Archive for October, 2011

“congressman paul was right on that”

October 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Watching some Republican debate action. Everyone looks very earnest as there is yet another over stylized singing of the national anthem. Rick Santorum sings along. Rick “don’t google me” Santorum kept it brief. I would like to see them follow the rules of the debate, listen to each other and the question, and answer it as directed. This spew a sound byte instead of thinking is a troubling turn and if you’ve ever talked to someone who communicates that way, its annoying.

Its been a pretty busy day. I was up late last night and had a busy one. A challenging but engaging two hour co-occurring disorders group, but it ended up all coming together nicely. I start each group with a “check in” your name and how you feel. I ask people not to use the 4 meaningless peaces of politeness “good”,” fine”, “OK”, and “alright” and the generally is a body feeling “tired”. I had to check in myself as “defensive” half way through the first hour and used it to teach how I had observed it behaviorally and not felt it as an emotion but still knew it was true. I like to teach the sociopaths that not being able to feel feelings is an excuse. Left me worn out but got through the rest of the afternoon.

John made supper so i got to bring in the plants as the paper was calling for 32 degrees for the next 2 nights. I also started up the furnace. I got a whole mess of green tomatoes. I’m going to fry them up for dinner on Friday, maybe. Maybe, I’ll do it Parmesan style. I wouldn’t mind doing green tomato jelly as well but that’ll take some doing. I am going to St Louis for the weekend so I would have to research, shop & make it all on week nights. maybe.

So the debate has been going on. Some real answers and interactions. A lot of nonsense and a fair amount of dare i say dickishness. Again only Ron Paul has any attractive qualities. The courts are unfair to minorities, they’re against Obama care because Democrats proposed it. He just says it like it is. Bachman is against the 14th amendment and she calls herself a constitutional conservative, but they’re all like that. I “liked” the constitution because all they talked about was amending it.


Categories: gardening, politics

its true i am an odd fellow

October 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Today my friend Trevor and I joined the Odd Fellows. It was actually Sarah’s idea for a group of us to get involved with a service organization figuring that the membership is aging and there would be an opportunity to get involved and move some community institutions in a positive direction. Of course after she proposed the idea she promptly moved out of town. But we had been kicking around and went to a meeting a couple of weeks ago. The old gents were pretty engaging and I enjoyed listening to their stories. The Odd Fellows have a really cool building downtown and do dinner time meetings. There principles of love, truth, and fraternity seem reasonable and just. Taking on the burden of educating orphans, burying the dead, visiting the sick and such performs necessary social functions. It seems to me with the ever growing inadequacy to organize our society in a functional way that service organizations will grow again as they were much larger before we had a functioning social service delivery system they will have their day again when we no longer have one. That day grows closer.

We considered the Optimists. I like their cheerful mission and have been buying my Christmas tree from them for years. They do good work but their building is not as cool but mostly they meet at lunch and jamming all day at work the last thing I want to do is jam up town to schmooze over lunch.

There were a couple of young lawyers also joining tonight so our little cohort of four added some nice energy. They’re friendly folks and have a storied history. The inner workings are all a secret but the pomp of it was fun and people made the point that you get out of it what you put into it which is true of just about anything. We signed up for the dinner train to Centralia in a few weeks. I also found a lawyer I like to handle Dad’s probate so maybe I am a full fledged adult as was alleged about me recently as I got some much needed networking in.

Categories: friends

Happy Violence

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I am watching some Walking Dead Season 1 for the psych up for season 2 starting tonight. Having people over and have barbecued beef going in the slow cooker. I did a chuck roast, I think, with a cup salsa (from the market, the medium), 1 cup Sticky Pig barbecue sauce (out of Centralia), garlic powder (i’ve used all mine except what I’ve squirreled away to plant), fresh ground mustard and cumin seed, a red bell pepper, a hot poblano pepper (still don’t understand that but I got them), 3 red onions, a cup of water and a teaspoon of Better Then Bullion. Been cooking all day, added fresh oregano when i thought of it and when it comes apart with a fork, i’ll let it cool a bit, pull it apart, remove the fat and put it back in the sauce. Also doing corn on the cob.

Watching the first season where the cowboy rides into Atlanta, gets swarmed by zombie and crawls up into a tank. The tank operator is a zombie and the cowboy shoots him and his ears ring and he’s deafened. It captured what I like about the show in that it is violent but it is not happy violence. Happy violence is violence without consequences, like what you see in most action movies. People get in a fight and in a bit they’re fine. People shoot someone and no one gets PTSD. The world’s not like that. It inures people to violence in ways that realistic portrayals don’t.

A zombie apocalypse is not realistic. But by painting scenarios in an authentic way it aids the ability to suspend disbelief and makes for a better show. There’ll be 6 or 7 shows through the Fall, good excuse to have company. Makes me clean up the house a bit. In February there’ll be another 6 or 7 then its wait until next Fall.

Other then a little laundry i’ve also gotten the rest of my crocuses planted. I worked them into the bare spots in the herb garden. Trying to putter more then jam it out. As my old boss used to say you’ve got to respect the weekends”.

Categories: cooking

pretty fall day

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Continuing to blog every day as an act of discipline and to gear up for write a novel in november month. I have my protagonist and most of a story arc. It came to me today at the market and we’ll see if i can pull it off. Its only 1,637 words a day or something. I have been doing that some days and a third of that every day but yesterday. Blogged twice today, I don’t want to be a zealot about it but i like producing and it’s nice to get caught up after giving myself permission not to push it.

Watching Tiger baseball again. Cabrera got a solo shot in the first and we have the early lead. Scherzer’s pitching. We need two more to go to the World Series, win or go home. Texas is a good team, can move runners around so if the Tiges don’t end up pulling it out its not like they lost to the Yankees or anything. I have dinner on the stove so if you notice a shift in tone, i took a dinner break.

Had coffee early with Harry and John before going to the market. Harry and I decided to get pumpkins so I took two trips and got a ton of stuff. Got two big regular pumkins and a grey green one as well. I put them on the porch but i’m going to get another big one and some pie pumpkins next week and take them all to St Louis for campfire pumpkin carving for Mark’s birthday. It should be a fun trip as Jillian will be in town and we’re also going to a haunted house. Better check my boiled dinner.

Almost, but I want the potatoes to be done. I did turnips, sweet corn (it was planted in July so its like early spring tender), string beans & purple peas out of trevor’s garden, red pepper, yukon gold potatoes, baby portobellos, fresh oregano, red onions, & smoked sausage. Its looking pretty good.

The market was a nice one and it was a little crisp in the morning especially but another beautiful day. We remarked its been perfect for as long as either of us could remember. I could get used to this and I was filled with a keen appreciation for the beautiful Fall day all day. I walked down to the end a little out of sorts as I had a lot of stuff from last week. Got red onions & green zebra tomatoes from Muddy Boots. There’s a dearth of onions this year, spring ones coming in pricey and not a lot put back but these reds were good. Got the sweet corn i mentioned and across the way got a nice head of broccoli and a couple of red peppers from a guy with dusty boots. Got an 8 # bag of fuji apples, got seconds for $5 there  only crime being little. I told the apple lady i’d had good luck with seconds this year and the little golden crisps were some of the best apples i’d ever had. I told her I was making caramel apples and the little ones would boost my caramel ratio. I heard her telling the next shopper what I was doing when I was buying stuff at the next stall.

Grabbed a pumpkin and got charged $5 for pumpkin with the sign “pumpkins 3-4$”. The silver haired gent said it was a $5 pumpkin and I couldn’t argue with that. I spotted the grey green one but with hands full we went back to the car. Came back and got the eye balled and another one marked 800. I said” I’ll that seven and that eight which is fifteen, unless that says b00, how much is the boo pumpkin?” I got a smile from the farmer’s daughter which made me feel better about getting old. Also grabbed a bag of lettuce and listened to the old farmer tell someone he likes his greens raw, except for spinach. me too.

After the market i puttered with laundry and poop scooping washed up and made some egg sandwiches. Put Trevor’s cherry tomatoes, lettuce & the red onion on wheat bread with mayonnaise.  Fried my market eggs in a little bacon grease, it was pretty yummy and john and i reminisced about mom and dad who both enjoyed that sandwich and reveled in it when the tomatoes were in season.

Harry came back and after another round of coffee in the back yard we went for a hike at Rockbridge. We did the trail over on 163 that’s named after  a wildflower, whose name escapes me. A lot of the oaks had dropped their leaves and though the maples haven’t really gotten started we’re already post-peak. Its been so dry not a good year for color but pretty nonetheless. Smelled like Fall with some leaves on the ground. Oh, my Tigers are collapsing. 7-2 in the third.

I had Harry drop me off at Walt’s bike shop and picked up my bike from its broken spoke repair. A group of boy scouts were coming in on a tour, working on their bicycling merit badge. My clerk got summoned for tour duty and he wasn’t looking forward to it. “That’s how kids learn” was my comment and then understood his peevishness when the scout dude apologized for setting it up only 3 hours in advance. “its for the children”.

Did some more errands, shoveled over the big bed in hopes of getting a truck load of compost on Thursday. Want to be ready. Wouldn’t mind getting the cold frame turned over as well tomorrow. Cooked dinner and watched my Tiges collapse to end their season or set up the greatest comeback in the history of baseball. Oh well, some days you win, some days you lose, some days it rains. true dat.

Categories: baseball, cooking, gardening, hiking

Occupy 40 MPH – a successful protest

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Occupy 40 MPH – a successful protest. Old Jules rocks!! and i was lucky enough for him to stumble across me. I must be living right.

Categories: Uncategorized

Meaningless, Meaningless, all is Meaningless

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day…. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t…. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness.” – David Foster Wallace

I wish I was  artsy and I would put it in graphics and maybe it would become a facebook meme. I was looking at Amazon recommendations and kept coming across his name and looked him up on Wikipedia. Probably recommended because I always pre-order anything by Pynchon and I’ve already crushed his oeuvre (a cool word I can’t spell or pronounce).’

I think Wallace nails it here though and makes a couple of important points that I kind of hammer on myself, if you know me. One is that its the little day to day things that are most significant in our lives. The small little courtesies and shared experiences that let people who are struggling a bit know that we are all in this together.

I also think he makes a great point about meaning and how it is a created thing. That I think is one of the fundamental truths. We know meaningful work is one of the few correlations with happiness. Knowing meaning is within your power to create is powerfully empowering. There are things about work or other life situations that have some relationship but there is a lot of freedom in interpretation. Researchers define meaningful work as having three qualities: Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose. Sometimes a shift in focus can help move things into the meaningful category.

I always use working in a fast food restaurant (another word i can never spell) as my example. Its routinized, of dubious social value, low paying with little autonomy. But when you see someone working there with a developmental disability, pleased as punch to be wiping tables and picking up trays. Proudly in their uniform being out with the people and having a purpose you can see that even McDonalds offers an opportunity for some pretty intense meaning, as long as your bringing it.

I’ve touched on it in verse with a stanza out of “Untitled #1”:

Spring can be as cold as winter

For the mind without purpose

The heart without love

New life is inevitable

But not your life

Not our lives

Our Acts of Being

Are as meaningful

Or as meaningless

As we allow them to be.

Spring can be as cold as winter

When we refuse to allow

The Life Force to shine out

Brilliantly and forcefully

Categories: books, feelings, philosophy, poetry, work

lamb cakes

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

What a day, I wish I could talk about it. It was funny and weird and hard and out of the blue and there was a Yosemite Sam type. Just beautiful. And to get to come home to baseball. Good play off baseball with the Tiges bringing home a must wind. John made dinner and Trevor came over to join us. John’s been making a meatless meal once a week which is nice. Its a step anyways, killing the planet a bit more slowly, perhaps. Reminds me of the war years with Meatless Mondays I think and Victory Gardens. The brave little okra are trying to do something with the ever diminishing sun. The tomatoes are starting to ripen a bit, at least a few. I picked some black plums, they’ve certainly produced the most though I couldn’t say a lot.

After dinner Tre and I walked by Itchy’s window and checked out a bag of free stuff. I got some carhart t-shirts enough to be my new look and I got a much needed hot pad. You appreciate found stuff when you don’t really buy stuff. I’ve fallen into like a whole new wardrobe recently through a series of fortunate events. Put about ten bucks into it.

We also saw this lamb cake pan which reminded me of my Grandma Trapp. She would make lamb cakes every year at Easter, like around 60 and give them away. They were a little dry but firm and she would stock pile them. They had white frosting and coconut to look like fleece and a maraschino cherry nose. She would take a bunch to Monroe Auto Equipment where she had worked in the war years and after a hard drinking swear like the men tough as nails Rosie the Riveter type. That was before she came to Christ. We would go around and hand them out around the offices and there was no one there who worked when Grandma worked there but she had gotten to know new people bringing the cakes by every Easter. I went once when I was a kid to help carry cakes.


Categories: baseball, childhood, family

Matthew Shepard Died for My Sins

October 13, 2011 3 comments

So here we are again watching Tiger baseball still tied in extra innings. Texas has a couple on but I am still optimistic. I missed of the game being my late night to work but there was a rain delay and now for the extra innings I’ve gotten some baseball in. Being the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death makes me want to write about homophobia. I am blessed with a community that is almost exclusively open and tolerant and welcoming of diversity. Of individuals mired in that mindset that I deal with is the maliciously ignorant and Christians. Its the latter group I want to share some thoughts with as the first group tends to stay quiet about it on social networks.

Many of my friends would wonder how I can even be friends with people who are intolerant. That is a fair question and worth answering as way of introduction to the topic. I can remember my own homophobia. Being part of the privileged class whose sexual orientation is affirmed by culture and safely in the majority I blindly accepted the teaching of my church that homosexuality was sin and worthy of judgement. I wasn’t a bad person and had a lot of love in my heart. I am sure I must have said and done things to my friends who were gay but they were all mostly in the closet then and I hadn’t developed much empathy.

What changed for me was reading from the sermon on the mount and really believing what Jesus was saying and realizing its amazing and profound implications. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, bam, hit me like a thunder clap. War was wrong and I was called to be a peace maker. My whole worldview changed rapidly and profoundly as I followed the inferences to economic justice and radical non-judgement. It was a long process of looking at myself and growing into the person that I wanted to be.

For many years I maintained an Evangelical belief in the bible as the literal word of God. Ultimately I found that belief to be incompatible with the clear message of Jesus as represented by the Gospels. Paul in particular makes several statements that are incompatible with Jesus’s message. Jesus always sided with the disenfranchised over the powerful. Children, tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans and the poor. “He who is without sin cast the first stone” “sell all you have and give to the poor”.

Jesus rejected a law and preached a salvation that was a free gift to all. He railed against the law givers who used as a weapon to beat down the powerless. He would not have rejected a law through its “fulfillment” only to establish another. Paul has his amazing wisdom but I find him to at times be in error. As he himself admitted he saw through a glass darkly. He did not claim the infallibility fundamentalists bestow upon him. So he makes some statements you can choose to interpret to denigrate women and condemn homosexuals but should you when it clearly runs counter to Jesus’s core message?

There are a lot of things that are condemned in books of the bible. I suspect there is more about sloth then homosexuality but Christians don’t have the same antipathy for the lazy. I am overweight, obese even and no Christian has felt the need to warn me that I face judgement and Hellfire for my sins. Homosexuality gets this special treatment because the religious angle is a gloss to justify hate and fear that runs counter to what Jesus was about.

I know a Christian who is proud to be homophobic and wears it as a badge. Phobia means fear and I wasn’t given a spirit of fear, but of love. I was told not to judge and to hate someone is the same as murdering them. Matthew Shepard bears this out. It was all of our fear and all of our hate that gave cover to the men who beat him and hung him on the fence to die.

Wanting to take sin as a laundry list of potential infractions that are clearly listed in a book is legalistic hogwash. Jesus clearly laid out principles. Love God. Love your neighbor. Hell they’re the same thing. But we create these institutions and books of rules when Jesus said the institutions and the rule book are not the way. Give from your heart, give it all. Its beyond a Law. Even Paul knew all a law is capable of is condemnation. “To know good and do it not that is sin”. Sin is the lack of a positive not a negative. What part of the void did you fill with love today? What part did you fill with good? What right do you have to judge and can you tell me your blamelessness? How much of Matthew Shepard’s blood is on your hands? Evil prevails when good men do nothing.

Categories: baseball, religeon

mundane me

October 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I didn’t think I was going to make today’s post. I got tired watching the game but got a second wind. Nice to see the Tiges up a couple. Down two to one it was pretty much a must win tonight and so far so good. Fairly engaging day, a couple random crises at work and shot over to Trevor’s for a “happy hour” after work. We toured his garden and I got a partial bucket of produce, cherry and canning tomatoes, string beans and purple peas, yellow squash and a couple of cucumbers. I was happy.

John made dinner and Kevin did dishes so I got to eat a home cooked meal for free and a comfortable lead in the 7th. Not to shabby. Tomorrow’s game is early and I work late so unlikely to see much of it though I can watch some of it on lunch and hopefully will be home for the end. The kid is pitching. I like that Leland is sticking to the rotation. Shows confidence in letting Verlander rest. I was hoping to get called for Jury Duty but no luck. Most everything is settled by plea bargains around here. Missouri’s courts are even more kangaroolike then Michigan’s.

The Fall is nicer though. Had my group outside. I did half of it (its 2 hours) last week and the vibe is a lot different. More conversational and collegial. More interactive, because I don’t have whiteboard so I don’t pace around and preach. I don’t generate a topic list and then work my way through but answer questions as they come. Had some good ones today kept me on my toes, trying to make points about the dangers of benzodiazipines with some people who are pretty attached to them. They call it rolling with resistance and I had to be methodically careful to not generate excuses and arguments but kept sticking to my guns that they were risky, short term, and ultimately less effective then things like relaxation. Twice the dude said he was going to cut back though, that I reflected.

Tomorrow’s our work potluck too. Since Wednesday is my late night it makes it easier to cook a dish. Thinking about making Dal. I wasn’t going to make it again with green split peas, looks to much like baby poop for the uninitiated. But I wouldn’t mind left overs and Negar from the Human Rights Commission is coming to speak and she seems like someone who might like Indian food. Saw her at the market at least. Thursday Trevor is coming to dinner. Promised to make some of his produce. John is doing a stir fry and I will probably make something to compliment that.

Categories: baseball, cooking, work

Occupy My Living Room

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Again the blog catches me watching baseball. Tigers and Rangers tied at 3 in the ninth. If I am going to stick to a post a day for the rest of the month I am going to have to do more then just updates on my life. It might be interesting enough to carry that kind of attention but fair chunks of it is confidential so that is just not going to work. I’ll have to go then a little further afield for topics. I think I want to talk about The Occupation.

I have been a student of social movements since high school and what this one has a number of things going for it unique to anything else I’ve seen. Mostly its the fact that is going on right now and that its growing. The times seem ready for such a thing with a clear rise in disenfranchisement and the youth unemployment rate why not. Our political system has failed to the point where there is no longer even a semblance of functional democracy. The financiers gambled away the future and no one made them pay. No one went to jail no one has to pay except for the 99%.

If we are going to have to swallow painful medicine, austerity, service and benefits cuts and tax increases or total financial collapse, there is no longer any middle ground then some folks from their side are going to have to pay as well. Someone is going to have to go to jail some real regulations are going to need to be put in place to see that this doesn’t happen again. Our politicians bought and paid for have nothing to shackle the unbridled greed that caused this mess. Nice to see a little old people power.

Now we see what happens. If it keeps spreading and keeps growing then clashes will occur. The state will predictably overreact and the numbers will grow and change becomes possible. They have already changed the nature of the debate. Policy will follow. People can only be pushed so far and no farther. Our bankrupt system is a call to action and I’m glad someone is listening.

Me I just go to work, buy my local food and putter in my yard. watch some baseball. If its the real deal there’ll be time. If its not then I guess it doesn’t matter that much.

Categories: politics