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Diatribe: Marijuana Vending Machines.

vending%20machineBack in my younger years, cigarettes used to be sold from vending machines in just about any place you could imagine.  A cigarette machine could be found at the entrance to almost every restaurant, bar, filling station and bowling alley.  Looking back, it seems like everyone smoked back then and it was relatively easy to buy cigarettes.

Where I grew up you were supposed to be eighteen years old before you could legally purchase tobacco products.  So high school students were, generally, too young to purchase cigarettes legally and would frequently buy them from machines when older smokers were unavailable or unwilling to purchase them elsewhere on their behalf.  Purchases from these vending machines were essentially made on the honor system … “I promise that I’m old enough to buy them legally” … so the system was abused all the time.

Guilty as charged.

I remember buying packs of cigarettes from vending machines for as little at sixty cents.  And the machine would also dispense a complimentary book of matches!  Smokers today routinely pay ten times that amount for a pack of cigarettes and many have never laid eyes on a book of matches!  Last Friday, a marijuana vending machine made by American Green called Zazzz was unveiled in Colorado.

Biometrics aside, teenagers and criminals will undoubtedly figure out a way to manipulate and abuse these machines just like the cigarette machines were abused a generation ago.  I can’t see how the pros outweigh the cons on this issue at all.

Do you think marijuana vending machines are a good idea?

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Ovation: Collabro.

There are Boy Bands, boy bands, “boy bands” and then there is Collabro who, after only one month, auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent.  Enjoy.

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Diatribe Revisited: Priscilla’s Big Fat American Gypsy (Arranged) Wedding On Television.

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on May 5, 2012, “Diatribe: Priscilla’s Big Fat American Gypsy (Arranged) Wedding On Television” remains one of the blog’s most popular posts.

priscillaCable channel TLC, the home of intellectually stimulating drivel like Toddlers & Tiaras19 Kids and Counting and Sister Wives, is about to aim a little lower with My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.  As the title suggests, this eight-episode series will feature the gypsy communities in our country and their weddings.  The first episode will focus on 14-year-old Priscilla whose parents have raised her according to their gypsy culture.

What this means, in part, is that it’s time for her to get married.  She’s been trained to be a good gypsy housewife and to serve her husband like her mother serves her father.  This poor girl, homeschooled by gypsy parents (why is this legal?) will be married off by her parents so that she can clean a different camper home.  The episode will include scenes from a party that her father hosted in hopes of finding a husband for his young daughter.

Wow …

1890 called and it wants its women back.  This medieval sort of lifestyle brings to mind images of damsels in distress and knights in shining armor … a time when all men were rulers and women were but servants and concubines.  I think this is really sad.  I see an entire community of people who are teaching their daughters that their only role in life is to care for a husband and be satisfied while he provides for her and his offspring.

Wow …

I understand, but don’t agree with, the concept of arranged marriages as is the practice of many religions and cultures but this seems different to me.   Will Priscilla go to the highest bidder?

While they seem like a harmless bunch and they all appear to be enjoying themselves, this feels to me like TLC’s attempt to engage viewers in the Jersey Shore/HousewifesOf/HillbillyHandfishin’ train-wreck-watching demographic and make some quick summer cash.  There’s a reason that they only ordered eight episodes.

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Ovation Revisited: PAWS Chicago.

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on March 27, 2011, “Ovation: PAWS Chicago’” still rings true as the organization continues to do wonderful work for the animals of Chicagoland.

paws-chicagoMy cousin is an avid animal rights activist.  I admire her consistent passion for the cause.  Currently, she is the Development & Communications Manager for PAWS Chicago.  PAWS Chicago (Pets Are Worth Saving) is the city’s largest no-kill humane organization whose work is focused on alleviating the city’s pet overpopulation problem.  The staff of this state-of-the-art, cageless shelter envisions a city in which pets are not destroyed just because they’re homeless.  My cousin is often seen on television or heard on the radio talking about a wonderful dog or a beautiful cat that needs a home.  She helps facilitate many animal adoptions and has been known to, from time to time, foster a dog or two in her own home.  Since PAWS Chicago does not receive any financial support from federal, state or local government agencies, she works tirelessly with fund-raising events throughout her community.

I’m also a supporter of a local shelter, The Nashville Humane Association, that does similar work in middle Tennessee.  The Nashville Humane Association is one of the oldest service organizations in Nashville and can be traced back to a society founded in 1887 to protect draft horses from mistreatment.  I wonder if anybody’s cousin works there.

If you’re thinking about getting a pet, please consider adoption from your local animal shelter.  (Both PAWS Chicago and Nashville Humane Association accept donations if you feel inclined to give.)

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Diatribe Revisited: Is Jack-In-The-Box’s ‘Marry The Bacon’ Campaign Offensive To Those Fighting For Marriage Equality?

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on February 7, 2012, “Diatribe: Is Jack-In-The-Box’s ‘Marry The Bacon’ Campaign Offensive To Those Fighting For Marriage Equality?” still seems a bit offensive to me.

I have no tolerance for people who don’t take marriage seriously.  And, while thousands of couples across the nation fight for and dream of the day that their relationships will be recognized by the government, I think the new marketing campaign from Jack in the Box restaurants is insensitive and offensive.  The following commercial debuted during the Super Bowl and features a man that’s totally in love with bacon.

The commercial is just a part of their new advertising strategy.  They’ve also included a website where visitors can create a virtual bacon baby and buy bacon clothing.

Why aren’t the defenders of “traditional marriage” in an uproar?  Where are Maggie and Brian from NOM and why aren’t they calling for a boycott?  Where’s the outrage from advocates of marriage equality?  Watch the commercial again and let me know your thoughts.  Am I overreacting?  Or is it offensive to you, too?

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Ovation Revisited: Made By Brad.

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on January 24, 2014, “Ovation: Made By Brad’” continues to inspire.

fremmerlid-570A couple of years ago, a road trip brought us past an IKEA store.  Not having one near our hometown, we decided to stop and check it out.  We were amazed by the amusement park-like atmosphere as well as some of the seemingly great deals that were found there.  Being careful to not buy more than we could fit into our car, we bought a dresser, a chest of drawers, several kitchen items and quite a few Christmas gifts.  The boxes that contained our new furniture just barely fit into our car and we anxiously hurried home to assemble our purchases.

Although we had been assured said assembly would be easy, it eventually involved two evenings, one bottle of wine and several Advil tablets.  Apparently intended for a universal audience, the simple instructions contained in the packaging consisted only of pictures and graphs … no actual instructions or explanation.  It was quite frustrating.

For Brad Fremmerlid, building IKEA furniture is no problem at all.  The 25-year-old from Edmonton, Canada, has severe autism.  He can’t read or talk but he can understand even the most confusing diagrams, blueprints and pictorial instructions.  Since Brad was a preschooler, his father, Mark, has been bringing home models, Lego kits and other toys for him to build as “therapy for his mind”.  He figures Brad has assembled more than two thousand objects since then.

Eventually, Mark and his wife, Debbie, agreed that it would be much more practical if Brad built someone else’s projects instead of them always buying this for him to put together.  That’s when Mark decided to help his son turn his skill into a business and Made by Brad came to be.  For only ten to twenty dollars, Brad will come to your house and build your furniture in no time at all.

“Everyone tells us we should be charging more, but we’re not really looking for money.  We just want him to have something meaningful to do.” – Mark Fremmerlid.

The Fremmerlid family should be commended for recognizing Brad’s strengths and building on them.  Many families struggle to find meaningful activities for their autistic children as they move through adolescence into adulthood.  Starting this assembly business could be a great solution for Brad.

We’re still using the IKEA furniture that we bought on the road trip … and we still have some extra pieces that we kept because we weren’t sure what we were supposed to do with them.

Have you ever tried to build anything from IKEA?  Would you hire Brad to do it for you?

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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