Friday Homestead Dispatch

Indomitable Nocturnal Walnuts

1.
Over the years I've thought about and discussed with others the subject of creativity and age. Some of my favorite musicians wrote and performed their best work before the age of 30, even starting in their teens. Some have kept an even keel and have delivered quality, vital work over a lifetime. Still others didn't gel until they were over 50 and many creatives chose a path of marriage, family, raising kids, to find themselves at a later stage in life jumping back into creative interests and endeavors.

An article in Psychology Today suggests there are two types of creatives; conceptual innovators and those who are more experimental, and tend to peak later in life. The author goes on to say, “Examples of conceptual innovators include Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, Herman Melville, and Albert Einstein, all of whom contributed their most innovative work while they were young. Examples of experimental innovators include Paul Cezanne, Robert Frost, Virginia Woolf, and Charles Darwin.”

There are many examples of people in the autumn of their lives who have a burning desire or passion that they can't help but to pursue, to just do it. For instance, the Sanders Brothers, Bernie and the Colonel, both thrived in their later years. Alfred Hitchcock made “Dial M for Murder,” “Rear Window,” “To Catch a Thief,” “The Trouble with Harry,” “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest,” and “Psycho”—one of the greatest runs by a director in history—between his fifty-fourth and sixty-first birthdays. Leonardo da Vinci was in his teens when he painted the angel for his master’s “Baptism of Christ.” He was 51 when he started work on the most famous painting in history, the “Mona Lisa.” Claude Monet painted some of his most impressive artwork when he was in his late 60’s and early 70’s, and sculptor Louise Bourgeois created her greatest work after the age of 80.

Grandma Moses, Judi Dench, Frank McCourt, Joe Biden; all are now doing or did their best work later in life.

Yes, these are extraordinary people but as Simone de Beauvoir wrote, "One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius". Who knows what we are capable of until we shed a few layers, take off the school kid skin, get over ourselves, and get to work?

2.
In my Friday Homestead Dispatch from March 5th I posted about using up our immense amount of plastic waste to build roads.

Along those same lines, instead of creating new plastic (from petroleum) why not use hemp? Hemp can be used to replace numerous items now being manufactured in the petrochemical industry and they are totally recyclable and biodegradable. It can be used to replace common fabrics like cotton and rayon, lotions, soaps, shampoos, household detergents, carpeting, and paper…yes, paper, which will save trees as hemp regenerates faster and supplies four times the amount of paper per acre.

Of course, lobbyists and lawmakers whose states depend on the oil industry are opposed to any movement away from a change of the status quo. Captain Clay Higgins is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing South Louisiana, and in February he introduced H. Res. 149, a resolution challenging the Biden administration to operate the White House without using any oil and gas energy or petroleum-based products. 

In part the resolution states:
– The Biden administration’s energy policies jeopardize the well-being and security of the entire citizenry of the United States;
– America’s petrochemical industry leads the world in efficient, clean, and safe operations;
– Biden administration policies would move energy production to less-regulated foreign nations with horrible ecological records; and
– Fossil fuel energy sources and petroleum-based products make modern life possible.

The resolution also calls on the Biden administration to prohibit the use of petroleum-based products on White House grounds, including but not limited to: cameras, microphones, mobile devices (phones and tablets), desktops, laptops, printers, coffee makers, plastic or laminated identification cards, ink pens, refrigerators, microwaves, ice cube trays, plastic drinking cups, cleaning products, surgical masks, plexiglass, trash and recycling bins, oil-based paintings, furniture, cosmetic products, soaps and toiletries, and clothing and shoes.

Of course, he issued a statement along with the resolution: “Modern life is not possible without the oil and gas industry. These energy sources fuel the world, and petroleum-based products are found in virtually everything everywhere. American innovation, not job-killing government mandates, is driving emissions reductions. However, if President Biden truly believes in his radical climate agenda, then he should lead by example starting at the White House.”

How do we as citizens go about instigating these kind of major changes? Perhaps writing to certain officials, in large numbers, might help create some sort of movement. Also any national press and/or publicity also helps to move things along.

Possible venues to start:
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement – bseepublicaffairs@bsee.gov
Department of the Interior - feedback@ios.doi.gov
CBS’s 60 Minutes story submittal – 60min@cbsnews.com

Here is what I wrote to 60 minutes…maybe you could, too.

Dear 60 Minutes Producers,

A timely and needed story right now is the idea of using hemp, which is totally recyclable and biodegradable, to replace numerous everyday items now being manufactured in the petrochemical industry. It can be used to replace common fabrics like cotton and rayon, lotions, soaps, shampoos, household detergents, carpeting, and paper…yes, paper, which will save trees as hemp regenerates faster and supplies four times the amount of paper per acre. Also, hemp can be used to process Biodiesel, Methanol, and Ethanol.

Another plus is that industrial hemp can be grown without pesticides or herbicides. This is because not many pests are drawn to hemp as its fibers are too tough to bite through to get to the tender yummy pulp. No weed killers need to be used because hemp is planted so close together that it does not leave room or nutrients for competitive weeds to grow.

Lobbyists and lawmakers whose states depend on the oil industry are opposed to any movement away from a change of the status quo. In February, Captain Clay Higgins, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing South Louisiana, introduced H. Res. 149, a resolution challenging the Biden administration to operate the White House without using any oil and gas energy or petroleum-based products. Every year, the world's five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million on lobbying designed to control, delay or block binding climate-motivated policy.

There is a lot more to say and be researched for this story but I believe hemp could be a game changer if there were more awareness of its potential. That’s why I’m writing to you today.

Thank you for your consideration.

Other resources can be found here and here.

3.
While the Biden administration is preparing to inject money into an ailing economy by investing in infrastructure, education, work force development, fighting climate change, free community college, universal pre-kindergarten and a national paid leave program – you know, helping average working American people of all stripes, colors, and economic levels – the Republicans are still clutching their pearls that it doesn’t do a thing for the wealthy, the election was still a lie, and that our country may actually move away from their dream of minority rule by oligarchs, because rich white men know what’s best for everyone.

They are still braying that the federal government is the enemy of the people. With any government spending that helps normal folks, they trot out the term ‘socialism’, saying it’s redistributing tax dollars from hardworking white men to people of color, which your average gun-toting, freedom-loving, patriotic white dude just can’t stand, mostly because asshats like Rush Limbaugh and others bellowed for years, day after day, racist and hateful rhetoric state-of-the-art conservative disinformation. But it was just entertainment, right?

It’s a strange circular logic that Republicans, since the Reagan 80s, insist tax cuts stimulate economic growth which supposedly increases tax revenues benefiting everyone. But when complaining about the debt of, say, the insane military spending they’re so fond of, they complain that it’s a debt that needs to be resolved by cutting domestic spending. Get it?

That ideology, of course, had become openly radical extremism in the hands of the orangeman-who-will-not-be-named, who referred to immigrants as criminals, boasted of sexually assaulting women, and promised to destroy the New Deal government once and for all. He was just mirroring back what the crowds wanted to hear, and it won him the presidency. And the party pretty much went along with it for four years.

And, in those last four years, they ‘talked’ about issues such as balancing the budget, building the world’s ‘greatest’ infrastructure, tackling climate change, improving public education, reducing student-loan debt, and getting the country though the pandemic. Being in charge of the White House and the Senate, none of this came to fruit. Now they’re complaining when action is being taken, but democrats will get the credit. It’s party of no policy, just obstructionism.

In the end, Republicans want to privatize it all. And again I’ll say there are no profits to be made in public education, public parks, public libraries, public transportation, the USPS, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, police department, roads, public parks, bridges, the power grid, fire departments. They could not exist if they were required to be profitable. Government is simply a mechanism, created by citizens, to provide themselves with the basic necessities of a life, which are often unaffordable to the individual. And yes, it’s a form of democratic socialism.

Addendum: Just yesterday, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a sweeping voting bill that curtails the use of drop boxes, imposes new ID requirements for mail voting, and makes it a crime to give water or food to people waiting in line to vote. It also strips power from the Republican secretary of state who stood up to Trump’s demand that he change the 2020 voting results. As Heather Cox Richardson points out, “The Georgia law is eye-popping, but it is only one of more than 250 measures in 43 states designed to keep Republicans in power no matter what voters want. This is the only story from today because it is the only story historians will note from this era: Did Americans defend their democracy or did they fall to oligarchy?” It’s black and white, folks. If all votes are counted, and it’s made easy for everyone to vote, Republicans wouldn’t win another election.

4.
And I’ll leave you on a note that brings some light to otherwise unbearable conditions. Here’s an article in the New York Times from March 19th about art bearing witness for Rohingya Survivors who have escaped traumatic circumstances in Myanmar and now live in harsh conditions. Refugees are creating murals drawn from their flourishing cultural traditions, reborn in Bangladesh camps.

For the artists — who have collectively witnessed killings, disappearances, sexual violence toward loved ones and their communities obliterated — the freedom to document issues and experiences can be transformative. This is especially true for women, whose lives are circumscribed by conservative social strictures and deeply held stigmas about working outside the home.

So you can read the best in journalism:
Washington Post2 years for only $59
New York Times$1/week
Tucson Sentinel subscription

And now, sense and nonsense in one package…