Monday, June 14, 2010

Garden Bounty, Frogging and Re-doing

Seems like an abrupt change of subject from the Godawful pictures I posted last time. But it does have a certain rhythm to it, if you think about it.

So recently, we were able to get our first harvest from the backyard garden. In my hand is a bowl of lettuce: 4 varieties, with more sprouting during this very wet spring. And in my hand is a bunch of radishes. These juicy red globes of goodness have a very mild flavor until after you swallow. Then, there's this slow-starting afterburn. Yum!!

The lettuce includes butter, red oak, red sail and romaine. We try to mix it with iceberg and spinach. It's spicy, sweet and tender. We think we'll get a second (and maybe a third) planting if the season holds out on us.

We have carrots coming up. Our beans are about 1-2" long. The peas are flowering. And the tomatoes are coming along nicely.

All of this life in our yard makes us sad when we see the news. We feel impotent and unable to do anything regarding the Gulf. Our oldest kid, unemployed for the moment in this absolutely stinky environment, has applied for clean-up jobs. He'd like to volunteer, but he'd rather get paid at this point. I worry about the things a mom worries about: the lack of oversight (in my opinion) of the clean-up people; the lack of HazMat equipment; the long-term health effects he may encounter; the fact that people seem to ignore the toxicologists who say that this stuff brings with it a host of health issues that are both short- and long-term. But as he says, "I feel like a schmuck just sitting here, since I'm not working anyway." He's one of those "I want to fix this" kind of people; whether it's people, a sick animal or a dying Gulf. He has a more-than-healthy dose of scorn and disdain for Corporate America, since he's in the generation of those young folks who are "Boomerang Babies" - out on their own and then suddenly caught in the worst recession in modern history, living in Mom's basement with no foreseeable move-out date.

I don't know what the future holds for him or the Gulf. But he seems to think that their futures are entwined somehow.

"Frogging" has a long history as a knitting term. What sound does a frog make? "Ribbit, ribbit," right? Well, what does a knitter do when he or she screws up big-time on a project? "Rip-it, rip-it." Thus, frogging. And I just did that.

Remember the burgundy prayer shawl? My first lace project? Well, there were some mistakes in the first part. Apparently, Sl1 kw (slip 1 stitch, knit-wise) was something my head understood, but my hands didn't. And then there was a nice long stretch of pattern on the knit side where I just wasn't paying attention.

I looked at it. It was not good. So... rip-it, rip-it, rip-it. I'm re-doing it and in the process I changed the foundation rows, too. It's a better project. And I'm a better knitter because of the fearless (well, ok, not fearless but necessary) ripping of a good 6+ inches of work!

Re-doing is sometimes necessary in knitting and in life. In knitting as well as in life, a re-do gives you the opportunity to rectify mistakes, fix a concept that "sounded good" but wasn't practical in execution, and generally make yourself a more skilled technician. You get to learn to read your knitting. You can literally 'feel' where you went wrong. And there's no penalty from the knitting scorekeepers for re-doing something. Knitting mulligans go on and on, till you are satisified with your project.

As should be the case with the oil industry and the fiasco in the Gulf. Re-do the standards that allowed the Oil Barons to get away with not only screwing up our environment but screwing up our own heads and our own government. Our heads got screwed with because we began to believe that oil was the be-all and end-all for our energy needs.

It's not. And you know what? It's a very finite resource, considering the world's population, its needs, and the actual amount of oil available.

Our government got screwed with because they were seduced by the money that Oil Barons had to spread around. Look at MMS and what happened when the foxes were in charge of the henhouse. Oil people would "pencil in" the inspection reports for MMS personnel to re-do in ink. This is a case of a re-do that should have been a re-don't.

Our environment is screwed with because oil and water truly do not mix. The dispersant that BP has used has a MSD sheet (Material Safety Data sheet) that's as long as your arm. The MSDS as it's known is a sheet (or several) of information on a product that tells you what's in it, how it will react in certain situation (environmental, etc.) and what happens when the particular product encounters a living organism. And what to do about that when the thing that happens is really, really bad.

I used to work with a product that, in its parts, was fairly innocent. But together, they were exothermic. They cast off heat. Enough to give you second-degree burns. And then, if you mixed one part with water, it exploded. Those are not nice things to have happen when you're near the product.

The dispersant causes health problems to the people using it. It's allowing BP to "fudge the numbers" because it's causing the oil to change character - be less easily accounted for, basically. And it's causing the oil to sink down to the lower depths where the "dark creatures" do the work of creating life.

Think about it. There are bottom-dwelling creatures that eat the detritus of life: the carcasses of dead animals and plant castoffs. They eat these, essentially recycle them, and recreate that life in fertilizer, allowing others to benefit from their work.

They don't eat oil. They'll die. And when the bottom-feeders die, the Gulf will die. It may well never recover. All of the Earth's water will be affected.

And as the water goes, humanity goes. This is one re-do that should have been re-done 5 or 6 Administrations ago. We all know that politicians often don't see past the next election. And their acceptance of this money from BP and other Oil Barons is a measure of their own greed.

Our acceptance of the "fact" that Oil is the one resource is a measure of our own reluctance to be the brave Americans we once were. We need to step outside of our petroleum-based lifestyle and look at solar, wind and water power. Each has its own drawbacks, true.

But we've already seen the drawback of Big Oil. And our childrens' children will continue to see what we let happen on our watch.

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