My partner and I shopped at the Farmers Market Saturday morning, buying some tomatoes (despite the tomato blight) and other vegetables. We've been to the Bloomington market throughout the summer and have returned mostly for the vegetables and the honey.
While at the market, walking around the Old Courthouse at the market, I got to thinking about why I liked this particular market. What's been amazing to me is just how many organic farms are in operation around Bloomington-Normal. By way of comparison I thought of other farmers market experiences. I went to the Madison, Wisconsin farmers market only a few times and so can't remember if the farmers selling there were mostly local. The farmers markets in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) sometimes seemed bogus. Not all the time, yet we remember visiting some markets that appeared like there were importing vegetables from California! In contrast, the market here has numerous farms within 10-25 miles of the city. That probably isn't surprising, though, since we have such rich farmland so close to the city area.
In our fifth week living in our new house, I still can't get over how superb it is living in a central location within the city! We made that a major factor in choosing our house, and so far at least we have reduced our car use dramatically, which is a major quality of life issue for me. I sometimes don't use the car for a week or two. Rachel takes the bike trail or the bus daily, and I actually can walk to work. And every single major destination is within a mile or so and bikeable.
For me, the goal of divorcing myself from the car is more than just environmentalism. It's having your feet on the ground, being able to exercise in the course of your life, having a sense of community with the town folk, and enjoying the beauty of a gorgeous neighborhood.
I went to the mall this evening with my wife and happened to browse the Limited with her for a few minutes. I've never been in the Limited before (I wouldn't have a reason to go there alone) and so was somewhat surprised and definitely amused by their pseudo-intellectual screeds written on the walls and plaques throughout the store. One in particular inspired me to contribute to their advertising campaign. I thought a little modification would make it a little more authentic.
"The Limited?" Exactly!" He had seen her before. But where? Her style was... international. Thailand? Maybe. El Salvador? Perhaps. Honduras? Well, made in a sweatshop most certainly.
Well, summer isn't officially over. But for us teachers here in Bloomington-Normal, with the students arriving tomorrow, our summer of professional rejuvenation has wound to an end. I'm not really saddened by this, however. So far, all of my classroom preparation has gone well and my room looks better than last year. I couldn't be more prepared, in fact. Beginning this early in August, at least we have air-conditioning here in Illinois, unlike my work environment back in St. Paul!
One of my favorite events here, the Sweet Corn Blues Festival, is almost here! Whoever came up with this idea, combining blues and sweet corn - two staples here in central Illinois - deserves some kind of reward.
CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Bloomberg, all of these outfits are corporate-owned. Given their economic power and control of the media, their political interests get favored in the news. Worse, they decide what is news, and given our corporate culture in the U.S., it is mostly what people end up hearing.
This reality is always there, but the extent of the corporate news bias never ceases to amaze me. The most recent surprise was the rapidity that the major news outlets have dropped the Honduras story. With Iran, when U.S. oil interests are at stake, the story of an oppressed political opposition lasted weeks and continues. With Honduras, a story that involves a murderous military coup against a popularly elected leader, and one that might involve players here in the U.S., well.... that doesn't count as a news item. But the resistance there continues, and it is getting reported on, just not on CNN.
Are there alternatives? Yes, many, mostly on the Internet, and in many leftist mags and newsletters. One good place to start, however, is Democracy Now! news with Amy Goodman. I'm extremely appreciative that they exist and can even be found on the Dish Network on Free Speech TV, channel 9415.
All of us are still acclimating to our new home. Needless to say, the cats had a rough first day figuring out what was going on. I think it took most of that first day for them to realize that this was indeed our new home and not some place of torture like the vet's office. In the picture, Rachel is trying to convince them to come up the stairs, which served as a psychological barrier for them most of the day.