Sabtu, 14 Mei 2016

It Will Always Be Johnie's Broiler to Me

I was born on a hot July afternoon 1981 in Downey, Ca. Not quite the 90210 area code but my childhood is full of nostalgic memories of places long forgotten. A suburb full of the working middle class, to my child-like mind its a bright and shiny memory that has weathered the years with much more grace than the city itself has.
It Will Always Be Johnie's Broiler to Me 1

I remember walking to school and walking past construction zones where busses were being driven off unfinished freeway bridges. I remember going to get my parents at the restaurant where they would park their truck (it was one of the only places easily accessible for them and convenient for family dinner too) that has been used in dozens of movies. I never thought there was anything special about it - at least not until my sister gave news of its impromtu (and illegal) demolition. It was just Johnie's.

The restaurant, my second home, my favorite childhood memory. An old coffee shop and drive-in diner built in Googie style architecture that would bring flashes of the 1950's cruisers, sock hops and doo wops to mind. The Fat Boy on the neon sign holding his serving tray wearing his little white paper cooks hat.

Installed in 1969, just after the restaurant had been renamed, Fat Boy stood proudly atop the neon fixtures displaying his famous Harvey's Chubby (the original double decker cheeseburger). Granted by the tine I was graced with his remarkable presence, only about half of the neon signage still lit up, on most days. Not unless there was a movie filming.
It Will Always Be Johnie's Broiler to Me 2

In my memory, there was a movie filming every time we went. The lights so bright, so colorful the passage of time can not dull. For films they would even bring the carhops back in their skates. And we went a lot. I hated going in the daytime and missing the bright lights even when they were half burnt out by the mid 80's.

We moved in the mid 90's out of Downey and not many reasons for me to be grateful for being uprooted, it did spare me the trauma of what became of my beloved second home. In 1999, Fat Boy and his burger lit Firestone Boulevard for one last movie. Ironically the same year my mother passed away.

Johnie's closed its doors and shut the restaurant operation down in 2001 for reasons unknown and in 2002 it was converted into a used car dealership but the restaurant was still there Fat Boy and all. In 2006 the dealership's lease was terminated. A new tenant signed a 99 year lease and despite having been denied permit, illegally demolished much of the dining area and car hops stalls.
It Will Always Be Johnie's Broiler to Me 3

After many years of attempting to purchase it and being turned down by Harvey (the original owner), Bob's Big Boy (Johnie's competition) entered into a long term lease. With the help of the Downey Historical Society and Downey's Redevelopment society the restaurant was the building was restored and rebranded as a Bob's Big Boy Broiler.

Fat Boy is still displaying his world famous cheeseburger but his neon no longer lights the sky, he now greets guests as the drive into the parking lot. But still he stands guard and proudly gives diner patrons and cruise clubs a quiet reminder of the diner's rich history. I grew up in this place and while I haven't been back since 1995 and it breaks my heart that's its not Johnie's anymore, any cruise club member or tourist wanting checkout movie filming locations in Downey should check this place out.

Sabtu, 07 Mei 2016

Sewing Through The Years

I started the day with a sewing project.

For me, this is not done lightly. My expertise with the needle leaves much to be desired so I usually bring clothes that need repairs to a professional seamstress. But this was an emergency. Tonight we are going to an event that requires dressier clothes, the kind I only wear once or twice a year.
Sewing Through The Years 1

My project is a black sleeveless top that I had bought on sale a year ago. But when I tried it on at home, I realized it was almost a size too big on me. I couldn't return it so it had hung in my closet all this time, waiting for me to decide whether to donate it to Goodwill or bring it to a seamstress for repair (which would cost more than the top had cost). So I decided to give it my "quick" treatment.
Sewing Through The Years 2

I still remember my first sewing project. I was in my first year of high school and all the girls had to take cooking for half the school year and sewing for the second half. The boys took wood working which I would have preferred; however, this was 1955 and the women's liberation movement was still 15 years away. I breezed through cooking; something I had done a lot of at home but the sewing class literally tied me up in knots!
Sewing Through The Years 3

The first project for the class was an apron. We chose our material, then learned how to cut out a pattern, thread a needle and make small, neat strokes through the fabric as we sewed it together. I struggled with each step, watching as my classmates completed their aprons and moved on to a skirt. I can't remember if I ever finished the apron but I did learn to hate sewing and promised myself that I would avoid it at all costs.

However, I was enticed back when I inherited my grandmother's treadle sewing machine. We didn't have Barbie dolls in those days and I wanted to dress a favorite doll in grown-up clothes. I searched for bits of material around the house and designed some kind of outfit for the doll. After some experimenting, I learned to use the old machine. I loved the feel of the treadle, peddling it back and forth with my feet while my hands maneuvered cloth through the needle. The clothes I made had a short life span but I learned that sewing could be fun if I could choose the project.

My mother had taken sewing lessons at one point but the table sewing machine she had bought was soon tucked away in its case and stored in the back of the closet. The sewing projects stopped with the class and my mother was reticent to get rid of such an expensive purchase. When I got married, she saw the perfect home for the sewing machine and sent it to me. I ignored it until early in my first pregnancy when I thought I could save money by making a few maternity clothes.

I bought a pattern, material and thread and went to work. My project was a two piece outfit; a skirt and long top. I tried to follow the pattern, cutting a hole in the front of skirt to accommodate the baby's growth. I think I wore it once or twice but by the time I was five or six months pregnant, I discovered that the hole in the skirt came down too far and the jacket was too short, exposing my pregnant belly to the world. Those were the last clothes I ever made.

But I did get into other projects. Years later, with three growing children, I felt the need for an art project. I decided to make quilts for my daughters' beds. Out came the same old sewing machine, still in pristine condition after years of abandonment. I bought four colorful sheets, cut them in squares and sewed the squares together; then backed them with a soft, fuzzy material and filled the interior with stuffing. Then I repeated the process for our second daughter. For a month, our dining room table was covered with fabric, thread, and stuffing - all presided over by the old table sewing machine. Because the kids took so much time during the day, I stayed up late into the night, obsessively working on the projects. When both quilts were done and spread out on the girls' beds, the sewing machine went back in its case and retired to its home in the storage closet.
Sewing Through The Years 4

Since that time, I have sewed hems and pant cuffs (simple ones that only have to be turned over), a few buttons, the occasional ripped shirt or pants, and immediate projects like the one today. I hadn't done much sewing for some time until my granddaughter asked me to teach her how to sew. When we visited a few months ago, I brought a book on learning to sew for children and a small sewing basket filled with all the necessities. She and I spent most of one day working on a small stuffed dog (or cat or bear; I was never certain). She tackled the project with determination and did most of the work herself. However, she had energy to burn when we finished and I was exhausted, ready to go to bed! But it was great fun and exactly what I always thought being a grandma was all about.

The sleeveless top I worked on today was too long, both in the shoulders and in the length. So I pulled up the shoulders, folding the fabric over until the neckline hit me where it was supposed to. Then I pinned it and did the same on the length, folding the hem up until it hit my hips. A search through my sewing kit proved that I had every possible color of thread except black. I called a neighbor and an hour later, I had a spool of black thread! The finished project was very imperfect - lumpy shoulders and bulky hem - but it won't be obvious when it's hidden under a jacket. Another sewing project, another day!

Minggu, 24 April 2016

Money Is A Part of Our Everyday Life

We all have memories of our experiences with money when we were children. Some of us had piggy banks and many of us got allowances. On special occasions, a silver dollar or a check in a card for our special celebrations was always welcome and ex- citing. However, we had a very limited view of what money was and what it can and cannot do.

Money Is A Part of Our Everyday Life

The older we got the understanding of how money works started to intrigue us and the wheels of our mind would start churning to what we could now want instead of only thinking of what we need. We all grew up and money management grew right along with us or so we hoped it would. We could save some, spend some, give away some and with enough effort a new house, car, or vacation was in our means. Maybe - however with what is considered "plastic" money, we were tempted and even encouraged to "live beyond our means." If we wanted something that old adage of hard work and saving could be tucked away in a drawer until we enjoyed life, and did what we wanted and when we wanted to do it.
Money Is A Part of Our Everyday Life 1

The world was cooperating with us because new credit card offers filled the mailboxes of even high school students. You could be free to not only dream but to have your dream and enjoy it while you were still young. Christmas gifts were a lot more expensive and elaborate, and weddings and other important events cost more but we were definitely worth it. Why even a funeral with all the trimmings could be put on a plastic card and slipped through the machine which made everything okay.
Money Is A Part of Our Everyday Life 2

The world is now different and while our needs and expectations have changed along with our lifestyles, we are now a part of the global economy and what happens in countries across the world now affects us. It's a bit sobering to realize that trade deficits, futures and QE programs can and will make a difference in our money goals and dreams. We can take a class to learn more about these terms but that won't give us the confidence that we are totally in charge of what we have, what we earn, and what our future monetary world will be. We are part of a world economy whether we like it or not. Taxes, referendums, government fees and other costs do rise and we must pay them. Age brings with it life changes including medical, housing, and family needs. Our pay check can be divided up and a dozen hands come out to take their share before we even get the check home. We begin to realize that our needs are now coming to the forefront and our wants are many times put on the back burner. Why is this happening and how will it all turn out?
Money Is A Part of Our Everyday Life 3

The main word in a changing and sometimes confusing money world is "be prepared." This once was a scouting byword and now it can be our lifesaver if we realize its strength and its possibilities. Every person has different circumstances and many may be in a position more restrained and compromising then others, but whatever you face, being prepared at least can smooth the path and iron out the wrinkles of whatever financial headache we may encounter. It is never too late to sit down and find out where you stand in your money world, and what the challenges might be. There are solutions and there are ways to cope but only if you take the time to realize that while money should never be your goal in life, it can be a means to an end. Taking even small steps in your debt, your necessities, and your responsibilities to maintain what has to be done can relieve some of the anxiety. With each further step, the "extra" items can be factored in and handled. This is the time to use abilities, innovation, creativity and self control so that not only are today's "money" situations met but tomorrow's needs are handled and peace and serenity can reign in your heart, your home, and in your grown-up "piggy bank."

Sabtu, 16 April 2016

The Company House At Gloryholler

A little country town, during the 1930's and 1940's, nestled deep between two steep and rugged hills, was indeed booming. Coal mining was the occupation of many young men in the town and there was one mining company that employed the dozen or so men who lived around the valley. But, there were some men with families who were not as fortunate to own their own houses. So, the coal company used their miners to build plain two-story houses with clapboard siding for those, which included my family, to live as long as they were employed with the company.
The Company House At Gloryholler

Our house and every company built house had 4 rooms downstairs and 2 upstairs. No indoor plumbing. Coal was the fuel burned in a fireplace in the living room that supplied heat in the winter. It was like the house was built around the chimney. Heat radiated out from the sides of the chimney which was visible inside and ran straight up through the middle of the house into the 2 bedrooms upstairs. Coal was free. Dad would take us kids riding in the back in his 1940 Ford pickup truck to the mines. There we would load up the truck bed with a week's supply of coal and then unload it in the coal shed once we got home. Everybody used coal and there were some days black coal smoke would lazily float up out of the chimneys from every house and would linger over the valley tree tops with a gray heavy smog. There was always the smell of coal smoke in the air.
The Company House At Gloryholler 1

No indoor plumbing meant no indoor toilet facilities. So, every house had an outhouse and we took our baths from a pan with water heated on the kitchen stove. From the back porch to the outhouse my father and mother laid down a brick walk. The brick coming from the mines brick yard. My mother was pregnant with me when they built the sidewalk. A few years ago I returned to the place where the house once stood. The area was covered with brush and years of rotten leaves. I began digging around where the house stood and found that brick sidewalk. I loaded my truck bed with as many bricks I could find, took them home and built a hearth where my wood burning stove was to be placed.
The Company House At Gloryholler 3

My grandmother, on my mother's side, came to live with us for a while. It was a real treat to have her there. Many times we would gather around her as she rocked in her rocking chair. Sitting on the floor my brother and I would listen to her tell of times long ago when she was a little girl. She told of some really scary stories that made the hair stand on the back of our necks. And to this day I can remember those tales and have passed some on to my grandchildren. Poor grandma who was getting up there in age was unable to use the outhouse, so she used a chamber pot which was stored under her bed. Mother would empty the pot at the outhouse every morning.

One day mother decided that we needed a larger outhouse. So, the men from the mines were called on to tear down the old one and build a new one. It was a deluxe outhouse with 2 holes. The only one in the neighborhood that would accommodate 2 people at the same time. My mother was so proud.
Many years have passed and sometimes I yearn for the return of those days. So simple, so uncomplicated, no television, no computers, lazy warm summer evenings sitting in the glider on the front porch with my mother as she chatted with a neighbor. I laid on the glider with my head in her lap listening to them talk about the events of the day. Mother would swing the glider slowly back and forth and every so often a lightning bug would shine it's light down next to the creek. I would fall asleep.

Sabtu, 09 April 2016

Keeping Up With the Joneses

We've all felt that pressure before. The urge to buy something new, or to move into the bigger house, the nicer car, or even the new purse in order to make ourselves feel as if we belong is a common one. And we often don't look too deeply into those purchases, instead saying to ourselves (and others) that we just needed a bigger house. Or a car with more horsepower. Or shoes that match our new outfit. Is this really true, or is this a rationalization?
Keeping Up With the Joneses 1

This extends to what we do and buy for our children, too. We want our children to have the best SAT tutor, the nicest clothes, and everything that we believe they need to succeed in the world.
There is also a sense of societal pressure, real or imagined, in our wanting to have and give the best to our children. We might want to give them all that we didn't have in our childhoods, or merely want to ensure that they never lack, because, frankly, why shouldn't they have all that they want and need? If we have not worked through our childhood issues around what we did not get, we are more likely to play out the Keeping up with the Joneses phenomenon.
Keeping Up With the Joneses 3

But at its heart, this phenomenon of spending only in order to keep up with members of our socio-economic group, may mean that we have lost track of what is truly most important to us. Instead we may be medicating or avoiding emotional pain with buying "stuff" and are trying to fill an internal void with external sources.

Does this bring me joy?

There is one simple question that we can ask ourselves before any purchase. It's a barometer for whether the item- whether it's a house, a car, or a specialized soccer coach- is truly something that we want. Asking whether an item brings you joy (and if you hesitate, it may be a "no") can help to give you some clarity. At a minimum, this question deserves more processing.
Keeping Up With the Joneses2

When we're talking about things that we buy for our children, the matter is slightly more complicated. As mentioned, most of us have deep-seated conceptualizations around what our children need. And it can be hard to separate out what is a true need versus that which we have defined as a need by the discussions of others. For instance, do our children truly need a tutor for multiple subjects, plus piano lessons, specialized sports coaching, and multiple STEM summer camps? Research actually shows that children need unstructured play time more than any of these more formal trainings, however when we hear from others about what their children are doing, we often feel that we need these things, too, in order to have Johnny get accepted into the best schools.

Examining your true values:

But what is truly most important to us? Do we want our children to be world-class athletes and Harvard grads, or do we most want them to be happy? Do we want to have more family time, or to work longer hours in order to afford more material things?

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Sabtu, 02 April 2016

Eugenics and Evolution: Schoolchild See Destruction, Schoolchild Do Destruction

Darwinism evolved and spawned many monstrous ideas, such as eugenics. [1] Eugenics, the love child of racism and evolution, claimed to improve to the human race by cutting out or neutralizing (by sterilization) "undesirable" traits in undesirable people, including children. The eugenics doctrine was taught in some public schools, the most notorious being the German schools in the 1930s. The practice of eugenics was common around the 1920s when many Americans approved abortion clinics, such as Planned Parenthood.

America and Eugenics

The eugenics theory was taught ferociously in top public schools around the world around the 1920s-30s. Eugenics said if the world can rid itself of all the slow, ugly, black and Jewish people, it would be left with fit, white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed beautiful race of supreme beings. (Never mind that the smartest man in our modern times was a Jew [Einstein], or that blue eyes are an evolutionarily undesirable mutation.).
Eugenics and Evolution: Schoolchild See Destruction, Schoolchild Do Destruction

After sufficient indoctrination, when the world was supinely acquiescing to eugenic theory, America began this beautifying process. It began by forcing sterilization of 'undesirables'. Sterilization targets included the "feebleminded, insane, criminalistic, epileptic, inebriate, diseased, blind, deaf; deformed; and dependent" - including "orphans, ne'er-do-wells, tramps, the homeless and paupers." [2] Eugenicists were convinced traits such as alcoholism, epilepsy and pauperism were also hereditary traits that should be wiped out of society.
Eugenics in action was supposed to leave the world with intelligent, rich and healthy individuals. But, America's beautifying process ended with 60,000 involuntarily sterilized children who tell their story to this day.
Sterilization was a walk in the park compared to what was to follow. At its most feverish, American eugenicists lynched a negro, Laura Nelson. Nelson had committed no crime (although her son was accused of stealing a cow). In Laura's trial, the brutal eugenic theory was in play as the judge gave directions to the jury, saying:
"The people of the state have said by recently adopted constitutional provision that the race to which the unfortunate victims belonged should in large measure be divorced from participation in our political contests, because of their known racial inferiority and their dependent credulity, which very characteristic made them the mere tool of the designing and cunning. It is well known that I heartily concur in this constitutional provision of the people's will. The more then does the duty devolve upon us of a superior race and of greater intelligence to protect this weaker race from unjustifiable and lawless attacks. [3]
Eugenics and Evolution: Schoolchild See Destruction, Schoolchild Do Destruction1

In other words, the Judge agreed with the people of the state when they said black people shouldn't be involved in white man's voting system because they were inferior. Their inferiority, said the judge, made them manipulative and cunning. The judge, who wasn't supposed to be biased, instructed the jury that it was their duty, as a superior and more intelligent race, to enforce the law.

Germany and Eugenics

But, America wasn't the only country enthralled by eugenics. In the 1930s, Hitler, impressed by America's work, asked for eugenics advice from California's top eugenicists. Hitler wanted to know how to adopt the eugenics program in Germany. [4] California was delighted and offered their advice - something they would come to regret.

Germans became hardcore eugenicists, doing horrific experiments on 'inferior' people. These experiments included:

· making large incisions in women's legs which they deliberately infected with bacteria,
· open surgery while they were still living,
· joining children together to form Siamese twins. [5]
By contrast, Nazis glorified some individuals, such as baby Hessy Levinson (pictured). Hessy's picture was selected for the front cover of the Nazi's Sonne Ins Haus propaganda publication. Ironically, Levinson was, unbeknown to German authorities, a Jew. [6]
The Nazi's soon financed Dr. Earnest Rudin's study which was supposed to prove the Aryan race was superior to other races. Rudin's study helped establish Hereditary Health Courts, where children could be sent to by their teachers and doctors to determine a child's genetic fitness. If a child was deemed unfit, they were sterilized. [7]
But why should they stop at sterilization, if murdering defectives would purify the human race faster? Using this logic, doctors were granted the power to mark so-called unfit people for death. Among those marked were German's who were 'incurably ill', such as the senile, the criminally insane or those of non-German blood like the Jews. Physically and mentally handicapped people were also targets.
Eugenics and Evolution: Schoolchild See Destruction, Schoolchild Do Destruction2

The eugenics study targeted people who were valued by God. Both the eugenic and evolutionary theories, once adopted, created many disasters, culminating in the atrocities of the Holocaust and attempts to conquer the world through the 'superior Aryan race'. However, the German public disliked the practice and the programs were eventually abandoned. But, not before doctors had killed more than 50,000 children and babies. A theory which began by being innocently taught to public schoolchildren through evolution, and then hardcore eugenics, led to its acceptance and precipitated the biggest war our world has ever seen.
The eugenics theory is creeping in via evolution in the classroom, we are start noticing parents choosing the sex of their child at their 10-week scan for abnormalities. Doctors believe this scan is being used by unhappy parents to weed out their babies who are of the 'wrong' gender.[7] This behavior is being tolerated and accepted because we forgot what 'eugenics' did to our world only 80 years ago.

Isn't Eugenics a Dead Duck Today?

Pro-death Presenter is for suicide and abortion because there's too many people around.
Bill Maher, a famous American television host, writer, actor and media critic, said, "I'm consistently pro-death, although I do believe in more DNA testing... My motto is let's kill the right people. I'm pro-choice. I'm for assisted suicide. I'm for regular suicide. I'm for whatever gets the freeway moving. That's what I'm for. The planet is too crowded and we need to promote death. I'm just not one of those people who thinks all life is precious... but, if you're pro-choice, maybe that's what you're thinking anyway."
Eugenically 'Compromised' Boy Fired from Public School for Having Cystic Fibrosis
Think eugenics isn't infiltrating our public schools today? Think again. An 11-year-old boy with Cystic Fibrosis was expelled from his public school after his Cystic Fibrosis was discovered by school authorities.
Despite showing no signs of the disease, Colman Chadam was banished because he might become symptomatic and harbor bacteria in his lungs which could be passed onto other children Note that CF is not contagious.

No missing Link between Darwin and Eugenics.

Darwin, the man who is often credited with inventing evolution, had a half-cousin, Francis Galton, who was the man who invented the definition of eugenics. Therefore Eugenics and Darwinism spawned from the same family.
1] Tod Friel DVD 'What Hath Darwin Wrought?'
2] Paul Lombardo 'Eugenic Sterilization Laws' University of Virginia, Accessed 3/12/2015 from.
3] Ibid. Also see Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield 'California's dark legacy of forced sterilizations' (2012) CNN.
4] Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield 'California's dark legacy of forced sterilizations' (2012) CNN.
5] David Ritchie'Hitler's Medics: Science of the Third Reich' 2009 Gryph [Video].
7] Rebecca Puddy 'Non-invasive prenatal testing 'being used for gender selection'' (2015) The Australian.

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Jumat, 25 Maret 2016

Family Planning: The Significance of Siblings

In the modern era, couples are opting for two children or even one. Gone are the days when a couple would like to have seven to ten children. This notion is considered backdated and inconvenient for a family in today's world. While this concept is well and good, the purpose of this article is to show why older siblings in a family can actually make things easier, which is why they are so important.
Family Planning: The Significance of Siblings 1

Elder siblings give company and look after younger ones in respect of bathing, feeding, clothing and telling them bedtime stories, putting them to sleep. That way elders get a sense of responsibility from a young age. The younger ones feel a lot of love and care. The elder ones can guide and train the younger siblings in their education as well without having parents to intervene. They help to give a strong foundation in their siblings' education provided their parents did the same for them.
Family Planning: The Significance of Siblings 2

When parents are away, siblings have each other to find comfort and solace in their absence. They bond to each other more closely. They can share not only household activities for example, cleanliness and maintenance but also have fun activities for instance, watching their favorite TV serial and having popcorn together, ordering pizzas from the comfort of their home and treating themselves and watching a good movie together at the same time or simply, reminisce the golden past together, talking to each other and going over good old family albums. Of course they will fight and yell, which is why the elder ones are there to bring everything back in control.

When elder ones leave a family, the younger ones are the ones that bond closely to their parents and start getting a lot of parental care. Parents also start relying on them for fun conversations or serious talks.
Family Planning: The Significance of Siblings 3

If parents have an only child and both of them work, the greater chances are that the child is ignored, malnourished and underdeveloped. That is why it is so important to have an elder brother or sister who can take care of the younger one in lonely times, guide him/her as well as give a warm, loving company, which is so much vital for the child's health and happiness.

For these reasons, in my opinion, when a couple starts to think about family planning, they had better opt for having two children, which is ideal and coherent with what I have been talking all along for instance, the elder one helping out and caring for the younger one, giving him or her a good company, which working parents cannot always strive to cater for, as well as the notion going along well with the modern era social norms. Don't you agree?

Rosina S Khan has authored this article, highlighting why it is good for a family to decide to have more than an only child.