Monday, August 29, 2005

Tiffany House - End of an Era

I went to lunch at Tiffany House today with Susan N., Debbie, Teresa and Virginia. We all had Creamy Tomato Mushroom soup at Tiffany House.

Doug, the owner, has always been such a breath of fresh air. He is genuinely happy to see you when you come in, and gives the regulars a big hug whenever he sees us.

Today, one of the other customers, came over and passed out these song sheets. She had written a little song to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," to commemorate the closing of Tiffany House. We all joined in singing.

Doug had a big hug for her, obviously. I was happy to get to be part of that moment.

Tiffany House is going to be like the Bisonte Hotel and the Wiley Tea Room - local institutions that are gone - and people are going to miss it. They close on Wednesday and I bet people are lamenting the demise by Thursday noon.

Of course, these are the same people who didn't patronize it while it was here. I don't understand people, at all. We have this wonderful thing and don't support it so we lose it. Do we just want Hutchinson to look like any other community. Here's the McDonalds, here's the Target, here's the Red Lobster, with nothing local and interesting? If you want local and interesting you have to support it.

I will miss Tiffany House very much. It has been open for 10 years and I've been thrilled all that time that it was here. I think my record was eating lunch there four days in one week.


The question posed was what does the media think about violence. And why were they not creative in finding things to report on.

My answer:
Having spent many years as one of the "media" people, I can answer this. The job of the news media is to report the news. News, by definition, is the unusual. Creative writing is best left to the fiction writers. News people do not have to "find" things to report on. They report on what happens - the news - and they don't know what it's going to be until after it happens.

If you want to change how it's run, then stop patronizing the advertisers that support the programs. Trust me, the public has ALL the power and the media has NONE to determine what is on the air in commercial broadcasting. The public simply chooses to not use its power.

It is not the job of the news media to determine WHY we have violence, it's their job to report it.

As for television shows and such - again - if you don't like what you see, stop patronizing the advertisers, and it will disappear faster than you can imagine.

However, the real truth, that no one ever wants to accept, is that the public CRAVES seeing the very things we like to pretend we're horrified by. Otherwise the programs would not exist. Humans like blood and guts and sex and violence. That's why car wrecks back up traffic for miles, why a pretty girl in a skimpy outfit changing a tire does the same thing, why people crane to see inside a lighted ambulance when it goes by to see what they're doing to the patient, and why everytime a fire truck or police car goes by everyone runs out of their house to see what it's about. Humans are really quite base creatures. Why can we not accept this?

"Cops" and other such shows are not on because some media mogul thinks it's cool. They're on because they get great ratings and sell advertising time. It's an incredibly simple formula. I don't know why the public wants to pretend it's someone off in a office somewhere deciding what will be forced down their throats on television every Thursday night. TVs have an "off" switch. Please, use it. Regularly.

I've decided that it's much like parents blaming teachers for everything that's wrong with their child - as if it's the school's job to teach everything from manners to sex education to math and - oh by the way - could you feed my kid at least two meals and build up his self esteem while you've got him those seven hours. And, be sure and teach her how important it is to vote, instill in him some moral values, how to work in a team, and good grief - you've got to teach them computer skills.

Views of the media are kind of similar - like somehow the media is causing the problem of violence by giving people exactly what they want. Nothing is on commercial television for long that isn't being watched. Commercial television is very straightforward - the programming is there only to keep you interested to see the commercials. Your attention is being "rented" and there has never been any confusion about that. It has always been very direct.

What that programming consists of is really immaterial to the person programming, as long as it keeps you watching for the commercials and buying the products advertised. When you don't support the advertisers, the programming will change.

People seem to think it's some committee deciding that THIS is what people are going to watch. When, in reality, people have complete free will to turn off the television, or boycott advertisers and affect change. Instead they sit like drones, only muting the box long enough to complain about what's on it.

Hurricane Katrina

I can't seem to take my eyes off the TV this morning. That's not good since the only TV in my house working at the moment is the little one that I moved from the kitchen up to the bedroom during a spate of bad weather. I'm about ready to admit that I need a little TV in the bedroom or the studio or somewhere upstairs for such occasions.

This morning I'm watching all the hurricane coverage. It's fascinating but scary for the people in its path.

I got my wireless working last night so can be online upstairs now so that's a bonus.

I'm gathering with some friends for lunch at Tiffany House today. They're serving Creamy Tomato Mushroom soup - one of my favorites - and this is their last week open. I will go a little after 11 to get a table for us. I am so sad to see them closing.

Early Start

I woke up very early this morning and decided to get an early start on Pond Tour things. Mark stayed in a hotel last night because I had no where for him to sleep. He was going to call me for breakfast when he got up. Turned out that he slept in and I was up early. I never know what my schedule will be.

As soon as I walked out my front door there was a surprise. A dragonfly was making himself at home on my porch. I have some bells hanging by my front door and he was perched there. I took time to snap his photo, of course.

Also, finally, in the last couple of days, I've had some morning glory blooms. I've been concerned they're not going to have time to go through their full cycle and go to seed. These are volunteer ones so I want them to go to seed and do their thing again next year.

I was looking back tonight at pix on the blog of the flower bed on July 10 and I was thinking that the morning glories were growing so quickly then. Now they're huge. Things really exploded in mid August and they've been overrunning me since. This is the first time since I've lived in this house that I've thought the front flowerbed was too small. Generally I'm wanting to make it smaller because I can't fill it up. The sweet potato vines took care of that for me this year.

Today was our pond tour for the Mental Health Association. I'm not sure about the final numbers but I think it went well. I had asked for lots of help with it since I didn't know if I'd be out of the hospital or not.

Bless his heart, Mark drove down from KC this weekend to check on me and to help with the tour. It wasn't planned. He just decided to do it after learning about me being in the hospital. My house is so disorganized I didn't even have a place for him to sleep. He stayed in a hotel.

I feel continually blessed to have such amazing friends. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without them. I'm not sure how people manage with only online friends. Who helps you in a pinch? Who do you stay with when your floors are being refinished? Who works the pond tour when you're exhausted from all the blood that was drawn while you were in the hospital? Who smiles broadly when they see you at the local discount store? Who shares your thrills over a new relationship and your sorrow over a lost one while you celebrate or console with lunch? How can you manage without those connections?

I'm just not strong enough to handle life without those connections - those friends who support me in one way or another.

Mark was a shining example today of what a friend is. Julie was another one - obviously concerned about me and encouraging me to rest. Teresa offered to work for me today if I needed it. Trish was there. I'm blessed. Truly blessed.

Speaking of rest, I'm up hours later than I intended. I had some computer things I wanted to get accomplished and they are all done.

I'm watching the reports about Katrina and feeling for people in its wake. My brother lives in Mississippi, but hopefully it will weaken before it reaches there. This souns like it could be very, very, very bad. Time will tell.