Monday, September 15, 2014

The NFL Should Be Worried

Big Cuter is appalled.  He's having a hard time justifying his love affair with professional football in America. 

His Sunday-on-the-phone-talking-football-with-Dad call was tinged with sadness.  The Carolina Panthers allowed Greg Hardy to practice with the team this week, after a judge found him guilty of domestic violence, Sure, he's appealing, but right now he's a convicted felon... how can they let him play? How can his 49'ers allow Ray McDonald to take the field when there are pictures of his pregnant fiancée's bruised arms and neck all over the internet?  "Pay him and sit him out, but don't put him out there....."

There was pain in his voice. Sports aren't supposed to showcase the ugly underbelly of society this way.  Not in such a concentrated period of time, with such abhorrent, visually revolting, morally repellent actions.

Adrian Peterson's abs have been the source of much sighing. The notion of him standing over a screaming 4 year old.... his own screaming 4 year old... and swinging a tree branch... over and over and over and over on his back and his legs and his scrotum, is horrifying.

As he admitted in a text to the child's mother, "I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.”   Don't call it a switch --- it was a part of a tree.  Don't diminish the action with gentler terms - his child was bleeding because he couldn't stop hitting him with a branch.

This is not admirable behavior, and the Minnesota Vikings are benching their star running back until the situation is examined more fully.  That's one small ray of hope in an otherwise dismal arena.

"Sundays are for football."  Agreeing with that statement has been a prerequisite for all my son's long-term relationships. The International Church of Big Cuter has, as its most auspicious holiday, the NFL Draft... or, perhaps it's the opening game... or the Super Bowl.... I just know that it's NFL related.

He's not that invested in the college game.  Being a Georgetown graduate may have something to do with that.  He loves college basketball. He's followed the NBA's Chicago Bulls since his childhood and Michael Jordan's ascendancy coincided. He's knowledgeable about soccer these days, in a way he would have scorned a decade ago.  None of this fandom comes close to his relationship with the NFL.

He has home and away jerseys for his 49'ers; I know this because I bought them for him.  I have been banned from the room if the team was doing well before I arrived; I never messed with the karma.  His brain is a repository of statistics and analyses x's and o's.  He loves the game and the product the NFL has created.

That is, until this afternoon.

He was almost apologetic about spending the day watching grown men run into one another.  He was looking at them as human beings rather than as a team. He was questioning their morality, their heroism, their character.

The NFL should be worried.... very very worried indeed.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Missing My Mom

There is so much going on in the world, in my world, in my head right now that I can barely see straight.  Most of it is good, some of it is challenging, all of it requires reflection.  My plate is so full I can't finish one post before I get distracted by another.  I have three partially written essays awaiting my return.

I'm procrastinating by thinking of G'ma. Her own biggest regret after losing her own mother was that there wasn't another woman who wanted to see her grandbaby's pictures as much as she did.  I'm feeling her pain right now.  I've switched my screen saver to FlapJilly doing a push-up (yes, she is only 6 weeks old; haven't I told you that she is extraordinary?) and I can get lost in her eyes and her smile for much longer than is productive. 

TBG comes by and smiles, but then he goes off to do other things.  G'ma would, I know, sit by my side for as long as I wanted to smile back at the image on the screen.  We'd have talked about everything and nothing and seeing my siblings in a certain glint in the baby's eye and the afternoon would pass with me explaining her relationship to the infant on the monitor.

"Little  Cuter.... SIR... you were at the wedding....yes, you were at the wedding..... "

I can't look at the clouds in the sky without hearing her telling me how big they were and how gorgeous they were and wondering how many times she'd repeated herself but wasn't it true that they were huge and the sky wsa so very blue?  Yes, Mom, it was true, and I was glad that you were in the front seat next to me to notice it.

The pod castle is expanding, according to the signage out front.  I still feel The Schnozz drifting into the turning lane as I approach from the north or the south.  The pull is still there, and so is the heartache.

There's nothing to be done.  It's sad but not tragic.  She was finished with a good, long life and it was time for her to go.  She did so on her own terms, surrounded by her own stuff.  She knew she was loved at the end.  The funeral was a great party, one she would have enjoyed very much.

None of this makes the ache in my heart go away.  I can hear her in the back of my head, telling me to get over myself and get on with my life.  So, thanks for listening, denizens.  I'm off to finish three posts, make dinner, take a swim and a shower and do some laundry and feel as busy as my mother would want me to be.  Wallowing lasts only so long.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Random Thoughts

I saw 9 To 5 yesterday.  I didn't like the movie when it debuted in 1980; it felt like a heavy handed way to make an obvious point.  As a fundraiser for Arizona List, a committee dedicated to electing pro-choice, Democrat women at all levels of governance, it was brilliant.

Today's news has more on the former President of Pima Community College, who left his job after the sexual harassment complaints against him became more than anyone could stifle. Monday night, a friend reported that a female Fox newscaster suggested that Janay Rice should have taken the stairs. Women still earn less than men doing similar jobs. In-house day care is a fantasy for most employees. 

I'd have been depressed, but Beautiful Annie is wonderful company.
*****
I was on the playground at Prince this morning.  It is a much mellower place at that time of day.  Everyone is clean and almost all shoes are tied and no one has had time to aggravate anyone else.

I was doing the usual, handing out stickers and hugs, when a group of 3rd graders encouraged me to give a sticker to the child hiding around the corner.  Sensing a shy student, I went quietly, with an open heart... and was greeted by a hooded figure grimacing at me from behind mesh eyeholes and a gory visage.

The kids loved my shriek.  So did I, once my heart stopped pounding.  We all agreed that third graders can be very surprising.
*****
Pilates instruction began at the middle school this week. It's our third year, and we're old hands at the game. We move the piano out of the way, stack up the folding chairs, and place the mats on the floor.  Since it was the first day, each girl received a new pair of colorful, no-show, no-matching socks. 

I am not above bribery to get what I need from the kids.
*****
A friend is recently married.  She's had her own business for two decades.  She and her first husband had different last names.  Her children from that marriage have their father's surname. 

Today, on Facebook, she appeared with her husband's name attached to hers.  I don't want to ask and be perceived as judgmental.  I'm just surprised, without any judgment at all.  That's a hard sliver of life to share.
*****
FlapJilly kept Little Cuter awake last night, and they were both feeling the pain this morning.  As my daughter and I talked about Thanksgiving plans, my granddaughter was cooing in the background.

I know I've told you that she is brilliant and gorgeous and strong and loyal and all together perfect in every way, but I must add to that list the fact that she has an absolutely delectable little voice. The fact that that little voice kept my child up half the night, chirping even as its owner's eyes were closed, is irrelevant to me. I could listen to it all night long.

Being a grandparent is so much more fun than being a parent.
*****
There is more NFL related bloviating to be had, but right now I'm enjoying the pictures of my grandchild too much to be bothered.  Look at this face, denizens... just look at this face:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Respect Yourself

Miss Vicki and I went to see Mavis Staples on Friday night.  The whole thing was completely glorious.

There is free street parking after 5pm in downtown Tucson, a fact the street person resting under the bank awning noted as I examined the parking meter.  He complimented Miss Vicki's new Subaru, agreed that Tucson is very visitor friendly, and then asked if we could help a brother in need.
 
Having spent the afternoon testifying in Amster's custody suit, I felt the need to right the karma in the world.  The ten dollar bill on top of my wad of money went from my purse to his hand, both of us agreeing that it was his lucky day.  In a world where grown ups lie under oath, a random good deed helped to straighten my outlook.

Miss Vicki was worried that we'd forget where we left the car, but the library building, one block south of our parking space, was an excellent landmark.  Leaving her tenderly cared for vehicle on the street, we walked to 47 Scott for dinner.  I love restaurants which use their address as their name; it makes finding them very simple.  We shared bread and oil, soup and kale salad and peppers stuffed with black beans, and just managed to get in under the two minute warning for happy hour.  Cocktails taste much better at half price.
 
The stroll to The Fox Theater was a busy one; everyone downtown was headed our way.  Sharing a loveseat in the loge, we discussed the advantages of sitting in the second row versus the first.  Below us, the front row people could rest their feet and their drinks on the ledge ... until the usher asked them to remove their cups so they didn't fall down on the people on the first floor.  They also had to deal with the light fixtures blocking their view of the stage.  We, one row above them, were quite comfy.
 
The opening act was performing for the second time in their careers; we're not looking for their third outing.  The lead singer had been a member of Silver Threads, a trio of beautiful voices and odd instruments.  Her new group is still finding its way.  They couldn't get off the stage fast enough for our liking.
 
An hour after the show began, the lights dimmed and guitarist Rick Holmstrom led the band onstage.  I would have paid to see him perform a solo gig; his guitar was magical.  Sister Yvonne joined two back up singers, a bassist and a drummer, but Miss Mavis was front and center and definitely in charge.
 
There were covers of Buffalo Springfield and Funkadelic and Lauryn Hill tunes.  Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and The Weight now have new "best ever" versions in my head.  We clapped along with Freedom Highway as Miss Mavis reminded us that she and her Pops had marched from Selma with Dr. King, that she was a warrior and was still a warrior.... and the audience roared its approval.
 

She turned 75 on July 10th. She needed help walking on and off the stage.  Once she took the microphone off the stand and shook her shoulders into place, she needed nothing at all.  Her voice was loud and strong and delicate and powerful and she articulated every lyric.  It was a bravura performance, capped off with the entire audience singing along with I'll Take You There.
She certainly did.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ray Rice

"I always thought of him as a good guy."

TBG, my go-to-guy for all things sports, said that in February, when the video of Ray Rice dragging an unconscious woman out of an elevator hit the airwaves. The woman was his fiancée, they were both drunk... it was another example of "Nothing good follows 'Late last night...'"

As background, for you denizens who rely on The Burrow as your sole source of sports information, in May, Rice was suspended for two games by the NFL.  After much hue and cry, much of it comparing Josh Gordon's season long ban for marijuana use to Ray Rice's slap on the wrist, Commissioner Goodell admitted that he didn't get it right on domestic violence.  A new policy was implemented. 

Ray Rice was a good guy, so he apologized.  They held a press conference. There he was, all 5'8" of him, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, apologizing to the team owner, the coach, the fans, the kids... but never once apologizing to his wife.
 Look at her face 30 seconds in; that's about as far as I'm able to get without cringing.  I won't even start on my rant about the fact that he didn't hold her chair for her as she sat down.  Obviously, that kind of behavior is well outside his comfort zone.

The fact that she apologizes for her part in the drama makes me want to take a shower, then offer her a ride to the nearest women's shelter.  It's classic behavior, on both their parts.

This morning, TMZ released the video of what happened inside the elevator.  I could link to it but I won't.  It's porn. In slow motion it looks as if the young woman is holding her arms up to protect her face before a fist flies across the screen and she collapses in the corner.  Ray Rice throws the punch, then stands quietly, waiting for the elevator door to open.  He makes no move to tend to her ... inside the elevator or out.

ESPN's talking heads are all in a dither.  So this is what domestic violence looks like... I'd heard about it but seeing it makes it all too real...Zero Tolerance .... you don't hit a woman ... the NFL trains these young men in anger management...

I'm glad they are finally awakened to the issue.  I'm hearing the sounds of women all over the globe laughing through their tears into their coffee this morning.  If we'd only known that you needed a video of someone famous......

Monday, September 8, 2014

Personal Space

I called TBG as Miss Vicki pulled out of the parking space downtown, last Friday night.

"Checking in?" she asked in a neutral tone; if there's judgment she's never oblique.

"Just letting him know when I'll be home."

"Call and let me know how late you'll be" was the kind of request that drove me over the edge.  Come with me if you need to know.  I'm a big girl.  What, are you my mother?  I'm not saying my responses were rational or correct or worthy of my otherwise impeccable status as a grown up.  I'm just telling you what they were.

Then, I almost died.

Suddenly, what was cloying and smothering was less about me and all about him.  Calling home with an approximate ETA, then calling back to say that plans have changed and we're going out for dinner is no longer a burden.  It's not intrusive; it's expansive

It's a gift I can give. It can unwrap the PTSD knot that still haunts him. 

I was a snarky New Yorker before bullets made me famous.  One of the ways all those people live in such close proximity to one another is by maintaining a sense of personal space.  You stand next to but not on top of the person next to you, waiting for the light to change.  Hugs were not part of the Hello-How-Are-You sequence when I was growing up.  A handshake was quite enough, thank you.

Then, I got shot.  My face and my story were widely shared; people wept along with me. They also hugged me.  Sometimes they asked permission, often, especially in the early days, they couldn't help themselves.  I was smothered against the breasts of strangers more often than I care to remember. 

I had two choices - to yelp and withdraw or to go with the flow.  I went where the love took me.  Shopping for a melon became an adventure in reliving the most awful time in my life.  I wasn't fast enough to escape inquiring shoppers, and I never developed a way to close the subject without engaging or enraging.  I felt as though I owed it to those who had held me in their hearts. 

Again, it was less about me and all about them.

Sunday morning, Brenda Starr and I walked and went out for breakfast.  We were waiting for the burro she was bringing home to Tim, chatting about everything and nothing when a middle aged couple walked in, she in jeans and a frilly top, he with a weapon holstered on his hip.

Brenda Starr told me to leave if I needed to, but I sat, and I thought, and I held myself back from asking him why in heavens name he needed a gun in order to eat eggs on a sunny Sunday morning... from asking him if he was licensed and trained.... from asking him if he was a good guy or a hungry bad guy waiting to rob the place after finishing his blue corn waffles. 

I had pieces of the conversation with the cashier and a waitress as we paid the bill. They didn't know what the owner's opinion on guns in the restaurant was, but they would certainly ask her ... in honor of Christina-Taylor ... and of what a shame it was ... and it's breakfast for goodness sakes.

Does his personal space trump mine?  Is his world that violent?  Must he be armed at all times?  Unless he has a badge, I don't feel comfortable sitting behind him and his handgun and his bullets and his turkey and sage sausage patty. 

What if he decided to hug me and the gun went off?

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Issue

It used to be education.  To my naïve heart, equal access to quality instruction seemed the obvious solution to all the world's woes. If we understood how things worked, if we saw the historical path which led to our current situation, if we held philosophers close to our hearts, peace would reign.

Oh, to be 15 again.

In college, reproductive rights pushed schooling aside.  I was enjoying freedoms, but there was a dark cloud hovering overhead. Birth control was available, but abortion was do you know someone and how much cash do I need?  Then, as now, I was appalled that men in positions of power deemed themselves worthy of deciding how my body should spend nine months.  No one asked the father of the unborn to carry that same burden.  It was that unfairness which spoke loudest to my late teen self.

Crossing the threshold into adulthood and self-support, the minimum wage begged for my attention.  Sexism in the workplace reared its ugly head, and, once again, my need to get involved was aroused.  Aroused, but not enthused.  I had a salary putting food on our table, TBG had loans which enabled him to finish his MBA, and health insurance came along with my job.  We were young, healthy, and safe.  I concentrated on my career, then my young family.  Sports and schools and aging parents held my attention; joining the political fray was the furthest thing from my mind.

Living in Marin County, my vote was a rubber stamp. Any opinion was acceptable, as long as it was a politically correct opinion.  Since my politics leaned in the general direction of the rest of the county, I was one of the crowd.  I could raise my voice, but it was joined with others. That was comforting.  It was not earth shattering.

Moving to Tucson, we landed in a purple state.  We had a female, Democrat Governor, a centrist, female, Democrat Representative, and a maverick Senator.  With California's economy imploding, we were on the front edge of a wave of westerners moving to states with friendlier economics.  We were bringing our liberal politics along with us.

Then President Obama took Janet to Homeland Security and a bullet took Gabby out of the House of Representatives.  Closer to home, it took Christina-Taylor away from her family and friends, and left me on the couch for 14 weeks, reviewing my life and making a plan.

I joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  I joined Americans for Responsible Solutions.  I joined Moms Demand Action.  I send money to support their efforts.  My Facebook page is awash in their advertising.  In the last two days, it's all gotten very real to me.

Pat Maisch, the citizen hero who grabbed the magazine from our shooter as he tried to reload, has her face all over Dr. Randall Friese's glossy mailer, which is still sitting on my desk after being included in yesterday's post.  She's become a good friend, GRINning with me when her work schedule allows.  She's a generic, white haired extra in the photographs... to every one but me.  To me, she's a goddess. Had the shooter been able to reload, I might not be here, typing to you.

It's enough to make you stop for a moment, isn't it.

Carol Gaxiola, the Director of Homicide Survivors, Inc, was on tv last night, sharing her personal story of loss and sorrow.  The ad was paid for by Americans for Responsible Solutions, with some of my dollars adding to their ability to air it.  Her story is poignant and true and real.  The lessons she learned from dealing with her own tragedy were generously shared with those of us who survived January 8, 2011.  Her story is my story; she tells it so well.

It's the look on her face at the very end, staring at what might have been, knowing that it can never be.  This issue has its hooks in my heart and it's not letting go.

And then there are the Kroger ads.  Facebook is awash with them. It took me a couple of tries before I saw the point.  
No shirt,
 no ice cream,
  no skateboards.
.... but bring on those assault weapons, please. 
 
Guns and grocery stores are about as personal as it gets for me.  Once again, I'm a one issue voter.  It's a personal thing.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Signs of the Times

Is your neighborhood covered with them?  Mine is.  Every corner is awash in cardboard.  I can't see if there's on-coming traffic because Ethan Orr has decided that getting reelected takes precedence over my ability to drive safely.  It's election time, and the posters are everywhere.

TBG pointed out last month that it is impossible to tell who belongs to which party.  Except for my friend, Randy Friese, everyone has his or her own take on red, white, and blue.  There is an occasional elephant on the bottom line, barely visible unless you're stopped in front of the sign itself and looking for an identifier. 

I suppose that the lack of labels is a good thing.  We are trying to raise children who see beyond affiliation and into character. Unable to reflexively attach Mr. Orr to either party, I'm free to rail at him as an individual as I inch out of my neighborhood, gingerly placing myself in danger so that he can exercise his right to free speech.

St. Mark's United Methodist Church has an interesting electronic signboard.  I'm at their corner just about every day; I'm always curious about what they have to say.  There are pre-school registrations and holiday services and community lectures and then, over the weekend, there was this:
St. Mark's does not endorse.  Campaign Signs are on county property.
The car behind me had to honk; I was immobilized by the notion of voters lured into making an assumption about the church.  As blurry as the line between the separation of church and state may seem these days, surely no one can believe that a congregation can endorse a candidate. 

Apparently, St. Mark's was not as sanguine about the state of our electorate.

I love that they made the statement; I hate that it had to be made. I was mulling that over as I approached the intersection yesterday.  Where there had been a forest of names screaming for attention, there was now but one, lonely, pitiful dead tree who had not respected the implicit request behind the signboard's civics lesson.... Please, Move Your Signs.

Of course.  Ethan Orr.

I knew next to nothing about his politics; I just knew that I hated his signs.  Adding a green swirl below his name didn't do much for me; he was where I didn't want him to be, blocking my view and annoying a church community I'd come to adopt as a totally one sided, wave-hello-as-I-drive-by-friend.  Then, I went to his website.  Still, nothing.  Ethan for Arizona House doesn't tell me his party preference, let alone provide a specific example of what he thinks on anything.  Then again, half the website is black background with pale ink and thus unreadable to me on my desktop monitor.  Old people have issues like that, Ethan....... and I am calling you Ethan because you didn't use a more grown up form of address on your committee banner. 

This particular old person didn't stop there, Ethan.  No, sir.  I was so incensed that you were hiding behind your wonderful children and your ingenuous smile that I plowed through VoteSmart  and found that I also have issues with your willingness to allow gun owners with concealed carry permits to ignore No Guns Allowed signs, let alone your willingness to come between me and my physician.

And to think that the only reason I know all of this is because your signs upset me.  Perhaps they are serving the purpose for which they are intended after all; I got involved.
 *****
Were you wondering what colors my friend, Randy, is using?
That would be purple and yellow.
If you're in LD-9, you might consider casting one of your two votes for him.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fall Gardening in the Desert Southwest

We had lots of rain this monsoon.  I turned off the irrigation; it seemed redundant.  And then, it wasn't.  The rains stopped and I forgot to turn it back on and now the containers which are on the main system are looking quite raggedy.

I'm embarrassed.  I'm not taking pictures.

The well-established plants in the front and the back yards are quite happy.  They are drying out, acclimating themselves to the cooler, drier autumn.  Though the temperatures are still in the triple digits, it's not that hot.  Oxymoronic?  Not really.  Just very hard to describe.

The gardening guides in the glossy magazines designed to entice tourists to return again and again tell me to prune the dead canes of my roses and to replant my containers.  They use phrases like rip out and replace.  That makes it easier to deal with the detritus which was once zinnias.

I'll go to the nursery and see what looks beautiful.  I'll prune before I purchase, and I'll plant as soon as I come home with the newbies.  I'm learning that the desert gardener is given no quarter; there is no room for error when the conditions are extreme.  Leaving the tender seedlings in their plastic cups results in dessicated roots and crumbly soil.  From the garden center to my containers in one afternoon - that is my goal.

I'm considering the notion of cacti and succulents.  They won't need replacing as often as annuals. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.  I like to deadhead and primp and prop up and admire the changes.  Cacti and succulents are so slow.

I though I would look through my gardening books for inspiration, but as I was wending my way across the library I remembered that I have resources right here on my desktop. Brenda Starr and I went to the Cactus and Succulent Society's Annual Plant Sale last winter.  I photographed that which caught my eye.  Let's look at the specimens together, shall we?

There was greenery

which is always surprising to those who think of our landscape as austere and spiky.
Never fear; spiky is certainly available. 
So is exceptionally odd, like this green stalk growing out of what looks like cement,
or this vaguely sexual thing, 
or this lovely little green thing growing out of a rock.
The rock is the exposed root ball, I think. 
Plants with viruses are highly prized.
It's a virus that makes this usually smoother specimen get so crinkly..
and pricey....
this one goes for $200. 
You can create your own gardens
 or buy one in an attractive planter for $30.
It's an attractive alternative to tending more delicate flora. 
I'm just not sure it will be as much fun.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Long Form

One of the GrandFarkles was reading Crime and Punishment in JannyLou's kitchen last night.  TBG and I had been invited to join the family for an end-of-the-summer dinner, even though summer's end had been heralded for their grandchildren by the start of school several weeks ago. One high schooler was writing a paper on the day bed in the picture window.  The college student was busy; though his education takes place a just few miles from his ancestral home, he's away-at-school and couldn't join the rest of the crew on the ride down to Granny's.

There are serious students in JannyLou's family. Crime and Punishment was frilled with small post-its, each one a reference to a point to be made, an essay to be composed, a thought to be completed.  Talking to smart young people is such a joy for me; their first introduction to works I've studied never fails to put a smile on my face.  The gymnast granddaughter, arms wrapped in healing tape to protect her rubbed-raw-by-the-straps-and-ropes flesh, was not put off by the length of the novel.  She loves the classics.

That's a sentence designed to warm the cockles of my heart these days.  Wuthering Heights, Jane Austin, the Greeks - these are not graphic novels or Twitter feeds.  They require diligence, concentration, a long term commitment.

She's willing to take the time to immerse herself in another world.  She'll give up an hour or two at a time, reading and thinking and reading some more. She picks them up on her own; assignments are just guides on the path to a well-read future.

She gives me hope for the future.

I was spoiled, spending three weeks in my daughter's guest room.  Her bookshelf was filled with the remains of her English Major from IU.  Wuthering Heights was there, but I re-read it a few years ago for a class.  I picked up Jane Eyre while Little Cuter was in labor, reveling in 19th century England as my daughter created a 21st century human.  FlapJilly's family-filled world is far removed from orphan Jane's constant need to reassure herself that she is valuable; my granddaughter will have no need for a ring of keys to know her own worth.  Still, she will have adventures, plunging into new places with trepidation coupled with urgency and an open heart... at least, that is my wish for her.  Perhaps they are not so far removed from one another at all.

Those are the kind of thoughts that the long form brings out in me.  I read for an hour or two, and I spend the rest of the day in the English countryside, wondering how a vapid eight year old could possibly be an interesting companion for a girl as thoughtful as Jane.  I roll notions around in my brain, comparing travel alone then and now, opportunities squandered and options explored.  I don't get that kind of amusement from Twitter.

Perhaps it started with Sesame Street.  Short vignettes, letters and numbers tearing across the screen, character development something that took place over months and years of watching short segments, rather than rolling out over an hour's time.  That worked for pre-schoolers, those with the attention span of a fruit fly.  The longer segments, like Miami Mice, appealed to the grownups stirring oatmeal more than to the toddlers to whom the show was ostensibly directed. 

It was at times like those that I flashed back to Popeye cartoons. I loved the bluster and the triumph of spinach-fueled good over big, bearded, evil.  Growing up, seeing the same cartoons as an adult, I was more taken by Popeye's mumblings.... directed to the adults in the audience more than the kids enjoying the spectacle.  That kind of two-tiered attraction doesn't happen in 140 characters.

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