Post #384 Stuff on My Mind

June 19, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #384 Stuff on My Mind

It’s been a rough week, news-wise.  The biggest, of course, being the shooting at the AME church in Charleston, SC.  It was a tragic event and my heart goes out to all the victims and their families, as well as the church and its members, and the extended families of the church and the victims.  There are a lot of people hurting, and a lot of sympathy, guilt, grief, and bewilderment from the nation and the world.

Some of my own bewilderment comes from other people’s reaction to the tragedy.  Even before the nation woke up, people were saying this was an attack on religion simply because it happened in a church.  They ignored the fact that the gunman himself said he was targeting the people because they were black.  It was an attack on black people, peaceful, god-fearing black people.  And some people were trying minimize that, or sweep it under the carpet.  They were trying to make the tragedy about themselves rather than the victims.  The gunman was trying to start another race war, not a religious war.

In South Carolina, the capital building flies a confederate flag.  In South Carolina, many streets are named for southern civil war generals.  In South Carolina, rhetoric spawns the kind of hatred we saw on Wednesday night.  In South Carolina (and many other southern states), the civil war, called The War of Northern Aggression, still rankles in the hearts and souls of its citizens.  Healing has not happened.  Feelings are still bitter.  People are still fighting.  And as we saw, people are still dying.  That flag has to come down.  People need to know that their rhetoric is having an impact.

What is rhetoric?  In its simplest form, rhetoric is simply speaking.  But it’s way more than that.  It’s communicating; it’s persuasion; it’s oratory.  It’s spoken or it’s written.  Sometimes, it’s simply a look.  As long as it conveys an idea, it’s rhetoric.  It’s beyond true or false.  My opinions when expressed are rhetoric.    Your opinions when expressed are rhetoric.  This blog is an example of rhetoric.  Pictures are an example of rhetoric.  People need to own their rhetoric and accept its consequences.  The people of South Carolina need to understand that the environment of hate they’re perpetuating has an impact.  They need to take steps to correct that.

Several years ago, a popular politico put several pictures on her blog showing a gun’s sighting telescope and in its crosshairs were pictures of several candidates in the opposition.  The captions read “We’re gunning for you!”  The meaning was political.  However, an unstable person took the meaning literally, and opened fire at a political rally.  A twelve year old girl lost her life, and the member of the opposite party was shot in the head, ending a promising career.  The picture was removed quickly from the blog and statements were made saying “It wasn’t our fault.”  On one hand, I agree to some extent.  Inciting to riot is no excuse for rioting.  And the original politico had never spoken to the crazy person.  But they had advocated for a violent solution rather than a peaceful one.  Had it been me, I would have owned it and apologized saying the picture was ill-advised at best and wrong at worst.

Rhetoric has an impact.  In this case, nine people lost their lives.  Here are their names.

victims list

But nice things happened this week, too.  The community came together to heal.  In a different area, a woman whose yard was decorated to her tastes was called out by a “Christian” for being “relentlessly gay” (my new favorite phrase, by the way) and her neighbors stood by her.  We went to our favorite vegetable stand and I got some great tomatoes.

tomatoes (2)

But this is a food blog so let me give you a recipe a friend shared with me a long time ago that’s simplicity itself and makes a great snack or appetizer.


Saltine Brittle

  • 48 or so saltine crackers
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (two sticks) salted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, optional

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Arrange the crackers so they fill the baking sheet and are touching each other.  Over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar together and allow to come to a boil stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour over crackers and spread evenly.  Bake for 7-10 minutes, watching the sugar carefully so it doesn’t turn brown.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the crackers and sugar.  Bake for 2-3 more minutes, remove from oven.  Using a clean rubber spatula, spread the melted chocolate evenly.  Sprinkle the nuts and coconut evenly and gently and carefully press into the chocolate.  Allow to cool for half an hour then freeze overnight.  Remove from baking sheet and peel the foil carefully off the crackers.  Break into pieces, place in an airtight container, and store in fridge or freezer.  Yummers!


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