Tuesday Open Thread ~ The Certainty of Uncertainty


“The fact is, inner peace isn't something that comes when you finally paint the whole house a nice shade of cream and start drinking herbal tea. Inner peace is something that is shaped by the wisdom that 'this too shall pass' and is fired in the kiln of self-knowledge...” ~ Tania Ahsan, Finding Inner Peace in a Chaotic World

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Wild Geese

Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


Naomi Shihab Nye


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Well, that about wraps things up for this week's edition.
What’s on your mind today?
16 users have voted.


usefewersyllables's picture

Good morning, Anja! Beautiful poetry... This topic, uncertainty, calls for a recipe (and maybe a little humor). Below, please find our absolute favorite Jamaican jerk marinade. It is good on anything up to and including a knuckle. I particularly like it on skirt steak, because it provides a really nice tenderization- 24 hours makes the steak fall apart, and freezing tougher cuts in a bath of the stuff can really help them when thawed.

Why uncertainty? Because when you are making this, you would swear that it would kill you, your family, your pets, and anyone within a 10-mile radius. When we make ours, we set up the food processor outdoors on the deck to prevent wiping out all life in the house. The nose of this while being mixed is, shall we say, intensely, eyewateringly pungent. Once cooked, it provides a surprisingly mellow and gentle heat (no, really!), an oddly delicate jerk flavor, and a nice spicy nose- but you would never know it when you are mixing it.

And I'm still never quite sure how it will come out, even after many batches. In short, ya gotta have faith. (\georgemichael)

Everything gets a simple cleanup prep and a very coarse chop, because it all gets pureed together in a food processor or blender.

6 scallions
1/4 lb shallots
3 cloves garlic, unless you want more
1 good 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, unless you want more
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp ground allspice
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp sugar, unless you want less- we typically omit, or maybe replace with a skosh of honey
4 tbsp cider vinegar, unless you want more
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus perhaps a little to get to the final consistency you like
1-1/2 habanero peppers, seeded (or more if you like- I usually use 4-5)

Directions: Put all of the above in a blender or food processor, turn the unit on, and RUN. Wait 1 minute at a safe distance, put on breathing apparatus, go back to check consistency adding a little more oil if needed. Take off breathing apparatus, and note that the intense nose-and-eyes-assault only lasted just as long as it took to completely chop up the habaneros and coat all the tiny bits in the spices, oil, and vinegar: then the capsaicin oils stop atomizing and everything settles out immediately. The short, sharp shock, so to speak.

When smooth, marinate everything in the house in it- the rest is dead easy. Yum. At this point we always make triple and quadruple batches, so I'll prep 15-20 peppers at a time. Variants: add some good rum for pork, add more pepper for chicken, add some lemon or lime for lamb or goat, try everything. Our cats run when they see us making this... (;-)

On edit: I left out the ginger in the initial post. Enjoy, and soon come!

10 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Anja Geitz's picture


My Father, who was a chef, used to make a soup with tripe in it that would stink up the house for days. I forgot what it was called, but my Sister and I had our own names for it that we’d never utter in range of my father’s ears. Your Jamaican jerk marinade definitely sounds like it’d be pungent, but no where near what that tripe soup smelled like. Thanks so much for including it. I’ve been looking for something new to do with my chicken!

Glad you enjoyed the poetry. It’s good to see you Smile

5 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Lookout's picture

Your first poem reminded me of this song. Don has passed on now. I think that's my friend Marty playing autoharp.
Wild Birds by Don Grooms. Sandhill Cranes outside the mall in Lake Wales, Florida on June 10, 2008.

He was a Cherokee Indian from NC come to FL. I wrote a bit about him and other FL songwriters awhile back... https://caucus99percent.com/content/weekly-watch-23

Kindness is indeed the key... we all should reap the rewards of spreading more.


Have a good one!

12 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Anja Geitz's picture


Thank you so much for sharing Don’s story and his music. Sounds like he had a very interesting writing career. Back in 1998, I attended a local bluegrass festival while vacationing in Maine. Had never heard bluegrass music live before but was curious and went. It was raining that day but it didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the musicians or the people attending. Everyone there seemed to know each other and had been attending this festival for a very long time. Much like the music festival in Florida you wrote about.

Sandhill cranes, eh? Silly looking bird, lol.

3 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

No time to read poetry. Must do a deed NOW, before the woman involved in the transaction dies. Quite likely, she is staying alive until the property changes hands.
I am late to work.
Must do the deed, as it were.

9 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

@on the cusp

Apologies for not calling you last week like I said I would. Been feeling out of sorts lately and just felt like hibernating a bit. Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy seeing your posts. Will definitely catch up with you soon. Be safe out there!

3 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz You know you can call anytime, no matter what the mood.
I have put my paralegal on leave for 6 months. Based upon her desire to care for her Mom, an 87 year old in good health, I hired temp for 6 months. The Mom died 2 days after the hire.
The temp is a 22 year old on fire. We have pumped out an amazing amount of work these last few days. She is a delight, so the transition has been fairly easy.
I hope to keep her on until I retire.
A rabbit family has taken over my yard. I am visited by one or two every evening. It is so fun to watch them.
My law office reconstruction is zipping along, so I should be in the new place in 6 weeks or less.
There will come a time when I can read poetry. What I am doing is seeing the poetry in my life. It is all around.

4 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

couple of days and it turned out quite nice, especially since I forgot to spray it with lukewarm water just before baking. As much or more work than our regular one and no doubt less healthy, but our regular bread is about 30% whole wheat (Bob's Red Mill or equivalent, or in a pinch, TJ's unbleached white whole wheat) & 70% King Arthur bread flour. For quite a while the KA bread flour was pretty much impossible to get, and several other "brands" didn't work for shit, especially Safeway "O Organics". By contrast, this gem just used ordinary all-purpose flour, in this case, the stuff one gets from Costco in huge bags, and comes out a lot like those cello-wrapped sliced sourdough batard style loaves in the grocery store from Columbo or whomever. Nice tang, crumb and texture, so what the hey. We will probably stick with out "Whole Wheat", but this is good to have for fallback, and I can try making rolls and baguettes without too much concern about failures since the flour is cheap and readily available.

Celebrated by making a pizza last night.

Both processes will lead to complete understanding and acceptance of uncertainty. The fun thing about uncertainty is that the quantity, at any given moment, is uncertain. There is really no such thing as "some" uncertainty or "some randomness". That's one thing a lot of cosmologists and such still don't get. You don't need infinite parallel universes to explain our outcome, just one that included randomness and uncertainty. Why this universe? Why not? The coin flip is your friend, and you should do at least one randm or otherwise counter-predictive thing daily just to counter balance all those Tibetan monks' continuous chanting.

be well and have a good one.

8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

lotlizard's picture

@enhydra lutris  
Also, that time of year once again approaches when one’s thoughts turn to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the applicability of moral standards applied at Nuremberg three years later …



“No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin” said a New York Times headline on September 13, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.”

U.S. officials lied through their teeth; the New York Times trumpeted the lies on the front page … some things never change.


8 users have voted.
usefewersyllables's picture


I currently have in my hand here a chunk of trinitite, the oddly lumpy greenish fused silica debris left behind after the detonation of the Trinity device at Alamagordo on July 16, 1945. It is still noticeably above background levels even now, according to my trusty geiger counter. I keep it here at my desk in a little lead pig with a few other radioactive momentos of my Duck and Cover childhood.

Some years ago I had a chance to do some gamma-ray spectroscopy on it, and found that the primary emissions from it were from 241Am, with smaller contributions from 137Cs and 152Eu.

It somehow figures that pretty much the hottest stuff remaining in debris from those early detonations is Americium. Hell of a calling card, that. "No lingering radiation" is, and always has been, a complete lie. At least the government wasn't successful in rebranding manmade radioactivity as "sunshine units".

We are all downwinders. Man's inhumanity to man, writ large...

6 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Anja Geitz's picture

@enhydra lutris

Enjoyed how you tied in the theme today with bread. How imaginative you are! Although I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but TJ’s recently discontinued their whole wheat flour. Some issue with the supplier. Sounds to me like you’ve got your bread making routine down pat. Nothing more comforting than baking your own bread, is there? Ok. Well maybe there are a few other things. But bread making is right up there on the soothing yardstick.

5 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier