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DIVING DOWN WITH GLG
I’ll Miss You, Wurstfest! We’ll Polka Again in 2021 NOVEMBER 2020
As strange as it sounds, the highlight of November for me has never been Thanksgiving. While I do love stuffing myself with turkey, mashed potatoes, and entirely too many carbs to the dulcet tones of a football game, the experience has nothing on my family’s real November tradition: Wurstfest. If you’ve never heard of Wurstfest, you’re missing out on one of the best parties of the year. It’s a huge German cultural celebration that pops up in New Braunfels for about 10 days every November, and it’s always an absolute blast. Imagine Oktoberfest, then add a lot more sausage. Usually, there are German bands playing in four or five venues across the fairgrounds, and everyone drinks beer and dines on bratwurst and all kinds of other German foods. My mom used to be the mayor of New Braunfels, so I’ve been going to Wurstfest for most of my life. The festival has been going since 1961, and it’s tradition for our whole family to get together there. Wurstfest is the place where the nieces and cousins introduce their new partners for a trial by fire, which includes massive amounts of food and polka dancing. Here’s something that might surprise you: I’m actually quite good at the polka! I think it has something to do with the fact that I grew up listening to Mexican conjunto music. The two styles come from opposite sides of the world, but they sound almost identical to me. They’re both heavy on the bass, accordion, and rely on the same three-beat time signature. Whatever the reason, I love to get out on the dance floor at Wurstfest with the folks in traditional lederhosen (not me, them; I’m Irish!). Last year was particularly great because one band played ’80s punk, new wave, and rock hits in the polka style! My wife and I had a great time jamming out to Queen, Tears for Fears, and The Police, while the older German crowd looked on puzzled.
My mom, wife, and daughter making memories at Wurstfest!
from Wurstfest. To give you an idea of how important the event is to my family, my 25-year-old niece has been to 26 Wurstfests — including one in the womb — and the first time my daughter ever waltzed was at Wurstfest. A photo of us swaying while she stood on my feet ended up on the front page of the local paper. All of that said, I know I’m not the only one who’s dealing with a shakeup of family traditions this year. Pretty much everyone I know has had to cancel or change their Thanksgiving plans, and all we can do is make the best of it. Since Wurstfest isn’t an option, and my mother is too high-risk to visit for Thanksgiving, my wife, daughter, and I are planning a trip to Cozumel, Mexico. We’ll go scuba diving, eat our weight in Mexican food, and do our best to recapture that Thanksgiving spirit of family and togetherness away from home. I hope that however you’re celebrating, you find a way to do the same!
Unfortunately, as you’ve probably guessed, the mayhem of Wurstfest is off the table this year because of COVID-19. The festival has already been rescheduled for Nov. 5–14, 2021, but that doesn’t do much to ease my heartbreak. I have so many great memories
Wishing you a happy holiday,
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ICE, ICE, LAWSUIT Woman Sues Starbucks Over ‘Too Much Ice’
Sometimes, there is such a thing as “too much ice.” You’re sipping your cold beverage when suddenly, it’s gone far quicker than you expected. All you’re left with is a cup full of ice. It’s disappointing, for sure, but is it so disappointing that you would want to file a lawsuit against the company that supplied the beverage? That’s exactly what Stacy Pincus did in 2016. She ordered an iced coffee from Starbucks, only to find “too much ice” in her drink. The lawsuit, filed in Chicago, alleged that the drink was advertised as a 24-ounce beverage, but once the ice was factored in, Pincus and her lawyers claimed the drink was really only “14 fluid ounces.”
“Starbucks’ advertising practices are clearly meant to mislead consumers when combined with the standard practice of filling a cold drink cup with far less liquid than the cup can hold,” the suit claimed. NBC News reported that Pincus sought damages to the tune of $5 million against the coffee chain. “The plaintiff would not have paid as much,” her lawyers stated in a court document, “if anything, for the cold drinks had she known that they contained less, and in many cases, nearly half as many, fluid ounces than claimed by Starbucks. As a result, the plaintiff suffered injury in fact and lost money or property.” Starbucks’ response: “Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any ‘iced’ beverage. If a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it.” The company also reaffirmed that you can order any iced beverage with “light ice” and receive half the ice normally included. Interestingly, a second lawsuit against Starbucks popped up in Los Angeles a few months later, but both cases were thrown out. Pincus never saw a cent of that $5 million, nor did she recoup her attorneys’ fees. The case went on to be called “one of the most frivolous lawsuits of 2016.”
Election! The Presidential Election of 1828 Turned Politics Personal
It’s election season! But don’t worry, we’re not here to talk about this election season, a season full of emotion, strong feelings, and plenty of mudslinging. Rather, this is a look back at one presidential election that upset an entire country — an election that makes 2020 look tame!
always been polarizing, but in 1828, things really heated up.
Jackson had already lost to Adams in 1824. That election ended with no candidate winning the majority of the electoral vote. As a result, Speaker of the House Henry Clay had to cast a tie-breaking vote. (Clay had also been a candidate for president in the 1824 election.) Clay sided with Adams. And then Adams appointed Clay his secretary of state. Naturally, Jackson was not happy and accused the two of corrupt bargaining. Even Thomas Jefferson remarked on the events of 1824, writing that he was disappointed in the results. (He had supported William H. Crawford.) Even though Jefferson died in 1826, the Jackson and Adams campaigns used Jefferson’s words both to attack one other and praise themselves in the 1828 election.
it personal. They started going after one another’s wives and families, which the newspapers at the time loved. The Cincinnati Gazette called Jackson’s wife, Rachel, a “convicted adulteress.” She was in the process of getting a divorce when she married Jackson; however, the divorce had not been finalized when the marriage took place in 1794. This became a talking point for the opposition. It got to the point where Jackson gave up on talking about the issues and moved personal attacks to center stage. Adams tried to stick to the issues, more or less. However, the public sided with Jackson and Adams lost. But the drama didn’t end there. Days after the election, Rachel Jackson died. President-elect Jackson blamed her death on the mudslingers, saying, “May God Almighty forgive her murderers as I know she forgave them. I never can.”
1828: Andrew Jackson vs. John Quincy Adams (Incumbent)
Two new political parties entered the scene: the Democratic Party and the National Republican Party. These parties were established following the dissolution of the Federalist Party and the Democratic- Republican Party just a few years prior. Both Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams were formerly of the Democratic- Republican Party. However, Jackson joined the new Democratic Party, while Adams Joined the National Republicans. After the split, historians note a newfound level of polarization in national politics. Politics had
Mudslinging defined the 1828 election with both Jackson and Adams making
TAKE A BREAK
MEDITATION ALTERNATIVES For People Who Don’t Like to Meditate
Meditation is lauded for its health benefits and is often suggested as an effective way to clear the mind, organize thoughts, and reduce stress. Realistically, however, it’s not for everyone. In fact, some people don’t experience any benefits at all from meditating. In a recent study published in New Scientist about the effectiveness of meditation, researchers confirmed that some people do not benefit from meditation and that about 8% of people who try meditation experience an “unwanted effect,” such as an increase in anxiety. If you’re not interested in meditation, or it just doesn’t work for you, here are some alternative ways to clear your mind and reduce stress. Get serious about physical activity. Aerobic exercises — like walking, jogging, running, cycling, and swimming — are great for clearing your mind and getting your body moving. Really, any exercise that gets the heart pumping and increases your respiratory rate will do. Research supports that aerobic exercise is a great alternative to meditation that yields many of the same benefits. Exercising outdoors or in nature — especially in new places — enhances these benefits. Because your surroundings are going to be unfamiliar, your mind is more focused, which can help if you’re searching for clarity. Stay mentally engaged. Many people achieve clarity, focus, and stress reduction through simple but engaging tasks, such as immersing themselves in an adult coloring book, doing brain teasers, or assembling LEGO sets, which proves they can be effective therapeutic tools or alternatives to meditation. The LEGO Company has actually been developing more products for adults with this sort of research in mind. But why LEGO products specifically? In addition to being objects you touch and push together, LEGO products come with clear, step-by-step instructions, which make them easy to put together and allow you to focus more on the task at hand. Even if you don’t complete the piece in one sitting, working on a project a few minutes a day can be a beneficial way to find a little clarity.
CINNAMON-SPICED CANDIED SWEET POTATOES
Inspired by FoodAndWine.com
These candied sweet potatoes will make your family beg for more!
• 4 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces, then cut lengthwise into 1-inch wedges • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
• 1 tbsp kosher salt • 1/4 tsp ground cloves • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed • 4 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 2. Place sweet potato wedges in a 4-quart baking dish. 3. Sprinkle sugar, salt, and cloves over sweet potatoes.
4. Dot with butter and place cinnamon sticks around sweet potatoes. 5. Bake, turning every 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid is syrupy, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. 6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. 7. Discard cinnamon sticks and serve.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
David’s Sausage-Eating, Polka-Dancing Past
Woman Sues Starbucks Over ‘Too Much Ice’ A Presidential Election That Turned Up the Heat
Cinnamon-Spiced Candied Sweet Potatoes Clear Your Mind in a Different Way
A Number of Importance
THE 11TH HOUR OF THE 11TH DAY OF THE 11TH MONTH Why Veterans Day and the Number 11 Go Hand in Hand
Veterans Day comes every Nov. 11. It’s a national holiday that recognizes veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces and honors those both living and deceased. Historically, the day marks Armistice Day and the end of the Great War: World War I. But what is the significance of the number 11? The armistice was signed at 5:45 a.m. in France, but it took effect at 11 a.m. that same morning — which happened to be Nov. 11, 1918. The armistice originally lasted 36 days but was extended month after month. This led to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, when peace was officially declared. Later that year, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that Nov. 11 would be known as Armistice Day to honor those who fought in the Great War. This lasted until 1954, when President Dwight Eisenhower
signed a proclamation turning Armistice Day into Veterans Day.
The change was made in order to recognize all veterans who had honorably served their country. By 1954, the U.S. had fought in more wars — specifically World War II and the Korean War — and hundreds of thousands more Americans had served. Unsurprisingly, there was some political drama surrounding the day. In 1968, Congress made Veterans Day a federal holiday under the Uniform Holiday Bill. The idea was to increase the number of three-day weekends in the year. Veterans Day became a holiday that would fall on the fourth Monday of October, a far cry from Nov. 11. However, in 1978, Veterans Day was restored to its original Nov. 11 date. But why?
The answer is simple. It’s a number that sticks with you. When the clock strikes 11:11, you always take notice. By that same notion, we all remember the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Because of this, we’ll never forget the end of the Great War, nor will we forget those who served.
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