Current Event Friday #72

Who knew a poultry poll would gain such attention?

I’m not chicken, and apparently most people on social media aren’t either when it comes to the favorite chicken sandwich. At the heart of the debate are Popeyes® Chicken and Chick-Fil-A®. The arguments produced by their devotees is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

I’ve had both chicken sandwiches but admittedly it’s been awhile since I’ve had Popeyes. Their new sandwich is what led to the debate. Apparently, it’s remarkably similar to the Chick-Fil-A offering. I’ve had the Po’ boy chicken strip sandwich from Popeye’s and I’d eat it again.

As fans of both chicken franchises produced memes and made their predilections go viral, the social media accounts of both companies helped perpetuate the feud. King of fast food trolling on Twitter, Wendy’s decide to poke the combatants. Thanks to this triple threat match, Barstool Sports conducted a blind tasting with Chick-Fil-A coming out on top with Popeyes as the runner-up, and Wendys being an also ran.

The debate of course focused on Chick-Fil-A and their supposed supernatural powers with chicken thanks to their commitment to Christian teaching and promoting Christian efforts. Popeyes hit back that they run out of chicken sandwiches more than Chick-Fil-A since Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays. Since Popeyes is open on the day of Sabbath, they can sell more sandwiches and likely sell out.

Both chicken franchises are not equally comparable in my mind. I enjoy Chick-Fil-A for their sandwiches’ simple and clean taste. Popeyes includes more spice and crispiness which offers a change from the usual taste. With Wendy’s involved in the debate, their Spicy Chicken sandwich is admittedly too spicy for my liking, but their crispy chicken sandwich is a quick snackable chicken sandwich. For a fancier offering, their Asiago Ranch provides an alternative to the usual lettuce, mayonnaise, and tomato offering from every other fast food restaurant.

Lost in all this debate, is KFC’s pronouncement that they are going to begin a limited offering of Beyond® meat at their stores. As Burger King promised the Meatless Whopper a few months ago, Kentucky Fried Chicken will offer meatless chicken.

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Somewhat unfairly in this national debate, certain regional franchises are overlooked. Luckily, I live close enough to Lees Famous Chicken® that I can eat their chicken on a semi-regular basis. Besides their regular and spicy strips that are comparable to other fast food chicken joints, Lees also has chicken gizzards that are worth trying especially when paired with hot sauce. Some fans also enjoy their livers as well, but I’ve never learned to like any kind of liver. Also missing from the national discussion is Bojangles®, another Southern regional chicken joint. Bojangles promotes their biscuits, and many of the other aforementioned chicken restaurants, save for Chick-Fil-A also include biscuits as part of their chicken meals. Since Chick-Fil-A promotes a healthier and more upscale approach, the biscuit does seem out of place, but if they offered one as part of their meals, I’m sure they would earn even more fans.

No matter your choice, the correct answer for least favorite chicken sandwich is Burger King. The flame-grilled burger restaurant was roundly criticized by those weighing in the debate. Thanks to a non-standard shape and size, Burger King doesn’t do itself any favors. It also doesn’t include toppings other than mayonnaise which negates any crispiness and lets the chicken become a pasty bland mess on bun. Sorry Burger King, you’ve got Whoppers and that makes up for your lacking in the chicken department.

Many of the memes created by the Great Chicken Sandwich Debate of 2019 have focused on the perceived value of Chick-Fil-A and Popeyes. I shared a few of these on Facebook, only because they were humorous not because I had a dog in the fight. Both offer chicken that I enjoy depending on my mood at the time.

What’s your favorite fast-food Chicken Sandwich?

Poetry Wednesday 66

Why not “Dream a Little Dream” today?

“Dream a Little Dream”

The last ship sails and the moon fades to time of night from day

I’m pondering and subconsciously wondering my life away

Growing tired, now down to sleep I lay

I shut my eyes while my imagination bursts forth with wonderful sight

Doubt if anyone is ever going to treat me right

Hoping for sweet dreams and sunbeams when I find you

Go ahead and jump out of bed if that dream ever comes true

Might as well close my eyes again, visions in my head will soon entertain

Peacefully lying in the darkness, transported to dreamland slowly and steady as if by train

Won’t take long to find the daytime and its faithful light.

Still I rise, and still is my body, it finds quiet and peace while my dreams stay the night

© Ryan Stroud 2019

This Day Is Bananas

Daylight come and me wan’ go home to tally me banana

Whether you’re a Hollaback girl, Harry Belafonte, Guy Fieri, a monkey, or just another hominid today is likely the day for you—Banana Lover’s Day. Seemingly a favorite fruit of most anyone, the humble banana finds its way into many food applications besides just straight consumption. The average person eats about 33 pounds of bananas a year—roughly 100 individual bananas per person!

Interestingly, the banana we consume is the only extant banana variety. While our grandparents and earlier ancestors ate another variety several decades ago, a massive plague wiped out that variety, so an entirely new banana was introduced and is now the one that we enjoy today.

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The Banana Plant from my trip to Key West earlier this year

Botanically speaking, the fruit of the banana plant is similar to a berry. While technically termed a tree, the plant is actually an herbaceous plant. The plant has the appearance of a stem or trunk that are tightly compacted leaves while the actual stem exists underground like a potato.

Contrary to popular opinion, bananas are only a moderate supply of potassium. Raw spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, Portobello mushrooms, and processed tomato sauces contain more potassium than bananas. Despite these other plant-based options containing higher potassium amounts, the banana was often recommended as part of a diet to prevent dehydration especially with gastrointestinal disorders such as the Banana, Rice, Applesauce, & Toast (BRAT) or Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, Tea, & Yogurt (BRATTY) diets. However, the use of these diets for those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders has not been proven and doctors rarely recommend this diet any longer

Besides eating bananas in whole form, folks enjoy making banana quick breads either as muffins or loaves. My personal favorite is making banana pudding which involves prepared instant pudding, whipped topping, sliced bananas and vanilla-flavored cookies. Worth mentioning, I’ve only ever had the cold version of this recipe, but I understand there is a warm version that replaces the whipped topping with meringue. It does sound appealing, but I’ve just never had it. Responsible adults also enjoy the New Orleans staple Bananas Foster which is  bananas in flambéed caramel served with ice cream.

A list of recipes for Banana Lover’s Day to try can be found here

I will admit that I do enjoy bananas as part of my breakfast at least a couple of times a week, but with my time management struggles in the morning I only purchase two bananas for the week or else they over-ripen, and I don’t get them eaten in time.

 

What’s your favorite way to eat bananas?

History Monday #67

Contrary to opinion suffrage ≠ suffering

End women’s suffrage now! While this phrase has been used by men to convince others to promote misogyny or at least make light of others’ naivete about the word ‘suffrage’ it is relevant for today’s #HistoryMonday.

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Mrs. Banks from Disney’s Mary Poppins promoting the suffragette movement

On this day in 1920, women are guaranteed the right to vote with the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The work of several decades of struggle by woman had finally earned this right. The Amendment read simply: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

The work of woman’s suffrage began in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, where several women’s rights were discussed. Attendees passed resolutions advocating for educational and employment opportunities, and soon after passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.”

Several consecutive Women’s Rights Conventions were held in the next several years. With expanded suffrage during Reconstruction thanks to the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that granted African American men the right to vote, women’s push for suffrage was strengthened. The National Woman Suffrage Association was founded in 1869 by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to make progress for an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Lucy Stone founded a similar organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association in the same year and advocated for women’s suffrage at the state legislature level. Eventually, these two groups were united as the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890. Wyoming would become the first state to grant women the right to vote that same year.

By 1916, the National Woman’s Party decided to adopt a more radical approach to woman suffrage. Instead of questionnaires and lobbying, its members picketed the White House, marched, and staged acts of civil disobedience. A year later as America entered World War I, women became involved with the wartime effort and broke down most of the remaining opposition to woman suffrage.

By 1918, women’s suffrage had passed in 15 states and earned bipartisan support. This led to the woman suffrage amendment being passed in the House of Representatives with the necessary two-thirds majority vote.

A year later Senate approval sent the Amendment to the states for ratification. Campaigns were waged by suffragists around the country to secure ratification, and on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the certified record of the action of the Tennessee legislature on August 26 when it arrived in Washington. Oddly enough, there was no fanfare or important women’s suffragists present during the signing.

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Women’s suffrage helped supporters of other women’s rights movements gain steam in the U.S.  Eventually feminist movements would advocate for equality among the sexes in the following decades. Joined with the women’s suffrage movement during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, these same women also advocated for temperance and social welfare causes. This movement would eventually be termed first-wave feminism.

Inspired by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, et. al, women in the 1960’s would push for more legislation for women. Betty Friedan authored The Feminine Mystique in 1963 and the book inspired Pres. Kennedy to assemble a Women’s Right Commission. Encouraged by Eleanor Roosevelt, Pres. Kennedy pushed for legislation that would aid this movement. With legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court ruling of 1965 women gained equality in employment practices, salary, and family planning. Friedan founded the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966 and be named as the organization’s first president.

Later feminist and women’s movements have more recently connected with LGBTQ+ issues as well as expanded access to abortion rights and alleged male privilege such as the so-called pink taxes. These third & fourth wave movements have also included marches and protests such as the Women’s March of 2017 and the last several years.

What class should suffrage be expanded to?    

Current Event Friday #71

Greenland is covered with ice, and Iceland is very nice! So why is Greenland in the news?

Friday’s here, and that means another #CurrentEventFriday is on tap. Given current news cycles, there are several opportunities to discuss a particular Current Event. Helping perpetuate a saturated news cycle is of course Pres. Trump. Today’s entry is thanks to one of the Current Events he drew attention for this week.

 

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Earlier this week, Pres. Trump discussed his intention to purchase Greenland from Denmark. An out of left field suggestion to be sure, but Pres. Trump hardly ever does anything that other politicians let alone Presidents would even consider. So it’s not surprising he offered this idea.

Before becoming President, and even afterwards Pres. Trump knows the value of real estate so this does to some extent make sense given his personality. Many criticized and lampooned Pres. Trump’s intention to buy the landmass. Moreover, the Prime Minister of Denmark which owns Greenland addressed media and refused to even consider selling the land to the United States. Pres. Trump responded to the criticism by tweeting that an upcoming meeting with Mette Frederiksen, the Danish Prime Minister would be cancelled.

It is at least a little surprising that many questioned Pres. Trump’s intention to buy Greenland. Certainly, given the American propensity in the 19th Century to purchase or annex enormous amounts of land have seemingly been positive in our history. Greenland would likely provide many of the same benefits of Alaska. It’s located near the Arctic and has several natural resources. Pres. Trump also pointed out that if Denmark sold the country, they could free up money to pay the intended percentage of their commitment to NATO efforts.

There is at least some fair criticism of purchasing Greenland given the United States relationship with its commonwealth of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017. Critics likely worry that by including Greenland as a commonwealth or territory of the United States without political power, the citizens might lack for assistance from the mainland. Deficit hawks also would be correct in criticizing the move as it could explode spending.

Despite the legitimate concerns, purchasing land is more preferable to historical efforts by Americans who provided support as parts of para-revolutionary forces such as in Texas, Hawaii, Cuba, and Panama. The sale of the Louisiana Purchase at the beginning of the 19th Century helped France to write off massive debts for land they could no longer administer nor needed with the independence of Haiti.

 

Sec. of State Mike Pompeo offered that by purchasing Greenland the United States would have access to land that could shorten the distance covered by airplanes from the East Coast to Europe. Sec. Pompeo also alluded to the benefit of having more Arctic property that could use shipping lanes in the region to shorten the distance to Asian markets, much like when the Panama Canal opened. If this idea proves true and foreign trade is expanded it seems beneficial for both Americans and their foreign partners.

Should the United States purchase Greenland?  

History Monday #66

Let’s get it started!

I’m back from my continuing education program, and glad to be back to writing for pleasure rather than for classwork. So, without any further ado, I’m revved up for writing again. Speaking of being revved up, today’s #HistoryMonday is all about how folks in Indiana have gotten revved up for over a century.

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On this day in 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.

The construction of a racetrack and races to be featured at the venue were conceived by Indianapolis businessman Carl G. Fisher. Fisher saw the appeal of a racing speedway in 1905 after attending a race event in Europe.

Fisher realized that automobile racing was a means of testing cars before consumers took delivery of them. He also argued that race spectators were only able to perceive a glimpse of the cars on a linear track. Fisher believed that a 3 to 5-mile oval track would allow many more to view the abilities of the automobiles featured.

With dozens of automakers located in Indiana, Fisher proclaimed, “Indianapolis is going to be the world’s greatest center of horseless carriage manufacturer, what could be more logical than building the world’s greatest racetrack right here?”

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Construction of the track began in March 1909. Built on 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of Indianapolis, Indiana. Laid out in a rectangle configuration measuring two-and-a-half-miles with four turns with two long and two short straight sections. The track’s surface was originally comprised of crushed rock and tar, a decision that would soon be regretted.

Fifteen  teams arrived on the first day of racing on August 19 for a three-day event. Fifteen to twenty thousand spectators showed up, paying at the most $1 for a ticket. In that first five-mile race Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer won with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. But the track surface broke up in a number of places and caused the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators.

Eventually, the surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. The new paving brick surface led to the speedway being dubbed “The Brickyard,” after it reopened in December 1909.

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Since 1911, the Indianapolis 500 has been held every year, with the exception of 1917-18 and 1942-45, when the United States World Wars 1 & 2. The decision to host the Indianapolis 500 proved to be more successful after the speedway owners realized an annual long-distance event rather than multiple short-distance races throughout the year.

With an average crowd of 400,000, the Indy 500 is the best-attended event in U.S. sports. An asphalt paved surface would eventually replace the original brick surface by 1961. Speedway owners chose at that time to preserve a one-yard line of bricks left exposed at the start-finish line as a nostalgic reminder of the track’s history.

The proliferation of races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway also led to other automobile racing organizations using the track to feature their cars. In 1994, NASCAR began their annual event at the Speedway originally termed the Brickyard 400. IROC, an all-star event featuring drivers from all automobile racing also partnered with the Brickyard 400 event similar to their companion race to the Dayton 500.

Motorcycle racing predated automobile racing at the speedway by less than a week. Motorcycle GP racing returned to that tradition almost a century later and continued racing at the track until 2015 using a road course configuration during the run.

Open wheel racing was also featured with Formula One using the track for Grand Prix events beginning in 1998 and ending in 2012. The F1 race featured a road course configuration similar to the Moto GP configuration.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s ownership by the Hulman family continued to grow the speedway and its fame. With the Hulman connection to the track, the family also earned enough money to fund colleges in their native Terre Haute.

The speedway and the Indy 500 have also continued to connect young viewers to Jim Nabors. Supported by Purdue University’s marching band, Nabors sang “Back Home Again in Indiana” prior to the start of the event. As Nabors health declined before his death, a capella group Straight No Chaser and Chicago Blackhawks singer Jim Cornelison performed the song.