Saturday, December 20, 2014

Meet the Members of the Montana House Republican Leadership Who Made Their State a Laughingstock


"Building a Better Montana" 
Through Proper Dress

Photo credit:  Montana State Legislature

Montana Dress Code Has Female Legislators Sporting New Look:  Clenched Jaws.  (The New York Times, 12/13/2014)

It appears that some of the male legislators need advice on tie selection.



Now for the face-saving.

Montana House to modify controversial Legislature dress code.  (Billings Gazette, 12/15/2014)

What happens when party leadership goes its own way.
In early December, the House Republican leadership issued a one-page dress code that said representatives, staff and reporters “are required to dress in formal business attire during the session.” It had a series of specific bullet points. No formal House dress code existed previously, only an informal one. 

The dress code has been widely condemned by newspaper editorials in Montana, drawn attention from national media including the New York Times and been ridiculed on social media. 

Kellogg's Wants You to Put Out the Box at Bedtime




With a night campaign, Kellogg's Aims for Snappier Sales.  (The New York Times, 12/17/2014)

I smell more than a whiff of desperation here.
“Waiting quietly as the rest recharge is the most important box in the world,” says the voice of the actor Kyle MacLachlan, who speaks softly as if wishing not to wake the sleeping. Cereal falls in slow motion against a black background. “Crispy flakes, sons of the sun itself.” 

A bowl of cereal seems to sit on the horizon line as the sun dramatically rises behind it. “Tomorrow,” sung by Andrea McArdle from the original Broadway cast recording of the musical “Annie,” plays. Milk cascades onto the cereal and, as a boy is seen sleeping in his bed and his parents in theirs, the voice-over continues. “A magic formula of protein and grain that helps turn little boys to soccer players, moms to supermoms.” 

As the voice-over concludes, “Tomorrow is yours to claim, set yourself with Kellogg’s tonight,” the brand’s tag line, “See you at breakfast,” appears at the end.

What cereal executives have been reading lately:

Meet Santa's Felonious Elves

So much for the naughty or nice question!


Dueling Headlines, or, Just because Sam Brownback says it, doesn't mean it's so




The New Republic, 10/1/2014

McClatchyDC, 9/19/2010

He's their puppet.
A New Yorker magazine article last month revealed that the Koch brothers have been quietly bankrolling the tea party movement, which has boosted the success of insurgent conservative candidates in several Republican primary races this year. 

Democrats point out that Koch-related interests have given Brownback, a Republican, hundreds of thousands of dollars over his 16-year career, more than any other candidate. They claim that the Kochs may have played a key role in Brownback's most important race — in 1996, when he won a close contest to take Bob Dole's open Senate seat.
Related posts:
KC Healthy Kids needs to work on its timing.  (12/20/2014) 
Sam Brownback: "The sun is shining in Kansas and don't let anyone tell you different."  (12/11/2014)
Why it's probably best not to be in Kansas anymore.  (12/11/2014)
So....does this make Sam Brownback a liar?  (12/10/2014)
Scott Walker takes his tax cut cues from Sam Brownback.  (11/13/2014)
Scott Walker, Sam Brownback, and Rick Scott: The comeback copycats.  (10/25/2014)
Governors Sam Brownback and Scott Walker use the same playbook.  (9/15/2014)
You don't have to inhale deeply to catch a whiff of Wisconsin here.  (9/15/2014)
It's not a pretty picture for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.  (7/18/2014)
As Kansas becomes increasingly irrelevant, a goofy sideshow.  (2/14/2014)

Scott Walker Silent on Latest Jobs Growth Numbers


1.5% growth rate ranks Wisconsin 32nd among the 50 states.  (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/18/2014)


The data was released on Thursday, December 18.

The 2 most recent press releases on the Office of the Governor website.
  • Working for Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker Discusses Property Tax Relief, Participates in Property Tax Relief Tour.  (12/17/2014)
  • Governor Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker Take Part in Menorah Lighting Ceremony.  (12/16/2014)

KC Healthy Kids Needs to Work on its Timing


Photo credit:  KC Healthy Kids

Group Will Seek To Get Rid Of Kansas Sales Tax On Food.  (Kansas City Public Media, 12/18/2014)

Some kids may eat healthier, but if their families participate in any state-funded health and human services programs, where's the gain?
Even in good financial times, legislators have rejected attempts to exempt food from the sales tax. It probably will be an even tougher sell in the coming session given the state’s mounting budget problems. 

With a steep drop in tax collections due in large part to the income tax cuts championed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, legislators will be faced with the urgent task of cutting $280 million from this year’s already approved budget when they convene in January. They also must deal with a projected deficit in the neighborhood of $600 million as they craft the budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2015. 

Exempting food from the sales tax would lower revenue collections by about $390 million a year.

Related posts:
Sam Brownback: "The sun is shining in Kansas and don't let anyone tell you different."  (12/11/2014)
Why it's probably best not to be in Kansas anymore.  (12/11/2014)
So....does this make Sam Brownback a liar?  (12/10/2014)
Scott Walker takes his tax cut cues from Sam Brownback.  (11/13/2014)
Scott Walker, Sam Brownback, and Rick Scott: The comeback copycats.  (10/25/2014)
Governors Sam Brownback and Scott Walker use the same playbook.  (9/15/2014)
You don't have to inhale deeply to catch a whiff of Wisconsin here.  (9/15/2014)
It's not a pretty picture for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.  (7/18/2014)
As Kansas becomes increasingly irrelevant, a goofy sideshow.  (2/14/2014)

Employment Opportunity at the Queens Library




Queens Public Library President Thomas Galante Fired by Board.  (Epoch Times, 12/18/2014)

A host with the most -- the Perle Mesta of library directors
Galante, who had served as senior management at the library since 1986, had spent tens of thousands on renovations, meals, and entertainment. The revelation led to the dismissal of several board members who sided with Galante.

Related posts: 
Now I wish I'd been following this story more closely.  (9/13/2014)
Is everybody happy?  (3/13/2014)
Queens library director on hot seat. (2/4/2014)

Wisconsin's 2015-17 cost-to-continue bucket's got a hole in it -- to the tune of $824,000,000




According to this latest memo from Legislative Fiscal Bureau.  (Funny how this type of report always seems to be released on a Friday.)

A starting point of trust.

Opening balance as of the end of FY2014-15:  -$132,000,000.  The LFB erases this amount as staff assumes "that any potential deficit will be addressed".  So in reality, the looser sphere on which we live, the total shortfall appears to be $956,000,000.  But then I'm no expert in financial accounting.

Page 2 of the 2-page memo.


2015-17 legislative session posts:
Tax cuts?? Presidential campaign??   (11/24/2014)
After the election, Walker shares the specifics of moving Wisconsin forward.  (11/15/2014)
Republican legislative agenda as reported  by the Journal Sentinel.  (11/10/2014)
Continuing to bend over for the Koch Brothers is a different position?  (11/10/2014)
Dear Senator Fitzgerald:  Better for whom?  (11/7/2014)
Wisconsin's Republican legislative leaders say "meh" to job creation.  (11/7/2014) 
Meet Mary "No Theatrics Here" Lazich, newly elected Wisconsin State Senate President.  (11/7/2014) 
A giddy Robin Vos announces his legislative agenda.  (11/5/2014)
Take note as the arrogant, selfish Scott Walker contradicts himself.  (11/5/2014)
Scott Walker keeps a promise not to make a promise.  (11/5/2014)

Number of Paid Full-Time-Equivalent (FTE) Staff in U.S. Public Libraries (Oklahoma-South Carolina)



Tulsa City-County Library Budget Cuts $1 Million. (Library Journal, 7/2/2013)
Stillwater residents gather at public library to rally against proposed budget cuts.  (Stillwater News Press, 4/27/2011)
 

City budget affects library.  (City of Newberg website.)
Mulnomah County Library patrons, staff adjust to service cuts.  (7/18/2012)


Pennsylvania libraries feeling the pressures of continued budget cuts.  (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/28/2014)
Schlow Library Closing for a Week to Off-Set Cuts in State Funding.  (statecollege.com, 5/10/2014)
Funding cuts closing book on 3 Reading Public Library branches.  (Reading Eagle, 9/26/2009)


Central Falls closes its public library.  (Retiring Guy's Digest, 7/6/2011) 
Group running Providence branch libraries to send out layoff notices.  (Providence Journal, 5/27/2011)



Source:  Institute of Museum and Library Services, Public Libraries in the United States Survey (1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2011)

Related posts:
U.S., Alabama-California.  (12/6/2014)
Colorado-Georgia.  (12/7/2014)
Hawaii-Iowa.  (12/8/2014)
Kansas-Maryland.  (12/9/2014)
Massachusetts-Missouri. (12/10/2014)
Montana-Ohio.  (12/15/2014)

Marquette County WI: Public Access Internet Computers (1999-2013) and Print Serial Subscriptions (1996-2013)


2010 population:  15,404

Public libraries in Marquette County

    This line-graph series is the result of my wondering if there's any pattern to the number of print serial subscriptions held by public libraries in relation to the increasing number of public access Internet computers provided by public libraries since 1999. (Earliest year for which Wisconsin statistics are available.)


    Note: The 1996, 1997, 1998 Wisconsin public library annual reports asked for the following information: Libraries with Internet access. (Answered yes or no.) Libraries with electronic services. (Answered yes or no.) In 1999, public libraries reported the number of public access Internet computers for the first time in the annual report.


    Percentage change, 1996-2013:  -59.5%


          Other posts in series
          (with percentage change in print serial subscriptions from peak year)
          Adams County, -35.6%.  (11/12/2014)
          Ashland County, -1.3%.  (11/13/2014)
          Barron County, -18.5%.  (11/14/2014)
          Bayfield County,+106%.  (11/15/2014)
          Brown County, -22%.   (11/16/2014)
          Buffalo County, -18%.  (11/17/2014)
          Burnett County, -4.4%.  (11/18/2014)
          Calumet County, -23.1%.  (11/19/2014)
          Chippewa County, -37.6%.  (11/20/2014)
          Clark County, -9.0%.  (11/21/2014)
          Columbia County, -11.3%.  (11/22/2014)
          Crawford County, -3.6%.  (11/23/2014)
          Dane County, -16.1%.  (11/24/2014)
          Dodge County, -21.2%.  (11/25/2014)
          Door County, -37.1%.  (11/26/2014)
          Douglas County, -19.1%.  (11/27/2014)
          Dunn County, -21.2%.  (11/28/2014)
          Eau Claire County, -39.5%.  (11/29/2014)
          Florence County, +429%.  (11/30/2014)
          Fond du Lac County, -32.5%.  (12/1/2014)
          Forest County, -20.8%.  (12/2/2014)
          Grant County, NA.  (12/3/2014)
          Green County, -1.6%.  (12/4/2014)
          Green Lake County, -11.0% . (12/5/2014)
          Iowa County, +9.1%.  (12/6/2014)
          Iron County, +50.9%.  (12/7/2014)
          Jackson County, +48.3%.  (12/8/2014)
          Jefferson County, -27.9%.  (12/9/2014)
          Juneau County, +46.3%.  (12/10/2014)
          Kenosha County, -37.9%.  (12/11/2014)
          Kewaunee County, -28.0.  (12/12/2014)
          La Crosse County, -30.2%.  (12/13/2014)
          Lafayette County, -1.0%.  (12/14/2014)
          Langlade County, -53.0%.  (12/15/2014)
          Lincoln County, -45%.  (12/16/2014)
          Manitowoc County, -28.5%.  (12/17/2014)
          Marathon County, -50.1%.  (12/18/2014)
          Marinettte County, NA.  (12/19/2014)
          Marquette County, -59.5%.   (12/20/2014)

          Friday, December 19, 2014

          The Dangers of Smoking



          Not in this victim's case.

          Meet Michael Golownia, Hapless and Balding Marijuana Delivery Guy



          Head-on crash caused by alleged drunken driver in Rock County, police say.   (Wisconsin State Journal, 12/18/2014)

          Alleged drunken, but certifiably crazy driver.
          • seen driving erratically
          • crossed center line numerous times
          • rear-ended a vehicle
          • crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle
          • attempted to flee from scene of accident
          • unable to get his car out of ditch
             
          Police found 44 grams -- about an ounce and a half -- of marijuana in Golownia's car, as well as "evidence of narcotics delivery".

          It his 4th OWI.

          Jeb Bush on Top with 14% in Latest ABC News/Washington Post Poll


          "Lean", of course, has nothing to do with body size.


          There’s Work Ahead if Bush Does Run;He’s at 14% in a Fragmented GOP Field.  (ABC News/Washington Post poll, 12/16/2014)

          In case you were unable to figure this out for yourself.
          Having 14 percent support means that 86 percent of leaned Republicans aren’t Bush backers.

          A steadily growing and font-size shrinking list of 2016 Republican primary posts:
          Scott Walker's next dance moves.  (12/17/2014)
          McClatchy-Marist poll of 1,140 national adults (December 3-9, 2014).  (12/16/2014)
          Let's take a look at the flip side: Jeb Bush to "inactively explore" run for president.  (12/16/2014)
          In the comfort of his Chevy Chase den, Charlie Cook predicts the possibility of big things for Scott Walker in Iowa.  (12/15/2014)

          Library Advocacy Headline of the Day


          The 5 contenders for 2 seats:
          • Christian Barcelona.  The Internet policy dispute made him do it.  ("The library is a place where children come to learn, and I don't think there should be any chance they'd be exposed to adult material.") 
          • Charles Jason Kaple.  "It's a very emotional issue that needs to be looked at rationally.  I'm a very strong believer in First Amendment rights, but whether that means they did all they could to prevent the things we all want to prevent, I'd need more information."
          • Salvatore LoMonaco.  "Orland Park is a community that's very family-oriented, and I want to see it stay that way.  But I want to see what the issues really are, what solutions they explored and see if perhaps I can give some common-sense ideas."  (Retiring Guy notes that he's frequently seen that underlined adjective of late.)
          • Joanna Leafblad.  (Not quoted.)
          • Joshua Rogers.  (Not quoted.)

          Related posts: 
          OPPL's revised Internet policy.  (1/1/2014)
          Orland Park Public Library Trustee Position Description.  (12/5/2013)
          The Orland Park Public Library fights back.  (12/5/2013)
          Excedrin headache moment at the Orland Park Public Library.  (11/25/2013)
          At least this headline doesn't include the words "library" AND "porn".  (11/19/2013)
          Mayor offers a suggestion in Orland Park Public Library Internet controversy.  (11/17/2013)
          A closer look at the Orland Park Public Library board president resignation.  (11/15/2013)
          Amping up the controversy in Orland Park.  (11/12/2013)
          Notes and Whatnot on "Challenges in Governance" (Library Style).  (11/8/2013)
          The Orland Park Public Library's computer lab a "pervert's dream".  (11/5/2013)

          As Opposed to the One Who Isn't?

          Not a birthday card to be selected by a parent who has 2 sons.   (Oh, but then I suppose there are situations.....)


          Today's is younger son Eddie's 24th birthday.


          As you might have suspected, it was a quiet day at Radio Shack

          Photo by Retiring Guy

          Having time between meetings, I made my first visit to East Towne Mall in more than a year.  Compared to its retail cohort on the west side of Madison, East Towne's decor seems stuck in the late 20th century.  I felt as though I should be Christmas shopping for kids' clothes and toys.  ("Where are the Legos?")

          It's also instructive to note the similarities and difference in the retail mix between the 2 locations.  Both malls have the same anchors:  JCPenney, Sears, The Boston Store, and Dick's Sporting Goods.    As for auxiliary stores, East Towne includes Gordman's (off-price department store), Shoe Carnival (microphone specials, a la Kmart's blue-light specials), and Just Fine Alternation (now regretting that I didn't take a pic of the 2 mannequins, wearing clothes that predate the mall's 1971 construction, just inside the shop's entrance).  West Towne, on the other hand -- and this is probably all you need to know -- includes Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn among its auxiliary tenants. 

          Related Radio Shack posts:
          When Radio Shack was hot.  (9/17/2014)
          The decline of Radio Shack and the use of figures of speech.  (8/20/2014)
          Boogeying its way to doomsday. (5/7/2014)
          Radio Shack too far behind to eat Amazon's dust.  (3/4/2014)
          It's possible that the Radio Shack slide continues.  (2/5/2014)

          Middleton Little Free Library Cleaned Out; Independent Bookseller Suspected


          Photo by Retiring Guy

          It's happened elsewhere.  3 times, in fact, to Kay Bubolz!

          Little Free Library owner has books stolen. (Appleton Post-Crescent, 9/5/2014)

          "The wrong person" is under suspicion.
          Bubolz, 79, who manages the library on her front stoop on behalf of her Appleton-based Fiction Book Club, was robbed of all the books on three different occasions in August. She said more than 70 books have been taken.
          "I can't imagine why anyone would do something like that," she said, "especially if they're not going to read them. ... I think maybe I've just attracted the wrong person."
          Bubolz stamps every book on the inside cover with the saying "Always a gift, never for sale," and writes down the author and title of each book to gain an idea of what her clientele wants.

          Marinette County WI: Public Access Internet Computers (1999-2013) and Print Serial Subscriptions (1996-2013)


          2010 population:  41,749

          Public libraries in Marinette County

          This line-graph series is the result of my wondering if there's any pattern to the number of print serial subscriptions held by public libraries in relation to the increasing number of public access Internet computers provided by public libraries since 1999. (Earliest year for which Wisconsin statistics are available.)

          Not sure what to make of Marinette County's numbers.


          Note: The 1996, 1997, 1998 Wisconsin public library annual reports asked for the following information: Libraries with Internet access. (Answered yes or no.) Libraries with electronic services. (Answered yes or no.) In 1999, public libraries reported the number of public access Internet computers for the first time in the annual report.



          Other posts in series
          (with percentage change in print serial subscriptions from peak year)
          Adams County, -35.6%.  (11/12/2014)
          Ashland County, -1.3%.  (11/13/2014)
          Barron County, -18.5%.  (11/14/2014)
          Bayfield County,+106%.  (11/15/2014)
          Brown County, -22%.   (11/16/2014)
          Buffalo County, -18%.  (11/17/2014)
          Burnett County, -4.4%.  (11/18/2014)
          Calumet County, -23.1%.  (11/19/2014)
          Chippewa County, -37.6%.  (11/20/2014)
          Clark County, -9.0%.  (11/21/2014)
          Columbia County, -11.3%.  (11/22/2014)
          Crawford County, -3.6%.  (11/23/2014)
          Dane County, -16.1%.  (11/24/2014)
          Dodge County, -21.2%.  (11/25/2014)
          Door County, -37.1%.  (11/26/2014)
          Douglas County, -19.1%.  (11/27/2014)
          Dunn County, -21.2%.  (11/28/2014)
          Eau Claire County, -39.5%.  (11/29/2014)
          Florence County, +429%.  (11/30/2014)
          Fond du Lac County, -32.5%.  (12/1/2014)
          Forest County, -20.8%.  (12/2/2014)
          Grant County, NA.  (12/3/2014)
          Green County, -1.6%.  (12/4/2014)
          Green Lake County, -11.0% . (12/5/2014)
          Iowa County, +9.1%.  (12/6/2014)
          Iron County, +50.9%.  (12/7/2014)
          Jackson County, +48.3%.  (12/8/2014)
          Jefferson County, -27.9%.  (12/9/2014)
          Juneau County, +46.3%.  (12/10/2014)
          Kenosha County, -37.9%.  (12/11/2014)
          Kewaunee County, -28.0.  (12/12/2014)
          La Crosse County, -30.2%.  (12/13/2014)
          Lafayette County, -1.0%.  (12/14/2014)
          Langlade County, -53.0%.  (12/15/2014)
          Lincoln County, -45%.  (12/16/2014)
          Manitowoc County, -28.5%.  (12/17/2014)
          Marathon County, -50.1%.  (12/18/2014)
          Marinettte County, NA.  (12/19/2014)

          Tom "Terrific-for-the-Frac-Sand-Mining-Industry" Tiffany Probably Thinks Ken Schmitt is Full of Bullroar


          Frac sand resolution gains traction.  (Chippewa Herald, 12/17/014)


          Here's a longer excerpt from the article.
          He said the study, which would be the first of its kind in the state, would look at the environmental, health and economic impact of the sand mine industry.
          County Board chairman Paul Michels [who has contributed $750 to Scott Walker, a total of $1,885 to Republican candidates] said he is all for public safety. “But I’m not an advocate of duplication of public services,” he said, asking Schmitt if a study would be a duplication. Schmitt said not to his knowledge.
          “How many counties will it take to get any movement, to get any action?” asked board Vice Chairman Henry Shakal [whose wife contributed $100 to a Republican candidate in1996].
          “More always helps,” Schmitt replied, adding that Chippewa County is known in the state as a frac sand area. He said he has passed the petition on to people in four or five other counties, but has not heard if those counties will consider asking the state to fund such a study.

          I've shared it before, and I'll share it again.



          Other mining posts:
          Trempealeau County Residents Wonder If Their Drinking Water is Contaminated.  (10/16/20140
          2010: Scott Walker pledges to get government out of the way.  (9/30/2014) 
          More hills posed to go away.  (9/27/2014)
          A personal account of the impact of frac sand mining.  (9/26/2014) 
          Report: Communities At Risk: Frac Sand Mining in the Upper Midwest.  (9/26/2014) 
          Makes you wonder: Do campaign contributions pay for a license to pollute?  (9/15/2014)
          Maybe it has something to do with the hardhat.  (8/9/2014)
          In other words, Kevin, people don't want to live near a frac sand mining operation.  (8/7/2014) 
          UPDATED: Scott Walker continues his "Thank You for Your Contributions" tour.  (8/3/2014)
          What a mere $8,000 will buy you in the Scott Walker House of Favors,  (3/30/2014)
          Frac sand mining and property values: Homeowners vs. landowners.  (3/30/2014)
          Nevertheless, transparency would have been in the general pubic's best interest.  (3/15/2014)
          Wisconsin Towns Association has second thoughts about that "gentler" frac sand mining regulation bill. (3/4/014)
          Scott Walker likely to support Tom Tiffany's new mining bill.  (2/27/2014)
          The vision of Trempealeau County as one big mining operation -- nipped in the bud.  (2/20/2014)
          Glenwood City Council members defeat their recall challengers by a hair.  (12/18/2013)
          Wyoming's Republican Governor has a message for Wisconsin mining industry's "Tom Terrific".  (11/24/2013)
          The mining industry's "Tom Terrific" gets pushback from his Republican colleagues.  (11/18/2013)
          In so many words: Dear Sen. Tiffany, Your bill sucks, Sincerely, Pepin County Board.  (11/13/2013)
          Follow the Gogebic money.  (11/7/2013)
          Sand mine industry leaders put our minds at ease.  (11/5/2013) 
          Scott Walker donor promises jobs, permanence for Independence and Whitehall residents.  (10/29/2013) 
          Sen. Tom Tiffany's sand mine bill a hot potato.  (10/28/2013) 
          Another Walker campaign donor for SB349.  (10/25/2013)
          Expensive to the Tune of $430,505.49 (as of June 30, 2013).  (10/25/2013) 
          The Nipper Chronicles: The frac sand mining masters speak.  (10/18/2013)
          Things aren't so tranquil in Glenwood City Wisconsin lately  (10/10/2013)

          Thursday, December 18, 2014

          Joe Thomas, Turd Specialist

          NFL star and former Badger Joe Thomas hit for Muscoda environmental problems.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 12/18/2014)


          Surveys on CIA's Enhanced Interrogation Program Show That Americans Have Marginalized Their Moral Authority


          Americans Have Taken Ownership of the CIA's Interrogation Program.  (Brookings, 12/17/2014)


          Let's Ask Scott Walker About Something He Doesn't Know

          Where do we start?

          How about Cuba?


          Recommended reading
          Why we should applaud Cuba's progress towards the millennium development goals.  (The Guardian, 9/30/2010)
          Cuba's commitment to prioritise health and education regardless of economic circumstances is one that other countries should emulate.

          From Cuba, progress that U.S. refuses to see. (USA Today, 5/30/2011)
          Back in April, Cuba's Communist Party Congress announced a series of economic reforms that permit self-employment in 178 areas of work, including restaurants, carpentry, barbers, hair dressers, electricians and taxi drivers. In 83 of these jobs people will be allowed to create small businesses and hire workers. Under the announced reforms, Cubans also will be able to buy and sell cars and homes for the first time in half a century.

          This is What Happens When Academics Serve Up Comfort Food


          The Myth of Comfort Food.  (The New York Times, 12/15/2014)

          Getting it wrong from the start.
          Feeling sad or stressed? Put down that Oreo or bowl of mac ’n’ cheese and brace yourself for another bummer: The emotional healing powers of comfort food may be overrated.

          In my view, "comfort food" has never been synonymous with "chicken soup".  This first definition sums it up for me.

          Merriam-Webster's definitions are based on actual usage; it's a description dictionary.


          American Heritage has historically taken a more prescriptive approach to lexicography, but its dictionaries do not mention a healing aspect of comfort food.


          Oxford's definition might give University of Minnesota researchers a smidgen of comfort, but "well-being" can easily be translated to mean "happy" and have nothing to do with emotional health and healing.




          I make what I immodestly consider the best comfort meal ever:
          • meat loaf
          • baked potatoes
          • green bean casserole
          It's a family favorite, and I always feel a great sense of satisfaction and contentment during the preparation, throughout the meal, and immediately afterwards.  But it's not meant to be a lasting experience, and I don't do it to "heal".

          I rarely utter such complaints, but I sincerely hope that no public dollars funded this study.