The Swiss cheese cow.

Many years ago, some colleagues of mine wrote a story about a religious lockdown facility for wayward girls in rural Indiana, a place called Hephzibah House. As I recall, the place was secretive and uncooperative and didn’t relish the secular media sniffin’ around the yard.

Well, that was many years ago. Now they have a website.

Dorothy wondered, in the comments on the previous post, just who actually wears some of those goony modest-clothing outfits I’ve linked to in the past. Wonder no more. There’s a strain of religious fundamentalism in northeast Indiana that makes much of the so-called Bible Belt look like Hillary for President volunteers.

What a weekend. The perfect weather continues, although it’s now somewhat less than perfect, having crossed into “too dry.” But it’s not too hot, and so I was able to go to the Eastern Market Saturday without too much misery other than the usual — parking, mainly. I love the Eastern Market, having been deprived of the Rich Stew of Humanity for too long at my previous addresses, which offered fairly thin gruel at the stove of humanity. I didn’t actually buy any stew ingredients, unless you count tart cherries, which I will craft into a pie for next week’s dinner party. The season is so short that my best pie cookbook calls it “Once-a-Year Cherry Pie.” It better be good.

So, on to the bloggage:

In all my years in the newspaper business I’ve accumulated many regrets, but none so keen as this: I never had the opportunity to yell “fuck you” to my publisher. (Actually, I had the opportunity many times, but never took it, even though it would have been richly deserved.) Oh, to work in Santa Barbara these days, where resignation letters fill the air like confetti and a couple dozen journalists are accumulating stories they’ll tell for the rest of their careers.

And it’s all there: A petulant movie star, an insane owner, punishment for infractions of non-existent rules and, once again, my favorite part:

Executive Editor Jerry Roberts returned from a vacation in Crete and turned in his resignation about 9 am. He was then escorted out of the News-Press building by Human Resources chief Yolanda Apodaca. On the way out, tearful reporters and editors hugged Roberts and wished him well. As this happened, Travis Armstrong, Roberts’s nemesis at the News-Press, emerged from his office to make sure that Roberts left, reportedly saying something to the effect of, “Roberts you’ve got to go.” According to one report, Armstrong — who appointment as publisher of the News Press last Friday precipitated Roberts’ resignation — clasped his hand around Roberts’ arm to help escort him from the building. This was greeted by a chorus of “Fuck You, Travis!” from the News-Press employees bidding Roberts goodbye. The chorus reportedly continued for some time; one of the louder voices in that choir belonged to Metro Editor Jane Hulse, who likewise had submitted her resignation that day.

I forgot that “vacation in Crete” part. That’s the phrase that’ll kill in barroom retellings: “I recall the editor had just returned from vacation in Crete when…”

Meanwhile, breaking butter-cow news from Ohio, for all fans of butter sculpture. The shocking detail: The butter used in the annual state fair sculpture? Comes from Texas. There’s good detail — the only creamery in Ohio capable of providing the one-ton chunk needed for sculpting only makes salted butter, and the sculpture requires unsalted. The fair director offers this alternative: “In Ohio, we’re No. 1 in Swiss cheese production, but I don’t think it would look real good if we had a holey cow instead of butter,” Strickler said. “It wouldn’t be the same.”

No, it wouldn’t. But it would be interesting.

Make merry in the comments! I have work to do.

Posted at 9:59 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

7 responses to “The Swiss cheese cow.”

  1. mary said on July 10, 2006 at 10:42 am

    I see a family, mother and four daughters, dressed in those calf length print dresses with the white collars, small head scarves, white tights, and flat shoes at the supermarket all the time. The mom has a disturbing beatific smile going on all the time. In a neighborhood with more than its share of slightly weird cults, I don\’t know where they fit in. I live down the street from the headquarters of the Self Realization Fellowship and up the hill from the Builders of Adytum headquarters. Must be something in the water here. The SRF is a pretty old organization, and they are good neighbors. They meditate a lot. Very quiet.

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  2. Connie said on July 10, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    They look kind of like northern Indiana pentecostal to me. Their school is not too far from here either. My daughter (6 weeks and she’s off to Butler U) is a lifeguard and swim instructor at the local community pool. She often gets scheduled to guard for private parties that have requested ONLY female lifeguards. She says the groups are all Mom’s and children, in normal but modest swim wear.

    I figure you can do your strange religious practices all you want, do your thing, just don’t think it’s my thing or that I even care.

    Speaking of pools here’s mine: . Around here it is not hard to buy a mid priced house with pool, those who spend the big bucks to put them in certainly don’t get their investment back when they sell.

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  3. John said on July 11, 2006 at 7:39 am

    Connie, you look faboulous!

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  4. Jim said on July 11, 2006 at 8:38 am

    My, aren’t we being a bit intolerant towards the religious expressions of others? Wear something modest and you’re a religious nutcase. Hmmmm. Why is that so often people who preach tolerance mean other people should be tolerant of them, not the other way around.

    As for the publisher in Santa Barbara, I’m a bit mystified. “Blonde” with an “e” is correct when referring to women, at least according to my AP Stylebook. And I think every paper is different when it comes to courtesy titles. So she prefers Miss and Mrs. instead of Ms.? So what?

    People gripe about the homogeneity of local newspapers and long for the days of eccentric publishers (note Jim Barbieri). But then one comes along, buys a newspaper, uses the editorial page to express her opinions (gasp!) and people think the journalistic sky is falling. Separation of church and state??? This is a newspaper! Who’s kidding who?

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  5. Connie said on July 11, 2006 at 10:03 am

    Gee thanks John, I wish. That’s not my boyfriend either.

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  6. nancy said on July 11, 2006 at 10:27 am

    No one said a word about the Santa Barbara publisher using the editorial page to espouse her eccentric opinions; she railed freely against eating meat in that space for years and no one turned a hair. The problem came when a reporter followed standard reporting practice, and was told later that she had violated a rule with such severity that there would be a letter placed in her personnel file, and that of several others, including one who claimed she hadn’t even seen the story until it appeared in the paper. When those accused pointed out there was no such rule against what the reporter did — report the address of a property under discussion before a local planning/zoning board — they were told there was one now, and they were being found guilty of its violation retroactively.

    As for the dowdy ladies, who’s being intolerant? They can go about their business however they like. I do grow weary, though, of those who claim theirs is the only “modest” clothing available. Please. Two words: Land’s. End.

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  7. cindy gee said on August 31, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Did anything ever come of that investigation? I have certain suspicions of my own about that place. Feel free to email me privately–

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