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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We curmudgeons should unite

Monday, October 31, 2011

The American Civil Liberties Union is urined off. A month ago they asked a federal district court judge to temporarily halt a policy of Linn State Technical College in Jefferson City, Mo. The college was requiring all incoming students to submit to mandatory drug tests. The judge ordered officials at Linn State to stop analyzing urine specimens that have already been collected and to instruct the drug testing company not to release any results it may have already compiled.

Linn State claims that, as a technical college, some of their students operate heavy machinery and that, as a result, drug testing served as a way to help keep them safe. The ACLU complained, likely correctly, that the policy is unconstitutional.

In the spirit of "Only the guilty will suffer," potential employers and graduates alike would benefit from such a policy. Last week the judge extended the restraining order until November eighth.


One of my heroes, 92 year old Andy Rooney, has retired from his CBS' "60 Minutes" role as the resident grump. "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney," was often my favorite part of the show. A WW2 war correspondent, he seemed to become crankier as he aged. Sound like anybody you know? I mean other than me.

Although the Los Angeles Times said his spot would, "be nearly impossible to fill," I disagree. I am available, and Le Mars has plenty of men who could fill the role. As we speak, sorta like, I am going through the telephone book to identify who should apply to fill Andy's spot.

Athens is there in the "A's," "B" is for Brangwin? Culley? Driscoll? I give up -- just about every old Le Mars guy that I know has a bit of Andy Rooney in them, except maybe nice guys Norm Utesch and those Susemihls. The Chamber of Commerce should select a Curmudgeon of the year. A parade on Andy Rooney's birthday would be nice, too.

For 33 years, Rooney poked fun, often sarcastically acerbic, at life's every day oddities, pop culture, and the changing world around him. Now it sounds like lots of guys you know, right?!

With tongue-in-cheek he complained about important things like, "Watches should be round," and "I don't know who Lady Gaga is and kids today probably don't know who Ella Fitzgerald was. Maybe we should call it even," he said.

Many truths were found in his humorous, thought provoking rants. Rooney took heat for calling Native Americans "silly" for complaining about mascots, and team names such as the Redskins, and remarking that it seemed as if most baseball players were named Rodriguez.


Do those at your table still say "pass the butter, please?" Napoleon offered a prize for a satisfactory substitute for butter, and Oleomargarine was the winner. As early as 1877, some US states had passed laws to restrict the sale and labeling of margarine, and encouraged by the butter lobby, required pink colorings to make the product look unpalatable.

In Canada, margarine was banned from 1886 until 1948 then requiring it to be bright yellow or orange in some provinces or colorless in others. By the 1980s, most provinces had lifted the restriction; however, Quebec didn't repeal its law requiring margarine to be colorless until three years ago.

WW1 brought butter shortages in many countries and an enormous increase in margarine consumption. Margarine, particularly polyunsaturated margarine, has become a major part of the Western diet and overtook butter in popularity in the mid-20th century. In the United States, for example, in 1930 the average person ate over 18 pounds of butter a year and just over 2 pounds of margarine. By the end of the 20th century, an average American ate around 5 pounds of butter and nearly 8 pounds of margarine.

Most margarine is vegetable-based and thus contains no cholesterol, while 100 grams of butter contains 178 mg of cholesterol.

Wisconsin was the leading, and last, battleground against the demon oleo, finally becoming the 50th state to allow it in 1967. Restrictions still apply, though. Restaurants cannot substitute unless requested by the customer, and diners in gourmet establishments such as prisons and schools must have a doctor's recommendation to be served oleo.


Wisconsin, like all states, still has other silly laws on the books. Such as, "Whenever two trains meet at an intersection of said tracks, neither shall proceed until the other has." And, it is illegal to kiss on a train, and it is still illegal to cut a woman's hair in the cheese state.


Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236


By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That

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