Friday, October 28, 2011

Tricky Lil' Corn

I say it every year.  I love Halloween.  What is not to love.  Candy corn alone is reason enough.  I waited until yesterday to buy my annual bag and now there is no turning back.  What is candy corn?  It is exactly what you might suspect...sugar, corn syrup, water, fondant, marshmallow, and yes...wax.  I think the wax is what I love the most about it.  The pliable texture it brings to this little iconic candy that is over a century old.  Supposedly 9000 tons of it is sold in America each year, enough to circumnavigate the globe over 4 times if laid yellow head to white toe.  Did you know that the yellow part was the top of a candy corn?  Tricky little treat.

Speaking of corn...we went to the Conner's Farm for their annual corn maze...well actually we just go for the corn pool.  You have to swim at your own risk.

This year I am a little behind the ball.  I just bought my pumpkins today, with a plan to carve them tomorrow while Chef is watching his annual college football game...UGA vs. UF.  It is an excuse for me to make this dip.   Or maybe I will be good and make some kale dip with.  Long ago, in Scotland, young folks would be blindfolded and go pick kale from the garden on Halloween. They would lay the uprooted plants by the fire and the read them for signs of what their betrothed might look like.  Shriveled and puny, or tall and supple.  The more dirt on the root ball would mean the larger the dowry.  Then they would be tacked in a row over the front door and each visitor that night would be identified with the mangled plant that resembled them most.  

Something about that tradition makes me really happy.

Happy Halloween!  Get your trick on!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Gardens

Sunday afternoon I began our fall garden at home.  Florida may be a place where people come to die, but when the rest of the east coast is witnessing the glorious moribundity of fall, here in Florida there is a rebirth after the dog days of summer.   French radishes, golden beets, red beets, fennel, broccoli raab, romanesco, butter lettuces, leeks, romaine, kale, Brussels sprouts, cilantro.  We started hundreds of seeds, most of which leftover from the restaurant garden, and by Wednesday some had already begun to sprout.

72 hours.  Spindly stalks stretched their way through the darkness lifting their tiny leaves into the warm fall sunshine.  It always blows me away when I think of plants moving on their own accord.  Their pace is so remarkable, their steady slowness is constant and unwavering.  Everyday, all around you, plants are on the move...up, down, reaching, bowing, opening, coiling, closing.  All this motion is so slight it is barely registered by the human eye.

We are a lot like plants.  We all have dormant seeds with huge potential sleeping inside.  Sometimes a catastrophe triggers our inner seed to sprout, and sometimes the awakening is due to nurturing intent.  But I dare say that for many of us our seed just remains asleep, and we dream of it on occasion. 

Lately though, it seems like all over the world seeds are starting to sprout. Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, USA, Chile, Britain, Greece,  the list goes on and on covering every continent.  People in their own ways are unfolding their hearts and minds to a brighter future.  The ways people bring their seedlings into the light are the complexity of humanity...but one thing is certain - no matter what your potential is, in order for it to be met you have to dig in to dig out.

Besides, it is always fun to get your hands a little dirty. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

In searching for my video clip for last week's post I came across this image.  In the first days of Occupy Wall Street as the activists marched down Wall Street power lunchers at the Cipriani Club 55 enjoyed the spectacle from the club's balcony, champagne and cocktails in hand.  This video has understandably bothered many people because it seems to define the attitude of Wall Street.  We are untouchable from our perch, and we know it. Cheers.

I went online to read more about the Cipriani Club 55, and I found this description on their website:

The Club will provide you everything essential to live the good life.  The on-site Cipriani Clubb 55 is the natural extension of your professional and social life; an outstanding restaurant, a proper bar, a stylish and complete library, a traditional barber shop, a discreet business lounge, a full-service spa, a billiard room, a state-of-the-art screening room and Cipriani boutique.  The 24 hour concierge service, carried out by the best professionals in New York, will make the world become small and easy.  We like the pursuit of happiness for all our customers.

I love this.  Particularly the last two sentences.  The world for the top 1% is delectably small and easy.  
Last Saturday, my daughters and I went to Occupy Jacksonville.  It was their first experience as activists and it was open and welcoming.  

There were hundreds of people there representing a big world that is far from easy.  Elderly people, professional people, college kids, families, homeless people, the whole gamut. We came out in the middle of a tropical storm in solidarity with our fellow Americans.  The rain held out for was that perfect windy tumultuous weather that adds a spark to the air before a storm.  City council member, Don Redman, tried to shut the gathering down, but the police would not engage...probably because of the 48 officers that had been laid off the week before by the City.  And besides...we were just private citizens peacefully enjoying a day at a public park.

Many people have asked me lately why did I go to Occupy Jacksonville?  What is this movement about.  And ironically enough I think I found my answer in the luxurious description of Cipriani Club 55 that echos our very Declaration of Independence.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement is about the pursuit of happiness.  My two favorite Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson declared it an "unalienable right" for all Americans in the Declaration of Independence.  Most of us find ourselves today playing by the rules, doing what our parents did to get ahead and provide us with a better life, a happier life, but our own government no longer protects or even recognizes our unalienable rights.  This is because our legal system is held in the iron grip of Corporate America.  Since corporations were given personhood in the 1800's their unalienable rights just seem to grow over the years while ours diminish.

But they are not human beings, they are entities created by human beings.  Like robots.  They do not have one heart, corporations are comprised of millions of hearts.  The hearts of those that work to make them successful, and the hearts of those who support them as consumers.  The fastest way to the human heart is through the stomach.  

Starve the beast.  Buy local.  Support small business, not Big business.  Put what little money you have where your mouth is...because to the Wall Street Club money talks.    

Oh and share this with folks if you find any truth in it.   We all need to keep the dialogue rolling.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dining at Occupy Wall Street

Have you ever been to a protest?  Well, if should.  It is one of our most important rights in this country, the right to peacefully assemble, and if you have never exercised it take the time to do it at some point in your life.  It is a right that creates real change.  Change you can see and feel, not just change you can believe in.  And, exercising your right to assemble is more empowering than you can imagine...the sense of freedom and community combined is electric.

In college I went to more protests than I can count.  WTO, IMF, FTAA, Iraq War...if I had a ride I was there.  The thrill of activism made me feel more alive than anything else. I was tear gassed in Quebec City and made the cover of many national papers in Washington DC.  During both circumstances I was not doing anything unruly, just standing there peacefully...okay maybe I did raise my voice a bit, but I was just excited.  Peacefully excited.

As I read about the patriots assembling in NYC, I thought to myself...who is feeding them?  At all the protests I have attended there have been makeshift soup kitchens organized by various organizations like Food Not Bombs or food camps set up by the organizers of the action.  In my experience there was a lot of vegetarian stews, beans, and rice.  Fruit. Bread stuffs.  And looking back the food was always served on real plates with real silverware,  and a three sink wash basin was there for washing.  You can't exactly protest environmental degradation and be using paper plates now can you?

After a day of walking miles of city blocks and standing on your feet for 12 hours straight food takes on an entirely new meaning.  As Chef says, hunger is the best sauce, and let me tell you vegan stew never tasted so good.  But the folks in NYC that are striving to wake up the nation they have a different menu all together.  It is NYC, dining destination of the world.  According to this article, the charity of supporters has dished out some pretty great grub.   Local restaurants have opened their kitchens so activists can cook the food for the hundreds of people gathered, an estimated 200 pizzas a day are delivered to the food camp,  giant six foot subs, and even fruit bouquets from Edible Arrangements.

There is one pizza place in particular, Liberatos Pizza, that has lost count the number of pizzas it takes to Zuccotti Park, and even has a special discount for a pizza fittingly dubbed the "Ocu Pie."  People from all over the country and the world have been ordering pizzas from this place to be delivered to Occupy Wall Street.

We all have different comfort levels when it comes to activism, but I think we call agree that our fellow Americans striving to bring real attention to our plight as the 99% struggling every day in the richest nation in the world just to make ends meet are doing us all a big favor.  Huge favor. 

To better understand their message, because lets face it the corporate media is a joke, go here.  Please, check it out because this is as real as apple pie.  As real as the on-going revolution in the Arab world.  In fact on October 6th Occupy Washington DC begins.  And if you go the the 99% tumblr, and it moves you to buy a pizza for your fellow citizens give Liberatos a call at 212.344.3464. 

Take time this week to help feed liberty.

Oh, and share this post wherever you can.  Every little bit of solidarity is worth its weight in freedom.