Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In honor and relief....

...that the PA primary is now over, I'm posting something I saved from the last presidential election. I can't remember where I got it, but the date and the authors are listed. I hadn't read this since then; the last paragraph is telling.

August 29th, 2004 9:38 pm

A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican
by Donna L. Lavins and Sheldon Cotler

Joe gets up at 6:00 AM to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot with good, clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan. Because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast -- bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount that is contains because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and the breakdown of its contents. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer meets these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get worker's compensation or an unemployment check because some liberal didn't think he should lose his home to temporary misfortune.

It's noon time. Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.
Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad’s; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification (those rural Republican's would still be sitting in the dark).

Joe is happy to see his dad, who is now retired. Joe's dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. After his visit with dad, Joe gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees, "We don't need those big government liberals ruining our lives. After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

In the years to come, Joe's life will change dramatically. The U.S. dollar will be devalued as a result of our huge deficit, our living standards demolished, our standing with the world diminished and our social security gone...all because some conservative republican made sure he could take care of himself and his buddies.

Aghast, i remain...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Funny tidbit, garden, etc.

I heard the funniest thing on the radio last week. Ok, background: Martha Stewart's dog died. She raided champion Chows, beautiful dogs. One die, age 13, renal failure. Now, when you give a dog an AKC name it has to be unique, which is why when you watch a dog show they have strange and/or misspelled names, like Max's FountainHead W'ere the Bomb.

The three DJs (2 male, one female) on the radio were going through the news, and one of them read off about Martha's dog.

DJ1: Do you want to know what it's name is?
DJ2 & 3: Oh, no....
DJ1: Kublai Khan Paw-Paw Chow Chow Chow.
DJ3: What?!?
DJ1: Kublai Khan Paw-Paw Chow Chow Chow.

Much laughter and commenting. It was very funny.

They then went on to 3 or 4 other news stories. The last one had to do with...

DJ1: John Mellencamp said today......
DJ2: Wait a minute, didn't his name used to be John Cougar Mellencamp?
DJ3: No, no no....it was John Cougar Mellencamp Chow Chow Chow.

Much laughter. I almost drove off the road.

In other news:

We had 4 inches of rain on Sunday. We'd just planted not quite 200lb of potatoes, and I'm really hoping they don't rot in the field. We have 300lb to plant this weekend, and they're calling for more rain.

The beets are starting to come up. This variety is notoriously difficult to get germinated, so I think the rain actually helped here. Also, I think I see radishes coming up, too. They are sooooo fast growing. Still no arugula, but the spinach is doing well, as are the peas.

I have a 4-day weekend starting tomorrow, and I think tomorrow and part of Friday I'm going to get a book and my hammock chair and sit outside and relax. I may plant the second batch of beets and a tomato, but mostly rest.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Various things going on:

Garden: got a patch of beets planted, need to do one more (maybe two) and the patch of carrots/lettuce/radishes and parsnips. Then I can go work on other things that need help, such as parts of the herb bed and the front beds, not to mention plant the few things I’ve purchased already. Spinach is coming up, Kale is doing well. Arugula hasn't sprouted yet, though.

Put in about 200lb of potatoes today, with about 200 more to go. Sore? Yeah, I'm sore.

Work: hard to make myself go in every day. Really hard.

Matt’s work: he seems to be enjoying the new job, he’s been working out of Chambersburg almost every day, training mostly. He goes to a 2-week training session in Syracuse next month. At first we were hopeful I would be going along, but that tanked. So, we’ll have a mini-vacation from each other. He’s planning on going to dig at the Herkimer Diamond Mine on his weekend off.

Other stuff: I’m planning on going to this place while Matt’s in NY. Looked interesting. I still haven’t finished the online business license (Wuss. Chicken.) I need to open a business checking account, buy a domain name, etc etc. I’ve been too busy with the garden. And I’ve been putting it off. It’s a bit overwhelming. I’m afraid I’m going to forget to do something, like file my sales tax with the state and get a huge fine.

Food: I’ve found the most wonderful thing ever: Brown Cow yogurt. Now, I have never liked yogurt, I struggled to get it down. I LOVE this stuff. They just started carrying it at the Giant in Gettysburg when they renovated to add in the big organic section (they should have it in Hanover, too). I highly recommend the whole milk, cream-on-top raspberry and the low-fat pear/raspberry with the whole grains mixed in. Very good. Also, a smoothie recipe from Runner’s World (no I don’t run. Silly):

8oz Brown Cow cream-on-top chocolate yogurt
2 shots espresso (I just made some really strong instant coffee and used that)
12 chocolate covered espresso beans
1 large banana, frozen in chunks
12 ice cubes (or whatever you prefer)

Blend. God this was good. I didn’t really follow the recipe exactly, either, one cup of yogurt is 6 oz, so I used that and half the banana, espresso beans and ice, but the full 2 shots of strong coffee.

I’ve also found the joy that is a Yukon Gold potato. So much better than those white, dry potatoes I grew up with.

We went to the Chinese/Japanese/Thai restaurant in Thurmont the other day and I ordered the seaweed salad. I could happily live on this. It was incredible.

And the other day I made some yogurt cheese. You take a fine sieve and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth, put it over a bowl and dump in some plain yogurt (either full, low or no fat). Let it sit for 24 hours, then dump the water out of the bowl and put the remaining ‘cheese’ in a closed container. It comes out the consistency of soft cream cheese. You can doctor it up, too, I added minced garlic and black pepper to some and vanilla extract and a bit of sugar to some other, which was really good with strawberries. Lemon zest, or any other extract would work, fresh herbs too. Mint might be good, served with some chocolate ice cream. Hmmm…..or the garlic on a baked potato!

I have a bad feeling with this economy, and also with recent food riots around the world. Wild fish number have dropped drastically off the coast of CA/OR and Africa. The price of eggs in the US has jumped 24% in the past year. I’m planning on growing as much as I can this season and trying to preserve the hell out of as much as possible, just in case. Am I an alarmist? You bet. But I’m going to be an alarmist who’s eating.