Archives for category: American culture

People magazine has just named Adam Levine, the Sexiest Man Alive for 2013. I’ve never heard of the guy, but I’m not People’s demographic audience. So my opinion doesn’t count for much. Nevertheless, this annual award got me thinking. How have past winners fared over the years? 

Nick Nolte wasn’t bad in 1982,
but what happened?





Mel was certainly cute in 1985

Tom Cruise looks the same
23 years later. Who is his plastic surgeon?

Looked good then.  Looks good now.
I would say Graceful Aging 

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Here’s an interesting survey conducted by the Gallup polling organization. According to Gallup, the percentage of U.S. adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) ranges from 10% in the District of Columbia to 1.7% in North Dakota. The national average is 3.5%. Of the fives states with highest percentage of LGBT adults (D.C., Hawaii, Vermont, Oregon and Maine), only Oregon has yet to legalize same-sex marriage. Oregonians will have an opportunity next year to change that in a voter referendum.

The states with the lowest percentage of LGBT adults (Utah, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, and North Dakota) are deeply conservative and unlikely to let their gay and lesbian citizens marry any time soon. 

Most Americans now back same-sex marriage according to recent polls. Personally, I don’t like the idea of letting states decide constitutional issues and rights. The U.S. Constitution enshrines certain rights and liberties as so important that they are above the politics of day. Freedom of speech and religion are never put to a vote. Why then the right to marry? The whole point of the U.S. Constitution was to protect the rights of the minority from the bigotries of the majority. Simply put: the right to marry, as protected under Equal Protection clause of the Constitution, should extend to all Americans, gay or straight. 

Jimmy Justice (not his real name) is a Brooklyn, New York video activist. He posts videos on YouTube showing NYC traffic enforcement officers breaking the law. His videos are not only entertaining, but they document a very real problem: police officers and other public servants who think they are above the law. 

Whatever happened to “Mr. De Leon, may I call you Fernando?” That may seem stuffy, but the whole part of needing permission to use a first name was that it implied intimacy. We all use first names more than we used to, but we still have surnames for strangers and first names for friends. It’s no wonder I’m always irritated by a grocery store clerk, waiter, or office receptionist presuming to sound like a friend. But do they really think we’re touched by their “friendliness?” In fact, it’s more likely to be the opposite.

In Germany, addressing a stranger by his or her first name is considered rude; yet, some German’s think it’s perfectly acceptable to address Americans by their first name and everybody else by their surnames. It’s one of those cultural differences that drives me crazy. I know people mean well, but it would be nice for people to understand social boundaries.    

I saw this clever Halloween decoration displayed in the middle of suburbia during my recent trip to the American Southwest. 

I saw this clever Halloween decoration displayed in the middle of suburbia during my recent trip to the American Southwest. 

Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, Thrifty Drug Store sold everything from household detergents to cosmetics. It was the Walgreen’s of its day. The chain no longer exists, but I still have vivid memories of it, especially its ice cream.

As a kid I could get a scoop of Thrifty’s ice cream for five cents, a double for ten, and a triple for fifteen. Each store had a stand inside selling pre-packaged ice creams by the pint or quart and a walk up counter where you could buy a cone. My favorite was a double chocolate chip. Yummy!

When the Thrifty chain was sold to Rite Aid in 1996, Rite Aid continued to have Thrifty’s ice cream stands at some of their stores. Today, I was reminded of Thrifty’s legendary ice cream when I visited a local Rite Aid. Alas, a single cone now costs $1.79, an increase of 3,480% since 1970. (The US inflation rate for the same period was a mere 502.8%.)

Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, Thrifty Drug Store sold everything from household detergents to cosmetics. It was the Walgreen’s of its day. The chain no longer exists, but I still have vivid memories of it, especially its ice cream.

As a kid I could get a scoop of Thrifty’s ice cream for five cents, a double for ten, and a triple for fifteen. Each store had a stand inside selling pre-packaged ice creams by the pint or quart and a walk up counter where you could buy a cone. My favorite was a double chocolate chip. Yummy!

When the Thrifty chain was sold to Rite Aid in 1996, Rite Aid continued to have Thrifty’s ice cream stands at some of their stores. Today, I was reminded of Thrifty’s legendary ice cream when I visited a local Rite Aid. Alas, a single cone now costs $1.79, an increase of 3,480% since 1970. (The US inflation rate for the same period was a mere 502.8%.)

One fellow in Pennsylvania decided to take decisive action when he discovered the theft of his jello from the office refrigerator. Not one to ignore this common workplace occurrence, the man reported the incident to the local police department. An investigation is currently underway, but it’s unclear whether the culprit will ever be apprehended. I suggest they use DNA analysis. It always seems to work on TV. 


Yosemite National Park is 123 years old today, but like all national parks, monuments and zoos, it’s closed because of the federal government shutdown.