Page A2 / The Joan
De Arc Crusader / Sunday, June 23, 2019
Entertainment A3 /
Nostalgia on the Avenue A4 /
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire
Was this really a good idea?
Few artifacts in Joan De Arc history can match the overwhelming
nostalgic significance of Barbara Bueker’s legendary Glamour Stretcher.
Accounts of the Stretcher reach back far into the Bueker family story.
Introduced and promoted by pop exercise guru Jack LaLanne in the late
1950s, the Glamour Stretcher was essentially a simple elastic cord with
looped handles that was intended for stretching exercises with an
accompanying phonograph record. Barbara found the Stretcher somewhat
ineffectual as an exercise apparatus, but she quickly perceived its
profound potential as an ideal means of threatening misbehaving children.
There is no recorded instance of
Barbara ever actually beating her children with the Stretcher, although
there can be little doubt she occasionally felt the urge, particularly
when dealing with her youngest child John. The device instead became an
iconic symbol of potential punishment on Joan De Arc Avenue, similar to
the wooden paddles that Sahuaro School teachers would prominently display
in their classrooms as a visual deterrent to misbehavior. The Glamour
Stretcher ultimately became a fondly recalled peculiarity from a Joan De
Arc Avenue that long ago passed into history, the object of occasional
But not anymore.
Last Christmas Eve, in a bizarre twist of fate, Barbara once again came
into possession of that fabled blue elastic cord of kiddie comeuppance. An
unidentified family member recklessly brought a genuine, vintage Glamour
Stretcher to the annual white-elephant holiday gift exchange, and who else
but Barbara Bueker Stewart would wind up randomly selecting that very
This raises some alarming concerns.
Although getting up there in years, Barbara remains surprisingly feisty
and is still deeply immersed in her children’s affairs. She appears quite
capable of resuming her use of the Stretcher in the event her offspring
seem reluctant to toe the line to her satisfaction. We’re not kidding
here. This could get ugly.
The Crusader is
urging restraint on all sides as we move through this period of crisis.
Our hope is that Ms. Stewart will resist the temptation to resume her
previous stance of parental belligerence and also that her admittedly
obnoxious children will become more sensitive to her motherly concerns.
Look, we just don’t anybody to get hurt.
We welcome your letters at
News from Around the Block &
Around the World ©
By C.H. Bueker III
Birthday + Summer = Bummer
The existence of the four seasons has long been recognized by man,
stretching as far back into prehistory as we can possibly imagine. Here in
the great Sonoran desert region of Arizona, however, we recognize only two
seasons of practical note: Not Summer and Summer. Not Summer is a glorious
time in the desert, marked by such pleasant activities as not burning your
hands on the steering wheel and not caring that the cat sits in the open
back doorway so he can feel the cold air rushing past him on its way out
of the house. Summer, on the other hand, is something entirely different.
Take it from me, on top of everything else awful about summer, it is the
absolute worst time to have your birthday. In elementary school, all of
the Not Summer birthday kids would have their special day announced in
class, perhaps even accompanied by treats donated by a generous mom. Those
of us unfortunate enough to be born in the dreaded summer months were
listed as an afterthought on the final day of class. “These children also
technically have birthdays,” the teacher would say as she chalked out the
names in flawless cursive, “but we won’t be celebrating them in any way
The years beyond grade school
were hardly an improvement.
Birthday parties would be forever limited to small affairs for lack of
survivable indoor venue space. Celebratory restaurant dinners, no matter
how deluxe, would always be punctuated by the bright lights of the
ridiculously long days and slow roast of the oppressive post-dining
parking lot experience. Friends would always be out of town on vacation
with their families, and even if they could sing “Happy Birthday” to you,
you would barely hear them over the incessant buzz of the cicadas.
So, you’re probably wondering, what can be done to remedy this
insufferable tragedy? Preventing people from procreating during the months
of September to December would be a start (although it is hard to blame
them since those are prime non-summer months). Perhaps universal adoption
of the International Un-Birthday (IUB) standard can be enacted, allowing
summertime birthdays to be celebrated 182 days early (or late).
Until then, I imagine all we
can and should do is to seek out these poor summertime birthday
unfortunates, shower them with expensive gifts, and treat them to as many
refreshing beverages of their choice as they can possibly stand. Let there
be birthday equality, and let it begin with me.
Entertainment A3 /
Nostalgia on the Avenue A4 /