Here’s the lowdown – the people in the state of Hawaii eat more Spam than in all the other 49 states combined. It’s everywhere. There are more than six flavors of spam last time I looked (Terriyaki, Spicy, Low Sodium, Smokey, Turkey, Spam with Cheese and Regular)
It used to be funny, it used to be cute. Now it’s a black market product fueling drug addiction and causing a panic among retailiers. Canned meat products are getting stolen from stores and sold on the street. Retailers are starting to put Spam in locked cases. I have a better idea. Just stop selling it.
Spam became a Hawaiian food during WWII when rations on pork forced the people living here to used what was available – potted meat. They used it because it was cheap, versatile, easy to use, and didn’t taste terrible. It was used in place of breakfast meats, in place of lunch meats, in place of dinner meats. And when the war and the rationing ended they kept using it. Mainly, because it was cheap and easy.
I don’t know if anyone has looked recently or not – but Spam is no longer cheap. It’s still easy but the truth is – it’s never really been tasty. Sorry hipsters and Spam lovers – it’s not a delicacy – it’s potted extra pig parts.
So, now, it’s expensive enough to be a black market product. Easy solution. Stop selling it. Move on to something different. Let it go.
What exactly is the fabric of reality? What holds us all together? I am speaking not just metaphorically but also literally. Think about it, you are made up of atoms that are made up of protons and electrons that are made up of smaller particles and all of them are held together by universal forces that we can put a name to but that no one actually understands. Something is keeping us from flying apart at any given moment. What is it that holds the fabric of reality together?
Personally, I think that atomic force, gravity, electricity, magnetism and the rest are simply the visible manifestations of God. We are held together (and not just us but EVERYTHING) by these forces and to me, it is pretty clear that this is the hand of God. Why can’t you look God in the face? Because to see the true nature of these forces, one is destroyed. It’s a solid concept in Zen, if you strive to master contemplation you will lose the ability to contemplate.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. You are not still. You only think you’re still. You are accelerating.
2. Electromagnetic forces are holding your skin and bones together. (Whew.)
3. Time flows as you read. But need it flow forward? Might it flow backward, so that you unread each word and the words appear to you in reverse order?
4. Only 5 percent of the universe that you inhabit can be described as familiar matter. According to the author’s formulation, 25 percent is dark matter. The remaining 70 percent may consist of dark energy, which remains at this moment a hypothetical concept. But the next generation of particle accelerators may be powerful enough to achieve empirical tests of this theory and many of the others postulated here. If at some future date physical evidence is found to corroborate the boldest of these speculations, trips to Stockholm may ensue. from The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
If you stop and think about it, really think about it, it’s totally terrifying…unless you have some basic truth to hold you grounded. You don’t have to go Trippin with the Dalai Lama to get it. You just have to recognize that here we are. All of us. Held together by something that holds us together and most likely, we aren’t going to rush apart any time soon. Unless we take the time to really really really get it.
NAKASHIBETSU, Hokkaido — A brewery here has succeeded in producing a low-malt beer with milk, after the drink was suggested as a product that would help use up surplus milk. The drink, called “Bilk” will go on sale on Feb. 1. It reportedly has a fruity flavor that its brewers hope will be popular among women. The idea for the drink was conceived after dairy firms threw out a huge amount of surplus milk in March last year. The son of the manager of a liquor store in Nakashibetsu, whose main industry is dairy farming, suggested the idea of producing the milk beer to local brewery Abashiri Beer.
It’s great to live in a community that likes to get together with their friends and neighbors. Block party is a great idea….that’s been ruined by people out to gain political kudos.
As I walked around downtown during the free portion of the event, I couldn’t help noticing there were 12 cops within my view at any time. That’s not counting event security in their yellow shirts.
In general, when I go to a party and see a dozen cops, I don’t stay. This time I did and I was a little disappointed by the booths and vendors. Nothing too special that I noticed. No fantastic treats I was willing to part with $6 for.
I was looking forward to listening to Swamp Mama Johnson at the paid evening show. Those women know how to make people dance, it’s always a great show when Swamp Mama is playing. After going in we were confronted by the same dilemma many people encountered at cell block party; if you wanted a drink you either paid way too much for a Budweiser or Redhook and sat in the beer garden in uncomfortable seats that had no view of the stage…or you could leave…of course then you had to pay another $15 to get back in.
Casa Que Pasa had a tequila bar set up on Cornwall. Just outside the gate. We decided to leave. Travis Holland, the owner of Casa related an interesting story. It seems he went to quite a bit of expense and time to get all the proper licenses and rent a space that was included in Block Party, so why was his establishment just outside the gate? The brown shirt Gestapo organizers decided to move the gate 20 feet in so their Budweiser wouldn’t encounter any competition.
Cell Block Party. To tell you the truth, I thought Block Party stunk. I ended up sitting outside the gate listening to Swamp Mama J, sorta pissed at the fact that I couldn’t get back in. Even Disneyland and The Gorge give you a stamp to go out to the car. I think I had more fun outside than I would’ve inside anyway.
I had a few beers at Father Johns Pub. I used to tend bar there when it was The Station. John has done a remarkable job of giving the place some flavor and class. It was a real scumbag joint when I worked there. I broke up 10 fights in my first week . John runs a much tighter ship.
So anyway, back to block party. It’s nice to see events like that, see everyone out having fun, let the hair down a bit. Too bad the almighty dollar has to become such a factor. Ski to Sea still holds a place in my heart for good free fun. Everyone out giving it their all. Revelers and merrymakers, athletes and bystanders. My favorite part about Ski to Sea is that when you ask anyone “What’s the prize for the winning teams?” Nobody knows…or cares. Ski to Sea is all about the fun, while Cell Block Party is more about gaining prestige for a certain civic group and (to be fair) raising money for a good cause. It’s a neat idea…that I will never attend again. Nice job organizers.
Bham man, I was thinking about starting a protest group to protest the bombing of Serbia. Margaret Meade said something like one individual can make a difference and I would like to make that difference because I don’t think we should be bombing people.
Maybe you could help me spread the word and get more people to protest the bombs that we are dropping on Serbia. Maybe you could use your column to tell people about my protest group. Would you like to join it? Thanks, Matt L. Bellingham
Margaret Meade lived in a different time when corporations didn’t rule the world. People don’t matter anymore. If we were bombing corporate offices, I’m sure the mega-corps would put a stop to it. What the government is doing is okay though because they’re only killing people. I’d love to help you with this protest group thing but you left out some key info and haven’t answered my e-mails. Where will your group meet? How will you protest? Are you a violent group? Do you have an agenda? C’mon man, you’re playing right into the corporations hands. They would love it if the only protesters are spaced out hippies with no definitive goal. Check out Jim Hightower’s column to find out more about those nasty corporations and get back to me, I probably won’t join, but I’ll help get the word out.
This is one of the most viewed posts on this site of all time. Why? Animal porn.
I went running this morning for the first time in a while. I think the walking helped a lot. I felt like I was running faster and better than before. The bummer is that it seems like every time I get motivated to start running, I encounter some sort of injury. This morning it is my left calve muscle, now I’m limping around the library. Oh well, I’ll just run a little slower tomorrow and be sure to stretch.
I have to say that I appreciate the comments that have been showing up lately. Sometimes with blogging it starts to feel like the only ones reading what you write are yourself and your mom (Hi Mom!) so it feels especially good to get some interaction. I’m changing things up a little bit , trying to incorporate more of me into my posts while still giving you links to stories that catch my interest or I think will catch yours.
As to the comments, I have to moderate them pretty close or we end up with links to animal porn and other foul internet areas. So the deal is that every comment has to be approved by first time commentators, after you are approved though, you can comment at will. I know it can be frustrating to make a comment and not see it immediately, but I do it because of the animal porn. Just say no to animal porn.
People dying while working in factories, exhausted from hunger; policemen stealing food from the people; lack of food, starvation: while world leaders discuss the food problem at the FAO summit, the population of North Korea faces an unprecedented decimation. The annual famine, together with the disastrous flooding last year, has made food impossible to find in the regime headed by Kim Jong-il. According to South Korean non-governmental organisations, the only groups still allowed to bring necessities to the north, 800,000 have already died from hunger.
There is nothing more horrifying than mass starvation, especially when it can be avoided. This is almost a million human beings who are dying in the worst possible way. I would classify this as genocide.
Food shortages are striking world wide and prices are spiking for a variety of reasons. What can you do to keep your own grocery bill lower? Here are 10 ways from Gimundo
1. Shop the bulk bins.
2. Eat less meat.
3. Buy cheaper cuts of meat.
4. Eat your leftovers and take your lunch.
5. Vegetables cost less when they’re in season, and they taste better too.
6. Eat your eggs and demand humane treatment of chickens.
7. Join a co-op or buying club. Or start your own. Find one near you.
8. Plan your menus and shop with a list.
9. Grow your own and learn to dehydrate, freeze, and can foods for the winter.
10. Know when to scrimp and when not to.
Just a few days ago I decided to give up being a vegetarian. To start I went to the market and bought a whole roasted chicken, a loaf of white bread, and a big jar of mayonaise. I went back home and ate the first meat I’d had in two years. It was a delicious yet horrible sensation to be eating meat again. When I finished, I went outside and took up smoking again. My old hack returned almost instantly, and I laughed as my body began going into antiwithdrawals.
“Take that!”, I thought aloud. It felt great, for the first time in at least months and perhaps years, I didn’t feel bitter at the meat eating, smoking, generally unhealthy mood our society seems to be in.
I used to laugh at the veggies, with their self righteous talk and save the world rhetoric. They were always browbeating some innocent guy that liked the way pork ribs taste. Let me be honest here, the original reason I quit eating meat was because my teeth are spaced closely together and it drives me nuts to get meat stuck between them. Whew! There it is, I‘ve finally let it out. After I started ordering veggie burgers, I met this girl and she quickly convinced me that what I was doing was right (is it ever that hard to convince someone that what they are doing is right?)
During two years of other vegetarians convincing me that we were right, I did learn some pretty valid reasons to avoid eating meat. The meat industry is probably the number one rapist of our natural resources, the meat industry is beyond cruel to our fellow beings, meat isn’t really that healthy or necessary for human beings, and of course meat sticks in my teeth. There are hundreds of other reasons, all of them equally valid, but I am drifting.So at this point you are probably asking “so why did you take it up again?”. I’m getting to that.
I was walking down a local street with two beautiful vegetarian women last week. We passed by a local burger place where two fellas were enjoying their cheeseburgers. I was thinking to myself that sometimes grilled meat smells so tasty when one of the women I’m with says “Oh, doesn’t that smell gross!” she said it much louder than necessary and woman number two says “Oh, I know, it’s so sick, I can’t believe anyone would eat something that smells like that.” Both of them were being pretty theatrical and loud so the cheeseburger guys could hear. I saw this look flash across those two guys faces and I immediately empathized with them, here they are , minding their own business and somebody comes along and bashes on the food they’ve been waiting for. “It smells pretty good to me,” I said. That was about all I could get out. Suddenly I was being barraged by vegetarian propaganda, all of which just didn’t change the fact that those burgers smelled good to me. It really got me to thinking.
I have lots of friends that could be described as hippies, they hang out and drum together, talk about love, and spirituality, etc. etc. etc. They complain about the system, talk about making things better and all that hippie stuff but most of them see somebody eating a burger and suddenly love is out the window. So anyway, It hit me all of a sudden that it’s just as easy to find enlightenment as a corporate meat-eater as it is to find it as an unemployed musician. Suddenly the whole world opened up to me. Wow, I can actually “sell out” and not give up my principles.
Just because I eat meat doesn’t mean I have to eat it at McDonalds( McDonalds is a pretty nasty little operation, read up on it, you’ll see.) I don’t have to wear robes and sandals to follow my spiritual beliefs, and I don’t have to ruin somebody’s lunch just because I don’t agree with their beliefs. So anyway, there it is, I guess my whole point is go ahead and do whatever it is you want to do, I won’t judge you for it, but just because you don’t smoke, drink, smoke weed, eat meat, drive a big car, or worship satan doesn’t give you a liscense to be a jerk to those that do.
Published originally in The Echo. This was one of my first Ramblin Man columns in 1996
It’s a strange place that I grew up in. The strangest thing is that it hasn’t changed at all since I last lived here 22 years ago. The same businesses, the same houses needing paintjobs, the same old time miner 49er beards on different quirky Big Bear types.
If anything, the place seems smaller but that’s just because I’ve seen a lot more of the world than I had when I was 15 years old. My childhood home looks the same, the same a-frame house next door, nobody is mowing the grass at Community Park still and the same grumpy guy works behind the counter at the Community Market.
My cousins and I used to go in there in the winter and stuff our moon boots full of candy and then go to the park and divvy up our ill gotten spoils.
People here still drive Pintos and most of the men seem to work in construction and grow what I call Mike Rafferty mustaches.
The main industry here still seems to be making ugly log furniture and carving animal totems with chainsaws. I haven’t had the chance to go hiking yet, but I’ll be sure to take some pictures when I do. In the meantime, this will have to do.
About 15 years (1860) after Bear Valley was discovered by Wilson , prospector Bill Holcomb discovered gold in nearby Holcomb Valley . After abandoning his prospecting and mining efforts in Northern California and Oregon where he spent 10 years searching for gold, Holcomb and his partner Jack Martin came to Bear Valley in the winter of 1859. Although the partners worked hard they made only a modest strike. Martin returned to Los Angeles to get his family.
Meanwhile, towards the end of April, while Bill was hunting bear, he crossed the meadow in the center of Bear Valley and climbed up the west side of Bertha Peak and saw what he described as the most beautiful mountain valley I have ever seen. A few days later, he returned to that valley with companions, and while tracking a grizzly he had wounded, along what is now Caribou Creek; Bill noticed glittering specks of gold in a quartz ledge.
News of his find spread fast and soon prospectors began staking and working their claims. The population of Holcomb Valley swelled to over 2,000; buildings and businesses sprung up, including a General Store, Saloon, Grocery Store, Blacksmith Shop and the famous Octagon House where the glitter girls danced and otherwise entertained men in small dimly lit cubicles. As more and more prospectors came to Bear Valley in the hunt for gold and silver ore, the Bear Valley Mining District was founded.
I admit to being a bit bored in Morocco lately. Sefrou isn’t exactly exciting. But, the surprising thing is that I don’t find myself missing Hawaii even a little bit. I miss my friends of course, but I don’t miss Hawaii or really anywhere else enough to wish I were there…
One of the hardest things about Morocco for me is the complete lack of understanding for the individualistic, go it alone, American attitude. As most of you know, I have lived by myself quite happily and generally when attempting something new or challenging, I prefer to go it alone without anyone else interfering. This is not really a possibility here for most things. A good example are the god damn couscous balls that happen on Fridays here.
The way Moroccans eat couscous is by grabbing a handful and gently letting it form into a ball that you then pop into your mouth and eat. It’s harder than it sounds because the couscous is hot and if you are too sudden in your movements, the couscous crumbles. Well, every friday we eat couscous and every friday, I try to make these damn little balls much to the amusement of Hanane’s family who watch and offer all kinds of advice, so much so that I can’t really think about what I’m doing and my chances of making the balls disappear. Then out of sympathy, her mother and father start making couscous balls in their hands and handing them to me with such rapidity that I no longer have the time required to make them on my own. I finally had to tell them to stop, even though I think it was fairly rude of me, but they still persist. In any event, I’m a temperamental person and sometimes it’s hard not to fling the couscous balls against the wall, but so far, I’ve avoided this. If we were drinking, I’m sure there would be couscous in every direction, luckily, this good Muslim family has nothing to do with the booze and thus, neither do I. Whew!
In any event, since I am bored, I’ve decided to try to take as many pictures of all the food we eat here and create a Moroccan home cooking food porn bit. So here is the first entry:
Bayd an Matisha, I think is the name. They call it B.M. which I find to be pretty funny. It essentially means eggs and tomatos, the quickest and easiest. It is made of olive oil (zeet) with tomato, onion, garlic, and cilantro all fried up and an egg cooked in the center. Then we sit around the pan at the table and eat it with bread. The tea is ubiquitous with every meal and quite probably the reason so many Moroccans are missing teeth. It is black or green tea brewed with a full cup of sugar. Sometimes there is mint thrown in, sometimes not. Sometimes it is poured over mint in a glass, sometimes not. The whole family thinks I’m crazy for drinking black coffee with no sugar or milk, but I bet my brown teeth will last longer than their white ones.