Category: Miscellaneous

Gardening Journals

I grew tons of Roma tomatoes this year, specifically for canning. Marie made it clear that she didn’t want to can. I made it clear that I would. Then things got crazy at the office and I ran out of time. It became her job to can tomatoes so we’d have non-GMO salsa all winter.

Alas, everyone has been canning. Although we have plenty of jars, we can’t find the lids. Everyone is sold out until at least October.

We found ten lids and are re-using old lids (which is supposedly risky, since the seal could be compromised) . . . and crossing our fingers.

Smithsonian Magazine just ran a timely article on the history of the Mason jar, if you’re interested. Excerpt:

In 1858, a 26-year-old Mason patented threaded screw-top jars “such as are intended to be air and water-tight.” The earliest mason jars were made from transparent aqua glass, and are often referred to by collectors as “Crowleytown Jars,” as many believe they were first produced in the New Jersey village of Crowleytown. Unfortunately for Mason, he neglected to patent the rest of his invention—the rubber ring on the underside of the flat metal lids that is critical to the airtight seal, and made wax unnecessary—until 1868, a full decade later. By this point, mason jars were being manufactured widely.

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My most popular essay at Medium delves into The Dumb Ox:

Twelve Aquinas Aphorisms

Simple observations from the medieval poster boy will give you new perspectives

”A brave man is also patient.”

This is an uncomfortable truth in our modern world. Why are we rushing, always in a hurry, often impatient? Something is chasing us. It’s fear. The brave person controls her fear, resulting in calm and patience.

“All fear arises from the love of something.”

The best observations are often paradoxical. This quote flips something negative (fear) into a positive (love). And it’s not just a clever cliché. It’s profoundly true.

“Fear is never without hope in a happy result.”

When you find yourself fearful, you might want to try focusing on the result you hope for more than the result you fear.

“There is no desire which is not directed towards a good.”

Deep tolerance is embedded in this aphorism. No matter how stupid, debased, or wicked someone’s desires might seem, he is reaching for something good.

“Nobody can strive after evil for its own sake.”

Even the devil worshipper isn’t seeking evil. He sees something good in the devil. It’s like that for everything. It’s not even possible to strive for evil . . . on purpose.… Read the rest


Politics are a Riot

I’m increasingly impressed by The American Mind Podcast. It has probably become my favorite “news” podcast. Now, I typically don’t listen to news podcasts, but as the riots heat up (though they’ll probably start slowing down) and the election nears, I suspect I’ll be tuning in at least once a week to see what’s going on in our country.

Yeah, I know: Politics, Russell Kirk aptly observed, is the preoccupation of the quarter-educated. I like to think I’m at least a third-educated, but still, it’s great viewing and with Trump in the mix, it’s a lot of fun. I normally loathe politics, but it’s hard not take a little bit of interest these days.

With respect to the riots, the link above shows Don Lemon stating last week that the riots are killing the Democrats. Well, they oughtta. Democratic mayors and governors have failed to stop the riots and have shown solidarity with the protests that repeatedly turn violent. Why would an ordinary voter support a political party that not only fails to disown such things but actually embraces them? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a politically-tone deaf maneuver in an election year. … Read the rest


IMG_3150Drinking for the Taste and Playing Poker for Funsies

I gotta admit, I had no idea what this was about:

Nestlé is adding a limited-edition gin and tonic-flavoured variant to its After Eight range of fondant mints this September.

According to Nestlé, After Eights are made with 100% natural peppermint oil and are free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.

The brand’s ‘zingy’ new offering features gin and tonic-flavoured mint fondant covered in rich dark chocolate.

But I was intrigued.

Unfortunately,I think it’s a British thing, and the product has no alcohol in it.

I’ve never understood efforts to get the alcohol taste without the alcohol. Zing beer, for instance. For sheer taste, there are much better drinks than alcoholic drinks.

It doesn’t mean alcoholic drinks don’t taste good. It just means that you don’t drink alcohol for the taste, but rather for a more complex experience, one with a promise of some sort at the bottom of the glass.

When I was in high school, I got on a poker kick. I bought a book by a master of the game and absorbed it. At one point, he said that poker is for gambling and that, if you’re going to play funsies, don’t play at all. If there’s no money involved, he explained, the element that brings poker together as a great game is gone. There are, he said, far better card games than poker, if money isn’t involved.

That’s exactly how I feel about alcohol. It makes great beverages, but the element that brings the drink together as a great beverage is the alcohol. There are far better drinks than alcoholic ones, if you’re just drinking for the taste . . . for funsies.

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Video Killed the Radio StarWokeness Killed the NBA Star

Slate magazine struggles with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the NBA’s wokeness is contributing to its abysmal ratings.

Well, yeah. I can point to a ton of anecdotal evidence that it’s hurting ratings, starting with me. I don’t say to myself, “I’m not watching because the NBA is promoting leftist causes,” but I do say, “It’s been a long day at work. I just want to relax and watch. I don’t want to move my mind on the plane of politics.” So I watch something else.

I’m not mad, but I am tired . . . in general and of politics in particular, especially in an election year. I just want a break from it.

And I know a lot of people in my circle feel and do the same.

Added problem: I like to know who’s on the court. I don’t follow the game closely enough to be able to identify the players by their faces or even by their numbers. I want to see their names. I don’t want to see “Equality” hit a three or “Say Her Name” blocked a shot or “Enakopravnost” got the assist. It simply doesn’t help viewers do what they would be coming to do: enjoy basketball.

I think y’all know I’m Catholic. I always stand ready to defend my faith. But that doesn’t mean I harangue fellow Kiwanians at lunch with it. They’re not there to be proselytized. They’re there to talk about our town and club. For me to inject Catholicism in that setting? It would simply be out of place.

It’s a simple concept.

It’s too bad the NBA can’t comprehend it.

We need Magic and Bird back. They loved the game and loved the league. They weren’t there … Read the rest