Headlines that made me stop and think last week. . . .

Over the last week, there have been some things that made me stop and think.  Think about what we are doing to our planet, think about how we are losing so many of our natural resources, thinking about how I really don’t care who Jennifer Aniston is dating or what café they have eaten at lately.  Here are some of the ones that, for whatever reason, caught my eye:

  • In my mind, money is money.  I know people that laugh at those that collect change in a jar, but I’m here to say that that aforementioned jar has allowed me to pay my electric bill or buy milk in the past, so I say money is money be it a penny or a $100 bill.  Evidently this man feels the same way I do.  He tried to prepay for his gas, and he only wanted $10 worth.  Granted, he was trying to pay in pennies, but what’s wrong with that?  The article doesn’t say if it was pre-rolled or not, something I probably would have done in advance to make it easier, but it certainly wasn’t worth calling the police in and reporting the man as abusive and hostile.  If gas prices there are as bad as they are in the rest of the world, what’s wrong with putting the copper Abe Lincoln to use rather than having them sit around in an old jar somewhere?
  • Okay, first we had the Japanese woman that lived in a guy’s closet.  But this guy was trying to hide in a sofa.  Granted, he hadn’t been there for awhile and was actually a thwarted ex-boyfriend that had a score to settle.  The poor woman was actually afraid that he had broken into her home so she was on her cell with a friend, and had instructed the friend to call the police if he jumped her or whatever when she got home.  She thought she was safe and sat on the couch.  Realized couch was way too lumpy and then the ex jumped out.  I’m sorry, but I would be getting rid of that couch right about the same time I changed the locks.  And I would do it fast.
  • Oddly enough, I started this blog right about the same time that I was getting annoyed with the torch relay protests and the fact that the attention was taken away from the athletes that have worked so hard to reach this point in their career.  Which is why this story made me smile–the torch went through Tibet, and while I’m not deluded enough to think that it was pain free and that the media was not manipulated by the military, it was still nice to hear that the torch relay run was lined with people wearing badges that read “Go China”.
  • You know, if we could only do this when that jerk in business class is protesting over his lack of an upgrade to first class.  The United pilot was in a labor dispute with coworkers and was too upset to fly.  So United yanked the flight.  The passengers, I’m sure, were annoyed as all get out.  But good for him.  We’ve all had moments at work where we have made a stupid mistake or said things we didn’t mean or even realize we were saying because we were upset or distraught; this guy had the good sense to realize that there were a few hundred people depending on him and yanked himself off the flight.  Go U Pilot!
  • The grammar girl in me loves this story.  I want to be a purple pen superhero too!!  I worked in restaurants for seventeen years.  I even wrote the menu at more than one of them. And nothing drives me nuts more than typos.  Given that I usually work at/tend to frequent local establishments and not large chains, I see this even more often as I know full well these guys most of the time speak English as a second language.  But the misplaced apostrophe telling me to try the appetizer’s.  The fact that it is written as creme brule or creme brulay, instead of crème brûlée.  And really, the accents don’t even matter! And even better is when they know there is a mistake and use a sharpie or black marker to cover over it.  You know as well as I do that you can still read the print unless you photocopy it again–the toner shows through the ink.  Which makes my all time favorite mistake the one from a local favorite sushi restaurant.  We’re still not really sure what ingredient they thought they were listing, but evidently they decided that cum wasn’t really what they meant to put in that particular sushi roll at all.  [And if my mother ever stumbles across this blog, sorry about that.  Not my favorite word, but it is still a funny story.]
  • How much do I miss the Sesame Street of old?  Oh, let me just think back.  I watched long before those annoying red muppet days (though I do like his sidekick, Zoey).  I fully credit the show with the reason why I skipped Kindergarten because I could already read.  Well, that and the bazillion Little Golden Books that I made my parents read to me over and over again as a kid.  My favorite was Super Grover.  And Grover as a waiter.  And the little girl that is trying to count/say the alphabet and keeps saying 1-2-3-Cookie Monster! and cracking up.  Which is why I liked this story about how Sesame Street is starting to break the barriers not just between children but adults in Kosovo.  See?  Monsters and humans can get along in every day circumstances and think nothing about being different, yet they enjoy and embrace the differences at the same time.  The Serbs and Albanian children in this community showed a greater willingness to help their countrymen than those that had not watched the show.  And in an area where ethnicity has the same problems that we had/still have in this country or other places like South Africa and WWII Germany I think that anything that makes kids talk is worth doing.  Better yet, the parents have also learned a few lessons.  That skit we loved as kids about the fish that was drowning in air because we were draining his lake as we left the water on to brush my teeth is teaching the same lesson to people over there.  Some things are still true.
  • Not new for this week, but a side note since I mentioned Grover.  Have you ever been to Grover is Bitter?  There you learn the truth of Grovski Carbunkle, his rise to fame, and his inevitable fall into drugs and despair before climbing out of the heap and trying to redeem himself.  Brilliant!  Love it!
  • I don’t know the best way to sum up how I feel about this, so I’ll just quote the first bit from author Cathy Lynn Grossman:  “Religion today in the USA is a salad bar where people heap on upbeat beliefs they like and often leave the veggies — like strict doctrines — behind. There are so many ways of seeing God, public policy expert Barry Kosmin says, that ‘the highest authority is now the lowest common denominator.'”  I think it makes me sad.  I spent time away from the church in my twenties, but now I happily attend and follow a doctrine that I firmly subscribe to.  I think that the overall sense of spirituality is great, but it’s like saying that the country has an overwhelming majority of people that believe in charitable organizations–and then no one actually gives to those charities.  I probably have to ponder it some more, but it does upset me.  I’m not trying to push my particular religion or doctrine but yes, I do think that some people despite their beliefs are going to be in big trouble on judgment day, and the fact that the general population is happy being at church for the big three (Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day) just doesn’t sit right with me.
  • I was only seventeen when I went to college.  What the hell did I know about what the rest of my life was going to be like.  I have long believed in the way things are done in Germany–go to school, then you have two years where you must serve in the military or in public service, then you go to college, if you want, for four years on the government’s dime.  Or at least that’s how it was when I was seventeen and Wolfgang was here on his gap year as an exchange student.  If I ever have kids I’d encourage them to do just that.  Enroll, then ask for a deferment for a year so that you can figure out what it means to be an adult, live on your own, get into and out of trouble on your own, and what your passion truly is.  Someone finally agrees with me!
  • By the way, the last several songs that have played on my iTunes simply suck.  I don’t know where I got them from, but holy cow!  Yeah, they’re being deleted.
  • I know that the military isn’t exactly the most budget conscious business in the world, and there are a lot of wasteful practices in play.  But to throw away perfectly good, unused ammunition?  Like this unused grenade–fully operational–that landed in a Canadian woman’s backyard?  I wonder if the fact that it was still NIP (New In Package) would mean that she could get a higher price for it on eBay?
  • I know that my generation is the first one to truly grow up without feeling the true fallout of our country being at war.  Even though we have been at war in Afghanistan for seven years and in Iraq for five, there are honestly times where I don’t think about it for hours at a stretch.  Not quite the same for Vietnam, WWII, the Civil War–those were all huge events that everyone in the country felt the impact of.  My generation has now been through two gulf wars and while we all know people that have served overseas the daily, gut wrenching pain of that situation is something we don’t feel as we go about our own business.  But then this story that I found today made me think about it even more.  Did you know that as of 06/23 of this year the major network news shows had only broadcast 181 minutes of coverage on the news?  That’s only 1.0343 minutes per day, and that’s shared among CBS, ABC, and NBC.  We have 150,000 troops in Iraq, but evidently that’s not enough for CBS to warrant keeping a reporter over there full time.  No wonder our nation is so apathetic towards the war.  According to the article, “‘The CBS Evening News’ has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s ‘World News’ and 74 minutes on ‘NBC Nightly News.’ (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)”.  This is compared to the 1157 minutes of coverage for 2007, which averages to 3.1699 minutes of coverage per day–at least that’s a full sixty seconds per news station, even if it’s only at eleven o’clock.  This bothers me.  This bothers me greatly.
  • Evidently I’m not the only one.  This man, a former military man himself, decided that the soldiers needed something to remind them of home on the 4th of July.  And for a Chicagoan what’s more American than a deep dish pie?  He was trying to raise the money he needed to send 300 pies overseas in time for July 4th so that the soldiers could have a taste of home.  That number is now at 3,000 and climbing.  More power to ya’.  And next time I’m in Chicago, I’m coming to your place for this very reason.  What an awesome thing to do.

That’s all for tonight, folks.  I’m going to find a slice myself for dinner and plop down in front of the boob tube to catch up on Duff and the gang at Ace of Cakes.  Nighty night!

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