02 April 2008

Good Humor, in multiple senses

Shout Youngstown highlights a hopeful bit of news today:
The Mahoning Valley Historical Society (MVHS) will be expanding its operations to create a new History Center downtown. The 132 year old organization recently purchased the 22,000 sq. ft. Burt Building (continuously occupied since 1935 by Ross Radio) for renovation. It was at this location that Harry Burt first produced his patented invention in the early 1920s: the “Good Humor” ice cream bar on a stick, now famous all over the world.

The History Center will include:
- permanent space for exhibits and education
- climate controlled storage and conservation facilites
- exhibition space for traveling history shows
- downtown space for community activites and group events

And if you missed out on the good humor of April 1, The Vindicator compiled a round up of some April Foolery:
John Conti, a Boardman Rotary member, said fellow members used the jokester’s day to have fun with Lou Young, a longtime club member who has since died. Young was known for his perfect Rotary attendance.

One year at the annual Maple Syrup and Pancake Festival, practical jokers including Conti placed a piece of cardboard in between cakes in Young’s pancake stack.

“He was trying to cut and trying to cut through his pancakes, and he couldn’t get through,” he said.

I think the pancake joke is alright, but the stolen car jokes seem a bit too far for me. In fact, I thought the Vindicator came up a bit short in their search for April Fool's jokes. Anybody want to top them? Post yours in the comments here. If you missed the Pavlik joke, check it here.

If you missed your New Year's resolutions, well, spring's here, so you've got another excuse to start anew, and Jaci Clark's posted a thought on how you can think positive in your personal finances.

Finally, if you're not listening to Lincoln Avenue Wednesday nights on WYSU, you're missing out on some of the most thought-provoking talk in the valley. You can catch it on podcast if you miss it live at 7:30pm. This week's topic is building global solidarity:
This week’s Lincoln Avenue interview might be a bit tough for listeners in the Mahoning Valley, because it focuses on the problems faced by Chinese workers – the very people who are doing some jobs that used to be done here. So the first thing I asked my guest, Katie Quan, is why Americans should care about the situation of Chinese workers.

The answer isn’t revolutionary, but it does matter: it’s not just about human rights but of fair economic competition and the broader interests of workers around the world. Chinese labor is cheap because it’s so exploitative. Workers are regularly not paid; have almost no rights to object to their hours (she describes how some people work 17 hours days, 7 days a week), working conditions, or treatment; and don’t have the knowledge or skills to organize to stand up for themselves. Quan argues that the American labor movement can help Chinese workers fight for better conditions and better pay, largely through outreach that brings workers together across global divides.

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