Category Archives: pot smoking

Beginning a Week of Book Banning Awareness

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From September 21st through the 27th, the American Libraries Association has

declared this “Banned Books Week.” They wish to encourage our freedom to read.

The ALA’s slogan for this week is, “Discover What You’re Missing.” I think it is so

important to remind people of how recently we had books destroyed, censored

and banned in our country.

In my opinion, books on any subject are meant to expand our world views. They

open our eyes where we may hold insulated views. Some have been protected,

kept safe and ‘closed off,’ from what is being presented in their community or

‘tribe’ (or family.)There are some who home school, some who don’t believe

in public news, some who wish that all offensive subjects not be mentioned to

or around their children. I respect their freedom to do so and they have valid

concerns. But they must also be careful for ‘what they wish for.’ After having

a protected Catholic roommate my sophomore year in college go, ‘haywire,’

with her sudden freedom. Also, knowing a relative who sent her 3 daughters to

a Christian college, only to have one get married to a Catholic, a Jewish man

and another to live with a man out of wedlock, I think one must be careful

about what kind of life you are presenting to your children and family.

By the way, just so you don’t misunderstand, I felt all three of these choices

were find and acceptable choices. It is just the fact the parents had tried to

prevent this ‘kind of thing,’ from happening, that I mention it at all.

Creating awareness of censorship and banning books may seem ‘foreign’ to

ones in their twenties who may live in a city where this has not recently

happened. Historically, it is no so far in the distant past, as one may think. It

is also part of many cultures’ and countries’ current practices. Awareness of

the dangers in such behavior, burning books, taking black markers and

removing words, opinions, and whole passages of different perspectives is

so important for everyone to recognize.

The definition of ‘ban’ that applies to this practice is defined as to prohibit

especially by legal means or social pressure some form of information.

Censure or condemning through public opinion.

The definition of ‘censor’ is to examine in order to suppress or delete

harmful or dangerous material.

The major problem in both banning and censoring is “Who is doing this?”

Who has the authority to choose what we are able to read, write or talk

about?

The subjects of McCarthyism, Apartheid, Racial Issues and Governmental

Control are the ones that “leap to mind’ and produce a cold hand upon my

heart.

Do I think the military servicemen should have had their letters censored,

for fear of accidentally getting into the hands of our enemies? I would not

wish to make a decision that might cause death or infiltration of the enemy

in times of war.

Do I think that some subjects are ‘gross’ and upsetting to my mind? Yes,

but again, I would not wish to impose my thoughts upon others. I don’t

feel this would be fair or just behavior.

While teaching my first year of middle school, in 1979, I was in a small

town where the principal and the superintendent were from cities. They

said it was important to not feel that parents should dictate how their

students be taught. They made me feel comfortable about approaching

them with topics. Sixth grade Language Arts, along with English, Spelling

and Current Events were part of my instruction responsibilities. We had

team teaching, where the students moved from classroom to classroom.

Once I found out I was expecting my second child (my first miscarriage

had been the year before) I asked when it would be appropriate to tell

the students. We were going to be riding in a bus, in the winter months

to a swimming pool, I would be helping the kids to learn floating and

Life Saving techniques. I would be wearing a maternity bathing suit by

then. They suggested telling the parents in November and I listened to

their more experienced advice. We also were having Sex Ed discussions

in the Science classes. I was a little embarrassed as students would see

my belly expanding, but it turned out they loved getting in a line after

lunch in December to feel the baby move. Then, I would have them put

their heads down, as they rested and listened to the chapter book, “The

Yearling,” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

What books do I think of that have been banned? Without referring to

a list, I imagined “Clockwork Orange,” from my high school readings.

I pictured and remembered that the word, ‘nigger,’ was considered very

controversial and some schools and libraries during the Civil Rights

Movement, mistakenly removed the book, “Huckleberry Finn,” from

their book shelves. The third immediate ‘banned’ book I could think of,

was “The Scarlet Letter.”

Why ban “Clockwork Orange?” Graphic language,  the governmental

control and the futuristic idea of mind control over a criminal. The main

character is injected, I believe if my memory serves me well, with something

that causes him to have pictures of violence and he suffers excruciating pain

from this. Why should we accept this book and not ban it? This is an intriguing

start to a whole new genre of books, which opened our minds to possibilities

and also, made us aware of the dangers of choosing how a criminal should be

punished. Do we have the right to do this? It can also be argued, do we have

the right to kill a man because he killed or committed dangerous acts. Our

legal world, with a ‘jury of our peers,’ makes those kind of powerful judgments.

Why ban “Huckleberry Finn?” I think fear of repercussions and misunderstandings

during a very dangerous, emotional period of our times. We can look at this

rationally, knowing the language was supposed to depict what was acceptable

during Mark Twain’s time. Why accept the book? Because it is an outstanding

story that does cross racial barriers and shows a black man and a young boy in

a fantastic piece of American literature. Their unique friendship and reliance

on each other shows a trust unexpected between two such characters, prior

to Mark Twain’s writing this book.

Why would “The Scarlet Letter,” which has a 19th century woman wearing a

red “A” across her chest be considered censorable? I think some would say

go ahead and promote this book. It holds their own judgments of the situation

on adultery. I am not sure if it is on the banned books list, which I had decided

when I set out to write this, that I would not ‘peek’ at the list until I finished my

opinions or had a chance to ‘editorialize.’ I think it may have been on the list

but would take it off, due to my determination that usually the WOMAN is

given the scarlet letter, not the man who was part of the couple engaged in

adultery. This is an antiquated viewpoint, but sadly this is still held in some

form or other, which is not the time nor place to talk about why this still goes

on.

 

The Office of Intellectual Freedom gets reports and complaints. They usually

get the most “challenges” to freedom from the public wishing to ban books

after the Top 10 Book List is published.

Here are the Top 5 out of a list of Top 10 the OIF received after the 2013 Top Ten

List was published:

1. “Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey.

The complaints were: Offensive language and unsuitable for age group.

2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

The complaints were: Offensive language, sexually explicit, violence and unsuitable for age group.

3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ,” by Sherman Alexie.

The complaints were: Drugs, alcohol, smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James.

The complaints were: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.

The complaints were: Religious viewpoints and unsuitable for age group.

Hmm…I would have added violence possibly.

Overall, there are large numbers given on the official website of the Office of Intellectual Freedom

of the population that wish to restrict our reading materials.

 

 

The funny thing that someone in my life mentioned about censorship, I am

not quite sure who, but he asked this thought-provoking question:

What book has many adult themes within its pages, including adultery,

fornication and murdering one’s family members, but is considered

‘acceptable’ by those who wish to forbid and censor books?

(The Bible, he answered.)

What books came to mind, when I first started this post, that may be on past

banned books lists?

 

Nelson Mandela’s quotation seems apropos:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way that respects and enhances

the freedom of others.”

 

Double Dip Treat

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Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!

Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the

gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from

so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when

either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come

and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to

another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being

the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between

children and parents.  As in all relationships, communication and honesty

are needed to make this trust build and endure.

You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the

parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one

who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved

ones. You could be ‘counted on.’  In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the

good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.

This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the

seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may

wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some

kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be

on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’  friends of our own age,

whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could

‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This

meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.

 

You see,  “double dip treat” is to combine two elements:  Taxi Service and Trust.

 

Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since

I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!

 

“TAXI SERVICE”

When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a

big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would

insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,

at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been

told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick

and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our

parents to show up:

“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”

Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling

the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount

of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this

in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money

back.

While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building

and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride

home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor

did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home

process, successfully.

 

Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,

but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape

or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of

all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent

dangers in this darkness?

 

Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to

hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once

again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at

our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing

by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older

sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”

We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent

would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a

designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would

‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it

was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and

basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one

end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand

under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.

Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make

or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,

keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members

of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.

 

If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in

for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise

following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was

a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really

helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle

school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and

health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did

not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more

strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his

sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors

and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared

to his strict upbringing.

 

An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we

would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our

designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.

At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The

entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each

other.

If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase

some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,

or float.

See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!

I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of

those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate

nut ice cream flavors.

Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or

‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We

would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,

where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and

parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood

houses, still leading you off the “Point.”

My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a

big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a

Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with

chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,

whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had

to get out to the car and leave!

 

“TRUST”

In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival

of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the

movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.

This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part

of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them

they were usually late.

All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would

greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take

home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,

nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was

no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose

‘turns’ never were reciprocated.

When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’

as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary

students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill

Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need

to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.

We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up

something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.

Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’

for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or

weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or

instrument.  My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own

children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an

example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my

brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household

cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on

an old towel and dust.  Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,

then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my

favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since

I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)

woman.

You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier

and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying

them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted

this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on

combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like

babysitting or waiting tables.

My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late

read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or

smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred

we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we

had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as

we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our

car home, one to drive our besotted self home.

I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I

was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my

own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving

age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,

while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.

My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than

15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may

have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss

and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in

trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this

chance.  More than once!

A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than

most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal

poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two

camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.

I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to

worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”

It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that

I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom

was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious

concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.

I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,

who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or

mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises

to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad

waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal

situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.

My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some

bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking

and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in

a car heading in the same direction.

Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes

literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a

more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to

do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to

plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have

condoms available!”

Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To

benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.

Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your

friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and

teen years, too.

Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’

If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice

that helped you feel like you worked as a team?

 

 

 

 

 

These Boots. . .

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Of course, this is one example of how just the beginning words of a song

can send you back in time, evoke memories or irritate you, depending on

the particular words! “These boots are made for walking…” sung by Nancy

Sinatra, came out in February, 1966. The lyrics and melody were written

by Lee Hazelwood.

Of course, these boots were an example of figurative speech and they were

usually viewed during this era to be, “go go boots!” I would like to switch over

to pre-Civil War days, when good ole’ cowboy boots were more prevalent.

Some interesting facts are they came about due to necessity, ability to handle

all sorts of inclement weather and using leather to hold up, for the long haul.

I had not realized that the heels were made to be tall, to be able to latch onto

the stirrups on the side of the horse, attached to the saddle.

Many of you out West and South know the purpose to cowboy boots, I always

viewed them as ‘cute’ boots that my brothers wore with their leather vests

and chaps, along with the accompaniment of a “Sheriff” badge, made out of

stamped tin silver.

My oldest daughter was quite fond of the ability to slide her tights-encased

feet into her Daddy’s little boy cowboy boots. They were made of  rugged dark

brown leather with tan stitching, that looked like ropes lassoing and winding

around. She had discovered that the more you wear the leather boots, the more

they ‘fit’ and conform to your feet.

I loved the way she was my ‘frilly’ girl, wearing dresses into her grade school

years. Those cowboy boots were easy to slip on, then clomp around in, making

quite a racket on hardwood floors! The third year she saw Santa Claus in her life,

with her wearing a pretty Christmas dress and white tights on, is my favorite

pose of hers wearing boots! No ‘go go boots,’ for her! I have a picture of her

wearing a pair of high heeled black dress boots on the day of her best friend,

Jennifer’s 21st birthday that nearly meets the high emotions I get when I see her

on that Christmas, 1983!

When I saw Willie Nelson’s photograph, in a beautiful pair of smooth and

shiny black leather cowboy boots,  inside of my recent “AARP Magazine” and

gracing the cover of my daughter’s “Rolling Stones” magazine, too. Later after

getting my mail seeing the still ‘mighty fine’ man, Jeff Bridges on the outside

cover. Then inside he is talking about his days in western movies, like “Crazy

Heart”  and “True Grit,” (remade) where he wore cowboy boots. . .

I just had to learn more about cowboy boots!

There is an author, Jennifer June, whose recent book, “Art and Sole,” came

out with all kinds of modern pieces of artwork in decorating cowboy boots

that is well worth skimming and like I did, looking at the fantastic art on

current boots. Isn’t that the cleverest title?

Side tracking,  I enjoyed years ago (1993) a great movie, called, “Heart and

Souls.” If you wish to think of what is happening in the hearafter, with a

big dose of humor and fun,  check out this one! I am so pleased that the

members of this movie, are all still with us, gracing the ‘silver screen.’

With Robert Downey, Jr., Alfre Woodard, Charles Grodin, Elisabeth Shue

and Kyra Sedgwick, this is a four star movie cast!

The subject of cowboy boots, with its incredible industry with various

successful companies really could fill  several books! Country western stars,

some who may have never ridden a horse grace the musical scene. The show,

“Nashville,” made it through two seasons, I believe.

“Red Wings,” is a big name in cowboy boots and work boots, too. The artists

who are part of the company, “Rocket Busters,” stitch and design, paint and

create flair using boot leather as their “canvas.” Looking at many of the lovely

patterns, I decided if I ever lived near horses, were going out to enjoy a date

with a cowboy, I would choose their “Chandelier” design. Another company to

check out, its roots in Texas, is Justin Brand Boots, or simply “Justin’s boots.”

In honor of Willie Nelson I will share a few of his passions:

He loves the woman he married in 1991, Annie. He loves his sons and thinks that

when them, Micah, Lucas and he play their guitars and sing, they are ‘as good as

it gets.’ For 50 years or more, his sister, Bobbie, has been part of his bus touring

group. His two daughters, Amy and Lana, also like to travel on the road with

him.

He is a big supporter of migrant workers, enjoys seeking home grown vegetables

and fruits, in a fair market value system. He is supportive of farmers all across

the world. Willie is 81 and just passed this fifth degree black belt in Korean

martial arts!

Willie’s song on his album, “Band of Brothers,” I recommend to you. It is

called, “I’ve Got a Lot of Traveling to Do.” Willie passé on this final thought in

his recent article,  he admits it is not original but worth repeating!

“Don’t slow down – – –

They might be gaining on you!”

Cowboy Boots:

Roy Rogers wore them.

 

Roy made the boots quite popular!

I cannot help myself, I wanted you to know Roy’s ‘real’ name was Leonard

Franklin Slye, he lived from 1911 – 1998, with his second wife and he making

it to 51 years together! Known as the “King of Cowboys,” he seemed to deserve

this legendary title.

 

Dale Evans wore them.

Elvis wore them.

Governor Rick Perry wears them.

Both Presidents Bush, Senior and Junior wore them.

 

Do you wear them?

 

I had a babysitter who lived out on a farm, her children and I liked to feed the

baby lambs baby bottles of milk. This was in her farmhouse kitchen in the

winter time. I loved being out in the country but have never owned a pair of

cowboy boots! I guess living in a town,(Sandusky, Ohio) then close to a big city,

(Cleveland) I considered myself a ‘city’ girl!

 

If I decide to go out and buy some cowboy boots, do you have a favorite brand

to recommend I try?

 

 

 

Slurred Speech

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The Dark Side of Comedy

While laughing and coming up with a wide selection of old time shows

that were either variety and/or talk shows, we came upon a somber

moment. My coworkers and I had listed The Jackie Gleason Show, which

included a funny character named, “Crazy Guggenheim.” We had also talked

about how many of the talk show ‘hosts’ or ‘hostesses’ held cigarettes

in their fingers or had a amber colored beverage in their glasses.

Who doesn’t remember Dean Martin, for example, having a drink in

his hand?

By the way, Frank Fontaine portrayed Crazy Guggenheim on both the

Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny shows. He died of 58 years old, about

to donate a check for heart disease studies. His heart attack was

a shock to those who loved him. He knew how to sing well, having

filled a whole album of the songs he sang, while Jackie G. portrayed

his famous alter ego, “Joe the Bartender.” Frank F. was famous for

his slurred speeches, his drunken behavior and his bug-eyed look

and facial expressions.

We thought that it was interesting how times ‘had changed’ and

decided there were “pro’s” and “con’s” to the past.

Let me insert a famous line from the movie, “A Night at the Opera,”

(1935):

“Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and

necking in the parlor.”

This line was spoken by Groucho Marx, in his portrayal of the film’s

character, Otis B. Driftwood.

We know now that famous people are just like us, in many ways.

We also realize that, although there were “Time” and “Newsweek”

magazines trying to bring to the forefront of the population,

the downfalls of alcohol, drugs, gambling and smoking, there were

many disregarding the after effects, side effects and we did not

have such a stigma attached to these ‘bad’ habits. Two of us at my

lunch table on Thursday, became rather sad and quiet. They were

reflecting on recalled deaths of family members due to smoking and

cancer. One of us had experienced abusive, “mean drunks” for parents.

We decided that addictions, such as these, are still not considered

as ‘big of a deal.’ Society, in some ways, continues to ‘brush them

under the table.’

Even the subject of rehabilitation has had its lighter comedic film

moments. People either laugh, due to the antics and situations that

don’t seem real or out of being uncomfortable. It is hard to explain

why we laugh when someone runs into a wall, falls off a roof, or

trips and does a pratfall.

Treatment for the addictions, in the form of actually facing that

these ARE diseases, is important. Still, we felt a little sad

about the fun we had, when young and felt ‘invincible’ and our

lives, for the most part, had been impermeable to the aging

results of sometimes almost impossible challenges.

Slurred speech, in the ways a person sometimes cannot help it,

while in persons who have had a stroke, live with the challenge

of disabilities and speech delays are NOT FUNNY! We would not

laugh, hopefully, when someone has a speech ‘impediment!’

We still felt a little ambiguous, as we thought back upon the

variety of comedy skits that made us roar with uncontrollable

laughter. Melvin admitted to sometimes, while in the armed

forces, being drunk and thinking it was funny when his buddies

and he pulled pranks while drunk. It is considered a serious

offense, and if caught, these days, you could be court-martialed!

Melvin remarked, that in the ‘old war stories’ of the past, often

there would be stories of men ‘letting off steam.’ We also agreed

that the Viet Nam war movies, seemed to include a prevalent use

of drugs.

Who can forget Crazy Guggenheim’s humorous lines, his leaning

into a person, while breathing out his alcoholic breath? Who

cannot forget when there have been famous movies, with drunken

scenes, sometimes with innocent types of sloppy behaviors?

Who can forget the drunken orgies in “Animal House?”

Who has seen and enjoyed some teenaged or college-aged

movies (or personal memories) where it was very funny being

drunk or being around people who were high?

Who did not laugh (if they are above 40 years old) at Cheech

and Chong’s movie, “Up in Smoke?”

Adding, “Arthur,” with Dudley Moore and The Benny Hill Show,

to the mix, we had international connections of drinking in

movies and television shows.

I have seen Doris Day, Sandra Dee, Humphrey Bogard, Elizabeth

Taylor, Richard Burton and other classic actors and actresses

who have done scenes where they portrayed alcoholics. Some

were quite dramatic and serious roles with “mean” and “sloppy”

drunken roles as their focus. Yet, some were fun ‘romp’ movies

where the drunks were silly.

A lot of comedies include either drugs, alcohol or addictions,

going over the top in their portrayals.

There are also famous movies with the dark and angry side of

the picture:

“Days of Wine and Roses” and “Leaving Las Vegas” come to mind.

We have moved forward in some ways, then stepped back, too.

After all, we still have three “Hangover” movies…

I still will watch comedy sketches with the Saturday Night

Live crew, some who are great at making me laugh, acting

silly while stumbling around and falling down drunk.

Not So Innocent!

Standard

Britney Spears went through a big upheaval when she became an

adult and no longer was “Mickey Mouse Club material.” I have several

random thoughts on this, also other major and famous actresses,

movie stars and musicians becoming adults and the public’s high

expectations of them. I would like to also mention how I feel about

the different approaches the media have to covering stories of famed

young women’s personal activities versus young men’s choices. I

feel there is some sexism in the way the stories are sensationalized

and reported.

I was once “innocent,” too. I would go to theatre or Thespians’

after theatre parties, where marijuana joints were passed over my

head. I was also known, according to a nice young man who told

me at my fifth high school reunion, as a “Virgin who would not go

past second base.” Thanks for that, Jack! (I still love you, anyway!)

I went to Science Club parties, where I am sure the popular kids

and the “jocks,” cheerleaders and the “stoners” thought we were

solely playing chess and behaving ourselves! Heck no! There were

cans of beer to be bagged up and also those silly, sickeningly sweet

Boone’s Farm wine bottles, too!

I laugh at the avid papparazzi, entertainment reporters and the social

media going crazy over poor Miley Cyrus’ reaching “maturity.” She is

just deciding to go the way of say, Madonna, (please tell me you don’t

forget her sacrilegious acts with a cross and other religious symbols!),

Cher (hey, there are a lot of you who knew about her wild days), and

Bette Midler, attired in solely a bustier and flimsy underwear going

onstage to burst into great songs with acccompanying raunchy and raw

behavior.

Let’s look at how Cher became a serious actress in “Silkwood.”

Let’s look at how much we respect Madonna for her work in say,”Evita”

along with her charity causes and major donations, too.

Let’s look at how Bette Midler became a sweet crooner in “The Wind

Beneath My Wings” and her Disney movies with Danny DeVito.

We allowed them to be “grown ups” and then, we still scorn their past

behaviors? Let’s get real! I think that there have been several insightful

entertainment reporters that say that if these women had been men,

like Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, along

with numerous men who have crossed over from druggies, jailbirds

and other dangerous behaviors to respected “artists.” Men can get

away with bawdy and “bad” behavior, just a little bit easier, I agree!

Robert Downey, Jr. is now popular with his “Ironman” movie series,

not that long ago, he was a major drug addict and lawbreaker.

I love Tim Allen’s sense of humor, he was an excellent “father role

model” in “Home Improvement” for my children growing up. He

was not afraid to be goofy and made us laugh! He is also funny in

his newer comedy, “Last Man Standing.” I enjoy his take on parenting

with Nancy Allen, teenager and young adult girls! He still wants to put

a “bag over their heads” and protect them! But, you know he was a

drug dealer and served time in jail, right?

Just going to say, I am “not so innocent!” I still get away with a little

bit more, with my wide eyed freshly cleaned face that looks like the

girl next door. I think the shame is that the media takes the ball and

runs with the escapades of the young women, especially, and they are

not going to see it this way, are actually exploiting them!

As far as Britney Spears goes, her song, “Baby One More Time” was

recorded when she was 18 years old, in 1999. She also that year won

a Grammy Award and Best Female Pop Vocal performance of the year.

She sang the words, “I’m not that innocent” in the song, “Oops, I Did It

Again,” (2000), broke international records.

That is my “take” on the recent situations with Miley Cyrus and the

past ones that I admire their body of work, overlook their mishaps,

and am so glad that my mistakes are not covering magazines and

news shows!

Kim and Sunny from India

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I almost entitled this the post about a great and fun man named

Kim who sent off a request for a “Mail Order Bride from India!”

My ex-husband while in college, worked with a wonderful staff

of cooks, servers and a lively manager at a Frisch’s in Bowling

Green, Ohio.

My boyfriend at the time was very friendly and open minded to

all kinds of people and always inviting anyone who didn’t have

plans to join him with his floor mates for a Friday or Saturday

evening party. In fact that is how I met him, I was asked,

“Do you like to party?”

At the time I was innocent and unaware of the significance of

those particular words strung together. (For those not growing up

in the seventies, that meant: “Do you like to smoke pot?”)

So, on one Saturday evening that I was in the boys’ dorm, Rodger’s

Hall, doing my boyfriend’s and his roommate’s laundry, his head

stuck into the hot and airless room with a big smile on his face.

He said, “Are you almost done?”

I replied, “Things are in the dryer, so not too many minutes more!

How was work tonight?”

He answered, “Fun, as always, and guess what? Kim has his new

girlfriend from India! She will feel so much more comfortable when

you get done with the clothes and get up to the floor. Hurry up!”

He came in and leaned in for a kiss and added, “Thanks for doing this,

honey!”

When I got upstairs, lugging the clothes up the elevator and dragging

the basket down the hall. Until I ran into my high school friend, Jimmy,

who picked the basket up and easily got it back to the room. I chatted with

him about math homework as he was tutoring me. If he ever sees this, I

will admit he would have been the BEST boyfriend or future husband! He

was always a very good listener and friend.

Anyway, when I walked in I noticed right away the music was a low key

Pink Floyd song, (not the raucous noise of Alice Cooper or the Stones!)

and there on the one bed that was not made into a bunkbed sat a pretty

girl who stood out in her nice long skirt that resembled batik art work.

Kim, who really was a “party-er” (please check back what that means if

you have lost track of this point!) was sitting with his arm around the

girl and stood up to introduce the young lady as “Sunny.” The other

change in the atmosphere this evening was the lack of dense pot fog

that emanated usually out of all the rooms on the floor.

Side note and sad news:  Rodger’s Hall got taken down in 2012 on

BGSU campus.

I was very happy to meet her and had hopes of going places together.

I mentioned that we all should go up to Toledo or Maumee and have

dinner together soon.

We started talking and both Kim and my ex did not have to work the

next day. We all agreed to get together at around 1 p.m. to walk around

a mall and then eat afterwards on Sunday.

When we got up at noon the next day, I hurried back to my dorm (Kreisher

Quadrangle, my sophomore year would have been Ashley part and my

freshman year would have been Batchelder section.) I got my nicest long

skirt out which was in a paisley pattern with rust, dark blue and cream

lace at the bottom and I wore a nice lacy top with it.

When I got back to Rodger’s, the still awkward and unfamiliar couple was

waiting for the elevator up. I rode up with them chatting about some of the

sights that might have been of interest and asked Kim if Sunny had seen the

downtown yet. Kim mentioned Sam B’s and the Elder Beerman’s store that

they had shopped for a few items of clothing for Sunny. He also spoke for

her about the living arrangements. Sunny was staying at his aunt’s house

that was in Bowling Green in a trailer park. She was the designated woman

who would be their chaperone at nights, supposedly. Of course, his aunt was

not there the previous night but I could vouch for the time they were there,

“No hanky panky was carried out in my presence!”

While we drove up north to the mall, the men rode in the front seat and we

sat in the back. I asked Sunny how long she had been there, what she thought

of Ohio and if she had been anywhere else in the United States yet?

Sunny was very soft spoken and answered in halting English. She understood

me well and yet, was a little unfamiliar with the language so it was not flowing

out of her mouth yet. Occasionally I noticed that gregarious Kim was answering

for her.

When we got out of the car, the men took off walking briskly and I almost wanted

to shout, “Slow down!”

But that would not look too smooth nor did I want to appear too bossy.

Once the men got to the doors of the mall, they did slow down and held the door open

for us to enter. Inside, again the men walked in front of us. I was kind of used to this

when out with other couples, our friends, Rich and Laurie C. were always separating

into the men and women. I liked to walk slower to window shop.

I asked Sunny if she had anything she was looking for. Maybe an item she had still not

found in the local B.G. shops?

She could not think of anything. When I passed a “Sale” sign in a popular clothing store

for younger people, I raised my voice and called out to tell my ex, that I was going into the

shop to look for a pair of jeans. I have to also mention to younger readers, in my high school

days we (girls) were not allowed to wear pants except on Fridays for pep rallies. Once I got

to B.G. the two purchases I made on the first weekend after my parents left me there, were

a two piece bathing suit (my Mom forbade me to wear anything but a ‘baby doll’ suit or a

one piece) and a pair of jeans! I was still working on adding jeans to my wardrobe at this

point in time.

Sunny told me nicely, after I shared this information about my past and current wardrobe

changes, that she did not own a pair of any type of pants! Not even dress pants! Nor did she

have a bathing suit or a pair of shorts or ‘pedal pushers.’ (A lot like capris now look.)

I was not too shocked since I was not too far “ahead” of her in my fashion awareness but I

insisted that she had to come into the dressing room with a pair of jeans, a bathing suit and

a pair of pedal pushers. She was easily persuaded and agreeable to see how she looked in each

choice. I had grabbed a cute red bandana top for her and a white dotted swiss backless top for

myself. We stepped outside to “model” them for the men who we had heard out in the area. Kim

did not smile at me nor did he look directly at Sunny.

I almost asked him, “What’s up with you, Kim?” He was very well known as the biggest FLIRT

in the whole men’s dormitory! And yes, he would look the girls up and down!

I kept my mouth shut. So far…

My ex always had extra money from his parents and from his working as the cook at Frisch’s so he

offered to buy the jeans and the white top for me.

Kim did not offer nor make any comments and as we walked into the dressing room, I noticed Sunny

had a less than sunny disposition. She had her head down and was disappointed. I caught her sad

look and felt bad for her. She had such a beautiful countenance when she would break into a smile!

 

Just in case you wondered what brought this memory  to mind so long after this occurred? I have a

few reasons, it is Spring and my memory went back to that time recently. Also, my daughter still has

the gorgeous cream, orange, turquoise and gold thread embroidered sari that Sunny gave me that

summer. She showed me how to wrap it. My artistic, oldest daughter loved wearing it for a special

school project where she read a book on India and wore the sari.

As a follow up on this story, Kim did marry Sunny.

Sunny became more assertive and I like to think my tutoring her on American habits and acceptance

of our “women’s liberation” movement helped. Kim was fairly patient with my gradually adapting her

to the culture. We even got to go to the mall three years later, two married couples walking together.

No longer were we 10 or more paces behind the men!