Archive for the ‘Social Commentary’ Category

50 Shades of Greitens?!

I live in Missouri and have since 1993. Our family survived the giant flooding of the St. Louis area back then as we chose a suburb on high ground that wasn’t affected too much by that natural disaster.  I bring that up as an introduction to a political disaster that has hit Missouri this week, brought about by one person’s hugely bad choice.

 

I woke up on Wednesday morning, as I typically do, and proceeded to make the morning coffee, turning on the kitchen radio and listening to the news.  First up was ABC Radio News, at the top of the hour, 7:00 am.  What then followed almost caused me to do a spit-take of my first sip of coffee, at 7:05, with the Missourinet news report.  It was reported that the state’s governor,Eric Greitens, who had campaigned as a conservative republican, a family man, a US navy seal, had had an affair right before he ran for the governorship and that blackmail was involved. Missourinet went on to report that St. Louis’s  CBS tv affliate station KMOV was reporting this, that the station had done a special investigative report all about this breaking news.  I quickly went over to the computer and searched for KMOV and found their report, with lurid details about the governor’s tawdry affair with his  hair stylist, and how he supposedly had blackmailed her into never revealing this affair.  KMOV   had interviewed the hair stylist’s former husband who had provided details about his then-wife’s blackmail threat.    I was shocked by this news and quickly texted my husband about it all as he had already gone into work that morning and had missed this news story.  I then texted our kids about it and one of them came up with the quip that I used for my blog’s title; the hair stylist’s husband’s commentary for KMOV mentioned some strange methods one would use in an affair, which made all of us think of that 50 Shades movie and book.

Since all of that news came out, the governor’s office has issued several statements. First, Mrs. Greitens and the governor acknowledged that their marriage went through a rough patch prior to the campaign, that they have healed their marriage and Mrs. Greitens has  forgiven her husband.  Mrs. Greitens also issued a statement, really a warning of sorts, for the gossip mongers to leave her and their two young sons alone.  The governor’s latest statement is that while he did have the affair, the story about blackmailing the other woman is untrue.

One of my favorite radio podcasts, The Three Martini Lunch, discussed this story.  I had to agree with podcast hosts Jim Geraghty and Greg Corombos that the audio of the blackmailed woman, given to KMOV by the woman’s now ex-husband certainly sounds authentic-her choking voice trying to confess to her husband about the affair is heart-breaking as she mentions the blackmailing.

At all of this news that hit Missourians this week, I have some advice.  If you are ever, ever thinking about running for a public office, please don’t do so if you have made lousy choices in life.  Breaking your marriage vows being an example of a lousy choice.  If you haven’t made such a lousy choice and want to run for public office, consider some safeguards in your public life: don’t go to a hair stylist if your’re a guy, just go to the nearby neighborhood barber shop.  Also, adopting Vice President Pence’s policy of not eating dinner alone with a female isn’t a bad policy, or if you have to, make sure the wife is with you!  Voters don’t want to find out after they’ve voted for you that you are an idiot!!

From listening to another podcast during Christmas break, Need to Know, hosted by Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger, I discovered a possible solution for Governor Greitens.  In 1961, in Great Britain, the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, had an affair with a 19 year old model.  In March 0f 1963, this information was leaked to the British press and Profumo, at first, denied all of the accusations. (If you have watched Netflix’s original series, The Crown, Season 2 mentions this a bit.)  A few weeks after making his denial speech to the House of Commons, Profumo  confessed and admitted to the affair.  What also made this such a scandal is that the model in the affair, Christy Keeler, was also fooling around with a Soviet naval attache who was stationed in London, and that there may have been a security risk; British government info Profumo may have blabbed about to Keeler getting relayed to the Soviet guy. Profumo resigned  and here’s the rest of the story I learned from the podcast.  Instead of trying to rally  his political career, Profumo accepted that his political life was over, and turned to a quieter pursuit,working as a volunteer for a charity based in the East End of London.( If any of you are fans of Call the Midwife, it is set in the East End of London.) He basically disappeared into that life, atoning for what he had done and worked at that charity for 40 years as a volunteer.

My advice to Governor Greitens, is to finish out your term as governor, if you’re not forced out.  Bow out of a political life and find a charity to support quietly as a volunteer, as Profumo did.  When Profumo passed away at the age of 91, he was surrounded by his wife and children, showing that forgiveness did indeed happen for that family and I do truly hope it can happen for Missouri’s govenor and  his family.   

Here’s to hoping Missourians won’t be hit with a news story such as this in the weeks to come. Hopeful that we can get to Spring safely and dodging of the flu and bad weather will be all that we in the Show-Me state will have to contend with!

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It Wasn’t a Bomb, but a Fruitcake!

This morning as I was lolling in bed, my attempt at sleeping in failing, I turned on the radio and listened to the national news with my eyes closed.  One news story caught my attention- on December 26th, a lone, wrapped Christmas present with no name on it was sitting under a Christmas tree at a Seattle ferry terminal.  Washington State Troopers were notified about the suspicious package and and in turn, they notified the terminal’s officials.  The officials temporarily evacuated the area, halted ferry boats out at sea from coming in for 30 minutes so that a bomb squad could examine and deal with the package.  Soon after the bomb squad began their work, it was determined that the unknown package was a fruitcake. Phew!  

I confess, I enjoy a good slice of fruitcake.  I am the only one in our household who does enjoy the holiday offering, with a good mug of tea or coffee to wash it down with.  I have never tried to make my own fruitcake from scratch and usually purchase one from a grocery store’s bakery department.  After this morning’s news story, I decided to find out how fruitcakes came to exist at Christmas time.

The Romans get the credit for first creating a “fruit cake”, meaning a barley batter that had added nuts and pomegranite seeds and raisins mixed in.  The Barbarians must have liked that recipe because versions of it were soon being made all over Europe. In the  16th century, when sugar was introduced via America, and it was seen to be a great way to preserve fruits, candied fruits became a product many consumers could purchase and making a fruitcake at home became easier.  Purchasing a fruit cake from a bakery also became more affordable.  Some countries’ versions do soak the fruits and/or the cake in brandy or rum and some don’t.  Some countries put frostings on their fruit cakes and some don’t.  New Zealanders often enjoy  a lightly frosted fruitcake as the main dessert at a wedding.

America has two main fruitcake companies to order from: The Claxton Bakery in Claxton, GA and Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, TX.  1913 was the first year in the United States that mail-order fruitcakes could  be ordered and sent as gifts.  One last wacky bit  of fruitcake information is that since 1995, on the first Saturday of January, in Manitou Springs, CO, there is The Great Fruitcake Toss.  Contestants vie for the honor of being the person, or team, that can throw a fruitcake the farthest.   

I think it would be fun to attend the “Toss” in CO, but would personally prefer to tuck into a slice of fruitcake with a steaming mug of Constant Comment Tea, Orange Pekoe flavor.

To those who follow my blog and wonder if I have been ok, as I haven’t written as many blog posts in 2017, I am in great health and have had to take online college courses in order to update my teaching credentials in order to receive a Missouri teaching certificate.  One class is done, two more to go! Hopefully, I will be able to pay more attention to my blog posts in 2018, but in case I don’t, it’s due to those online college courses!

Source cited:

“Fruitcake package temporarily halts Seattle ferry service”. Associated Press. 26 December 2017. Web. 27 December 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the Boy Scouts of America: If It Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It

I am a mom of a boy scout.  I have 4 sons, and the youngest one has participated in scouting and has stuck with the program.  Hopefully, in a couple more years, he’ll reach Eagle Scout, the highest level in the scouting program.  His troop is a part of the River Trails District in our part of Missouri, under the Ozark Trails Council, based in Springfield, MO.  In July, we received an email about an upcoming meeting happening in early August, to discuss the possiblity of adding girls to the Boy Scouts, and wanting parental opinions from the River Trails District.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to be able to attend the meeting held in Rolla, or the other two meetings held in other areas of the state guided by  the Council,  but I hoped common sense would prevail at these 3 meetings.   

 

Fast forward to a week or so ago, and the BSA National HQ’s announced that girls would now be allowed to join Boy Scouts.  I was dismayed at this news.  From my understanding of the announcement, it will be left up to individual troops if they will let their existing troops become coed, or if they will also begin troops exclusively for girls.  My objections are that for 100 plus years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a group for boys.  Not only for boys to learn about outdoor activities, camping, fishing, hiking, respecting nature, canoeing, kayaking, etc. but for boys to learn leadership skills.  In the 1969, Venturers were added, and then there are the many  Explorer troops, which are all co-ed groups within Boy Scouts.  Since those co-ed programs already exist, I don’t see the need for adding girls to the regular cub scout packs and boy scout troops.

The Girl Scouts of America are also not pleased by this new announcement.  Their organization, a part of American life since 1912, doesn’t want this new option to pull girls away from their organization and I don’t blame them for their concerns.  Here is a link  to a report by NPR, aired on August 24th, 2017,  about the Girl Scouts negative opinion as to the Boy Scouts possibly letting girls join Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops.

I can’t agree more with the Girl Scouts opinion.  For over 100 years the two organizations have operated with similar goals, one for boys and one for girls.  In my opinion both organizations have worked well for the youth of this country for a long time.  Both of these organizations present unique opportunities for boys and girls and one group doesn’t need to possibly undercut the other by possibly taking away potential scouts.  I say, leave the two organizations as they are and drop this new plan before more damage is done to the two scouting organizations.  From what I have seen since the BSA announced this new policy, longtime adults in scouting are dropping out and no girls have been knocking on my son’s troop’s door to join.  Again, I say to the BSA, drop this new idea before more damage is done by it’s implementation.  It’s a new idea that’s not wanted or needed.

Goats Cause a Grievance!

I was perusing the news last week and saw a story that I thought was ridiculous!  Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, had a 15 acre area on their campus that was overgrown with weeds, poison ivy, and  brush;  just unsightly vegetation.  The school discovered a solution to clearing out that area of land that was unique: hire a herd of goats!    

Munchers on Hooves, the name of  a goat rental company in Coldwater, Michigan,  arrived and the goats went right to work with a literal relish.  They ate and chomped their way through all of that plant life and cleaned up the area.  The school felt it was an environmentally safe choice as the goats could clear 3-5 lbs. of vegetation a day and leave behind natural fertilizer.   The school was happy that the land was cleaned up. The owners of the herd were happy as they received a payment.  The goats were obviously happy as they had  full tummies!  The school decided to keep Munchers on Hooves around for some more land clean up projects until the start of the new school year.

What should have been a nice story, even an educational story, has now ended in a grievance filed by AFSCME against the school.  American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union’s  local affiliate in Kalamazoo, when they  found out about the herd of goats,  filed a grievance stating that the goats took jobs away from  human workers.  A spokeswoman for Western Michigan’s, who couldn’t speak directly about the goat herd issue did reassure the public by stating that no workers at Western Michigan were laid off while the goats were munching away!  One of the owners of Munchers on Hooves  added that the 15 acres the goats cleared was very thick with vegetation and that the goats can clear up to 5 feet above the ground, so whatever they couldn’t get at, human workers would now be able to go in and clear out the rest with more ease.

An example of the land clearing expertise a herd of goats have.

I began to think more about the goat herd hired to do this job. The goats probably went right to their task at hand.  They didn’t need to stop for cigarette or coffee breaks, they probably kept right on munching rain or shine. The goats did emit methane but no other pollutants as machinery would in clearing vegetation off of a 15 acre area of land.   If one of the goats got injured, it didn’t need to file for any workers comp.  The only down-side to letting a herd of goats clean up this land was perhaps if one of the goats was onery and decided to chase a human who might be walking through their work area.

This lawsuit is silly, in my opinion, and I am hoping that the judge throws it out; he or she should let the goats have  the paper it’s written on!

 

 

Information for this blog post: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo July 11, 2017. Devereaux, Brad.

“So I walked into an Aldi….”

Tuesday morning arrived and I told my husband that if a phone call didn’t occur, asking me  to substitute teach, I was going to go to Aldi  and get the groceries purchased for the week.  No phone call came, so off I went to the store, with my list made out and in one hand, and my quarter in the other, so I could retrieve a grocery cart from the outside cart corral.

It was an uneventful trip around the aisles as I made my shopping choices and placed items in the cart.  Mornings are usually a good time to shop at Aldi as it’s not too crowded yet.  If you are unfamiliar with what an Aldi store is, know that they are a wonderful, yet no frills grocery store that saves my family’s budget  a sizable amount of money  each year. ( Here is a fun article to read that explains what an Aldi store is like, how they’re linked  with Trader Joe’s, and why they sell groceries for such a lower price.)

I took my purchases to the check out area and got in line behind an elderly lady who was working fast to put her items on the conveyor belt.  The only other check out lane was occupied by a customer with a cart loaded with a lot of groceries, so folks who didn’t have as much as that customer were lining up behind me.  Suddenly I heard a loud voice bark angrily at the cashier who’s line I was in.  “That is NOT the price on this item! There was a red sign saying that these were on sale!!”  The angry voice belonged to a tall, elderly man.  By his speech pattern I could tell he was an educated person, probably a retired professor, was my immediate thought!  (We have a university in our town.) He was angry that the computer kept ringing up the item at a much higher price.  The cashier, who amazingly remained very calm and patient with this rude customer got on her walkie-talkie and asked for a price check.  A lady from the manager’s office popped her head out and when asked by the cashier about the item’s price, was told that the computer was correct.  Then she went right back into the office.  This only incensed the customer more and he barked an order to the cashier to follow him to the area where he found the item so he could show her the sale price.  At this point the man behind me sighed, and got into a new line that had just opened in a 3rd checking out lane.  Soon the cashier returned and told the man that the item was on sale and she rang up the item according to the new price.  The man didn’t say thank you at all and handed the next item on the conveyor to the cashier.  When she scanned it, you guessed it.  The computer  was not showing the right price and once again the elderly man barked out, “WRONG!”, and told the cashier to follow him to another area of the store to check that item’s price!  As the cashier walked off she made eye contact with me and mouthed out the words, “I am so sorry!” I smiled wanly at her and told her it wasn’t her fault.  Then I joined the man who had been behind me and got into that third line.  That man shook his head at me and said, “Some people!”  I agreed and said   that someone was a grouch today!  I soon realized that the little old lady who had scurried and hurriedly put all of her items on the conveyor belt was the wife of that grouchy old man!  ” That poor lady!”, I thought to myself.    grumpy-old-man-puppet

As I left the store and drove home, I thought about the entire incident.  The cashier should have been commended for remaining so quiet and calm in dealing with such an irate customer.  I was critical of the lady in the store’s office.  I think she should’ve come all the way to that cashier’s station and done the price checks and dealt with this grouchy old man.  Instead of helping his wife put the groceries on the conveyor, he decided to stand there and loudly complain about prices on two products, and then demanded the cashier go with him on his price check journeys.

I wondered if in his past career(s) he was used to being in charge of people? Was he a bigshot at the work site? He certainly carried himself in such a way that it was pretty evident he felt that he was a  very superior person to the cashier.  Was he not feeling well this day? I wondered that too, as sometimes when one is not feeling one’s best, it’s easy to become cranky with the public.

From my observations,  I wondered as to how I treat the people I meet each day? Do I treat them with respect and patience and kindness like the cashier did, even under the stressful environment of shoppers waiting to check out, and a customer angrily barking orders at her?  What if she’d had said no, telling the man that the computer price is right, what would he have done then?  Marched off to the manager’s office himself and banged on the door?  Stated he wouldn’t leave that check-out lane until he was a satisfied customer?

I hope that I can be calm and focused and kind like the cashier, in any and all circumstances.   She really was an inspiration to witness, a true picture of grace under pressure.  I hope that when I shop, or eat in a restaurant, I treat the employees with respect and not condescension.  I did tell my husband today that if I ever turn into a cranky senior citizen when out shopping, he has permission to haul me out of that store and pronto!

 

Article about Aldi, from Slate by Rebecca Schuman.  December 2, 2013.

I Haven’t Fallen Off the Blogging World, But It Seems Like I Have!

First of all, I acknowledge feeling quite honored and humbled to find out from WordPress that there are 166 people whom I have never met, who actually follow my blog.  These  people  read what I have written and like it enough to tell WordPress that whenever I write a new blog, to send them a notification.  That fact is cool, to me, and it also boggles my mind, a bit.

Secondly, there are some fabulous Classic Movie bloggers who announced they were going to host  interesting and fun blogathons this Fall and I signed up to participate. I let them down by not writing a piece for each that I signed up for.  I apologize to those bloggers: The Midnite Drive-In, In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood, Pop Culture Reverie, and Realweegiemidget.  Be sure to visit these great blogger’s sites and enjoy their offerings  for you to read, revolving around classic movies and tv shows.

Thirdly, what has caused me to ignore my blogging hobby for almost 2 & 1/2 months?  Going back to work full-time, that’s what has gotten in the way of my hobby.  From 1983-1987, I was in college learning how to be an elementary school teacher.  After graduation, I taught for one year in my hometown, teaching kindergartners and planning my wedding.  In June of 1988, my new husband whisked me off to South Carolina, where I was soon hired to teach 7th graders their math lessons and this I did, for 3 years.  Motherhood then came calling and I willingly put my  teaching career  on the back burner to await a time when I could go back to it.

Fast forward to 2015, and my husband kindly notices that with 3 of our 7 kids pretty much out of the nest, and the 4th one leaving for college in August of 2016, perhaps, he said gently, it’s time for you to go back to teaching?  It took some investigating on my part, several phone calls to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education(MO DESE) to get the correct answers as to what I needed to do to obtain a MO teaching certificate, and then I worked on getting certified.  I was granted a two year provisional certificate and as soon as I take an economics class and let DESE know this, then I’ll receive a 4 year certificate.  Evidently, in OH, where I went to college, elementary education majors didn’t need to take an economics class, but in MO, they have to.

In the meantime, I began working full-time for our local school district as a substitute teacher and for this semester, I was asked to consider being a sub for a teacher’s aide for fall semester, working with special education students.  I am enjoying being back in a classroom tremendously but as I said, the time management issues are my puzzlement now.

When I was a stay at home mom for all of those years, I was very used to setting the family’s schedule for the day, calling the shots on the homefront, so to speak.  I had more time in which to clean the house, do the laundry, grocery shopping, etc.  than I do now.  Getting back into a M-F, 7 hour workday has been an adjustment and I’m still tweaking that new schedule, the time when I’m not at work, to see what I really can accomplish in my off hours and what activities might just be unrealistic overcomittments.

I really do enjoy blogging, but a twice a week effort won’t be happening.  It’s too much for me to do, so for now, I’m going to scale back my blogging efforts to once a week, and hopefully that will be doable.  Some blogs will be about local or state or national topics, parenting topics, observations on my part, and some will be all about a classic movie as I am a huge fan of classic films.  Speaking of which, I am delighted that my twin daughters had to recently read the play, A Streetcar Named Desire, for their English class and they searched Turner Classic Movies channel on their own and found that Streetcar was going to air on October 5th, they set it up to record and we’ll be watching it tomorrow night!!  I love it when I can introduce a classic film to my kids!  It lets me have a win-win moment and it’s even better when they tell me that it was a good film, even if it wasn’t in color!

Since I wrote this post a couple days ago, we all watched Streetcar and my daughters liked it, and said the film followed the play very well.  Good to know that Elia Kazan and company knew what they were doing in taking the stage play to a film format.

 

Meet Me at the Muny!

I mentioned a couple weeks ago on Facebook how much my kids and I enjoyed a trip to St. Louis, to attend  The Muny’s production of  The Music Man.  Last Saturday, we went again and I have to say, watched the best stage version I had ever seen of Fiddler on the Roof.  A Rolla friend asked me about The Muny, as they’d never gone there before, but had heard of it through the years.  So, for Rolla-ites, this post is all about The Muny in St. Louis’s Forest Park.

The Muny-St. Louis's Outdoor Theatre, in Forest Park

The Muny-St. Louis’s Outdoor Theatre, in Forest Park

The Muny, which is the nickname for The Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis, is an outdoor theatre in Forest Park, in St. Louis, MO.  The theatre began in 1919, though an earlier production of a Shakespearean play in 1916 could be the real beginning of it all, from what I read.  That first effort ran into the red, so Mayor Kiel got involved in a door-to-door campaign to St. Louis merchants, selling blocks of tickets for future shows, and The Muny was saved financially.  For more about The Muny’s history and ticket information, show information, etc. click on this link.

The Muny, looking from stage up to the free seats section

The Muny, looking from stage up to the free seats section

The Muny brings to St. Louisians  Broadway musicals with professional actors and actresses in the lead and secondary roles.  St. Louis area thespians and kids who have experience in plays, with singing and dancing, are often cast for the crowd scene parts.  The Muny typically announces the Summer Season’s Schedule in March or April.  This years shows and their weeks of performances were/are: June 13-22 The Wizard of Oz, June 24-30 42nd Street, July 5-11 The Music Man, July 13-19, Young Frankenstein, July 21-28 Mamma Mia!  July 30-Aug. 5 Fiddler on the Roof, Aug. 8-14  Aida(Elton John’s version, not the opera by Verdi.)

Our family enjoyed The Muny's presentation of The Music Man in early July

Our family enjoyed The Muny’s presentation of The Music Man in early July

My Rolla friend asked how does one get tickets, get to The Muny, and what  can one expect?  I told her I ordered my tickets for The Music Man from The Muny’s online site, and they use Ticketmaster as the online outlet for ordering  tickets for the show(s) you want to see.  There are three areas of seats that require a paid ticket.  The priciest seats are the closest to the stage.  The middle section is not quite as pricey.  The last section is the lowest priced tickets, and Ticketmaster does charge a $3  service fee per ticket.  One could also drive to The Muny box office and buy the tickets in person, but I don’t know many Rolla-ites willing to do that unless they travel to St. Louis alot each week.  I opted to print off my tickets at home, and when we got to The Muny, an usher scanned our tickets near our seating area, and then we claimed our seats.  Now, if you don’t want to pay for a seat, there is a section at The Muny known as the Free Seats.  Farthest from the stage, you need to grab your picnic supper, water bottles, and get in line around 5:30 pm.  At 7:00, the Free Seats are opened up to first come, first serve.  Muny shows don’t begin until 8:00 pm.  There is a 15 min. intermission, so most Muny shows don’t end until 10:45-11:00 pm, which means a late night drive back to Rolla.  Unless, you have good friends who won’t mind housing you overnight.

To get to The Muny, from Rolla, take I-44 east, exit at Hampton, and follow the signs that say to The Zoo, To Forest Park.  When you enter Forest Park, you’ll immediately enter on a roundabout, take it to the right, and get on Wells Drive.  Follow Wells and you’ll come to another roundabout, and follow it and the signs that point you to The Muny.  There is a large parking lot, free parking, for The Muny, that leads you to the Free Seats section.  We usually park in this lot.  When you leave after the show is over, be very patient, as it takes a lot of time for hundreds of cars to exit this lot, which will add to the late time you return to Rolla, unfortunately.

One can bring soft-sided coolers into The Muny, and especially those sitting in the Free Seats, many bring their evening meals in with them.  Purses will be opened and scanned, too.  There are giant fans on tall, metal poles, that whirr but sometimes your comfort is just a matter of luck.  When we saw The Music Man and recently Fiddler on the Roof, both evenings were cooler, with good breezes blowing.  Each show begins with a welcoming announcement, a reminder to turn off your cell phones, and then the National Anthem is played and the US flag is spotlighted.  Then the show begins.

Just caught this production on Sat. and it was amazing!! Still on at The Muny, until

Just caught this production on Sat. and it was amazing!! Still on at The Muny, until Aug. 5th

“Meet Me at The Muny, The Muny in Forest Park!”, is the summertime jingle our family heard a lot when we lived in Florissant.  It would play on the radio and on local tv stations.  I miss hearing that jingle, as I don’t hear it as much in Rolla, but if you are a Rolla-ite, and have never been to a Muny performance, consider it for next summer.  It’s always a wonderful experience, and one way our family celebrates Summer in Missouri.

This is the last show for this summer's Muny season

This is the last show for this summer’s Muny season,  Aug. 8-14