Blog Growing Crops and Lifelong Relationships

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | 0 Comment(s) Cause City Folks Just Don't Get It

That's a lot of eyebrow plucking for a farmer.
I wish I had thought of both the website and tagline, just so I could have written a satirical tale of farmer on farmer action.  Alas, reality beat me to it and now I get to shit all over someone else's grand idea.  Six of one, half dozen of another.

The basics.  I love farmers. As individuals, as a group, as an idea . . . farmers feed us and make this country better.  More farmers, less GMO's.  Living in the relative country myself, I have the pleasure of knowing a few handful of farmers in and around New England.  I can't recall any of them lamenting about farmer-specific love problems, but I appreciate that there may different issues facing farmers in the more wide open spaces of the Midwest.

What I do know is that farmers, on the whole, are White.  According to a recent PBS special, today there are only 18,000 Black farmers -- representing less than 1% of all farmers.  Personally, I can understand why, as a Black person, one might find it difficult to see working the land as a viable career choice.  At the same time, the love of farming extends beyond the injustice of slavery, and losing a minority voice in American food culture is a net loss for everyone.  But I digress.

To Bee or Not to Bey: The Battle Between Hucka and the Queen

Friday, January 23, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

I can't in good conscience tell you that I believe Mike Huckabee has a shot at being the next President of the United States.  Let's start there.  He's too far to the right, too ├╝ber-Christian, and too ol' timey value for a modern presidency.  But even if he did, theoretically, have a chance to win the Republican nomination, he doesn't anymore.

Mike Huckabee quit his Fox News show in order to investigate the possibility of another run at the top job.  As part of his presidential run-up roll-out, he is on the talk show circuit plugging his recently published book (which I choose to not directly plug here).  Here's the best part, in his book he criticizes Beyonce . . . yes, that Beyonce, for choosing to "go sexual" in her art and, to paraphrase, to peddle porn when she's so talented.

No no. Gimme another shot at paraphrasing.  I can do better.  To paraphrase: Mike Huckabee is another White guy telling another Black woman what she should or shouldn't do with her body, sexuality, artistic expression.  Sadly, this is no new platform -- it's as old as the platforms they used to sell people on.  In the majority of cases, cases that happen constantly, everyday, all across the country, the minority opinion would be silenced and the majority point of view given a megaphone.

But that son of a bitch picked on mother fucking Beyonce.  Such a dumb move.

Goodnight Moon, Hello Puppy

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

To understand how crazy last Friday morning was for me, first you have to get a general sense for how mornings are supposed to run in our household.

Somewhere between 5-7:30am my wife gets up.  I am blissfully unconscious for this part, so I really have no idea about the fluctuations in her wake up schedule.  At the sound of my wife's alarm, our two pitbulls, Grover and Falcor, reactively begin there morning stretches as they half-heartedly rise from their doggie beds. 

It's winter, so the dogs are weighing the fact that Mom is going to make them go outside into the cold to go to the bathroom with the reward of getting a pre-breakfast snack before going back to bed.  The knowledge of future food is one of the most powerful motivators in our household, though on those subfreezing mornings, even the sound of a bag of treats shaking from downstairs can't budge Grover out from under his cozy blanket. 

Dogs go out, dogs get a snack, and then dogs are put back in their bed(s) so Momma can get ready for school.  They immediately jump up on the human bed and snuggle with me. If all goes to plan, when my alarm goes off, I know all is right in the world if I feel the warm-water bottle sensation of fuzzy companions wedged against some part of my body.  Sometimes the pups get real creative and lie directly against either side of me, and when I go to shut off my alarm, I find myself pinned in like a mummy under the coffin lid of compressed sheets. 

"Dad, just toss a blanket over us and we'll call it a night."

Skeletor, Peyton Manning, and the Role of Baddies in Our Lives

Thursday, January 15, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

I'm a Patriots fan, let's get that out of the way at the top of this rare sport-related entry.  There is no way to begin a philosophical discussion about Peyton Manning without first making that allegiance known right off the top. As a rule, I hate Peyton Manning, I hate the Colts, and I hate the Denver Broncos.  Not only that, but I hate the whole Manning family.  I hate that baby Eli threatened to not play football for a year so that the Giants would pick him in the draft instead of the Chargers. And I hate their self-righteous father, who always seems to swoop in from the Legends suite to take post-game interviews with his children.

Yes. This is definitely a firm pass for me. 
That's a whole lot of hate, huh? People, please understand, I use such hyperbolic verbiage to drive home the point that this is all purely sports-related vitriol.  I don't cast real emotions at what are essentially glorified T.V. characters -- and I would never mistake a man in spandex with any of the everyday heroes that lend their sweat to helping our very real world flourish.  This disconnect is what allows such free-flowing loosey-goosey hate. 

With all of that out of the way, I would have to be obtuse not to recognize ol' P. Manning as one of the two best quarterbacks of this generation (with our boy Tom Brady).  Yes, Aaron Rodgers and  Drew Brees have been incredible. But they are the 1B's to Peyton & Tommy's 1A.   So when Peyton's Broncos lost convincingly to his old team the Colts in last week's playoff match-up, a whispered ripple was sent across the NFL landscape (and for once it wasn't domestic violence related!)

TBRARUMUD All-Stars: The $38.00 Buffet

Monday, January 12, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

Originally published on February 2, 2010, what follows is one of the rare wonderful moments that took place during a psychology conference in Las Vegas, NV.  I chose this piece partially because the advise at the end of the piece is as applicable now as it was during its original publication.  Enjoy!  -MZ

Now, there really are quite a few negatives about Vegas that I feel need to be shared. But, in the spirit of optimism, i'm going to go with one of the positives. And thus begins the story of the $38 buffet.

Saturday night, my final night on the strip, a few friends and I were looking for a relatively inexpensive, tasty (remember what I had eaten the night before) dinner option. Having already eaten at Burger Bar (YUM!--so good I suggested going again), we decided to hit up the Bellagio Buffet.

Now, I'm going to be honest, "buffet," to me, does not have a good connotation. When I think of a buffet I think of a line of food laid out on a table or set of hotplates, that sits, touched or untouched, for a block of time not unlike the block of time you are supposed to reserve for the cable guys arrival ("just be at home anywhere from 10am - 4pm, we'll get to you"). So the chance of getting food that has been sitting out is generally pretty high. I, for reasons I can only think must be tied to my experiences, also think of Chinese food and multiple forms of fried noodles and rice. There have been exceptions to the rule. I once went to a glorious Indian wedding in NYC whose endless Indian delicacies rocked my sari off (figuratively). But this, sadly, was the exception, and most buffet dinners I have had have led to extended visits to Sergeant Porcelain's infirmary. It's conservation of mass folks--what goes in, must come out. 

Fear Regret, Not Failure

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 | 2 Comment(s)

And so ends 2014: The Year of NOT Living in Fear.

Did I learn anything from this annual goal? Is creating a theme for your year dumb, or the dumbest?

I am genuinely glad you asked.  I have answers -- all the answers to these questions. If only you'd asked me something about the meaning of life today as well! Maybe we all could have reaped the benefits of my temporarily bottomless wisdom.

The number one thing that surprised me after repeating my 2014 Mantra, "I'm not going to live in fear," was how often it was applicable. When I came up with it, the idea behind tossing fear into the back seat was to combat the increasing number of worries I could feel myself getting amidst.  I was my own Worst Case Scenario Handbook, except that I just thought up the scenarios, and then spent countless hours perseverating over potential solutions to problems I didn't even have.