Will you still be alive 30 years from now?
What will the world be like then?
This election is about a lot of things, but one thing is not getting enough attention: the Trumpist party is at war with our environment.
It's tearing down our growing Green industry and bringing back pollution sources such as coal, which would make the future a very nasty place.
If you have any doubt at all about whether to vote, think about your own self interest.
Invest an hour to vote: the future you save may be your own!
Mrs. Zardelli lived in a small house behind a tall fence where she tended the Victory Garden her parents had planted the year of her birth: 1942.
She lived at the opposite corner of the block so I never saw her except at Zucchini Season. You know Zucchini Season? That time of year when the summer squash is busting out. If you stand in one place too long, a gardener will hand you a bag of produce. Every last Saturday in August I'd hear the clack-clack-clack of her little old lady shoes up my wooden steps. Bang-bang-bang! on my door. Thump! she set down a bag. I'd get to the door and open. "Thank you Mrs. Zardelli!", I'd say. "You're welcome dearie!", she'd reply over her shoulder, As off she'd go clack-clack-clack Cutting across my tulip beds. No harm done; that season the tulips are sleeping; She had been cutting that corner since before I was born: Not gonna change!
Every year the bag had something different: Green standard Zucchini, Yellow Crookneck, Chayote, Cocozella di Napoli, Pattypan and the little round Eight Ball Zucchini, Canadian red (which isn't really red), The spicy Green Houdini, Last year the newly developed Hogwarts: lumpy but so tasty!
This year I was in the basement folding laundry when I heard: clack-clack-clack bang-bang-bang Thump!I called "Thank you Mrs. Zardelli!" I heard "You're welcome dearie!" clack-clack-clack
By the time I got to the front door She was gone, but for footprints in the tulip bed and the bag on my porch.
I picked it up.
You've all heard of ghost pumpkin: a fairly ordinary pumpkin except the outside is white as bone.
This year the bag was full of zucchini pale and white as Death.
I sliced one open. Inside was firm fleshed and flavorful. I gave them the usual treatment:
I sliced them into spears and pickled them in a long bath in vinegar and spices, and canned them in those pint mason jars with the waffle weave design, Carefully labeled with the variety and year: Mrs Zardelli's Ghost Zucchini 2018, saving some for Neighborhood Night Out.
Neighborhood Night Out is a citywide event,
where you block off your street
and have a party to meet or catch up with the neighbor as you haven't seen all year,
to break bread and share a drink.
I boxed a dozen pints, put the loosies on a nice plate and set out for the potluck. I put the plate on the table, slid the box underneath, and started circulating and saying hello.
Potlucks are not supposed to be competitive. But you can't help looking now and then to see if people at taking yours. Be honest - you do it too!
I just finished saying hello to everyone there when I looked back and saw: my pickled zucchini spears were gone! FIRST HA-HA!
I trotted back to get the box of jars to hand out
I saw Mrs DuPree from down the block
Me: "Would you like some?" Her: "Ooh, thank you hon, we always love these. And, ooooh hon, it is so sweet of you to remember Dolly with these." Me: "Dolly?"
Her: "You knew her as Mrs. Zardelli. We were girls together. It is so sweet of you to put her name on the jars."
Me: "Well I had to. She grew the zucchini!"
Her: "Ooh, young man don't be so silly. She passed away over Christmas. That garden has been empty all year."
Me: "I see............................... Would you like the whole box?"
What with the synagogue shootings and the assassination attempts on Democratic Party leadership and Trump's praise of body-slamming reporters and his alliance with those who cut up another reporter like a side of beef (...and this is just the last couple of days...), you no longer need to ask yourself what you would have done in early 1930s Germany.
You're doing it now.
Incidentally, while the green apples are good only for cooking, the fully ripened Honeycrisp is wonderful! I do have to trim them a bit since I don't spray and it gets black spots, but it's worth knowing there's no poisons on the fruit and what I eat, I eat with joy.
Who wants to recruit more members for your Toastmasters Club? You do? You do? Fellow Toastmasters, Honored Guests, Madame Contestmaster: We all want to recruit So our club set three goals... 1. To fly the Toastmaster flag where no Toastmasters flag had ever flown before, 2. Get free publicity 3. Distribute dozens or hundreds of promotional flyers ...by getting a booth at the Delridge Days community festival in West Seattle. That fateful morning I loaded my bicycle with Toastmaster paraphanelia: Flyers, table topics cards, our battery-powered timer light, and peddled to the park. The booths were 10x10 ripstop nylon canopies held up by a folding aluminum frame. to which I hung our flag on bungee cords and then greeted our neighbor "How are you?" "Not good! The weather report says a windstorm at noon, These canopies will go flying!" "Oh. No problem, I brought duct tape!" I taped the left leg of our canopy to the right leg of his and the left leg of his to the right leg of the next and so on down the line and all around And in no time we had a 6x2 array of canopies no wind could blow over Just in time, as a tsunami of humanity poured in. Parents and teachers, toddlers and teenagers, babies and grand parents, with strollers and walkers, with scooters and canes and skate boards They wore sun bonnets and rain hats, do-rags and berets, cowboy hats and baseball caps pointed front, back and to the side, They were eating hot dogs and corn dogs, popcorn, corn on the cob, candy corn, and sugary syrup on shaved ice, There were community organizations of every kind social clubs, political committees, charitable organizations, houses of worship The fire department over here and the police department over there A two piece band in the front A three piece band in the back It was a veritable cornucopia of good times and Americana Smack in the middle was "Welcome to Toastmasters Try a little game we call Table Topics?" Passers-by would pull a card and speak for 1-2 minutes on their randomly chosen topic In between we would give a 5-7 minute speech of a humorous nature It was all going well and could not have been improved until lunchtime, when I was giving my award winning speech "The Esthetic Bicycle Helmet" (from the Unnecessary Communication Manual, Project #4 Pursuade With Pursuasion) showing how properly secured protective headgear complements the ideal male figure [POSE]! when, like a cloud covering the sun, there came a cloud covering the sun. The air got chill Birds flew in a panic A wolf howled The wind broke Rushing through the park Sending every bit of headgear flying Except mine, secured for safety ah-ha! The wind heaved one side of the canopy It would not tip over The wind heaved the other side It would not tip over But then A mighty updraft got underneath and lifted the whole thing Guy ropes and bungee cords whipt around wildly, One snagged my helmet, hoisting me Did you know an 6x2 array of 10x10 rip stop nylon canopies can generate enough lift to elevate a 200 pound man off my feet by my chinstrap? I gagged like a cat with a hairball -AWK My sight grew dim I saw a flickering light It flashed red My 5-7 minutes are up The clip parted I fell in the bushes watching it all rise higher Toastmaster handouts flying like pieces of paper in the wind, Our flag flapping bravely as it rose, The timer light blinking helpfully to warn air traffic, The news choppers that followed at a respectful distance As it all sailed over Elliot Bay and into memory... Friends And Fellow Toastmasters I know what you're thinking: How can you get some of this? How can your club have its own Delridge Days Toastmasters Success? It's easy if you try. You can achieve your goals as we did: 1. We flew the Toastmasters banner where no Toastmaster banner has ever flown before: high above our city! 2. We got so much free publicity News choppers, Cellphone videos, Police reports. Best of all: 3. We distributed all our literature, All over! You can too. Thank you [BOW WITH HANDS SPREAD ACCEPTING APPLAUSE AND PRAISE WHETHER IT EXISTS OR NOT]
A Friend: Yeah, I had to get my knees replaced. It went great!
Another Friend: My hips went. Got them replaced. Now I'm dancing again!
3rd Friend: I got my hips AND my knees replaced. Now I'm out there causing trouble haha!
Me: I have a little bursitis in my shoulder. Yow!
Everybody: Poor Baby!!
1. We all saw Kavanaugh lie under oath about the contents of his yearbook, which was relevant to the issue of his conduct in high school. The GOP voted for him anyway and that's a scandal but not surprising; women are second-class citizens to the Republican party and Kavanaugh will keep them that way.
But one thing I don't see emphasized enough is that the absurdity of the claim that Kavanaugh faithfully follows the original intent of the law as written.
This is a common claim of the modern corporatist conservative jurist: that they just apply the law as written and if it means workers die on the job, well that's just the way it goes sometimes.
The claim is false. Corporatist conservatives do not follow the plain text of the law when it interferes with their agenda. Kavanaugh gives us an especially clear example in "Seaworld v. Perez".
2. The FACTS of the case are simple: a young worker was torn apart and drowned by an orca at Seaworld, in front of a horrified crowd of spectators. Since this was the third time orcas killed trainers (not all at Seaworld, but it's a small industry) OSHA issued some rules: People working with orcas had to have some protections.
Seaworld didn't like that. It sued, lost, appealed, and lost again 2-1, with Kavanaugh being the lone opponent of worker safety.
3. The TEXT of the law is clear: OSHA has the right and the duty to tell employers to take precautions against known hazards to their employees.
Kavanaugh ignored the text. He wrote an elegant but perverse essay outlining his personal political philosophy about how if workers choose to labor under dangerous conditions that's ok, because many people get satisfaction from facing danger. In Kavanaugh's view, workers are supposed to be experts on the hazards of the job from the moment they're hired and if it turns out they didn't know about a hazard (e.g. "operant conditioning" of an orca doesn't actually work sometimes) well that's too bad; their survivors can always sue in state court (which is certainly a boon to the legal industry, and if a worker doesn't have a survivor with the money to take on Seaworld then the company gets a bonus: no lawsuit!)
4. Kavanaugh's little essay ignores the entire history of worker safety: OSHA and worker compensation systems were created under law because it's better to proactively stop workers from getting killed on the job than to rely on a flood of litigation after the fact. The law is quite clear on this, and Kavanaugh's sophomoric philosophical essay has no place in a courtroom.
Kavanaugh and his ilk wave away the plain text and original intent of the law because they are not originalists or textualists or anything like that. They just put on the disguise to justify their conclusions.
5. In support of his philosophy, Kavanaugh tells a lie in Seaworld: he supports his argument by inventing a fact that is simply not true, and that he knows is not true. Kavanaugh claims that OSHA has not previously regulated entertainment venues (... and from this concludes OSHA can't, which is of course a non sequitur).
How does we know that Kavanaugh knows it's a falsehood? The majority opinion includes a helpful footnote giving a dozen examples of OSHA doing exactly what Kavanaugh says it never has. We know Kavanagh read that footnote because it's his job to read the entire opinion before signing it. He had the duty to read that footnote and therefore knew or should have known that his factual claim was false. He then signed his name to the lie.
That's all you need to know about his judicial philosophy: he lies easily.
6. Reading cases can look hard. They're not short like twitter and they don't have pictures and they too often have long run-on sentences because jurists don't like Strunk and White.
But have you ever debugged software?
Legal logic while esoteric usually pretty simple; you just have to track down the source of every claim, see if the opinion accurately characterizes it (often it doesn't) and then check whether the logical propositions follow (often they don't).
You then study the veneer of policy that covers up the logical flaws and ha-ha! you have understanding.
Whatever you do, don't take seriously the claim that anyone is a textualist, faithfully applying the law as written to the facts as presented and creating a dispassionate result. As Kavanaugh so well shows in his Seaworld dissent, that is simply not so.
The Facebook movies challenge is to post a daily image of a movie that affected your life (up to 10 movies) without commentary. I'll put them here as well but with my comments too.
"Casablanca" needs no introduction
"Wild America" is a fun road trip. To be sure, it was put forth as a vehicle for teenage heartthrobs but seriously, the story is fun!
"Hidden Figures" made me look at the Space Race and also computer programming in a whole new way. I had an educated layman's knowledge of both and (apart from Ada Forsyth) had not really thought of the role of race and gender. It struck me that these smart ladies had their career advancement blocked so the space program benefitted from their expertise that in a more free society might have gone elsewhere. They paid the price to get us into space.
"The Producers (2005)" is just pure fun. Or maybe not so pure.
I liked the original very much but this is the rare remake that goes beyond.
"Blade Runner" is both the best SF and one of the best film noir ever. Why? It's character-driven.
Not until the climax do we realize that we have been cheering for the bad guy all along.
Roy Batty is an escaped slave fighting for his life, and Decker is just a g0d-d@mned slave catcher.
"Tears In Rain" is also awesome poetry.
My law school friend Shiela Kaufold pointed out Hauer also starred in another fantasy involving a bird: "Lady Hawke".
"All About Eve" is witty and fun and a little bit nasty. What people tend to focus on in this film is the crazy witty dialogue ... which is great stuff ... and the main story ... which is a fine story ... but what makes this special to me is Margo Channing thinking it over and deciding that, what the heck, she's in her 40s, no longer the ingenue, and that is o.k. She is going to have a good time being middle aged, and not pretending to be anything else.
That's a lesson we can all use.
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" - I recall the first time I saw this in an East Lansing theater as clearly as yesterday. I changed the way I saw comedy forever.
"Apollo 13" is a great movie in its own right, but I especially loved the charge of the engineers: to the rescue! Sometimes you just have to solve a puzzle, no excuses.
"The Seven Samurai" - it was hard choosing between this and "The Hidden Fortress" and "Ran", but I went with the one I saw first.
"Singing In The Rain" is worth re-watching annually. It just makes you happy. "Make Them Laugh" might be my motto.
When I asked on Facebook what these might be growing in the sheltered planters near work, the conscensus was Dianthus. Sometimes they reseed and come back next year. They should smell nice if you get close. Dianthus, also called Pinks, they smell spicy and sweet - rather like a carnation. Mom had the light pink ones growing around the apple tree. They are called sweet willams
When Kris and I were in love, we commissioned a "Chair And A Half" so we could sit together in comfort.
A regular overstuffed chair was too small to hold us both, and a love seat too big. We went to a place in Tacoma that built to order and thus our Chair And A Half was born. It has a very sold frame and comfortable cloth cover. I loved it and I believed she did too.
When we moved into this house, Kris got a blue uncomfortable couch that became where she sat. It was proportioned badly for me, both stiff in the cushions and a little low and square for me. I asked her to sit with me as she had before and she declined. I should have seen this as a sign, but I didn't.
When she moved out she left the item behind. I dithered between loving it and wanting to get rid of it. It was still comfortable but the cats scratched it quite a lot (...this was before the discovery of the scratching pole. We had never had those as kids so it never occurred to me to get something for them to use.) Ultimately I set it outside on the patio under cover of a tarp. It sat and deteriorated for a couple of years, hugely symbolic of my inability to move on completely. I could not really hold any parties with that in the backyard.
Recently I have been moving on. I took a week off work to move stuff out - made great strides. I started posting more on "Buy Nothing Highland Park" on Facebook, and was greatly cheered when people took Rusty the Wheelbarrow and the Moccasin Birdhouse - things I couldn't sell or donate but still had life in them.
I was ready. I googled disposing of couches in West Seattle. What did I find? for a small fee, the trash utility would pick up a couch. I set the appointment, then put the couch on the curb.
Today it was gone. My patio is usable. A weight is gone. I wish I had taken a photo but otherwise this is all positive. I think I will be able to clear out all furniture with any reminder of Kris and have a much cleaner home.
Also today I helped my Time Bank pal set up for another yard sale. She was way more stuff than I do so I need not feel that I am unusual in having difficulty in getting rid of things unneeded. It can be fun helping set up a canopy, arranging tables, and setting out items in an attractive way.
It's time for change .... announced ( to no surprise ) by a redhead.
This beauty watches over the parking lot behind Pegasus Book Exchange (a place I find myself almost every Sunday. Reading is a good habit!)