Who is to blame for the tainted spinach?

I have to thank Leafy Green Sewage – New York Times for getting me to ponder whether someone other than spinach farmers are at fault for the unedible spinach:

    California’s spinach industry is now the financial
    victim of an outbreak it probably did not cause, and meanwhile,
    thousands of acres of other produce are still downstream from these
    lakes of E. coli-ridden cattle manure. So give the spinach growers a
    break, and direct your attention to the people in our agricultural
    community who just might be able to solve this deadly problem: the beef
    and dairy farmers.

Another article (A Stopgap for the Spinach Lover) answers a question that I’ve been wondering about — can’t we just cook our spinach?:

    The Food and Drug Administration has advised
    people not to eat any fresh spinach at all, not even cooked, although
    sufficient cooking (160 degrees for 15 seconds) kills E. coli O157:H7,
    the bacterium that has sickened scores of people around the country,
    including at least 18 who are critically ill, and killed at least one.
    The agency is concerned that even if the spinach is cooked, bacteria
    may have been left behind on a countertop or a knife, which could then
    contaminate another food being served raw.

At any rate, I worry about the future of salads of uncooked vegetables
in general. What’s to stop other vegetables from being tainted in the
same way?

Inspiring Calvinism?

I hope that “Young, Restless, Reformed” in the current (September 2006) issue of Christianity Today will be available online so that you all can read it too. (Keep an eye out at Christianity Today Magazine – September 2006)
Collin Hansen writes about the resurgence of Calvinism among American
20 and 30 somethings. The article has stuck in my mind because I
couldn’t quite sympathize with the heavy-duty emotional resonance that
new Calvinism was supposed to be generating among young folks — even
though I have been a long-time Presbyterian (whose heritage is
Calvinism) and serious student of theology. When I read the
accompanying explanation of the TULIP acronymn that is often used to
summarize the essentials of Calvinism, I found myself questioning
whether the TULIP is what I actually believe. Is that what I’m supposed
to believe as an elder in the PCUSA?

This morning, I started down the road of investigating figuring out the precise relationship among Calvinism, TULIP, (aka The Five Points of Calvinism) , Arminianism, debates about TULIP (e.g., An Examination of Tulip), what the PCUSA has to say about sin and salvation, predestination, etc., etc. Of course, lot of this stuff is very complicated, as William Bouwsma wrote in Calvinism (Encyclopædia Britannica):

It is important to note
that the later history of Calvinism has often been obscured by a
failure to distinguish between Calvinism as the beliefs of Calvin
himself; the beliefs of his followers, who, though striving to be
faithful to Calvin, modified his teachings to meet their own needs;
and, more loosely, the beliefs of the Reformed tradition of Protestant
Christianity, in which Calvinism proper was only one, if historically
the most prominent, strand.

Does all this matter? I think some of this matters, even though I’m not clear on what matters and what doesn’t.

Improvised and Remixed Bach

Ever so often, I check into the NPR website to catch up on the latest news, including to see whether there has been any segments featuring Bach. I was delighted to see two item related to Bach and improvisation. The first (Bach Fugue Gets the DJ Treatment) lets you hear snatches from the Bach Remix competition at the Oregon Bach Festival. The second is an interview with Gabriela Montero,
a Venezuelan classically trained pianist who also improvises on Bach,
among other composers. Interestingly enough, a good place to listen to
“Beyond Bach,” a lovely riff on Bach is her myspace account.

Niagara Falls from Table Rock Point



Niagara Falls from Table Rock Point

Originally uploaded by Raymond Yee.


Although there are at least several detailed lovely pictures of the drop off point of Niagara Falls (such as this one and others like it, I am rather partial to my modest camera phone picture of the same spot. The roar of the water, the heavy humidity of the air, the mist which was scaring me off from pulling out my nice camera, are all brought back in my memory by this shot. I realize, of course, that the photo won’t have the same suggestive power to those who weren’t there — to whom I must say, “you had to be there.”