Page A2 / The Joan De Arc Crusader / Sunday, June 23, 2019

Front Page A1 / Entertainment A3 / Nostalgia on the Avenue A4 / Crossword A5



“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 affectionate reminiscence.
     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 gift?
     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.



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Chuck’s Corner
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 whatsoever."
     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.


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