between Cat & Alfie. ;-)

Posted by elinor | March 29, 2010 7:08 PM

How late are you people going to go tonight?
barb in blackhoof--that's cool, or wait is it campy? I don't care. Made the poem fun.
Elinor--since my wife's favorite britcom is Hyacinth, how right you are. And I love AbFab for about 10 minutes. But both those shows are distinctly British while being GP's. Or is that "No, No. No, No . . . yes." All who get that raise your mouse. For those who do get it, there used to be a man who owned a lumberyard by my house whose nickname was Ya-Ya. The first sound he always. made was Ya-Ya. So if you asked him if your order came in he would say "Ya-ya, no." Just like Jim in "Vicar of Dibley." Oops gave it away. It was fun watching people who did not know Ya-Ya hear him do his "Ya, ya, No."

Posted by Clyde | March 29, 2010 7:35 PM

Sorry, have to answer the question so dragging this out Clyde de sleepy...

Barb, PB on Ritz, then spread MW over that (actually... cut a corner off a ziplock bag and squirt it on works best) then mini chips on top...

No no no no no Yes Clyde! Just saw it last night on a channel 24 out of Iowa....

Posted by Ben | March 29, 2010 9:44 PM

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