Saturday, October 27, 2012

Keeping It Up

Issa, of Alberta Coop Grocery
"Organic" is one of those words that picks up connotations like a co-op hippie picks up odors in the bulk spice aisle. It's a word you can brandish. Or scoff at. It's loaded. So let's review:

Organic does not mean "sort of brown and nubbly." It does not mean "smelling like patchouli oil." It does not mean "more expensive." Okay, it does, but only because someone else is picking up the tab for the cheap stuff, in fertilizer run-off,  groundwater contamination, antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and algae plumes. Most of all, it does not mean "associated with liberals."

Okay, it does.

But that's the nature of things that become buzzwords, however legitimate they may be. People start reacting to them without a lot of critical thought. For instance, I have a visceral and bad reaction to the phrase "family values," even though I think they are a good thing. Our own family values elevated Scrabble and backyard badminton and summer cookouts with colored aluminum tumblers full of lemonade and walking in the woods and rolling logs for salamanders and putting the salamanders back and replacing the logs and singing in the choir and eating at the same time every night and getting put to bed with a chapter of The Wind In The Willows. Also, we were supposed to get good grades and not be racists.

"Sustainability" is another buzzword you hear a lot lately, and it's one of my favorites.  Unfortunately, a lot of people hear someone going on about sustainability and all they conclude is "that person doesn't want me to ever have any fun." And that's simply not true. We sustainability people want everyone to have lots and lots of fun! Only with Scrabble sets and backyard badminton. We think that should be an easy transition from blasting an ATV all over the desert or gouging up a mountain trail with a motorbike. We like Scrabble. We think you will, too.

So "sustainability" is another one of those words that is beginning to provoke a backlash, especially among fans of unrestrained capitalism. But it shouldn't. It passes no judgment and chooses no sides.

All "unsustainable" means is: you can't keep it up. You might find a politician who will tell you he can keep it up forever, and even provide evidence on Twitter, but trust this: he can't.

There are all sorts of things that are not sustainable. For instance, suppose you get in on the front end of a Specklebutt Corgi boom. You buy a matched set of Specklebutt Corgis for $500 and pretty soon you have another eight Corgis to sell for $500 per, and willing buyers snap them up in hopes they can turn them around at $1000 a pop. This happy circumstance plays out for a few more generations and then the bottom drops out of the specklebutts, and a sorry spectacle it is, too. Corgis are unloaded for free with crate on Craigslist. It's unsustainable. It can't be kept up.

Or say someone finds a huge underground reservoir of prehistoric Corgis in a kibble cave. They are enormous. They are brought up topside a few at time where it is discovered that they have great value as draft animals with their short, massive limbs. Two of them can pull a train by themselves but their antique balls fall off in the modern atmosphere and they cannot reproduce. Nevertheless, prehistoric Corgi futures soar, and the animals are hauled up as fast as they can be hauled. The potential seems endless, but it is not. There are only so many of them. Eventually people will have to figure out how to do without ancient Corgi power, but in the meantime, trainers and Corgi-yoke manufacturers are pulling down solid wages and brokers are making a killing. There's no incentive, in an unrestrained market, to leave any of the proto-fidos down there. And why, the brokers ask, can't we just figure out what to do after we've run through all the dogs?

No reason at all, if we weren't going to be nose-deep in Corgi shit by then.

So when Mitt Romney says, as though this is a good thing, that he will do everything he can to get the last dog out of the ground, I'm going to vote as hard and as often as I can for his opponent. His position is not sustainable, economically or in any other way, and a grown-up would know that and plan ahead. I don't care what the man straps his own dog to.

67 comments:

  1. Yes. Yes. Wasn't sure at first where you were going with all those dogs...Corgis none-the-less!

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    1. A lot of the time I don't know where I'm going either. But it usually comes back around.

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  2. I have a visceral and bad reaction to the phrase "family values," even though I think they are a good thing.

    The problem is that words take on new meanings over time, even if in theory they could logically mean other things. A "concentration camp" doesn't mean a camp where you go to learn to concentrate better, even if it logically could have meant that before it acquired its more specific meaning. "Family values" is now code for "God hates fags". Maybe it shouldn't mean that, but it just does.

    As for sustainability, we're never going to win over the ATV-desert-blasting set because their thing is to crap on whatever our thing happens to be at any given moment. I've lost track of how many right-wing bloggers I've seen talking about ways to maximize one's carbon footprint. To them, none of these problems are real and it's all just cultural in-group identity markers. We'll just have to vote for the grown-ups who know better than to burn through all the giant de-balled corgis in one go, even if it means we need to put up with endless bitching and moaning from the mountain-gougers.

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    1. Is that it? Can't we do some culling too?

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    2. I suppose we could repeal all the commie socialist big-government safety regulations and standards on ATV and motorbike manufacturers, and let natural selection take its course.....

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    1. Pootie does not know the meaning of the word. Also, he is extra happy when he gets to be nekkid.

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  4. "a grown-up would know that and plan ahead". That's what's so depressing about so much in the political. There seem to be so many two-year-olds playing in it.

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    1. political ARENA....I know I typed ARENA. Doesn't make much sense without it. Stupid 'puter.

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    2. Apparently that is what we voters demand our politicians to be.

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  5. Way too many two-year olds and too few grown ups in the room. How many time-outs will it take for them to learn how to behave? Sadly, they will always be stuck in the terrible twos and the concept of natural consequences is the only possible way they'll learn. Too bad they take the rest of us with them.

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    1. And the salamanders, don't forget. Bastards!

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  6. Too bad some of them there Romney balls didn't fall off a couple generations ago. Wouldda saved us a lot of trouble today.

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    1. Some of them ancestral Romnuts got quite a bit of a workout, I hear.

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  7. Family values, the buzz word of the Republican far right - and the mantra of the Republican center, is meant to convince the 'undecided'(low information) voter that the Republican party is the moral party of righteousness.

    Family values are actually subjective. The Manson Family had family values - the family of Honey Boo Boo has family values. So who's values are we talking about: Obviously the Christian right who are so totally convinced of their own rightness and righteousness that they feel they should legislate it to law.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. I had not heard the equation of "undecided" and "low information" but it makes sense to me.

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  8. I got carried away after Infidel's comment...sorry. Here in north western Maine we have a great farming community and healthy foods available all year, if you can pay a little more.

    Maine also has the Common Ground Fair every September: an organic fair that has no rides or carney booths but loads of farm products, environmental displays, classes on food production, oxen pulls, sheep dog herding etc.
    Check it out on the internet - a great resource attended by thousands.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  9. Infidel753 has apparently found the Secret Decoder Ring to translate RepublicanSpeak and knows they think the real meaning of Family Values is indeed "God Hates Fags". Thank you for that public service, Infidel.

    Why this election is even close mystifies me. I haven't been so worried about an election in ages and I'm losing my sense of humor about it. I try to argue sensibly with folks of the "other persuasion" when I'm really having most uncharitable thoughts. Help us, Pootie, you're our only hope.

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    1. I've just given up on 'arguing sensibly'--it just makes my blood pressure skyrocket. So I vote. (Early and often! I'm a Chicagoan by birth.)

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    2. I guess I can see why people vote against Obama--I guess--and some of it is very bad--but I don't see why anyone would vote FOR Romney. What a weiner.

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  10. You can't see me but I'm nodding my head VERY vigorously. I might even get whiplash, I'm agreeing so much :)

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  11. I am a degreed Organic Chemist. That particular Organic as an adjective is probably different than what you are used to. It just means an emphasis on carbon compounds.

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    1. I went on to read the rest of your blog post - prehistoric eunich giant Corgis, hahahaha, you could caLL them "inCorgiables".

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    2. That was my field, too. First time I heard of organic vegetables, I thought, what other kind could there possibly be?

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  12. I like the things you find in your particular "kibble cave."
    Maybe you should have this column syndicated to reach ,at least, the undecided. Perhaps even the rabid right.

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    1. "Have it syndicated!" That sounds like it would be a snap! Thanks.

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  13. I second pcflamingo's comment

    "Infidel753 has apparently found the Secret Decoder Ring to translate RepublicanSpeak and knows they think the real meaning of Family Values is indeed "God Hates Fags". Thank you for that public service"


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    1. I only wish it were a SECRET decoder ring. They're right out there with it.

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  14. I second meleah's comment and third pcflamingo's.

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  15. I'm just reading along, enjoying the funny bits and wondering where this is all going, and I realize that I'm not at all worried because I trust that it's going somewhere great. And then it does. As opposed to this political season, the direction of which does have me worried. Kibble caves and Corgis indeed.

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    1. I'm thinking of putting a blanket over my head until after the election. If it goes wrong, I can always keep it there.

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  16. Our last dog was a corgi and I love the metaphor of your prehistoric corgis being used as power sources.
    Romney mustn't be elected. I need to believe that people, especially women, won't buy into his lies and pretend reversals.

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    1. I'm not sure he even knows what "lying" means. He's just head-up-his-ass flexible.

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  17. Wait, did you just say that Mitt is a prehistoric specklbutt corgi who is now unsustainable because his balls fell off while pulling a train? Let me re-read this.

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  18. Man, you can twist the tail of a metaphor 'til it screams for mercy. Or turns into a fable. As for your message, I'm a bobblehead. Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh- huh.

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    1. I do get carried away sometimes and then it's a long way back.

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  19. I do love you. Here in Oz there are a number of public figures who, if ever I agree with them, I go back to first principles to see where I went wrong. It sounds as if you have much the same relationship with Mitt.

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    1. He has the same relationship with himself.

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    2. Oh my sainted aunt...Mitt is a Tony Abbott clone.Better looking-I'll give him that. But nothing more!

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  20. Your story reminded me of the day when I brought a vegetarian lunch with some sort of tofu in it to eat at work. Suspicious looks from my co-workers, "What kind of liberal food is that?"

    Of course, my chin practically fell on the floor when one of our neighbors here who drives a Prius - a Prius! - slapped a Romney/Ryan sticker on his bumper. It just ain't right!

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    1. Wouldn't you think it would self-peel right off?

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  21. The phrase "family values" gives me hives. Your family sounds nicer than mine. We played Killer Scrabble, Cutthroat Cribbage and Take No Prisoners Euchre, especially at the cottage, after canoeing. I think we were pre-organic but we didn't have a piano either. I like to think we were sustainable, however, because we weren't allowed to be racist or to say anything if we didn't have anything nice to say.

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    1. Oh, we played Cutthroat Cribbage. As much as you can play it without money involved.

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  22. I spent the day cooking and pureeing (is that a word?) my organic pumpkins from my garden. I'm feeling more liberal already.

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    1. Um. How much pumpkin do you go through a year? Just curious. Something about the squash family--one vine can go a long way.

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  23. When the last fish is caught and the last tree is down, we will understand we have been living in an unsustainable manner. And learn that we cannot eat money. And learn that Corgis don't taste particularly good, either.

    Family values are good. As long as you realize they vary a bit (or a lot) from family to family. Yours sound pretty good, but they're not mine. So you do yours, and I'll do mine. OK?

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    1. Oh I insist you do yours! Except you really have to do Scrabble too, I think.

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  24. I would not vote for Romney...I get bad vibes from him.
    I sure miss game nights. I loved playing Scrabble and Mexican Train Dominoes but no one wants to play anymore....sniff sniff.

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  25. We played Clue and Monopoly and my little sister tattled on me and I got in trouble. Seems like those family values were pretty common.

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    1. And Parcheezi and Chinese Checkers. I don't think anyone did any tattling in my family. That part is pretty uncommon and I have no idea why it was.

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  26. Should Romney win the election, I will become a hermit and live in a far-off kibble cave with only giant corgies for companionship.

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    1. Shoot, you get a big enough Corgi and you'd only need one.

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  27. As a Corgi owner myself, I can assure you that, no matter how big they are, you will never be able to convince them to be draft animals. There are few animals on earth with the capacity for stubbornness as Corgis have. They do enjoy chasing cows, but as for pulling things, forget it.

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    1. If they could be harnessed up to pull a cow, would they?

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    2. The answer is "yes - but only in a circle..."

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  28. After reading your post, nodding, chuckling and sighing right up to the end and then reading every one of the following comments, I can truly say that I can't think of another blog where the commentary really expands the conversation. It's brilliant and funny and you bring that out is a whole bunch of people. Thank you!!

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    1. I could just wallow in my comment section sometimes. And while we're on the subject, I have to say I remain amazed I have not gotten a trolly comment.

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  29. I was brought up with working corgis, they were excellent with a breed of smallish Irish cattle.

    Could be angry little beasties if you got in the way of their supercilious herding.

    I think Mitchballs will be in fine working order as long as he renews his annual subscription to Binderz full of Womenz.
    XO
    WWW

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    1. I'm safe then. I wouldn't think if getting in the way of a good Corgi and its target cow!

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  30. Hey, Murr, I came over to toilet paper your blog for Halloween and find your front yard deep in Corgi poo.
    Give 'em hell, girl. (not the Corgis). I walk around with a wet cloth on my forehead and moaning because my redneck relatives in the Midwest think Mitt is a member of a cult, but they're going to vote for him anyway. No amount of arguing, facts, or arithmetic seems to matter. My only consolation is that they (like Oregon) are being ignored. It seems only Ohio matters.

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    1. Oh crap! I was hoping that cult thing would be enough to push some people in the right direction, if for the wrong reason.

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