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Sunday, August 22, 2010
mosque at ground zero, and the joys of canning
Listening to:Stevie Wonder, If You Really Love Me
Reading:still human decay stuff
Weather:finally rainy, 72
Scintillating. How is she going to tie those two things together? I'm not, just thought I'd put the two things I'm thinking about in the post title. Well, I wrote the title first, as usual, and anything is possible, so let's see if some of my crazy mental gymnastics build a bridge, but don't hold your breath.

First of all, it's not a mosque. It's a Muslim community center. The nearby strip club doesn't offend but a community center apparently does. Second, 20% of Americans think Obama is Muslim? You've got to be fucking kidding me.

This is all just the same nonsensical promise that religions deliver on every bloody day. My tooth fairy is the real tooth fairy, and her manifesto makes me justified in kicking your ass and being offended by your very existence. All the religions cherrypick lovely passages about peace from their scriptures, and all religions include peaceful believers who claim the violent radicals among them are misusing or misinterpreting their religious texts. But there's not one of these holy books that doesn't include numerous passages unambiguously advocating violence and dogmatic bigotry against the other guy. You, too, Christians, take a look at Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and Ezekiel for starters.

And why shouldn't they be intolerant of those heathens and infidels? If you believe something is absolutely true, why should you smile and sit by while other people promote bullshit? If you know the way, why on earth should you silently watch others go the wrong way, to their earthly and eternal doom, for shit's sake? Of course you should go knock on their doors and proselytize. To be a good community member means to help your neighbors, share with them what you have that they don't. Go take them some zucchinis with that Watchtower.

Zucchinis, of course, because you are sick of them, you always grow too many, they've been producing abundantly all freakin summer, and all that are left now are the giant, seedy, tough ones anyway. Now your real neighborliness is coming out. You never shared any of your precious snap peas back in the spring, when they were the only thing in the garden ready to harvest, and were so sweet and crunchy and delicious. You gobbled up those peas selfishly, didn't even save any to freeze, much less to share. Heheh, I digress.

I think the Jehovah's Witnesses and the radical Muslims have integrity about their religious choices, at least they practice what their tooth fairy preaches. I appreciate the instinct and follow-through to be intolerant to what you know to be bullshit.

But of course I have a pretty fundamental beef with their methods of determining what is bullshit. And as soon as the term "method" appears in an atheist's diatribe she typically gets accused of adhering to the religion of science. But I'm not even a true believer in the scientific method anymore. After seeing just in my lifetime the world of scientific knowledge, especially modern medical research results and analysis, tilt dramatically toward profit-based results rather than real searches for truth, I am questioning whether any scientific endeavor by a human can be unbiased enough to get to truth. I think you can accidentally get to the truth despite your predispositions, sometimes. I think your predispositions can come from something other than a profit motive. But nonetheless, I think that though we can keep chipping away at the stone to reveal the angel in the marble (she said with no irony at all), we can't actually isolate every necessary variable for any one empirical attempt to learn something absolutely true. We can keep getting closer. Michelangelo supposedly said carving is easy, just get down to the skin and stop. I think we can get down to a shape that looks quite human, but we can't know whether this fat guy is the angel, or to chip away some more to sculpt a skinny dude out of that rock.

Or perhaps we could keep going after we reveal the skinny guy's skin and sculpt down to his muscles. Then his bones. Then individual molecules in the bone. Then the nanoparticles of those molecules that we haven't even discovered yet. Maybe that's what the scientific method can really do for us. Or maybe we just fucked up and pulverized a beautiful hunk of marble that could have become an angel.

Oy. Can we talk about canning yet? Yes, let's move over to something you can unquestionably believe in and chew on. Larry and I have canned 41 quarts of green beans (some in pints, so substantially more than 41 jars total). We also canned 8 halfpints of jam, some blackberry and some black raspberry.

It has been absolutely delightful to get up early on rain-free comfortably-cool Saturday mornings, go out into the rows and pick beans (and squish a shitload of yellow wormy bugs eating the underside of the leaves), sit under the big sugar maple and wash and snap, go into the kitchen and wash jars and boil lids, pack and fill jars, screw down and tighten rings, load the canner, listen for the steamy whistles, use the jarlifter to unload, and listen for the Tink of jars sealing. Truly delightful, indeed. I love to see the neat rows of jars on the shelf.

It was a pretty decent year for the blackberries and black raspberries, so we made plenty of roadside stops to climb up banks and scavenge in the sweltering heat of June and July. I always have a few fast-food paper bags folded up in my car ready to hold such booty. It is somehow particularly thrilling to me to see neat little rows of deep purple and deep red jam on my shelf knowing that food was free and wild. You got to love the birds who planted all these berries for us, happily shitting them in sunny places here and there, eating plenty of the fruit themselves, but leaving plenty more for us to harvest, if we don't mind the bramble cuts. Worth it, so worth it.

Next up, corn. The silks are starting to dry up and turn brown. Won't be long. We'll have plenty to eat and probably freeze 100 ears, too. The tomatoes and cabbage we just eat, though we might try to make and preserve some sauce out of the Amish paste tomatoes. The beets are not happy in this heat. The peppers were planted late, and it's not cold enough for them at night, so they are coming on slowly.

I am still wistfully remembering those tasty snap peas from May. And btw, Obama's tooth fairy is named Jesus, not Muhammed.

permalink posted by cat 6:30 AM

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mosque at ground zero, and the joys of canning