Florida Man Bans Spectrum of Visible Light

Nature Being Naughty–Illegal in Florida Schools

July 1 begins the “Don’t Say GAY” law for Flori-duh schools. The first victim is unfortunately light. Rainbow images (aka, the visible spectrum) are explicitly banned from public schools, in the form of stickers, clothes, jewelry, what have you. Is this a symbol of the darkness that is falling across our once free country?

I hope some film class includes the classic Hepburn-Grant movie Bringing Up Baby, where Cary Grant, while wearing a woman’s robe, jumps in the air and explains, “I just went GAY all of a sudden.” I would feel bad about Physics teachers who can’t show a picture of the visible spectrum, but it is hard to imagine a physics textbook that doesn’t have one. The optics wouldn’t look right.

Even better, teachers of Florida, resign in masse. Let the Goobernor deal with that.

Early Happy Fourth–Thomas Jefferson on Judicial Supremacy

In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson was “commanded” by Supreme Court Justice–and his cousin–John Marshall to appear at the trial of Aaron Burr, who was charged with treason (Marshall was the presiding judge at the trial). Jefferson said, thanks but no thanks, and replied to Marshall thusly, essentially saying “make me.”

As to our personal attendance at Richmond, I am persuaded the court is sensible that paramount duties to the nation at large control the obligation of compliance with its summons in this case, as it would should we receive a similar one to attend the trials of Blennerhassett and others in the Mississippi territory, those instituted at St Louis and other places on the western waters, or at any place other than the seat of government. To comply with such calls would leave the nation without an executive branch, whose agency nevertheless is understood to be so constantly necessary that it is the sole branch which the constitution requires to be always in function. It could not, then, intend that it should be withdrawn from its station by any co-ordinate authority.

Jefferson’s Letters

Note the use of the words “co-ordinate authority,” which is the polite Jeffersonian way of saying, “you’re not the boss of me.” Jefferson held that, in line with the Constitution, that all branches of government are co-equal, and that no un-elected official, or any other kind, was going to be allowed to issue kingly orders down from on high. Jefferson thought that it should take two out of the three branches of government, to over-rule the third. For what it’s worth, after Jefferson refused to be Marshall’s errand boy, Marshall found Burr to be not guilty.

After his retirement, Jefferson was not so polite about judicial kings-in-the making. From one of his private letters, he explained:

At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office.

Jefferson’s Letters

No one can say we weren’t warned.

Naughty Garden Poetry, German Edition–Erotica Romana, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is what happens when you download every free translation of a German writer, without paying any attention to the titles. The book is actually a series of twenty four interrelated poems, all about Goethe’s sporty Italian mistress, and the things they got up to in and out of his garden in Rome. By the time I finished the first poem, I knew I was in for some serious laughs.

Perhaps the bawdiest thing to emerge from the 1780’s, this poem begins, and centers on, an old wooden figure of Priapus, the Greek and Roman god of gardens and fertility, that Goethe finds in his garden. The speaker in the last poem is appropriately Priapus himself, and I will include a section that is acceptable for polite society. It turns out that it’s not easy to be a really old god.

Faggots are heaped all about me against the cold of the winter,

Which I hate for the crows settling them down on my head,

Which they befoul very shamefully. Summer’s no better: the servants

Empty their bowels and show insolent, naked behinds.

Filth, above and below! I was clearly in danger of turning

Into filth myself, toadstool, rotten wood!

Now, by your efforts, O noblest of artists, I shall recover

With fellow gods my just place. And it’s no more than my due.

Jupiter’s throne, so dishonestly won, it was I who secured it:

Color and Ivory, marble and bronze, not to mention the poems.

Now, all intelligent men look upon me in kindness. They like to

Form their own image of me, just as the poet has done.

Nor do the girls take offense when they see me–by no means the matrons.

None finds me ugly today, though I am monstrously strong.

Goethe

Not surprisingly, this poem was censored, but by the writer himself. It was meant for an audience of one, his friend and fellow poet Friedrich Schiller. Literary and musical types will remember Schiller as the author of the “Ode to Joy,” which is the basis of the great ending of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. It may not be a coincidence that that poem was also censored, as the original title and subject was “An die Freiheit” (Ode to Freedom), instead of “An die Freude” (Ode to Joy). The German authorities thought that whole freedom thing was too hot to handle.

Our celebration of freedom will be here in a week. Just don’t read this poem anywhere near Disneyworld.

Prosciutto Pizza

How Pizza Should Be

When the brick oven is about 900 degrees F, a pizza like this cooks in a minute. This is Melanie’s favorite pizza, and no one is allowed to make it but her. I have quizzed her on the order of ingredients, as she has her own special process.

Ingredients

Pizza Crust made with Italian “00” Flour

Olive Oil

Pizza Sauce (see Tomato Sauce recipe on this site)–just a little

Prosciutto

Mushrooms and Black Olives

Italian Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh Peppers and Vidalia Onions

Rotate the pizza every fifteen seconds or so, or be ready to say “Don’t eat the burned part.” That also keeps the crust from catching fire.

Like a folk tale, the elements of this pizza must be deployed in the proper order. As far as fiery pizza goes, I had to let the fire cool down from 1083 degrees F before I could make the second one, a pepperoni pie. The rebuilt brick oven is turning out to be a flamethrower.

Bottlebrush Buckeye

I Say Ha! to the Heat

Need a late spring/summer blooming temperate forest shrub? This native could be the ticket. Two varieties of this species spread out the bloom period for a potential month and a half, and the plant doesn’t care if the highs are in the seventies, or like today, in the nineties.

In the wild, Bottlebrush Buckeye is found primarily in Alabama and Georgia, but it is now grown in Zones 4-8. The plant pictured is the earlier blooming “species” variety that was at peak bloom last week, when it was pummeled by 4+inches of rain in one day, and it still looks as pictured. Soon the second variety, often sold as var. Serotina, will begin to bloom, and will continue blooming into July. We have one of those as well, and it will bloom into July. Northern gardeners have reported later periods of bloom stretching into August.

A huge population of wild var. Serotina plants are growing just about three miles from here, south of Garden City, right along the edges of US Highway 31. Every few years Alabama Power will cut them down to the ground under the power line that runs to Blount Springs, which somehow or other rejuvenates the plants. Within in a few years the blooms will be spectacular, with limestone boulders interspersed with hundred foot long colonies of plants, and blooms hanging out over the road from steep hillsides. Unfortunately this section of highway is known for some spectacular wrecks, though they have never been attributed to drivers rubbernecking the plants.

Brick Oven Rebuild, Part Four–Finished Front Masonry Work

Go Big or Go Home

My friend Torsten Fisch, who has been back in Deutschland for a good decade now, had a way with words, in multiple languages. A typically stiff Mercedes engineer who worked at their manufacturing facility in Vance, Alabama, after shots of Jägermeister he would cut loose with some epic rants, such as the following–

I don’t know what is wrong with you people in Alabama. As of the year 2000, the prostitutes in Germany have more rights than you do. They have social security, free healthcare, and a union.

Herr Fisch

Well said, with a German accent.

He also liked “Size matters. Bigger is better,” which perfectly sums up the Mercedes philosophy. If that is true, oven #2 is far better than oven #1. Here’s the pre-tornado version of the old oven–

The new oven is ornamented with Soldier (upright) and Sailor (ends facing forward) bricks, and a wider facade. The chimney is also taller, which should give me sufficient pitch to install a wood shingle shed roof. The walls of the yet to be constructed new enclosure will be wood shingles as well, which will require partial covering of some of the eye candy ornamentation of the chimney. At least it will then look less like a Mayan temple or a Ziggurat.

Plan for today was to grout the last section of Travertine tile that covers the front apron, but after two and a half inches of rain this morning, it’s off to plan B. Another new addition will be kitchen herbs for the outdoor kitchen, with some choice cultivars.

Roman Reference==see Coliseum

Today, besides transplants, I am sowing pots of Genovese basil and Italian parsley. Maybe I will be done with all the masonry work by the time they germinate.

Pink Slime is Back! This time It’s News, not Meat. A Classic Food Lawsuit Revisited.

Few people remember the renowned “Pink Slime” lawsuit between a company named Beef Products Inc. and ABC/Disney. BPI sued ABC/Disney for referring to their product they called “lean finely textured beef” (processed beef trimmings treated with ammonia) as “Pink Slime” during a 2012 broadcast. BPI sued for $1.9 billion in damages for lost business. They settled for a payout of $177 million.

The back story is even better. LFTB was for years regulated as being suitable for “limited” human consumption in the US, though it was and still is banned by the EU. Along came the corporate friendly GW Bush administration, and suddenly in 2001 the ammonia treated beef was allowed to be sold country wide as a beef product, without being included on the ingredients label. In 2002 USDA microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein came up with the descriptive term “Pink Slime,” and emailed his colleagues that “I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef, and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labeling.” Zirnstein was overruled, naturally.

By 2004 the rules concerning LFTB were relaxed even further by the USDA, and school hamburgers were allowed to contain up to 15% LFTB, without any labeling. By 2008 students were unknowingly eating 5.5 million pounds of LFTB per year, until there was a temporary suspension of use due to E. coli contamination. However, it was only temporary, until August of the same year, when E. coli was found in LFTB products for a third time, and the USDA stopped shipping to schools. By this time an estimated 75% of US hamburgers include LFTB.

By 2011 the stuff begins to hit the fan, as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is the first nationally broadcast media production to highlight the widespread use of LFTB in school lunches. Then comes the 2012 ABC news story and the subsequent lawsuit. Finally, in 2018 BPI gets to take a victory lap–the USDA ruled that their new and improved beef product, without the fine texture, could be labeled as “ground beef.” Just don’t call it LFTB or “Pink Slime” anymore.

What has this got to do with the news industry? An old nickname has been re-born, as corporate sponsored propaganda packaged as news (most of what’s broadcast) has been dubbed “pink slime.” The slime part is easily understood, and the pink makes it memorable. The analogy is to insist that your name for something is the right one, reality or no reality, and sue any one important who disagrees. Remember the old joke about the news? The news industry treats citizens like they’re mushrooms, by keeping them in the dark and feeding them manure.

So money as speech is reaching its logical conclusion. The best example was the multi billion dollar lawsuit over the meaning of the word sugar. It was Big Ag (corn syrup) vs. Big Sugar (cane and beets), with Big Sugar winning. Corn syrup is still corn syrup, not sugar. Big Ag vs. your average citizen–not happening, as it isn’t worth either’s time. Just lay out the facts and let the people choose. Enough of them will pick slime, as long as they don’t know what it really is.

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