Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Thou Shalt Not Be An Amoral Wretch - Sufferin' Succotash

By way of Greta Van Susteren: Three law enforcement officers executed in one week.  I hadn't been keeping count, but I knew, as does anyone who pays attention to something besides the antics of the repulsive Kardashian Klan, that there has been an epidemic of cop killings. If anyone knows why this is happening, now would be a good time to announce it to the world because really, this has to stop.  

I could blame it on President Obama or any number of public figures, but the truth is that there is something truly rotten in the fabric of society. President Obama's lack of support for law enforcement is a symptom, not the disease itself.  In this regard he is no different than a great number of people who were raised to fear or disrespect representatives of the law. And if I were to be totally honest, at this point it would not matter if he stood at the podium extolling the virtues of law enforcement and honoring those who have died in its service, because both the office of the presidency and the current occupant no longer garner respect from a majority.

Passing more and more restrictive laws is not the answer when neither Congress nor the criminal class respect the law.  Depending on people to do the right thing is hopeless when a vast majority of the world continues to engage in amoral thought and behavior.  Moral behavior does not depend on religious belief - atheists, agnostics, and those who believe outside of Judeo-Christian religions are perfectly capable of living moral and ethical lives - but organized religion does provide a reliable framework of right and wrong.  A hardcore atheist could (and does) ignore the first four of the Ten  Commandments, follow the remaining six and still be in pretty good shape, but I'm here to tell you that the believers are in as bad a position on those last six as the non-believers.

Let me give you the Jewish version of  "Ten Commandments, the Short Form":
1) I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
2) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
4) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
5) Honor thy father and thy mother.
6) Thou shalt not murder.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8) Thou shalt not steal.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10) Thou shalt not covet anything that belongs to thy neighbor.
Mel Brooks and the 15 Commandments

The world is in a sorry state, my friends, and that is about as philosophical as I can get on a Monday. I do, however, take the massacre of law enforcement officers quite personally (family members), just as I take anti-semitism personally.  There is a bigger picture, of course, beyond what is personal to each of us, and that requires us to be cognizant and considerate of each other and that is what I think is lacking the most.  

I am in pain - what else is new? - and the pain is distracting me from things I need to do.  It's the kind of pain that comes from a buzz saw cutting me, front to back, at the top of my ribs, through what used to be my stomach. It's a vicious mother, I cannot lie nor can I even wear a bra.  Since I won't leave the house without a bra, I have crawled back upstairs to my bed, with my books and a bowl of mashed potatoes.  I'm a damn sorry mess. I even thought I heard someone shoveling snow outside, using the kind of heavy coal shovel we used when I was a kid growing up in New York.  I actually peeked outside, ignoring the truth of the matter, which is that it is 84 degrees outside.  Chilly for Florida, but still not the type of weather to induce snowflakes to fall.  Someone was repairing a small patch of the road, making those scraping sounds by applying a heavy shovel to asphalt.  Pah! Snow would have been so much more interesting.

So I spent the day inside which gave me chance to thumb through the Nero Wolfe Cookbook. More about that later. I also checked on cooked food supplies and decided to pull out a tray of manicotti with sage cream sauce from the freezer, not knowing if I was going to feel well enough to tackle oxtails, cod fillets, or even a chicken.  I also decided to try to do something to revitalize the mock choux succotash, which had gone over like a lead balloon.  It was a vegetable side dish, which I keep trying to sneak in on the boys, but this time it didn't work.  Since I hate to waste perfectly good food, I set about chopping onions, bacon, and garlic, and sauteed them while cooking some boil-in-bag rice.  I also threw in a Scotch bonnet pepper, minced, and raided my garden for more okra, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and two Japanese eggplants, which I sliced and cooked separately.

Everything got combined and generously seasoned with salt, pepper, and Emeril's Cajun seasoning, then covered with foil and placed in the oven just long enough to warm up and make friends.  Between the rice and the spice, I think this time I got it.

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