Friday, May 31, 2013

When you hear Smithfield Ham, do you think moo shu pork?

I just got back from a wonderful blogging conference, BlogPaws.  Although most attendees at BlogPaws blog about pets and the conference focuses on pet bloggers, I learned a lot at BlogPaws.  

Attending the conference, has motivated me to get HelitzerBlouseGirl back on her mannequin or should it be girlaquin or womanquin!  

This summer, I plan to write about some wonderful businesses and maybe even do an "eye witness" small business blog (helping my friend with some work at her wonderful business).  I also will write about my business law students' reaction to a discussion of labor unions.  

Today, to kick off some summer writing, let's talk about the potential "sale" "merger" or really takeover of Smithfield Foods by Chinese company, Shuanghui International.  Here's the link the Smithfield's May 30 press release:  The deal is currently being reviewed by the United States Justice Department.  The press release indicates that current collective bargaining agreements will remain in place and that there will be no closures and Smithfield's facilities and locations.  

This news comes at the same time as the announcement that Motorolla will be producing the new Moto X smartphone at Texas plant -- hopefully creating thousands of new jobs in Texas.  

Growing up as a Jewish girl on Long Island, I didn't have much exposure to ham.  That changed after I moved to Virginia, in the 1980s.  There's nothing quite as tasty as a Smithfield ham biscuit or sandwich -- something I've had the pleasure of eating while in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

Not sure what the acquisition of Smithfield will bring, but I have to say that I'm sad to see a billion dollar American enterprise becoming a fully owned subsidiary of a foreign corporate giant.  

Think I might be happier checking out the new Moto X smart phone, than biting into a Smithfield ham sandwich.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Where is HelitzerBlouseGIrl?

HelitzerBlouseGirl has been very busy the past few months, teaching her business law class, being a mom, and worrying about her beach house in Cape May, New Jersey (which was spared both house and city).

Just wanted to let you know that we'll be up and running again real soon.  There is so much to write about.

In the next few weeks, HeltizerBlouseGirl will be teaching bankruptcy law to her business students and hopes she can sort out some truth about Twinkies, the Teamsters, The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union, and the Hostess situation.

HelitzerBlouseGirl is thinking of all those who have lost their jobs.

She will miss Snowballs.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Unimaginable Job

After seeing so many facebook posts and pictures remembering 9/11, eleven years later, I still find myself unable to comprehend the horrors of that day.  The horrific loss of life, the fear, the panic, the chaos, the unbelievable.

The unwavering bravery of our first responders, our military personnel, and the ordinary citizens who helped someone in need that day.  

That crisp fall morning, people went to work, not knowing what would happen that day.  The NY firefighters, paramedics, and police officers reporting to duty that morning.  All those people going to work at their jobs in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  People flying to jobs across the country.  Just going to work, just doing your job, another day, another dollar.  And, then the unimaginable.  Terrorist attacks on our country.  

Here is my blogpost I wrote last year about my son's boy scout leader and his co-worker and what they faced that day.  And, what I did not write about in that post was a very dear friend of mine who worked behind the scenes helping to answer all the legal questions that arose from decisions that had to be made immediately; a job that took amazing composure, intelligence and the ability to offer answers without hesitation or wavering.      

So today, September 11, 2012, I am reposting my blog, The Unimaginable Job:

Today, I want to dedicate my blog to the men and women of our military and to the passengers on United Flight 93. on September 11, 2001– the people with the most “unimaginable” job. 
This morning, with my cup of coffee on hand, I checked my email and saw an email from a boy scout in my son’s troop.  The email was titled “A Scout(master) is Brave” -- echoing the words in the boy scout pledge.  The scout posted an article that appears in the Style section of today’s Washington Post (click below to see the article).

Police, firefighters, military members, and many other American workers wake up every day knowing that on that day they might put their lives at risk due to the requirements of their jobs.  When they woke up on the morning of September 11, 2001, Major Heather “Lucky” Penney and Colonel Marc Sasseville (Michael’s scout leader) probably had not have imagined their days mission – to fly their fighter jets and take down a domestic passenger plane full of innocent people, by using their fighter planes as a weapon. 
The chilling words I read in the Washington Post this morning – “’We don’t train to bring down airliners,’ said Sasseville.”
Certainly, the passengers on flight 93 did not train to bring down an airliner.
Yet, those were their jobs that awful day.  The jobs of our military members and the job of those brave people on flight 93.  Jobs done to save others. 
Thank you Major Heather “Lucky” Penney, Colonel Marc Sasseville, and all the workers whose jobs it is to protect our country each day.

To the passengers on flight 93, as we say in the Jewish religion, may your memory be a blessing.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Celebrate labor today

My thirteen year old son heard a food store commercial about buying food for your Labor Day celebration, and said, “Why would anyone want to celebrate Labor Day?”  I asked him what he meant and he said, “why would I want to celebrate having to go back to school?”
I’m sad that my son, who was always excited about the start of elementary school, doesn’t want to start school.  I think it is mostly because of the early start time and then the day to day annoyance of homework. 
I’m also sad that my son has no understanding of the importance and significance of Labor Day.  To him and I guess, to many people in this country, it is just the last day off before school starts, the end mark of summer, the last day to wear those white clothes.
My first year at Cornell – School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), a school focused on American workers, Cornell scheduled classes on Labor Day.  That schedule did not go over well with the ILR students and talk of a protest and skip day launched.  In the interest of not having first years miss their first day of classes, my recollection is that either teachers cancelled their classes or classes started the next day.  Now, Cornell’s academic calendar recognizes Labor Day as a holiday.
The United States Department of Labor explains the reason for the Labor Day holiday:
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
To learn more about Labor Day, check out DOL website at
In addition to making sure that Michael has a fun last weekend of summer, finishes his math packet, I hope I can get him to see that Labor Day is more than just the last day before school starts.
My son has given me continued inspiration to write this blog, to work on my proposal to teach a modern American labor class, and the hope that Labor Day 2013, won’t just be all about the sales, bbqs, and putting away those white shoes and pants (and for Harry, his Hawaiian shirts).

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

I hope you are enjoying the weekend.  Stayed tuned for my Labor Day post tomorrow!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer vacation

HelitzerBlouseGirl had a busy summer vacation.   In the upcoming months, the fruits of that summer vacation, will show up in my day in the life series.  I'm looking forward to blogging about some exciting modern American workers and business owners.  .

Until then, here is a link to a great article on salaries.  We've all been asked that dreaded and taboo question, "oh, how much are you being paid?"  There's a reason you feel uneasy about answering that question and why we are taught not to ask new workers that question.  The article features quotes from economic Professor Kevin Hallock, of Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), my beloved undergraduate school.  The article features the story of  new work force entrant,Yelana Sher, ILR graduate.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blogging not logging

Blogging not logging.  I guess a blogging conference is hard to explain to some people.  When I told someone that I was going to a blogging conference, they looked at me with a funny expression on their face and said, a "logging conference?"  Can't you just picture a row of those rotating logs (from the old movies) with people walking across the logs.

While I learned a lot about blogging, social media, and animals and received tons of great swag, I have to say that I didn't have to balance on any logs.  The big balancing act for me was having a chance to learn more about blogging and also check out Salt Lake City, Utah (seriously, after flying more than halfway across the country -- how could I not do some site seeing!). 

Although the conference subject matter featured animals, the information provided applied to any type of blogging and social media.  I learned so much and I can't wait to incorporate what I learned into HelitzerBlouseGirl.  

The highlight of the conference -- seeing my 18 year old daughter, Rachel Shubin who writes Sandpiper Cat Blog treated as a serious cat blogger.  Rachel met so many wonderful people at the last BlogPaws conference and had the chance to see them again and meet more people.

The second highlight of the conference -- meeting all those people Rachel knew (ok, so I knew a few of them already, but I can't believe how many great people I met or got to place a face with a blog!).  Ingrid King of the Conscious CatPamela Haines with Moo Kitty Finds a HomeCrystal and Moki of The Wobbly CatDeb Barnes of Zee and ZoeyStephanie Harwin of CatsparellaAngie Bailey of CatladylandJanea Kelley of Paws and Effect,Robin Olson of Covered in Cat HairTeri Thorsteinson of Curlz and SwirlzCaroline Golon of the Happy Litter BoxKate Benjamin of Modern Cat, Tamar Arslanian of I Have CatAmy Palmer of Seabass CatPeter Wolf of Vox Felina and Debbie Glovatsky of Glogirly and so many more.  

What could be better than the evening when Rachel and I spent about three hours outside chatting with Pam Haines, Crystal Fogg, and hanging with the awesome Moki the Wobbly Cat, realizing that it was 10:45 p.m. and we hadn't even had dinner yet!

Getting to hold Moki the Wobbly Cat

The third highlight -- exploring Salt Lake City -- from Temple Square and the Desert Book Company, to a great little coffee/tea/art gallery we happened upon, to the amazing farmers market around the corner of the hotel, to Retro Rose (, a beautiful antique store (store cat included and a lovely young college student who helped me check out all the vintage advertising pens and pencils) and to be lucky enough to be in Salt Lake City during the Utah Art Festival.  Of course, I must mention being able to walk out the hotel door and be surrounded by gorgeous mountains!  I love Salt Lake City!
Retro Rose antique store cat
sand sculpture at the Utah Art Festival

A look into the future of HeltizerBlouseGirl:  posts, pictures, and reflections about the Helitzer Blouse Company; more interviews in the day in the life series (featuring local Fairfax businesses, local Cape May companies, and interviews with the intesting people I met at BlogPaws.

Please let me know if you would like to participate in my day in the life series --