In a general sense this week has seen some very cool events: the Beatles released their first single, “Love me Do,” Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire,” dropped this week as well. The pivotal battle of Kings Mountain occurred, my mom, my nephew and Matt Damon were born, and on Saturday, I’ll have been married for seventeen years.
Throw in Bill Clinton’s “great matter,” Woodrow Wilson’s stroke, the Warsaw uprising and Anne Rice and I could talk for days. However, I thought I would veer in a different direction. Although, you may not have received the invite — October is National Vegetarian Month.
Confession time — I’m always teetering on the edge of vegetarianism. My youngest daughter, my sister-in-law, and several good friends relish a meat-free existence, and since I cook for the baby girl our household always has the option. Chris’ heart attack renewed our focus on healthy eating and we’ve become followers of Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy describing meat “as a condiment to the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.”
I read Barbara Kingsolver’s exquisitely written, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few years ago and was struck by how it mirrored my childhood on the edge of the rural South. We raised the cows, and the pigs that became meals for the winter and spring. As summer crested with the garden bounty — there was less meat in our diets, mainly because there was less meat in the freezer! And as an “independent woman,” I discovered just how much buying meat at the grocery added to my bill, thus it wasn’t predominant in my grown-up lifestyle either. These days I make a conscious effort to ensure the animals I eat are not from a “factory farm,” deformed and drugged into a consumable. When my youngest and I have talked about going meat-free, I always bring up the idea of the farm and its rhythms. The animals were part of the farm cycle, we killed what was needed and let the rest frolic in the fields which until I write it sounds better as an argument. The inherent hypocrisy of my position is tackled rather deftly in the book, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals by Hal Herzog. As an anthrozoologist, a researcher into animal/human interaction, Herzog puzzles over the inherent dichotomies of animals in human culture. One that comes up early in the book is the notion that in the West dogs are beloved companions, in many African/Islamic cultures they are something akin to vermin and in Asia they’re lunch. Why? Herzog never really answers in absolutes, he prefers to hold a mirror up to the dissonance, kind of a rhetorical “hmmmmm….”
So, what about you…. are you happily omnivorous, decidedly vegetarian or have you created your own bell curvish plot on the continuum of consumers?
Way back down deep: Sting’s Dream of the Blue Turtles – his first solo after leaving the Police – the band was AMAZING (incomparable Branford Marsalis on sax, Omar Hakim on drums, the kick-butt Kenny Kirkland on keyboards and Darryl Jones on bass, it was 2 albums before Dominic Miller joins them). While I think the live concert version is dynamic and for the most part better, and choosing a Sting album I would generally pick …Nothing Like the Sun or The Soul Cages; this one hits a time/place vibe for me, and it works beautifully as a birthday tribute for Sting who turned 60 on October 2nd… Imagine that.
• If you Love Somebody Set them Free (coming off the darkness of the last Police cuts, these first 2 songs charted a newer, less spare style for the solo performer – even though I see cheesy, dorm room posters when I here this)
• Love is the Seventh Wave (I prefer the “one world” mash-up on the live Bring on the Night album, but the rift on the stalkerish “every breath you take” is fantastic here)
• Russians (sampling Prokokiev is a nice touch – probably the most dated song on the album, although the memory lane it takes me down is fun)
• Children’s Crusade (I’ve done a Veteran’s Day program for several years and I would LOVE to figure a way to use this song – without offending the veterans who attend)
• Shadows in the Rain (My favorite song on the album and why I this album can’t be replaced with Bring on the Night – the studied chaos is pure joy in a 5 minute b-track)
• We Work the Black Seam (I grew up on John L. & the Appalachian mines, so a taste of Yorkshire folds right in – and there was this book…. not remembering the name is driving me batty)
• Consider Me Gone (much better on Bring on the Night –it’s a driving blues number, but here it doesn’t go off the cliff as it does on the live album)
• The Dream of the Blue Turtles (another play song – an extended noodle)
• Moon Over Bourbon Street (like Bob Weir & Bob Dylan, Sting usually has a “character” song – and this was timed nicely with Anne Rice’s Vampire LeStat’s pre-Twilight hotness)
• Fortress Around your Heart (one of the 1st MTV videos I watched over & over – an oddly militaristic, and suggestive love song/story)
Everyone’s a pacifist between wars. It’s like being a vegetarian between meals –> Colman McCarthy
PS: And sadly, this week will be known for the passing of our generation’s Edison, Steve Jobs.