Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a list of the Ten Foods You Should Never Eat. Number One is Pepperidge Farms Original Flaky Crust Roasted Chicken Pot Pie. ugh. They're those small frozen things stacked up in every grocer's freezer. ugh. This particular one has 1000 calories, 18 grams of fat and 13 grams of hidden trans-fat. And that's ignoring just how glelatous those pies are.
Surprisingly, Campbell's soup in the familiar red and white cans, is loaded with salt and not all that good for you even if you need some chicken soup for your flu.
After a two week lay off the MAtH (man about the house) and I have found the time to spend with Dianne Isbell's Monday Etiquette column in the Belleville News-Democrat.
Me: You know what's odd? For the two weeks we haven't had time to read much of the Monday paper, Dianne's column disappeared from the BND's web site. But today it's back.
MAtH: I hadn't noticed.
Me: Well, I like to link things I put on my web site so it doesn't appear that I am just making things up.
MAtH: How about sending Dianne an email and asking why she was left off the internet?
Me: You know very well she doesn't have email, you're just trying to get my goat.
Me: In any event, as always, Dianne is nothing if not relevant, her first question comes from someone asking about Halloween etiquette.
MAtH: Things like saying thank you to people who give you candy?
Me: No, actually it is a woman who is having an adult party and wants to know if it would be alright for her guests to help give out candy to trick or treaters.
MAtH: Depends, I would say, on what kind of party it is. Sometimes those adult parties get a little rowdy, you wouldn't want to scare the kids.
Me: How many Halloween parties have you ever been too?
MAtH: None, it's not my favorite day, but I have seen news reports about parties.
Me: Anyway, Dianne thinks it is perfectly ok for guests to help. "Special party events dictate deviating from the normal rules so everyone has a good time."
MAtH: Who's giving out the candy here at home this year?
Me: Who is normally not even home on Halloween?
MAtH: So that means it's my turn?
Me: It's something everyone should experience at least once. Then I could stay back and keep the dog calm.
MAtH: Can I still watch Monday Night Football?
Me: Maybe the second half.
MAtH: I think I'll run a cord and cable line to the front porch so I can plug in the small tv. How about bringing a lawn chair out front while I do that.
Me: It's raining don't forget.
MAtH: We have a big umbrella somewhere don't we?
Me: Another question she gets is from a woman wanting to know the "V" word that is often used when talking about an artist's art exhibitions.
MAtH: I thought we had an extra long cable line around here we weren't using.
Me: Wait...Dianne says: "The word is probably the French word, "vernissages" which is a party given for the opening of an art exhibit."
MAtH: From the French for varnish. hahahahahahaha...surprised?
Me: Dumbfounded. Seems that in old France "When artists originally began hanging their pictures in a gallery, they would invite friends in to help them varnish the pictures for protection before the exhibit was opened to the public."
MAtH: Weird. Why would galleries be using that term now?
Me: The long cable line is in the trunk of the car.
MAtH: Oh, good. So you don't care if I set up a tv room on the front porch?
Me: If it means I don't have to sit out in the rain all night, go for it.
This being Halloween you expect to find people masquerading as something other than their real selves, but it is still a shock to see a St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial taking Senator Dick Durbin to task for his "View" on oil company profits published in today's paper. Rarely does the PD contradict democratic opinion, or maybe, rarely does it ratify republican opinion.
Durbin: "The oil companies like to say they need these huge profit margins to fund efforts to find new sources of oil and increase refinery capacity.
Post-Dispatch: "Oil companies are rolling in money these days, and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., wants to take some of it away from them. Mr. Durbin is one of several members of Congress proposing excess profits taxes on oil companies.
The idea is excellent populist politics and lousy economics. It's a bad idea that would ultimately leave us with higher gasoline prices and tie us even more tightly to the unstable oil states of the Middle East."
In essence Durbin is looking to tax the heck out of the oil companies' profits while the PD believes what is needed is for the companies to pour that money into expanding refineries and searching for and digging more wells.
One of Durbin's ideas is to kick back some of that taxed profit to the consumers to the tune of $150. Logistically, that idea is a loser. How would that money get to each person who uses gas? Does everyone with a driver's license get a check? What Durbin is doing is jumping on the "us versus them" bandwagon, with the belief that he is siding with the little guy...meaning us. Doesn't work, because like the Post says, his idea is all "soak the rich" and "give to the government" economics, an idea that isn't anymore palatable to consumers than gouging.
The title quote above is from Len Armanetti, owner of the Armanetti Wine Shoppe in Chicago. I remember going with my dad to Armanetti's liquor store in Villa Park when I was young and it was fun to walk the aisles looking at all the bottles and hearing the jokes the counterman and my dad would tell each other. Anyway, Armanetti is reacting to a story about the newest thing in wine containers: plastic, screwtop bottles, much like today's soft drink bottles. Single serve bottles at that. Supposedly there is a growing niche for this sort of thing. Golly, I hope they're wrong. There is something ceremonial about uncorking a bottle of wine, even if it isn't a special occasion. I hate to think there will be people slugging back wine out of a coca cola type bottle in the near future. Probably pitching it out the car window when empty too.
The Wichita Eagle has a good story from the National Motorists Association on how to increase your odds of not getting a speeding ticket while out on the interstates. Some of the tips are things I have learned the hard way, i.e. getting speeding a ticket on a Mother's Day. My first question to the nice officer was, "Don't you have a mother?" Didn't work for me. The tip I should have known then is not listed, but should be. "Keep your mouth shut, even if you're trying to be friendly?" Jokes don't work.
Looks like lawmakers in England may have to consider dog protective legislation much as their Italian counterparts did. You may remember Italian laws now require family dogs be walked three times a day or else a fine is in order.
Reports out of England show a rapid rise in stressed out dogs due to their owners not having enough time for them because they are so busy and stressed out themselves.
The survey found 26 percent of more than 1,100 dog owners who were polled believed their furry friends are suffering from stress and 53 percent described their own lives as being stressful.
Pet psycologist, Roger Mugford, said: "Dogs are social creatures who need the contact of humans or other animals, and this is having a negative impact on their psychological wellbeing."
We've needed more than a refrigerator calendar the past two weeks to keep track of where each person in our immediate family has been. A short synopsis of family travel.
Kansas to Chicago-Chicago to St. Louis-St. Louis to Chicago
Washington D.C. to Chicago and back
Chicago to St. Louis-St. Louis to Kansas
St. Louis to Michigan and back
Kansas to Chicago and back
Washington D.C. to Buffalo and back-party of the first part
Washington D.C. to Austin Texas and back-party of the second part
St. Louis to Kansas and back
St. Louis to Springfield and back-today
St. Louis to Sheboygan Wisconsin-tomorrow
Add to all of this having to stay up late into the night and watch the White Sox games, well, we are all pretty tired. The backyard leaves, in reaction to being ignored all this time, have staged their own protest by falling all over the place, demanding attention. The dog looks longingly at his leash.
Speaker the dog traveled a lot lately too. Here he is yesterday longing for home and looking out at:
early morning fog somewhere between Emporia Kansas and St. Louis.
My sister-in-law works for a law firm in downtown Chicago whose offices are right above the reviewing stand set up for today's parade honoring the World Champion White Sox. She emails that anyone who wants to watch the goings on and isn't in Chicago can go to NBC5.com and watch live on their web site. Cool.
She also said the city is absolutely electric today. And someone is selling t-shirts that say Cubs on the front and "Maybe next year we'll be as good as the Sox" on the back. heh
40 years ago, the St. Louis Arch was completed. Since then it has become one of those easily recognizable landmarks. A special anniversary tribute will be held today and tomorrow. Here is one of the pictures of the arch we took lately.