Friday Homestead Dispatch

Gustatory Nudiustertian Bashment

1.
Most grocery stores here and across the country have similar produce sections. It’s like the mainstream news programs. Maybe two varieties of bananas, three kinds of lettuce, two styles of carrots, rarely any star fruit, and apples? Fugeddaboudit…unless you happen to have a LeeLee market in your burg.

According to this article in ‘Gastro’ Obscura, a man named (called, in some circles) Tom Brown in his home orchard in Clemmons, North Carolina, has rescued over a thousand so-called lost varieties of apples with unfamiliar names such as Black Winesap, Candy Stripe, Junaluska, Royal Lemon, Rabun Bald, Yellow Bellflower, and Night Dropper.

Commercial orchards in the U.S. grew about 14,000 unique apple varieties in 1905, and most of them could be found in Appalachia. But Appalachian traditions around heritage apples were eroded and ultimately destroyed by the 1950s by urban migration, factory farming, and corporatized food systems.

But Brown’s work has been commended by conservationists and culinary professionals alike. Chefs like Travis Milton are stoked to have hundreds of new flavors to experiment with. Craft cidermakers say reintroduced heirlooms are inspiring a cider renaissance. Click on the link in the second paragraph for the full story.

2.
If you’re an Arizona resident, do you know about the website Civic Engagement Beyond Voting? It’s a grassroots nonpartisan organization working to empower Arizona residents to exercise their voices at the state level, and the only Indivisible group in Arizona that is 100% focused on the state legislature.

There’s a google doc link that lays out eight reasons to pay attention to state politics. The reasons are annotated but I’ll give you the short version: 1) State laws directly affect our daily lives, 2) Our state leads the way when the feds don’t, 3) State lawmakers are more accessible, 4) Local politics shape national change, 5) It’s easier to stop bad policies locally, 6) States act as incubators for national policies, 7) When national politics are the problem, states can be a solution, and 8) Arizona’s Constitution protects us.

You’ll also find a google doc that’s a progressive group directory. Don’t know how to reach the AMMA PAC, a patient's first organization delivering greater access to certification and the legal purchase and possession of medical cannabis? It’s in the directory.

3.
I just finished reading The Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and thought I’d post this passage pulled from the book:

Pasquale considered his friend’s face. It had such an open quality, was such a clearly American face, like Dee’s face, like Michael Deane’s face. He believed he could spot an America anywhere by that quality–that openness, that stubborn belief in possibility, a quality that, in his lifetime, even the youngest Italians lacked. Perhaps it was the difference in age between the country–America with its expansive youth, building all those drive-in movie theaters and cowboy restaurants; Italians living in endless contradiction, in the artifacts of generations, in the bones of empires.

This reminded him of Alvis Bender’s contention that stories were like nations–Italy a great epic poem, Britain a thick novel, America a brash motion picture in Technicolor–and he remembered, too, Dee Moray saying she’d spent years “waiting for her movie to start,” and that she’d almost missed out on her life waiting for it.

And one more passage from his book The Cold Millions read earlier this year that taps on the shoulders of Americans:

I followed him through a fancy landing, beneath dual staircases, to a two-story library. Books that hadn’t been cracked since they were shelved. Give money to a monkey and he’ll fill his cage with bananas. Give the same money to a dim American and he’ll build a show library every time.

4.
Dammit, Michael K Williams died last week. At 54. We loved him in The Wire and Boardwalk Empire, and we’ve watched one episode of Lovecraft Country. The jury is out on that one. But one of our favorite series that seems to be getting little quarter in the media is Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard. There were three seasons from 2016-2018, a dark comedy of hick-lit swamp noir pulp fiction madness. Getcha some on Netflix.

5.
Now if only Mexico would just take back Texas…

6.
"They’re introducing a bill to add four new seats to the Supreme Court so that Democrats can pack the Court, destroy its legitimacy, and guarantee the rulings liberals want," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the man-turtle who did this exact thing, along with the nasty liar-man, when he blocked Merrick Garland and then placed Neil Gorsuch, drunkard Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy “Handmaiden” Barrett in robes. McConnell did it by employing his own nuclear option to change the rules so the Senate could confirm Supreme Court justices by simple majority, basically pronouncing a new rule while RBG was still on the slab. Speaking of packing the court.

Thomas M. Keck, the chair of constitutional law and politics at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, said the term court packing is generally used as a pejorative term, to denounce something that one’s political opponents are engaged in. Sounds like a definition from the Devil’s Dictionary to me. He went on to say, "If it’s the case that Sen. McConnell and other Republican leaders engaged in illegitimate court packing of their own from 2016 to 2020, then from the Democrats’ perspective, an additional round of court reform is necessary to correct for those earlier rounds.”

Lawrence Douglas, who teaches at Amherst College and has written the book Will He Go? Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 202, wrote in the Guardian on Monday, “As the Texas ruling underscored, this is a court far more conservative than the nation whose constitutional meanings it is meant to protect. And it is a court that owes its composition to the triumph of anti-democratic processes, in which a majority of its members were nominated by a president who lost the popular vote and/or were confirmed by a bloc of senators elected by a minority of voters.

In proposing the addition of two additional justices, Biden could hardly be charged with tit-for-tat politics or with further politicizing the court. Conservatives would continue to enjoy a 6-5 majority, but with Justice Roberts, a stalwart institutionalist, serving as the swing vote. Were Biden to succeed, such an expansion would make the court more legitimate, not less.”

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8.
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