Feature Contributors Archives for 2023-05

Column: Mellencamp speaks, few listen

Dear readers,  

John Mellencamp is currently touring. His show is billed as “Live and in Person 2023.”  The show is much better than the title suggests.

Mellencamp delivers so much more than the usual rock show. He doesn’t just crank up the victrola for one more visit with Jack and Diane.  The show is an allegory like a Tennessee Williams play. In fact, the backdrop for the performance is a scene from “Streetcar Named Desire.”

Mellencamp begins the show with a series of film clips shown on a movie screen in front of the stage. Audience members showing no patience whatsoever began shouting for Mellencamp and the band to take the stage. The noise from the audience completely drowns out the sound from the movie.

Lucky for me, like Norma Desmond, I don’t need sound. The faces flickering on the screen are familiar. The movie clips are not trailers for coming attractions. I would describe the film as an anthology. It is a collection of prose from great writers filled with wisdom. 

The words spoken on the screen by James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, and Marlon Brando were the inspiration for the lyrics in Mellencamp’s songs. Distilled in this montage they represent the very Tao of John Mellencamp.



Mellencamp’s lyrics are poetry. His songs are deeply introspective and explore themes of love, loss, isolation, and the search for meaning.  Mellencamp’s audience should not expect him to just run through his hits. He is a philosopher, and he isn’t just getting philosophical in his old age. His real fans shouldn’t be surprised. Mellencamp warned them as far back as 1989 with “Pop Singer” from his “Big Daddy” album.


“Never wanted to be no pop singer,

Never wanted to write no pop songs.

Just want to make it real – good, bad or indifferent.”


Maybe I understand this because Mellencamp and I go way back. We first crossed paths in 1968. However, I didn’t realize it at the time. I only know from a meeting we had in Bloomington in 1980. Learning that I was from Shelbyville, he immediately asked me, “Do you know a girl by the name of Myra Conner?”

I did and right there and then we had a “small town” instant connection.

Mellencamp said he was in love with Myra when he was in high school.  He would drive over from Seymour every chance he could. By coincidence I was a newspaper carrier with a route that included the Conner home located in the 400 block of W. Franklin St.

Mellencamp had yet to receive fame and fortune. His commercial breakthrough album “American Fool” with the hit single “Jack and Diane” was two years in his future. Mellencamp was living in a big old, rented house in Ellettsville. He invited me and my girlfriend at the time, and now my wife, Sandy, to come over. We did and his band had all their instruments set up in the living room. We stayed to watch Mellencamp and his band practice. 

I read a few of the reviews from Mellencamp’s current “Live and in Person 2023” tour. The majority hate the film clips. Most suggest that he not show the film clips or show fewer of them. I was glad that Mellencamp didn’t take the critics’ advice. 

I think he should add an additional film clip. For the benefit of those who weren’t paying attention, a film clip with a special message should end the show. Lower the movie screen in front of the stage and show one last message.

Actor Strother Martin, the Captain in Cool Hand Luke, delivering his often-quoted line, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”  

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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Letters Home: Onsen, Sento, and drinking milk

Any visitor to Japan will surely be introduced to the luxury of “bath culture,” which has developed over the centuries into being a national cultural treasure in its own right. 

Besides the “home” bath which all residences now have — featuring a completely self-contained room where water can be sprayed from the ceiling to the walls to the floor without concern about getting things wet because it is all waterproof and designed to be generously watered down — Japan has basically two types of public bathing places that Japanese people and visitors enjoy regularly.  These are called “sento” and “onsen.”

The “sento” or “public bathhouse” are communal baths that use heated “tap” water, and for many decades could be plentifully found in neighborhoods all over Japan from rural areas to urban metropolises. Today, these local bath houses are fewer and farther between and not nearly as common as they once were. 

Sadly, they went by the wayside as modern homes routinely began to be equipped with their own sento-like bathrooms where families could bathe easily and conveniently at home, making going to the neighborhood bath house unnecessary.

In the past 35 years that I have lived in Japan, I have taken note of how rapidly these have begun to close, especially starting in the early 1990s. Up to the late 1980s, they were still used robustly by people and the local bath houses could afford to remain open … but at some point, they became less popular and gradually many started to close their doors. 

It is sad, because they served such an important role socially in that neighbors would meet and chat at these places, exchange information and even gossip, keeping a neighborhood socially connected. Similar to the tradition of barbershops and beauty salons in America, I suppose, bath houses became unofficial community centers where people would meet and catch up on what was happening around the neighborhood. 

The sento became more common starting in the 1920s and continued until well after World War II, through the 1970s and 1980s. Especially in the 1950s their popularity soared as many homes weren’t yet equipped with modern baths, so the public bath house served a very necessary role in society for daily hygiene. 



As Japan recovered from World War II and rapidly modernized, having a “home” bath became more economical and common as new homes included a proper bath in their architectural designs.  While Japanese homes always had some sort of bathing system in place, these often included heating the water with firewood in a building detached from the residence, which was laborious and difficult. Modern homes began to feature electric or gas water heaters that made drawing a bath in a bathroom so much easier and practical.

Around the same time that sento were increasing (in the 1950s), a dairy company had made a coffee milk drink that was sweet. Coffee was still a luxury at that time, and it was just being introduced as an alternative to tea. In addition to home baths being an expensive luxury in those early post war years, having a refrigerator was even more of a luxury. Sento, however, often did have refrigerators even though they were largely unheard of in mainstream Japanese homes.

A very astute dairy executive had the idea to combine the two things by placing milk products in public bathhouse changing rooms all over Japan. In the process, the customers could enjoy a cold drink after a hot bath, and dairy producers could introduce their products (especially the coffee milk drink) to the general public in hopes people would develop a taste for it.

This merging of sento and drinking a cold bottle of milk was a perfect marriage of sorts, because it allowed people to sit and chat while being refreshed with a cold beverage. Today, it is such an entrenched custom that Japanese people feel as though their bath is not complete without indulging in a cold bottle of milk after drying off in the change room.

This was surprising to me initially, because unlike in the U.S. where it is common to drink a large glass of cold milk frequently, generally Japanese do not reach for milk when thirsty or wanting a cold, liquid treat — except when they are coming out of a hot bath. The custom of drinking cold milk after a hot bath caught on and soon public bathhouses all over Japan began to offer milk products to their customers. This was a brilliant marketing move for not only the dairy industry but also for the bath houses that also profited from selling the milk products to bathers.

Because milk was considered to be a good source of nutrients, it was believed to be an easy way to rehydrate the body after a long soak in the public bath. It was a “guilty pleasure,” of sorts, in that up until the 1970s people didn’t really have a modern bath in their homes, and since an electric refrigerator was a luxury as well, people could indulge themselves in both, by taking advantage of the neighborhood bath and having a treat of cold milk afterwards.  Adding coffee flavoring and sugar to it, made it all the more decadent.

Today, coffee is widely the drink of choice for most Japanese, whereas back in post war Japan it was considered too much of a luxury that was seldom experienced.



Still today, milk vending machines (photo) are found in the change rooms and waiting areas of both sento and onsen (natural hot springs). So, while the traditional neighborhood “sento” is not found as easily as it once was, in areas of Japan that have access to hot spring water, “onsen” are still wildly popular and plentiful. These use natural hot spring water directly from deep within the earth and each boast a different medicinal benefit depending upon the type of water and minerals found in the water.

Many onsen in Japan are attached to a traditional Japanese inn and many bathers stay overnight and really take advantage of the hot springs during their stay. According to the Japanese Hot Spring Law, in order for a bath to be called an “onsen” it has to pass two strict criteria. It naturally has to be at least 25 degrees Centigrade (about 77 degrees Fahrenheit) and naturally have a certain level of minerals. Many onsens are much hotter than this required temperature, however.

Japan is naturally blessed with an abundance of volcanoes and these create a plethora of onsens in the areas where they are found.  I read somewhere that there are over 27,000 hot spring sources around Japan with at least 10 different types of onsen water that assist in the healing of certain ailments like arthritis, skin issues, general pain, and other ailments. Mostly, though, people go to onsens for the tranquil and calm atmosphere to help release tension and stress. In fact, I went to one yesterday, and I now feel very refreshed and reinvigorated as I write this.

While I was changing after my bath, I noticed the milk vending machine next to the men’s lockers so I asked a Japanese man nearby why they have milk products but not any water, teas, or sodas in there. He said he didn’t know why, but he said nearly all bath houses and hot springs have some sort of milk product on offer. 

So, I decided to research the reason why for this column. Even after 35 years of living here, the beautiful part about living in Japan is that I can always learn something new!

Todd Jay Leonard was born and raised in Shelbyville, but has called Japan home for over 34 years.  He is currently a full-professor at the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka in Kyushu where he lives, writes, and teaches.  He is the author of 26 books and can be reached at toddjayleonard@yahoo.com

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Column: Tastes Great, Less Filling

Dear readers,  

Over 2,000 years ago, Socrates famously said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” 

A little over 50 years ago Ray Davies of “The Kinks” in the hit song, “Lola,” sang, “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for Lola.” 

About that same time, David Bowie was singing, “You’ve got your mother in a whirl, she’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl.”

Today’s topic is Dylan Mulvaney. He’s not the first, but he is the most recent pop culture sensation in a dress. I don’t know about Dylan’s mother, but he certainly has Kid Rock in a whirl.

Just seeing Dylan advertising Bud Light beer caused Kid Rock to swear off the stuff. Kid Rock was beyond angry. He stacked up several cases of Bud Light (I’m guessing his usual daily ration) and blasted the beer to kingdom come with his machine gun. 

Kid Rock’s machine gun antics was just the beginning. The Bud Light boycott started spreading faster than a virus from a Chinese wet market. 



Country music star, Brantley Gilbert, smashed a can of Bud Light on stage during a concert in Alabama. Travis Tritt announced that Budweiser products would no longer be sold at his shows. John Rich pulled the brand from his bar in Nashville.

Shock jock Howard Stern was dumbfounded, but not by Dylan in a dress promoting Bud Light. Howard was dumbfounded by Kid Rock wasting all that beer. I began to wonder if both Dylan promoting the beer and Kid Rock shooting the beer wasn’t just some avant-garde Dada performance art. 

Many of you loyal readers can’t figure out just what to make of this hullabaloo. I have had readers from as far away as Boggstown calling me for my opinion. I decided to do some investigating. Meeting with Waldron’s favorite son Jack Yeend to plan some summer festivities at The Helbing, I asked him to share his thoughts.

Jack, proving once again his uncanny ability to take any subject and draw an analogy to the Andy Griffith Show, pointed out that Barney Fife wore a dress in “The Bookie Barber” episode. According to Jack, the episode aired April 16, 1962, during the Kennedy administration.  

Floyd the barber’s dream of having a two-chair barber shop came true.  Floyd had no sooner put the new sign in the window “Two Chairs-No Waitin” when suspicions arose concerning the new barber. Somehow this all leads to Barney dressing up as a woman to prove that the new barber is really a bookie.

As Jack was retelling the Andy Griffith episode, I began to wonder.  What did Barney dressing up like a woman have to do with the current boycott of Bud Light? I then realized that Barney dressing like a woman has just as much to do with choosing a beer brand as Dylan in a dress does, very little. 

 Looking for some beer drinking experts, I stopped in Willie Farkle’s.  As I opened the door, Kid Rock was playing on the jukebox. He was singing a song about “sipping whiskey out of the bottle.” 

Maybe he has sworn off beer altogether.

Bob Reynolds was behind the bar. Bob said if Kid Rock ever came through Shelbyville, Farkle’s would be one of his stops.

With Bob’s assistance, an impromptu town hall was called to order. I shared a bit of Socrates philosophy. The beer drinkers pointed out that Socrates drank wine, so they were sticking with Willie Farkle’s philosophy.

Bob summed it up as follows:

We don’t tell Kid Rock what beer to drink, and Kid Rock doesn’t tell us what beer to drink. Unless of course, he’s buying. Life is pretty much like that jukebox. Whoever pays the money, calls the tune.   

 See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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Column: Is TV a Wasteland?

Dear readers,

Newton N. Minow, the FCC chief during the Kennedy administration, famously proclaimed television programming to be “a vast wasteland.”

So, what made up that vast wasteland of my youth? According to Mr. Minow the wasteland included, “A procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, Western bad men, Western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence and cartoons.” 

In other words, the good stuff.

Mr. Minow died last week. He was 97. I don’t know the cause of his death, but it probably wasn’t from sitting too close to the TV. Back in the day when every other commercial on TV was advertising cigarettes, it was common knowledge that cancer was caused from sitting too close to the TV.

I enjoyed the TV shows of my youth, then and now. We are living in a wonderful time. It is easier to watch those shows now than it was at the time of Mr. Minow’s complaints. 



In the 1960s there was no way to record a TV show. You had to be sitting in front of the TV at the time the show was being broadcast over the ether. If you needed a bathroom break you had to wait for a commercial. If you couldn’t wait, you risked missing Eliot Ness gun down that week’s gangster guest star. Returning from the bathroom break, the question asked of others watching the show was always the same, “Hey, what did I miss?” 

Today you can watch almost any old or new TV show or movie anytime you want. I like to take a trip down memory lane from time to time and watch some of my old favorites.

I recently discovered that the complete season of “Yancy Derringer” is on YouTube. It is a western starring Jock Mahoney, X Brands, and Kevin Hagen. The action takes place in New Orleans after the Civil War. X Brands plays “Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah,” Yancy’s Indian companion similar to Tonto’s role in The Lone Ranger. 

Trigger warning! The show is full of outdated cultural depictions, misogyny, violence, and smoking. In other words, put it on your watch list. You will be glad you did. Better wait until the weekend to watch that first episode. You won’t be able to stop. You will find yourself binge watching the complete season. If you need a bathroom break, you can just hit pause. No chance of missing Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah once again coming to Yancy’s rescue.

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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Letters Home: Proper etiquette on Japanese trains

A reader of this column, Norma, wrote to ask about what is the proper etiquette when riding on Japanese trains. This is a good question, because when visitors from overseas come to Japan, it is very likely that at some point on their journey they will be maneuvering around on trains to get to different places. It is almost a statistical certainty, in fact.

When friends from home visit me here in Japan, the one thing that they notice immediately when riding on trains is how quiet they are. Even with hundreds of people crammed into one car, the atmosphere is amazingly calm and quiet. People lucky enough to grab a seat during rush hour can be found quietly perusing their cellphones, reading a book or magazine, listening to music with their eyes closed, or simply napping until they have to get off at their stop.

During the morning rush hour, at particularly busy times and at crowded stations, it is not uncommon for trains to be at 200% capacity. As dreadful as it sounds, it is just a fact of life living in a big city like Tokyo. Some stations employ “pushers” at peak times to help “push” the stragglers into the train car so the door can shut, which includes the wayward umbrella, bag, or briefcase that may need assistance in getting tucked in so the door can close.

Even with wall-to-wall people with no spare room at all, where people are physically pushed up against one another, it is eerily quiet.

So, rule number one, do not disturb those around you. While there is no rule forbidding talking on trains, the general custom is not to talk, and if a conversation does occur, it is done quietly in hushed voices.

In addition, Japanese tend to be very private so they would be mortified to have a personal conversation listened to by others around them. Having a loud conversation on a train is regarded as being rude and unseemly, and certainly unbecoming behavior of a regular commuter.



Trains are public spaces and behaving in such a way as to avoid being an annoyance to any other passenger is a must in Japan. Speaking loudly on a cell phone is also a big “no-no.” It is best to set the phone to manner mode and not answer it, if that is possible.

If it is necessary to answer, quietly tell the person you are on a train and you will call them back when you arrive. If it is an important call, a Japanese person might hop off a commuter train at the next station, call the person back and converse, then just hop back on the next train that comes by.

Commuter trains have frequent trains coming and going so this is easy to do. If you are on the shinkansen, bullet train, it is best to get up and go to the vestibule to take the call. I have seen Japanese people cover their mouths while talking on the phone on a train to further muffle their voice so as not to disturb those around them.

Good train manners include not eating on short train rides, as a general rule. Especially not eating anything that has a pungent odor or is noisy when eating. One exception to this custom of not eating on a train is if it is a long-distance journey on the fabled shinkansen train or another train where the passengers must ride for several hours — but not a commuter train, in other words.

Other passengers would be offended if they had to endure being around food that had a strong smell, or passengers who were drinking with the possibility of spilling it on other riders or in the train. Bottled water or tea seem to be acceptable, however, but anything alcoholic on a commuter train might elicit some raised eyebrows with people looking at you askance.

Does it happen? Sure. Especially on the last train of the night that often has its fair share of drunk salarymen returning home on a Friday and they just had to get that one last can of beer “for the road” to drink on the train. But this doesn’t mean people are OK with it and aren’t annoyed by it.

Man-spreading is not looked upon favorably, just like in other places around the world. It is best to make yourself as small as possible, with elbows tucked in to allow as many people to sit on the long train seat as possible. Usually, trains can seat seven or eight normal-sized people, or six if I happen to be sitting there!

I am bigger and do take up more space than the average Japanese person. I remember sitting in a “two-seater” once and an older woman came to sit next to me, so I adjusted to give her as much space as I could. She happened to be chubby as well, and when she sat down, she had to squeeze in the space and she looked over to the other side of me and realized I was as close as I could get to the other edge, so we rode happily, but snuggly, hip to hip to our destinations.

Another annoyance is when people travel with so much luggage that it takes up space on the train. If it is a small bag, it is best to use the luggage racks overhead to place it out of the way. If it is too big to fit up there, then stand near the door where there is a little area between the door and seats that is perfect to stand with a big suitcase. But it is essential not to block the door, making it hard for people to get on and off the train.

Strollers present a unique conundrum in that they are often necessary but take up a lot of space. If it is possible to hold the child and fold the stroller up (if the train is really crowded) is best, but if this is not an option, then try to stand in a place that doesn’t inconvenience the other passengers.

Some newer trains have special cars that have a dedicated space for strollers and wheelchairs which makes it much better for those needing this space and for others who are commuting. Long-distance trains usually have some sort of luggage space where you can leave a big suitcase, but not always.

In recent years with so many foreign tourists using the Shinkansen trains with the JR train pass, these trains have implemented rules about luggage and if you pre-reserve you can request the first or last seats in a car where there is a narrow space to slide a suitcase. But it is now standard to just not use these areas but to pre-reserve them beforehand in order to use this space.



All trains in Japan now have “priority seats” (formerly called “silver seats”). The name change is more inclusive to allow not only “silver-haired” people to use them but others who may have some sort of disability who need to be seated. Pregnant women, people on crutches, etc. may use these seats.

If the train is crowded and these seats are open, then it is OK to use them, but if a person in need should enter the train, it is best to relinquish your seat to them as these are reserved especially for people who need to sit down. As I am now a “silver” myself, I will sit in these seats if it is crowded, but I stay vigilant of others around me who may be more “silver” than me or who have some sort of need greater than mine to sit there, then I gladly get up to allow them to sit down in my seat.

In big cities, like Tokyo, during the busiest times of the day, they will often have designated cars for women only. Sadly, this is a necessity because with trains packed with people pressing up against each other, it is a perfect place for perverts to try to cop a feel or to rub up against a woman who cannot move anywhere because it is so packed.

It became such a problem that some train cars were earmarked for “women only” so they can travel without feeling harassed or touched physically by men. So, if you are male and happen to be standing to board a train on the platform where one of these trains arrive, just go to the next car as it is important to respect that these cars are reserved for only women.

It has become customary in recent years for men on a crowded train to hold onto the strap and keep both hands visible in order to avoid any potential situation where a wayward hand might brush against another female passenger.

Finally, there is etiquette regarding entering and exiting the train. It is proper to allow all the passengers to disembark before entering the train. It is tempting to push past those trying to exit when you spot a great seat that is open, but it is best to wait until everyone has disembarked from the train. 

While waiting to board the train, there are normally two lines that form on each side of the doors, leaving the center open for the passengers disembarking to exit. Often times, on the platform, there are painted feet or lines to show you where to stand. Japanese people patiently wait in the lines to board, so no cutting the line! 

Trains usually arrive on schedule and if it is a commuter train, another one will follow soon after, so never run to try to slip through the doors as they are closing. It is dangerous for you and others who may be in your path.

On really crowded trains you may wonder how people are able to get off at their preferred stop. When my mother visited, this was her main worry when taking trains in Japan. As your stop approaches, it is best to begin to inch your way toward the door. Somehow, though, people are able to step aside, even an inch, to let exiting passengers to pass by to exit the train.

The people closest to the door will step outside to allow others to exit then reenter before those who are waiting to board from that stop begin to enter the train. When the doors open on really crowded trains, it is almost as if the train is burping people onto the platform as they pour out of the doors.

My main pet peeve today is how people are so absorbed with their phones that they walk like zombies on the platform with their noses stuck in their phones. This is actually quite dangerous as people do walk off the platform onto the tracks which then cause delays for the next trains arriving, but in the worst case the person gets runover by the train which is tragic … and all because they were distracted by their phone.

There are people who do commit suicide by throwing themselves onto the train track as a train is entering a station, as well, but this is a completely different situation which is not accidental but premeditated, sadly. The disruption to the commuters on that line for whatever the reason can be hours, causing tens of thousands of people to be inconvenienced.

So, Norma, I hope I answered some of your questions about train etiquette in Japan. I absolutely adore train travel in Japan. It is so convenient, nearly always on time, and if going long distances, very comfortable. But it isn’t cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. For me to take a train to Tokyo, it is roughly around $500 U.S. roundtrip.  But well worth the money, believe me!

Todd Jay Leonard was born and raised in Shelbyville, but has called Japan home for over 34 years.  He is currently a full-professor at the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka in Kyushu where he lives, writes, and teaches.  He is the author of 26 books and can be reached at toddjayleonard@yahoo.com

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Column: Elon, is TikTok next?

Dear readers,

Once upon a time in every elementary school classroom the alphabet written in cursive was displayed above the blackboard.

Penmanship was one of the required subjects taught to every child. Students with beautiful penmanship had their papers publicly displayed on the bulletin board. Students with very poor penmanship went on to become doctors. 

Cursive writing continued to be taught in schools even after the advent of the computer. Knowing how to communicate with only a Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil and a piece of paper was believed to be important as a backup plan if computers crashed and the internet went down. A scenario that might seem a little farfetched now, but in the final days of the 20th century the entire country was living in fear.

The internet in those days was just a souped-up version of an old first-generation department of defense computer called ARPANET made in the late 1960s. Tennessee Senator Al Gore promoted the legislation that turned it into the internet. Using only bailing wire, twine, duct tape, and several hundred old TV tubes, the old machine came to life like a modern-day Frankenstein’s monster.

Scientists weren’t sure the machine could withstand the cosmic forces as earth passed out of the 20th into the 21st century. Doomsday approached.  The government advised all citizens to stockpile not only Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils, but also food and all other essentials. 

Huddled in our basements, the moment in history known as Y2K arrived. We closed our eyes and held our breath. The earth smoothly drifted into the new century. Electricity remained on. Computers were still computing. 

The biggest problem we faced as the new millennium dawned was what to do with all of that stockpiled Spam and pencils.

The Spam was mostly gotten rid of by hiding it in casseroles taken to church pitch-ins. The pencils were a bigger problem. By 2012, the duct tape and old TV tubes in the internet had been replaced by new parts from China.

With the Y2K fears long forgotten and everyone now typing, elementary schools stopped teaching cursive writing. No one was sending notes written on little pieces of paper anymore. Well, almost no one.

In 2012, State Senator Jean Leising sponsored legislation requiring public schools to teach cursive writing. Senator Leising stated, “I still have a pad of yellow Sticky Notes, and if I write out something neatly in cursive, I expect an intern at the Senate to be able to read it.”

Senator Leising’s bill failed to pass not only in 2012 but every year since, until this year. This year was different, but so was her bill.  Instead of requiring the teaching of cursive, her bill will just require schools to report if cursive writing is being taught. 

If it turns out that no schools are still teaching cursive writing, it is OK by me. I think it should be against the law to teach a child cursive writing. 

Why, might you ask? Well, because youngsters of today with their fancy tweets, blogs, and TikTok, already have the upper hand. Cursive is all old-timers have. It’s nice to be able to write a note to another old-timer using our secret code of cursive. 

Even if teenagers of today could read cursive, they would just ignore your little note to mow the lawn. There is no time to mow the lawn.  Teenagers are much too busy eating tablespoons full of cinnamon, putting tabasco drops in their eyes, or doing whatever ridiculous TikTok challenge their Chinese overlords have commanded. 

The way I figure it, the only hope left for today’s youth is if Elon Musk can make enough money to buy TikTok from the Chinese. My suggestion for the first TikTok challenge when Elon is at the helm: “Make your bed and then mow the lawn.”

 See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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