National Cheese Lovers Day: January 20

Food Holidays are a personal favorite of mine. Think of your favorite traditional holiday. Maybe it’s Christmas, or Halloween, or Thanksgiving. Whatever that day is and however that day makes you feel; I believe a Cheese day is it for me. I’m lucky in that there are a bunch, according to the plethora of food holiday calendars available online. But for the sake of today’s rantings, I give you National Cheese Lovers Day. Whereas there is plenty of discussion of how to celebrate, with recipes and sales and presentations at various markets, there is little on the history of how this particular day became such an auspicious holiday. The only link of cheese to January 20th, I could find was ironically my birth year – 1964. It was at the New York World’s Fair when the Wisconsin Cheese Foundation presented the world’s largest block of Cheese, weighing an astounding 34,591 pounds. 16,000 cows provided the necessary 17,000 quarts of milk for the unprecedented block of cheese. You read that right – 16000 cows!

With no official origin of this Holiday, I henceforth personally choose to credit the 1964 World’s Fair with National Cheese Lovers Day. This can be added to equally notable World’s Fair introductions, like the Ford Mustang and Belgian Waffles.

So, as you go about your Saturday, take a cheese break. Stop to smell the Roquefort, so to speak. And, with all that is happening in the world, remember this one important fact: What is the word you say when asked to smile for a picture? CHEESE!  🧀 = 😁


And today’s CHEESE is…

xoxo DDJ

P.S. A little shout out love to my Arepa family, Patti, Danielle and Karen, because what Cheese brings together, let no man put asunder. 💋


When will NEWS = TRUTH? Another stab at it.

card for BLOG news

It would appear that former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg—now that he already changed the NYC mayoral game by extending term limits on his own job—wants to stay in politics. He is launching a new Website as well as a Television show on his own network—also available via streaming. His TV show, planned to air daily, will be hosted by veteran journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. If those names sound familiar, it would be because they are presidential election staples. Halperin from Time Magazine, and Heilemann from New York Magazine and MSNBC. But their books, Game Change—which became an Emmy nominated HBO movie—of the 2008 election, and Double Down about the 2012 election, are the standouts in their US politics/policy world.

I love the idea that Bloomberg has about this emerging multi-platform jump into US politics and policy—even if it is looking a little self-serving. [Is there a hint of 2016 on his mind?] I worry, however, more about the content. I just don’t see the diversity of open, honest, bipartisan journalism from the as-so-far announced names involved.

Justin B. Smith—Chief Executive of Bloomberg Media Group put this project together being able to—undoubtedly—careen across the already established platforms of television, radio, print, digital, and video that Bloomberg already established. Clearly a leg up on any other upstart.

I will watch with my somewhat curious if not apprehensive eye, to see how this evolves. But my gut feeling is yet another journalistic endeavor based on opinion rather than fact, or equally as disgusting, facts skewed to fit a demographic. In this case a more liberal minded, Bloomberg infused ideal. You have to remember, Michael Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat until he switched teams in order to run for mayor in 2001. He left the Republican party in 2007. (Again, making me wonder why party affiliations should matter.)

Former Mayor Bloomberg certainly left a lengthy legacy on the city of New York, with a pretty impressive list of bans. All, of course, in the interest of his constituents. And don’t get me wrong, there were many that truly are in the best interest of people. Notable to me were the banning of smoking in bars and restaurants, and banning of trans-fats in restaurants. Then there are the more absurd things that he tried like the ban on soda’s larger than 16oz or the ban on loud headphones. At some point we really shouldn’t have all decisions made for us. We as a people, need to make educated and practical decisions and in the case of the loud headphones, people need to have respect for those around them. I fear this new endeavor will be a constant barrage of what I am supposed to think, rather than a medium for current political news based on facts from the point of view of someone entrenched in the political arena while it is taking place—if that is even possible in Washington.

I am a huge fan of Vice News and their endeavors. Fact based, first person perspective is the kind of journalism I want to see, read and hear. Internationally, they go places we don’t want to be and report things most don’t want to know, but NEED TO. If you haven’t already, follow @vicenews on Twitter. (And then follow all their reporters). Their reports and documentaries are more to my liking and I just don’t see this new Bloomberg multi platform version of Political News and Policy living up to my perhaps “implausible standards”.

I suppose I am tired of “infotainment”. And I don’t think it should be skewed, sugar-coated, or the absolute worst—FABRICATED. So I will wait and see, while I continue to get my political news via a hunt to ‘find the truth’ instead of a ‘here are the facts’ scenario. Stay Tuned,




If I speak “POLITICALese”, am I bilingual?


There are few things more noticeable to me than when you hear a politician who sounds like he’s at a backyard barbecue. It is noticeable because it so rarely happens. Politicians speak something I call Politicalese. Yes, I made that word up. But how else does one define the differences in the language and how it is presented? In my personal revised edition of My Fair Lady…. it would be something like, Why can’t Politician be more like a Person. 😉

In news of average Joe behavior being frowned upon in politics, one can look to Tajikistan. They blocked yet another YouTube video. The third this year, but who’s counting? This one involved their President as he allegedly sang and slurred his way through a song at his son’s 2007 wedding. Now, personally, I would find myself feeling a bit closer to a person whom I thought acts just like any drunken relative we all have. But, NO. Then again, their country is a little different from ours.

So, what about our country? There is currently a campaign in Massachusetts for the Senate seat left open when John Kerry became Secretary of State. A man by the name of Gabriel Gomez—a former Navy Seal—is running against Democratic challenger Ed Markey. Ed Markey, in case you don’t know, has been in some form of office since 1973 when he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Needless to say, at 40 years, one might call him a career politician.

One the flip side of this election is Republican candidate, Mr. Gomez. He is a 47 year old former Navy Seal with an MBA from Harvard Business School. (This is not so much about HIM for office as it is about the man—as he grew up the son of Colombian immigrants, speaking Spanish before learning English and went on to be a successful private equity investor.)

On paper he is living the American dream and has—evidently—yet to learn Politicalese. So henceforth, I will call Mr. Gomez, the “Everyman”.

Everyman got into a little—let’s just call it a rookie mistake—trouble with something he said. Evidently, calling your challenger “pond scum” is frowned upon. The barbs back and forth came from an ad campaign. Evidently, Markey had a video in a commercial ad that highlighted the fact that Gomez was a spokesman for a conservative super PAC that criticized Obama’s handling of information about the death of Osama bin Laden. And, Everyman responded to a reporter, “You know I’ve got four young kids, and they’ve got to sit there and they’ve got to see an ad with their dad, who’s a SEAL, who served honorably,” he went on, “And for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, to put me up there next to bin Laden, he’s just got to be called what he is.”

OK! Pond Scum. Hey, that’s bad? I think it’s a breath of fresh air… well figuratively, of course. But he speaks in a way—with words I understand—and naysayers are making this a big deal? Please. I want to understand the person who supposedly represents me. I do not want to feel as if every sentence is so calculated and needs some sort of approval from the Politicalese Police that by the time it comes out of someone’s mouth I am scratching my head. We should all try to remember all of those political appointee’s caught on any given open mic night, saying things FAR WORSE.

I want my government to represent ME.

Ok… I was dreaming for a moment. But good luck to all the Everyman’s out there who dare to try to change the world for us and speak a language that, at the very least, I understand and appreciate. 🙂


Kids learn the darndest things


Crossword puzzles are hard–Harder still when the answers are false. Harder even MORE when the questions are asked of 8th graders and the “right” answers are treated and TAUGHT as facts.

Case in point: Union Grove, Wisconsin Public School where students were assigned to fill out a “Liberalism vs. Conservatism” crossword puzzle.  On the surface, to me, there is nothing terrible about learning about politics at a young age, presuming one is making up their own mind and not parroting media, their parents, friends, etc.  But can an 8th grader even do that?

That is not my gripe or the gripe of a mother in Wisconsin, Tamra Varebrook, who was shocked to read part of her daughter’s homework assignment that incorrectly described conservatives as wanting to restrict all personal freedoms. First of all, I am impressed she had what it takes to stand up and say something. In a time when our country is fighting over curriculums, and standardized testing, she made sure the school and superintendent knew they had made a pretty grave error.

I will not put a spin on this in any way and will just use my go to reference of the Oxford Dictionary—sort of my defining bible.  Whereas finding the word “conservatism” in any reputable reference entity is difficult, I will leave you with Oxford’s definition of the adjective “conservative”: holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.

Now, back to the crossword puzzles answer.  “the political belief of preserving traditional moral values by restricting personal freedoms and encouraging prosperity through economic freedom.” 

I see a bit of a different take on the word.  Lest us not forget the other half of this lesson—“Liberalism”.  The nice people who created this fabulous puzzle go on to describe liberalism as “the political belief of equality and personal freedom for everyone, often changing the current system to increase government protection of civil liberties.” Hmmm.  Fascinating.

So, not only do we ask 8th graders to make such a personal statement about their beliefs in politics in a school assignment, we are asking them to make it based on false information.  Let us please be realistic about this.  I know I was MUCH older before I started forming my own opinions on such subjects, and was at that age (till much older) forming opinions based on my homelife and family and THOSE values alone.

Not only are they being taught misinformation–which is just like getting ALL your news from ONE source–they are being asked to say where they stand on a subject that they should ONLY be learning the tenets of…. Not having to choose where they stand.  This is my opinion, of course, but teach the facts, teach them correctly, and hope and pray, your children will grow up to have the knowledge to form their own opinions and the tolerance to accept others.

The back of this fabulous assignment I have below for you to draw your own conclusions.  Naturally, once publicized, the superintendent was quick to offer an apology and said it will continue evaluating classroom materials.  And the writers of this so-called “civics” curriculum have since been dropped.

The child of the mother who brought this to everyone’s attention admitted that her daughter has little time or patience for politics or political philosophy and “was just happy to get it filled out.”  I am going out on a limb here and going to surmise that this is the general feeling of your typical 8th grader.  But, what do I know… maybe I will go ask a few.

When it comes to teaching CIVICS, of all things, don’t you think it should be accurate?  Since, according to Oxford, civics is defined as “the study of the rights and duties of citizenship.”  I think our citizens, 8th graders and all, deserve better than skewing their evolving minds in ANY direction at all.