"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Friday, December 5, 2008

Casino Economy

Meet Mt. Pleasant,casino capital of the state. Soaring Eagle, where senior citizens can write personal checks against their social security. Where ATMs are plentiful and drinks are free. Where the light of day will never enter and my friend saw a woman giving a guy a blow job for enough money to keep gambling. Soaring Eagle. They name casinos like they do gated communities, after that which died to make way for development. This is not my Michigan.

Michigan, my Michigan... boundaries of water, wintering lakes and black woods . . . the majestic nests of a diverse bird population now visible in treetops. Detroit's no longer making Thunderbirds but we are surrounded by the oil of the 21st Century and all Americans should be actively participating in protecting this national treasure from a parched world, and, yes, from the desert southwest where development will come to a screeching halt if the true cost of fresh water is ever passed along to the citizenry. (Check out the current issue of Time and the picture of Lake Mead from where Las Vegas draws 90% of its water, predicted to be dry by 2021.)

Casinos have come and will hopefully go the way of the Thunderbird, but we will still be surrounded by fresh water and a strong manufacturing infrastructure and with forward-thinking leaders(a new president who is committed to keeping invasive species out of the lakes and incoming senators not regionally fixated), our rich, diverse ecosystem will thrive and our economy will rebound into the green.

SENATE BEAN SOUP

(From the Michigan Bean Cookbook)

1lb navy beans (Michigan quality preferred)
1 meaty hambone or 1 1/2 lbs hamhocks
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves minced (or use that garlic press)
1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups mashed potaotes (if on hand)
1 1/2 t.salt
1 t. pepper
1t each of nutmeg, oregano, and basil
1 bay leaf

Wash and sort beans. In large kettle cover beans with 6 to 8 cups hot water. Bring to boil; boil two minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 1 hr. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer 30-40 min. until beans are tender. Remove ham bone, trim off meat,return to soup. Serve hot. Makes about 3 qts. (or about enough to fortify 6 senators)

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