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Author Archive for Russell Trahan – Page 2

No Bad Dogs, Only Sad Looks

In the many great debates in society, fortunately, there is still one that isn’t polarizing.  You can’t talk religion or politics, but you can still talk dogs vs cats!  Both are wonderful!

Personally, I’m a dog person.  Cats are great, don’t get me wrong, and the cat my parents had when they retired was very special to us all.  However, I just prefer dogs.  We had two twin cock-a-poos while I was in school and as an adult, I’ve had golden retrievers and yellow labs.  I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t know his neighbors’ names, but I know the name of every dog when they get walked past my house. 

That’s why I love stories about dogs.  Recently, a news item caught my attention.  In the world we live in today, it’s nice to have some distractions to remind us of what our priorities will be again once this is all over.

The story was on the facial expressions of dogs.  There’s no debating puppies and dogs are cute and can look at you just so to melt your heart, but the theory now is that they do it on purpose.  I read an article years ago that puppies are like babies, in that since they can’t speak you have to watch their body language to make sure they’re being treated well at day care/the veterinarian.  Now that we know facial expressions are on purpose, we can watch those too for fear or excitement as we drop them off for a puppy play group.

What struck me the most about the articles is how much we value our dogs.  If we didn’t, they wouldn’t be spending time or money to study them.  So, find a dog to pet (it will lower your blood pressure, among other things), and stay safe, and wear your mask! 

 

Forego Permission, Forget Forgiveness

I don’t know why it didn’t sink in as a kid, I remember learning about it at school.  And, as an adult I’ve traveled to and toured Boston, Philadelphia (several times), Washington DC (several times), and other Colonial hotspots on the Eastern Seaboard.  So then, why was I about this many days old when it finally sunk into me that the Revolutionary War was started more than two years before the Declaration of Independence was written and signed?! 

This was the ultimate Forego Permission!  Gee, said our forefathers, let’s go start a war and then tell them why later!  I love it! 

Wikipedia lists the start of the War for Independence as April 19, 1775 at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, but the Boston Tea Party was on December 16, 1773 and that’s when the real trouble began.   Just after the Tea Party is when the Massachusetts Bay Colony formed it’s own government, separate from the crown.   The Second Continental Congress didn’t vote on Independence until July 2, 1776, and then, of course, declared independence with public readings on the 4th of July, 1776. 

If you want to watch a good movie about the drafting of the declaration, find a copy of 1776.  If you don’t recognize most of the cast, it’s OK, because the movie’s producers hired most of the original Broadway cast for the movie.  Those of a certain generation will recognize the actor portraying John Adams as William Daniels, the same actor who portrayed Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World.  Trivia Time:  Mr. Feeny was Principal at the fictitious John Adams High School!  I digress. 

Don’t worry about getting permission before starting something, just make sure it’s a really good cause!

Everyone have a Happy, and Safe, Independence Day!

   

You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught…

Besides the premiere of Hamilton on Disney+ in a couple of weeks, Tony Award™ winner Leslie Odom Jr. has made the news recently for something he said, not something he did.  While recording a bedtime story for his daughter he flubbed a line and dropped the f-bomb.  And, of course, his toddler daughter heard it and repeated it.   He and his wife got a good laugh over it, and then proceeded to have a long talk with their daughter. 

This leads to the eloquent lines of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics from Into The Woods:

Careful the things you say

Children will listen

Careful the things you do

Children will see and learn

Children may not obey, but children will listen

Children will look to you for which way to turn

In my own family, the only time I heard my mother (who was a great believer in respecting your elders) speak up to her mother-in-law was when Granny used the n-word in front of me when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  I can still hear mom raising her voice to say: “Rachel, we do not use that word in front of the boy!”  My mother heard something, said something, and I listened.

This is how a movement from more than 150 years ago, that even though it lasted only 4 or 5 years, can still be a needless part of our society today.  You may think everyone who believed that way should be dead and gone, but their children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren listened and obey. 

As the 1947 Oscar Award ™ winning movie, Gentleman’s Agreement portrayed it’s not enough to be “not” something, you’ve got to be “Anti-something.”  This is why we’re dealing with these issues 73 years later.  Don’t let the snide joke go unchecked, don’t let the off-handed comment go unchallenged.

After 9/11 there were posters everywhere reminding people to “SEE SOMETHING/SAY SOMETHING” as a way to curb terrorism.  The same applies to racism and maybe your children will listen to that. 

 

See Ya’ Later, Oscar

In today’s world events and gatherings being postponed is nothing new.  One of my favorite events, Stage Time Live, has been postponed from March to June and now will be held in August.  Personal events, such as weddings and graduations have been put off down the calendar as well. 

Directly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the 93rd Academy Awards will now be held April 25, 2021, eight weeks later than originally planned.  The powers that be are looking ahead and already postponing next year’s ceremony! 

We’re all adjusting to a world we never knew we’d have to, but change and adaption are historical.  Companies like Blockbuster and Netflix had to adjust to a new world for their industry, but you’d think they could have seen it coming (well, Blockbuster certainly turned a blind eye). 

Past events have previously caused the Oscars to postpone, first in 1938 because of disastrous flooding in Los Angeles. In 1968, it was delayed two days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And in 1981, it was put off for 24 hours after President Ronald Reagan was shot in Washington D.C.

None of these events affected the eligibility period for the awards, or were done so far out in advance.  This year’s announcement has extended the qualifying period from 12 months to 14, and included non-theatrical releases such as online steaming platforms. 

This announcement from the Academy is only the beginning; other events cancelled or postponed this year might still see further schedule changes. 

Stay flexible, my friends. 

 

 

Living the “Mod” Life

Remember when eggs were bad for you?  Then it changed back to eggs were good for you, in moderation?

Julia Child was once asked about all the butter and fat in her recipes and how could that be healthy for you?  She replied that her recipes called for a teaspoon of hollandaise sauce on the asparagus, not a half a cup like most Americans use.  Child contended that butter and fat can be healthy if they’re used in moderation.

The American Cancer Society has updated their guidelines for cancer prevention through diet and exercise.   Nearly 20% of cancer cases are caused by these factors people can control, especially not smoking.  Of course, the new guidelines recommend getting more physical activity and staying at a healthy weight for your body type; but what’s new includes less (or no) processed and red meats and no alcohol. 

“There is no one food or even food group that is adequate to achieve a significant reduction in cancer risk,” Laura Makaroff, DO, American Cancer Society Senior Vice President, Prevention and Early Detection, said. “People should eat whole foods, not individual nutrients, she said, because evidence continues to suggest that healthy dietary patterns are associated with reduced risk for cancer.”

It’s all about how, not what you eat, that makes the difference.  It’s about making healthy choices.  Every night while I’m out for my easy, slow walk and a jogger passes me, I think to myself, at least I’m going faster than the guy sitting on the couch. 

So, stay moderate, my friends.  Great strides don’t have to happen overnight.  You don’t have to eat a pound of blueberries to prevent cancer.  Just a few everyday will do it.  But, according to the new guidelines, it can’t be blueberry wine.