Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bacon Shortage?

News reports indicate next year’s high corn costs will result in limited supplies of pig food and a (gasp!) bacon shortage. I don’t know how to break the news to our kids. They love bacon enough to eat it every day. As a youngster, I remember cooking bacon and picking off the fat so that only the meat remained. I wasn’t much of a BLT-eater, but I liked bacon and cheese sandwiches, with my wee bits of lean bacon scattered across the bread. If there is a bacon shortage next year and you start craving fried pork, here’s one solution to help you make it through the day:

Does it get any better than meat perfume for $36? I’m sure someone has already bought it as a pricey joke. I’d like to smell the perfume, perhaps I’ll buy some if the price drops. Let’s hope people get their share of bacon next year, otherwise the shortage might spawn a whole, new wave of pork-related merchandise to boost the GNP. High prices and damaging weather conditions cause shortages in everything from vegetable to meats. In your opinion, what other types of shortages exist? What else does society lack?       

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Having It All

Here’s a name that grabs attention—Honey Boo Boo. No doubt you know about the little pageant girl whose family stars in a TV reality show. Despite how you feel about the show, I think Honey Boo Boo’s mama, June Shannon, is a survivor and one shrewd woman. She’s a dumpster diver and an extreme couponer who brings her kids on her adventures and passes along her skills. When the freight train chugs past their house, don’t be surprised if Ms. Shannon jumps on board and rides it straight to the bank. We may not agree with everything she does, but I commend her for providing for her family. If we look beyond the family and pageantry dynamics, I suspect we’ll discover that June Shannon has a deeper story to tell, one that would inspire the wealthy and the poor.

While most discussions about the American Dream focus on upward financial mobility, the road to financial prosperity includes sacrifices and concessions. Here’s a guy who weighed the costs and decided that he’s content right where he is. Does he have it all?  See what you think:                     

Clearly, not all of us want or need the house with the white picket fence. Our level of contentment has a lot to do with self-image and values. Excluding money, what else factors into your vision of the American Dream?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nothing’s Wrong with Curly Fries

Have you listened to kids sing songs? It’s funny when they make up phrases and change the lyrics to whatever the words sound like to them. Adults do it, too and unless someone corrects us, we’ll continue singing nonsense for years. There’s a gospel song on the radio by Mary Mary called “Go Get It.” When my kids hear it, they’ll sing the right words until they get to the song’s bridge. Now the real lyrics include the words “qualified, mercy multiplied and certified.” For some reason, my kids insert “curly, swirly fries.” How does food make sense in the context of that song? Oh sure, people can have strong cravings for a good basket of curly fries, but I doubt that has anything to do with the “go get it” in this song.  

Twenty years ago the distinction between right and wrong felt as unmistakable as the difference between black and white. With our changing societal norms, grey is the new black and white and  the culture is redefining the rules of ethical behavior. Maybe that’s why people respond like this when asked about values and ethics:        
In last week’s post, I asked you what kids should learn in school. I’d put critical thinking skills on the list because it’s never too early to learn to defend our views of right vs. wrong. Regardless of how our culture changes, what’s the one thing everyone will always believe is right?      

Friday, September 7, 2012

Supply-Side Education

It’s back-to-school shopping time again. This is the season in which we endure or enjoy the hustle and bustle of checking the supplies list and running from store to store for the best deals as the cash flows from our pockets. If you have children, you can identify with this scenario. If not, you get to enjoy the benefits of office supply sales. When you’re in stores this week, take advantage of the remaining back-to-school sales. Great deals exist and some items will only cost a penny. You’re going to need pens, paper, folders or notepads at some point so you may as well load up your shopping cart. Flexible rulers make great Christmas gifts, don’t they?    

My informal research indicates that kids fall into two camps: those who are ready to return to school and the other half—not so much. Our kids fall into the not-so-much camp. Despite their initial reluctance, I hope all kids enjoy a year full of new possibilities and achievements. Listen to how one school flips the script:

 The students appear excited about the new home and class routine.  It seems like a simple, inexpensive plan. Let’s hope test scores rise and the students learn a lot. In your opinion, what’s the main thing kids need to learn in their schools this year?