Here for the avocados.

Interesting discussion of Used-To-Be-ism, aka Rose-Colored Glasses Syndrome, in the comments the other day. It coincided with something I’ve been trying to do lately, in the current chaos: Notice, actively noting things that are better today than they were in the past.

It’s a way to stay sane, to take the long view, to remember all that arc-of-history stuff. The bright side is hard to find these days; the least we can do is notice…

Kinder, nicer young people. I’ve never gotten all the lazy-ass derision aimed at millennials. They’re fine people, and I don’t say that because I raised one. I say that because it’s true, and they got it, in large part, from the greater culture, and who knows how that happened? Preschool teachers + an admirable president + something in the air? I can’t say. All I know is, they’re fine. I don’t worry about them.

It’s easier to be different. Let wingnuts laugh at trans people and wring their hands about silly things like nonbinary people who want to be referred to by plural pronouns. Just let them. This will settle out with time. In the meantime, and at the end of it, it’ll be a little easier to be something other than, what’s the word? Basic.

Entertainment of all kinds? So plentiful. You can basically spend all day watching Netflix or listening to all the recorded music in the world. Avoid this behavior, however.

Food systems. Midwesterners: How old were you when you saw your first avocado? Yeah, I thought so. Produce used to be lettuce, onions, pink tomatoes and potatoes. No different kinds of potatoes, just potatoes. In the last months I’ve bought fennel, three kinds of citrus, fresh greens of all kinds…I can’t total it all up. And yes, avocados. Which are in season, and so cheap.

Better…things. One of my bosses, who as a young man seemingly held every low-level job in creation, revealed the other day he used to drive a route for a linen supply house. One of the things he delivered was those cloth towels on rolls, that you used to dry your hands in public restrooms. You know, the kind you pulled down from a box on the wall? The used part was allegedly taken up by the box at the other end of the loop, but it rarely did, and you mostly ended up using the same damp section everyone else used. Well, today I used a restroom, and waved my hand in front of an electric eye, which dispensed a perfectly sized portion of paper towel. Yes, I am speaking of the Miracle of the Paper Towel.

In other words, we’ve ruined the planet, but at least we have 69-cent avocados, pink grapefruit and paper towels. I’m watching a terrible movie from 1972 on my flat-screen TV, which features naked witches with big boobs. LIFE IS GOOD, DAMMIT.

And as Alex pointed out, throwing your mattress away along the side of the road is terribly frowned upon.

Things I wish were more frowned upon: A guy in the elevator the other day was doing business on his phone. On speaker. It was a real-estate deal, and he’d offered $4 million, but another bidder was offering $6 million. “I can go to six, if you give me a year,” he told the guy on the other end. “Work with me.” Then they got disconnected. There’s a special place in heck for people like that. I mean, on speaker?

I have really gone off the rails tonight, haven’t I? Must be this witch movie on Amazon. Skip to the bloggage, then.

I’ve never met Tommy Tomlinson, but he’s a Facebook friend, and married to a former co-worker of mine. This is a powerful essay on what it’s like to be obese all your life, an excerpt from a coming memoir.

After the president claimed human traffickers have “bigger, stronger, and faster vehicles than our police have,” I can’t lie: I lusted for a Mexican rocket car.

The president came south today, and came dressed for battle. Robin Givhan explains.

Have a good weekend, all.

Posted at 9:15 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

37 responses to “Here for the avocados.”

  1. alex said on January 10, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Speaking of Mexican rocket cars, I got quite a laugh out of the picture at the bottom of this article today:

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  2. FDChief said on January 10, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    I love avocados, too…but it’s worth taking a moment to reflect that a food supply system that provides fresh salad greens to Seattle in February or dates to Boston is pretty damn fuel dependent. And so long as that fuel is petrochemical, well…

    As for Orange Foolius’ ensemble…my guess is that it’s not so much getting his war-face on as “What elderly white guys wear on a day outdoors”. My pop, as far from a MAGAt as possible, wore a similar outfit whether he was golfing or doing yardwork or just going for a stroll. Not everything His Fraudulency does is eleven-dimension racist-chess. Sometimes a cofefe is just a cofefe…

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  3. beb said on January 10, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    When I first heard the claim that Mexican traffickers used super-powerful cars an image from Mad Mad–Fury Road was attached. That seemed about right.

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  4. brian stouder said on January 10, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Speaking of Kinder, Nicer Young People – 1000% agreed!!

    My oldest son (31) and his lovely wife both work hard and have a beautiful family; and my next oldest son (22) just graduated from IU Fort Wayne with a degree in marketing, and he landed a job at a major corporation in Huntington, and is moving to a pretty nice apartment there; and our oldest daughter is rolling through her sophomore year at IU Bloomington; and our youngest daughter is diligently wrking through the 8th grade, with high school beginning to loom on the horizon.

    I say all this because, really, watching the family roll onward and outward has been much more profound than I ever thought it would be. It’s all some odd cross between a validation of age-old truisms (work hard and get ahead, etc) and altogether too-fast moving to really comprehend.

    Very much a blessing; or (from my perspective) an overly-lucky turn of events (one of the benefits of marrying a person who is 100X anything I ever was, in general). Whatever it is, I’ll definitely take it!

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  5. Connie said on January 11, 2019 at 8:39 am

    It is not often the morning news makes me happy. My first headline was Jayme Closs found alive. What a story.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on January 11, 2019 at 9:11 am

    Friends in Wisconsin have been posting weekly about Jayme Cross. I hope that as she begins what will surely be a long road back to wholeness, that she can take courage from knowing how many cared about her.

    Ever since our firstborn went off to college I haven’t been so worried about the future. The friends she brought home were inevitably planning some kind of service occupation, from teacher to international aid worker to counselor. And they did. It’s always heartening to hear updates. I do worry about their capacity to pay their student loans, though, with such low income jobs.

    FD, in Orlando there’s a big movement to turn front lawns into fruit and vegetable gardens. One group sells to restaurants and donates the rest to food banks. Our yard hosts a guy who is currently on a year-long quest to raise or forage everything he eats, but he also gives a lot away to neighbors, and also teaches gardening classes there. The huge advantage in that climate is that you can raise two crops a year.

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  7. JodiP said on January 11, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Another great accomplishment: world poverty rates have dramatically declined. Of course, as FD points out in a different area, this generates a whole host of problems with resource depletion. Jared Diamond has a new book coming out on how to deal with this issue.

    One thing I long for from the good old days is a high marginal tax rate for the very wealthy. There has been much gasping about AOC’s proposal for a 70% marginal tax rate, but I don’t need to tell all you smart folks it was that high or higher until, oh, let’s see…Reagan’s re-write of tax laws.

    For many millenials, including my three nieces, things are good, they’re good. But for many POC and those impacted by drug use and mental illness, not so much. However, the amazing youthful leadership in the Mpls. NAACP and ACLU branches is stunning.

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  8. Bitter Scribe said on January 11, 2019 at 10:20 am

    I completely agree that the comforts and delights of the modern age are often underappreciated. I agree even more about millennials. From what little contact I have with them, they do seem a lot nicer and more humane than I remember my generation being at that age.

    Not long ago I was in an elevator at my office with a couple of young women at the end of the day Friday. They were chatting, and as they got off the elevator, one of them, a girl with purple hair, smiled and wished me, whom she didn’t know from Adam, a nice weekend. I don’t want to read too much into a minor social pleasantry, but it was a charming start to the weekend.

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  9. Dorothy said on January 11, 2019 at 11:04 am

    It wasn’t avocado but I did buy three kinds of peppers this morning so the hubs can make a pork and pepper soup. I likely won’t be partaking as I’m not wild about hot peppers. But he had written Anaheim on the shopping list that we share on our phones. I had to ask him what that meant. Oh it’s a PEPPER. Sheesh. I did this shopping at 7:15 AM before work because we are expecting some snow tomorrow. We really are out of bread, honest, and we like to drink milk and having only a half gallon on hand is not okay. So I did my shopping and got to work and now I don’t have to fret about the store running out by the time I get off work at 4:30.

    I agree about the young people. I’m surrounded by them at work. I don’t think it’s just music students who are so sweet and good natured. On the third floor of my building there’s a high school Early College Academy and most of those kids are sweet, too. We all hold doors for each other, say good morning, smile, etc. My only complaint is the ever-present ear buds that (to me) seal you off from pleasant conversation with those you encounter in the elevator or lobby. I love being around young people. Keeps me young I think, something my Mum always said too.

    A thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is young people losing a parent. My daughter-in-law lost her dad in August – he was 65. My nephew’s wife lost her mom on Saturday morning last weekend, she was 63. I’m 61. I got to have my Mum until she was 95. I’m sad for my granddaughter who will never know her other Grandpa, and my nephew’s two kids who might not remember their Grandma (the kids are 6 and 4 so they might but ….?). My husband lost his mom when we were 26 and she was 57. Why I’m dwelling on this I have no clue, but it just makes me really appreciate my good health and my husband’s brush with death in September.

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  10. ninja3000 said on January 11, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Wait, your TV set has naked witches with big boobs? Can I get one at Best Buy?

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  11. Julie Robinson said on January 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Might that be A Discovery of Witches? I know it was on in England recently.

    Dorothy, my dad was 62 and my sister 63. Since Mom is 86 I’m hoping it’s her genes that will win out.

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  12. Deborah said on January 11, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    My mom died when she was 48, my dad when he was 80. My grandparents were all dead by the time I was 21, three of them lived to be 86. One grandmother died at 64. My husband’s mother is going to be 100 in April and his dad died at 64. I think about this a lot, especially now-a -days.

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  13. Connie said on January 11, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    My Mom died at 57. My dad is still going at 87, but mostly blind. He had one of the first bypass operations done in Grand Rapids when he was 38 years old. He is the first male in his family tree for many years back to actually live past sixty.

    My mother in law just turned 97. And has two living OLDER sisters. Not long ago she told me sadly that most of her friends were gone.

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  14. Sherri said on January 11, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    You might remember the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached on love at Prince Harry’s wedding. He’s serious about love being love:

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  15. David C. said on January 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    The millennials I work with are great too. Most are involved in the company’s Young Professional’s Network. It isn’t like the networking events of the 80s. They do volunteering and a lot of it. It puts us geezers to shame.

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  16. Deborah said on January 11, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Before I retired all of the other people in my department were more than half my age, and my husband knows lots of young people because of teaching. He stays in touch with a lot of his former students and it’s fun to get together with them from time to time.

    Here’s some sad news that I don’t think I relayed here before. My husband’s younger daughter has filed for divorce and has no desire to have custody of her 10 year old daughter. She turned into a Jesus freak a couple of years before the daughter was born. She reads the Bible constantly (I mean constantly) and goes to 3 different churches every week. She has 2 masters degrees but she hasn’t worked for many years, she home schooled the child until recently. She’s bipolar like her mother, and we think she’s off the deep end but she’s so into religion she won’t take medication, only prayer. We feel so bad for our grandchild. It’s a mess.

    It is snowy in northern NM again, we came back to Santa Fe for a birthday dinner with LB and our Abiquiu neighbor is having a solo viola concert tomorrow morning in Santa Fe.

    We go back to Abiquiu for a couple of days and then Tuesday we head back to Chicago.

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  17. Connie said on January 11, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Mcmansion Hell had a gingerbread house contest.
    I like the almonds and dried banana used for rock exteriors.

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  18. Colleen said on January 11, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Great article on weight. Losing and keeping it off is So.Damn.Hard. it has taken me a year and a half to lose 50 pounds. I still have a way to go. I hit the gym 4 or 5 times a week, 3 times with a trainer. Every day is still a struggle. I know that “ping” he talks about when he is eating. For me it is a hum the gets silenced.
    Eat less move more. Really. It had never dawned on me. And it ain’t that simple.

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  19. Deborah said on January 11, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    You all have probably seen this before, or at least heard about the 1958 TV show where a character named Mr. Trump tried to con a town into building walls around their houses to save their lives from a meteor attack (or something). The dialog is soooo appropriate to what’s happening today. There’s a video in this link

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  20. Colleen said on January 11, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Oh, and I can’t remember of someone has mentioned this or not, but I have been listening to Rachel Maddow’s podcast “The Bag Man”, about Spiro Agnew. Very interesting, and very pertinent to what’s going on today. Agnew was Trump before Trump was Trump. Same playbook. Fear of the other. Hatred of the press. Demonizing the Democrats. Worth a listen.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 11, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Good news, bad news.

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  22. Dexter Friend said on January 11, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    I listen for three hours a day to sat-radio to connect with what’s what…I hear this: hard working millennials are sacrificing social life for a chance to climb the corporate ladder, working insane hours. I hear young men would rather watch porn at home on their phones than date or interact with a human being. In Japan it’s a real crisis , according to reports I hear on my trusty radio. In NYC, many apartments are filled with 6, maybe 8 people in a studio, trying to make the high rents. In my part of the nation, equidistant to Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis, the struggles are maybe less intense than what I hear about NYCity, but my kids are way past millennial age now. I get no reports from them.

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  23. devtob said on January 11, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Some things that are better than ever, IMO.

    More wonderful women in political leadership — Pelosi, Warren, Gillibrand, AOC, RBG, and so many more at federal, state and local levels.

    Ever-increasing legalization of marijuana, reversing decades of prohibition that targeted black, brown and young people.

    A culture that generally no longer stigmatizes, legally and otherwise, gay people.

    Many more tasty beers and ales, most of them made well by localish brewers.

    Renewable energy alternatives that are increasingly affordable.

    Reliable, safe, cheap air travel, especially Norwegian Air to Europe.

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  24. Deborah said on January 11, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    I had not heard of Norwegian Air, I looked them up and wow do they have a confusing website, at least it seems that way on my iPhone.

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  25. devtob said on January 12, 2019 at 7:49 am

    Worth trying to figure out, I’ve taken two September trips from NY Stewart to Dublin, paying about $300 RT each time.

    In 2018, we took Ryanair to Amsterdam for another $100 RT. First time there, and it was brilliant.

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  26. David C. said on January 12, 2019 at 8:39 am

    If this doesn’t cinch millennials as the true greatest generation, I don’t know what does.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on January 12, 2019 at 9:01 am

    I’ll have to ask my daughter if she took Norwegian Air on her last trip to England; she found really cheap flights. She used air miles to NYC, then flew to Edinburgh for almost nothing and took the night train to London.

    Her Scottish friend advised her to go first class for only pennies more and she got a meal with a whiskey included.

    After she got to London she also stayed with friends. She had hosted them for two weeks when they came to Orlando for the Fringe Fest. And thus an underpaid Pastor managed two weeks of international travel.

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  28. Deborah said on January 12, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Devtob, what I found confusing was what airports they actually fly in and out of in the US. It appears that they only do LA and NY but they never actually said that on the website, or at least I couldn’t find it. So that raises the cost for me because first I have to fly from Chicago to NY, or ABQ to LA, etc. I didn’t spend a lot of time on the website, granted, mainly because I only have my iPhone with me until I get back to Chicago. I’ll check it out on my laptop where I can get a better overall picture.

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  29. devtob said on January 12, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Deborah, looks like you could do O’Hare to London Gatwick for under $400 in February —

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  30. Deborah said on January 12, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Devtob, thanks that’s good to know, we were just in London in December though. I do prefer flying into Gatwick over Heathrow, when I worked in London in the late 80s we had to fly back to the states for a week or two because we didn’t have work visas because our company didn’t want to bother.

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  31. Heather said on January 12, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Deborah, I’m sorry to hear about the situation with your husband’s daughter. Her daughter is no doubt going to be dealing with feelings of rejection, which can be very emotionally debilitating. If he has any say, I’d suggest strongly recommending she gets some regular therapy starting now.

    Colleen, congrats on that weight loss! Super impressive. I have been trying to lose 5-10 pounds for over a year now, sigh. I just started doing strength training at my gym and going to more yoga classes. I’m hoping that building up my muscles, as opposed to just swimming all the time, will help bump up my metabolism.

    Something I notice that is better and has changed just in the last 10-20 years are attitudes toward single older women. Maybe it’s just our sheer numbers but it doesn’t seem like we’re all viewed as sad lonely spinsters anymore.

    Longevity: My mother died when she was 42, her mother maybe 46 or so, both of cancer. My father was 70, but considering that he was a lifelong alcoholic and smoked like a chimney, it’s amazing he got that far. His mother and aunt died in their mid-80s. I’m hoping I take after that side of the family. I have outlived my mother and maternal grandmother already, at least.

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  32. Jessica Weissman said on January 12, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    This getting older stuff can be frightening. I’m 67. My mother died of leukemia at age 41….but her mother lived to be 103 and her father to 82 or so and all his sisters into their 90s. Her brother and cousins on both sides were also long-lived. So what does this portend? I lost 75 pounds ten years ago, and have not quite gained it all back in the interim. Time to get back on the horse and lose weight again. I know I can do it. I have to want to. I recognize what wanted to feels like. I’m not there yet.

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  33. David C. said on January 12, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    It’ll probably console some and disturb others that there’s a bit of correlation between parent’s lifespans and their children’s, but not much. Identical twins die an average of ten year apart and of different things. So genetics aren’t destiny for lifespans.

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  34. Deborah said on January 13, 2019 at 11:20 am

    It’s snowing again in Abiquiu as I understand a lot of the Midwest is experiencing too. It’s supposed to snow all day. We have a cozy fire going in the wood burning stove and I have a book to finish. Tomorrow we head back to Santa Fe, then on to Chicago Tuesday. I hope we don’t have TSA delays at the airport.

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  35. Snarkworth said on January 13, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Most of my relatives were long-lived, but our family tree resembles the puny Christmas tree in Peanuts.

    I have no siblings, nieces, nephews, or cousins. My mother was one of three sibs, and the only one who had children. Likewise my father. My brother died unmarried at 50.

    My only blood relative is my son. I can take some satisfaction in that the Snarkworth clan is not taking up more than its share of space on the earth.

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  36. Sherri said on January 13, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    We’ve been sunny and near 60 the last few days. Looks like it’s not going to stay that warm, but we’re going to get some sun for a few more days, which is very welcome.

    We think the Millennials are good, but trump thinks they’re crazy:

    He can’t believe they don’t care about crime! Don’t they know what New York was like in the 70s!?!

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  37. beb said on January 13, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Teachers in LA are preparing to go on strike. Some supporters are trying to organize taco trucks to wait on the picket line. There’s a GoFundMe site called “Tacos for Teachers.” I love the idea. It reminds me of the claim that if Hillary had won there would be taco trucks on every corner. I’m still waiting for the taco truck on our corner.

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