Getting What You Pay For

And the white lion roars!

I’m sitting at my table this evening, having a glass of Trader Joe’s “Three Buck Chuck” pinot grigio, and it is proving to me that paying $2.98 for a bottle of wine makes it pretty unrealistic to believe the glass will fill one with that bright, fruity joy that a pinot can bring. As I am doing this I wonder about a global climate change point that I’ve never heard addressed. We know how much methane is produced by our farming of cattle. But there are nearly eight billion people on earth, and methane is one of the gases that is expressed in human farts. That’s got to be a pretty big contributor to greenhouse gases, isn’t it?

And another question, while I’m at it. What makes one person an “impersonator” and another a “tribute artist?’ There’s a singer who wound up on my “favorites” playlist, who calls himself a “Bob Seger tribute artist.” He copies Bob’s voice, phrasing, mannerisms, just like the guys who do the same of Elvis, but they are called “impersonators.” Why? In the cases of the Elvis guys, the term “impersonator” seems to be a slightly disdainful tone when they are spoken of. And why aren’t hip-hop artists considered to be paying tribute to the musicians whose music they “sample?”

And some things only give me more questions, never any logical answers. Such as McDonald’s serving yogurt smoothies, salads, and a few other “healthy options,” but they keep making it easier and easier to eat WAAAAAAYYYY too many calories and too much fat and salt. Now they have introduced the “pick 2” menu. You can get two full size sandwiches for a certain price. Fries and soda, of course, are separate,  but I’m not a tiny, fine boned Southern Belle, and I couldn’t eat that much food. So who are they kidding? Never mind. They’re kidding lots of people, aren’t they?

This brings to mind a news story I saw on the local news about being careful about the “natural” label on foods you buy in the grocery store. And again, I can’t imagine that very many consumers who bother to read labels need to be told this, but I guess they do. My reaction is that if you want to really know for sure what’s in your food, make it yourself! Now, I’ve been talking about doing this for years, and I can’t condemn anyone who hasn’t made it there yet. I’ve been talking about planting a garden for a few years now, and making my own bread, ketchup, mayo, mustard, tomato sauce, etc. And just two weekends ago I made my first fresh tomato sauce. The very first one. It had six tomatoes, some fresh garlic,parsley and oregano, salt, pepper and water. And it was wonderful. My husband, not a man of many words (especially when it comes to complimenting my cooking) didn’t give me that usual, “It’s fine.” He said, “That was really good. I’m surprised.” Now that seems like a left-handed compliment, but what he explained was that he was raised on canned tomato sauce, and he didn’t think he would like anything different. Just now I took a can of ‘store bought’ tomato sauce out of the pantry, and it contains some of the same ingredients I used. But at the end of the ingredients on this can, made by a very familiar company, was “tomato fiber, citric acid, natural flavors.” Now, I bought the can that said “natural” on the label, but do we need added citric acid and “natural flavors?” So I guess the lesson for myself as well, if you really want natural, make it yourself.

Now that I’m on my second glass of ‘three buck,’ it tastes a little better, but there is one thing on my mind, other than the election, that has been bothering me for quite some time. Well, since around 2001. Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the prison there. President Obama campaigned on closing the camp, and now, seven years and three months later it remains open. There are only thirty-four prisoners left there, and there were many at one point who are American citizens. I can’t find any numbers on how many of the remaining thirty-four are American, but citizens or not, it is unconscionable and inhumane to hold prisoners for fifteen years without trial or charges. On February 23, 2016 the president announce a PENTAGON PLAN for closing the camp. There was the very predictable Republican (or what I’ve begun to refer to as “Obstructlicans™) freak out about the possibility of bringing those prisoners to “super max” prisons inside the U.S. Now, I have no doubt at all that these men, no matter how dangerous they are believed to be, they would not be a threat to “the homeland” from these places. However, they have already been held for over a decade without charge, without trial, or any kind of due process. How can we as a moral people think that holding people indefinitely, who have not been accused of any specific crime, is defensible? How can we as (hopefully) reasonably intelligent people believe that this will not create jihadis (holy warriors) out of the friends and families of these men? I know this argument has been made by smarter people than me, and probably more qualified to argue the fine points of the law. But reason alone leads me to believe that there is no possible good that can come from holding men prisoner indefinitely. And moving them to a super max prison would probably make the whole thing even worse. And while I admit that I don’t see a good answer, I believe now, as I have for about thirteen years that Guantanamo Bay prison must be closed.