Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Mama's Had It, Too.

(WARNING: This post contains a photo not suitable for little eyes.)

I was greatly inspired by BooMama's post Mama's Had It the other day, where she gives a large national bookstore chain a good old what-for over their placement of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition right where children can see it. Click over there and read the post for sure.

I'll often make a call to a store's manager when customer service goes spectacularly wrong (or right), but now that I have a son, I know I'm going to have to make more calls of a more, um, sensitive nature. I just didn't expect to have to do it so soon after reading BooMama's post.

We went to a birthday party for Elmo today at a large chain bookstore. (I don't know why I'm being nice and not using their name, but if you knew about the Elmo party or if you follow me on Twitter, it's not hard to figure out.) As soon as you enter the store at its one and only entrance, there's a little foyer-type area with bookcases that always display budget books. They always have something for everybody from kids to adults to hobbyists to home cooks. Imagine my surprise to see, without really even looking at all the books, a book called Smut with a photo of a barely-concealed naked woman on it. Hey, whaddya know, I took a photo:

Seriously? Really? Are you kidding me?

I turned the book's cover around and we went on in to the party. I sent BooMama a direct message through Twitter and she was equally grossed out. When I got home, I sent the bookstore a message through Twitter, left them feedback on their web site, and called the store's manager. After explaining politely that while my son who's two wouldn't be bothered by it, there are teenaged boys in that store all the time for whom it could be a problem. There are grown men who struggle with pornography for whom it could be a problem. I asked if she'd consider moving the book and she sighed and sounded bored and put-out when she said, "Alright, I'll go up there and see about it." That wasn't the response I was looking for, but I didn't want to be rude so I didn't press it further. I might swing by Sunday afternoon to see if it's been moved yet. Speaking to someone in person might pack a greater punch.

Mamas and Daddies, we need to be vigilant about this sort of thing. The world is out to snatch your little ones (and your husbands, girls!) from you, and we're the front line of defense. If we don't make the phone calls or talk to the managers, who else will? Start a trend. Speak up.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield

Stephen Mansfield gave himself a big job in The Search for God and Guinness: write a history of one of the world's most famous beer companies and focus as much attention as possible on the company's founder, Arthur Guinness, about whom very little information exists. His attempt works, for the most part.

The early part of the book, containing fascinating information about the history of beer leading up to the founding of the Guinness company, is sure to be thrilling for any history buff. Mansfield also write about the early days of the company with an obvious affection. There was a need for something safe to drink in Ireland, due to poor water conditions, and Guinness filled the need. The company was also at the forefront of caring for its employees and their families in ways most of us can hardly imagine today.

But the book falters a bit when the real meat and potatoes about Arthur's life has already been explained. What follows isn't exactly filler, but it doesn't make for riveting reading, either. Business owners and business students will find the latter half of the book helpful in their own careers.

(Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in return for an honest review on my blog for Booksneeze.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Good Things: January

I didn't tell anyone I was doing this, not even John! A blogger I read posts a Good Things wrap-up of each month, and I decided to try it this year. So, one good thing that happened on each day of January...

1. I started Couch to 5k.

2. The Ole Miss Rebels won the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State 21-7.

3. I finished a good book and made a yummy chicken pot pie.

4. It snowed! It came down in beautiful flakes for about five hours, and even though there was no accumulation, it made me happy.

5. The boy had a bad diaper rash from getting his two-year molars, and I was able to take him to the doctor right away and get medicine that helped him feel better.

6. Rush Limbaugh returned to the radio after his chest pains (which turned out to be nothing serious). Yay Rush!

7. I weighed myself and found that I had lost 2.6 pounds after a week of sort-of doing Weight Watchers on my own.

8. It was a dangerously cold day (the high was 20), but I got to stay in my warm house all day with the boy. That night, John and I had Bop’s hot chocolate.

9. I went to the newer Kroger by myself and mapped out the store for an organized shopping list. Little things make me happy!

10. I had a sore throat and was able to stay home from church by myself and indulge in my fascination with the English royal family by watching episode three of Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work.

11. The boy and I stayed in our jammies and spent much of the day playing in his room, building towers out of Mega Bloks.

12.I watched The Bachelor and was so incredibly grateful that I’m not husband-hunting. Well, mostly I’m grateful I was never as desperate as those women are! And my single girlfriends are not like those girls, thank the Lord!

13. Due to the continued water outages in Jackson, Wednesday night church stuff was canceled, and we had breakfast for dinner at home instead!

14. The weather was very nice and we stayed out on the playground for a long time.

15. It was hard to find something happy on this day, because I had a really bad sinus infection. I guess the best thing was that the boy and I stayed in our jammies all day and I had a great nap in the middle of the day while he napped.

16. We slept late and had a good breakfast, and I got to read a lot!

17. Stayed home from church again due to the sinus infection that wouldn’t die. But! Most of the day was spent on the couch reading! That’s what Sunday afternoons are for.

18. I did the weekly grocery shop and saved almost $30 by using coupons and store deals.

19. At work, we spent the WHOLE morning outside. It was beautiful out there! Also, I took John to work because his car was in the shop, and I got coffee at Seattle Drip on the way home.

20. More time on the playground at work, and I had a good chat with my friend Kathryn over supper at church.

21. John cooked supper! He grilled turkey burgers and tater tots and they were yummy.

22. We had supper at Jason’s Deli and had really sweet family time. We also discovered that the boy will happily drink milk again, as long as it’s chocolate!

23. During the boy’s nap in the afternoon (and while Daddy was home, of course), I took a little time for myself and went to the library, Borders, Target, and a couple stores looking for spring/summer clothes for the boy. It did me a world of good!

24. After church, I took myself to the movies to see Leap Year. I enjoyed it!

25. Instead of running errands like I usually do on Mondays, the boy and I stayed home and in our jammies all day. I think we both needed it. I got some needed housework done, too, and that night I was finally able to go walking in the neighborhood again. That sinus infection hung around forever!

26. It was GORGEOUS outside, and we spent all the time we could on the playground. Everybody’s spirits are better on those days! (The boy is also 26 months old today!)

27. At choir practice, our director handed out photocopied first pages of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” with the words changed to a made-up happy birthday song. We stood to sing and our sweet organist started playing and slowly turned beet red as she realized we were singing to her. It was awesome.

28. My sweet boy spent the morning on the playground gathering up rocks and bringing them to me. I think I should save them all and buy a tumbler that makes rocks all shiny, and keep them forever.

29. The boy and I drove to Hattiesburg today in a torrential downpour. We made it there safely, though, and spent the night with my parents!

30. The boy and I had fun in Hattiesburg and got him some cute spring clothes. The drive back was rain-free, thankfully!

31. The month ended with a quiet Sunday at home with my fellas after church. John and I watched most of the Grammys together, too.