Bonds of Affection

Here’s a partial list of what I read this summer and am still reading:

My Disillusionment in Russia by Emma Goldman
The Heart Is A Little To The Left by William Sloane Coffin
Begin Again by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
The Soul of America by Jon Meacham

I graduated from the University of South Alabama with a major in political science and minor in sociology many years ago. I was a member of the debate team and awarded the John David Meredith Award. I studied Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Ethics, St. Augustine’s City of God along with various works of Kant, Hegel and Kierkegaard. While I could not quote from any of these writings today, political history, thought and behavior still intrigue me.

Perhaps knowing my background, you can better understand my concern surrounding the removal of nondiscrimination protections by the State of Texas last week. The State of Texas under the misguided homophobic leadership of Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick is deliberately endangering its LGBTQ citizens. Housing, employment, healthcare, spousal benefits among other LGBTQ discrimination bills are simmering on the desks of various Texas legislators. These bills, if introduced and passed, will legalize discrimination.

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The Pigeon and The Frog

I have perfected a homemade anchovy/garlic salad dressing. The recipe is really quite simple. Slowly stir olive oil into a mixture of minced anchovy fillets, microplaned garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh squeezed lemon juice and Kosher salt. The notable ingredient is the anchovy fillets. I selected a can of “flat” anchovies for my first attempt at my friend’s recipe. As I drained the little fish, I noticed bones in my strainer, akin to slivers of glass. These were not the soft bones found in canned salmon. These were choke-at-the-dining-room-table fish bones. And then there was the indescribable aroma of the tiny canned fish. I was convinced the anchovies had spoiled. While sharing my disappointing anchovy experience with friends, I was informed that anchovies could, indeed, have an unpleasant aroma. Between the bones and the smell, these little fish were deemed an unworthy ingredient and thrown into the trash. Even without the anchovies, the lemon/garlic salad dressing was quite tasty. I have now discovered that packed in glass “fillet” anchovies is the better choice for a crowd pleasing salad dressing.

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Kick the Can

Kicking a can down the road is a mindless act. The only requirement is a can – usually empty. I never kicked a can barefooted. Reckon you could tear off a piece of your foot or shear off a toenail if you weren’t careful. So, a sturdy or at least closed toe shoe is suggested. I haven’t kicked a can down the road in a very long time. I’ve got more free time of late. Perhaps I will dig through the recycle bin and pick out an appropriate sized can to kick. My sister and I in our younger days would crush aluminum cans with our hard sole shoes and clunk and dance down the sidewalk as long as the cans held tight. But that’s another story.

There’s an asphalt path that runs along the right-of-way for the electric transmission lines at the end of my street. It might be the perfect avenue to refresh my can kicking skills. I can’t say for sure who decided to kick a can down a road. Maybe a worn down, bone weary grandma, watching kids in the summer, having answered the question “what can we do?” for the last time, offered up the activity. Can’t you hear it? “Why don’t you kick that can down the road? Make a game of it. See who can kick it the farthest, the highest. See who can make it spin. Take turns. And don’t kick it at each other.”

Kicking a can accomplishes one thing. It gets you down the road. That’s it. I’ve watched social injustice, bigotry, prejudice, hate and all kinds of ugly kicked down the road during my life. While it appears that some progress has been made, I have witnessed in recent weeks that many of these same issues were only pushed down the road.

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Surface Tension

“When we fill the glass with water, we notice right away that it can go over the brim of the glass without spilling. This is because of surface tension. Surface tension holds the water together and acts against what would normally cause the water to fall – gravity – because each molecule of water is attracted to the other water molecules around it. This attraction causes the molecules to stick together and avoid spilling down the side of the glass like gravity would like them to.

Unfortunately, the attraction between the water molecules is only so strong. As we add coins, the amount of water spilling over the edges is getting larger and larger until the water just can’t take it anymore! Gravity is pulling on too many of the molecules for their attraction to keep them up, and the water spills down the side of the glass.” – American Physical Society ©2020

Been thinking quite a bit about “surface tension.” I had my molecules spill down the side of my glass last week. I had driven the long way to the grocery store. I was looking for a spot at the far end of the parking lot, when “Life Line” by Harry Nilsson began to play. It was all I could do to park my car. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to the plea to “please send down a life line.” The gravity of life had become too much. The surface tension was no longer strong enough to hold us together.

I was overwhelmed with information – real and imaginary. I was disappointed in people in positions of power and authority who refused to act on behalf of the sick, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the children and the list goes on. I was weary of trying to sort out the facts. I was saddened by the loss of life which I believe was facilitated and hastened by incompetence, greed and political ambitions.

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Ornamental Cabbage

The onion died. I may have over watered it. Over watering is a common occurrence in Houston. I purchased four little ornamental cabbages and a lavender about a month ago. As of this morning, the plants are thriving on the back porch. While the cabbages need a moist soil and the lavender prefers drier conditions, they are peacefully existing on the same porch, enjoying the sunrise and ending their day by the light of the moon. You ought not eat an ornamental cabbage. While eating it won’t kill you (or so I’ve been told), I hear the leaves are bitter. There isn’t enough salt pork in Texas to make that right.

Just because you give something a name, doesn’t mean that’s what it is. There’s a lot of name calling going on these days. You can read the vilification of men and woman on all social media platforms and hear it spewed from radio and tv stations, read it on websites and so-called experts’ Facebook and Twitter pages. And if you look a bit further, you’ll be informed by no one in particular who is to blame for your troubles.

I suspect many people do NOT comprehend what they read. I suspect many people do NOT understand what they hear. I know many people refuse to question the reliability or accuracy of information, whether in a headline or a stay-tuned breaking news teaser.

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