paying tribute to the yard waste gods

Some Disney movies should not be seen by young children. I mean, poor Bambi, losing his mother in the forest fire. One Disney movie that younger children should not see is Darby O’Gill and the Little People. The only part of the movie that I recall is near the end, when Darby has called the Death Coach because his wife is very ill and he doesn’t want to see her suffer. But by the time the Death Coach shows up she has gotten better. Problem is, when the Death Coach is called someone has to get in. So Darby does, allowing his wife to live. And they let six-year-olds see this stuff? Really?

This has everything to do with yard waste.

yard waste toterWe put three toters on trash day: trash, recycling, and yard waste. A couple of years ago our disposal company, CR&R, expanded the yard waste to include food waste as well. They have built a state-of-the-art facility that turns yard waste and food waste into natural gas (which helps to power CR&R’s trucks) and fertilizer.

I make sure that there is yard waste to put out each week. First of all, our yard needs that much maintenance in any case. And second, I fear the consequences of not putting out the yard waste toter. As in Darby O’Gill, the yard waste gods have their demands and must be appeased.

And besides, I am doing a Good Thing. Our yard waste and food waste are made good use of and turned into fertilizer and natural gas. I like contributing to the cause in that way.


Greek Tragedy

Greek TragedyGreek Tragedy
Professor Elizabeth Vandiver, Ph.D.
The Great Courses
Audio download purchased on sale for $19.95
If the course is not on sale, check back – a sale price will come around again

When I was in college one of the two or three best courses I took in my entire college career was Greek Tragedy. It was taught by Dr. Robert Palmer, an old-school classicist. It is not a course I will forget.

That was some forty-five years ago, however, so I figured I was due for a review. This course filled the bill. This version of Greek Tragedy is one of the “older” Great Courses, published in 2000, and as such is not so graphics-intensive as some of the more recent offerings. That made it great for listening to on my walks.

Professor Vandiver is a first-class lecturer. Her lectures are clear and easy to listen to. She not only covers the literary aspect, but also discusses the staging of the various surviving plays. She clearly distinguishes between where the author drew from the original myth and where he (always “he,” sorry) embellished, added, or modified the myth we know from other sources.

Older does not mean inferior. The course was thoroughly enjoyable.


farewell to a local institution

I believe that I am correct in stating that DJ’s Restaurant here in Hemet was the longest continuously operating locally-owned restaurant in the San Jacinto Valley. That ended at 3:00 p.m. on October 31. We almost lost DJ’s once before a couple of years ago, but they were able to work things out with the landlord. This time the landlord wanted a ten-year lease, and that was just too much for owner Grace at her age.

DJs signIt’s a shame. The family, that is, Terry and I, my brother Brian and sister-in-law Bobbie, my dad, and sometimes Bobbie and Brian’s son Eric and his daughter, get together regularly for breakfast on Saturday. If my brother calls and asks me where I’d like to go and we haven’t been to DJ’s in the past couple of weeks that is always my suggestion.

Grace, her daughter, and other crew members, many of them family members, are great hosts. The food is tasty, down home local restaurant fare and the service first-class.

DJ’s is not replaceable. We will miss it.


berries: fresh or frozen?

frozen berriesI wrote a while back about a technique I learned about on The Kitchen for increasing the refrigerator life of fresh berries. It involved rinsing the berries in a vinegar and water solution and then another thorough rinse in water.

It worked well and the berries did keep longer, I believe. But some berries still did go bad sometimes and it was a little bit of work. Most people who know something about nutrition say that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh. And in the case of berries, frozen is generally cheaper. After all, when not in season in the region, berries in the store are shipped in from other climes and that is at the cost of a heavy carbon footprint.

Sometimes frozen is better. (Of course that means remembering to move some berries from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before to defrost for breakfast.)


Sacred Music Friday: O God, Our Help in Ages Past

First Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska


Blue Desert

Blue Desert coverBlue Desert
Charles Bowden
University of Arizona Press
October 2, 2018, 224 pages
Kindle edition $12.95, Amazon paperback $17.95

Blue Desert was originally published in 1986. The University of Arizona Press recently reprinted two of Bowden’s books from the era: this title and Frog Mountain Blues.

Bowden lived most of his life in the Arizona desert, and this book reflects his love for the region and his distaste for the sprawl and growth of the region. He prefers the out-of-the way places. Much of the book centers around Ajo, AZ, a small town west of Tucson and south and west of Phoenix. However Bowden strays as far west as Palm Springs and as far north as the Glen Canyon Dam.

The author of the introduction to this reissue takes pains to point out Bowden’s objectification of women in the book, something that is indeed obvious at points. Indeed, his neglect of his wife as he describes it in the final essay is appalling and inexcusable. The writer of the introduction points out that Bowden took a more measured approach in his writing in later years.

Nonetheless Bowden does an excellent job of painting a picture of the Sonora desert along with all the unpleasantries therein. He describes the shabby treatment Mexicans received at the hands of whites. He describes the violence that occurs. Yet his love for the region is pervasive throughout.

If you have a love for the desert and the American Southwest this is a book worth reading.


our instantaneous world

It is an instantaneous world out there. We sometimes take it for granted, but it was not always so.

When I was growing up I would sometimes buy books by mail order. I would fill out the order form, give my dad cash that I got from my paper route and he would in turn give me a check for the appropriate amount to include with the order. When I worked for B. Dalton bookseller, special orders for customers took six to eight weeks. We would fill out a four-part form using carbonless paper and put the original in the daily U.S. Mail envelope that went to the general office. When the publisher processed the order it was shipped book rate to the store.

The world is very different today. The debit card I use to buy groceries at our discount supermarket has that they call card controls. That means that the second my transaction is processed at the checkstand the text message app on my iPhone chimes and alerts me that the transaction has occurred.

We’re all familiar with Amazon Prime and how we can get packages in two days, or the next day if we pay an extra $6.99. That can be very useful. The technology is impressive if you stop to think about it.

5-hour EnergyWhen we were coming up on Terry’s knee replacement surgery I knew that I had a challenge. I had to have the energy to get her the thirty-three miles home from Kaiser Hospital after the surgery, but given my own medical condition and the medication I’m taking I get tired easily. It occurred to me that I would do well to have a bottle of 5-hour Energy in the car. It was Sunday and Terry’s surgery was Tuesday. I was standing on the energy drink aisle of said discount supermarket. They had no 5-hour Energy. I had neither the time nor the inclination to run around town looking for it. I pulled out my iPhone, opened the Amazon app, and did a search on the product. I found a flavor that could be shipped to arrive the next day. I ordered a case. With twelve minutes to spare. It arrived on Monday and I put a bottle in the car. The day Tuesday was much longer than either of us had anticipated. That little bottle packed quite the jolt and saved the day for our drive home in rush hour.

It’s an instantaneous world these days.