It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village is a reminder of Democratic Party values – especially the values of long time Democrats whose lives have been dedicated to helping people.

Tuesdays in Mooseville – The Problem With Wine 1/28/20

Two weeks ago, after reading my explainer on the potential schism within the United Methodist Church, I was asked why Methodists use grape juice rather than wine at Communion. After all, Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana, and it’s assumed that he was using wine during the Passover (Last Supper) which has become the basis for the eucharistic tradition. So why do Methodists have a problem with wine? The answer is made up of many different threads: history, social justice, entrepreneurship, and the unique Methodist creativity that ties all the threads together.

Tuesday in Mooseville – SHEnanigans, Twitter Style 1/21/20

1893 oil painting of women at the church of San Pietro in Pistoia (Kristian Zarhtmann, 1843-1917)

The original plan for this week was to respond to a question asked by a reader of last week’s post. But there has been a change in plans; I’m going with a female-centric tweet-a-rama today and will use my free time later this week to prepare the requested post for next Tuesday. So no, I will not be continuing to post in the future, but that future doesn’t start until after January 28th. My apologies to the readers who came today looking for that promised post, but next week, I promise, it will be here.

Tuesday in Mooseville – “Meet Me Halfway” and the Proposed United Methodist Protocol 1/14/20

Memorial to John Wesley

Every week, Moishe would pray to win the lottery. “Please God,” he would say, “let me win the lottery. I need to win the lottery.”

After several years of this, God finally replied and God’s booming voice rattled Moishe more than a little bit. “Moishe,” God said, “meet me half way. Buy a ticket.”  (Hey, God, the Joke’s on You!)

Although the joke above came from a Reformed Judaism website, as far as I’m concerned, the joke could have been written by anyone, for anyone…except for a Methodist.  Methodists are not supposed to buy lottery tickets; the stance against gambling in any form goes back to the beginnings of the Methodist movement and even today  is enshrined in the social principles (What does the UMC say about gambling?) While the Methodist position on gambling may not be commonly-known or understood (sometimes even by church members), the general public would generally view the principled stance as part and parcel of Methodist DNA. The reputation of the church has long been described as mostly liberal and a leader on social justice issues. That reputation is part of the reason the current homophobic, anti-LGBTQI policies and practices of the church are so baffling to non-Methodists. I would argue, as a lifelong Methodist, that both the policies and the recent, proposed protocol for change are far more consistent with Methodism than most assume, and our reputation is a combination of aspiration and reality; history and hagiographic storytelling; and inspiration and contrivance. This is only one Methodist’s opinion (and these days, I’m more lapsed than not), but after reading the proposed protocol, what some people are calling “schism” in the United Methodist Church, I am considering to be the logical conclusion to an unnecessarily torturous process.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Be A Dreamchaser 12/31/19

One Detroit Center. (Detroit, MI)

Pete Saunders (@petesaunders3 on Twitter) is one of my favorite bloggers; he writes a small blog, The Corner Side Yard, which generally focuses on urban planning-related issues. On Twitter, he describes himself as “Urban Planner. Editor/publisher, The Corner Side Yard. #Rustbelt lover. Detroit born/raised, Hoosier trained and Windy City polished.” I stumbled across his blog when I was reading and writing about Thomas Sugrue’s The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (a book I strongly and wholeheartedly recommend to anyone with an interest in history, race in America, urban planning, and/or cities). In his most recent blog post, Saunders discusses what he sees as the new narrative coming out of Detroit after years of catastrophes like the Kwame Kilpatrick administration, the Great Recession, and the city’s bankruptcy. He identifies rebranding, resilience, and redemption as the key narrative elements coming out of Detroit and discusses how they differ from the usual messaging employed by urban areas.

Rather than the standard “we have all the amenities you love!” that most cities try to promote, touting urban sameness rather than distinctiveness or authenticity, the message coming out of Detroit is, “we’re still here! We made it and we’re stronger for it!” (Detroit: Rebranding, Resilience and Redemption)

Throughout his post, Saunders has sprinkled videos which illustrate his point, and as I watched the videos, it occurred to me that while the post was about the rebound of Detroit, it could just as easily be a message of hope for 2020. So I include the videos for your viewing, whether as cheerleading for a city I love or as a reminder that while we have miles to go before we sleep, together we have the resilience to start the work of redemption.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Sweets for the Sweet 12/24/19

We had this when I was a kid; unfortunately, my cooking skills never advanced much beyond this level.

Aphra Behn, who some might remember for her stellar Herstory posts and her involvement with the old Hillary News and Views days, tweeted this yesterday:

It’s a fascinating story, and it also reminded me a bit of part of the premise of Michael Twitty’s, The Cooking Gene, which I’m currently reading.

The Cooking Gene is about the influence that the enslavement of Africans by European settlers has had on foodways and history of the Old South. The Cooking Gene includes personal narratives, history, recipes, and folk songs. The recipes have African, Native American, and European roots as the author integrates his Jewish faith into African-American cooking. Twitty emphasizes the African flair that has been added to European and Native American ingredients by African American cooks. Additionally, he discusses plants used in cooking that are native to Africa such as sesame, okra, and sorghum. The Cooking Gene)

We don’t really have any food stories or food legacies in my family.  Part of that is because my grandmothers’ recipe boxes were either lost or thrown out when they passed away.  Part of that is because the food heritage from Germany and/or England/Scotland is not all that distinctive (as compared to other Western European countries), so even if I have a heritage, I probably wouldn’t recognize it.  And part of it is because my immigrant ancestors were so focused on assimilation that retaining a heritage (beyond Whiteness) was not a priority.  I can recognize more recent influences:  the Depression on the cooking of my grandmothers and mother; the 1950s with the introduction of convenient (AKA processed) foods; WWII on the food my mom was “allowed” or “not allowed” to set before my dad.  My dad was more of a feminist than my mom ever was, but that didn’t stop him from decreeing that no lamb should ever be cooked in our home; the smell reminded him of the mutton he ate during the war, and that triggered other memories.

Despite the lack of stories or recipes, I’m still capable of appreciating food.  So when I realized that Aphra’s tweet was going to lead to a post, I decided that for the holidays, it was time to go back and dig out some of her anti-troll recipes.  As a Village, we never got around to gathering all of her/our recipes in one place, but I wanted to share some of those that would make tasty holiday and New Year fare.  So major h/t to Aphra for writing today’s post.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Further Down the Rabbit Hole: We Don’t Make Anything Anymore 12/17/19

Vintage Reproduction of an “Arkansas Toothpick” Knife by the Carvel Hall Company, Crisfield, Maryland

The thing about rabbit holes is they don’t stop the minute you find an answer to your initial question. This morning, I explored what I learned when I investigated the question of WPA glassblowers and what company might have been their previous employer. But that question quite naturally (naturally to me, at least) led to another question: what other companies have we lost due to industrialization or to offshoring or to big box, mass merchandised products? It’s not the first time I’ve considered this question. As someone who loves all things vintage, I’m keenly aware of the number of items that are now considered collectibles just because they’re no longer made. As someone who is practical, my home is filled with these items that are “vintage,” not because they’re vintage, but because the old stuff just lasts longer. So to answer my question about other companies, I merely had to look up from my laptop on the kitchen table and glance around. The result for tonight’s post is the story of steak knives and Carvel Hall.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Down the Rabbit Hole: We Don’t Make Anything Anymore 12/17/19

“Down the rabbit hole” sign at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Today brings another edition of my brain and how it works; going down the rabbit hole is actually one of the nicer ways of describing my thought processes. Today’s topic started with this simple paragraph in a book I’m reading about the WPA:

Then Lenson got wind of an old glassworks in Vineland, New Jersey. Vineland and Millville to the south had once formed the nexus of a glassblowing area in south-central New Jersey. The sand there was fine and free of impurities, perfect for glassmaking, but the glass factories, overtaken by modern manufacturing methods, had now closed, leaving dozens of glassblowers jobless. Lenson sought them out and told them he had a plan to put them back to work. (Taylor, Nick. American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, Bantam Books, 2008, p. 276.)

As a lover of vintage glass, my first thought was that I wanted to at least see a piece of this WPA glass, a possibility I’m still researching. My next thought was that I wondered which glass factories had closed. I found one company that may have been one of those to which the book referred (the endnotes do nothing to solve the mystery), and it’s a fascinating story of hope, beauty, and tragedy.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Speaking His Truth: William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934) 12/10/19

William Monroe Trotter in 1915 (1872-1934)

He was privileged as one of the “Talented Tenth,” but a true ally to poor African-Americans. He was a newspaper editor and a Black Radical who alienated the full-range of the political spectrum, from Woodrow Wilson to Booker T. Washington to other Black Radicals. He believed the good was the enemy of the perfect but left a legacy that inspired the actions of activists of the Movement. He was William Monroe Trotter, and today we learn about him through his own words.

Tuesday in Mooseville – SHEnanigans: Elizabeth Peratrovich 12/3/19

The design features a portrait of Elizabeth Peratrovich, whose advocacy was considered a deciding factor in the passage of the 1945 Anti-Discrimination Law in the Alaskan Territorial Government. The foreground features a symbol of the Tlingit Raven moiety, of which she was a member.

For most of us (and yes, there are some notable Village exceptions), the story of Alaska and its First People is a story sketched in the broadest outlines and with little detail. Most of us have heard the designation “Seward’s Folly,” the derogatory description of the 1867 “purchase” of Alaska from the Russian Empire. We may have some basic understanding of the gold rush in the Klondike in 1896. Most of us have heard of the Iditarod, and the story of Togo and Balto and the sled dog relay to save the children of Nome, which inspired the current race. But I feel relatively confident that most of us, unless having spent some time in Alaska, know very little about the indigenous peoples and how they fared when Americans came to colonize their land. Not surprisingly, it’s a story of white supremacy and today, it’s also the story of a Native woman who said, “Enough.”