Friday, August 31, 2012

A Place of Respite Without Frills

It is a unique eating experience with a very limited menu, very few tables, no plates, plastic eating utensils, and paper cups. No hostesses or servers, you find your own table, and sometimes you have to clean it yourself before you begin to eat.
Some people take their food on the run. They order it, and then juggle the drinks and food while pushing their overloaded carts filled with goods (sometimes pushing a “pallet”) not to mention an errant toddler or two. 
Others just come in for an inexpensive lunch.  It is a refugee from the rhythm of the "clock" environment.  Anonymity is another feature of the eatery. You can turn off you cell or pager and disappear.
            Friday evenings are filled with families who order pizza ahead of their arrival. They come with their brood.  Loud children, crumbs, and spills are forgiven in this warehouse environment. The food is good. The children are happy. Mom and dad don’t have to cook.             
            Meals are not the only offering for diners to treat their palates. There is a variety of sweets, starting with a deep-fried doughy cinnamon stick called a churro that often is used as a bribe by parents.  Frozen smoothies tempt the most discriminating patron. The ice cream sundaes are so large that they can feed a family of four.  The self-serve soda fountain offers endless drinks. Water is free.
The customers are diverse. Young women, senior couples, business men and women, mechanics, electricians, carpenters, grandparents toting grandchildren, and young couples line up for a drink and a hot dog or a simple slice of pizza for a mere $1.50.
            Some eat and leave, some stay and chew slowly, and watch the customers leave the premise. Others engage in lively conversation about what they purchased, planning how to store it or assembled it. Many just sit there and sip on a drink while the person who accompanied them writes a list of the things they came to buy. Some wait for prescriptions, a ride to come pick them up, or just take the opportunity to just catch their breath.
            Yes, you really can’t call it a food court, cafĂ©, or an eating establishment. There is nothing fancy or elaborate about the menu choices. It is just a spot of respite in the midst of consumerism at its best.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

America: Are You Paying Attention?

I watched a complete hour of NBC's "Rock Center" that explained to the viewers the Mormon Church. Of course, it was the "Cliff Notes” version.  It focused on how many successful entrepreneurs and Fortune Five companies had Mormon’s as their top management. It highlighted the industrious nature of its members. It let you know that this most successful American religion settled in Utah because of persecution. At that time, its members wanted to live outside of the United States. In choosing a land far from others, its members became the example of self-sufficiency and good works. 

The network made it very clear that they were covering this subject about this religious group (whose membership in the U.S. consists of 1.8% of the American population) to help viewers better understand the religious belief system of the man who currently is running for President of the United States. Now read that sentence again. I ask you WHY? Is this a precedent for all future candidates for political office? WHY? What have we become as a nation that we are measuring our candidates by one aspect of their life. Yet, this broad stroke of a television show never spoke about the presidential candidate nor did the candidate speak about his religious beliefs and practices.

Did Bush, Clinton, Bush, Ford Nixon, Carter, Lincoln, Jefferson, Adam, Washington, etc., get the same coverage? What are we doing as a nation that was founded by individuals who fled their motherland to come to practice their faith without hindrance from government?  Is this what happens when American History is not taught in-depth in our schools?

Let's refresh our memories, The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting 
an establishment of religion..." 

This disturbs me because I personally believe that a candidate should demonstrate to me that he or she:
   Defends the truths that we hold as self-evident that ALL men and women are created equal? 
   Promotes the general welfare of all who live in this country
   Insures domestic tranquility
   Provides for the common defense
   Secures the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity
   Ensures that the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude
   Maintains that the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration
   Continues to uphold that the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
   Maintains that the right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
To me, the job of my political representative is to uphold the core of our constitution. What are we as voters looking at in a candidate? Is going to church, temple, mosque, and synagogue weekly enough? Give me your comments.  I would really like to know. Help me understand the need for this interest in a candidates' religion.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Disney Might Have Got It Right

It's been a while since I saw a Disney movie with my daughter. In fact, not since Pochantas, did we sit down in the movie theatre to watch one. I was totally disillusioned with the miscarriage of history that occurred during that movie.  I vowed another Disney movie wasn't going to come within my viewing sight. Then a few months ago, I saw the coming attractions for Brave. I told my 22 year old daughter that I wanted to give Disney a second chance.

Disney studios has had an awakening. Although I did feel badly for the portrayal of the men behaving badly, the story line of the love of a mother for her child and vice versa was wonderful. The teenage daughter trying to find her path and the mother relying on her daughter's instinct was well done. The daughter demonstrated that she actually listened to her mother. Her defense of her mother even if it meant giving up her own life was heart wrenching.

The movie isn't for the very young, but a daughter that is on the cusp of adolescence or even a mature woman would find this a wonderful movie to watch with her mother, a grandmother, aunt, or a group of friends.  Discussion is bound to follow. So many lessons can be taught. I highly recommend this for Junior High viewing and discussion. The movie is filled with examples of gender stereotyping and sociological messages.

Take someone you care about to see it. As my daughter said, "Oh mom, don't tell me this movie has made you emotional." I smiled and thought to myself, It is because you noticed my emotions that this movie made it all worth it. 

Thank you to
(Brave Pixar) for the pictures.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ageism: The Olympic Surprise

Is it me or haven't I noticed it before? The 2012 Olympians look older to me.  Here in the United States we have an issue called "Ageism." That is, we are known to discriminate and categorize individuals by their chronological age. We have 30 year olds celebrating their birthday in black as though their youth has ended.  We see someone with gray hair and disengage.  We think that anyone born before 1980 can't hand anything technological. 

Well, the Olympics are an interesting cross-section of humanity. Yes, there are those nymphs who are known as the gymnasts. I think it would interest you to know the average age of those women volleyball players--(wait for it)--- 29! 

 I  also was amazed at our own 31 year old pole vaulter Jennifer Suhr who leapt 4.75 meters to win a gold medal.  I watched a 41 year old male gymnastic literally blow the socks off his younger counter parts. Let's not forget the 57 year old  U.S. woman shooter Kim Rhodes who won gold. So, I used my trusty google search engine and looked up the average age of this summer's participants. 

It really surprised me! The average age is 26. There are 187 participants over 40, one is a 71 year old dressage rider from Japan. Two 65 year old women participating are a Latvian shooter and a Canadian jumper.  A 52 year old female rower, Canadian Lesley Thompson-Willie won silver in the women's eight. Britain's equestrian Nick Skelton won a gold medal at age 54 this Olympics.

Now, in all fairness, I haven't gone back and checked the average age of the participants of the previous Olympics.  I don't know if as my life continues I become acutely aware of ageism, or it is just that the Summer Olympics has so many events that it offers so much more to so many. If they ever offer a yoga event, watch for me. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

An Olympic Voyeur Speaks

The Olympic Games are off and running. I didn't grow up watching the Olympics. My contemporaries thought it was a waste of time. It wasn't until I met my husband that I became an Olympic watcher. It was a matter of survival with him. He taught me the intricacies of the joy of winning and the "agony of defeat."

The 2002 Winter Olympiad took me from spectator to junkie. You see, I live in Salt Lake City. I voted against the Olympics in my town, but once it was here, there was no stopping me. In fact, I wrote an email type "blog" to all my family members who used email. I created a scrapbook for my progeny. I have recorded all events that occurred to me and my children.

This local olympic experience in my life has me glued to the television today watching a "handball" game that was completely foreign to me, but I had a team. I was rooting for them. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to watch the kayak trials. I sat in the car dealership customer waiting room cheering out loud for the U.S. Men's Volleyball Team.

I find myself grumbling about NBC's coverage. I check the paper and my computer for the daily events. The athletes regardless of national affiliations have my admiration for their drive, tenacity, and endurance. The human spirit is at its best during the Olympics.

If I have to say one thing that makes me watch the Olympics, it's not the commentators or the commercials. It's the people. Watching the people demonstrate our coming together as one, peacefully, for one purpose. People generously appreciating the participants who represent the best of every nation. The Olympics might be criticized for its display of national pride, but if the medal count was not plastered around, you would see that the individuals who compete are the same. They compete with all the physical and mental strength they can muster. You see their common humanity. It is humanity at its best.