Three for the road.

Having endured the worst Tuesday since Nov. 8, I’m disinclined to spend much time here, but — sigh — I’ll do my best.

I think part of my malaise is the Gray Bowl, which always descends on the Midwest at this time of year. In ways it’s welcome — no guilt about lying on the couch, mainlining old movies or Netflix or whatever — but when you find yourself turning on lamps at 3 in the afternoon, ah well. It’s winter, or nearly so. Time for the long hibernation.

So have a few links while I wait for Wednesday to get better.

The National Security Advisor-nominee has some interesting media-consumption habits. Guess what they are.

Remember the story of te little ball-turret gunner? His contemporary equivalent yearns for a paper-bag lunch.

From Bridge: Meet Betsy DeVos.

Better luck tomorrow, to all of us.

Posted at 9:39 pm in Current events |

71 responses to “Three for the road.”

  1. Heather said on December 6, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    So denying kids food at lunch means that their parents will suddenly be able to afford groceries to make them lunch, s or that crappy parents will be inspired to make lunches for their kids? Methinks something in this logic is unsound.

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  2. Sue said on December 6, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Eh, Paul Ryan is a Wisconsin politician, they have a weird thing about brown bag lunches. Scott Walker takes his ham sandwich to work every day in a brown bag, or so we have been told. Often.

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  3. coozledad said on December 6, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    I don’t know, Heather. Ask Jeff Gill. He’s the Paul Ryan fan.

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  4. LAMary said on December 7, 2016 at 1:07 am

    I brown bagged every day I worked at the hospital. The food in the cafeteria there sucked and it was expensive and weird. My kids always brown bagged it too. I’m sort of a cheapskate and I don’t like institutional food.

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  5. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 1:26 am

    I guess the Ohio legislature wants to be first in line to overturn a Roe v. Wade now that Trump will be nominating a Supreme Court Justice.

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  6. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 2:25 am

    On DeVos and the other passionate wealthy charter school reformers, what I’ve never heard them articulate is why they need charter public schools? If all they really care about is providing choice and competition, why do they need taxpayer funds to do it? Gates, Walton, Broad, DeVos: they’re all ridiculously wealthy, they could all fund private schools to do all the things they claim they want to do? What’s stopping them?

    At a private school, they could hire whomever they wanted, no pesky union to deal with, set their own curriculum, innovate to their heart’s content, and all with very little oversight. Why muck about in the public school system?

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  7. Dexter said on December 7, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Leave it politicians to use children’s lunches in battles to further social cuts.
    In my rural school, we carried lunch in artsie lunch boxes when we were in first and second grades, then graduated to manly Victory lunch pails, then in 5th grade we moved to a school district that had a cafeteria and all but two kids ate the hotdogs and stew in the cafeteria…the two carried brown bags. I do remember the nasty fake butter slapped onto stale white bread with a paint brush.
    Michael Moore’s latest is an eye opener…in Europe children sit at tables of four, drink water-not-milk, serve one another by pouring water from a pitcher, and eat gourmet wonderful meals from fine china plates sit upon tablecloths. The schools have professional chefs who go over menus with school officials ; menus are a group decision. It’s amazing, and the chef we saw was shown pictures and menus of USA school lunches and said he’d never eat that swill. Oh…and it’s all free to the kids…this was France, btw. The kids are given time to eat properly and they teach others if say, a kid was holding a fork incorrectly or gobbling food too fast. Just great.

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  8. Dexter said on December 7, 2016 at 4:04 am

    If you still get cable or sat-TV, check out Viceland’s “Desus and Mero” show. Two African-American Bronx dudes sit and rap on current issues, and their take on Ben Carson’s HUD appointment is just hilarious.

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  9. Deborah said on December 7, 2016 at 4:56 am

    When I was a kid my parents never let us buy the school lunch, it cost 35 cents, they said we were too poor. My mom made horrible sandwiches with Wonder bread slathered with margarine and some crappy lunch meat. There was usually a banana, way past its prime, we carried these in metal lunch boxes with cartoon characters on them. I had one lunch box that had a picture of a girl holding a lunch box with a picture of her holding a lunch box, with a picture of her holding… you get the idea, getting tinier and tinier. I stared at that lunch box, fascinated by the concept.

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  10. Suzanne said on December 7, 2016 at 7:29 am

    For my first few years of elementary school, we had hot lunches and the food was godawful. I mean unimaginably awful. It cost something like $2 a week. I would take a lunch when I knew food was coming up that I could not stomach (Creamed dried beef served over white rolls with mushy, overlooked canned peas. I can still smell it. Horrible food). My first grade teacher made you eat every bite, even if you were gagging the whole time. So, I would bring my lunch which usually made her ask me why I wasn’t thankful for the food God had provided at school.
    Surprised I made it through those first few years. Once the old cooks retired, the new, younger cooks served things like spaghetti, hamburgers, and pizza. I rarely ever packed my lunch after that!

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 7, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Have you spent much time in school cafeterias at lunchtime, Cooze? And I seem to recall you sputtering in rage when people used your full real name here. I don’t mind, really, I’m just a little puzzled as to what your point is here. But yes, school lunch policy is used as a stick and a lever in some unpleasant ways to force educational policy into place, but we need the funding to ensure additional nutritional resources for poor families, so I generally support them. I think we can look at this more creatively than mandating sameness and identicalism all across the nation, let alone from district to district, in how cafeterias operate — but that’s where we significantly depart. I don’t equate absolute equality of outcomes with justice. They resemble each other, but they’re not identical. When school lunch mandates force districts that don’t need it to use items that then get thrown out, yeah, that’s waste, and it’s not crazy to say there’s got to be a better way.

    But no, you keep on calling me racist and vile for not being a big fan of making sure every lunch tray across the United States looks exactly alike, and call it a win no matter how much does or doesn’t actually get eaten.

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  12. Sue said on December 7, 2016 at 7:47 am

    SandwichTwoCookiesAndAnApple. Day after day. My mother loved us but those lunches were not a symbol of her love. Five kids to feed, hell no was I going to get a lovey note or sandwiches shaped with cookie cutters in my lunch. I still remember the assembly line on the kitchen table every morning.
    And I have heard repeatedly from my SIL that the current crisis in school lunches (healthy food that kids won’t eat) is Michelle Obama’s fault. Hopefully we’ll soon go back to those wonderful days of chicken fingers and French fries.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 7, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Michelle’s suggestions weren’t bad, it’s how the regulations have been applied that are making it problematic. Stand down by the trash cans as the kids file out, and it really will make your eyes bug out . . . and the staff shrug and say “we’re required to put it on their trays whether they want it or not.” When you hear that in building after building, you know something’s wrong — but it’s not Michelle’s side of the equation that messed this up.

    On the political side, this is a very interesting breakdown of how we got the outcome we did in this election:

    The big question, short of changing the Electoral College, is whether or not Trump’s claim holds any validity that if the rules had been popular vote wins, he would have campaigned differently and won anyhow. I’m tempted to doubt that, but given how wrong this Hillary voter has been about this election at every juncture, I’d doubt my assumptions if I were you. If Trump had focused more on whittling down Hillary’s run-ups in CA & NY, spent more time in major urban centers than hitting swing states, which he clearly did with more of a plan that certainly I realized at the time (assuming he really was just a monkey-with-a-machine-gun as I did), then that retooled plan might well have won in a different fashion.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on December 7, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Forget school lunch vs. brown bag, in elementary school the really cool kids lived close enough to go home for lunch. I was a country kid so no chance of that, and I also didn’t get to be on the safety patrol, since I had to climb on the school bus as soon as classes were out.

    But in 5th and 6th grade I got to be the lunch ticket taker, sitting behind the official table and putting the tickets in a little box, as well as collecting three pennies from those who wanted extra milk. I loved doing this beyond reason; maybe it was the first time I’d been given responsibility over anything.

    But the best was yet to come. After the line finished I collected my own lunch from the dear lunch ladies, who didn’t make me take what I didn’t like, and would let me have two or three servings of dessert or other goodies. Then to the back room to eat with the other kids who were cafeteria helpers. This is where I received all my early sex miseducation.

    Today the hubster and I both brown-bag it and when our staff eats out once a month I’m amazed at how expensive it is.

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  15. Suzanne said on December 7, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Time magazine has named Trump their Person of the Year. I believe they bestowed the same honor on Adolf H. back in the day. Merry freakin’ Christmas!

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  16. alex said on December 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Time could hardly have ignored the elephant in the room (or, rather, bull in the china shop) but it has become such a mediocre rag that its pronouncements don’t count for jack shit anyway. If they want to be relevant again, maybe they should award journalism’s failure of the year. Lot of worthy honorees there.

    Looks like Christmas with my partner’s family this year is going to be a pared-down affair, not the usual buffet dinner. I guess my partner and I weren’t the only ones who sat Thanksgiving out. Last Christmas over dinner I had to listen to full-on rants about Michelle Obama’s shitty school lunches not only from parents but their children. I almost told off the 400-pounder who instigated the discussion. It was all I could do not to say “The reason they stopped serving junk food is so kids don’t turn out looking like you, ya fucking lard-ass.”

    There was that, and they’re coming for our guns, and they’re taking away free speech and religious freedom and yada yada. Fucking lard-ass.

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  17. ROGirl said on December 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Just the beginning, Alex. We are in the post truth era and it’s only going to get worse.

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  18. brian stouder said on December 7, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Run (don’t walk!) to Nancy’s Bridge link, for the DeVos article.

    Someday, people will look back in wonderment, that people like her – who call themselves “conservative” – openly advocated for PUBLIC funding of their school schemes, while specifically OPPOSING public over-sight and governance (aka “accountability”)… Sort of the Mr Haney (think “Green Acres”; the travelling salesman/charlatan) approach to “public” schools.

    And, I nominate Julie for Thread Win! She gave me a burst of memories – especially the 3-pennies for another milk. I used to keep 6 pennies in my locker, for an emergency reserve!

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  19. Sue said on December 7, 2016 at 11:00 am


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  20. MichaelG said on December 7, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Suzanne @10, in the army cream chipped beef on toast was called “shit on a shingle”. For good reasons.

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  21. Deborah said on December 7, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Funny, my mother loved chipped beef on toast and used to make occasionally. My dad refused to eat it because he remembered it from being in the Navy. It was vile.

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  22. Peter said on December 7, 2016 at 11:20 am

    My grade school had a full cafeteria – it served the adjacent high school as well.

    It shows my age – but my dad gave me a quarter a week for lunch – white milk was 2 cents, chocolate 3; pretzel rods were one for 2 cents or two for 3 cents, so I spent a good part of my life debating on whether to get the chocolate milk or the two pretzel rods.

    I realized – YEARS after the fact – that I should have just asked my dad for 30 cents….

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  23. Peter said on December 7, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Also, two of my cousins are high school principals in Europe, and Dexter’s generally right – but those schools place a lot of emphasis on table manners. I have another cousin who’s a kindergarten teacher, and she said kids can be held back if they don’t exhibit proper table manners. It’s gotten to be an issue in France, because African and Arab parents are claiming that their kids are held back due to racism, and that their table habits are different then the French…

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  24. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

    If I thought Paul Ryan and the Republicans were really interested in a better way of making sure that kids had access to food, then I’d support them. But Republican plans are usually more about cutting government spending to fund tax cuts than they are about the stated goals of flexibility and innovation. Their usual tool, block grants, are often implemented in such a way, particularly in states where the need is greatest, to focus the benefits away from the greatest needs. The evergreen problem of ‘I don’t want my tax dollars paying for those lazy people’, where lazy people is code for, well, you know what it’s code for,

    Block grants are the charter schools of federal welfare programs; they sound a lot better on paper than they actually deliver. It’s possible to run one well, but in the real world, they usually aren’t.

    Or, in the more succinct words of Cooz, they’re often run like a racist program in racist states.

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  25. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 11:44 am

    This WaPo article on the absolute craziness that led up to gunman deciding to investigate the pizza place in DC shows that it’s really more than fake news. Reading the article, I was reminded of the people trying to solve the case in Serial, or crowd solve other crimes. Fake news is falling onto ready ground and sprouting.

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  26. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 11:56 am

    We don’t know what Trump or Clinton would have done in a different world, but 2.7 million is a huge gap, with votes still being counted in California and NY. Can we stop alking about the unheard Trump voter now, and give us city voters a chance to be resentful and have our tantrum? We susbsize the rural areas, and they get disproportionate power in government, yet constantly complain about us not being real Americans.

    We have nicer things in the cities because we tax ourselves more, not because we’re using your tax money.

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  27. Jeff Borden said on December 7, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Paul Ryan has built a nice little career by acting like a “grownup” in a party of toddlers, but he’s possibly the emptiest suit in Washington, D.C. A vile hypocrite who attended college on his late father’s Social Security benefits, but would not like to deny them to others, he is a follower of Ayn Rand and used to require his staffers to read “Atlas Shrugged.” He represents a well-protected district in Wisconsin, but even when he was the vice-presidential candidate, his district went of Obama/Biden in 2012.

    Sherri, I’m also sick and tired of being called an elite because I prefer urban life. Yeah, I do enjoy walking to museums and parks and libraries. Yeah, I do enjoy my once a year visit to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the 10 best in the world, and we use our annual membership to the Art Institute of Chicago frequently. But aside from being overly educated –I earned my M.Ed. five years ago– I have no claim to elitism. I almost flunked out of high school and graduated rank in the bottom fourth of my class. I attended a land grant university –Kent State– and was a mere B student. I’ve never belonged to a fraternity or a country club or a men’s club. Why rural people have it in for me and other urbanites baffles me unless it is rooted in their cultural conservatism.

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  28. BItter Scribe said on December 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Republicans will offer hungry children a brown paper bag full of nothing.

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  29. Kirk said on December 7, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I was a really picky eater when I was a kid and seldom wanted any part of what they were serving. Lunch cost 30 cents, and you could get an ice cream sandwich for 10 cents, so I’d send someone through the line with my 30 cents and have a three-ice cream-sandwich lunch.

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  30. Charlotte said on December 7, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Sue @19 — The snow goose migration was really weird this year — they stalled over Livingston during the night in a snowstorm last week –we heard hundreds of them at about 3am. Usually the hazing works over at the Berekely Pit lake of poison, but apparently 25K geese came through all at once, and although they shot off the hazing guns, they couldn’t keep them off the pit.

    The lunch thing makes me crazy — this attitude that if we just what? starve and humiliate little kids their parents will get it together? And there’s nothing to say about Paul Ryan other than he’s a mean and vindictive SOB.

    Livingston has had huge success with our farm-to-school (and farm-to-hospital) programs — our kids are eating mostly local meat and produce, cooked by actual lunch ladies. We’ve got a really high proportion of kids on subsidized lunch — 60-75% — High school is still a problem since it’s an open campus and a lot of the kids take off for fast food or the crappy fried food counters at our local groceries, but we’re keeping more and more of them on campus with decent food. And the hospital as well — a lot of the local seniors head out there for a nice hot lunch at a good price. So there’s a tiny ray of hope. We also built a really innovative Food Pantry with a commercial kitchen and huge community gardens — they grow, process and put up a lot of produce to give to clients over the winter, are cooking supplemental meals for seniors that can be frozen and reheated in either a microwave or standard oven, and are running ongoing classes to prepare people to work in our pretty thriving restaurant industry. Oh, and they’ll rent the kitchen out to folks who want to do small-scale production — it’s health department certified, so you can sell to more than the farmer’s markets if you use it.

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  31. Jakash said on December 7, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Suzanne says “…with mushy, overlooked canned peas.” I suppose that’s a typo for “overcooked,” but it works well either way!

    We weren’t to even consider eating in the cafeteria in elementary school — brown bagged it, for sure, eating at our desks in the lower grades, as I recall. And there’s still a smell that reminds me of that, though I’m seldom in schools anymore. Along the lines of Kirk’s ice-cream lunch, when I did finally make it to a cafeteria in high school, there were certain things I just couldn’t take, though I liked many of the things that everybody else hated. (I got to eat a lot of the beets disdained by my peers, e.g….) Amazingly, grilled cheese with tomato soup, subs, and what they called pizza were among the things that I DIDN’T like. On such days, if they’d made a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies, which were sold a la carte, I’d invest the 35 or 40 cents in, say, 10 still-warm cookies rather than the lunch-of-the-day. Of course, back then, I could get away with it, as I was so trim that I marvel at it, now…

    And Deborah, that lunch box sounds awesome — and right in line with what I assume to be your artistic sensibilities. Classic. I wish I could remember, or still had, a lunch box or two, but I don’t. I think we graduated to brown bags pretty quickly, for some reason.

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  32. Jakash said on December 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Oh, and Jeff B., “my once a year visit to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the 10 best in the world…”

    It’s highly debatable of course, but I think you’re selling it way short! ; )

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  33. Jolene said on December 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    On TV tonight: Fareed Zakaria is doing a two-hour show about Barack Obama’s legacy. Includes an interview with the prez, as well as talks with some of the players in his administration. See it now before Trump destroys it!

    Here’s Fareed on Charlie Rose last night talking about Obama, Trump and his show.

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  34. Jolene said on December 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Meant to say that show is on CNN. 9 PM EST.

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  35. Jakash said on December 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Whatever one thinks of him, ole Rumpy is clearly the most logical choice as Time’s “Person of the Year.”

    I’m just surprised that the under-appreciated, marginalized, totally self-reliant, all-American, so-far-from-racist-it’s-amazing, White Male Voter wasn’t among the runners-up. Well, that goes with being under-appreciated, I suppose. ; )

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  36. Suzanne said on December 7, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Jakash, that WAS supposed to be “overcooked peas” because as much as we might have tried to overlook those disgusting peas, our food hawk teacher would not let us. You couldn’t hide uneaten peas in your milk carton, either, because she would shake the carton before you threw it out. If it made noise, the milk-coated mushy peas were poured back on your plate and she stood over you while you gagged them down.
    My sister swears one of her classmates barfed on the lunch plate while trying to down the food and the teacher simply scraped the barf to the side and made the poor young girl finish the food that was not tainted by vomit.
    Ah, yes. The good old days of parochial school!

    It was a different world back then, one I do not care to revisit.

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  37. Deborah said on December 7, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Agreed, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is superb.

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  38. Jolene said on December 7, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Lunch boxes. I had a red plaid lunch box with matching thermos. I thought it was very cool and loved the lunches my mom packed. They were simple–sandwiches, chips, cookies, fruit–but always good.

    I can’t exactly recall why I had those lunches, as, for most of my school years, we had the usual hot lunch. Maybe we didn’t have a hot lunch program when I started school? Anyway, I missed the lunch box lunches when they were gone and hated the hot lunches. They were mostly horrible stuff.

    I did like the tomato soup/grilled cheese combo, but, unlike most kids, didn’t like the sloppy joes. I was always popular on those days, as other kids begged me to give them my sloppy joes.

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  39. LAMary said on December 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I never put notes in my sons’ lunches, but I put things like little rubber mice or spiders in there occasionally. I had a whole bag the little mice which were very realistic looking.

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  40. Scout said on December 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    We’ve been watching The Crown on Netflix. Claire Foy as QE2 is wonderful, as is the whole cast. After the emotional rollercoaster of the last month, spending hours under a blanket and escaping into tv land is all I really feel like doing. I have zero interest in the holidays.

    Watching The Crown somehow led us to a documentary about QE turning 90. In it, President Obama is interviewed and watching him speak so eloquently and with such class turned me into a puddle of tears. I cannot believe he and his beautiful family as our representatives to the world are being replaced by the trashy ugly Americans who will become the First Family in January. I am starting to cry again just typing this.

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  41. BItter Scribe said on December 7, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    The only time I didn’t like eating lunch from a bag was when we took them on field trips. Of course there was no refrigeration. You try eating a warm tuna fish sandwich after a morning at the Field Museum, looking at unwrapped mummies.

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  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 7, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Green lunchbox, plaid Thermos. Good times . . .

    Most of the hot lunch programs became general after 1973. That’s when FAPE became law, and we had a very good move across the country to comprehensive special education (as it was called then) and the lunch component was integrated into that effort, coming to most districts that had not voluntarily done so already by 1975.

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  43. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Maybe it’s not all about free trade and manufacturing. Maybe the War on Taxes has something to do with income inequality in the US:

    Of course, it looks like France may elect their own Trump-equivalent, so maybe income inequality and economic anxiety isn’t as big a factor as some might think.

    Yes, I’m getting tired of think pieces from Ivy Leaguers who have never knocked on a door, made a phone call, or donated a cent for a campaign in their lives telling me that I need to empathize more with rural working class voters. I come from the rural working class, and I don’t have an Ivy League degree, and I have worked on campaigns.

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  44. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    What, is Comey trying to signal to the incoming administration that he’s on board with limiting the 1st amendment? This is just weird. Not as weird as interfering in an election, but still.

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  45. brian stouder said on December 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I recall, when I went to John S Irwin Elementary School (late 1960’s-early 1970’s), that the janitor had to set up the lunch-tables in the gymnasium every day, and then take them down again. (I always thought it was the ‘fancy schools’ that actually had dedicated cafeterias!) And Gym class before lunch meant you’d get some really, really good aromas (Love the smell of baking bread)

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  46. Suzanne said on December 7, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    I live among the rural working class. They work hard, they play hard, and they love their families and Jesus, but they don’t do introspection or self-assessment. Will they stop what they are doing and think, “Does this make sense? Am I doing this because I’ve always done this? Do the old rules still apply?” Not likely. They see life in very simplistic terms. They don’t read much except Guideposts, Reader’s Digest, and occasionally Christian fiction. They watch Fox News and listen to talk radio.

    Certainly this, along with lack of economic opportunities, is part of the reason so many of the young people who get a good education leave and do not ever return. Their horizons have broadened and they realize that the world is a lot more complex than they were raised to believe.

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  47. Jakash said on December 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm


    Thanks for the further explanation of “overcooked peas” not being “overlooked,” after all. I got a hearty chuckle out of the description of the milk cartons being shaken for evidence. That teacher would fit right in working for TSA these days, though she was probably even more vigilant than they are…

    Also got a laugh from the Scribe’s mummified tuna sandwiches! How many nominees for Thread Win are allowed, Brian? ; )

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  48. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    “Empathy is not always reciprocated.”

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  49. Peter said on December 7, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I forgot about Deborah’s lunchbox comment! I think the correct term for that is the “Droste Effect”.

    Boy, thanks for all the great comments today. Maybe this blog will help me get through the next four years intact.

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  50. brian stouder said on December 7, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    How many nominees for Thread Win are allowed, Brian?

    Well – first, the system is totally rigged; totally, I tell ya – totally.

    Beyond that, I’m just the riff-raff in the cheap-seats.

    Any rules questions have to be forwarded to our own Super Delegate/Party Chair/Proprietress, for final adjudication

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  51. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    The Reverend Dr. Barber shows us how it’s done:

    And, a reminder, here he he at the DNC:

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  52. Judybusy said on December 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Suzanne, I found your teacher’s actions sadistic and whinced when I read them.

    I grew up rural and am one of the young folks who became educated and never moved back. My father has openly derided me for critical thinking skills, the few times I’ve talked to him in the last 17 years. I can’t remember what phrase he used, but clearly anti-intellecutal. I pretty sure my mom and sister think I’m a total snot. My partner told me last year she’s overheard them making fun of me for my advanced education. “She thinks she’s so smart” type of comments. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I were raised in a house of college-educated adults. Thankfully, my parents also adored me as a very young child so I am very confident and love myself to pieces. That is a true gift, and allows me to give others the same warmth. So, it wasn’t all horrible, and that emotional grounding is worth its weight in gold.

    It wouldn’t be a contribution from me if I didn’t share a book rec. I’m reading “Sisters in Law” about Sandra Day O’Connor and RBG. Many of you will remember the different Supreme Court decisions discussed in the book. I am learning a great deal about how both women apporached the law, especially as it concerns women. I was a senior in HS when O’Connor was appointed, and didn’t follow the Court closely at the time. I first heard about the book on Lithwick’s Amicus podcast.

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  53. alex said on December 7, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I recall, when I went to John S Irwin Elementary School (late 1960’s-early 1970’s), that the janitor had to set up the lunch-tables in the gymnasium every day, and then take them down again. (I always thought it was the ‘fancy schools’ that actually had dedicated cafeterias!) And Gym class before lunch meant you’d get some really, really good aromas (Love the smell of baking bread)

    Brian, I was at Indian Village during the same time frame and we had the same setup. And gym class before lunch meant that the place smelled pretty funky during lunch, and it wasn’t just the appalling food.

    Whatever they mopped the floors with back in those days still makes me retch to think about it. I associate it with puke and sharts because that’s what they used to clean up such messes and stunk the place up even worse.

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  54. Deborah said on December 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Peter, good to know there’s a name for it. I googled it and it’s the perfect example. I also googled vintage lunch boxes to see if I could find a surviving one like mine but didn’t. We always got the poor man’s version of stuff so that style lunch box was probably cheesy and poorly made, so not durable enough to last this many years.

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  55. brian stouder said on December 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I remember the red powder(?) sort of stuff, that they’d spread whenever someone threw up.

    There was a Valentines day party (of sorts) – I must have been in 4th grade – and a kid threw up after slightly choking on one of those Sweetart hearts; then another kid saw that, and barfed all over her desk; and a third kid threw up into his chair…and when I first saw that scene in Stand By Me where a similar chain-reaction happens (the “barf-o-rama”) – I had as close to a “flash-back” as I think I’ve ever had!

    I could just SMELL that red stuff they scattered on all the messes!

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  56. Dorothy said on December 7, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    School lunch discussions always make me recall first grade. I was a brown bagger – our big family couldn’t afford hot lunch on a regular basis. But once in awhile it was possible. I was a fussy eater – chicken noodle soup and a sandwich withOUT mayo was as adventurous as I got. So one day I was given the $ to buy hot lunch. I asked for a sandwich without mayo. But when I bit into it, I gagged when I tasted damp bread. Yech! So I ate my soup and wrapped the sandwich in my napkin. And no, I couldn’t slip that past the sixth grader who monitored the trash bin. She sent me back insisting I eat it. (If it had been a nun I’m sure she would have made me eat it while she watched)

    My older sister Louise (eight grader) came into the cafeteria and spied me crying, gaggy sandwich staring me in the face. I told her what had happened – she grabbed my tray and marched it and me over to the trash bin. “My sister does not have to eat this!” she announced. And in the trash went the sandwich. I’m pretty sure I didn’t try hot lunch again for at least three years.

    Have a good thought for me and my hubby around 1:00 tomorrow. We’re taking our 12.5 year old dog, Augie, to be put down. He’s having lots of serious issues and we know it’s his time. I took the day off today to spend more time with him. He’s slipping and falling so much. His poor back legs are giving out almost constantly now. I’ve been hoping he’d die peacefully in his sleep. This will be the fifth dog we’ve had to take to the vet for this process. It sure as shit never gets any easier.

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  57. brian stouder said on December 7, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Dorothy – no fun at all. I’ve gotten that duty a time or two – and even for a silly pet like a bunny, it’s not easy.

    A Village Woods school question for Alex: do you remember a teacher named Mrs Howard?

    If I ever knew her first name, I’ve forgotten it – but I believe she was a 2nd or 3rd grade teacher at Village, and her backyard was beyond our backyard (we were Drexel Avenue folks, and she lived on Ormsby (other side of McMillan Park from where the school is)

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  58. basset said on December 7, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Many if not most of those metal 60s lunchboxes were made by Aladdin right here in Nashville. Mine was red plaid.

    Story I heard, and it could be true, is that liability had a lot to do with the demise of the metal lunchbox – they did more damage upside another kid’s head than a lighter, cheaper plastic one.

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  59. MichaelG said on December 7, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    My heart’s with you, Dorothy. It never gets easier.

    Had a non-school lunch today with T. We ate at Biba’s. Excellent food, excellent wine and excellent service. I was a happy camper.

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  60. David C. said on December 7, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    It seems like it used to be that farm state Rs supported food stamps because anything that gave farmers a wider market for their production was good. I guess kicking the poors is more fun than helping farmers (what few there are left).

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  61. alex said on December 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    So sorry Dorothy.

    Brian, I was at Indian Village, not Village Woods. I knew some Howards, though, who would have attended South Side when you did. Their dad was a fat cat at Lincoln who didn’t have two brain cells to rub together when he was a young man and he’s quite something to behold in his current state of senility. Still driving too.

    My Grandma lived in your area and I was familiar with the Maloley’s supermarket where you worked. And Miss & Master children’s clothing. And Char King. And I probably would have attended Irwin had we not moved from Winter and Grier in 1964. I know quite a few people who graduated from South Side in ’79 and ’80. We should compare notes sometime.

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  62. MichaelG said on December 7, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Sorry to be so self-absorbed during this difficult time but that’s the way things are when one is sick. The chemo over the last month or two seems to be working surprisingly well. I feel so much better in general. Also the shortness of breath has eased a whole lot. Walking across the street would leave me leaning against a lamp post and panting. Now moving around is almost normal provided I don’t get too frisky. Pain in my upper thigh and in my chest is almost totally gone. Saw my doctor, Mother Lisa, as I’ve taken to calling her, the other day. She can’t believe not just that I’m still kicking but how well I’m doing. I’ll take it. I’m planning to go to Mexico with T in January. We’ll see how that works.
    I do admit I feel kind of like the miracle kid having survived so long with stage IV cancer in my lungs and leg and not only survived but survived feeling so well. I’ll go with it as long as I can and try to live as well as I can in the meanwhile. Hence the expensive lunches with the lovely T.

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  63. Scout said on December 7, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Thank you for your happy news, MichaelG. Enjoy Mexico and those expensive lunches!

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  64. Deborah said on December 7, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Michael G, don’t apologize. We are genuinely interested in how you’re doing but sometimes I think I might be too forward by asking, so I appreciate when you volunteer.

    Ed at Gin & Tacos seems to feel the same way I did about that “vile twat” Trevor Noah had on his show, it just encourages them and gives them notoriety which they crave

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  65. Colleen said on December 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    I ate school lunches from about second grade on. I was at Indian Meadows at the time, and we did have a dedicated cafeteria. I can still see the white tables with the little seats.

    I never get anti intellectualism. Don’t you want your kids to be smart? Critical thinkers? Curious about the world?

    And I heard that piece on NPR this afternoon. So…discouraging? Depressing? Just plain sad. I really do fear for what’s ahead of us.

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  66. Deborah said on December 7, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Are you kidding me, this woman is the vilest of vile

    She and her husband were clients of the architecture firm I worked for in St. Louis. Their business back then was basically to take a mountain apart in New Guinea, pulverize it for copper and gold and then dump it into the ocean. Meanwhile exploiting the indigenous population to extreme. The company I worked for had no business having people like that as clients. We were designing, basically slave quarters for the workers. Hideous stuff. One of the reasons I left.

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  67. beb said on December 7, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Sherri @6: Republican’s obsession with privatization is all about the money. They want it all. Money spent on public education is money denied to the R’s.

    Time Magazine could have named Bernie Sanders as their person of the year. Sanders revolutionized the election, forcing Hillary to veer left. Selecting Il Doouche for Person of theYear is akin to naming George Zimmerman POTY.

    The thing about Pizzagate is that the man went there to shoot up the place. He may say he was there to ‘investigate’ but he took an assault rifle. You don’t carry around an assault rifle unless you’re hoping to use it.

    DavidC: With so many farms owned by conglomerates there isn’t many votes left supporting small farmers.

    I don’t think I had a hot lunch program before 3rd or fourth grade. They liked to serve spinach wilted in vinager. The only cooked spinach I can bear to eat is my sister-in-law’s spinach pie, because…family loyalty. Also her’s aren’t bad.

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  68. LAMary said on December 7, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Is it called the Droste effect because it was on the Droste cocoa label? I know there was a Dutch girl holding a box of cocoa on that label. Wonder if she was on the label of the box etc.?
    Carnation evaporated milk had a label like that a looooong time ago. Like when I was three or four. Early Eisehhower administration.

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  69. LAMary said on December 7, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Hey! It’s a nun on the Droste label, not a Dutch girl.

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  70. Sherri said on December 7, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Police are still trusted in this country. Trump ran on law and order. Tell me again about how it’s not racism.

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  71. Jill said on December 7, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Dorothy, I’m sorry to see your news. Augie is lucky to have you.

    And thanks for sharing your good news, MichaelG. You made my night.

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