Even snow shovelling beats some TV programs

For the past week as we shivered through a cold spell I’ve felt like the stoker on a coal-fired freight train approaching a steep hill. “Just shovel in a little more coal.” If I had been faced with shovelling snow at the same time, keeping up would have been a stretch.

Frigid temperatures slow me down and make me wonder how people who live year round in subzero cold like those in northern Russia actually accomplish so much. One horse rancher runs a herd of 300 animals. The horses are bred to withstand their harsh surroundings with long hair, short sturdy legs, and a nonchalance toward biting winds and temperatures low as 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They paw through deep snow for vegetation and seem indifferent to their landscape. Even the rancher cares for his livestock as though he isn’t bundled up like the kid brother of the nine-year-old who wanted a Red Ryder B.B. Gun in “The Christmas Story”.

Cooler temperatures make me draw in to the warmest part of the house to read or watch TV. That’s how I got hooked on “90 Day Fiance”, watching five couples who often exasperate me. Many of them are dishonest with their prospective mates. Frequently I’d like to suggest one partner dump the loser (male or female) and avoid weeks of aggravation, heartache, and humiliation.

The current couples are equally unsuited to each other. Two 20-year-olds, a Russian girl and an American boy, are holed up in Russia three weeks after she gave birth by Caesarian section. He is behaving like a selfish brat, complaining she doesn’t appreciate how hard he’s working to arrange a U.S. birth certificate for the baby so it can come to America with him even if she has to stay behind for months because Trump’s immigration rules have delayed chances of her K1 visa.

A second couple involves a 32-year-old American with a young woman from Brazil. While he was courting her, he led her to think money was no object. Now he has limited her to $1,000 for a wedding dress. Plus she’d like a big car with air conditioning to deal with Las Vegas heat and a home of their own without his mother in residence. Makes me ask why people aren’t totally honest with each other to begin with.

A third couple met in Indonesia where her family is rich, has a big house with servants. He is from Wisconsin, divorced, pays child support for a young child while a 20-year-old daughter lives with him. You don’t have to glue to every episode to perceive trouble with a capital T aiming straight for them. This future wife, too, wants the daughter out of the house, a new sofa and proper bed brought in. Fat chance with his moderate salary spread so thin.

What criteria do the program producers follow choosing the couples they trail with cameras? How much is each contestant paid to expose their daily life to perhaps millions of viewers?

Each week the program thus far is reviewed to make sure you don’t miss anything. The new hour begins late interfering with my bedtime. If that is followed by an hour where a host interviews the couples to unearth spicey details so far left out, I lose an hour of sleep.

Watching this series is difficult to defend beyond the chance to gloat, “That never happened to me.” If individuals were honest and forthright, no such program could exist.

Shovelling snow and collecting blown down branches will be more beneficial and exciting.

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