Because the holiday season consisting of Christmas, Hanukah, and other related festive events are taking place this month, we normally write up a piece that expresses these events. However, we’re going to take time about an active lawsuit where “happy” doesn’t apply!

It appears that a class action lawsuit has been filed that states the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is made from dairy not sourced from “happy cows” as advertised, but with milk from factory based farms.

James Ehlers of Vermont filed a case against Unilever, the company that acquired this ice cream company stating the Mr. Ehlers became aware through its advertising that the product was sourced from what was called “happy cows”–hereon referred to as “HC”. However, the factory farms that uses the said farm animals to extract product are not the same kind of HC one would find in a family run farm in Vermont where Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has its origins. The farms themselves are not necessarily based in Vermont, but outsourced from other farms that are more corporate than the farms run by an independent family based entity.

Unilever, once known as Lever, and once known as Lever Bros, obtained this company around the turn of the 21st century. Although it still maintains the natural “hippy”-esque vibe and aura that made it famous throughout the nation, it has over time progressed into another frozen desert product that is lost its roots from where it began.

It’s been critiqued and noted that corporate farms tend to “force” their farm animals into producing the products, such as chickens for their eggs, cows for their milk, etc. that could be described as anything close to a “happy” environment.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who founded their company, no longer has any role in the company’s day-to-day management. Their names and likeness are still prominently presented on the ice cream’s packaging.

More details on this lawsuit can be obtained through the court filing known as James Ehlers v. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., et al., Case No. 2:19-cv-00194-cr

We, of course, are not involved in this case, nor are we in the legal field. (If we were, we wouldn’t be churning out this news service every week!) However, it’s rather interesting to note that somebody out there is concerned over the state of being for some cows at work rather than from folks as to someone like “us”! We don’t really know who this “us” is, but it’s going to be assumed that it’s in the range of a working class group of people that are not churning out a seven digit amount of annual earnings.

For those that are working, and that is more than it was than, let’s say, ten years ago around this time during the so-called Great Recession period, many people are getting rather stressed out in their work. Many people are currently taking up temp jobs in the retail industry during this seasonal time just to either earn a few more dollars on top of their regular jobs, or are taking these roles as their main and only job.

Then there is the “gig economy”, that is a permanent temporary occupation where one is working not so much for a company per se, but for an assessment that is deemed as short term. This could be a gig that ranges from doing some accounting, preparing documents, walking a dog or dogs, and of course, playing cabbie for those ride sharing services. These are gigs that are not dispatched from a corporate office or from some real live “boss”, but from some website that is accessed through an application (“app”) found on one’s laptop or phone device that can call out what has to be done at a given moment. Those assignments are placed based upon the demand of the task at that moment. These gigs are all as ‘catch-as-catch-can’, meaning they arrive when they arrive outside of a given schedule.

Are the folks that do such assignments happy in their work? Some are, while many are not! There are been notices from those that are within the inside (i.e. working in that industry) that will say otherwise, usually through social media applications. Some will state these conditions by using their “real” names, or by way of anonymous announcements.

But this reporter won’t get into the details too deep on how one should be happy at their job. This is indeed a festive season where folks are making their mad scrambles into grabbing seasonal gifts for those on their list, be it for family, friends, or even for themselves! After all, what’s wrong of presenting a gift that has a tag that states, “Merry Christmas (or its equivalent) from Me, to Me”? At least you will know that you will like it and won’t return the item around the last week in December!!

The Sierre Madre Playhouse closes out their 2019 season with the comical farce, EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD (AND THEN SOME), where the title nearly say it all, bringing in the spell toward the expected yuletide tales with a humorous twist!

Garrett Botts, Sean Paxton, and Phillip Rossi appear as Garrett, Sean, and Phillip. They are three souls that attempt to show how much of the Christmas classics are done so many times, no explanation for them is even needed! Among their many little episodes they demonstrate, they tell the story of the green nosed raingoat, a presentation of a mashup between A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life, their unique spin on ballet The Nutcracker, a vague tribute to animated TV specials of yore, as well as adding Macy’s Thanksgiving Day’s parade within the mix. For two hours–give or take with the fifteen minute intermission added, these merry gentlemen show don’t rest. In fact, their skits and measures focus on the most merry–and then some!

Michael Careton, Jim FitzGerald, and John K. Alverez compiled the script, while Will Knapp provides the original musical interludes under Sean Paxton’s music direction performing on the keyboards. This builds the show as a sort-of musical. (Of course!) Gary B. Lamb provides both the stage direction as well as choreography that is added. Cate Caplin provides additional choreography, along with the dance arrangement for the Nutcracker segments!

All of these antics are done on stage under Gary B. Lamb and Christian Lebano’s scenic design that has these sets with images of holly, wreaths, Santas, along with a cheesy looking scene as its backdrop from a forgotten production of Charles Dickens’ biggest (and only) seasonal hit!

Also appearing in this production is Dale Sandlin as…Dale!

Christmastime, or to be more generic, The Holidays, are a period to make merry. This show is one of those reasons behind this trend! So as Tiny Tim would say, “Are there no prisons?” (OK! So TT didn’t udder that line! But who’s keeping score??)

EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD (AND THEN SOME), presented by and performs at the Sierre Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierre Madre Blvd, Sierre Madre, until December 29th. Showtimes are Thursday, December 12th and 19th, Friday, December 13th, 20th, and 27th, and Saturday, December 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th at 8;00 PM, with Saturday/Sunday afternoon performances, December 7th, 8th,14th,15th, 21st, 22nd, 28th, and 29th at 2:30 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 355-4318, or via online at
THE AERONAUTS (Amazon Studios) takes place in London in the late summer of 1862. Felicity Jones is Amelia Wren. Her father experimented in traveling in a hot air balloon to study the atmosphere. However, he lost his life by falling from a balloon during an experiment that went wrong while Amelia was working at his side. Although she survived the accident, that episode still haunts her. Eddie Redmayne plays meteorologist student James Glaisher. He is studying the science of predicting the weather at a nearby university. His studies brings him the notion of flying onto a hot air balloon and to get as high as he can by giving him the prestige of becoming the first person to travel the highest reach. Amelia knows about the science in flying a hot air balloon from her late father. She also holds an acrobatic skill in the same sense as a circus performer. So through her connections as well as source of financing, the two team up to make this task to pilot a hot air balloon, a feat that holds a lot of dangers.

This feature film is a tale of two well being spirits that defy the challenge of flying a hot air balloon in the name of science while based in 1860’s Britain, a time that is usually placed for historical dramas loaded with lavish costuming with a historical refined sense of state. Jack Throne, who developed the story with Tom Harper, and composed the screenplay under his film direction, creates a film that holds the thrills and suspense that any other kind of movie would hold where someone is piloting some form of method of transportation for its first time with the risks that are usually involved in such feats. The period this movies sets itself is not in the 20th or the 21st century, but during a time that is usually reserved for period melodramas that are more akin to involving high-hat society!

And with such period dramas that take place in the U.K., there’s a lot of “eye candy” to see, from Alexandra Byrne’s costume design to David Hindle and Christian Huband’s production design or the interiors and exteriors sets. There’s a lot to focus through those creations that would hark a historic English period right after the time of Charles Dickens, and right before the period of Queen Victoria. And of course, a number of decades before the era of Upstairs Downstairs as well as its current rendition, Downton Abby. Such period dramas tends to cater toward a seasoned aged female demographic.

One notable thing about this movie. Although the two leads, Felicity Jones as Amelia Wren and Eddie Redmayne as James Glaisher are both young (20s), good looking, and hold enough British charm in their personalities, there is not one moment of any hints of romance! The two never even go to embracing each other, let alone giving each other a peck on the cheek! This sense of sterile and somewhat platonic dealings may be somewhat of a turn off to that female demographic this movie could sell to. Also, although the two do survive their experiential trip with a lot of close shaves of near death within their hot air balloon journey, James winds up getting all of the credit in conducting his experiments with his university staff, while Amelia is just pleased that she can accomplish a dangerous mission. In other words, this could be a story where everyone lives happily ever after in its traditional sense, yet it doesn’t necessarily wind up this way.

Since Amazon Prime needs content for their video streaming service in order to compete with Netflix and the rest of the streaming bunch, they need to present material that would cater to the biggest form of viewer demographic in terms of gender appeal. Men won’t necessarily find this movie to their liking as the “action” isn’t of the ‘shoot-em-up’ variety loaded with explosions and gunfire! Women may find the period drama very appealing with its British sense of attraction. They may also appreciate a strong female lead. But without the romance that their counterpart programs of this ilk tends to fulfill within its plotting, it’s going to fall flat!

But what group will the movie serve? It appears that this title is for those voting members of movie awards that tends to consist of a group that doesn’t see movies for sheer entertainment! It’s just another “gimmie-an-Oscar” feature that will have its biggest run via video streaming than playing itself out in an “art” movie house. It will appear in those theaters after it clears its run for a two week timeline before it’s available to stream via Amazon Prime. (Spoiler alert?)

PS…it does feature a cute terrier dog in a brief role with Bella playing Posey (the dog)–for what that is worth!

THE AERONAUTS is rated “PG” for intense action and minor bloodshed.
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!


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