Sunday, August 26, 2012

Meditation on apples and peaches with worms in them . . .

We have enjoyed a bumper harvest, so far, of peaches and apples off of one of the peach and two of the apple trees in our yard. What astonished me--at first, anyway--was the number of fruits that had worms inside.

Here are a couple where the damage is more than obvious. In fact, before I took the shot, I "simply" sloughed off the wholly rotten portions of the apples by scooping/scraping it off with the top of my thumbnail. . . .

What strikes me about the whole experience: I haven't seen worms in apples in . . . years. Probably not since I was a young boy.

Why's that?

. . . More in a moment.

So here's an apple that you know has been invaded by a worm. That's a wormhole up there at the 12:30 position (with respect to the stem).

Where did the worm go?

After cutting into a couple of apples, I formed a hypothesis that has proven almost infallible. I don't understand why, but it is true: the worms almost always head almost straight for the core. They don't generally cut "across" the apple or "across" the meat; they cut a path down and through the meat to the core:

There. You can see the "nest" in the core . . . and the "exit" from the borehole into the "nest."

Cut out the core and you see the hole. . . . And carefully chop a small chunk from the core out to and around the entrance hole and . . . 

Oh, yeah! The entire pathway. Complete with worm droppings. . . .

Okay. A few more careful slices with a rinsed knife . . . and a quick rinse with water and you have one of the tastiest apples I have had in a long, long time.

. . . And that's when it hits me: I haven't seen worms because professional apple growers have learned that consumers will ALWAYS buy worm-free apples before apples that may--or, almost always, do--contain worms. Indeed, consumers will pay a premium for such pretty apples.

So the apple producers spray the apples with pesticides. And apples are now--and have been for years--right at the top of the list of the "Dirty Dozen" foods--foods most heavily laden with pesticides. For the last two years, they have been at the very top of the list: #1 most contaminated.

I am coming to the point where I would rather deal with the worms than eat the pesticides, "thank you very much."


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Entitlement States of America

There's plenty of blame to go around. We know the rich as well as the poor are leaching off the government . . . i.e., whoever is "stupid" enough actually to pay taxes.

I didn't realize it was quite this bad, however.

From the August 5 Sovereign Digest published by The Sovereign Society:
Maybe this is Just a Conspiracy Theory, But . . . Have you ever wondered whether the government – both Democrats and Republicans – secretly wants a nation addicted to welfare? Sure would make for a more-compliant bunch of voters when the bulk of Americans are dependent on Uncle Sam for their bread and tuna.

I tucked away a report earlier this year that tracks a dependency index, and among the latest findings it showed that those who take from the government (let’s call them Thy Brothers) received benefits of about $32,700 from the government in 2010. Those who earn money and pay taxes in America (let’s call them Thy Brothers’ Keepers) earned on average about $32,400.

Is it just me, or is there a terminal flaw in the system when Thy Brothers are living larger than Thy Brothers’ Keepers?

If you want to see the true impact of this addiction to dependency, look no further than the $1 trillion Farm Bill the House passed last month. A huge chunk of the spending has nothing to do with farms or farmers. It’s earmarked for food stamps.

We, Thy Brothers’ Keepers, now spend about $80 billion a year on food stamps.

In the 1970s, one in 50 Americans received food assistance from the government. Today, it’s a stunning one in 7. But to see just how broken the system really is, dig a bit deeper. Half of all the folks receiving food assistance have been on the program for more than eight years. That, dear reader, is a sign of dependency.

In all, more than 67 million Americans – about 22% of the country – depend on the government for their livelihood. That number will only grow as more Boomers fall into Social Security, as Obamacare lassos more Americans into a government health network, and as failed economic policies create more Americans who are (wink wink) permanently disabled.

Sooner or later, we reach a point where the Entitlement States of America runs out of other people’s money. Then what?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Seeds of success: An encouraging word from a noted neurosurgeon . . .

Saw this in the latest World magazine. From an interview with Dr. Ben Carson (upon whose story the movie Gifted Hands, starring Cuba Gooding, was based). Carson was raised, from the third grade on, by a mom who was married at 13 and never went beyond third grade herself. And if you want additional strikes against him: he's black.

This is a brief, edited section from an hour-long interview available on YouTube. (See below.) This section, however, particularly struck me. I think those of us who are involved in educating the next generation(s) [which, I hope, is virtually all of us!], I think the message is vital.

(NOTE: The section below comes from 6:04 into the video and ends at 10:55.)
Were you really considered the dumbest kid in the class in the fifth grade? I was the safety net: No one had to worry about getting the lowest mark on a test as long as I was there. My nickname was Dummy. Once we were having an argument about who was the dumbest person in the school. It wasn't a big argument—everyone agreed it was me—but then someone tried to extend that argument to who was the dumbest person in the world. I said, "Wait a minute, there are billions of people in the world." They said, "Yeah, we know that, and you're the dumbest."

On that particular day, to make matters worse, we had a math quiz and you had to pass your paper to the person behind you. They would correct it and give it back to you. Teacher would call your name and you had to report your score out loud. Great if you got 100 or 95! Not so great if you got a zero and just had an argument about who's the dumbest person in the world.

I started scheming: "When teacher calls my name, I will mumble and maybe she'll think I said something and write it down." The quiz had 30 questions. When she called my name I said, "neimnmm." She said, "Nine! Benjamin you got nine right? Oh, this is wonderful, I knew you could do it if you just applied yourself. Kids, I want you to understand what a significant day this is. Benjamin got nine right. If he can get nine right anybody can."

Finally the girl behind me couldn't take it any longer. She stood up and said, "He said none!" The kids were rolling in the aisles. If I could have disappeared into thin air never to be heard from again in the history of the world, I would gladly have done so. But, I couldn't. I had to sit there and act like it didn't bother me—but it did. Not enough to make me study but it did bother me.

My mother saw all these failing grades. She didn't know what to do, but she prayed and asked God to give her wisdom to know what to do to get her young sons to understand the importance of intellectual development. She then let us watch only two to three TV programs each week. With all that spare time we had to read two books apiece from the Detroit Public Library and submit to her written book reports. She couldn't read them but we didn't know that—she would put little checkmarks and highlights and underlines.

I hated it in the beginning, but after a few weeks I began to enjoy it. We were desperately poor, but between the covers of those books I could go anywhere, be anybody, do anything. I began to imagine myself in the laboratory conducting experiments; discovering new galaxies, microcosms, knowing stuff that nobody else knew. Within a year and a half I went from the bottom of my class to the top, much to the consternation of all the students who used to call me dummy. The same ones who called me dummy in the fifth grade would come to me in the seventh grade, "Benny, Benny, Benny! How do you work this problem?"

. . . I had the same brain but a very, very different outlook. As I began to read about people of accomplishment, it dawned on me that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is—you. It's not the environment. It's not somebody else. You can take control of your own life. I started having a very different philosophy than a lot of the people around me.

A lot of them called me nerd, Uncle Tom, all kinds of things. I would shut them up by saying, "Let's see what I'm doing in 20 years and let's see what you're doing in 20 years." They must have believed me because when I graduated from high school they all voted me most likely to succeed—which means they knew what was necessary to succeed, but were too lazy and trifling to do it themselves. That's what negative peer pressure is all about. The more young people we can get to understand that, the more people of accomplishment we will see.
You can watch the entire interview here:

Monday, August 20, 2012

"I'm just a bill" - traditional and modern versions

I first saw "I'm just a bill" about a year ago.

I thought at the time: "Yeah. If only. That's not the way things work nowadays."

You get SOME idea of what I was thinking about if you see what I just wrote to Blaise Ingoglia, of Government Gone Wild!, whose videos Land of the Freebies, Home of the Enslaved and Special Interests...Exposed! I watched this morning:

I've enjoyed the videos I have seen. However, I would VERY MUCH appreciate seeing you handle the "other" form of welfare that various viewers have mentioned: the CORPORATE welfare so completely embedded in our federal government . . . from Monsanto's headlock on the USDA (; look for "revolving door"), to FDA's control by and doing the bidding of Big Pharma (, to--of course--the (formerly unbelievable) bailouts of the "too-big-to-fail" banks and their bankster managers . . .

You've done a great job on the "little guys" who have been co-opted by Big Government. I appreciate your video about the growing number of government employees who make obscene amounts of money. But I'd like to see you do a similarly wonderful expose on the "big guys" who are (not being co-opted BY the government, but who are) co-opting the government.

WOW! If you were to make a similarly powerful video on THAT, I think all the liberals would have to acknowledge: "This guy is the real deal!"

Well . . . now I've found a catchy video that explains how at least SOME of the "new" government works. It's a modern version of I'm just a bill. . . . Please excuse the few relatively minor profanities. . . .