Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Not The Greatest

LeftLeaningLady has a video posted which is worth the 3 and a half minutes it takes to watch. It's from from the new HBO series called "Newsroom." It's from the same guy who did "West Wing" Jed Bartlett.

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's Only A Secret To Republicans

The Mittster broke an unwritten rule yesterday when he praised Israel's high quality, low cost health care system. He bemoaned that fact that Israel's health care costs are only 8 percent of GDP while the U.S. is 18% of GDP. If you are a Republican you aren't supposed to praise such things since it might dawn on people that the secret to such high quality, low cost health care is very heavy government control. This is true in every country with good, low cost health care. It is always run or heavily controlled by the government.
Of course, such government interference in health care delivery in the U.S. would lead to a loss of freedom and stifle free enterprise.
There was also no mention of the fact that in spite of such a low cost relative to GDP everybody is required to have insurance. We can't have that here since it would allow all the lazy sponges and proles to have insurance and it is the American way to have 40 million uninsured.

Stupid Girls

I see CNN has apologized for playing Pink's "Stupid Girls" just before Palin made here appearance Sunday morning. I can imagine there might have been some tongues in cheeks however.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I've finally given in an opened a Twitter account. @Fallenmonk1 if you care. I wanted to follow some people and this is the way to do it I guess. Lots of food people and a few politics types right now. I've played with it a bit since I got it going yesterday and I think I have to read some user guides or something to get the full 411. So anyhow. I've added the widget to the blog over on the right so if any of you want to follow me (I only have 6 followers so far and only 1 I actually know...Hi Carmen....that would be fun. I have found a couple of bloggers I follow on Twitter like Skippy and LentilBreakdown but not very many.  Paul Krugman did tweet me and say thanks for following him.  which is cool(I'm sure it is automated).

Oh, and I have been playing a bit with the Nexus 7. One of the cool things is Voice action. I can say "Remind me in thirty minutes to turn off the sprinkler" and it will. Cool. There are apparently quite a few things it will do by voice command. I'm liking it better every day.

And another thing...I have never liked Chick-Fil-A and have even more reason not to stop there. They are, of course, everywhere here in Atlanta. It has always seemed rather "pushy" not to open on Sunday....like nobody needs to eat on Sunday you should be bothering God or Jesus or something.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Last London Olympics

TPM has a great slideshow of pictures from the 1948 London Olympics. Notwithstanding today's bad taste that austerity is producing , the 1948 Games were know as the "Austerity" games. No games were held in 1940 and 1944 due to the war and Britain was still in the throes of recovering from WWII. Nothing new was built for the games and everything was held in existing venues...mostly Wembley Arena.
It was also the first games that were televised. Some great pictures.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fancy That

Sort of slow day around here. Got a little garden work done this morning while it was still bearable but other than that I'm being a slug and avoiding the heat. I am enjoying watch the Mittster step on his crank repeatedly whilst touring England. Insinuates they will screw up the Olympics which makes Cameron a little cranky. Then he goes on to insist that he doesn't want America to go the way of Europe. It seems like it is one flub after another. Maybe we should get him out before we are at war again.
The British tabloids (even the Mail) is having a good time at his expense. It is being described by some as a "Palinesque" performance. Ouch!

Update: forgot the link to Huffpo for the excitement

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gonna Be Hot

Looking at 8 to 5 today in the garden center. Forecast for 95F plus. Going to be a long one.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


My geekness overcame me the other day and I ordered a Google Nexus 7 tablet. I was looking for something mobile a little larger than my phone and this (for $199) seemed like the answer plus all the reviews were excellent. It came this morning and while I have just had time to play with it for a few minutes I can tell you that it rocks.
A little scary???. I opened the box, turned it on and it asked me for my Google password. It already know who I was and once I entered the password it hooked in my calendar and proceeded to remind me that I have to go to work at 1:15p and that it was raining where I was. Since I ordered it directly from Google they installed my Google name before they shipped it. Very cool.

I'll play with it some more but right now I have to go pick tomatoes in the rain before I head to work.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Not A Good Friday

I've got really nothing constructive to add to the discussion of the Aurora shooting. It was a senseless tragedy and the perp is obviously  mind sick and needed help before he exploded. I will say that the calls from some on the pro gun front saying "that if someone had been armed in the place this wouldn't have happened." Something about an exchange of gun fire in a crowded dark theater doesn't jive with no casualties. This is just another tragedy that won't make any sense (to a sane person) no matter what you do or  say about it. I am pretty sure, however, that putting more guns on the street isn't going to stop things like this from happening again and if anything will make them more prevalent.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Little Stuff

I have two whole days off.  Going to try and get some of the damage to the garden fixed. Not very excited about it though as it is pretty bad and it is hard not to see it as just flogging a dead horse or something. Can't leave it as it is though. Yes, there is a 40%  chance of rain everyday this week but that is better than the devastating drought the rest of the country is experiencing. Gonna be ugly for food prices in the coming months. I just hope they have enough corn to make enough whiskey.

The paper had an article this morning reporting on British research that indicated that a low carbohydrate diet increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 1.6 times. I'm a little skeptical as they didn't mention what kind of carbs and what are you trading off when it comes to the risk of excess weight and cardio problems. Anyhow...I think the key is the right kind of carbs and in moderation....no simple carbs with a high glycemic index that triggers excess insulin(i.e. fat storage) and  moderate high quality proteins from mostly veges and lean meats and fish. Nothing processed and minimal chemicals and making sure your diet is providing sufficient antioxidants(again veges and fruit). I'm really getting tired of whipsawing when it comes to diet. As Michael Pollan says "eat good food, mostly vegetables".

Needless to say I am enjoying the latest turns in the Rmoney/Bain/Offshoring saga. Glad to see the Obama and the Dems taking off the gloves for once. Since I am now working at Home Depot as a result of Bain Capital and their fun with my last employer and I might add earning a year what I used to make a month...it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Stormy Weather

After 4 nights of 'frog strangling"  rain and more rain today the garden is suffering mightily. The deluge overran my ditch along the garden and thus flooded into the garden...a bunch of peppers and tomatoes down. It is still raining off and on and way too wet to do anything but stew about it. It is very disheartening to see so much work washed away in such a short time.
In frustration I'm baking bread, making a big batch of meatballs and a peach tart. I am dehydrating plum tomatoes and shelling Hutterite beans as well so I am doing something constructive. I am also considering adult beverages and it is only 3p. It is Friday the 13th so there is something to celebrate...oh, and I did what I always do on this day...bought a lottery ticket.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Robotic Versus Gaian

Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer have an interesting article in the NYT "The Machine and the Garden" that brings up an interesting and, I think, a valuable notion. Our use of mechanistic metaphors when talking about government, economics and society in general drive our thinking in the wrong direction. They use the neologisms "Machinebrain and Gardenbrain" to separate the two ways of thinking about how things work and it really does make sense and it has been something I have thought about a lot over the years. The economy and society more resembles a garden than a machine, and it needs to be fertilized and cultivated more than it needs to be lubricated and tuned.
What we require now is a new framework for thinking and talking about the economy, grounded in modern understandings of how things actually work. Economies, as social scientists now understand, aren’t simple, linear and predictable, but complex, nonlinear and ecosystemic. An economy isn’t a machine; it’s a garden. It can be fruitful if well tended, but will be overrun by noxious weeds if not.
In this new framework, which we call Gardenbrain, markets are not perfectly efficient but can be effective if well managed. Where Machinebrain posits that it’s every man for himself, Gardenbrain recognizes that we’re all better off when we’re all better off. Where Machinebrain treats radical inequality as purely the predictable result of unequally distributed talent and work ethic, Gardenbrain reveals it as equally the self-reinforcing and compounding result of unequally distributed opportunity. 

This is good way to think and while I am not to keen on the ugly  "machinebrain/gardenbrain" terms and would prefer something a little less barren on the order of "Robotic/Gaian" it does provide what I consider a  much more positive and constructive alternative for economic reality. What is even more important is that it happens to fit the facts far better than the right-wing/libertarian machine models which are leading us rapidly down the path to a major catastrophe. I would venture to say that if we and our leaders started thinking more about the "ecosystem" that is the reality of our society and economies we would begin to see a lot more constructive things begin to happen. If the mechanistic thinking and insistence that the whole thing is a "zero sum game" where if one wins another loses were to turn into a recognition that we all can win in a healthy, ecologically balanced system we could do nothing but generate a positive change. It also doesn't hurt that this whole way of thinking fits pretty closely with my overall Buddhist, Gaian, and Pagan belief system.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Here is a picture of what was harvested today. As you can see the tomatoes are in full force and we only made a dent in the peppers. In the middle are dried Hutterite Soup beans and the little square container has dried Tiger Eye beans both of which have to be shelled. The little basket has Dixie Butter Peas that also require shelling and freezing.  I picked that many tomatoes everyday for the last 4 days. We need to start canning now.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Blog Tweaks

I tweaked a bit to make the font on the text a bit bigger and easier to read. Any suggestions to improve further will be considered. I do want to add a list of blogs (blog roll) that I recommend but I haven't figured out how to do it yet. Help would be appreciated.

I am not sure why I am doing this instead of processing and freezing Dixie butter peas but I still have a couple of hours before I have to go sell Chinese stuff to the locals.

The South Has Risen Again

Unless you have been unconscious for the last 15 years or so you have probably noticed that the right/GOP is getting meaner and meaner. I, for one, didn't recognize what had happened to shift us into reverse when it comes to the average person's "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I should have since I am a son of the South and have seen the Southern aristocratic mentality in play all my life. It was a real "ta da" experience when I read Sara Robinson's analysis over at Alternet:
When a Southern conservative talks about "losing his liberty," the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control -- and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from -- is what he's really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can't help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they're willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule.
I really think this is a must-read if one wants to understand the giant shift that has taken place in the country in the recent pass. The hate and vitriol launched at President Obama actually tells us a lot about the reality of this frightening shift. I may be biased because of my life experience but I find this a very credible analysis of the power shift in this country. Those of us in the middle and lower class are being denied more liberty, justice and the opportunities to live a rewarding life every day. Education, basic social safety nets and myriad other things are being systematically attacked by the right. It does harken back to the plantation days and the relationship between the slaves, sharecroppers and plantation owners. The Tea Party driven GOP and warped conservative mobs want us at their mercy. They want us so desperate for food, shelter....everything that we will be grateful for any scraps that they let fall from their table. They want us afraid to upset the apple cart for fear of losing what meager scraps they distribute. It's ugly and seemingly more so daily.
In the old South, on the other hand, the degree of liberty you enjoyed was a direct function of your God-given place in the social hierarchy. The higher your status, the more authority you had, and the more "liberty" you could exercise -- which meant, in practical terms, that you had the right to take more "liberties" with the lives, rights and property of other people. Like an English lord unfettered from the Magna Carta, nobody had the authority to tell a Southern gentleman what to do with resources under his control. In this model, that's what liberty is. If you don't have the freedom to rape, beat, torture, kill, enslave, or exploit your underlings (including your wife and children) with impunity -- or abuse the land, or enforce rules on others that you will never have to answer to yourself -- then you can't really call yourself a free man.
I guess the real question that comes to mind is...will it take Civil War II to shift us back to some reasonable state? It is looking more and more like something radical needs to take place or we are doomed.

h/t Crooks and Liars

Saturday, July 07, 2012

A Perfect Sandwich

One of the highlights of summer is a perfect, freshly picked and vine ripened tomato. Today I combined the aforementioned with the perfect cheddar cheese and produced what may be a perfect summer sandwich. The tomato was a Rutgers heirloom that was plucked less than a half hour before and the cheese was a vintage English Cheddar from the Barber family who make cheese just outside the West Country village of, you guessed it, Cheddar. Bring these two sublime ingredients together on whole wheat bread, drizzle with Kalamata olive oil, a sprinkle of Maldon Sea Salt and a good grind of Penzey's Extra Bold black pepper. It was all I could do not to make a second. I haven't made myself a BLT yet this summer with fresh tomatoes which I will and it will be glorious but I must say the simplicity of the great cheese and fresh tomato is going to be pretty hard to beat. The BLT is going to have to wait until I can get to the Riverview farm truck before they run out of the locally produced bacon or I take the time to score a locally raised pork belly and make my own.

Not to worry...I get an hour for lunch today and there might be an encore performance in the works.

Nothing Much

I hope everyone is having a nice Saturday. Me? I get to work from noon to 8pm and I am scheduled for the garden center. Not supposed to be as hot today as yesterday but still above 95F is going to make for a hot and sweaty afternoon. Hopefully, there aren't too many crazy people striving to do yard work this afternoon and it won't be too crazy busy.
Just checked on my little nest amongst the tomatoes and the two eggs have hatched and two little cardinals are apparently doing ok. Mom was on the nest when I checked so they haven't been abandoned.
Garden is struggling a bit with the heat. The cukes have given up and the corn is finished. A few squash still to come and there are scads of peppers and tomatoes. The birds are laying waste to a lot of tomatoes but that is one of the advantages of planting extra...I can afford to share. The chipmunks have apparently taken a shine to the Jimmy Nardello sweet Italian peppers and taking the ends off a few...but again I have extra. Except for the 6a - 8a store meeting tomorrow I have Sunday off so maybe I will get some cleaning up done. Get the corn stalks chopped and in the composter and pull all the cuke vines. I haven't decided that the weather(heat and drought) are going to allow for a second crop but I may give it a try....just a buck's worth of seed and a little work so I may go for it. I did finally get something planted in the empty bed where we harvested potatoes and that was butternut squash. I still have some huge squash left over from last year but I can always take the surplus, if any, to the local food pantry. It also looks like I will have to harvest the first planting of the Hutterite Soup beans....lots of dry, filled pods... who knows it might even precipitate a pot of fresh bean soup. I have that nice hunk of Tasso Ham that I got from the Riverview Farm truck the other week,  plenty of peppers and freshly harvested cippolini onions and shallots so there is nothing to do but whomp it up.
Everyone have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

Independence Day so a lot of people get the day off including yours truly. Around here we are going to fall off the diet regimen for the day as I scored some pork spare ribs at the ridiculously low price of $2 a pound. Low and slow ribs over a hardwood fire are on the menu for today as well as some fresh veges from the garden including heirloom tomatoes, of course. We had a nice little rain last night and more thunderstorms are predicted for this afternoon so I'll the get ribs on in a bit so that they will have the requisite 6 hours or so. Everybody have a safe and fun holiday.

Oh, and as Bryan at Why Now? reminds us...yes we declared our independence way back in 1776 but it wasn't until 1964 and the Civil Rights Act that a lot of Americans were actually approaching "independence" and the reality is that we still aren't fully there. A lot of folks are suffering from the economy, ongoing discrimination and other injustices and while the shackles aren't iron they bind the souls just as firmly. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness taken in its full measure means the freedom from want for the basic necessities, freedom from the fear that one illness can destroy your family economically forever. The founding principles of our country, while drowned in the insanity of  today's political chicken dance, were that all citizens are vested with inalienable rights and that with those rights comes a responsibility to contribute to ones best ability in the governance and success of our society. Working for the common good, helping our fellow countrymen realize the best that our system can offer is what this is all about. The escalating economic disparity and insanity in the country is making the dreams of our fathers and grandfathers a more distant goal each day but they are not out of site yet. Maybe today would be a good day to remember the dreams and think about what we might do to bring them a little closer.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

RIP, Andy Griffith

Wow, a huge piece of my life has just passed. I have always loved Andy since I first saw him in No Time for Sergeants or  maybe it was his famous football monologue. And yes, I spent many a happy half hour in front of the TV watching Andy in Mayberry. He was something special and I'm going to be sad that he is no longer with us.
I am very sure that the Goddess has welcomed him to the Summerland by now. Thanks for the memories and life lessons Andy.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Missed Again

The forecast was for 103F but we saw 106F. Brutal heat and the garden is showing the strain. The birds are having a field day with the tomatoes. Every other ripe  tomato is pecked with a big hole in one side. They may be doing it for the moisture but it is wreaking havoc with my tomato harvest. I watered a bit today but it is getting hard to keep ahead of the heat. The trials of gardening.
One of the raiders broke an entire branch of tomatoes off..most of which were green... which meant that we had fried green tomatoes for dinner. The first this year and very nice. I., believe it or not, didn't have any buttermilk for the drench but I did have kefir which turned out very well. Madam and I both ate too much but they sure were good...and yes, before you ask, I have had fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, Ga but mine are better. I just don't have the ambiance.

New Record

Well we did indeed break the record for all time high in Atlanta yesterday with a blistering 106F. Today looks to be just as hot so there will be no gardening or other outside activity other than just picking a few tomatoes.
I did get my few hours in the garden center yesterday and it was brutal...especially when people insisted that they just had to have 20 or 30 bags of mulch and help loading. I survived with no apparent lasting damage but I do feel drained today even after a good night's sleep. A day of rest, other than a batch of fig jam which needs to be put in jars. I need to get it done before the A/C gets behind the curve later in the afternoon. It couldn't maintain the 78F set point yesterday and didn't recover until about 9pm.