A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday Morning Post (V.2, #21) - Can We Agree on Justice?

In another lifetime, or so it seems, I was living with friends outside of Washington and would have the opportunity to drive through the Northeast Quadrant via Benning Road and the H Street Corridor.  I was a bit taken aback by the typical upscale DC vistas I would see on one side of an overpass crossing over the railroad tracks from Union Station only to see stark desolation of the other side going towards Benning Road.  There were a lot of empty storefronts, neglect seen in abandoned properties with high weeds and garbage piles, some burned out properties and overall a sense of hopelessness.  I later learned that this all happened in the 1968 riots when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.  

I had seen scenes like this before in my native Philadelphia, but I was seeing this urban destruction for this first time in 1988!  Twenty years after the riots!  Twenty years of too many people shrugging their shoulders and high-tailing it for the suburbs! Twenty years when most people preferred to look away from the deteriorating neighborhood that was once so vibrant.  A rot borne of hatred and anger.

I only bring this up now because there are more expressions of hatred and anger happening this weekend in America.  It’s like the riots that happened once upon a time in DC have been franchised, not for the purpose of economic prosperity, but to destroy in anger and frustration just for the sake of destruction.   

Once again, the spark for this latest round was the senseless murder of a black man at the hands of an urban law enforcement officer.

This latest round of protests started in the city where the racial incident occurred, Minneapolis, but the protests quickly turned from peaceful demonstrations that enough is enough to violent, burn-baby-burn demonstrations in other cities from Atlanta to Los Angeles.  For the black community the scene of George Floyd begging to breathe while the stereo typical cop crushed his wind pipe is all too familiar.  For many people in the white community it will be another moment to roll our eyes while we sigh, “Oh no, not again!”

Yes, again.  The elephant in the room which has dogged our country since before its founding in 1776 has been awakened again.  Once again one of us allowed our baser instincts to get the better of us and kill another human being, which prompted many others to let their baser instincts to go wild.  

The protestors, at least the peaceful ones, insist now as before that there will be no peace without justice. Fine, I couldn’t agree more.  This seems like a sensible expectation of the society at large.  Now if we can only agree on justice that is suitable punishment for the crime.

First, we should recognize that American justice has always been problematic for the black community.  We’ve long known that there was double standard in play between punishments meted out for white perps and black perps.  Activists for years have pointed to the disparity between the percentage of imprisoned black men and the percentage of black men in America as a whole. This is the same justice system who will process the case of the now ex-Minneapolis police officer. So right away we have a trust issue.

Second, there always seems to be some sort of dissatisfaction with what the eventual punishment turns out to be.  In this case the officer has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.  This case hasn’t even gone to trial and people are complaining about the severity (or lack thereof) of the charge.  I’m not familiar with the nuances of first, second, and third degrees under Minnesota law, but I believe there is always the chance that the charges can be upgraded at a later date. 

Third, do we really believe that those violent protestors who have burned down buildings in Minneapolis and chucked cinder blocks through the windows at CNN in Atlanta, just want justice?   Or are they looking for revenge?  Yes, I think this is a fair question.

Would these people be content with a public execution like a hanging or beheading?  I don’t think I’m being ridiculous in making this suggestion. I really don’t know what is going on in the protestor’s heads, even as I deal with my own outrage at the incident.

Many of us can understand the anger and frustration of the protestors, but many of us realize that destruction of public and private property is counter- productive.  Just look at recent history.   Did racism disappear after the 1968 riots? How about the Rodney King verdict?  Or how about the riots a few years ago in Ferguson, Missouri?  Sadly, the answer is no.  The systemic racism continued without so much as a pause to common decency.

The situation would be helped greatly if we had competent leadership at the top, but President Throwing-Gasoline-On-The-Fire seems more inclined to incite violence against the protestors.  Typical, all too typical.

We should also consider that George Floyd’s death was just a spark to issues totally unrelated to racism and injustice.  People are still frustrated that the country is trying to open up and/or close again due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Many of the protestors may also be wrestling with unemployment and economic uncertainty for the immediate future.   America has a lot on its plate this summer.

In the end, any available resources will be used not to combat hatred and racism, but to rebuild the infrastructure that was destroyed in the riots.  Even then, that may not happen for decades.  Work to rebuild the H Street Corridor did not even begin until 2002.  Judging from photos I found on line this area of DC is once again a vibrant place to live and prosper.

So, how many other cities will have their own H Street Corridor disaster zones to deal with in the coming years?  Too many to distract us from dealing with the root cause of it all.

(Thank you for reading.  By all means raise your voice to injustice, but let’s be peaceful out there.)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday Morning Post (V.2, #20) – A Summer Pasta Salad

Many sections of mankind may be on the whole sidelined at present, but the world still revolves.  The seasons are changing on schedule, and it’s heartening to see everything is green again, even as people’s lives have been interrupted by a serious case of WTF.  While the northern hemisphere is inching its way to warmer weather, people are reviving an old habit of adjusting their eating and drinking habits.  Our cooler drinks (ice tea and other icy libations) and food (mainly salads) become more meaningful and abundant every summer.

Spo Reflections recently rhapsodized about the wonder of macaroni salads.  I teased him about a pasta salad I have made over the years and he expressed some interest in viewing the recipe.

This is the spaghetti salad which was served on the groaning board at Hickory Joe’s Restaurant in the 70s.   The restaurant, which overlooked Fishing Creek in Orangeville PA, operated off and on from 1970 and closed for good in 2000. 

This recipe is adapted from the restaurant cookbook What’s Cooking in the Kitchen published the following year.

Please note this recipe yields a 2-3 lb. batch of salad, so you may want to cut the ingredient portions to your liking.

Hickory Joe’s Spaghetti Salad

1 lb. spaghetti, cooked (complete and tender)
1-15 oz can kidney beans (drained and rinsed; discard can*)
1 C cabbage, fine chopped
6 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped


1 ½ C sugar
2 T butter, softened
2 T prepared mustard
2 eggs, beaten
½ C apple cider vinegar

Combine spaghetti and chopped vegetables in a large bowl.


Mix sugar, eggs, and soft butter until smooth.  Slowly add vinegar and stir.  Heat slowly on low heat until the sugar is dissolved and slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat and stir in prepared mustard to give the dressing a golden yellow color.  Cool slightly and pour over spaghetti mixture.  Chill well before serving.  The recipe book advised that the salad gets better as it sits for a few days, and it was the most requested recipe at the restaurant.


I’d be remiss if I did not mention a Memorial Day reminder for all of us to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives to preserve our democracy.  America never stopped being great because of their services.  Now it’s our turn to fight for the American way of life…and all we have to do is vote.

*Discard can instruction was not part of the original recipe, but added here under legal advice of the Editorial Board here at Arteejee.

(Thank you for reading.  Now go forth and pig out!)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday Morning Post (V.2, #19): Lessons Learned from a Pandemic

This may be a bit too early to count our blessings regarding the pandemic, but we nevertheless will have to acknowledge at some point in the future that this current crisis was destined to happen.  Even though mankind is still in the woods so to speak and we can’t see the light at the end of a tunnel - any tunnel - but we can look at ourselves and see a little progress being made.  This may be the first of a series of entries on this matter, but for now we can highlight these events.

People are recognizing that we need to be there for the other person and help them and us through this crisis.

The so-called fake media is filled with stories of people making masks to shore up the shortage of health supplies.  Many others are volunteering at food banks or delivering food to those in need.  We’re showing moral support to those who have been deprived of certain rites of passage such as going to a prom or graduating from high school.  In short, we’re changing our everyday lives to confront the crisis head on.  These stories are good and not fake.

We are learning, once again, that we need to depend on each other and not on the incompetent and corrupt powers-to-be to ensure our survival.  These will be hard lessons to learn, but mankind has a talent for learning the hard way.  So be it!

We will learn.  We will survive.  The life we knew may disappear for a while.

Now here’s a reality check: we should realize and accept the idea that not all of us are destined to emerge from the tunnel.   I’m not suggesting that any one of us just gives up by any means.  I assume we will fight against the winds of fate no matter what.  We don’t seem to know any better than carrying on with the art of survival.

In the meantime, we should learn the lesson of looking out for each other.

This is a good of time as any to hear this oldie from The Hollies.

Until next week, please stay safe.

(Thank you for reading.)