Praising The Workers At Scott’s Pastry Shoppe In Middleton


Anyone who knows me understands my love of a cup of coffee ranks up there with a sweet roll heavily frosted, and perhaps some fruit filling oozing out all bright colored and sticky. And since James is most insistent that I not drink coffee without some carb-heavy delight (based on the advice of my Dean Care dietitian) I am rarely without the two side-by-side as I sit down to read the newspaper.    Since coffee can have the effect of curbing an appetite, and maintaining weight is very hard for me to do, it goes without saying that sweet rolls and coffee go hand-in-hand at this home.

Which leads me to offer a most sincere thanks to the workers who always present such welcoming faces at Scott’s Pastry Shoppe In Middleton.  Over the past two weeks I have had occasion to stop in a couple of times, and there is just something so wholesome and all-American about the young men and women who work behind the counter.  They not only have pleasant personalities, but also present themselves in friendly ways, not scared to communicate or laugh, and seem to really enjoy the place where they work.

I contend that one can tell much about a business by the people who are hired to be the ones that make contact with customers.  Clean-cut, expressive, energetic, and engaging people are most appealing.  Yesterday as I laughed about my desire  at some point to try one of their sampler cakes (the type made to showcase wedding party possibilities) as I had marveled at the varieties of yum in one concentrated circle a couple years ago while visiting the shoppe, I was met with a wonderful story about the birthday cake a worker was going to enjoy on December 31st.  (The same day my Mom was born.)  We laughed and chatted and I was again reminded that it was most apparent more than fine ingredients go into their products, but also a strong desire to make sure the sweets are handed out by top-notch individuals.

If it can be said that there is a small-town feel to a business in a large urban area let it be known it can be found at Scott’s Pastry Shoppe In Middleton.

Are The Wealthy Pushing Back On Pope Francis’ Message About The Poor?


This is rather disheartening to read after a year in which Pope Francis has made it clear what the mission of the Catholic Church should be, along with the message the world needs to hear when it comes to the rich versus the poor.  Reminds me of Matthew 19:23-24.   And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Pope Francis’ critical comments about the wealthy and capitalism have at least one wealthy capitalist benefactor hesitant about giving financial support to one of the church’s major fundraising projects.

At issue is an effort to raise $180 million for the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York being spearheaded by billionaire Ken Langone, the investor known for founding Home Depot, among other things.

Langone told CNBC that one potential seven-figure donor is concerned about statements from the pope criticizing market economies as “exclusionary,” urging the rich to give more to the poor and criticizing a “culture of prosperity” that leads some to become “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”

Langone said he’s raised the issue more than once with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, most recently at a breakfast in early December at which he updated him on fundraising progress. 

“I’ve told the cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country,’ ” he said.

Some of the statements in question are from Francis’ first teaching, or “exhortation,” a 224-page document issued in late November. In it, the pontiff criticizes what he calls “an economy of exclusion and inequality,” blaming ideologies that “defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor To Lead Times Square Countdown On New Year’s Eve

Caffeinated Politics loves Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor.

New York City is going to kick in the new year with one of its own: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a native of the Bronx, has been tapped to lead the Times Square countdown on New Year’s Eve on Tuesday.

The announcement was made Sunday by the organizers of America’s highest-profile New Year’s Eve event, which typically features star performances and always concludes with the dropping of a ball to mark the stroke of midnight.

Sotomayor — who grew up in the Bronx housing projects and became the first Latina on the nation’s highest court in 2009 — will push the button to start the dropping of the ball, and will lead the final 60-second countdown to the new year, organizers said.

These Are The Ones Parents Do Not Want Their Children To Marry

As a I read this news story today I could only think that if I were a parent the ones mentioned in this article would not be the type good enough to marry my daughter or son.    If one has no other item on their agenda more important than camping out in the cold so they can buy marijuana they really need to reevaluate their lives, and come to terms with what is missing.  And if that means getting high with drugs, then they need to find a good counselor.

Toni Fox plans to open the doors of her Denver marijuana shop at 8 a.m. tomorrow to a line of customers including some who camped overnight to be the first in the U.S. to legally buy pot for recreational use.

Fox has arranged for canopy tents, heaters and a food truck to offer donuts and pastries to patrons waiting for the state-appointed hour. She expects sales at her 3D Cannabis Center, operating since 2010 as a medical-marijuana dispensary near the Denver Coliseum, to surge to at least $250,000 a month from $30,000, she said.

“We’ll have people out the door,” Fox, 42, a Salida resident, said by telephone. “It’s going to be a very festive atmosphere. We all feel like we’re walking on sunshine right now.”

I am not in favor, nor have I ever been in favor of the legalization of marijuana, except for medical purposes.  Some cancer patients find marijuana useful with pain relief and increasing appetite.  Legalization of marijuana runs counter to what I think is in the best interest of the nation.  I totally understand I am in the minority when it comes to legalization of this drug.

I suspect it may almost seem alien to admit I have never once tried marijuana.  I also have never once tried a cigarette.  Hard to believe perhaps, but true.

My dad smoked cigarettes in my youth, and as a result I never wanted any part of them.  In my early teen years my dad stopped smoking, and the whole family continually applauded him for the effort at making his health, and our lives better.

I have never felt the need to escape via drugs, or to have some alternative reality to cling to as a means of coping.  As a teenager I loved to go biking into the country, and now long walks with James clears the mind and adds perspective.

While I am very aware that a long list of notables on all sides of the political spectrum have weighed in over time on why legalization of marijuana and other drugs is a rational approach our government should be taking, I have never been able to agree.

Old-fashioned perhaps, but that is just how I feel.

Getting to the root causes of why someone has bouts of anger, boredom, depression, anxiety, (reasons many turn to marijuana) would be a far more useful and productive use of time than to light a joint.  Life will be much richer in a wide variety of ways if the higher path can be found, as opposed to a haze of smoke.

Meanwhile who wants those who line up for drugs in Denver to marry their son or daughter?

70 Journalists Killed In 2013

Somber statistic.

These are people who work to bring us information about the world in which we live.  While journalists are often poked fun at, and even maligned for the work they do, let us never forget they are a most important part of what freedom means.

Seventy journalists were killed in 2013, according to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, with the largest percentage of those death coming from Syria. Overall, the number of deaths was down slightly from the 74 reporters killed in 2012, though the number could rise, as CPJ is still looking into 25 more journalist deaths to see if they are work-related.

The Syrian Civil War resulted in the deaths of 29 journalists this year. That brings the total number of reporters killed covering the conflict in that country to 63, the CPJ said.

That wasn’t the only danger journalists reporting from the Syrian front lines faced.  Kidnappings were a persistent problem with 60 journalists snatched during the year. More than 30 abducted journalists are still missing.

Iraq and Egypt were the second and third most deadly places for journalists. Ten reporters died while working in Iraq and six were killed in Egypt — both places have been rocked by violence and political tumult during the last 12 months. The Middle East was by far the bloodiest region for reporting, with two-thirds of journalist deaths in the field taking place in countries in that part of the world.

Journalists died in a number of ways. Forty four percent were murdered and 36 percent were killed in combat or crossfire.


Door County’s Ephraim Inn Suffers Extensive Damage From Fire



News photo from the Door County Advocate.

Several years ago James and I enjoyed a fish boil at this inn, and loved every minute of the experience.   Having lived in Door County while employed as a broadcaster at WDOR radio I was well aware of fish boils, and how tasty there were.  James soon came to discover the same.

For more than four hours firefighters battled a fire that caused extensive damage to the wondrous Ephraim Inn, one of those magical hotels in Door County.  Thankfully there were no injuries, as the inn was closed for the season.  There clearly is significant damage from the fire and water used to fight the flames.  The fire was called in at 7:15 A.M. this morning.

Bill Clinton Will Officially Swear In Bill de Blasio As Mayor Of New York City

This is quite the honor.

Bill de Blasio’s swearing-in event will feature two of the biggest names in Democratic politics: former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Clinton himself will officially swear in Mr. de Blasio next Wednesday afternoon, the mayor-elect’s transition team announced Saturday.

Ms. Clinton is widely viewed as a front-running presidential contender in 2016–although she hasn’t declared her intent to run–and every move she makes is watched closely by political observers.

During the election, Ms. Clinton held a prominent fund-raiser for Mr. de Blasio, who was the campaign manager for her U.S. Senate race in 2000. He also previously worked as a HUD official in Mr. Clinton’s administration.

In a statement today, Mr. de Blasio said he “couldn’t be more excited” to have the two at his event.


Cigarette Butts Are Litter, Illinois To Crack Down With Hefty Fines


One thing more than any other nags at me.  When driving the sight of a cigarette butt being tossed from a car window makes me urge to honk my horn at the offenders, or when walking around the city the flick of a butt onto the sidewalk from a smoker makes me want to turn and ask if that is how his/her parents instructed them to act.  There is no other group more inclined to litter than cigarette smokers, and frankly for the majority of people who do not smoke we think it time for this to end.

That is exactly what Illinois hopes to have happen when a new law goes into effect on January 1st.   Tossing a butt on the ground in Illinois will be considered littering, and hefty fines will follow if you’re caught.  As it should be.

In the new year tossing a butt the first time is a class B misdemeanor, complete with a fine of up to 15 hundred dollars.  The second time, the fine’s the same but the charge is bumped up to a class A misdemeanor.  The third time you could do one to three years in jail and pay up to 25-thousand dollars.
No one should expect to get away with littering, but smokers feel they are somehow separate from the rest and continually toss aside their cigarette butts for others to pick up.  That must end, and I am really glad that not only did Illinois pass a law, but put some teeth into it so to make it mean something.
Not  only are butts unsightly but also contribute to costs for local units of government.
The nonprofit Keep America Beautiful indicated cigarette butts are the most common type of litter and accounted for 40 percent of all roadway litter in 2009. In a 2011 study, the journal Tobacco Control estimated small-city costs for removing cigarette butts is nearly $3 million a year; for larger cities and urban areas, the cost jumps to $15 million annually.