Posted on February 26, 2014 by Chuck Kurtz
ENGLISH ONLY except for…
Conservative Americans continue to resent a nation that forces them to live in the same community with people who cannot speak clear English. The extent of the oppression is measured by the number of times a lunch order gets screwed up in the Burger King drive-thru lane.
To counter this unrest 28 states have passed laws or amended constitutions to declare English as their “official” language. So far, such laws have been implemented with only a few hundred hitches.
It turns out the most egregious offenders are government agencies run by English-speaking folks who would never consider working at a fast-food restaurant.
For example, states with “official English” laws have refused to re-name their local cities, streets and rivers — most of which currently bear names of German, Hispanic, or Italian origin, not to mention the names of Native American tribes. Apparently, it’s been an uphill battle to push “official English” on towns like Eichelbergertown (Pennsylvania) and Versailles (Missouri). (The residents of Versailles pronounce it Ver-SIGH. I mention this not as clarification but explanation.) Continue reading
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Posted on February 20, 2014 by Chuck Kurtz
Mid-afternoon Wednesday, I was sitting on the couch in my son’s home and next to me, as usual, was 4-year-old granddaughter Rylin, snuggling next to me while playing doctor and dentist on her tablet. Then she stretched out, putting her head on the pillow and her legs and feet across my lap.
“Tickle my feet,” she said.
And, of course, I obliged.
We talked about her day in school, about how she ate the rest of Mee-Moo’s (Grandma Terri’s) meatloaf for lunch, and then began playing a maze game. We took turns helping each other.
“We make a pretty good team,” I told her. Continue reading
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Posted on February 18, 2014 by Chuck Kurtz
Wedding Bans: It’s now about gender; it’s about endurance.
Unlike my fellow Kansans, I am not worried about gay marriage. The only marriages that offend me are those that start with overdone weddings.
I am all in favor of a law, or even a constitution amendment, that makes it illegal to turn a standard wedding into an all-day affair —the ones where the bride and groom exchange vows they’ve written themselves while a five-piece orchestra plays most of the Bach repertoire.
Seventeen states have outlawed same-sex marriages.(see: http://bit.ly/M0CLmf). Yet no state has taken corrective action to deal with:
• Wedding ceremonies that last more than 60 minutes, start to finish. This is a ritual of commitment, not endurance. Jail terms are handed down in less time.
• Wedding services where someone sings Noel Paul Stookey’s “The Wedding Song” or anything by Kenny Rogers. Continue reading
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Posted on February 8, 2014 by Chuck Kurtz
Minimum wage and the food service equation
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 and it applies in every state. It also applies to the businesses who fail to inform employees about their duties and the law’s requirements.
If there were an Olympic competition for mocking wage rules America’s food service business would take home the gold. Exhibit A: Waiters and waitresses are left unaware that a little-understood exemption sets their official wage at $2.13/hour minimum. It’s been $2.13 for more than 20 years .
The math is fifth-grade algebra. At $2.13 an hour, a 40-hour pay period produces a paycheck of $85.20 before taxes. It says so right there on the server’s pay stub.
That’s the part of the law restaurant owners cannot hide. The part they’d rather not discuss goes as follows: $2.13 an hour is only a down payment on a waiter’s services. The law stipulates that employer and employee must periodically sit down and tally the employee’s tips. Tip income is added to the official wage paid by the employer. The sum then is divided by hours worked. If the resulting quotient is less than $7.25 — the federal minimum — the employer must pony up the difference. If it comes to more than $7.25 the employee wins the whole pot. Continue reading
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Posted on February 4, 2014 by Chuck Kurtz
It was nearly one year ago to the day when Olathe was pounded by the worst snow storm of the winter.
Sitting in the front room, working on my taxes while surfing the channels on the television to the delight of my wife Terri, I stumbled onto a rerun of the show Survivor Man. He was left stranded in the Artic for seven days, alone to survive in the elements.
Staring at my tax receipts, glancing out the window at the heavy snowfall and listening to Les Stroud as he tries to create a shelter, I was reminded of being battered in Olathe’s snow storm a year earlier in my attempts to be Snow-vivorman!
Enjoy my rerun!
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Posted on February 1, 2014 by Chuck Kurtz
Of life, mental illness, and a dog’s opinion
Many things happen whether or not we hear them: Trees falling in the forest; an approaching storm. Many things exist whether or not we see them: Radon gas and infrared light. Some things exist whether we see or hear: Depression and mental illness come to mind.
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The New England Journal of Medicine urges a nationwide smoking age of 21. A pending bill would make New York the first “21” state.
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“The secret is to settle for the shape your life takes, instead of always waiting and wishing for what might make you happy.” — Wally Lamb, author Continue reading
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