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“Free to Be You and Me,” released in 1972, is now a Target ad.

City mom on VH1 reality show

Viewing of the Perseid meteor shower will be Thursday at Metea County Park. Admission is $3.
Dan Aykroyd is the voice of “Yogi Bear” in the film version.
Fort Wayne’s Elizabeth Kulp, third from left on the couch, is one of 24 weight-loss contestants on “Money Hungry.”

A local mom is in the thick of a battle over thickness on a new VH1 reality show called "Money Hungry."

Actually, the battle is technically over, but completed episodes of the show have just started airing Mondays at 9 p.m.

So let's talk about it as if it's all happening in real time.

Fort Wayne's Elizabeth Kulp is one of 24 weight-loss contestants living in a Los Angeles house on the show, which is a far cry from anything that Jillian Michaels hosts or has hosted.

In "Money Hungry," 12 teams have each put $10,000 into a pool with the understanding that the winners (meaning, the team that loses the greatest percentage of overall weight) take all.

But this isn't the sort of show in which a drill sergeant screams the pounds off. In fact, the house is continually filled by VH1 saboteurs with junk food, Kulp says.

"We walked into the house and there was a popcorn machine and a vending machine full of candy," she says. "And the cupboards were stuffed with every kind of junk food imaginable."

In addition, Kulp says, gofers are always on standby.

If there's a kind of food that the contestants want and it isn't already in the house, she says, the gofers will get it for them.

Weekly challenges eliminate contestants "Survivor"-style.

"It's a different kind of competition," Kulp says. "The choices are for the competitors to make."

"Money Hungry" took Kulp away from her Fort Wayne family for two months.

She cannot, for obvious reasons, disclose the outcome of the show.

Kulp says she auditioned for it because her attempts to lose weight up to that point had always ended in failure.

"There's no bigger accountability than being on national television," she says.

Kulp says her husband, Dave, has always supported her in all her endeavors.

"My (husband has) been wonderful," she says. "He's my biggest cheerleader. He has always loved me regardless of what size I am."

Kulp is perhaps best known locally as the co-owner with her husband of "Poop Happens," a pet waste removal service.

Elizabeth Kulp grew up in Portland, Ore., but she and her husband moved back to his hometown of Fort Wayne for good four years ago. So enamored did she become of Fort Wayne that she even moved her parents here.

"I love it so much," Kulp says. "We're had the opportunity to buy our own home here, which on the West Coast is not always a realistic thing for a family to try to do."

Meteor watch

I probably shouldn't write about the Perseid meteor shower because I am not a science writer.

But consider this: A year ago, a Twitter feed about the Perseids got more followers for a brief time than one devoted to Miley Cyrus, according to U.K. newspaper the Telegraph.

And two years ago, amateur astronomers were able to observe and in some cases record lunar Perseids – meteoric impacts on the moon that are each equivalent to hundreds of pounds of TNT (an acronym unknown to Moon Men).

If you don't think there's a movie based on these impacts in the works, then you are obviously unfamiliar with the Saturday night lineup on the SyFy cable channel.

And three years ago, Metea County Park built an entire music festival around the Perseids.

No music festivals are scheduled for this year, but Bob Dispensa, the parks and education manager at Metea, will host a cookout and Perseids watch starting at 10 p.m. Thursday.

The cost is $3 and campfire food will not be provided, so bring along something to cook, not to mention something besides your hand to hold the food while it is cooking.

Reserve a spot by Tuesday by calling 449-8619.

Dispensa was on vacation when I wrote this, but he said on the Friends of Metea blog that Thursday will be "a moonless night," which means conditions will be perfect if it doesn't rain.

Metea County Park is at 8401 Union Chapel Road near Leo-Cedarville.

Unfortunately, I am an "early-to-bed, early-to-rise" guy these days.

It's just too bad that nighttime has to happen so late in the day.

Free market

Complaining about the use of beloved pop and rock songs in TV commercials immediately identifies a pundit as one of the oldest relics that can be unearthed by specialists in the field of Archaeological Punditry.

But return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when televisions could receive signals from no more than four stations, when computers were largely relegated to science fiction movies in which they were usually depicted as homicidal and when radio station playlists were not chosen by playlist-choosing computers that should be depicted as homicidal.

Almost 40 years ago, to be almost exact.

A collection of songs called "Free to Be You and Me" was released in 1972 on a music storage format slightly more sophisticated than cave echoes.

These songs – which were designed to help confused, lost and abused kids feel better about themselves – may have saved some children's lives.

Now the Target superstore chain is using the title track of this collection to sell back-to-school items.

This is the same Target superstore chain that was recently revealed to have contributed $150,000 to backers of Tom Emmer, a Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota who has more or less indicated that "free to be you and me" shouldn't apply to gay people.

A more apt slogan for social conservatism might go something like, "Free to be me."

I know we're supposed to be a lot more inured to hypocrisy these days, but it must be said… Oh, the hypocrisy!

But all politics aside, is it really OK for a song about tolerance of others and acceptance of self to be used to describe the "freedom" to choose from a wide selection of adorable candy-hued boots?

Variety show

I wish I had more information on this, but getting through to Bearcreek Farms is like getting through a creek full of bears.

Bearcreek Farms in Bryant (Indiana, not Ohio) is going to start producing episodes of a variety show in September.

The idea, as far as I can tell, is to try to nationally syndicate the show in the same way "Hee Haw" was syndicated all those years.

According to a news release, the "show will feature rising stars in the area of bluegrass, country, gospel … as well as comedians, jugglers (and) cloggers."

Audition DVDs and CDs can be mailed to Bearcreek Farms, Goodtimes Theatre Variety Show, 8341 N. 400 E., Bryant, IN 47326.

Send your questions to


Warner's boo-boo

So, Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for the big-screen adaptation of "Yogi Bear."

I was never a big fan of Yogi Bear and yet I know enough about Yogi Bear to strongly suspect that this new film won't please big fans of Yogi Bear.

The studios are fond of getting celebrities to voice the characters in these animated movies so they can tout the participation of those celebrities in projects that really don't require celebrities.

For "Yogi Bear," Warner recruited Dan Aykroyd to play Yogi and Justin Timberlake to play his sidekick Boo Boo.

Trouble is, Yogi and Boo Boo had very distinctive voices in the cartoons (Yogi was modeled after Ed Norton from "The Honeymooners") and Aykroyd and Timberlake apparently can't do these voices at all.

Listening to Aykroyd in the trailer isn't quite as embarrassing as watching him try desperately to channel Bill Murray as Carl Spackler in "Caddyshack 2," but it comes close.

Steve Penhollow is an arts and entertainment writer for The Journal Gazette. His column appears Sundays. He appears Fridays on WPTA-TV, Channel 21, WISE-TV, Channel 33, and WBYR, 98.9 FM to talk about area happenings. E-mail him at, or go to the "Rants & Raves" topic of “The Board” at A Facebook page for “Rants & Raves” can be accessed at