Monday, June 15, 2009

Which seeds will you sow?

Another great day outside! A little warmer than yesterday, and it felt great. As promised, here are a few garden pictures.

Garden 09

This is the bed where I planted tomatoes and peppers. I could cram a lot more in there, but I only bought eight of each. They didn't have jalapeno plants, if you can believe that, so I got four serrano and four sweet banana peppers. I'll start seeds next year, and do some bell pepper varieties. Ken doesn't like them, but I'll happily eat them all!

Garden 09B

On the right is the bed where I planted pole beans (foreground), yellow and green zucchini (in the middle), and cucumbers (at the far end). Do you like the trellises I made? I'll need to get some more bamboo stakes so I can make more next year. Notice the fence around the garden--I call it Stalag 13. It's eight feet high, with two feet underground. If we didn't have an eight foot high fence, the deer would be able to jump it. We still get voles burrowing underneath, but it seems to keep out the larger critters. Except for one occasion when I ambled out to the garden, tra-la tra-la, opened the gate, and saw one very fat Groundy freeze and look at me, then run frantically back and forth along the fence until he found a way out. I said, "How did you get in here?!" (He didn't answer.) We put some additional fencing along the bottom after that--he must have squeezed his fat self through one of the larger openings in the wire. Oh, and a turkey flew in there once, but was able to fly out eventually. The greater danger is slugs (ugh) or the Dreaded Verticillium Wilt. I loved getting out and planting today! It made me feel really ambitious for next year. There are four other beds like the two pictured here, so we've got plenty of room to put in a veritable cornucopia of goodies!


We have a baby plum! In fact, we have two. We planted three fruit trees a couple of years ago, and we were excited to see a couple of plums on one of them. We haven't sprayed or anything, so I don't know if we'll be able to harvest our incredible bounty (one for Ken, one for me) this year. I'll have to get a picture of the apple tree out front (which we also don't spray, although we might change that next year), where the bees have obviously been very busy. It is bursting with apples, and the deer will be quite happy this fall!

Warning: Serious talk ahead

My buddy Milwaukee Dan #1 posted a New York Times op-ed piece by Frank Rich on Facebook yesterday, and the piece perfectly articulated my recent unease with some of the things I've been reading and hearing, and my dismay at the shooting deaths around the country lately. Another buddy, Bob, wrote a great entry about the piece, and I encourage you to read both.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and entitled to voice that opinion. That should not and cannot be denied to any one of us. I'm afraid we've crossed a line, though. The line between civil disagreement and flat-out hatred. We all have the right to speak out and disagree with anyone, but we do not have the right to incite a riot. The impression I'm getting lately from bloviators like Limbaugh or Beck or O'Reilly is that they would be quite pleased to see harm come to President Obama. No, they do not come out and say "This guy needs to be killed," but their failure to tell their faithful legion to take it down a notch constitutes as implicit approval for whatever anyone might take upon themselves to do. There are unstable people out there, like the shooter at the Holocaust Museum, and the vitriol that spews from talking heads only fuels their instability and internal fire...and sometimes they explode.

Stop hateJust this weekend, a Republican activist in South Carolina posted a "funny" little thing on his Facebook page about a gorilla who escaped from a zoo: "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors--probably harmless." How is that funny? Not only is it offensive and racist, it's idiotic, because he obviously doesn't understand how evolution works. (Here's a clue, douchebag: it's not a direct line of descent. It's a matter of a common ancestor, with a genetic shift among populations. Of course, he probably doesn't believe in evolution, so I'm wasting my time.)

I'm sure there were plenty of extreme left-wing talking heads calling for Bush's head, but I honestly don't remember it being anywhere as bad as this. The op-ed piece mentioned the angry cries at McCain/Palin rallies last year, and I'm glad, because that is what the latest hatefulness reminds me of. People yelling "Terrorist! Traitor!" when Obama was mentioned...and several times, "Kill him!" I was appalled at the time and said that it needed to stop. At one memorable meeting, Senator McCain stepped up and actually defended Obama, correcting an audience member in her criticisms of Obama the "Arab." Who has the courage to speak up now and say that this has to stop? There are a few (the piece mentions Shepard Smith), but why isn't the majority of reasonable people crying for a halt to such venomous talk?

I have great faith in the ability of our Secret Service to protect our President and his family. But they shouldn't have to work quite this hard. Look at it this way: the guard at the Holocaust Museum was killed in the performance of his duties. He was protecting the people in the museum, and he died because he took that very seriously. When a nutjob who hated Jews came into the museum, this brave guard stepped up to stop him and died because he did so. That is one man. There are hundreds of Secret Service agents who are willing to give their lives to protect the President. Do the would-be killers of the President care about collateral damage? I doubt it. Why egg them on?

Stop hate2 So why do talk show hosts and writers continue to up the level of hatred? Do they not understand that there are people out there who are at the tipping point? Even silence can be inferred as encouragement for some of these unstable people. I continue to read things in Blogtropolis that astonish me in their intense hatred of Obama. I'm still reading bullshit about how his birth certificate is false (the shooter at the Holocaust Museum was a birfer, in fact), the continued mishmash of ideologies (Is he a socialist? a fascist? an Arab? a Muslim? What?), and even worse bullshit that speculates that he's the Antichrist. For God's sake, people, get a grip. If you don't like his policies or politics, fine. Vote against him in the next election, and maybe you'll be a part of voting him out of a second term. That's how we do it here!

But please, please stop this insane, irrational hatred of the man and/or his wife. You can make your voice heard in local, state, and national elections. You can write to your legislators. You can even write your opinion on your blog. (But be logical, 'kay? "I don't like him cuz he's stoopid" is not a valid argument.) Since when did violence and an armed revolution become a viable alternative to rational discourse and casting your vote at your polling place? Does anyone really want to see rioting here like we're seeing in Iran right now? Political activism does not and should not mean the endorsement of violence, hatred, or killing, and sometimes an endorsement doesn't have to be spoken. Actions usually speak louder than words. Effecting civic change does not have to come by way of the loss of civility. Sowing the seeds of hatred by your words and deeds will only result in further discord and hate, and more violence and bloodshed.

I ask again: Which seeds will you sow?


  1. Agree with you about the sentiment. There's no place for hate or violence, but you're wrong about it not being this bad for Bush. There was a movie about his fictional assasination, among many other things, and comments galore that were out of line. Doesn't mean it should be tit for tat now, but it *was* out there.

  2. Well said. As I glance at 'Slappy's' comment, it isn't that it is 'tit for tat' that is the problem. It is the vitrol that this behaviour is being encouraged, as if it is okay to hate the President.

    This is taking it up a notch. This will lead to disrespect to the office. And that is another matter entirely.

  3. Hi Beth,
    I think these commentators are deliberately inciting hatred for one reason: it attracts an audience, gets people talking, keeps ratings high and lines their coffers.

  4. Fuck this, I'm moving to Canada. ;)~ And Slappy, I think it's a tad more severe this go around. Bush had the whole old white guy thing going on. Being the first black president is far harder than it will be for any other president to come. You can't honestly fucking compare the two. Isn't there anything you can just agree on rather than throw in some reason why the 'publicans had it just as bad? I would appreciate your opinions a lot more if they were so far close minded.

  5. In the spirit of harmony and Blogger love, I have to say that I had forgotten about the movie that Dan mentioned, about the fictional assassination of Pres. Bush. There definitely was a lot of rhetoric and hatred involved there, and as I wrote to Dan, I'm a lot more involved in Blogtropolis now, so I'm more aware of the invective aimed towards Pres. Obama.

    I do, however, think that the level of nastiness coming from talk radio, and the blogs that I come across, is much higher than that going on during Bush's presidency. The level of ANGER is much higher in the country right now, and I believe it's up to all of us, including talk radio hosts, to regain a sense of reason and bring it down several notches. This hatred is not helping matters, and if it continues, I believe that more people will be hurt. None of us want that! I know we can all agree on that!

  6. Brazilliant piece, Beth, as usual.
    I get so frustrated these days hearing and reading the things people are saying, with eiother no knowledge of the facts or spouting outright lies.
    I have been on record as saying that i think both Bush and Cheney are war criminals and terrorists and liars, but I never, ever, uttered a word about harming them, much less killing them.
    This kind of talk is unacceptable. it's free; it's allowed' but it needn't be the talk of the land.

  7. Love the tie in to gardening and what sentiment will you sow :o)

  8. i love your are so ingenious with how you figure things out....have you seen the Topsy Turvy tomato plant thingies? Two coworkers have them and one has good results and one has dead tomato plant hanging. LOL

    i WILL go and read the entry and articles you want us to read. Palin needs to shut up...period....i hate Rush Limbaugh....and Cheney....and those who continue their sick thoughts and public tirades against Obama need to shut up, seriously. I fear for the safety of the mom sent me a terribly offensive monkey email about Michelle and Barack. People are just fucking stupid.

  9. As a left-winger, I called for Bush's head, but here's the difference - I wanted it via impeachment, not violence.

    Unfortunately for the political pseudo pundits their antics may increase ratings but they increase the irrelevance of their party in America. The further to the right they slide, the more people will feel they don't have a home.

    If I were a moderate Republican I know I'd be having some serious doubts about wanting to affiliate myself in the same party with some of these nutjobs.

    Say what you want about crazy liberals, but even Dennis Kucinich isn't this bad!

  10. Marty has the right answer. Trace all of it down to its bare bones and you will find the profit motive. From the Cheney/Limbaugh/O'Reilly pissing contest all the way down to junk food, it's all about the dollar.

  11. Beth I once read that for evil to flurish it only takes good men to do nothing...

    I pray so much that the good men find the courage to stand up NOW.

    Glad that you are getting the garden in shape it is looking good. My good neighbour has just been along and cut the grass etc. he is such a good man.

    Much Love Sybil xx

  12. Nice looking Garden, like the poles for the beans, we have planted now that its warmer, If you want to get rid of SLUGS, I put a couple Tuna fish cans in the soil almost level with the ground and I pour about an inch of BEER in each one, slugs LOVE BEER, problem is when they crawl into the cans they can't get back out!!!

  13. i was gonna say the exact same thing woody said about the slugs and BEER. it works!

    will go read that article later.


  14. I used to garden when i was a kid, had onions, radishes, carrots, tomatoes and banana peppers..I loved it..first thing that came to mind for me with the slugs was maybe a carefully weighted catapult system? nothing to pass the time by than watching slugs hit the magic spot, then find themselves flying thru the air..yes, this is usually how my mind for the rest, the irrational hatred of someone is infuriating..nothing you can say will change the persons mind, and it's a stressful feeling..nice garden though :)

  15. Your garden looks very good! I hope you have lots of fresh veggies!

  16. First, the garden looks fantastic and as I was reading I was on guard for any worm/slug talk. Well done.
    Secondly, I was impressed by what you have written, observed and offered as a perspective for people to absorb. The irrational hatred will mark a disturbing decline in this country and if it's circling around ratings....thats just disgusting.

  17. Great garden pictures! May your crops be bountiful.

    Okay, now about the serious stuff, amen. every time I read comments on some news story about the president or first lady, or some observations on a message board, I am thoroughly disgusted with the level of hate and viciousness that goes way beyond being critical of some policy or action on behalf of the administration. Your voice of reason and decency is so refreshing.


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