Monthly Archives: June 2010

McChrystal & Macarthur

President fired General Macarthur for insubordination; will President Obama do the same with McChrystal?

I think that he should. Certainly, given our present strategy, McChrystal is needed. But it is a failed strategy and should be terminated along with the General’s career. Macarthur’s strategy was unacceptable and he was confronted with the fact that he was not Commander in Chief in a way that made that unerringly clear. McChrystal, however essential he thinks he is in Afghanistan, was not elected and has taken an oath of office to serve his Commander in Chief.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice in Article 88 states: “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” McChrystal has obviously violated that code and should either resign or be fired.

McChrystal’s apology and his firing his press aide hardly disguise his contempt for his Commander. Let him go and let go of a failed country at the same time.

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Yes, I will keep the change!

Today I’ll shift from Community Supported Agriculture to a bigger topic, but maybe they are related.

The chairman of BP apologizes to the American people for the oil spill and then has to apologize for the apology. What is going on here?

In his obvious Nordic accent, Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg pledges $20 Billion to make sure the little guy is not forgotten in the months and years ahead of the clean-up and job loss that our coastal citizens have suffered and will suffer. The wetlands, its creatures and those whose lives depend upon the water of the northern Gulf of Mexico are acknowledged by a giant corporation to be the underdogs whom BP will make whole. But a hue and cry goes up that the Chairman, whose English is obviously not sufficiently idiomatic to filter his faux pas, calls the victims “small people.”

“Small people,” “little guy,” “underdog,” they are all the same and have forever been the real champions of the American spirit. It is us little guys, us small people, us underdogs who can float nearer the top with the tar balls, if only we will stop taking offense at what we are called long enough to realize that we constitute, or could if we wanted, a real populist movement.

The Tea Party rage is not a populism because it is merely the anguished cry of fear at losing individual autonomy and independence, neither of which can mean what they once were supposed to mean in a society so compact and complex as ours. With their bumper stickers about keeping their guns and money while “you take the change,” the rage ralliers miss the very change that can make a difference. That change is to recognize that the big issues are not gun possession and gay marriage but are the problems that are nearly universally recognized: Wall Street and corporate greed, money driven politics, small business vitality, a greener economy and affordable housing and health care. Confront these issues with the solid American values of equal opportunity and equal justice and there is the possibility of a Populist Movement with focus and clout.

Let’s not be side-tracked in yelling about someone calling us small people or little guys. Instead let’s us underdogs unite! We’ve nothing to lose and the change will keep us from continuing to be victimized by our ignorance and their arrogance and avarice.

At the end of the day, in its small people way, Community Supported Agriculture is the sprouting of real Populism.

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Community Supported Agriculture

Nothing obscure or mysterious to say today, rather I’d like to tempt your tastes for something fresh.

English Peas, more than a peck of them, herbs and a bouquet-beaucoup of gnarly, green garlic tops – quite a haul to say nothing of two quarts of freshly picked strawberries– Seeing what was going into our “Wayward Seed Farm” canvas bag with its corn ears stencilled in pale green across its front, we were as excited as kids at our birthday party to see what we were getting.

Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) ‘share’ of vegetables from Jamie and Adam was easy for us to pick up at the Farm’s location on Fladt Road, just a few miles from our house and its fallow garden. A CSA subscription means that we pay a seasonal fee to these young farmers and in return we get enough garden goodies to feed us from early June to early November. With our first ‘market bag’ as a prediction of our future green bounty, we are going to eat well for the next six months. The bonus is that we get to keep the canvas bag!

We decided not to plant our own garden this year, except for a small kitchen herb patch, so we can have more time for travel and other-than-garden landscaping. It looks like we will not be sorry that we did not get out the roto-tiller.

As CSA Shareholders in Wayward Seed Farm’s production, we also participate in the Farm’s risk. Bad weather can mean a change of expectations and perhaps some disappointment. But our first share did not disappoint despite the soggy start this central Ohio farm has had this spring. That’s because Jamie included the two quarts of strawberries in our bag even though we didn’t invest in a ‘fruit share.’ Those were already sold-out when we subscribed in May.

You can learn more about Wayward Seed Farm at and I’ll keep you posted on our satisfaction.

“Mikamy Meadows Farm” is located just over the eastern Logan county line, not far from the Honda production complex. Amy and Mike have a great flock of heritage Buckeye Chickens that provide the most delicious golden-orange-yolk eggs any bunch of free-range, organic-fed hens are capable of laying. Amy is getting good at candling her light brown oval treasures but will replace any fertile one she missed when you return and tell her what you discovered when you broke the egg into the cup before stirring it into the mixing bowl.

Her garden isn’t in full production yet and she isn’t prepared to offer CSA Shares, but Amy also has some great herbs and she makes the most luxurious soap with unadulterated shea butter that she imports from African villages. Lavender buds from her garden make one of her bars most irresistible. But with the variety of aroma choices she offers, it is difficult to keep your selection limited to just one kind.

Check out Mikamy Meadows Farm at

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It took a visit to a Writer’s Group to re-gain an understanding of my purpose and passion in writing.

The attendees at the Group were all published authors or aspiring to be in print, in one variety of fiction or another, for the most part a sub-category of Romance Fiction or a version of Historical Fiction. All the members of the Group were quite welcoming with helpful suggestions from their perspectives as authors. I readily recommend being a part of a Writer’s Group.

Each participant at the Group had submitted an example of his/her writing to be critiqued by the others in attendance. Somehow I managed to lose track of the submissions that had been emailed to me in anticipation of my inaugural participation, so I mostly listened to what others had to say. I learned from listening to their extempore observations and from their written comments on my manuscript, that they thought that I had some talent as a writer. They found my style somewhat wanting though. The re-writing that was suggested would move the action in the essay I had submitted nearer the opening paragraph, even to become the first sentences that the reader encounters. They suggested that the paragraphs I had submitted could very well serve somewhere close to the first pages of a novel, if the action were moved forward.

At my first opportunity to sit down in my study later that day, I began to unravel my paragraphs to see if I could re-weave them into something with more athletic shape in which a reader might work up a sweat. OK, so it was less than an hour of trying to re-dress my word-loom with the unraveled threads, but it just wouldn’t work. Try as I might, I cannot seem to weave on a tapestry loom when all my experience has been on a jack loom.. The draw-down on my loom patterns is not given to development of characters and plots. There is design in what I weave with words but my artistry is not narrative, it is discursive and descriptive. In a very short time of disassembling the “tromp” of what I’d “writ,” I realized that my genre is that of the essayist, not the novelist.

As an observer who invites my reader to look along my line of sight to see what I see, I hope to be able not so much to excite imagination and adventure as to incite contemplative insight. I do not want my reader to get into the action taking place within my view as I want her to let that action get under her skin. I’d like to evoke an “Aha!” rather than an “Ohh! or an “Ahh!”

In a very short time in the Group and in subsequent reflection, with a good friend upon that experience, I have re-discovered that my purpose and passion for writing is best fulfilled in the somewhat blurred outlines of the vignette and not the 3-D scope of the diorama. Thus suspense is not requisite in my efforts although surprise is welcome. Muscle is as out of place as mystery is necessary in what I put on paper. When I make an observation, periodic action is as secondary as perceptual acuity is essential.

I’ll stick with the genre I know best.

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