Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Farm Report

Well, looky here! I have four zucchini peeking out from among the leaves. I havested the fifth over the weekend. I had to, or register it with the sheriff's department as a dangerous weapon.
The three tomato plants have done well, too. Most of the globes still shine green as stoplights, but two of them blush red. Tiny green beans unfurl from their stems, and the leeks? I don't know what they're doing. I think they're ok. Perhaps some research is needed as to when we harvest them. Basil and sage have been quite cooperative.
I don't know what alchemy of organic fertilizer, cooler temperatures and benevolent forces have created this harvest, but I hope they know I'm grateful.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Hmm. The blank screen stares back at me. What do I want to write about today?

Some days, the idea for a blog or for an article is as single pointed as a newly sharpened pencil. Others, the thoughts vie for my attention like a classroom full of sugar-buzzed children with ADHD.

This morning's menu features honoring the late great CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite; the circular nature of life as inspired by getting back in touch with a few friends through the magic of the internet; more notes on the garden; another of Governor Blagojevich's detrimental deals; and bartering. Perhaps a tribute to Mr. Cronkite as he would have reported Gov. B's doings and my garden?

Or perhaps try again after a second cup of coffee and the news. I like that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Confessions of an Inept Gardener

Just three steps from my back door lies a 4x8 patch where lettuce, leeks, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, and some herbs grow. I also sowed seeds for spinach and kale, now obscured by grass. Despite my best efforts, the grass laughs at the eviction notices and keeps coming back. Through some gift of grace, the intended vegetables still bear resemblance to the thumbnail photos on stakes that provide information on thier cultivation.

No, I'm not a gardener. My grandma, however, was. In her 97 years, I had the distinction of being the only person she'd ever known who'd killed an aloe plant. I did not get her green thumb. Her cooking ability, yes. But not the gardening skills.

But, at the urgings of The Spouse, I tried again. This past cold, windy Memorial Day, he tilled the patch. I dug small holes and inserted seedlings, careful to make sure that the green side was up. I held up my hands, blessed them with a wish to grow, and watered well. So far, we've enjoyed a few salads, have a green pepper for posterity, and wait for the tomatoes to ripen to the colors of a summer sunset.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday Morning at the Park

It bodes unwell to pull into the parking lot of a usually peaceful park and find a sherrif's cruiser on a Sunday morning. Not again, I thought as I glanced toward the concession stand.
Yep, again. Last year, unenlightened souls broke in. Based on kicked door and the plunder of sodas and Hershey bars, the perps were likely in their early teens.
This year, though, the culprits had cut padlocks and pulled one of the windows out by its frame to enter the stand. Their booty included fishing gear, money from the vending machines, and other oddments. Several pieces of equipment had been moved, as if attempts to drag them in tow had been aborted due to their weight.
No one had been physically hurt, thank heavens. Still, the invasive, intrusive act left lash marks on on everyone who frequents the park as well as the proprieters. The damage will be fixed. The window will be reinstalled.
How, then, will we feel as safe there again?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Jackson's Final Bow: Was This Really Necessary?

Two weeks ago, the news didn't just break; it exploded. Michael Jackson died. As I would have at the news of the passage of a classmate I'd been on good terms with, but not close to, a small wave of sadness passed over me.
The first question in an unexpected demise: what happened? Cardiac arrest, yes, but what mechanisim triggered it? Evidence suggests the involvement of prescription drugs, with sources making reference to needlemarked arms and authorities in California invesitgating five doctors. We wait for the results of the autopsy, not expected for another two to four weeks.
In the meantime, we have otherwise credible news sources prying details from the woodwork along with the ubiquitous hanger-oners with forks in hand ready to get their perceived share of the pie. Do we really need to know on a nightly basis how much the casket cost, or other trivial information for the obsessed? No. I questioned the need, except for the obvious chase for the almighty dollar at Michael's expense, to have the funeral televised? But for the last two weeks, specials and tributes have aired, and aspects of the saga have hijacked network news. I don't think so.
What seems to be lost in all of this is that another artist became enslaved by the system that is the mainstream music business, and the twin jailers of isolation and loneliness that no one talks about took his life. Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and on goes the list of performers who found out through bitter exerience that the top is a lonely place, indeed, even though a luxurious one.
Michael was, like the rest of us, a survivor of a tough childhood, and more than anything wanted to love and be loved for who he was as a person, and not for the glitter illuminated by the light of his talent. The glow of his being--a caring father, someone who treated a group of homeless people to pizza one rainy night in London--was unfairly overshadowed by the focus on his controversial behavior and bad choices. He leaves behind a legacy of songs that bring smiles to many faces.
Godspeed, Michael, Godspeed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Two Thoughts: Michael Jackson and Indie Artists

Well, do I want to write two blogs about what's on my mind today, or just one? The sun and modest temperatures beckon while the dog paces, so I shall content myself with one.

The first mind is that of the b.s. surrounding Michael Jackson's death:

  • Reports from an hour ago say that Diprovan, an anesthetic, was found in his home.
  • The funeral's been scheduled for Tuesday at the Staples Center in L.A. Perfect setting for an intimate farewell from family, friends, and anyone who scores tickets (yes, they are passing out tickets). Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are reported to be conflicted over who will do which part of the service.
  • God, my immediate circle, and I are among the few entities who have not filed suits against the Jackson estate.
  • Note to self: pledge to public broadcasting next drive. They, too, have covered the story, but with the class and dignity they're known for.

The second is that in praise and support of independent artists:

  • While they do much of their own marketing, the music always comes first.
  • We need diverse voices, not just the flavor of the month in the too frequently vapid top-40 stars. No disrespect intended, but I honestly can't tell Kelly Clarkson from anyone else out there. Again, not to be mean, but no contestant on "American Idol" has ever made me want to part with $14.99.
  • There's so much talent out there that deserves support. Much of what goes on "American Idol" has more to do with marketability than actual talent.

Let me get some more info together and we'll see you next time.