Thursday, May 25, 2006

AMHERST WRITERS WORKSHOP - last spring session

Writing suggestion: From the past, write down a color, place, time, person, that has something to do with your character’s past. Ditto for the present.

PAST: red - art museum - Saturday - father

PRESENT: yellow - riverbank - morning - dog

The result---

Woman Who Runs With Away From Wolves

I woke up with an urge to run. Wasn’t that the purpose of a weekend getaway? Leave the city and responsibility behind, follow the inner voice, and “Run away, run away.” The sun was out, which was quite a change from the days before which had been rainy, and the temperature in the cabin was tolerable.

I stuck out my foot from beneath the comforter and tested the air. This would be easy. Shorts and a T-shirt, socks—the ones I wore yesterday would have to do, and trail shoes. Quiety, I gathered the clothes and shoes trying not to wake my husband, whose inner voice had not yet spoken.

I drank quickly from a bottle of water waiting for me on the table. All laced up and ready to go, I headed out the door into the cool, fresh, early morning air.

The trees were quiet, no breeze, no clouds, no sign of rain. I stretched my arms over my head, leaned forward over one knee and then the other, took a deep breath and off I went more peace-filled than I’d been in weeks.

Only the sound of birds twittering and chatting amongst themselves told me I was not dreaming, that a new day had begun. The road was deserted and I broke into a gentle jog. I ran past wild flowers, May Apples, and fallen trees, all by-products of a month of spring rain. I drew energy from the rush of air chilling the sweat on my face. I slowed down only long enough to make a quick decision to turn down a new gravel road that had just been laid since I’d last been to the cabin.

Construction for a vacation home was evident about half a mile down the new road, and I peered through the trees to get a good look. Then, I stopped abruptly and stared straight in front of me. A large gray wolf stood about fifty feet ahead of me and looked back over his shoulder in my direction. Maybe he hadn’t seen me. Or heard me? It’s a wolf, I told myself, he listens and watches the woods for a living. Wolf? Are there wolves in Missouri? Cayote, maybe. My brain raced to figure it out. Will he chase me? Is he hungry? My heart had stopped beating, and I told myself to breath.

I took a step back , remembering somewhere in the back of my head not to turn my back on him. Or is that bears? Doesn’t matter. I kept looking at him, two steps, three, for about ten paces backward. And he never changed his pose. Overwhelmed by fear, I tried to stay calm. The inner voice shouted, “Run away, run away.”

I turned and ran as fast as I could looking up and down the rows of trees for one I could climb. Climb a tree? What would Clarissa Pinkola Estes do? I would keep running.

Glancing back over my shoulder, I couldn’t see around the bend to where the wolf had been standing, but clearly he wasn’t chasing me. My right fore-foot rolled over the loose gravel, and I felt the tendon in my ankle give way. I imagined the pain of sharp wolf teeth tearing into the muscle in my calf, and I ignored the ankle sprain and kept running. All the way back to the cabin, knowing that I’m a woman who runs with away from wolves.

[oops, html problem with paragraph indents--dstls]

Let your inner voice speak--bidden or unbidden your inner voice is there, so let it out and listen to your own voice. Amherst Workshops resume in the fall.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


My daughter recently gave me It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty and other tragedies of married life by Judith Viorst, published in 1968. Viorst is better known as the author of Alexander and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

The Hard to be Hip book was a surprise. I wondered what my daughter had in mind when she chose this book for me, a choice made three years ago when she was attending an art school in Georgia--near the Garden of Good and Evil. I still don't know what she was thinking, maybe of aging people in general or maybe the content of the book spoke to her about me. Viorst describes in a series of poems the progression of unHIPness after marriage in the 60's. I understand these poems in ways I wish I did not understand.

The youthful idealism not only present in the 60's generation is an idealism shared by Henry David Thoreau groupies, modern art lovers, and minimalists past and present. If you majored in business, hard science, ENGINEERING, or anything really "useful" in life, and hated your English, philosophy, and music/art appreciation courses [--if you took any at all], Viorst may sound to you like some pot smoking, bleeding heart liberal, socialist from the 60's who recovered just in time to join the suburban crush of SUV driver's who live in your neighborhood. And mine.

Here's one of my favorites:

Once I aspired to

Humble black turtleneck sweaters

And spare unheated rooms

With the Kama Sutra, a few madrigals, and

Great literature and philosophy.

Once I considered money

Something to be against

On the grounds that

Credit cards,

Installment-plan buying,

And joint checking account

Could never coexist with

Great literature and philosophy.

Once I believed

That the only kind of marriage I could respect

Was a spiritual relationship

Between two wonderfully spiritual human beings

Who would never argue about money

Because they would be too busy arguing about

Great literature and philosophy.

I changed my mind

Having discovered that

Spiritual is hard without the cash

To pay the plumber to unstop the sink

And pay a lady to come clean and iron

So every other Friday I can think about

Great literature and philosophy.

No one ever offers us a choice

Between the Kama Sutra and a yacht.

We're always selling out for diaper service

And other drab necessisities that got ignored in

Great literature and philosophy.

A jug of wine,a loaf of bread, and thou

No longer will suffice. I must confess

My consciousness is frequently expanded

By Diners' Club, American Express, and things

undreamed of in

Great literature and philosophy.

I saw us walking hand-in-hand through life,

But now it's clear we really need two cars.

I looked with such contempt at power mowers,

And now, alas, that power mower's ours.

It seems I'm always reaching for my charge plates,

When all I'd planned to reach for were the stars,

Great literature and philosophy.

If you want to know what HIP really is, read the book. New editions are available at Amazon.com for $22.00. The original price of this 94 page paperback in 1968 was $1.25. And you think the price of gasoline has gone up. Think of it this way, today's paperback is less than the cost of a tank of gas in your SUV or almost any other car you might drive these days--not mine, I drive a Prius because I'm HIP :-) And I majored in literature.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Virtual youth is only a website away. Myspace.com makes it possible, according to the Los Angeles Times, to act like an adolescent no matter how old you are. I don't know about you, but adolescence was soooo much fun! It's kinda scary that there's a cyber-world for such behavior.

Caution, not for the faint of heart or anyone whose memories of middle-school angst still cause serious depression: "LET'S begin with an exercise. First, name the eight most important people in your life Â? friends, family, rock stars. These are your Top 8. Now rank those people in order of importance. Finally, send a copy of this list to everybody you know, including people who didn't make the cut. Be careful not to hurt the wrong feelings, or you may end up getting bumped from other people's Top 8s."

OUCH! Not on the list? Not picked for the team? Why do I want to think about this?

I've always thought adolescent human beings should inhabit another planet. Isn't that why we are exploring Mars? One planet may not be big enough. "There are more than 76 million people on MySpace (about 270,000 join daily), and Anderson [president of MySpace] wants to expand the MySpace experience until the entire Net rests within it." Anderson claims, "That's the goal and ambition. Almost all the things you can do online can be enhanced by the social structure of MySpace."

Key word=ALMOST. And almost all the things you can do in real life you can do virtually online. There are just some things we do not want to do or know other people are doing. "Social structure"? There's a dissertation in some sociology Ph.D. student's future.
Warning--Segue ahead

Speaking of sociologists, if you made it through adolescence with only slight scaring, you grew up to believe money can't buy happiness. And now studies prove this to be solidly true. Neither, it seems, can government help you to be happy. "Those who areskepticall about the capacity of a government to make us happy are sometimes advised to look at Bhutan, the absolute monarchy that has adopted the politics of happiness. This is the Buddhist kingdom that has forced more than 100,000 Hindus of Nepalese origin to leave the country. It may not be very democratic, but its track record on promoting happiness is second to none. In pursuit of this cause it has boldly banned wrestling and MTV." The point of life, according to experts who are happily studying our happiness quotas, is to accept what life offers, not necessarily searching for what makes us happy.

Professor Furedi, the segue above, capsulizes the study in this formula: "concern with prosperity and economic growth diminishes the quality of our emotional life and makes us unhappy." Thus, if you want to be happier, don't set your sights, your dreams, your hopes too high; in fact, lower them considerably, and you will be far happier. ["They argue that if we were more modest in our aspirations and lowered our expectations, we would be far happier people."]

Today, I think I'll hope for a Happy Meal.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Oh, my. The ten worst album covers of all time. I went to see and forgot where I'd found the link, or I'd be giving credit here.

Just when you think they can't get worse, they do. Did anyone think these were cool covers?
No, really.


writing suggestion: Pat Corrigan --fearless leader-- brought pages from art books of various photographs and works of art. Pick one and write the story.

I chose a Rembrandt's

Rembrandt and Saskia in the Scene of the Prodigal Son in the Tavern

In the courtyard, surrounded by the Knights of Jubilation, Sir Runcstant Bragforwelth read the pronouncement held tightly by the King’s page. The village would celebrate tonight, to be sure, for battle had been won. The Knights of Jubilation threw their feathered hats into the air and paraded into the Spinning Wheelhouse for a night of festivity.

I’d watched them from the window and felt them before I actually saw their faces duck under the timbered doorway. Their heavy footsteps rattled the walls and shook the flames a top the candles. Before I could step back and hide near the darkness of the hearth, he grabbed me and sat me upon his knee.

“Ah, lassy, I’ve not seen the beauty of your eyes since the moon was last full.” He held up his glass stein and called, “Brothers, we cannot be defeated in battle and we will not be defeated by this sour mead that flows from our honorable host’s kegs tonight. Drink until the sun rises over the firmaments, I say.”

Glancing back over my shoulder, I saw the brothers stand and each one drank clean the goblets and steins in their hands. Lesnel hastened to the keg to refill the pitcher, and another, and another. The mead would not last long in this thirsty crowd, I wagered silently.

Nor would I, without a doubt, unless I found a way to distract my Dutch friend and extricate myself from his merry knee. The hen sat quietly beside me, but I knew her fear of flame and reached toward the candle on the table.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

In celebration of THREE years for debordante baratin online!!
Another Anniversaire Heureux!!

Joy Blogging

How can sitting all day with your eyes on the screen
make you think of new things and say what you mean?
The keys are alive with the power of words
though the thought of it all is something absurd.
In Bloggsville they type and they type and they scroll.
They read and they search trying to make themselves whole.
But all that arrives on the screen are the bits,
the tids and the flotsom and whatever fits.
The blogging goes on, day in, and day out,
as they wonder out loud and shift with each doubt.
It's a Zeuslike land all the words that they blog.
Yet, the bloggers blog on, blog, blog, blog-blog, blog, blog.

originally published online May 17, 2003 FIRST POST - title has been updated

And now, let's celebrate with a trip to France and maybe uncork a flavorful Bordeaux --click your heels three times and your mouse once!

We can't go to France and not see La Tour Eiffel - so now with the wonders of time lapse video, we spend the day in Paris.

Have another glass of wine, to celebrate AND to prevent deafness....
(via Mirabilis)

Monday, May 15, 2006

 Posted by Picasa


ain't nothin' more alive than me

when you are here

thirty years alive with one

another despite life and

its ups and downs

but with you it's mostly

ups and the downs

when you are gone

travelin' to see

me back home again

alive with you

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Missouri Botanical Garden presents Chihuly! Worth a visit.


On May 16, 2003 I built this blog.
Doesn't seem like three years.
Though life is considerably different now, and changes don't happen overnight.
Huh, how about that.
When I begin to think about how life is the same, I reread the blog from 2003.
Oh, my.

Three years ago, NO ONE i knew personally, had a blog, and most of them were clueless as to blogging. Now, everyone knows what a blog is, --ok, not everyone, some people look at me and say, "Blog?"--but most have at least heard about it. And b-zillions of them exist around the globe. Now, lots of people I know personally have blogs.

Looking forward to celebrating in some blogging way on May 16~!


Last night Pat gave the suggestion: Describe a place or landform; be the landform, write from its perspective; or about the landform

Time moves slowly, geologically speaking. Where once my rough and grainy surface protruded from the soil, I became smooth, washed by millions of years of wind and rain. A rivulet here, a torrent there, and geologic masterpieces are formed.

Patient and still I waited in the middle of the desert and beyond the ridge of mountains that towered over the plains. Red rocks, marked by layers of sediment, found a new shape in each millennium. I felt the trickle of water and the rush of wind brush the surface of my rocky hide. Nothing changed quickly.

I remembered the beginning of time, and God looked upon the earth, looked directly at me and said, “Wait ‘til they see this?”

Millions of years passed. Millions of acre feet of water poured through the deepening waters of the mighty stream that began to stretch and crack the weakest geologic points in the pattern of my layered rock.

Those who stand now on the sides of high precipices surrounding my valleys stare with utter amazement and are aware of the hand of God. The wait was painful, but worth every precious drop of rain. I am one mighty, grand, incomparable canyon.

Last suggestion for the evening:
Visualize an edge—tangible or experiential

Adriana held back her tears. Not worth crying about. Everything will be….

Paul leaned in toward her. She felt his breath as he sighed and spoke quietly. “You really need some rest now.”

Rest, yes, she warmed to the idea and closed her eyes. When she sensed she was alone, she rose from the sofa and walked to the kitchen. Adriana picked up her keys from the table, walked past her purse, looked back at the familiarity of her life, and opened the door.

Behind the wheel of the car, Adriana let her mind wander. She had no direction in mind, and turned only when the light was red. The continual red lights and right turns led her in a circle a mile wide. She watched the steering wheel circle right and return.

The gas tank was half full, but she did not even look. The radio talk show host took phone calls from listeners, but she never heard the questions. Adriana was lost in a spiral of interior dialogue and the small circle of her life spun out of control.

As if awakening from a dream, she saw the light turn yellow and merged to the left turn lane. I will make a choice, she said out loud and waited for the signal to change.

The road narrowed and the gravel grew rough beneath the tires. Trees disappeared, the sky opened up, and the choice became clear. Before her she saw the emptiness of life and knew that she could drive into the quiet night on the other side of the edge.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I believe Collyeritus is an inherited disease. Otherwise known as hoarding [now classified under the Obesessive Compulsive Disorder of Hoarding], someone who obsessively saves everything in her possession is a "collyerite."

The name "Collyerite" is what I would call a person whose behavior resembles that of the infamous Collyer brothers of New York during the early twentieth century. These rather well-to-do brothers lived in Harlem where they managed to save everything that ever entered their apartment. The story is a disturbing one, no matter what your disposition to saving stuff, but moreso if you know of someone who saves damn near everthing.

Eventually, after the first brother dies, the remaining man is accidently killed when he trips over one of his own boobytraps and becomes trapped under the debris in his apartment. I can relate to this scenario. Actually, I am related to this scenario. My father, my mother, my aunt, and maybe my own children have suffered at one time or another from varying degrees of collyeritus. Like a virus, collyeritus is always trying to get the best of me. Its a daily struggle to resist the urge to tuck things away, start a new pile, or begin another collection.

I am as big a spendthrift, recycle, freecycle nut as anyone, and my junk drawer, craft shelf, and recycle bins are filled to the brim. I do attempt to discard all paper, magazines, cans, bottles, plastic, newspaper, and cloth that are not of immediate use, or for which there is no immediate plan for use. There are a number of recycling centers in St.Louis that welcome these items. Happily, I take all my stuff to Kirkwood's recycling center, and, then, I take myself out to lunch. It is the least I can do to reward myself for trying to save the planet.

The Collyer brothers had OCD/Hoarding worse than most people I know who have collyeritus. My father, who filled the basement with no end of things he might need one day, apologized on his death bed for the state of the junk he was unable to take with him. Everyone is familiar with the "can't take it with you" adage. And there's the joke about never seeing a hearse with a U-Haul behind it. But people with collyeritus don't believe it. Until they face death's door and finally realize it's narrow. What does scripture say? Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Perhaps the authors of the synoptic gospels were not thinking about how much of the earth we'd like to bring with us to heaven when they wrote these words, but I'll wager they'd agree it's better to let go sooner than later to those things that encumber us on earth.

The OCD Foundation is plain spoken about the traits of hoarders:
"They seem to have difficulty discriminating between what is or will be useful, and what is not. Some hoarders can freely admit that the things they are saving are currently broken or damaged and unusable. They will stubbornly insist, however, that they will someday repair or refurbish the items and either make use of them or give them away.

Another reason for hoarding resembles the type of thinking seen in hyper-responsible obsessions. It is the idea that each thing they save and/or repair might be useful to others (rather than themselves), and that the hoarder would be responsible (and therefore blameful and guilty) for another person not having this vital item should the need arise. They may also rationalize that what they are doing is actually "recycling," and are performing a community service by conserving resources. Throwing away something that could possibly be reused is seen as being highly irresponsible. In actuality, there really is no need for what they have saved, there is no one to give the items to, and the only result is that the hoarder is burdened with a house full of junk.

Some of the things most commonly saved include newspapers, magazines, lists, pens, pencils, empty boxes, pamphlets, old greeting cards, junk mail, old appliances, outdated books and even assorted labels, string, rubber bands, plastic containers, bottles, and bottle caps. In the most extreme cases, people have been known to save such things as empty matchbooks, used tissues, old cigarette butts, bird feathers, old cars, discarded paper cups, used aluminum foil, paper towels, lint, and hairs. Some of these sufferers will even rummage through other people's trash, and bring home obvious junk that to them, seems quite useful or repairable."

Not long ago, I heard a story that perported to explain why California is sinking into the ocean. Seems too many people with National Geographic magazine collections were moving to the ocean-view state. I once moved my collection of NG to California. I moved it to Kentucky when I left CA, and to Ohio, and to Indiana, and now it resides in St. Louis with me. This is worrisome. I am looking into purchasing the CD collection of NG, but I have no idea what to do with the 1936-2006 magazines. Why do I need all those magazines in any form? Now, that's a good question.

I wonder how long it will take to dispose of all the things I've saved for no good reason. Not as long as it will take to dispose of my mother's collection, or heaven knows my aunt's collections. I'm starting now to UNcollyerize my house and garage. I do not want my parting words to my loved ones to be "sorry for the mess I'm leaving behind." And I don't want them to have to deal with what to do with National Geo's, old socks, Christmas decorations from the 1980's, and glasses, plates, and teapots. If it won't fit in the casket, it must go.

This brings me to another topic--buying a casket now and using it for a bed, so you get more use out of it--more bang for the buck, you see. When you die, you really can't enjoy the coffin. But....we must save this idea for another day's blog.

May 9, 2006
or should that be HERstory

"It was on this day in 1960 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the world's first birth control pill.

It was one of the first times a drug had ever been approved by the FDA for a purpose other than to cure an illness or relieve pain. It was also the first time that a new medication was known not by its official name, Enovid-10, but simply as "the pill."

Some people hoped it would end unwanted pregnancies but today about 50 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned." from Writer's Almanac

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Carrie Kabak's new book COVER THE BUTTER is a fun read. It's clearly a girl's book and not for those readers who must have suspense, murder, and mayhem on half the pages. I believe it is Kabak's first novel. She was raised in England and then came to the states; she lives in Kansas City today. The book begins in Kate Cadogan's midlife, but quickly jumps back in time to Kate's life in England at age 14. The angst of adolescence is no different for English girls in Catholic Schools than here in St. Louis where many of us wore starched, pleated uniforms and answered, "yes, s'ter, no s'ster" all day long. Kate is longing for the attention of the "to die for" cool boy who hangs out on the street. She wants to drink and party and live life with wild, wreckless abandon. But she is restrained by a mother (Biddy) and father who love their only daughter more than they love one another. Kate is not allowed to do anything that will mar her soul or give a moment's pleasure for which she will feel Catholic guilt afterward.

I love the title of the book which comes from the image of covering the butter after dinner. Kate's parents light up cigarettes at the table when they've finished eating, but first they cover the butter, so the smoke and ash do not harm the delicate flavor and purity of the butter. Kate is covered by the shield of their love for her. Despite the parents' best efforts, Kate finds ways to squeeze as much flavor out of her life as she can.

On the cover, and on Amazon, the reader is promised the story of a woman who discovers how to live life for herself and not to please those who control her throughout her life. I haven't finished the book, yet. Kate is only 21 in the chapter I closed last night. But I am rooting for her, eager for her to discover what she can do when she stops living life for her friends and parents' approval. I've been immersed in Sr. Fidelma mysteries for four months, which are set in seventh century Ireland--remarkable series of historical mysteries. Cover the Butter is not a mystery in the same sense, but I am turning the pages faster than I can read them to find out what Kate will do next.

*** Visit the St. Louis library. Kabak and Tremayne's books available now.

City library patrons may go here to hunt for these books: St. Louis City Library

Thursday, May 04, 2006

AMHERST writers group met again last night

The third writing suggestion was to begin the piece with:
"The first time I heard the story..."

Plain Story

“The first time I heard that story the ending was different.”

“Well, sure,” Velma said as she hung the last bra on the line, “there’s always a new twist.” She swung her hips to the left, as if for emphasis, and hoisted the basket off the ground at the same time. “He’s twisted, is it,” she said as she walked back into the house.

I followed her as far as the door, but turned back to look at the road. I wanted to see a car, a truck, anything that would tell me there was life out there.

The house was still, even the air hung lifeless around us. In the kitchen, I felt the dampness rise up on my arms and chest. “What’s the real story?” I asked Velma. “Was anyone there? Anyone except Mason, that is?”

She looked at me, and then posed in front of the fan. “Angelina says she knows. She’s so old now, of course, we can’t trust her memory.”

“He told me the horse was not in the barn, but wandering along the road. No one knows how long,” I said. I looked down the road and pictured how far a horse could walk if given enough time. “The hand was still holding onto the saddle horn.”

“That’s what he said, did he? I told you he was twisted,” Velma said grinning and wiping her neck with a dishtowel. “Lands, I haven’t heard that one.” She turned back to face the fan.

“So just the part about the hand is a lie?”

“A lie? I didn’t say it was a lie,” she said into the fan, and it blew the red hair off her shoulders. “We can’t say what’s the truth.”

“The body just vanished, then. Is that what everyone believes?” I wanted to believe it, either that or the body would turn up and probably not in any place we were likely to expect. Vanishing bodies seemed good to me in this case. Last thing I wanted was to spend the summer in this muggy hell hole waiting for the end of the story to turn up.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The Today Show had a segment on false eye-lashes this morning. Madonna has diamond studded fake eye-lashes. They modeled these and other assorted styles of lashes for all face shapes, colors, and sizes. What they didn't tell us is that eye-lashes, your own, can grow longer. Mine have.

With every upside there's a downside. It's the eye-drop used for treating glaucoma that causes the side-effect of longer lashes. My drops which I've used for over a year have caused noticeable lash growth. I asked my ophthalmologist if this growth was limited? Are they going to grow and grow right down to my chin? He assured me that I would not need to tuck them into my headband, that the growth was limited. Thus far, this is true. They are longer, but not yet a nuisance.

The possibility of losing eyesight from glaumoca, if not treated, is serious for those of us who have inherited tendency toward the disease. But meanwhile, as the drug for prevention is used daily, I'll have great eye-lashes. Vision loss due to lashes that weigh down my eye-lid so that I can't open my eyes to see, at this point, is not a problem.

After the eye-lash segment on the Today Show they talked about growing your own vegetable garden. They could have segued from growing your own eye-lashes if they had known.

[[note: Most, but not all, forms of glaucoma are characterized by high intraocular pressure. Intraocular pressure is maintained at normal levels when some of the fluid produced by the eye is allowed to flow out. The fluid (aqueous humor) is produced by the ciliary body where it flows into the anterior chamber and then out through a spongy tissue at the front of the eye called the trabecular meshwork into a drainage canal. In open-angle glaucoma, fluid cannot flow effectively through the trabecular meshwork, and this causes an increase in intraocular pressure causing damage to the optic nerve and leading to vision loss.]]

To see what it looks like having glaucoma as it progresses go HERE

Monday, May 01, 2006

Over the weekend, the news media highlighted the subject of food poisoning from bagged lettuce. All salad ingredients are possible food poisoning sources. The people working in the kitchens are not always washing their hands before preparing the salads. Thus, uncooked food harbors the bacteria and poisons that can't wait to make us sick nearly to death. And with food poisoning, you wish you'd die!

I do wonder, however, at the timing of the media's announcement. Here we are wondering what to do with immigrants in this country at them same time we find out kitchen and farm workers are not as clean as we need them to be. Immigrants are likely to be in any restaurant kitchen and most certainly farm workers at all stages of the food chain process. Kitchen workers are always blamed for food poisoning in restaurants, usually because of faulty hand washing, but occasionally for food prep or food storage problems.

Is it a coincidence that we are now pointing the finger at immigrants, pointing directly at their lack of cleanliness and lower health standards? We point the finger now? Just at the same time we want to lock the borders? Strict immigration laws will now result in better health for citizens, less food poisoning opportunities?

Here's another perspective: food poisoning isn't all bad. We need it to strengthen our immunities to worse things.

"In this sense at least, a little bit of food poisoning is probably a good thing. It helps us to keep up our personal immunity as well as our capacity to respond to outbreaks, and serves the crucial role of reminding all participants in this shortened, more visible, food chain about the inherent risks of eating our environments. Finally, in order to begin to bridge the gulf of estrangement between consumers and their food-environments, I would recommend that every housing development be required, for educational purposes, to incorporate a small mixed farm, and an abattoir, and that all agrifood researchers be required to shop for, and prepare, their own meals for a minimum of one year." An Agroecosystem Perspective on Foodborne Illnesses, by David Waltner-Toews, DVM, PhD,

I never would have thought of THAT! Definitely not what I'm thinking while I'm puking my guts out after eating bad food. Incidentally, I have never contracted food poisoning from lettuce or salad. Once from cabbage slaw. Once from sprouty type salad.

I did not hear any news people mention the fact that dirty kitchen habits of immigrants cause the tainting of lettuce, and they usually don't leave us to jump to those conclusions on our own. Maybe it was just a coincidence. After all, food poisoning is good for you. Funny, I didn't hear THAT on the news.

On Being Compared to Sheep

I am only vaguely familiar with the lives of sheep. Scripture's metaphor says humans are as sheep (PS 95). If you think about it too much, it doesn't seem like a complement. I ran across this bit about sheep in my reading:

"Each Ewe has only a six-hour window of receptivity to mating. This poses no problem to the ram, who can infallibly sense which ewe might welcome him at any given moment. The rancher relied on ten rams to "service" four thousand female sheep, which meant that the rams worked themselves to exhaustion over several weeks, losing much of their body weight in the process. All work, no romance. When I saw a scrawny, bedraggled ram, his chores done, his strength dissipated, good for nothing but the slaughterhouse and even then unfit for human consumption, I breathed a prayer of thanks for human sexual arrangements. (Zoologists note that very few species--human, dolphins, some primates, and the large cats--engage in sex as a form of pleasure.)" author--Phillip Yancey

Or maybe the rams are having fun; and humans, at least men, are more like sheep than is at first obvious.

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