Label Rant

Why are labels becoming so idiotic?  Have we, as a nation of consumers, become so dumb and illiterate that we have no clue what ingredients are in the foods we eat?
Example number one:  the package of grated Parmesan cheese sitting in the refrigerator has the words “Allergy Warning: made from milk” right below the word cheese on the label.  The last time I looked,  the definition of cheese was 
cheese 1  (chz)



a. A solid food prepared from the pressed curd of milk, often seasoned and aged.
b. A molded mass of this substance.
2. Something resembling this substance in shape or consistency.
(From The Free Dictionary by FarLex)

Seems rather pointless to put the allergy warning given the definition of the product, doesn’t it?
Example number two: the jar of peanut butter in the pantry has the words “Allergy Warning: made from peanuts” on the label just below the word peanut.  Once again a pretty simpleminded warning given the definition of peanut butter is 
peanut butter


A paste made from ground roasted peanuts.

(From The Free Dictionary by FarLex)
The only way that either of these warnings could serve a useful purpose is if the consumer lacked a basic understanding of the English language, knowing not the meaning of cheese and peanut butter.  But if that were the case, what good does it do to add the words allergy and warning and milk and peanut to the label.  Presumably, if one didn’t understand cheese, one wouldn’t understand milk.  And if you don’t get what peanut butter is, will the words peanut, allergy, and warning convey anything more?
There might be a legitimate point in such redundant warnings on our food.  I just can’t spot it. Those of us who grew up on farms and live in farming communities really wonder what sort of idiot needs those warnings. I suspect most of you are curious as well. We’re all afraid to meet them because we have a deep suspicion they are related to that other class of idiots – lawyers.  
Oh well.  I guess they must be the same ones that needed the warning on the steak knives I once won in a raffle - Caution: Edges may be sharp and cause bodily injury! I  sure as heck hope the edges are sharp and cut things. Otherwise I might want to cause some bodily injury to the manufacturer.

Long lasting institutions

I was a guest of honor today as the local Masonic Temple celebrated their 125th anniversary. The Masons were actually chartered and established in 1883, one year before the town itself was officially chartered!
The program included an overview of the history of the lodge and of their quarters through the years, including the construction of the current building.  I remember the construction of the current building from visits home during my college and graduate school years. It also highlighted the many charitable causes and community efforts they have been involved in over the last century and a quarter.  An amazing body of work, especially the efforts related to children and their well being.
The fact that this organization has been an important part of the area for so long led me to think about some of the other community organizations that have been active over similar time spans. The only other organizations I could quickly think of that were started in the 1800’s and are still an active part of the community today are all churches or church related.  Most of the other service clubs such as the Lions and Kiwanis all came later in the 1900’s.  Even my own roots in the area trace back no further than the WWI era when my great grandfather homesteaded here. (An interesting story in its own right that I may explore in another post.)
Are there organizations in your town that are as old or older than the town itself? Are they still an active part of the community?  Tell me about them. I think it is fascinating to hear about such long lived organizations and their influences on the communities they serve.

The case of the oddly named dog

While Molly and I were out walking in the park this afternoon, we met a gentleman and his dog. They had stopped for a rest before continuing on down the road.  From what the gentleman said, they had been driving for about six hours straight.

You need to picture this – the gentleman was dressed in full conservative business outfit including tie and pinstriped suit.  I’m wearing jogging shorts and a ratty old golf shirt. His dog is a miniature dachshund and stands maybe 8 inches tall.  The dog has been groomed to within an inch of it’s life and is a spitting image of its master.  The dog is so small he can walk under Molly as she stands beside the path as the gentleman and myself visit.  One heck of an incongruous sight to see all of us standing there talking and sniffing. (The dogs, not us!) I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing when the gentleman walks off and calls his dog.
So what does this extremely well dressed, conservative, long travelling business man name his diminuative dog?
Ready to give up?  The answer is in the first comment.

Another day, another …

Yet another day passes and my todo list just gets longer.  Oh well.
I did get a chance to spend time in a park with the warm fall sun this afternoon.  The publisher and the editor of the local daily newspaper wanted to meet and talk, so I suggested we meet in the park.  We all thought the park was a great idea.  Killed an hour talking to them and then had to head back to real work.
Molly, our dog, and I got in our nightly 5 mile walk again tonight.  We try to do 5 miles in the morning or at night.  Gets a bit harder when the snow and ice of winter arrive.  Someday I’ll have to tell about how Molly came to live with us and how she spent a month in the penitentiary being trained by a multiple murderer, but for now it’s enough to add her smiling face.  Not one of her better pictures, but you get the idea.  At least it’s not her mug shot!
I’m still waiting for the first freeze here.  The historical average here is for the first hard freeze to occur on or before October 10th.  I suspect it may be later this year.  Of course, this is Colorado, where the weather is unpredictable.  One year it went from 73 degrees in the morning to 20 below and 2 feet of snow by midnight.  I hated that year since it killed most of my apple trees.
BTW, for those who expressed concern for my lawnmower in my first post, there is good news I forgot to relay.  Three parts costing a total of $6.25 and an hour of my time and the lawnmower is as good as new.  All I have to do now is change the oil and drain the gas when the mowing season finally ends and it’ll be set for the winter.


I got railroaded tonight and I don’t mean that I watched the trains go by either. 

I was at a CML (Colorado Municipal League) district meeting and dinner in another town.  CML is an important group for mayors and council members in Colorado since they do lobbying and legal services to keep us on the ball and out of trouble and stop stupid legislation that interferes with local control.  They also coordinate information exchanges so that we all don’t have to keep re-inventing the wheel to solve similar problems.
The mayor of the town that is the closest thing to our arch rival was there and all smiles as I came in the door.  During the social period before the meal and business meeting, he said he had something that would really surprise me later.  I was a already a bit surprised since our interaction is usually a hi/bye and an occasional dig at the other.  Low and behold, it turns out he was head of the nominating committee and presented me as the sole candidate and now newly elected President of District 1.  Just so you can understand why that might not be the plum it first appears, some of the cities in our district are close to 200 miles apart.  And guess who gets to go to all those places to attend the local meetings?  You got it – me.

I knew something was up when he was so friendly when I walked in the door, I just couldn’t figure out why.  The only question now is what I can do to get him back.  He is term limited out of office this January and won’t be around next year for me to stick him with an office.  I guess the only thing to do is make the 40 mile drive to his town and make him take me golfing.  Golfing with me should be punishment enough for anyone. {*grin*}  

Things Done Right