Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"B" as in BLUE BELL Icecream

 It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  This week we are studying the letter "B."

"B" as in Blue Bell Ice Cream.  Blue Bell Ice Cream is a Texas company and has been linked to an outbreak of listeria.  Three people have died and others have become seriously ill.

In Texas there is undying loyalty to Blue Bell Ice Cream.  The company is based in Brenham, Texas.  People still seem to think it's produced by a "little creamery in Brenham."  However, Blue Bell is the third largest producer of ice cream in the United States.  At one time there was a "little creamery," but those days are long gone.  This is a big company and big companies sometimes make decisions based on profits.  I believe that is what happened in this case.  In Texas that is a controversial stand.

From the very beginning I've been dismayed by the loyalty people have shown for this product.  Yes, the ice cream tastes good to me too, but three people have died and others probably have life long health problems now due to eating Blue Bell.

A large Houston furniture company wasted no time in running a full page ad in the Houston Chronicle days after the listeria discovery proclaiming "God Bless Blue Bell."  No mention was made of the people that were killed or permanently affected from eating this listeria based product.  No "God Bless" for them?

Signs proclaiming "God Bless Blue Bell" appeared in yards. 

People immediately held prayer vigils for Blue Bell.  Did they remember to pray for the victims of this tragedy?  I sure hope so.  They wanted their Blue Bell back for the summer.  That seemed to be the most important thing to a lot of them.

Is it possible that subconsciously the powers that be at Blue Bell thought they were invincible because of this kind of customer loyalty?   What exactly were they thinking?

The last thing anyone should pray for is a quick turn around.  From what I've read listeria is very difficult to get rid of in plants.  IF Blue Bell survives they need to be sure that this doesn't happen again.  Another listeria scare would in all probability do them in.

I guess this all hit close to home for me.  I read that one of the people that died was recovering from cancer.  I watched my son go through hell and back to be cancer free today.  He went through numerous rounds of chemo and two stem cell transplants to get to where he is today.  Twice his immune system was  practically wiped out so he could receive hopefully healthy stem cells.  Over the last five years he has spent the equivalent of three months in the hospital. At times he's been very sick and lost a lot of weight.  What do you offer someone with little appetite and in need of calories?  Ice cream!  Who hasn't offered a sick person ice cream?

I found this on the Internet:

Who is most likely to get seriously ill from Listeria bacteria?

Healthy adults and children hardly ever become seriously ill from Listeria. However, people at increased risk of illness from Listeria bacteria include:
  • Pregnant women – Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than the average healthy adult
  • Newborns
  • People with weak immune systems
  • People with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease
  • People with AIDS – People with AIDS are 300 times more likely to get sick from Listeria than people with normal immune systems
  • People who take gluticocorticosteroids such as cortisone
  • Elderly people

What bothers me the most is that Blue Bell continued to sell their products to hospitals, nursing homes, and schools knowing listeria had been found in their plants.  I find this pretty disturbing.  At the time you and I probably didn't know much about listeria, but anyone in the food industry certainly would have known.  The listeria wasn't just present in the Brenham plant.  It was present in other plants too.  That would seem to indicate a company wide problem.  Later it came out that they had known about it for a few years. 

I can understand the people in Brenham, Texas being loyal to Blue Bell.  I'm sure many of Blue Bell's employees lived pay check to pay check.  There just aren't that many other jobs in Brenham for these dedicated employees.  After initially saying they hadn't laid off anyone in over 100 years and they wouldn't now, it happened.

I say God Bless the families of the people that were killed by listeria.  God Bless the people that became ill with listeria and who have lives that will never be the same.  God Bless the loyal employees (and former employees) that had nothing to do with the decisions that were made and now must pay the price.

This tragedy could have been a lot worse.  Thank God it wasn't.

Please  head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"A" as in here we go AGAIN!!

Yes, AGAIN!  A new round of Alphabe-Thursday is starting today!  Thank you Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent" for hosting this event.

I no longer remember how I found Jenny's blog, but I was here for the very first round of Alphabe-Thursday.  I've probably done at least some letters for most rounds.  Sometimes real life got in the way or my 69 year old brain couldn't come up with anything.  However, I always knew that Alphabe-Thursday would be there waiting for me.

I hope Jenny's health improves.  I miss seeing her here!  She is one of the most thoughtful, caring people I've ever met (in person or virtually).   She's always been so supportive when I've had "stuff" going on in my life.  Now she has "stuff" going on in her life and yet she still remembers me (and my son).  Thank you Jenny for being such a special person in my life.

Thank you for hosting Alphabe-Thursday AGAIN!

I am thrilled to be here for another round of Alphabe-Thursday...AGAIN!!!

Head over to Jenny's blog AGAIN for a list of this week's participants.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

"Z" as in ZIEGFELD

Are we really up to "Z" already???  Welcome once again to Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  I have chosen to write about the ZIEGFELD Follies this week.

The ZIEGFELD Follies and The ZIEGFELD Frolic were the brain child of Florenz (Flo) ZIEGFELD, Jr. and ran for the most part from 1907 until 1927 in New York City.  ZIEGFELD has often been called Broadway's greatest showman.  In addition to the long running ZIEGFELD Follies revue he also produced the musical Show Boat.  His shows featured beautiful women, elaborate costumes, and amazing sets.

His "ZIEGFELD girls" were regarded as the standard of beauty for their day.  ZIEGFELD called himself the "glorifier of the American girl."  My great aunt was one of his girls.  Her name was Margaret Morris and family legend says she was discovered by ZIEGFELD dancing on a New York city street corner.  I'm not so sure about that story, but somehow she was discovered.

This is a photograph of her taken by the famous ZIEGFELD photographer Alfred Chaney Johnston.  I know he took a lot of nude photographs of other ZIEGFELD girls, but I've never seen one of Margaret.  (She was a good Catholic girl.)
I'm the unofficial family historian and have her old photo album and some other memorabilia.  Unfortunately, a lot of the photos in the album were unidentified.  I did meet someone online some years back that helped with some of the identification.

There were a couple of movies made about ZIEGFELD and his Follies, but they were made a long time ago.  I would love to see a movie made today about the Follies.  I can picture Tom Hanks in the role of Florenz ZIEGFELD.  After watching this season of Dancing With The Stars I've decided Rumor Willis should play my aunt.  I can picture in my mind the elaborate costumes and sets.  The musical numbers, the dancing, etc., would be so entertaining along with some of their interesting background stories. Come on Hollywood...get busy!

Look at some of these costumes my aunt wore.  This one was when they did some kind of balloon dance.  I believe I heard one time that the gentlemen could pop the balloons on their costumes.
Here she is wearing another rather unusual costume.
 I believe I found this online at the New York City Library site.  Maybe this was a proof sheet?  You can see the above photograph on this sheet.  They are standing on an elevated glass walkway that was part of the set.  This is from the Midnight Frolic.  Margaret appeared in the ZIEGFELD Frolic and the  Follies.  (You can click on it to enlarge.) 

 This is from the 1915 Midnight Frolic.  L-R: Olive Thomas, Muriel Hudson, and Margaret Morris
I've always liked this one.  Margaret is the second one from the left.  I found this in her photo album and either Margaret or someone else wrote the names on the back.  As you can see it's from the 1920 Midnight Frolic.
Margaret also posed for this ad during her career.
She appeared in at least one silent movie, The Gypsys.  This was also found among her things.
This must have been taken on one of her trips to Europe.  I've seen this photo being sold on eBay.
Eventually, it all came to an end for Margaret and the Follies/Frolic.  She worked for many years as a wardrobe mistress on Broadway.  At times she was on welfare.  I have a few childhood memories of her, but the Morris family wasn't close and I only saw her once in a while.  I remember her kind smile and I knew that she was always happy to see us.   Margaret was my grandfather's sister.

I think this picture was probably taken in the 1940's.  Margaret was a member of the ZIEGFELD Club in her later years.  I believe this is a picture of Margaret with her fellow ZIEGFELD Club members.  Margaret is in the center of the first row with her arm around the older lady.
While browsing the Internet I discovered that a revised version of the Midnight Frolic is playing this Spring in New York City.  The Yelp reviews sound good.  If only I lived closer!

Now get busy Hollywood.  I'd like to see a movie and I'm not getting any younger.

Please head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

"Y" as in Galveston YARDS

YIKES!  We're already up to the letter "Y" for Alphabe-Thursday.  Thank you Ms. Jenny for sponsoring Alphabe-Thursday.  I sure hope you're getting to the bottom of things and finding a good treatment for what has been making you feel YUCKY for so long.  I miss your funny posts and want you back!

This week we are studying the letter "Y" as in Galveston YARDS.  Last weekend
 I went down to Galveston on Sunday for the Galveston Historic Homes Tour sponsored by the Galveston Historical Foundation.  The tour takes place on two weekends.  I missed going on Saturday because the weather was perfect for getting some furniture painted in the garage.  I knew the heat and humidity would be coming back and I needed to paint while we had a few good days.  Glad I did because the last couple of days have been miserable.  I'm afraid for us summer is here!

I only had time to visit three of the nine homes on the tour.  This coming weekend I'll try and visit the rest. I've been going on this tour for years and always enjoy it.  If it wasn't for hurricanes I'd buy a home in Galveston.

The first home I visited was a restoration in progress and the YARD hadn't been landscaped yet.  I didn't even think to take pictures. 

The second house I visited was the 1856/1859 John H. and Minnie Knox Hutchings House.  The home was originally built in 1856 and after hurricane damage in 1885 it was remodeled in a Romanesque Revival style.  The house was huge and filled with what I'm sure were very expensive furnishings.  Not exactly my style though.  It reminded me of a museum.  The homes I enjoy the most on the tour are the ones I could imagine myself living in with my dog and cats!  However, I loved this home's huge YARD with wonderful live oaks.  Lots of shade.

 I thought this was kind of cute...
 I wondered if this live oak had been damaged during Hurricane Ike.  There was a large bolt that went through the tree and then chains were wrapped around the trunk to help hold it together.  It was a huge tree and I guess the weight was pulling the trunk apart.

Then I visited the 1909 Fordtran Viotto House.  I would not mind living in this one!  I believe my dog and cats would enjoy the large balcony and I loved the style of this home.  There wasn't a lot of landscaping in the front YARD, but there was a magnolia tree that was blooming.
The back YARD gave me some ideas for what to do with my fence.  I have some old shutters in the garage.

Photographs aren't allowed to be taken inside the homes, so I snapped a few outside with my cell phone.

Now head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Thanks for visiting...