At the beginning of the school year, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their summer vacation.
One child wrote the following:
“We went to Florida to visit with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live in a big brick house but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida.
“Now they live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass.
They ride around on their bicycles and wear name tags because they don’t know who they are anymore.
“They go to a building called a wreck center, but they must have got it fixed because it is all okay now, they do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well.
There is a swimming pool too, but all they do is jump up and down in it with hats on.
“At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape.
Sometimes they sneak out, and go cruising in their golf carts.
“Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. and, they eat the same thing every night — early birds.
Some of the people can’t get out past the man in the doll house.
The ones who do get out, bring food back to the wrecked center for pot luck.
“My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too.
When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the doll house. Then I will let people out, so they can visit their grandchildren.”
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
The military men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and are an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the veteran population of the United States:
Every Veteran’s Day, for exactly one minute, this monument can be seen in its full glory. Composed of five pillars, each representing an arm of the U.S. military, the monument’s shadows will align at precisely the right angles to form the great seal of the U.S. This isn’t just any day or hour: it was designed to do this at 11:11 every November 11th, or Veteran’s Day.
Additionally, the brick pavers within the Circle of Honor are inscribed with the names of U.S. servicemen and women, symbolizing the ‘support’ for the Armed Forces. The pavers are red, the pillars are white, and the sky is blue to represent America’s flag. The circle represents an unbreakable border.
How did the engineers manage to calculate the rotational shadows down to the minute? The monument’s chief engineer Jim Martin says that they knew they had to create this with a “fixed azimuth (the horizontal angle from astronomical north to the center of the sun on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. that creates the horizontal illumination of the Great Seal)” and a “fixed altitude angle (the vertical angle for zenith, or horizon, to the center of the sun on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. that creates the vertical illumination of the Great Seal).” Even with the yearly variations, the monument is accurate to within 12 seconds.
The monument was designed by a local resident of Anthem named Renee Palmer-Jones. The pillars are quite high (tallest is 17 feet) and the order of the branches of the armed service were placed in accordance with Department of Defense protocol—United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.
After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. Scientists attributed the growth to soils in France and Belgium becoming enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy. The red poppy came to symbolize the blood shed during battle. The American Legion Family adopted “In Flanders Fields” following the publication of the wartime poem. The poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines.
On September 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion.
Led by the American Legion Auxiliary, each year members of The American Legion Family distribute poppies with a request that the person receiving the flower make a donation to support the future of veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs.
Poppy Day is celebrated in countries around the world. The American Legion brought National Poppy Day® to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day, as National Poppy Day.
While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left by previous visitors to the grave.
These coins have distinct meanings when left on the headstones of those who gave their life while serving in America’s military, and these meanings vary depending on the denomination of coin.
A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier’s family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.
A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when he was killed.
According to tradition, the money left at graves in national cemeteries and state veterans cemeteries is eventually collected, and the funds are put toward maintaining the cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.
In the US, this practice became common during the Vietnam war, due to the political divide in the country over the war; leaving a coin was seen as a more practical way to communicate that you had visited the grave than contacting the soldier’s family, which could devolve into an uncomfortable argument over politics relating to the war.
Some Vietnam veterans would leave coins as a “down payment” to buy their fallen comrades a beer or play a hand of cards when they would finally be reunited.
Turn up the volume all the way
So she shouts to a man below, “Excuse me. I promised a friend I would meet him, but I don’t know where I am.”
“You’re at 31 degrees, 14.57 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude,” he replies.
“You must be a Democrat.”
“I am. How did you know?”
“Because everything you told me is technically correct, but the information is useless, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve been no help.”
“You must be a Republican.”
“Yes. How did you know?”
“You’ve risen to where you are due to a lot of hot air, you made a promise you couldn’t keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”
Boba tea shop owners and their customers may become the latest unintentional casualties of the plastic straw bans sweeping the nation.
The city of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted July 24 to ban plastic straws, which will take effect in July 2019. San Francisco joins a growing list of cities that have already rolled out bans, including Seattle, Miami Beach and Berkeley. Even Starbucks has vowed to eliminate its plastic straws by 2020. But the bans have already faced backlash from disabled customers who rely on plastic straws to drink.
Shops that specialize in boba, or bubble tea — a Taiwanese drink that’s become popular in U.S. cities, primarily with large Asian populations — also say they’re stymied by the ban.
Bubble tea, which fuses Asian tea with milk or fruit syrups and sometimes contains balls of tapioca, originated in Taiwan and has most recently spread in popularity to North America and Europe. The sweet tea drink typically served with milk in a plastic cup, boba drinks come with chewy, marble-sized balls of glutinous tapioca at the bottom that have to be sucked up through a straw. The straw must be wide enough for the tapioca balls, or any other toppings that can go into the drink like lychee jellies or red beans, to pass through.
The straw also must have enough structural integrity to withstand punching through the plastic film that’s often sealed over the top of the cup to make it less likely to spill, a standard part of a shop’s made-to-order process.
Raymond Kot, marketing director for Quickly, which owns several boba shops in the San Francisco area, said one of his biggest obstacles has been finding a straw sturdy enough to pierce that plastic. In order to break the seal, one end of the straw has to be cut at an angle, forming an Exacto knife-like tip that can break through in a single punch.
Indiana-based paper straw company Aardvark has a straw called the “Colossal,” designed specifically for boba drinks. The catch? They don’t come with a pointed tip, meaning some shops may have to cut the straws themselves, and there’s already a long waitlist for orders
Plastic straws at a bubble tea cafe in San Francisco. Eco-conscious San Francisco joins the city of Seattle in banning plastic straws, along with tiny coffee stirrers and cup pluggers, as part of an effort to reduce plastic waste. It also makes single-use food and drink side items available upon request and phases out the use of fluorinated wrappers and to-go containers.
San Francisco’s straw ban is particularly strict: Unlike other cities such as Seattle, compostable plastics such as those made from corn starch-based polylactic acid, or PLA, aren’t allowed. PLA breaks down in the heat generated by microorganisms in compost, but not in the chill of the ocean. They are also too small and light to be caught by the city’s PLA composting facilities, according to San Francisco Department of the Environment spokesperson Charles Sheehan.
Under the city’s new ordinance, only non plastic straws will be allowed, which includes paper, bamboo, metal, wood and fiber-based materials.
Boba tea, or bubble tea, is a sweet tea drink typically served with milk in a plastic cup. It comes with chewy, marble-sized balls of glutinous tapioca that have to be sucked through a straw.
Several hundred shops sell boba drinks across San Francisco, according to Yelp, and all now have a year to find an alternative for their plastic straws if they want to avoid fines from the city ranging from $100 to $500 per violation.
The size and shape of boba straws, however, has made the search for alternative straws difficult. Only a handful of paper straw manufacturers produce jumbo straws with a diameter wide enough to slurp up boba – about one-third to a half-inch instead of a normal straw’s quarter-inch. The few that do make them have backlogged orders stretching out for months, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Sheehan wouldn’t say whether the city would give extensions past July 2019 for any businesses who might need them, but said he felt a year was “adequate” time for manufacturers to prepare and for the city to educate residents about the shift away from plastic.
Bubble (or Boba) Tea is hitting the scene as tea and shops are becoming more popular. The key ingredient is the tapioca balls, which must be steamed for 45 minutes before use
“We want to make sure this works for businesses,” Sheehan said. “If there are supply constraints … We’d roll up our sleeves and make sure there wasn’t any undue impact.”
The other problem is cost. A plastic straw can be anywhere from a half-cent to 3 cents, but paper straws are closer to 19 cents each. For a city that uses millions of plastic straws each month, straws could become a serious expense.
It’s unclear how much the drinks will have to increase in price, Quickly’s Kot said, but he estimated it will only be about 10 cents. He said that he doesn’t mind the hassle of finding a plastic alternative as long as his customers understand why buying a boba drink might cost them a little more in the future.
“If everybody has to pay an extra 10 cents to better the environment, it’s a good idea,” Kot said.
Emil DeFrancesco, founder of Steap Tea Bar in San Francisco’s Chinatown, said that he hasn’t found an alternative for his plastic straws yet. In his opinion, straw manufacturers should have seen the plastic straw ban coming and started developing alternatives sooner.
He’s hoping that a year will be enough time for him to find a supplier, order enough straws for his business and figure out whether he needs to adjust his prices.
“A lot of people in the bubble tea world aren’t particularly wealthy,” DeFrancesco said. “They’re often mom-and-pop stores who have to serve at cost or put it on to the consumer.”
One solution he takes issue with are metal straws, which some have proposed as a reusable alternative. Metal straws, DeFrancesco said, are impractical and too expensive, costing $6 to $10 for a pack of four. He added that, since his shop is located in a touristy area in the city, many of his customers might not understand why they should buy a reusable straw that might cost them several dollars.
He doesn’t think a modest price increase will drive away business: “I think a lot of people will say, ‘I’m willing to spend a nickel more so this doesn’t go up a sea turtle’s nose.’ ”
For Daniel Lee, a regular at T&T Café in San Francisco, any price increase more than 10 cents might make him rethink his boba habits. But for others, such as Emanuela Agostini, who is visiting from Italy, a straw that can break down instead of floating around in the ocean or sitting in a landfill offsets any extra expense she might have to incur.
“I prefer to buy something that for the environment is better,” Agostini said. “I will pay more for something that could be better for all of us instead of plastic.”
President Trump strides to a warm and dignified reception from the Queen.
They are driven in a 1934 Bentley to the edge of central London, where they change to a magnificent 17th century carriage hitched to six white horses. They continue on towards the Buckingham Palace..
Suddenly, the right rear horse lets out the most horrendous earth shattering fart ever heard in the British Empire. ..The smell is so atrocious that both the passengers in the carriage, must use handkerchiefs over their noses…The fart shakes the coach, but, the two dignitaries of State do their best to ignore the incident.
The Queen politely turns to President Trump: “Mr President, please, accept my regrets…I am sure you understand there are some things that even a Queen cannot control.”
Trump, always trying to be “Presidential,” responded:
“Your Majesty, do not give the matter another thought…Until you mentioned it, I thought it was one of the horses.”
“Come up stairs quick! Be quiet.” He points to their parents’ bedroom door. “Look through the keyhole.”
The little boy bends down and gasps in horror as he looks in.
Johnny says to him, “Can you believe that’s the same woman who just last night slapped you for sucking your thumb?”