Bye, Bye New York Times

Today I unsubscribed from the New York Times. This was a hard decision for me. I grew up in New York and have always read the New York Times. As a child, I eagerly anticipated the Book Review’s annual list of the best children’s literature.

However, once I was an adult, I realized the New York Times was a corporate entity and therefore supported the status quo. Its coverage of the anti-Vietnam War movement continually belittled the young people who spend time and energy trying to get trying to end that unjust military misadventure.

In 2016, it published numerous articles about Hillary Clinton and her emails. Much of the information in those articles turned out not to be true. However, the New York Times has never apologized to her or to the country. They should because that coverage played a role in her defeat and the election of Donald Trump.

In the two weeks since the first debate between President Biden and Donald Trump, the Times has persistently covered Biden’s inferior performance and insisted that he must step down. That editorial was really the last straw for me. I refuse to be part of an increasingly shrill chorus which will make President Biden’s defeat a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I delayed the decision because there are many things I enjoy about the New York Times, including the games and the recipes. However, for quite a while I have really wondered what is the New York Times business model? Most of the Wire Cutter recommendations lead you to Amazon. The New York Times is functioning as an Amazon affiliate. Wrap your brain around that. I think the paper has strayed extremely far from their original mission of reporting the news rather than creating it.

 

Alice Adams: Book Review

Recently, I took part in the Massachusetts Center for the Book Challenge and read Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington. In June, the theme was to read a book that inspired a movie.

I thought of reading Alice Adams because I remembered the 1935 film with Katherine Hepburn and Fred McMurray. The movie provided an interesting analysis of America’s class system.

The book also delves into the concepts of class and status in early 20th century America. Alice Adams, published in 1921 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1922, contains highly offensive portrayals of African Americans. It is fascinating how Tarkington casually usse racist terms. Many books written by well-known authors during that period contain casual racist and anti-Semitic remarks. Most white Americans held similar opinions.

Despite the book’s outdated and racist language, I still believe it illustrates the narrowness of middle-class society in middle America. Alice is desperate for acceptance among the upper middle class. Her ambition to climb the social ladder causes her to deceive others about the reality of her shabby home and life. She is boldest in her attempts to convince Arthur Russell that she is worthy of his affections.

Her father is stuck in a clerical position at the largest employer in the town. Alice’s mother, determined to see her succeed, pushes her husband to pursue his own business venture. Walter, the family’s son, rejects their pretensions and instead enjoys socializing with musicians, gamblers, and people of color.

Alice’s deceit and her mother’s search for improved financial opportunities end up being in vain. In order to cover debts, Walter steals money from his father’s former company. The owner of the company, a benevolent capitalist, is willing to overlook Walter’s transgression if Mr. Adams sells his nascent glue factory to him.

Ultimately, in the book, Alice doesn’t get the man, and the family has no choice but to take in boarders in order to make ends meet. The movie, hoping to provide a happy ending for viewers during the Great Depression, has Arthur Russell (Fred McMurray) disregard Alice’s pretensions and Walter’s questionable behavior. Instead, he openly declares his love for Alice (Katherine Hepburn).

For the first half of the 20th century, América had a tiny middle class and there was a good amount of income inequality. The professors and their wives that I discuss in Dames, Dishes, and Degrees grappled with the same narrow range of economic opportunities that Alice and her family faced. It was hard for young people to experience upward economic mobility. Alice Adams tells this story very well.

My next regularly scheduled post will be July 14. Happy Summer!

Marketing

In my June 3 post about my six hundred posts, I wrote about the two classes I signed up for. I am still catching up with them. The last genealogy class is Friday. I didn’t do the final project, so there is no work left for the course.

I have until June 22 to watch the videos from the marketing class. A lot of the information is both interesting and overwhelming. The class has a whole module on email marketing.

After watching the videos, I realized that I potentially have more email contacts than on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads. I need to let these insights settle for a while before I take any action that the teacher suggested.

At the end of the month, I am meeting with a friend who helps me with my website. I want to revamp it to make it more suitable for my new book. Of course, if I do not publish the book, I probably don’t have to change the website.

600 Posts

This is my six hundredth post using WordPress. I had realized this moment was coming up, and I hoped to have a substantial entry as commemoration. However, I was away and have been busy. Those are some reasons I didn’t post the last two weeks.

This year, I have published seventeen posts so far: a little less than one a week. That is a fairly good pace, given that I have been floundering while dealing with Leveller’s decision to withdraw their publication offer.

One reason I have been busy is that, as I often do, I over-committed myself. I signed up for a ten-week genealogy course and a five-week marketing course. Genealogy is something I hope to pursue more deeply once I have resolved the book situation.

Learning more about marketing will help if I either self-publish or find a publisher for my manuscript. I now realize I did not really have time for either. Access to the marketing videos ends June 29th.I have until the middle of August to look at the videos from the genealogy class. Hopefully, I can get both done. The lesson is to not over commit. I keep having to relearn that.

 

Milwaukee

The Museum of Beer and Brewing opened in Milwaukee on May 11th. It is open  Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday  noon to 6 p.m.  The website doesn’t say anything about exhibits or events yet.

Twelve years ago, I spent several days in Milwaukee, attending a conference.  We did several beer related things including visiting both Pabst Mansion and the site of the Pabst Brewery.

Here is one of the posts from April 30, 20212 that I wrote about the trip. Apaprently Best Place still exists and you can still go on tours. I wonder if there is any connection between Best Place and the new museum.

He who drinks Pabst drinks best

After visiting the Pabst Mansion, we walked to the site of the Pabst Brewery. The plant ceased operations in 1996. The brewery was massive and consisted of twenty-eight buildings. Some are in disrepair and many are gone. A parking garage is on the site of a few buildings.

The buildings that housed the corporate offices and the visitor’s center still remain. Pabst tours were very popular, partially because the center apparently served unlimited beer. In the courtyard there is a very large statue of Frederick Pabst.

Frederick Pabst, Best Place, Milwaukee

In 2001, Jim Haertel, a genial, local entrepreneur, purchased these buildings and is slowly renovating them. He has named the facility Best Place as a historical nod to the founder of Pabst Beer, Jacob Best Sr. You pay seven dollars at the gift shop, which existed when the brewery was in operation.

You are then brought into a large tavern. The bar serves many of the beers that Pabst owns, such as PBR and Schlitz, but they also serve craft beers. I had a Hopdinger from O’so which is located in Plover, Wisconsin. It was really good and had a great hop flavor. We also got pretzels.

Besides the free beer and pretzels, your seven dollars gets you a viewing of old commercials, which were mostly Schlitz, and a talk by the owner. In his talk, Haertel briefly recounted the history of Pabst and the story of his purchase of these buildings. After his talk, he took us upstairs to see the offices which are not in great shape.

Former Office, Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee

Seeing the massive complex that comprised Pabst Brewery in such disuse and disrepair tells the story of American business in general and the brewing industry in particular in the late twentieth century. Pabst is a virtual brewer; all of its brands are brewed by Miller. The corporate headquarters are in California. Haertel hopes they may relocate to Best Place.

The Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee

 

Non Weekly Update

As I was preparing to write this blog post, I searched in my almost six hundred posts to see what titles I had used. Originally, I thought I would entitle this post “Progress.” When I searched for that term, one thing that came up was from two years ago when I was doing a 28-day NaNoWriMo and trying to revise my book as well as send out queries and my book proposal. The other string I searched for was “Update.” Of course, I came across my endless weekly updates that I did until I got the news that the publisher had withdrawn their offer.

In an attempt at irony, you can see that I have entitled this post, “Non-Weekly Update.” Since the end of February, when Levellers behaved in the atrocious manner that they did, I have continued to get the book ready for publication. That comprised combining the chapters into one document, copyediting the manuscript, and fixing up the end notes.

My plan was to continue with this work as if I still had to send the manuscript to Levellers at the beginning of May. I hoped that while I was doing this work, I would gain clarity about what my next steps should be. That has not happened yet.

Of the many options available to me, I feel fairly negatively about sending it out to other traditional publishers or having it published by a hybrid press. A remaining option is doing nothing, putting all the material pertaining to the book on a dedicated external hard drive, and moving on with my life. The other remaining possibility is some kind of self-publishing.

I think I will have the manuscript in publication shape by next week. I then plan to think about what my next step should be. When I decide, I will let you know.

 

Liver Disease

This past March, The New York Times had a article about alcohol-related liver disease. It is the leading cause of death from heavy or excessive drinking. According to The Times, death from this disease have risen 39 percent recently.

The temperance movement was very concerned with liver disease and tried to educate young people about the dangers of drinking. Here is a link to a post from almost sixteen years ago.

Cirrohosis,  which devlops after many years of heavy drinking, is usually irreversible. It is a contributing factor to over fifty percent of  liver cancer cases. Here is post about that from 2010.

Recently I have had a variety of stomach issues so I haven’t been drinking. Coffee has also been affecting my stomach. I enjoy both but I am currently chosing to have one cup of coffee a day and no alcohol.

Here is picture of a healthy liver and then one with cirrohosis.

 

 

 

 

Cirrohotic Liver

New Office

We have lived in our current home for over thirty years. It is a small ranch with three bedrooms upstairs and a full basement. Prior to moving here, we lived for six years at Hampshire College. We were Directors of Academic Life (DALS) – dolls.

We lived in a big house with many rooms. I was able to have my own office with wood shelves running the span of one large wall. The room had big windows with a view of campus.

Every place I had lived, as an adult, up to that point, I had office space with windows. When we moved to our current house, we needed the bedrooms upstairs for us and our two sons. Because we wanted more space, we had two rooms and a stall shower bathroom built in the basement before we moved in.

I suppose I could have made the boys share a bedroom and then I could have used the remaining room for an office, but it never occurred to me. Instead, the room in the basement without windows became a playroom and the other room, with windows, became my office.

Eventually my younger son started using the playroom as a bedroom, but I still had my office downstairs. His ten-by-ten bedroom upstairs subsequently became a family room. When my older son graduated college and left home, my husband started using his room as an office.

As you may remember, my office and many of my papers, both for my book and personal items going back many years, got ruined in the flood we had three years ago. Since then, I have had mixed feelings about my basement office. It is cold and musty and basically triggering when I go down there.

I have continued to use it but recently we redid my husband’s home office, painting, getting a new desk, file cabinet, and a new rug. This necessitated moving some furniture out of his room and moving a table into the family room. I started using it as a desk. After a while I decided I could turn the family room into a combination office dressing room. We have now begun that process. I don’t’ know why it has taken me thirty-two years to realize I deserve a room of my own upstairs, but I finally can see the street again.

 

Foreign Wives

A few years ago, my dermatologist, Dr. Wyatt, who is my favorite doctor, diagnosed me with rosacea. He recommended a book, The Clear Skin Diet by Alan C. Logan and Valori Treloar. I didn’t try it at the time but last week I started using the recipes and menus in the book. Some of it is based on Japanese cooking and its effect on the skin.

After the first week, I got interested in Japanese cooking and did some Internet searching for cookbooks. One that intrigued me was Rice Paddy Gourmet. It turns out that the author, Joan Itoh, wrote it while she was living in Japan as a foreign bride. The cookbook contained recipes and some of the columns she wrote there,

While in Japan, she formed an organization for women in a similar position to her. Here is some information about the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese which still exists.

Joan Itoh lived in Japan for 17 years. She subsequently left that country and remarried. Besides the cookbook, she also wrote at least one novel. Joan Itoh Burk died in 29023. For more information about her, click here and here.

It is always interesting to me to see how women, when they become wives, try to find meaning and purpose, often, within an constrained space.

National Beer Day

Sorry for the delay in posting. The day for doing that is still a moving target.

Last Sunday was National Beer Day. It celebrates the day in 1933 when low alcohol beer and wine became legal after 13 years of Prohibition. This article discusses what are currently the bestselling beers. That honor goes to Modelo.

Here is a post written February 19, 2020, just before the pandemic, about Mexican beer. I have edited it slightly.

Mexican Beer

Before 1910 most beer in Mexico was brewed by small brewers. In the 1890s big modern breweries developed and by 1899 five firms controlled sixty three percent of the market. By 1910 the major brewers distributed nationally. The companies were vertically integrated, holding monopolies in everything from bottles to the railroads.

Corona Extra is the sixth largest beer brand in America and the top import. Constellation Brands owns Corona and Modelo. Modelo is the seventh largest beer brand. An industry analysis of Constellation stated “Constellation’s story includes … a powerful demographic tailwind. Its core consumer base skews towards Hispanics, a sizable demographic whose primacy will only increase over the coming years. We find it fairly intuitive that Hispanics place a premium on Mexican beer, as it speaks in part to a shared culture and heritage, and in our view, these dynamics are at the heart of Constellation’s superb operating profile…”  There are some stereotypical assumptions in this analysis. For the full analysis, click here.

In 2010 Heineken bought the Mexican brewer Femsa; its brands are Dos Equis and Tecate. The company had a 43 percent share of the Mexican beer market. Dos Equis is twentieth. A German brewer in Vera Cruz created it in the nineteenth century. Tecate is 29th; Since 2013 it has had a 35 percent decrease in shipments. For the  full list of the top 31 brands, go here.

Mexico has a small craft brewing segment. These brewers produce ale; the majority of Mexicans drink lager. Most Mexican craft beer is exported since there is not really a market for it within Mexico. Mexico is third in global exports of beer, most of which goes to Canada and the United States.