Saturday, January 23, 2010

An Ode To Beer, Cows And The Pope

It's been a wild ride on the political escalator this past week in which feathers of all stripes were ruffled. People were going crazy trying to understand its totality. That's where I come in as a columnist to make sense of the world around us.

My prayers for an answer came with three minor news items on today's menu. I think they bring us back to reality. The real world as we know it.

Remember Evangelical preacher Pat Robertson using his television pulpit and inartfully saying the earthquake in Haiti is the result of a long series of disasters and political mayhem because its slaves 200 years ago made a pact with the Devil to rid themselves of French colonialism.

Pope Benedict must have received the message. He must have figured if the evangelist can create that much ink and reaction on the Internet, perhaps that's the path the Catholic Church take to spread its gospel, especially to youth adept in today's modern communications tools.

So, the Pope issued an edict to his priests to blog for God's sake. It must be said that Pope Benedict, 82, is no fan of computers and he writes his messages in long hand German. He also is no dummy.

Rueters quotes The Pope:

"Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources — images, videos, animated features, blogs, Web sites — which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis," he said.

But he also issued a warning.  "Priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart," he said.

For years, the Catholic Church has lost its followings, especially in Europe, as they continued kicking and screaming and clinging to some of their old doctrines that have fallen out of favor.

Pope Benedict announced his views at the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Communications.

Move over Pat Robertson. You and your fellow televangelists have a new kid on the block.

The second item that grabbed my attention goes to the heart of President Obama's new-found passion fighting for more jobs in his Elyria, Ohio, speech Thursday. It was a U-Tube spectacular, panned unmercifully by his critics at Fox News and even elicited a reaction from MSNBC's Chris Matthews on his "Side Show" segment in which Obama mentioned the word "fight" 14 times.

While the mockery of the usually professorial and ultra-cool president was being aired, none knew just how personal and serious bad times in America meant to dairy farmer Dean Pierson of Copake in upstate New York.

State police said Pierson went into his barn Thursday morning and killed all 51 of his milk cows and then shot himself to death. For unknown reasons, the barn's heifers and calves were left to survive. Investigators would not comment on the personal problems Pierson had leading up to the suicide.

Reported the Hudson Star Register:

On Friday morning farmers from around Copake came together and dug a large trench beside the barn to bury the bodies of the cows. Out of respect for Pierson’s family the men said they would leave any comments on the matter to the police and Pierson’s widow.

“It’s a hard time to be a farmer these days,” one man said from inside the fence.

To me, the slaughter of 51 cows and the taking of a human life illustrates just how cruel this economy can be to some no matter how emotionally rattled they may be. It is not a laughing matter for the president to show his fighting spirit to improve an economy that sometimes takes a tragic twist.

The third item that caught my fancy was the innovative extents even large corporations tinker to improve their bottom line in the competitive free market arena. It is the kind of innovation Obama has said makes America so resilient.

Believe me, Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonald's franchise empire, will be rolling over in his grave on this one.

Burger King, one of the fast food giants, announced it will serve beer beginning at one of its Miami outlets next month.. It would be the first to serve alcoholic beverages at what is universally known as a family-friendly industry..

At the Whopper Bar South Beach,  a burger combo with fries and Budweiser, Millers or Coors will cost customers $7.99. One industry analyst said it could be a challenge for the new image to resonate in some U.S. markets.

I enjoy this type of out-of-the-Jack-In-The-Box thinking.

CNBC recently ran a re-run of a biography on Ray Kroc. One of his marketing secrets was to fly over a small town, spot a church steeple and tell his developer to build a McDonald's next to it.

You can kiss that option good bye if Burger King's beer parlors prove popular.

Certainly, none of these three events had any direct connection to the roller-coaster political news of the past week or two.

Rather they are related by coincidence, cause and effect and sheer joy of creative thinking.


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