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Posts Tagged ‘Signs’

Dear Detroit Marriott at The Renaissance Center,

I attended my annual research conference in you this week. I am NOT a fan, and I will not be back (unless I have absolutely no choice).

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. Your staff is not prepared for guests. The line was 10 deep for check-in, and you had one person actually working. Three other employees — one of whom looked like a manager — were at the other end of the counter chatting. Do their eyes work? Couldn’t they see the line?
  2. Your building is not prepared for guests. There are six elevators “servicing” floors 40-70. Only two appeared to be working. A gang of fellow conferencers and I waited 10 minutes Thursday night for an elevator to take us down.
  3. Your events staff is not prepared for guests. Two thousand people attended the last in-person AEJMC conference (Toronto, 2019). That is standard for this conference. Yet nothing was set up to handle this influx of people. Your staff selected large rooms for small events (e.g., the University of South Carolina alumni breakfast featured three tables for eight in a cavernous room) and wee rooms for major events. For example, the Broadcast and Mobile Journalism group awards ceremony and reception was in the tiniest conference room I’ve ever seen. No tables. For an event that featured food and drinks. Group leaders who got to the event early drug in tables and chairs for the 50 or so attendees. Way to go, Marriott!
  4. Your technology support is not prepared for guests. This conference is primarily for journalism/mass communications professors. You know: People who communicate. They have devices that need to be charged. Outlets were few and far between.
This is the ONLY OUTLET in the room!

The various other problems fellow attendees and I experienced had to do with The Renaissance Center in general. It is, generously, an atrium-focused maze of wasted space.

Circulation Ring = CIRCLES OF HELL
Trust me: You can’t get there from here
No, you don’t really want to sit and meet/eat/work do you?

There is a shocking lack of open restaurants. Again, conference of 2,000+ people (and AEJMC was one of at least three going on at once). Hotel with 70 floors of rooms. Yet, it was hard to find a place to eat. Literally (see maze above) and because so many were closed. Note: There was a VERY bougie seafood restaurant open, but who wants to pay $75 for shrimp?

Desperation signage
Starbucks: closed
Another Starbucks: closed
Food court: mostly closed
Oh look! The open Burger King that I thought was only the stuff of legend.

Then there is the location. You are on the Detroit River. So a riverwalk with shops and restaurants would make sense. Apparently, it only makes sense to me. I would not say the United States side has ample commerce. The Canada side (Windsor) looks promising.

The Renaissance Center provides a great view of our northern neighbor.

But once again, you can’t get there from here if you don’t have a car.

I realize that the pandemic took a toll on the hospitality industry. That said, people are traveling again. Conferences are back in person. Do better, or you won’t have guests to piss off anymore.

Sincerely,
Bonvoy Member on Floor 47

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Dear State of Missouri Government:

LAWD have mercy. Y’all make being street legal SO DIFFICULT. Worse BY FAR than Georgia, and I didn’t think that was possible.

My suggestion for a new Missouri slogan: More backwards than Georgia.

Let’s recap:

I bought a car. In Ohio. The finance company owns the title. (So I thought, because that’s what the dealership said.)

Your tag office wanted me to have the finance company fill out a special form, have it notarized and sent back to me so I could take it to you.

Your tag office also wanted me to get a property tax waiver.

Your tag office sent me here:

It came pre-highlighted!

But they needed the form from the finance company too.

I spent two weeks trying to get a human being at the finance company to help me. No luck.

Then one day I come home from work, and there’s a FEDEX envelope on my welcome mat.

It’s from the dealership. It’s my official car title. Sitting RIGHT THERE in front of my door for the world to take.

Good LORD!

So I make an appointment and go back to the highlighted office.

Nope.

That’s the COUNTY office. I need St. Louis CITY. Downtown.

The County office gave me a helpful slip with the info.

Fine.

I take all my paperwork and go to City Hall.

It’s not Room 110.

It’s Room 115.

Room 115. Let’s take a closer look at that sign.
I can assure you that there are no cards anywhere. There also isn’t a suggestion box.

Once I got the waiver, I went to Room 111 to get the actual tag.

My view while waiting for service.

Then I waited again to get my Missouri driver’s license. Y’all charged me $28 for the privilege. And took two hours of my life.

Good news: It’s over. Lamar and I are legal.

(Lamar is my “new” whip. 😉 He and I are getting along just fine. But I did cry when the junkyard came to get my old girl.)

But I now see exactly why so many people here drive around with temporary tags.

Please add that suggestion box. I’ve got thoughts.

Your exasperated new neighbor,
Beth

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Dear Missouri Drivers,

I’m so glad I learned to drive in Atlanta where Nascar has nothing on I-285. If I hadn’t, there’s no way I would have been prepared for you.

Perhaps you didn’t get any drivers education. Let me help.

Pro Tip 1
People getting onto the highway need to be able to merge. Let them in, for crying out loud!

Pro Tip 2
When someone has his/her/their turn signal on, that means the person wants to get over. Oh but wait, none of you seems to know what that is.

Pro Tip 3
The turn signal is a lever on your steering wheel that, when activated, lets other drivers know you want to make a turn or get into a different lane. You are in the Show Me state, so show me your freakin’ turn signal.

Pro Tip 4
It’s helpful to other drivers for you to pick a lane and STAY IN IT. Weaving in and out is annoying and dangerous.

Pro Tip 5
The posted speed limit is not a suggestion. It’s the max. It’s right there on the sign!

Maybe y’all drive this way to avoid all the potholes and road damage.

Seriously, these roads are about as bad as the ones I had the misfortune of driving in Antigua. That’s saying something.

Please, for the love of God, think of your fellow drivers.

I thank you from the bottom of my wheel wells.

Beth

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Dear Fellow Blogger,

You said to me yesterday that I am “practically a foreign correspondent now.”

That resonated. I AM gathering information on a place that is new to me.

I’m trying to see and do as much as I can.

For example, I saw a billboard advertising tours of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.

Ghost tours.

Because of course they would offer ghost tours in October.

So I had to go.

Because of course I did.

I asked my mother if she wanted to go.

Me: I am booking a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary Saturday night. Do you want to go?
Her: (long pause) No.

I have no trouble going places alone, so I called to make the booking.

Me: The website says there’s no availability on any weekend tour.
Lady on phone: We are sold out. When did you want to come?
Me: Saturday.
Her: How many?
Me: Just me.
Her: Just you?
Me: Just me.
Her: I can squeeze in one person.
Me: Great!
Her: 7, 8 or 9?
Me: A.M.?
Her (drily): P.M. It’s a ghost tour.
Me: Right.

So I went. It’s an hour and some change north of Rolla. Rural Missouri looks like rural Georgia.

Fifty feet from this sign, there was a dead deer in a ditch. Must not have been good eatin’.
What kind of fowl convention is this?

I got to Jefferson City early so I had time to look around.

Gov. Mike Parson’s place. He can walk to the Capitol building if he chooses. It’s a more modest place than Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s palace.
Lewis, Clark and the gang
Brisket, pulled pork, pit beans and jalapeño cheddar grits. Many animals were harmed in the making of this meal. I’m sorry.

At this point, you may be asking this:

But Beth, what about the ghost tour — the whole point of your trip?

Well, it deserves a whole post on its own.

Stay tuned.

Your Midwest correspondent,
Beth

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Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I’ve been taking what I’ve termed “murder-prevention trips” during the pandemic. As I’ve mentioned, I’m an extrovert who likes to travel. The pandemic was hard for me for those reasons, as well as the fact that my children and I were all up on each other trying to work/study.

(First-world problems, I know. We did not have nearly the issues that many, many other people had. But this was my reality, and I’m acknowledging its difficulty.)

I’m not an indoor cat.

Look at what Dominic got me (on his own!) to commemorate my latest trip:

When he is good, he is very good indeed. (And when he is bad, he is horrid.)

Where did I go? England. Boris said I could.

Plus, my favorite band was playing their first gig in a billion years (i.e., 18 months).

I am such a huge Anglophile — constantly amused and/or impressed by the things I find. This jaunt was no exception.

An all-in-one station. You don’t even need to move your hands. Genius!
If it’s needless, why is it there?
Ew! No. That’s an assault on humanity.
I asked the waiter what this was on the saucer. He said, “Flake.” I said, “A flake of what?” It’s chocolate. We Americans don’t have that.
Brilliant!
I love that it’s a “Demand” button instead of the more polite “Call.”
I’ve never seen a toilet shaped like this.
Well, OF COURSE there will be nudity. It’s the UK and “naked” is in the title.

I’ve promised Gideon a birthday trip there in May, COVID willing. Maybe he’ll be as delighted as I am with the cultural differences.

Have a great week!
Beth

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Dear Readers,

I’m surprised if I have any still. My last post was June 1. That’s more than three weeks: The longest dry spell in years.

In my defense, I’ve been very busy trying to stay alive.

Both of my children are now driving.

Each child presents a different patience challenge.

Gideon has a hard time with turns. And curbs.

Dominic doesn’t like stop signs. Or using his turn signal.

I sit (mostly) quietly in my seat concentrating on my heart rate. I try not to go for the grab handle (known as the “oh shit” handle) or stomp on the imaginary brake.

All that’s fine; they are learning.

But then, when I’m driving, I’m subjected to a critique:

Dominic from the back seat: Did you use your turn signal?
Me: Yes!

Gideon on the way to the store: You took that turn pretty fast!
Me: (side eye)

Hypocrites!

Anyway, I’m still alive. For now.

I’ll try to be a better blogger.

Your obedient servant*,
Beth

*Credit to Lin Manuel.

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Dear Friends of My Sons,

I feel lucky. You are all really good kids. I like you, and your parents seem great too.

I spent loads of time with you over the weekend as it was Gideon’s birthday. I laughed so much.

Let’s recap:

Friday night, I took Roscoe and Gideon to meet Trent to see “A Quiet Place 2.”

Gideon: I forgot my debit card.
Roscoe: I have $2.
All: [pause]
Roscoe: I’m ballin’
Me: [howling] Big pimpin’

Saturday, on the way to Six Flags, I discovered Cole is not a fan of roller coasters. He must really like Gideon to agree to go to a theme park with him.

We drive up to the entrance and see a coaster.

Me: That’s the Georgia Scorcher. You stand up on it.
Cole: [blanching]
Me: Are your hands clammy now?
Cole: My whole body is clammy.

Y’all are at that age where you don’t really want parents around, so Eddie and I peeled off.

You found us at Macho Nacho.

Me: Where’s Dominic?
Gideon: He wanted a turkey leg, so we left him.
Me: Dang. That’s cold.

Eddie and I felt sorry for Dominic, so we went to find him.

Me, calling Dominic: Where are you?
Dominic, sounding annoyed: I’m getting a turkey leg.
Me: Where?
Dominic: At the Sky Screamer Drinks and Eats. It’s across from the Sky Screamer.
Me: We’ll be right there.

We get there, and Dominic tells me he has had the exact same conversation with Josh, Gideon twice, me, then Roscoe. I started laughing, because he repeated the conversation each time for my benefit.

An hour in line (no exaggeration), he finally had his leg.

This is my son. (I do this too.)

We had to leave Six Flags. It was just too crowded. Clearly there’s no COVID in Georgia. 🙄

Trent chatted amiably with me on the way back to the car. I learned all about his job search. And other things.

Trent: I just need about a thousand dollars for equipment.
Me: When you get your job, that will happen soon. What kind of music do you do?
Trent: I rap for Jesus.
Me: Oh! Ok. You have a rap name?
Trent: It’s Trent Truth.
Me: That’s great!

We decided to resume Gideon’s birthday at the pool.

The next day, we took Dominic and HIS friends whitewater rafting. I’m eternally shocked at Dominic and Gideon’s choice of music for car rides.

Dominic: Green Day to Bee Gees to Taylor Swift
Gideon: Neil Diamond to Doom

And then there’s Adem’s choice of footwear. I was surprised to learn Crocs are hella trendy again.

Adem: I’ve got my Crocs in support mode.

That meant he used the back straps. Dylan could have taken a page out of Adem’s book.

If you are on the Ocoee River and find a shoe, it’s Dylan’s.

I feel fortunate. I do. My children have chosen wisely.

See you for plenty of adventures this summer.

Love,
Dominic and Gideon’s mom

*Dionne FTW.

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Dear Spring,

I’m so glad you showed up. I suddenly feel much more optimistic about … everything.

Tomatoes, basil, mint, oregano

I have new herbs planted on the balcony, and I had my first hummingbird fly-by of the season this morning. He was a beautiful ruby-throated specimen. It wasn’t Tony. This one was a little wary of me. I’ll call him Ned.

I’ve been filling the feeder for weeks in anticipation.

(If you fill it, they will come.)

Fall always used to be my favorite season, but you’ve really grown on me over the past few years.

I don’t want to scare you off, but I think I love you.

So thanks for being you. I’m so glad to have you in my life.

Love, Beth

* The Flaming Lips truly are an underrated band.

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Hey Y’all!

Yesterday was Inauguration Day. It seemed to go off without a hitch, even though some people are still bent out of shape.

Since Jan. 6, Auntie Beth’s social media feeds have been filled with angry people posting a variety of logical fallacies.

Auntie Beth thinks it might be helpful for some people to understand a particular one: false equivalency.

Let’s talk about it in terms of protests.

Here are three well-known ones:

  1. Women’s March on Washington
  2. Black Lives Matter
  3. March to Save America

Here are the pertinent details of each:

Women’s March on Washington
Who: 500,000+ women (mostly) in pink hats.
When: Jan. 21, 2017.
Why: Gender equality mixed with protesting the Trump election.
Violence? None.
Arrests: None.
Deaths: None.
Outcome: More women running for office.

Black Lives Matter 2020
Who: Could be as many as 26 million people.
When: May 26 to present.
Why: Anti-racism. Summer protests triggered by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Violence? Yes, in 7 percent of protests. Some violence perpetrated by protestors, some by police.
Arrests: 14,400 over the summer.
Deaths: Numbers vary. Could be as high as 19. One set of scholars studied 7,305 protests and found deaths or injuries in 1.6 percent.
Outcome: Police reform, social change, increased important conversations, etc.

March to Save America (also called Stop the Steal, Rally to Revival, etc.)
Who: Could be as many as 10,000 people.
When: Jan. 6, 2021.
Why: Supposed election fraud.
Violence? Yes. By protestors.
Arrests: No arrests on site. Arrests later. The count is up to 100.
Deaths: Five.
Outcome: Hard to say. Biden was sworn in.

On Jan. 6 and afterward, Auntie Beth saw loads of people trying to compare the Capitol event with the Black Lives Matter protests.

So let’s break down the concept of false equivalency.

Why might a comparison not be a fair one? There are two big reasons:

  1. The comparison notes similarities but not differences. For example, I listed three major protests. They have in common inciting incidents — the election of Donald Trump, the killing of George Floyd and the 2020 election — and that they were all protests. But there are major differences: number of people protesting, nature of inciting incidents, amount of violence, number of arrests.
  2. The comparison ignores magnitude and/or nature of difference. The number of arrests in BLM versus MSA is huge. That would indicate that the BLM protests were much more violent than MSA. Were they? Or is there something else at play? According to a recent study, it is the latter. Police are three times more likely to use force against left-wing protestors than right-wing. Arrests follow.

In the Facebook examples above comparing BLM to MSA, it is not accurate to identify “Democrat” response to BLM versus MSA as hypocrisy. That is false equivalence. Why? Three reasons:

  1. Peaceful assembly is a First Amendment right. Nancy Pelosi, etc., can call for protests just as Trump, etc., can. Calling for violence is a completely different thing. (Also, please note that the remarks in the meme are missing context. And let’s also note the peacefulness of the Women’s March. That’s how you protest, folks!)
  2. Democrats did not condone the BLM violence. In fact, many spoke out against it, including Biden.
  3. The underlying reason for the protests is markedly different. The BLM movement began because police killed black men. The MSA protest began because Trump told a lie about a “stolen” election. We can agree to disagree on approaches, but facts are facts: There is no evidence of election fraud. Plus, death fraud, asking for power displaying power.

Many people who believe “the big lie” also believe that Democrats and the Hollywood elite are Satanists running a cannibalistic child-trafficking operation.

Reread that sentence.

Allow Auntie Beth her massive eye roll.

🙄

Believing in conspiracies like that has consequences. Look at this slide Auntie Beth took from a recent talk on child trafficking that she attended.

See that second point? People drawn in by conspiracy theories took away from services for actual victims. (Educate yourself here.)

Y’all, Auntie Beth would like to remind you of the concept of Occam’s razor: The simplest explanation is likely the right one.

So you can believe in a vast pedophilia ring led by Tom Hanks, among others, or just freakin’ NOT. (Auntie Beth cannot believe she had to write that.)

You can believe that local, state, national and international forces banded together to “give” Biden the win, or you can believe that more people voted for him than voted for Trump. (I mean, just think about the former. All those people can keep a secret? Please.)

Auntie Beth hopes this little lesson was helpful.

Happy fact-finding!

 

*Apologies to Salt-N-Pepa.

 

 

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Dear Friends and Family,

What a year this week has been, amirite?

I’ve only been glued to the news five times in the past 20 years:

  1. Sept. 11, 2001 (Al-Qaeda attacks)
  2. Aug. 29, 2005 (Hurricane Katrina)
  3. Nov. 1, 2016 (Clinton vs. Trump)
  4. Nov. 3, 2020 (Biden vs. Trump)
  5. Jan. 6, 2021 (Capitol riot)

Here are five things that struck me from No. 5:

  1. Shocking lack of police presence. At the BLM protests this summer, you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting someone in law enforcement. Meanwhile, at the Capitol, folks were just waltzing around taking selfies with the one police officer who seemed to be inside. True story.
  2. Blue Lives Matter” selectively. One of the D.C. police officers at the Capitol riot was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. Horrifying and also true.
  3. Rioters escorted out without being arrested. Again, this is very different from some of the BLM protests where people NOT BEING VIOLENT IN ANY WAY were arrested. Even new Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock was arrested inside the Capitol in 2017 for praying. FOR PRAYING. But breaking windows and walking around with a lectern? Go right ahead.
  4. People *cough Brit Hume cough* desperately trying to blame Antifa for damage. Look. Listen. The “shaman” wants his credit due.
  5. How the riot has divided Republicans. I have a number of friends who are relatively sane conservatives. They and I want the same things but have different ideas on policies and processes we need to get there. Then there are Trumpers. Guess which ones LOVED the insurrection. It should come as no surprise that the fellow who punched me in the stomach in sixth grade is part of the latter group. Why are we “friends” on Facebook? Good question.

Who wants to tell my sixth-grade bully that there is a big difference between yelling at someone on an elevator and STORMING THE CAPITOL AND DAMAGING PROPERTY? Also, the dude was arrested, so yes he is wrong.

I have more thoughts, but I lack the energy to formulate the words. Plus, other people beat me to it.

It’s really not funny, though. People died. An important Federal building was trashed. National security was compromised.

As Americans, we have the right to have a peaceful Airing of Grievances on days other than Festivus. We do not have the right to destroy things and hurt/kill people. Those who do that need to experience consequences of their actions besides just being fired. Ten years for damaging government property (ironically, a Trump executive order) is a good place to start.

These folks couldn’t even wear masks while COMMITTING CRIMES. I hope they won’t be surprised when they get the ‘Rona. And you know they will.

2021 has to get better, right? Right?!

Sigh.

Hoping for the best,
Beth

 

 

 

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