Monday, April 18, 2011


Two opinions this week, guaranteed to annoy persons of most political persuasions, but first the farm news.

Sweet Pea Bonanza. Delayed three weeks by cool, wet weather here in Ventura County, the peas are blooming overtime now. We picked enough for the Saturday market and sold out. Then Saturday evening we picked again and sold out at the Sunday market.

The sweet pea flowers emit a heavenly fragrance. People walk by our flower booth and immerse their noses in the bouquets. It is so old-fashioned and delicate.

The mass-produced commercial growers do not make this flower because it does not ship or store well. People who buy our sweet peas already know that the experience is short-lived, but your house will smell wonderful for a few days.

And then come back to the market next week and buy some more! The season should last a month or so. (Contact me for local information)

Farm Income. Sweet peas have been an effort and an expense since I arrived at this farm in November, but now, finally, they are a source of income. We are a happy place, but we are even happier now because the harvest is good.

Now for two opinions, and I am not trying to be balanced, it just comes out that way.

Taxes. President Obama wants to raise income taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year. Technically, he wants to repeal the Bush-era tax cuts for this group, but it means the same thing.

This concerns me. Why are we picking on this group of extra-income earners? They work harder and they're a lot smarter than the rest of us -- they might be a little lucky too and so they are making more dollars.

I am moved to sympathy. I am even willing to do something about this. I hereby offer to trade places, straight across, with a $250,000 earner.

That's right. I will exchange all my income, liabilities and assets in a clean swap, and assume the tremendous burden of a high-income American citizen.

I realize I've been living on easy street, making south of $50k.

But I am offering that wealthy man a chance to lie in my hammock for a season or two, tax-free.

Any takers?

In general and regarding the federal deficit, I am a Krugmanite. That is, Paul Krugman, the NYTimes columnist, makes more sense to me than some other financial writers.

Krugman is not over-wrought by the current deficit and neither am I.

In contrast, the tenor of the right-wing demands and their righteous posturing looks like political showmanship.

"Oh, woe," they cry. "The country is in ruins."

I've heard that before, but there is nothing wrong with this country that we can't fix. And one of the tools we use to fix it is progressive taxation, as established by an amendment to the Constitution.

Enough of that. I would be a better progressive, or at least a more popular one, except my own people are often lunatical.

We're pregnant. This might not bother anyone else too much, but I'm a writer, and I live and die by my words -- which is why, when I overheard that phrase the other day at the cafe, I wanted to get up and choke the fellow.

He said, "We're pregnant." I wanted to say the hell you are.
You are not and never will be.

I know that the intention behind this new usage is to include the male parent in the process -- like he was actually doing some of the work, which he is not.

Like he would know what it is like, which will never happen.

Famously, at least up to the present, you were either pregnant or you were not. It was a word with one of those rare precise meanings in the English language.

Now it's "we're pregnant." I suppose we are all pregnant. Is it something like indigestion?

As a shared experience, we are all included now, and the world has become a better place.

This is the kind of spurious "improvement" that gives the left a bad name. Changing the meaning of words is a waste of energy and can even be destructive. We are not pregnant.

African Song. Nkosi sikeleli Afrika is an African hymn, It means God Bless Africa. It is the national anthem of several African countries.

Here it is sung in the Xhosa language of South Africa. Just one verse and humming the tune. You can sing along with it.

When I was in Africa, I would try a word or two of Xhosa, which has numerous click sounds. People would fall down laughing at my attempts, but they appreciated the effort.

Frog Hospital and Farm News Annual Spring Subscription Drive. This newsletter, going for 12 years now, relies on subscription revenue from a few faithful followers. Some readers send a check every year and I am very grateful for their continued support.

Other readers send a check as the spirit moves them, and those checks are most welcome.

As I have said before, these checks keep the writer from getting cranky. When you starve the writer, he is liable to get self-righteous and don the martyr's robe and begin preaching and hectoring the readers.

But with a small bit of income, the writer can take a more detached and benign look at the many joyful events in our lives, paying equal attention to the suffering and pains we endure.

So, if you can afford it -- after you pay the rent, the mortgage, the groceries, and what ever you need to save for the education of your children and grandchildren -- then ...

Send a Check for $25, made out to Fred Owens and mail it to Fred Owens, 7922 Santa Ana RD, Ventura CA, 93001.

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Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My blog: Frog Hospital

send mail to:

Fred Owens
7922 Santa Ana Rd
Ventura CA 93001

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