Wednesday morning is Jimmy Dean Cheese Omelette morning. You trust him for his ground-up secondary-meat products; you’ll love him for his unrelated egg products! As I have noted before, I liked “Big Bad John” as a little kid, even before the singer had any sausage connotations. I didn’t completely understand it all, particularly the bit about John getting into a fight over a Cajun Queen. I saw a royal-type woman with a crown in a cage. It’s a great piece of gen-u-wine song-story hokum, and when he sings “a man cried out ‘There’s a light up above!’” it was a thrilling moment, even for the fortieth time I played it. That’s the kind of pop music rock shoved off the stage.

Would have never occurred to me at the age of 8 that one day I would not only have Jimmy Dean Frozen Omelettes for breakfast, but look forward to them. My daughter loves them. A dash of Lowry’s seasoned salt, maybe a jot of Frank’s - as Jimmy no doubt said to the sausage on his plate, “that’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

The question is whether I am violating any state laws. I’m trying to think of a situation in which it’s permissible for a government official - not a school employee, even, but someone representing an agency outside the school - ask my daughter what she had for breakfast, then send me a letter informing me I have fed her the wrong thing, and must correct my ways. I can’t even imagine a state official demanding to look in her lunch to see if it conforms with national standards. If this is true . .

A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

And I say “if,” because years of getting collar-hot over this or that, only to find out that the situation was 17% less objectionable, which converted the situation from Ridiculous State Imposition to Idiotic Overreach Compounded by Misunderstanding and Mulish Defensiveness. But it seems to be holding up.

If this happened to us I would have to have a conversation with some people. Her lunch is simple: a piece of whole-wheat bread, a slice of bologna, half a slice of cheese, a bag of grapes, a ration of almonds, and a Roarin’ Waters pouch of flavored fluid with no sugar. It doesn’t have a vegetable because she wouldn’t eat it. In the case of this kid, the school made her a new lunch that included a vegetable, and she didn’t try it, either. You can lead a kid to watercress, but you cannot make them them eat.

Another story had some additional information:

The government inspector was from the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised program at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The program gives schools a grade based on standards that include USDA meal guidelines enforced by the N.C. Division of Early Childhood Development.

Imagine all those things didn’t exist, except for the University of North Carolina. Would kids be better or worse off? My daughter’s experience with conforming school meals has been dreadful from day one: it’s all gross dreck. I remember school lunches as being rather tasty, but that’s because they were full of bad things in bad forms, with one overriding objective: the ability to stick to one’s ribs for the duration of the educational interlude.

I guarantee you this: when this program - whatever the devil it is - was first proposed, someone said it will lead to inspectors demanding to see what’s in kid’s lunches, and insisting they eat something else instead of what mom sent. And the critic got a cold, withering look from the good people in charge. Really. I think that’s a little overboard.

You could say: yank the kid! Private schools! But they’ll be next; there’s no possible argument left for letting some private institution wreak their havoc on juvenile constitutions, particularly if they partake of some governmental benefit, like “Streets” or “water” or perhaps clean air.

Yes, I know. Really. I think that’s a little overboard.


Today we have five Main Streets; here’s a detail from a postcard I didn’t use, because I have another with a better view. Old Cheyenne, Wyoming.



Let's take another look at that Trail Bar sign:



Nothing in any downtown compares with these things. It reminds me of some other great bar signs I have known - the Pink Pussycat and the Round-Up in Fargo, and the Copper Squirrel in Minneapolis. (I was stunned tonight - to use an overused word - to find that the Pink Pussycat sign was apparently saved. Sorry, the iconic sign, to use another overused word.) It goes without saying that the Round-Up sign featured moving lights on the lasso. It seems there was a period after WW2 when downtown bars invested big in two-story signs - not to compete with the burbs, but with each other. What a glorious sight on a warm summer night.

There's more HERE, in Urban Studies. Enjoy! See you around.


PS As is the way of things here at the Bleat, any mention of Jimmy Dean must be accompanied by the B-side of “Big Bad John.” The moon is right and I’m half-tight, and my life is just beginnin’. Ohhhh . . . .












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