Saturday, August 25, 2012

Combustible Chapter 3- Spontaneous Human Combustion

There have been 214 documented reports of spontaneous human combustion in the last three hundred years of human history. Charles Brockden Brown, Charles Dickens, Nicolai Gogol, and Jules Verne all wrote about it in their novels and it has appeared as the subject of or used as a plot twist in film. And though there is little or no scientific evidence to suggest a cause for this phenomenon, it does happen - apparently at a rate of less than one documented case per year for the last three centuries. The lack of science in these cases has led to all manner of theories designed to explain the sudden conversion of human tissue into ash. Sifting through the evidence of the reported cases, it was found, that there were many attributes common to all. Firstly, the body, almost always is burned completely away. A significant number of cases reported that only the extremities remained behind. In all cases there was no form of outside combustion or ignition present. In many cases, the victims, were aged or obese which leads many to assume that they had somehow caught fire and were unable to flee from it. But these theorists stop there. They still can not explain the fire. No matches, cigarettes, flammable fuels or materials are burned in the process. Bed sheets, chairs, floors, the ground are relatively untouched by the flame.

Gogol wrote that it was the final extuingishing of the soul. Brockden Brown offered no theory at all, rather, he suggested in Wieland that it was spiritual - of course he was writing in the age of Spiritism movement. Could Brown have postulated, though, that his main character had an obsession, or a passion, for the music he played and taught? Could it have been his recent conversion to Christianity and the "flame" that so often accompanies the change?

 In This Is Spinal Tap, the phenomenon was written off by the band as just another thing that suddenly happens to the drummers of mega-successful hard rock bands. In the film, the band's drummer spontaneously combusts, in dramatic fashion, in the middle of a concert. Could these events be linked to something else these fictional characters possessed?

The spritists believe that there is something inside us all, the human spirit or some such that becomes inflamed and burns out in one last fell swoop - this is Gogol's premise in Dead Souls. He presents a picture of the soul being extinguished but he gives no reason for the flames. This is odd, in that, would not a quiet death more accurately portray a tired, weak, and expiring life force being gently put out? Or perhaps Gogol had something else in mind. Something like the last flare of a candle being blown out by the wind.

Dickens leads one to believe, in Bleak House, that high levels of alcohol in the bloodstream may contribute, and Dickens was into Spiritism. Dickens' character, Mr. Krook, is described, quite graphically, combusting while sitting on the floor in his shop, amidst the numerous volumes of his books and ledgers; his prized possessions. Mr. Krook obsessed over these items. He was also quite a heavy drinker. But perhaps Dickens was not pointing to alcohol as a cause. Perhaps it was something else?

Two hundred and fourteen documented cases of humans spontaneously, and with out external ignition or flammables, bursting into flame since the 18th century, and now we have two cases within three months. Statistically, the minute Sy turned to ash in Arkansas, just three months after Summer ceased to exist in Louisville Kentucky, there had been an 800% increase in the rate of spontaneous human combustion - from an average of 0.7 per year to a rate of eight per year (2 in 3 months).

Not surprisingly, the world went about its business, buying and selling, cheating and lying, collecting its stuff, and struggling against all odds to preserve its comfort. And while, literally, the human race began to burn up around them, they ignored it in their vast and wide awake deep dreaming sleep.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Combustible Ch 2- Sy

Sy talks with his eyebrows and his shoulders. When asked why, with a first name like Robert, everyone calls him Sy, he would raise his left brow, almost imperceptibly, and shrug, mumbling something almost but not quite like the word- "Stuck". The amazing thing is, the gestures, the expressions, and the mumble, somehow communicate to the inquisitor, "Daddy called me that as a joke and it just stuck."

Sy is a farmer but don't confuse what he does with the modern image of farming. On a three and a half acre postage stamp in Houston Arkansas, Sy grows enough to feed two local families and himself, and to sell the surplus at many of the locally-grown-only farmer's markets in central Arkansas. That's where he is now, seated in his folding lawnchair behind a a white plastic, folding picnic table waiting for the first customers to arrive for the morning market in a high end neighborhood of Little Rock. The market, started and run by a large upscale church has reached its peak for the year. Tomatoes and melons, and purple hull peas and sweet corn are abundant. To either side of Sy are his biggest competition - a conventional, local, mega-gardener to the left and a small collective of young  women who operate a grass-fed meat operation. And just as Sy is sandwiched by their respective booths as they set up along the sidewalk in front of the massive red brick edifice of worship; he is also sandwiched by their respective philosophies. Caught in the middle seems to fit Sy - always the peacemaker; never one to cause a fuss. But sometimes it takes almost superhuman strength to keep his mouth shut. One can tell when Sy's got something to say but is trying to be polite. His big clam shaped ears turn purpler than a Cherokee tomato, his jaw clenches, he raises is left brow and shrugs.

To his left is Barret Downs, the mega farmer, who pushes the limits of what is embodied in the language of the Locally Grown Movement. Pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, plastic green houses, large tractors, PVC pipe, fossil fuels, refrigerated trucks are all the tools of his trade. But because the produce he sells is grown within 45 miles of the market, he, technically, is allowed to sell at the Locally Grown market. His booth is the largest in the row and covered in high dollar vinyl banners stating his produce is fresh and local. He interacts with his customers in a manner reminiscient of a used car salesman. Freshest produce, local farm, cheapest prices. Today Barret is actually here. Usually he sends an intern or a paid employee to man his booth for him as he makes his rounds to at least a half dozen other markets his operation attends every Saturday.

Though he would not say it, mostly because he tries to be polite, Sy can't stand Barret. Rubs him the wrong way. They've been on opposite sides of the coin on many occasions. The latest came when Sy decided to wash, chop, and bag his organically grown kale on the farm and deliver the ready to eat product to the market. Sy's customers loved it and would pay a premium for it. It was not unusual for those who frequented Sy's booth to pay up to $5.00 per 1/2 pound of the greens known as the King of Vegetables for its nutrition packed leaves. When Sy added this value to his product he wasn't competing against Barret Downs, he was adding value and, indeed, profit to his small farm. After just one week of selling out of this product Downs decided he would get into the fresh kale business for no other reason than to "capture dollars" as he put it in the mega farmer vernacular. The next week, Downs offered a new product to his repetoire - chopped, supposedly washed, and bagged kale for just $2.50 for a whole pound.

Sy's loyal customers still but from Sy. But since he sold out last week, Sy harvested more, spent more time on preparation and marketing and had hoped to improve his profit. Downs' strategy though drew potential customers away from Sy.

The girls to Sy's right could tell he was boiling. They were part of a grass-fed meats business and had their marketing down. Dressed in tank tops under blue overall shorts, hair tied back in pony tails was effective in drawing shoppers to their booth but with Sunny Faced Farms Meats, it was the husband dragging the wife along for a change. They had a brisk business and though there were other farms offering naturally raised beef, pork, and poultry, Sunny Faced Farms did not compete against them. Instead they sought to complement their offerings by allowing other farms to sell at their booth. Shamrock and Thistle Farm, a local bakery, provided bread for their display and it seemed to improve sales all around. Sy liked working with the collective. He did not like working against Barret Downs.

Today was no different. In fact, in Sy's mind it was worse. Three weeks ago the products Sy and Downs sold were completely different. Now just less than a month later, Downs had added so many items identical to Sy's that their tables were almost the same. Shoppers would think Sy was one of Down's employees until Down's made it clear that Sy was a different farm with higher prices and lesser quality. Sy's business suffered this Saturday as the finicky shoppers were drawn to the slick marketing of Barret Downs.

If the two farmers ended up selling the same products it was not because they were the same men. In fact, the two farmers from their build and upbringing, personalities and philosophies were at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Downs is an agri-businessman; Sy a subsistance farmer.
Downs is loud and a smooth talker; Sy is quiet, shy, and not well spoken.
Downs farms with Modern Petroleum; Sy farms with Old Solar.
Downs invests in machinery and synthetics; Sy invests in the earth and soil.
Downs' biggest competitor is other farmers; Sy's biggest competitor is himself.
Downs takes over a community; Sy becomes a part of community.
Downs is considered a Tea Partier; Sy is considered a socialist.

*  *  *

The brassicas thrive in rich, moist, slightly acidic soils. Planting while it is still nicely cool, cold really, in a properly prepared bed gives them the stability to set a good root system, a sturdy stalk, and a good start to developing the large, deep green, photosynthesizing leaf system; a system designed to capture rain water and funnel down the stalk to the root base. Its an ingenious design really. Wood ash is a common amendment for soils to be planted with these kings of the vegetable kingdom. Almost 6 months after Sy's market drama in August, the broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and collards are doing very well. Much better than usual. The garden spot had been cleared, the soil amended, and a truck load of straw mulch brought in for the winter planting. The new owners of the farm had taken up where Sy had left off, Old Solar Agriculture, grow it slow, live within their means, sell what they can of the excess they generate. No one really missed Sy. Just one day he did not show up. His booth was filled by another aspiring "farmer", a peddler that ships produce in from Florida, Alabama, Texas, and beyond, lets it sit on his farm until the next market day and then advertises, "Local Produce-No Pesticides Used". Most customers either don't know the difference or they don't care. This seller has tomatoes in April, a genetic impossibility in Arkansas, and sells them all every week.

Sy finished packing his booth from the last of the high end markets that ran through October of each year in the Queen City of the Mid-South, Little Rock Arkansas. His tent, his tables, his cash box, and what was left over of his produce were secured in the bed of his yellow mid-80s Dodge Ram pickup. The big 360 cubic inch V8 growled as he slowly pressed the gas pedal and rumbled down Hillcrest Boulevard toward the center of down town. He stopped to drop off the left overs at a local food bank which served the homeless population of Little Rock before heading toward hospital row, I-630, to the west past Arkansas Children's Hospital, UAMS, St.Vincent's, and Baptist Hospitals. The big truck seemed to float along the road as the engine roared. Sy was deep in thought, as he usually was. His farm was located 42 miles west of the city and as he turned left onto Cantrell Road he calculated, for the thousandth time, "9 miles to the gallon and 42 miles equals 5, no wait 4 point...uh twice 33 equals, 4.6 gallons at $3.86 per gallon is a little over $18.00 one way. That's 36 dollars just to show up at this market and I sold $112 dollars of produce. Add a $5.00 lunch and I made $71.00, not counting the water, labor, seeds, and feed for my fertilizer producers. I guess I worked for free." This all went through Sy's mind much faster than it takes to write it all down but he was right. Maybe Old Solar isn't the way to go. Maybe Barret's way is the way to do it. Maybe the local farmer and the whole philosophy of slowly grown, locally grown, is dead. Nothing more than an advertising slogan.

The yellow Dodge continued west down Cantrell, past a chain store selling ostensible fresh produce. Sy knows that this fresh organic produce is packed in plastic bags and travels sometimes thousands of miles to get there. "How fresh can it be?" he asks himself again. Further on down the road he passes another chain store that makes no allusion to the freshness of their food. They advertise the lowest prices - Always. Again, Sy, now feeling a brief flare of heat in his cheeks- a heat not caused by his lack of an airconditioner in his truck. He found himself getting more and more upset as he thought about the almost monolithic struggle the small, local farmer has to compete with these mega-markets, trying to convince customers that his prices are not too high, the other guy's prices are too low, subsidized by corn and fuel, and pollution and erosion. He started sweating - the heat would not go away.

Cantrell eventually turned into State Highway 10, the stop lights disappeared, and the black winding ribbon of the newly paved flatop lulled him into a wide-awake driver's sleep, the kind one falls into when one has travelled the same road many times. Up over a hill and to his right appeared Lake Maumelle, One of Little Rock's public water sources, extremely low after a drought ridden summer. Signs appeared along the small parks that ran along the bank as far as the bridge, "No Swimming! Public Water Supply". Sy had calmed down, cooled off over the last 15 minutes of his drive but now his dander was up again as he crossed the little bridge spanning the western most tip of the lake, the outlet of the Maumelle River. To his right and left the lake was dotted with dozens of boats powered by huge Mercury and Evinrude engines, piloted by fishermen with as much beer in their coolers as fish - "Public water supply huh? You tellin' me them fishermen ain't peein in the lake? I can't swim, but don't go messin' with the tourists huh?"

Sy fought the flame that was coursing through his skin. It had spread from his cheeks down through his neck and shoulders, into his chest and legs. It all became to much for him. "Can't make ends meet at a market for local produce, can't compete against peddlers, pushers, and mega markets all trying to sell the same crap. Have to drive an old truck...", the dodge sputtered, "No, no baby, I love you, just wish I could fix you up a little." The truck settled down as she made the sweeping left hand turn at the intersection of State 113. Sy tried to settle down too.

By the time Sy rounded the sharp right hand bend at Williams Junction and headed over Thornburg Mountain, his fever had gained in intensity. He felt that he would faint, he had sweat so much that his pores were now empty. The wind from his open windows dried his shirt and skin and now he just felt ache-y and chilled. Chilled on the outside but a raging fire on the inside. His head grew heavy, he still had 8 miles to go to get home but he felt he would burst if he did not get out of the truck this instant. The images he had formed in his mind over the years; the images that shaped his philosophy and his lifestyle all came to him in random flashes, each new image following close upon another. April Tomatoes. Bags of pertoleum based fertilizer, megacorporations, Low Low Prices, machines doing the work of men, ignorant customers buying based on price alone, not quality, cutthroat small farmers, a decaying work ethic, fossil fuels, tractors, soil erosion, chlorinated water, feedlot beef, genetically modified grains, drought, floods, refrigerated trucks, lies upon lies on packaging, state and federal regulations that drive farmers like him out of business. And then "Why can't we understand we are killing ourselves."

Sy blacked out. At least he thought he did. The next thing he remembered, he was sitting in the truck, engine off, in the small gravel drive at the entrance of his very small farm. He didn't bother with unloading the truck. He patted his dogs on the head and stumbled into his one room cabin, opened all the windows, and lay down on his bed. He soon fell asleep and dreamed the dreams of a man without a home.

An hour later, Sy awoke, and still half asleep stumbled down the hill to his 5,000 square foot garden plot. His fever had subsided somewhat, but he still felt flushed, like a young boy who has just been embarrassed by the cutest girl in his class. He stopped in the breeze way of his barn and sat in the yellow chair positioned there. He pulled out a Marlboro from his over all pocket and lit it. He was home, and right now at that moment, he was okay. His head buzzed with each drag of the cigarette but no matter how he tried he could not keep the distasteful memories of the day from creeping in. He got up and walked around, and then sat back down. As the heat built up within him he would hop back up out of the chair and find something to do. He collected the days eggs. He sat down. He started burning. He hopped back up. He scattered a handful of grain to his geese. He sat back down. When this cycle of nervous behaviour failed to comfort him he grabbd a shovel and headed to the garden plot.

The 5000 square foot plot had been almost depleted for the year, late October, in Sy's garden meant lightly tilling evey bed that did not have kale, radishes, turnips, or garlic already established in it. With a broadfork, Sy slowly and rythmically would "step" the fork into the slightly compacted soil and then pull back on both handles, raising a bed-width plateau that allowed air and moisture to settle beneath the large clump. Step after step, pull after pull, down each 25 foot row until all the beds were aerated. Then he piled large armfuls of soiled straw or hay from his animal stalls on the beds to hold the moisture in and keep weed seeds from germinating. This was his favorite spot in the world. The cool air, the smell of manure and hay, "This is the smell of freedom" he would often say. The worries and frustrations of his day at the market; his anxiety over paying the property taxes, all frustrations at not having nice things, not being able to fix up his truck, refence the farm, or invest in drip irrigation for the garden, all passed away when he was digging in his garden.

This cool fall day, shrouded in leaves of red and yellow and tree bark gray, the cool breeze rustling the canopy overhead, the feel and the smell of the rich fertile soil, teeming with mysterious organisms that did the real work for him, Sy suddenly felt content again, at home, at peace. But it was an intense peace. A burning swelled up in his heart and he felt it course through his veins. He knelt down. For some reason, or no reason at all, he suspected this would be the last time. He took a deep breath allowing the crisp clean air fill his lungs in the hopes it would cool the fire raising up inside him. He spread the fingers of both hands and drove them deep into the freshly prepared garden bed. He wiggled his fingers in the earth.

Sy died with dirt under his nails. If there had been witnesses they would have seen a bright flash, a hovering smoke, a large circle of ash, and then nothing but Sy's Wellington boots, feet inside, and the stubs of two arms protruding from the ground.

A white breasted nuthatch writhed on the ground near the circle of ash, righted himself, shook his tiny head as if to clear the cobwebs and the flew away home to Harris Brake Lake and perched on the dock.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Combustible- Chapter 1 - Summer

" have to do a thing before you find out the reason for it. Sometimes our actions are questions not answers." - John Le Carre, The Perfect Spy

Chapter One - Summer

Summer has no place to go. This 44 year old veteran of the South African Boycott in the 80s, the angry protestor speaking loudly against the Rwanda Genocide in the 90s, and the mainstay at every G8 Summit protest for the last 10 years, had recently joined what she felt would be her last cause. She of the granola, outdoorsy, green generation, is the picture of health but somehow she knows - this will be her last. It is with the desperation of the dying man that she joined the Occupy Movement that had spread from its beginnings on Wall Street in late 2010 to cities across the country. For the last 6 weeks she's lived in  a tent on a grassy field, a park, public lands, in front of the courthouse in Louisville Kentucky.

That is, until in a bizarre turn of logic, the city had determined that the right of assembly guaranteed in the US Constitution did not apply to the Occupy Movement. Because public lands are paid for by the public, any use of that land for private interest is inappropriate. Thus, creating the dichotomy that because public lands are for the public, no one in the public can use them - especially if the public has something to say.

This is why Summer is now sitting on a hempen throw rug, book in her lap, Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, in front of the small black stage in the main hall of 4th Street Live in Louiville. Amidst the litter of receipts, napkins, playbills, and bottles left over from the concert the night before; her dishevelled red hair, shoulder length and naturally curly, tied back with a tie-dyed cloth. Last night she was physically removed from the courthouse lawn by a swarm of Louisville Metro Police, in riot gear, who were none too pleased to be pulling the duty. There were no injuries to the Occupiers reported, but she had been tossed around. When the officer grabbed her by the back of her left arm, she felt her blood boil. The passion swelled within her and she thought she would explode. The more she resisted, the hotter she became. Her face flushed, sweat stained her blouse, her legs ached, she asked herself if she had the flu. She could feel her heart beat in her temples. And then she stopped resisting. The heat, the pressure, the thumping of her blood pressure, the grinding of her teeth overwhelmed her and she decided to let the officer take her away.

Somehow she ended up here, between the pub and the Hard Rock Cafe, seated on the pavement within a cove of restaurants that had not yet opened for the next day's business. She does not remember how she got here but she suspects the officer dropped her off here at her request. She vaguely remembers an impassioned plea for help and the officer's reluctant agreement to do what she asked. She still feels hot as though she has a fever. She is alone, has been her whole life. Her causes were her family. Now there was no one. She is unwashed, her face is smudged with dirt, and the heat will just not go away.

A maintenance worker is circling with his broom and his scoop, cleaning up the mess that is surrounding her. He pays her no mind. Restatuarant owners are now opening their doors  and straightening their dining patios for the next day's downtown lunch crowd. It is 7:00 AM Eastern time, 6th of August and
already hot and muggy. Louisville is waking up and with crust in it's eye begins its next business day.
Summer is burning up. She is caught in that space between knowing she has to do something, but not knowing what. She knows she can't sit still but also knows she can't move. The book keeps her busy - her fingers, her lap, not her mind. She can't concentrate and she reads the same line over and over again. A drop of sweat rolls from her brow, down her temple, onto her cheek to her chin and hangs there off her jaw. It hangs, then droops, it elongates as the force of gravity tugs on it. It lets go and falls to a page, smudging the print. Summer is so feverish she is unable to move to wipe the drop away. This first is followed by another. Her skin turns from pale to brown, to bright burning red. She looks as though she fell asleep on a beach and woke up baked well-done. She aches as a mounting pressure in her chest makes her feel as though she were being trampled. She is less dazed and more angry now. The injustice she and her fellow Occupiers were subjected to should not go unchecked. She tells herself to get up, to say something, to walk right back to the former Occupy Camp and stage a sit in. But she can not move. Her blood is boiling, her heart rate swiftens, she is soaked in her own sweat and then suddenly, Summer is no more. In an instant the maintenance man, the shop keepers, the restaurant owners, the policemen on patrol, the business men and women walking to their offices turn their heads, when they hear the report. A small Carolina Wren was seen to tumble to the pavement, flap about on its back, right itself amid the ashen remains, shake its head, as if it to clear it, and then launch straight up and fly away.

"Sounds like a bomb went off," one witness says, "and then a bright light just hanging there."

"Was there any smoke?"

"No. No smoke, just the loud bang and then the light and then that..." the witness points to the ground at his feet.

What was Summer was reduced to a small pile of ash surrounded by a pair of hands and a pair of feet, badly charred.

The crowd around the scene had grown. If it had not been Monday morning one would think 4th Street Live was filling up for a night's worth of frivolity. The officers on the scene heard the same story from every one claiming to be a witness. Loud bang, hanging white light, no smoke, and then ashes and hands and feet.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day - Human Stories

The following accounts are true but I must confess, embellished by my imagination in some respects. The overall context of major events are second hand reports and I have no first hand accounts of specific details, mainly because I had no desire to attempt to enter the parking lot...

I drove by our local Chik-Fil-A around 5PM yesterday evening not to view the spectacle that was Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day but to take my wife to dinner.

The parking lot was full - I mean, its always pretty full, but this time is was absolutely full, with cars in line on the side streets waiting to pull into the lot when a slot finally opens up. The drive through was a long winding snake of automobiles encircling the restaurant like a huge, Christian (?) Anti-Gay (?)  Pro-Free-Speech (?) boa constrictor.

This particular Louisville KY location had erected tents at each entrance to help shelter the throng from the August 1st heat, as the line to get into the air conditioned establishment stretched out the double doors, down the sidewalk, and into the parking lot.

One Chik-Fil-A employee stated that there was a 40 minute wait for milk shakes, people had waited up to 2 hours to purchase a sandwich, and all restaurant staff worked a full shift without a break, without  a full lunch break, without a moment to sit down at all. What follows is a recap of some of the human interest stories I discovered from the spectacle that was Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day.

Amid the crowds of Chik-Fil-A supporters milling about the property was a lone protestor. She was a thin, middle-aged blonde, wearing a golf visor, white shorts and a blue tank top. She was standing at the corner of the property near the main road leading to the side entrance of the establishment. It was hot. The thermometer in the car read 92 degrees but the humidity made it feel much worse. I can only imagine the temperature where she was standing, on the thin strip of manicured grass sandwiched between two blistering swaths of asphalt. She was standing right under the tall, familiar, red and white Chik-Fil-A sign advertising their popular Peach Milkshakes - "They're Just Peachy". She held her own sign- made of poster board and blue marker. It read "Remember the Hatred". I assume this was her attempt to remind those showing their support for Chik-Fil-A that they were giving their money to a hate factory, or some such thing. Throughout her vigil, beneath, the Peach Shake - They're Just Peachy! sign Chik-Fil-A employees left their posts to deliver her a large cup of their signature, and very tasty, lemonade. This effort to demonstrate that they did not Hate her or anyone, that they were concerned for her safety, that they wanted to show that they loved her failed. The protestor refused their offer, ostensibly, because she did not want to be seen drinking from a cup with the logo of this hate filled establishment. Eventually she did accept a cup of water, in an unmarked cup, delivered to her by a patron.

Inside, the restaurant was packed, standing room only. Two young gentleman, who had stood in line for quite some time, finally approached the counter and ordered two waters. Having received their order (free of charge by the way) the left for the dining area, presumably to sit down and enjoy, their liquid meal (?). A few moments later they approached the counter stating they had a problem with the water. The associate at the register apologized and asked what the problem was. The two gentlement said, "It tastes like hatred." and then proceeded to kiss each other in the middle of the restaurant.

The End of the Day -

The establishment closes at 10PM. One Chik-Fil-A associate worked a 14 hour shift. One of the lead staff, in shirt and tie stood along side the drive through lanes and delivered orders to cars starting at the window and back towards the order board just as fast as the orders were ready. Staff greeted each customer, not really caring if the patron was a supporter or a protestor, with a friendly smile and a cheerful, "Welcome to Chik-Fil-A, how may I serve you?" and when the order is delivered, the trademark "My Pleasure". The day, by some accounts, went by quickly, as there was not a break in the stream of customers all day. Customers that included, mostly, supporters of Chik-Fil-A, either because they agreed with Mr. Cathy's stance on same sex marriage or because they supported his right to free speech and supporters who made comments similar to "i'm glad you hate gay people like I do" to detractors who made it a point to try to disrupt the flow of chicken." It took over two hours to clean the restaurant while closing and preparing for tomorrow.

And I think this brings me to the main point of my previous posts concerning this mess - both sides - the supporters and the protestors - think small. We've accomplished nothing but a pitched battle. A battle Chik-Fil-A is winning in my opinion. We've forsaken the much larger, much nobler path of conversation to the smaller, uglier path to confrontation, anger, discord, and dissolution. Instead of moving both sides closer to each other with convincing arguments, we've moved both sides further apart with an attempt to vanquish. Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day demonstrated that conservative values have the power to vanquish their opposition - they have more people; they have louder voices; perhaps, they have more money to spend on their causes - one just has to mobilize the sheep.

The real human story in all this, is what is ignored in the midst of the great battle we've created for ourselves through smallness of thinking. Neither side really seems to care about the teen-ager or young adult, who are having trouble getting started in life; those who are trying to pay college tuition, perhaps still living at home because times are hard; those who wear the black Oxford with the Chik-Fil-A logo upon its breast;  those who just want to work hard, earn their pay, and go home. Those that have no skin in the game. We fight our battle; they pay the price...

Chik-Fil-A Conspiracy Revealed

"...they hit the conspiracy button. Easiest thing in the world. Cherry-pick a few facts, cobble them together, listen to a couple of disgruntled alarmists with an axe to grind, throw in a household name or two, you can put together any bloody story you want." - John Le Carre, The Constant Gardner

Has anyone else heard this?




Ruetres - Atlanta Georgia, August 2, 2012

by I.M. Satyre


Sources close to Chik-Fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy have released documents describing a conspiracy contrived between the fast food giant and Fox Network, specifically linking Cathy and talk show pundit Mike Huckabee in a clandestine "PR Stunt" designed to boost lagging national 4th Quarter sales for the fast food chain.


Speaking on conditions of anonymity, the source described and produced emails and text messages exchanged between Cathy and Huckabee just days before Cathy's comments regarding his stance on same sex marriage and the financial support his company provides for a variety of ultra-conservative Christian organizations.


The source goes on to say that Cathy's comments, the cause of the recent furor, were premeditated and that an agreement between the CEO and Huckabee called for remuneration to Huckabee, most likely in the form of periodic transfers of small amounts of Chik-Fil-A shares in exchange for Huckabee's agreeing to call for a "National Chik-Fil-A Appreciaton Day" to be held on August 1.


Mary Cheatham, an attorney for Atlanta Law Firm, Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe, in an interview held in the early morning hours after the source came forward, believes this collusion or conspiracy, between Huckabee and Cathy may not be illegal as a publicity gimmick, but if it can be proved that company shares exchange hands under the table that there could be suits filed by the Federal Trade Commission.


Regardless of the legality of the alleged agreement, the strategy seems to have worked. Financial information, also leaked by this source, shows national sales figures for August 1 alone have set a new mark for the franchise, exceeding revenue levels for any two consecutive months combined.

I can honestly say this doesn't surprise me...