Saturday, June 28, 2014

Beisbol and dust.

Sometimes we get the call
fate hands our task to us
and we go and do it

that there is Joan Miro, dog barkin at the moon he is
and so credit is given and well deserved
climbing Jacob's ladder up and down
we go
we exist here and now
barking at the moon
fun too
I had to go steer the elder father figure on to the house
he's in there sleeping in my bed
whilst i play at words and make things dance 
because I am still not ready for sleep
it is my turn now
to burn the midnight oil
to be the one awake 
in these late watches
It is mine to find the tickets
to make the way before us
get the hats, buy the beer and find food 
he can glad hand the kind officers watching the crowd
and whip their ass with nonsensical stories of fifty years ago
I still think it is a good thing for the FoFo to embrace the social network
same as the scientist 
you mfers better get a clue
the politicians that mark your wages and declare laws before us
had damn well be aware of us
and if you choose to ignore them
that is on you
It was nice that my team won tonight
but they are hamstrung and wounded
this is a season of trying to sort through the debris
to find what can be kept and saved for next year
my time with my dad might be short
and the hours I have with the pre-teen daughter 
fly before me
seize them all
never again willingly 
dear god deliver me from ever ever
walking away 
when I have it in my power to stay
time is fleeting
and the wheel doesn't roll back around again
very often
there is the now
use it
seize it 
it is what we have

Friday, June 20, 2014

Poke Sallet. Phytolacca of many species

Tony Joe White "Polk Salad Annie" 1969
Words change. Sometimes they become obsolete in the terminology of the linguist. Sallet as a food is one of them. Sallet is not known to the Chrome Dictionary. I wonder if it is in the Merriam-Webster. Nope. I stopped down and commented on it. This is what I wrote 
 No, it is not turnip greens exclusively. Or any greens for that matter. It is an obsolete form of salad. My 1971 Compact OED includes it. A Dictionary of Archaic & Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases ..., Volume 2 By James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps maintains it was obsolete in 1852,"Sallet. A salad. Hall." but I would maintain that it is still used provincially in the American south to this day but typically in regards to Phytolacca americana though we all know salad can be any collection of greens. As it is understood today and particularly in regards to poke it is a cooked green as opposed to a fresh one. Polk Salad, Poke salad, poke sallet all refer to the same food. Tony Joe White recorded Polk Salad Annie in 1969. Thinking of poke as our typical fresh salad green has caused some at least apocryphal tales of folks suffering from shall we say gastro-intestinal distress?

I did however find it in the Urban Dictionary.
The term poke sallet is an old Southern term for the cooked young leaves of the poke weed. Sallet comes from Middle English and refers to a mess (another Old or Middle English term) of greens cooked until tender. The term Polk Salad is a gentrified way of referring to poke sallet, and I'm afraid it reflects our inferiority complex when it comes to standing up for our Southern terminology. We are not making a mush of Polk Salad; actually, we are being true to our English ancestors who settled here a long time ago.
Some folks around here always add a little molasses and fatback to the water when they cook their poke sallet. That's the traditional way.

Don't you just love Tony Joe White's song Poke Sallet Annie?
by Flem Snopes July 12, 2008
Sallet is another variation for the spelling of salad, archaic, obsolete and I am among the people on the planet that wants to call this dish by this name. I am hard-headed sometimes. Everybody else calls it salad which has led to some unfortunate dining experiences. Despite its reputation as poisonous there is no reason to avoid this plant. Euell Gibbons called it the 'Cadillac of greens'. There are festivals held in its honor. This song was written with an acceptance of it as a normal, everyday part of the diet. It was even the subject of a dissertation in 1757 at the University of Pennsylvania. If you have access to that work, I sure would like to see some of it. Perhaps Google can be of assistance....

A little background first I suppose would be in order. Poke has a couple of different names, but the varieties are essentially the same. Phytolacca is the Genus. That much is straight forward, they haven't decided to change that part yet. 5.5+ million hits and here are the first five for Poke Salad: Wiki Wild Pantry Don't Eat Poke Salad Annual Poke Salad Festival and Cooks/Recipes for Poke Salad

AUTHOR(S): Callahan, R.; Piccola, F.; Gensheimer, K.; Parkin, W. E.; Prusakowski, J.; Scheiber, G.; Henry, S. 
TITLE: Plant poisonings - New Jersey. 
YEAR: 1981 CITATION: MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep, 30(6), 65-67 [English]
FDA #: F07132 
ABSTRACT: Within a 2.5 month period in 1980, 27 New Jersey residents were poisoned, in 2 separate episodes, by eating wild plants. The poisonings were serious enough that 21 persons sought medical care; 4 were hospitalized. Pokeweed poisoning Passaic County: On July 11, an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness related to eating pokeweed leaves affected campers in a large day camp. Initial reports indicated that the outbreak was limited to a "nature group" whose members had sampled a salad made with this wild plant. The group, comprising 52 campers and counselors, had been offered pokeweed salad prepared from young leaves picked, boiled, drained, and reboiled that morning, a method that reputedly ensured the plant's edibility. Sixteen (31%) of the 51 interviewed met the case definition (vomiting accompanied by any 3 of the following: nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, dizziness, and headache on July 11). Nine others who were not part of the nature group also had tasted the salad; 5 (56%) of these became ill. Of the 21 ill campers, 18 (86%) experienced nausea, 18 (86%) stomach cramps, 17 (81%) vomiting, 11 (52%) headache, 10 (48%) dizziness, 8 (38%) burning in the stomach or mouth; and 6 (29%) diarrhea. Persons became ill .5 to 5.5 hours (mean 3 hours) after eating the pokeweed. Symptoms lasted 1 to 48 hours, with a mean of 24 hours. Eighteen persons were seen in local emergency rooms or physicians' offices. Four of these were hospitalized for 24 to 48 hours for protracted vomiting and dehydration. Food history analysis was done for all 60 persons. Salad was the only food item significantly associated with illness. Twenty (43%) of the 46 persons who ate pokeweed became ill compared with 1 (7%) of 14 who did not eat it (P .01). Moreover, for those who ate the salad, illness was associated with eating at least 1 teaspoonful compared with less than 1 teaspoonful (p=.02). Vomitus analyzed for 7 persons was negative for Staphylococcus aureus. 

There is disagreement about edible parts, season of edibility, and methods of preparation of pokeweed and even about whether the plant should be eaten at all. Indeed, the camp counselor in the Passaic outbreak had been preparing pokeweed salad for many years without apparent ill effects. 

and this
Jaeckle, K. A., Freemon, F. R. 1981. Pokeweed poisoning. South. Med. J., 74: 639-640.
Just google it. It is a book link and Google frowns upon taking whole sections of print from their stacks. 
 and this
In Vitro Antioxidant blah blah blah
What I find fascinating about poke is that it is considered either a green of the highest order or a poison. There is no in between for most people. The scientist sees it differently. They throw things at various and sundry cells just to see what happens. Every PhD had to do a dissertation and every researcher needs something else to research. It was probably a given that they would try this plant out.

I suspect this was one of the early plants that the Euro encountered when they came over the Atlantic. I would venture that it was among the foods served at the first Thanksgiving dinner. There are festivals in celebration of this plant. As cited in from the Poisonous Plants link I did finally manage to find a case of poisoning from eating the greens, but the counselor did not suffer any ill effects nor did over half of those that consumed it. I have eaten it for years. It is delicious. I did not find any citations of poke sallet poisoning in the festivals celebrating it and I sure would love to see the actual case notes from that Passaic case. The other citations I found from the Canadians referred to somebody making a tea from either roots or berries. There is evidence of this plant being used by herbalists in lands other than America. It is cited in "In Vitro" as being used in Iran. There is also a citation in the Canadian link to turkey poults and hogs being poisoned by it, yet its typical vector for being spread around an area is defecation of the seeds by various birds. It is ordinarily found where a bird will perch after consuming the berries and defecating the seeds. I wonder if their system is less likely to break the seed coat and the turkeys more likely to which would release more of the toxin than just the fruit part itself.

This is just skimming the surface some. I might come back and add some more to it, but I have wanted to get this blog entry finished for a while. It deserves some more work, but I have much to do today and I am already being lobbied to get my butt in gear.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tales of the Red Dog, continued

Three and three makes six
five minus 6 and it is a negative numbre
I got that much
past that. I sort of got lost

I will never forget the day
when i stood at the abyss of mathematics
it was a proof that took up the whole bard
the board was truly full
in the middle was an Epsilon
what the hell does that mean!? 
seriously Bertrand! 
what do you mean by taking 400 pages
to prove 1+1=2?

70 years the calender says
I don't know what it all means
I will never know
i sure hope not anyhow
I can see the flowers on Flanders Fields
I don't have to smell the stench of death
to know man died there

History and time out of mind
you and me and the roll of the dice
yes, i think He does roll dice sometimes with the universe
or is it just us?
rolling our own bones
this existence is what we make of it
I so dearly want to touch as much
as I can reach and then some
there is no tomorrow promised to me

blood, sweat and tears
that is promised to me
this life 
there is no relenting
oh that's silly, yes there is
the rhino boy who saw his mother die at the barrel of a poacher
finds a womankind to lay his head upon until he can sleep again
the communistic socialistic yankee down in mississippi 
finds a song on his banjo to sing
and there in the road
hate is surrounded by a song
and it turns away

is the tree still there?

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

wisteria in the wind

I owed her so much more than I ever gave
I miss her terribly sometimes
somewhere I know she gets a glimpse of me
now and again. I hope she is busy taking care
of all the other people she touched
All i got was a wink from far away
it hurts sometimes, but is ok

He's one of the first I want to see if I ever get there
They tell me I am him or was once
Parts of me woven into the fabric of my DNA
but my environment and his are different

Good gosh Omighty I miss him too
coffee and cigarettes and the grunt of a tractor
the smell of grease and diesel, taste of dust
stories, stories I could tell
and never even make a mark upon the surface
stone cold memories of me and him

Gone. One day or one night we go.
there is no recourse. it is the rending of the thread
we go. we go to wherever we have chosen
I can't make time go back or forward or sideways
it just is. we only get so much of it. We are here
and then gone, like the whiff of wisteria
floating in the wind, passing through our minds
we are here and then gone
and only memories and the deeds of this lifetime
leave their mark upon us and the now
that is and ever will be
make the most of that now
we only get one of them