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Thoughts for the weekend about trash, meat and peanut butter

March 28, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
A couple of thoughts as the weekend begins (though I’ll be right here on Saturday!).

1. I’m not just marveling at how a big jetliner can disappear as the search drags on, sadly moving hundreds of miles seemingly every other day as something makes the searchers think the plane crashed here or there.

I’m now marveling at the casual attitude of the commentators about “sea trash.”

It wasn’t long after the search began that a couple of objects spotted in the ocean near Malaysia were dismissed as “probably sea trash.” And now that the search has moved from a nearly unreachable stretch of ocean thousands of miles from Perth, Australia, back into a place near shipping lanes, the talk has turned again to debris.

“Oh, it’s more likely that they’ll find shipping debris there,” said one expert as the TV droned on and on Friday. (I get the sense that CNN hopes this plane is never found because it gives them something to talk about incessantly.)

I say I’m not an environmentalist. Anyone who’s read my stuff for years knows I think a little smoke in the sky means a few dollars in the wallet of the working man. But I can still be shocked by environmental damage.

Apparently our oceans are such trash bins that even 1,500 miles south-southwest of Perth, Australia, there is possibly a shipping container or two, or something discarded from a ship or pushed into the ocean from land out there, floating around. (Makes me wonder who doesn't get their stuff delivered, too.)

I haven’t been eating meat for several weeks (see below), and now it’s got me thinking that even the most pristine oceangoing fish likely dined on some man-made junk.


And the casual discussion of ocean trash as the search goes on has me a bit angry. We close factories that pollute. But what can be done, and who could do it, about “ocean trash”?

2. About that meat thing.

The Boss (At Home) decided for Lent this year she was giving up meat, not just on Fridays but every day. As a supportive husband who felt a little pudgy during the protracted winter, I joined her. As of today, as of the lunch I just ate, it’s meal No. 68 sans piggie or cow.

I feel great, other than the occasional overwhelming desire to run screaming to the nearest grocery to buy a pound of ground chuck or the nearest bar with good chicken wings.

We’re giving it up as a sacrifice to God, we remind each other.

So far, God is winning, and I figure that’s good for my eternal soul though it’s not completely eradicating my desire for a ribeye to be under the pile of sauteed mushrooms.

I’ve got good support, a couple of great vegetarian cookbooks from a friend, and we’re learning that quinoa can be a rice replacement. Expensive, but packed with nutrients. And we’re saving money on meat (I just read the price of pork has skyrocketed).

Who knows. I could keep this up for a long time. I once ate fast food daily and now am sickened by just the smell. But I really, really like a medium-rare steak cooked on the grill and --- uh-oh, self-induced meat withdrawal pang. Excuse me.

3. OK. I’m back. And in keeping with the whole food thing, I’m aghast that about 1 million jars of natural peanut butter can be tossed into a landfill in a day and age when people aren’t all sharing in the ability to buy peanut butter.

A million jars of natural peanut butter sounds like a million months of healthy snacks to me. But it turns out that Costco, which bought a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that once was known as an unhealthy mess, said to dump the peanut butter. It was not tainted or unhealthy in any way, but there was some leakage of peanut oil, Costco said, so the whole thing had to be dumped.

I understand liability issues and the possibilities that if there was some leakage that somewhere there might have been some jars that needed rejecting. Somehow, some way, that sorting of jars should have been done and the remainder donated to food banks in New Mexico, where the plant is located.

It just seems somehow sinful to toss all the jars.

Just bugs me.


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