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November 21, 2021

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FWIW, I've worked as a janitor and/or cleaning offices a couple of times when I was younger. Not a summer job, but as my job, what I lived on.

It was not the best job ever, but it was OK. I'm not sure I would call it soul-sucking. Boring, maybe, but there's always books on tape.

What makes jobs like that 'soul-sucking' are two things:

1. They don't always pay enough to live on
2. They are extremely low status

And those things are somewhat related.

If a UBI means that employers have to pay more than a bare subsistence wage for those kinds of jobs, then there will most likely be people who will work them. And not just the wage, if it means that employers will have to treat the folks they hire as something other than fungible, expendable drones, likewise.

Stuff like that is honest work. If it's treated as such, with respect and compensation sufficient that folks can live on it. people will do it.

Nothing wrong with cleaning toilets. If you like a clean toilet when you have to use one, it's work you should respect and appreciate.

The side effect of UBI that hasn't been discussed so far (I think) is that some stuff is likely to cost more. Lettuce, for instance.

Seems fair to me, others may disagree.

The truth is, a lot of it is entirely socially constructed.

I'd say "nearly all", but good point nonetheless. We could construct a society where everybody took turns cleaning the toilets, but you know that is just making the perfect the enemy of the good.(/end sarcasm)

Folks who are not especially inclined to espouse the destruction of the system of private property should read up on policy proposals out there that essentially change the rules to bring private market behaviors and/or outcomes more in line with universal social needs (equality, justice, prosperity, 'effing survival of our species).

I suggest Dean Baker's Rigged for starters. Available on line at no cost.

Would call centers (just for one example) simply go away? What would companies replace them (or other things) with, or would they so radically change their business models that call centers (or whatever soul-sucking work places) would become irrelevant?

Some stuff has to be done. We need clean public restrooms. Do we end up paying people more to clean them under better working conditions or do we make custodial robots (or build self-cleaning restrooms)?

Probably, we see a mix of responses. Call centers, for example, have already relocated overseas in many cases. Expect to see more of that. Some tasks would be automated, or redesigned so they can be automated, because it would now make economic sense.

But some jobs might well remain much as they are. For example, some people have the same desire to feel accomplishment at the end of they day as we do. But janitorial work is what they are capable of doing. You might find it "soul sucking", but others might see it differently. (I've done janitorial, too. There's far worse jobs.)

All I'm saying is, don't assume your view of a particular job is universal. Personally, I have found doing sales to be soul sucking, when I've had to do it. But I know people who love it. Different strokes

"There has been an enormous upward redistribution of income in the United States in the last four decades. In his most recent book, Baker shows that this upward redistribution was not the result of globalization and the natural workings of the market. Rather it was the result of conscious policies that were designed to put downward pressure on the wages of ordinary workers while protecting and enhancing the incomes of those at the top. Baker explains how rules on trade, patents, copyrights, corporate governance, and macroeconomic policy were rigged to make income flow upward."
Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer

russell, I see we crossposted, with similar points.

Nothing wrong with cleaning toilets. If you like a clean toilet when you have to use one, it's work you should respect and appreciate.

After all, most of us manage to clean the toilets in our own home without destroying our souls. ;-)

Stuff like that is honest work. If it's treated as such, with respect and compensation sufficient that folks can live on it. people will do it.

For an example, when I was in school, the kids tended to give the janitors the same respect we gave teachers. Which may have given school janitor hiring an edge over those hiring janitors for office buildings.

"Honest work" is a concept I'd like to see revived. Especially with emphasis on honest.

All I'm saying is, don't assume your view of a particular job is universal.

What I find to be soul-sucking is really not the point. I was riffing off a previous comment where the phrase was used. Whatever jobs people do - despite disliking them greatly - only because they need to survive. Whatever example works for you (or a hypothetical worker).

Cleaning toilets is important, which is why I used it as an example. I would have to assume it's very few people's dream job, even if you can think of worse ones. And it doesn't pay a lot.

Some jobs can go away if businesses retool and find creative new ways to do things, by which I mean no person or machine would do them anymore because the work would no longer be necessary. Other things you can't get around, like cleaning toilets.

If people could live in reasonable comfort (though still well short of what most people in well-developed, modern societies would consider luxury) without working, what jobs (legal or otherwise) would eventually go away for man or machine?

Looking the illegal side of things: Would nearly as many people bother with street prostitution or selling drugs on the corner? Would people bother to steal catalytic converters off of cars? Would people commit armed robbery to get a few bucks from a corner store?

Technology has made menial work less unpleasant. I've seen people engage in shift-long conversations with their buddy down the assembly line or across the country. There's also radio, podcasts, music, audiobooks, etc.

I was riffing off a previous comment where the phrase was used.

no worries!!

Whatever jobs people do - despite disliking them greatly - only because they need to survive.

an excellent definition of "soul sucking".

for me, it would probably be sales. I don't understand how people do that.

as wj says, different strokes.

I do think some things would simply cost more - things where labor is a large-ish factor of the price, and where jobs don't pay all that well now.

Produce comes to mind - stuff that actually needs to be picked, by hand. Would we be willing to pay $3.00 a head for lettuce, if it meant that ag workers could build some personal wealth?

There are probably other examples.

The Romans and Greeks of Old* would have viewed the very concept of 'honest work' as absurd. 'labor honestus' for them would have been a contradictio in adiecto.

*Hesiod may have been an exception there but the guy was a rural smallholder, so what did he know?

Produce harvesting is increasingly being automated. But harvesting head lettuce will likely require AI.

Produce comes to mind - stuff that actually needs to be picked, by hand. Would we be willing to pay $3.00 a head for lettuce, if it meant that ag workers could build some personal wealth?

Would that result in a change the proportions in what we grow and eat? Would a big salad become a status symbol? Would the Kardashians start their own bag-salad brand?

If people could live in reasonable comfort (though still well short of what most people in well-developed, modern societies would consider luxury) without working, what jobs (legal or otherwise) would eventually go away for man or machine?

There are a number of places around the world which have in place at least some experimental UBI. What do we see in the way of jobs going away? What kinds of jobs have changed status, or changed pay, in order to get them done?

It might be worthwhile to look at some actual data here.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_basic_income_around_the_world

Produce harvesting is increasingly being automated. But harvesting head lettuce will likely require AI.

Good luck automating asparagus picking (which was the mostly Filipino side of the UFW strikes handled by Larry Itilong before Chavez joined the strike). Asparagus could be harvested by AI, but not in a way that would allow the plants to continue to grow and be re-harvested many times.

(Heard all about this from the people who used to do it when I was in my Filipino martial art phase. Using an asparagus knife is very skilled and back breaking labor.)

As for all of the public cleaning and whatnot, I could see that being a public service job that people handle for a very short time like jury duty (riffing off of the Japanese school model in a more American way), or it being community service as part of a restorative justice program (with pay, but mandated service to give back to the community as part of a restoration of status).

I wouldn't expect to find any solutions like that coming from a libertarian think tank, but CharlesWT might surprise us with something.

It might be worthwhile to look at some actual data here.

There's not much actual data there. No one has done UBI on a scale that would have a significant impact on how industries do things or what industries exist at all. Most of that entry is about what people have proposed and their reasons for proposing it. Very little is about actual implementations.

I'm not even necessarily talking about UBI. I'm talking about people not needing to work to live in some reasonable level of comfort, however that happens.

Like I wrote, it's a thought experiment, bordering on science fiction for now.

Asparagus could be harvested by AI, but not in a way that would allow the plants to continue to grow and be re-harvested many times.

(Heard all about this from the people who used to do it when I was in my Filipino martial art phase. Using an asparagus knife is very skilled and back breaking labor.

Using an asparagus knife is already a concession to a more mechanical (if still done by humans) approach to harvesting. If you really want to get good asparagus (i.e. without the chunk of too-woody-to-chew stalk), you have to take the stalk in hand and bend it.** Where it breaks naturally is what you want. A knife simply doesn't reflect that.

This being the case, an automated approach would be complex to do properly, but would likely result in a better product.

** In case you couldn't guess, we had a large patch of asparagus in the garden when I was growing up. And I was taught how to do it right.

If you really want to get good asparagus (i.e. without the chunk of too-woody-to-chew stalk), you have to take the stalk in hand and bend it.** Where it breaks naturally is what you want. A knife simply doesn't reflect that.

I'm happy to let you do as much of this hand harvesting as you want after we get a UBI.

Send me all the unused asparagus knives and I'll distribute them to Filipinos as heritage items as a Name Your Price (plus shipping) deal.

Stuff like that is honest work. If it's treated as such, with respect and compensation sufficient that folks can live on it. people will do it.

Absolutely. And there really isn't an excuse for not doing this. (I feel like the US is particularly bad on this front. There are few if any service careers with any real status or respect. Which isn't good for anyone -- either the workers or the quality of their work.)

On the other hand, "people will do it" is kind of a low bar. Wouldn't it be nicer if *nobody* had to clean toilets anymore?

When I say it's a waste of human potential I don't mean it's not "honest work". It is. But I also don't think it's work anyone does because its their actual passion in life.

So society would be better off overall if there was a self-cleaning toilet and the erstwhile toilet cleaners were free to do something else with the time. Work on their art or write poetry or something. Even bad poetry.

Maybe artisan toilet cleaning will be a thing someday too, but it should be a free choice.

Industrial scale production of "meat" that replaces the current pork and poultry processing plants would eliminate a lot of truly soul-sucking jobs. I've seen janitorial staff at my work who have been doing it for years at a time, from what I've read the annual job turnover in animal-to-food industry is north of 100%.

Unless we execute all of those republicans and conservatives, tens of millions of them, who make the conservative case for this .....

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/11/the-induced-despair-of-undermining-democracy

... there will never be another free election in America from which to make the better moderate and liberal case desired by the majority of voters in this country.

We are on the cusp of fully justified revolutionary savagery.

Ya know, a couple of years ago I thought you were being overdramatic. Now, you are beginning to look like you might be prescient. Here's hoping you aren't.

The Romans and Greeks of Old* would have viewed the very concept of 'honest work' as absurd.

Just another reason not to look the Romans and Greeks of old as models for a modern society.

But I also don't think it's work anyone does because its their actual passion in life.

Are we looking to UBI to enable universal personal self-fulfillment? That's a pretty big ask.

Even with a UBI there will no doubt be lots and lots and lots of uninspiring things that nonetheless need to get done. Whether for pay or not.

Mowing lawns, painting houses, fixing cars, mucking stables. A truly long list.

If we can get to a point where the folks who clean hotel rooms and office buildings can afford a two- or three-bedroom apartment and have enough money to send their kids to college, I'll call it a win. Like, a great big one.

Work is work, and it's not all sexy or fabulous. Some of it is straight-up toilsome, but it nonetheless needs doing. I'm not seeing that as a waste of human potential, it's just life. Even poets have to chop wood and carry water.

Just pay people the people who do it enough to live on. Or, you know, more than just enough to live on, enough to build some personal wealth over the course of their lives. Enough so that they don't live in financial peril.

If UBI helps make that happen, I'm fine with it.

Now, you are beginning to look like you might be prescient.

One of the fundamental principles of our form of government is that the legitimacy of any government is based on the consent of the governed.

You never get 100%, especially in a country of hundreds of millions of people.

But governing from a base of something like 35% or 40% is not sustainable. Governance by people who are elected through plainly bogus means - extreme gerrymanders, popular votes rejected or dismissed by partisan officials - also not sustainable. Add threats and thuggish violence into the mix, and there will be a reaction.

The (R)'s are most definitely going to try it on. They may even succeed short term. But it's not a sustainable path to power.

I wouldn't expect to find any solutions like that coming from a libertarian think tank, but CharlesWT might surprise us with something.

Ok by me if it's included in the contract for living in the community implementing it.

If we can get to a point where the folks who clean hotel rooms and office buildings can afford a two- or three-bedroom apartment and have enough money to send their kids to college, I'll call it a win. Like, a great big one.

If people were educated to something close to their abilities, there would be fewer people competing for low-end jobs.

If people were educated to something close to their abilities, there would be fewer people competing for low-end jobs.

There are lots of reasons that people work the jobs they do. Lack of education may be a factor, but then again it might not be.

I'd argue that we should stop thinking of any kind of useful work as being "low end".

It's work that needs doing, and the people who do it deserve respect.

If people were educated to something close to their abilities, there would be fewer people competing for low-end jobs.

The people in jobs that pay less than a living wage are not working at their full educated ability now. We are not limited by having too few people who are intellectually able to do the work on offer, we are limited by having too many jobs no one wants to do, and not enough people willing to pay living wages to get those jobs done. So they work to perpetuate a system in which desperation drives people to take jobs that they hate and that require no real engagement, only subservience and drudgery.

I love how liberals get called elitists while conservatives blame everyone's financial woes o the people at the bottom not being capable of anything more.

But I guess they aren't blaming the poor because they can blame the poor's lack of prospects on teachers.

Even with a UBI there will no doubt be lots and lots and lots of uninspiring things that nonetheless need to get done. Whether for pay or not.

I don't think we should accept that. Not in the long term.

I don't want to make out that something like UBI is a magic bullet -- it's at best a small piece -- or that all the problems can be solved overnight.

But I do think it's important to make the case for at least recognizing this as a problem. "There will always be crap jobs" is not something we should just take lying down. we need to explicitly start bending that curve.

Mowing lawns, painting houses, fixing cars, mucking stables. A truly long list.

I know these are just examples, but I think it's telling that at least one of those is already automatable, and two more probably have a plausible path if there were motivation to try.

And I'm not sure I'd put something like fixing cars on my list of crap jobs in the first place -- it's greasy and tedious at times, but it's also varied and challenging work. It requires problem solving and deep expertise. It might not be everyone's dream job, but it's certainly some people's. (You could probably say the same about house painting too, come to think of it. Maybe even mucking stables. At least mucking stables could be a small part of a job that someone could really want.)

... there will never be another free election in America from which to make the better moderate and liberal case desired by the majority of voters in this country.... We are on the cusp of fully justified revolutionary savagery.

You are always welcome to join my conspiracy to peacefully separate the 11 contiguous western states, which as a group will be liberal. >90% vote by mail last year, and only headed up. Ruralia in those states can be bought off. Point out, for example, to the members of the LDS church in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho that it's been less than 20 years since the Southern Baptists declared them a cult, and we're much more tolerant than that. The big hurdle is convincing the Midwest and South that they have no interests served by trying to hang on to the West...

Too much wine already. I need to think optimistic thoughts. The new park on the other side of the block opened this week. A three-year-old shrieking for joy on the faux zip line, and a ten-year-old or thereabouts bouncing around the BMX bike trail, tempting the fates with his tongue hanging out. Ridiculous amounts of renewable power in the local electricity mix over the last ten days.

Mowing lawns, painting houses, fixing cars, mucking stables. A truly long list.

In addition to Jack's examples, I submit that jobs like mowing lawns may have a place as something that kids can do to augment whatever part of their UBI they actually see.** It's not inspiring, but you can't really call it a crap job either. Certainly not demeaning for a kid. Instead, it's something that he can reasonably argue he can do if he wishes (and can find neighbors willing to hire him).

** I'm assuming here that children's UBI gets paid to their parents for the kids' support. Does anyone have an alternate scenario in mind?

You are always welcome to join my conspiracy to peacefully separate the 11 contiguous western states

The economies across the US are sufficiently intertwined that we'd need some kind of common market. Probably even something like the EU, complete with freedom of movement, etc. Which leads directly back towards an overall government, and we're right back where we started.

Well, we I submit that jobs like mowing lawns may have a place as something that kids can do to augment whatever part of their UBI they actually see.

Not sure how I feel about that framing. On the one hand, nothing wrong with kids doing some chores for extra pocket money.

On the other hand, if it's actually economically necessary work, adults will be in those jobs too. Demeaning work as "kid stuff" plays into the whole respect problem. (Just look at the debate around minimum wage and e.g., fast food jobs.)

(Also -- lawns are evil.)

The single market, as originally implemented, and the EU as it currently exists, are very different things.

(Also -- lawns are evil.)

Aye, in many different ways. When my wife and I were downsizing a year and some ago, one of the things I put my foot down on was, "I have been a slave to grass, mine or my parents', for a half century. No more."

Also -- lawns are evil.

Yes, lawns are evil. IF you live west of the Mississippi. If you're on the east coast, they don't need water you don't have, so much less of a problem.

The single market, as originally implemented, and the EU as it currently exists, are very different things.

It might not be necessary to go as far as the EU. But a common market is going to require some harmonization of standards. Not so much measurements, but things like what chemicals are allowed in clothing, food, etc. What pollution restrictions apply to cars and trucks. And on, and on.

Eventually, you end up with something which looks a lot like a government. Maybe not including a parliament, but that just means it's not a democratic government.

if it's actually economically necessary work, adults will be in those jobs too. Demeaning work as "kid stuff" plays into the whole respect problem.

I'm not sure how I feel about that framing. Specifically, does it demean a task to say that kids can do it? I mean, kids can set the table -- and routinely did in my family. But does that mean it's demeaning if my job includes setting tables (say in a banquet hall)? I don't really see that.

For that matter, I'm not totally on board with "kid stuff" being a slur. Maybe I've seen too many kids acting like mature adults, while adults were acting like spoiled 4 year olds. (Not to point fingers at any particular ex-President.)

I do think some things would simply cost more - things where labor is a large-ish factor of the price, and where jobs don't pay all that well now.

I don't see why. Typically, wages would fall, because the floor on wages is either a minimum wage, which I suppose would be reduced if there were a UBI, or the need for employees to be able to support themselves on the wages paid.

Using an asparagus knife is already a concession to a more mechanical (if still done by humans) approach to harvesting. If you really want to get good asparagus (i.e. without the chunk of too-woody-to-chew stalk), you have to take the stalk in hand and bend it.** Where it breaks naturally is what you want. A knife simply doesn't reflect that.

I cut my asparagus with a knife, then break the stalk by hand before I cook it.

I cut my asparagus with a knife, then break the stalk by hand before I cook it.

Interesting. Why not just break it in the field when harvesting? Saves steps, since you don't have to carry the ends back to compost....

Why not just break it in the field when harvesting?

Well, as ag workers they used the knives to save on having to squat to grasp the stalks. and to make the harvesting quicker.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8-X9Lk508I

I understand why ag workers do so. (And, after all, things like composting are not in their job description.) But I was wondering why Pro Bono does.

I feel like for work, we've made too much a thing of creativity doing something new. We've all heard the story about someone doing X job comes in, knocks it off in 15 min and then, after getting paid, the customer figures out the hourly wage and demands they justify how much they get. The person observes that learning how to do something in 15 minutes entailed years of training and effort, so what you are paying for is not just the 15 minutes, but all that other time as well.

But I think we make such a big thing about creating something new, and arguing that it should be rewarded, it tends to shadow out anything that requires a certain amount of drudgery, unless one can arrange the market to compensate.

I've got no idea how that works, but it was observed by a number of people that the pandemic turned on its head the idea of 'essential workers'. Yet this article, about 'overworking', notes that only white collar workers are going to be eligible for this sort of this

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/nov/16/its-the-biggest-open-secret-out-there-the-double-lives-of-white-collar-workers-with-two-jobs

Interesting times...

If you really want to get good asparagus (i.e. without the chunk of too-woody-to-chew stalk), you have to take the stalk in hand and bend it. Where it breaks naturally is what you want.

Speaking as a fairly extreme foody, this advice (for preparation, not harvesting) became widespread a few years ago, and I followed it faithfully. But because, during asparagus season, my husband and I often ate nothing but pounds of asparagus for our dinner, the amount of waste was dramatic. So I started just cutting off the obviously woody ends, and peeling the lower part of the stems (as they used to do in fancy restaurants), and lo and behold, those ends were not just edible but delicious. And then I started seeing foody articles recanting on the whole "the stems break at the part you want" ideology. FWIW, this is a public service announcement for asparagus lovers who don't grow their own asparagus!

Why not just break it in the field when harvesting? Saves steps, since you don't have to carry the ends back to compost...

- the ends are edible, they just need cooking a bit longer (or you can peel them).
- the ends are like telomeres, they can dry out a bit and you can lose them.
- perhaps the new stalk is more edible for having grown from further down.

The first reason would be a good one if I did regularly cook the ends. The second would be plausible if I didn't cut the asparagus immediately before cooking it. And the third is just my imagination. The truth is I do it because I like my asparagus knife.

The truth is I do it because I like my asparagus knife.

Makes complete sense to me. Thanks for indulging my curiosity.

FWIW, this is a public service announcement for asparagus lovers who don't grow their own asparagus!

I, for one, thank you. In my house, we have a tendency to leave a bit too much of the woody part in place before cooking, usually by broiling with olive oil, fresh garlic, and kosher salt. My wife is more particular about how much of the stalk she even tries to eat. I'm the one chewing on stringy fibers to the bitter end - you know, because they were on my plate!

Henceforth, there will be peeling.

Also, too, doesn't every online discussion of UBI end up being about asparagus?

Also, too, doesn't every online discussion of UBI end up being about asparagus?

Clearly a study is needed on that question.

As long as no aspersions are cast on the asparagus...

Congratulations, Janie.

And thanks to everyone for the asparagus advice.

Clearly a study is needed on that question.

I think it's sort of like Godwin's Law. The longer an online discussion of UBI continues, the closer the probability of the topic turning to asparagus gets to 1.

The weird thing is that Godwin's Law applies to all online discussions, regardless of subject. So, since it would therefore apply to a discussion of UBI, the probability of comparisons to Hitler or Nazis also approaches 1 as the discussion continues. But I suspect that, as UBI discussions, in particular, go, the asparagus probability approaches 1 far faster than the Hitler/Nazi probability.

What, no one else is preparing Brussels Sprouts for their holiday feasting?

Not sure how I arrived at it, but I have gotten the impression that the 'correct' Thanksgiving menu should consist of foods 'native' to the Americas.

So, turkey, cranberries, squash, corn(maize), succotash, tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkin pie. Chocolate too!

For more 'western' menus, I guess it could be fish tacos on corn tortillas, with hot salsa?

asparagus data point:

* broiled with olive oil and salt
* we get ours from the grocery store, so the stalks have been cut - we snap the woody end off wherever it wants to break

an excellent vegetable, and leftovers (if any) are great next morning in an omelet.

brussel sprouts also get the broiled-with-olive-oil-and-salt treatment. another excellent and undersung vegetable.

What, no one else is preparing Brussels Sprouts for their holiday feasting?

i am!

they'll probably get halved, dipped in the turkey drippings, then roasted for 30 mins or so.

my grandmother would just boil them with a lot of garlic. i love that, but my wife doesn't. so i compromise.

one thing i don't compromise on is holiday sauerkraut & pork. i love love love it. wife tolerates it. but i make it every year anyway. just had a big bowl of it for lunch.

we snap the woody end off wherever it wants to break

in my experience, this method is foolproof. just snap it.

The weird thing is that Godwin's Law applies to all online discussions, regardless of subject.

Godwin probably didn't envision the rise of inter-office chats - Teams and the like. Hitler never comes up in those. wisely.


"Traditional small farms trapped large numbers of Americans in deep poverty. In 1910, despite favorable commodity prices and land values, the average household income on farms was still less than two-thirds that of non-farmers. In the 1930s, when prices and land values fell, farm income briefly dropped to just one-third of the non-farm level.
...
It was the modernization of America’s farms in the twentieth century that finally alleviated most of these rural economic and social ills. Farm households in America today earn 42 percent more than non-farm households. The largest seven percent of these farms, those that produce more than 80 percent of our food, are the biggest earners, but the other 93 percent are usually far from poor, as we shall see. The income of this group is often derived from activities other than farming, which is often just a part-time hobby, but they too have found attractive ways to enjoy country life."

Straight Talk About Modern Farms and Rural “Decline,” Pt. 1: Thanks to agricultural innovation, America’s large modern farms have learned how to grow more while using fewer inputs.


"Despite a 44% increase in U.S crop production since 1981:
• Fertilizer use barely increased
• Pesticide use fell 18%
• Insecticide use fell to less than 20% of the 1972 level"

Straight Talk About Modern Farms and Rural “Decline,” Pt. 2: The eco-modern farm revolution is here.

To the above, I intended to include the comment, "A segway from asparagus, produce production, and soul deading work."

Brussels sprouts have long had such a bad reputation in the UK (mainly because of the old-fashioned English habit of boiling the hell - or as my husband used to say, the arse - out of them) that their recent fashionability among foodies in the US has occasionally caused hilarity. But in truth they can be delicious, when cooked as cleek and russell describe, and in other ways as well. In fact, all vegetables can be delicious, except green bell peppers, which are clearly the work of the devil.

I think my wife adds some coriander seed to the brussel sprouts as well.

I learned to eat brussel sprouts in college. They did in fact have the arse boiled out of them, and then sat in watery steam trays for extended periods of time. But there was always a lot of them, so if you were hungry enough, they were an option.

Green bell peppers are basically a pepper that isn't ripe yet. But many folks (including me) like them.

Chacun a son gout.

I often eat things like brussels sprouts and broccoli raw in smoothies.

In fact, all vegetables can be delicious, except green bell peppers, which are clearly the work of the devil.

Good lord, don't say that in the presence of any of my Italian relatives. I swoon at the very smell of green peppers frying, it takes me right back to grandma's house. Fried or roasted green peppers and roasted eggplant in a sandwich made of crusty Italian bread...

I'm making me hungry. Better go eat.

In other news, guilty all around in the Ahmaud Arbery case.

So what happened to all of the farmers that could not afford to modernize? Are farms more profitable or is it just that one farm is now making all of the money that three farms used to make? And are the people actually working those farms now just ag workers making poverty wages for a corporate farm?

Funny how in all these economic studies the people involved become invisible.

So what happened to all of the farmers that could not afford to modernize?

Their children and grandchildren became software engineers...

It was the modernization of America’s farms in the twentieth century that finally alleviated most of these rural economic and social ills

It appears the author of this is blissfully ignorant of the amount of rural poverty that still exists. Which takes work. But perhaps he is carefully ensconced in a university town somewhere, and avoids going out....

In fact, all vegetables can be delicious, except green bell peppers, which are clearly the work of the devil.

Got that one wrong. Nothing wrong with green bell peppers.

The work of the devil is beets** -- there is only one way to make them edible: feed them to pigs and make pork out of them.

** Also avocados, of course. An avocado is, after all, nothing but a green and wrinkled beet.

In other news, guilty all around in the Ahmaud Arbery case.

Due to misconduct on the part of the prosecutor, they were almost not charged much less tried.

The work of the devil is beets**

There you go again, making the perfect the enemy of the good.

And think of the unintended consequences! Without beets Idaho shrivels up and dies and the Cuban regime corners the sugar market (good thing or bad thing? YMMV).

PS: Avocados are, for a very brief moment in time, a tasty fruit, but dealing with the overripe ones is an ecological disaster.

They harvested the sugar beet fields across the road from us a couple of weeks ago. Sugar beets are truly ugly. In this area, the growers are the members and owners of a large multi-state coop that handles the whole process. Sugar beets are an "every bit gets used" crop. The greens are harvested separately and are excellent fodder, particularly well matched to the needs of sheep and goats. The beet gets processed into all of white sugar, brown sugar, and molasses. The remaining pulp can be used to add minerals to animal feed or for some more off-beat things.

Amazing what you can learn when you go to the dedication of a new park recognizing the importance of Hispanic farm labor in the area from 120 years ago.

"To achieve these health benefits, you can drink beet juice or eat beets with a salad."

And add sliced pickled beets for an Assie hamburger...

i love beets.

raw tomatoes better get themselves cooked before they get anywhere near me, though. and cheesecake is ass.

come at me.

And I think I've gathered in the past that cleek thinks aubergines (or as you say, eggplants) are satanic handiwork as well.

Which all goes to show, in the words of the old expression, that one man's meat is another man's poison.

(Roasted, peeled beets with "jammy" boiled eggs and good anchovies, dressed with an extra-virgin olive oil vinaigrette - yum.)

I wish you all a most peaceful and satisfying Thanksgiving.

Without beets Idaho shrivels up and dies and the Cuban regime corners the sugar market

No way. Idaho = potatoes. End of story.**

** I confess that, while other states put their state motto or some other claptrap on their license plates, I always think it's classy that Idaho plates just say "Famous potatoes"

Their children and grandchildren became software engineers...

Yep. All of them. Magically.

And the 1.5 generations in-between who had been living lives of poverty were given idyllic lives full of extra produce grown with less labor.

And a pony.

Unlike a socialist country, where the camera lingers on the left-behind and we hear all about a callous government having left them all to their doom and not caring about the poor, etc.

Capitalism isn't elitist, just blind and indifferent.

Michael Cain, did you know that sugar beet harvesting was once a thing for women because men successfully argued that them having a pair more of ribs (see Adam and Eve) made them anatomically unsuitable for the job?
[Source: German sugar museum in Berlin]

That's stooping pretty low...

I wish you all a most peaceful and satisfying Thanksgiving.

And to everyone, from me as well. It's also my birthday, and my son's birthday. We may be the only family where the "traditional" Thanksgiving dessert is chocolate cake.

As the saying goes:
"Want to know how to make a small fortune farming? Start with a large fortune."

Watched season 1 of "Clarkson's Farm", very entertaining, very informative, highly recommended. And the Irish Times ran an interview with Jeremy Clarkson about the show in this past week that was also worth a read.

Jeremy really, really, REALLY hates badgers now, it seems.

[Source: German sugar museum in Berlin]

I knew that the Colorado sugar beet industry was initially funded by German immigrants who had succeeded in other commerce -- eg, Charles Boettcher, more widely known for Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Arts Center. The field labor was recruited from all sorts of immigrant populations, but Mexican migratory labor became dominant here. Extra ribs or not probably wasn't a consideration.

Clarkson clearly loved the idea of becoming a gentleman farmer. And, equally clearly, had no clue as to what is involved in actually running a farm. No doubt it's been educational for him.

Relevant to the thanksgiving celebrations:

https://abq.news/2021/11/native-owned-brewery-honors-indigenous-land-with-beer-labels/

Interesting project.

JFTR, beets are awful. My father liked borscht, so my mother made it sometimes. The odor would permeate the house.

Fortunately my mother soon realized that neither I nor my sister were going to touch the stuff, so alternatives - this was in a household where soup, along with potatoes, was a part of every meal - were provided.

I went to some friends' house for dinner once, and was served beet salad. The wife remarked that she remembered I really like beets and went out of her way to include them in the menu. She was actually thinking of a relative with a similar first name, but I gagged them down politely.

Do I get credit for this, anywhere?

I've come to appreciate roasted beets late in life, in a salad.

I started to like brussel sprouts maybe 25 years ago. I cook them a variety of ways, but I have a friend, a chef no less, who, when I describe a bs recipe to her, looks at me sideways and asks, "Are there brussel sprouts in it?", and then mock upchucks.

Get busy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf9c7a6n3vE

Have a fine day. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

How many days does a post-Turkey coma last?

I guess we'll find out.

Awaking from the turkey coma...:

I'm not sure how I feel about that framing. Specifically, does it demean a task to say that kids can do it? I mean, kids can set the table -- and routinely did in my family. But does that mean it's demeaning if my job includes setting tables (say in a banquet hall)? I don't really see that.

Quite the opposite.

The issue I had with the kids mowing lawns thing was with the implication that some of the problems of lingering, non-automatable drudgery could be solved by passing the work off to teenagers for pocket money ("augment whatever part of their UBI they actually see").

That whole nexus of associating undesirable work with kids who don't really need the money can attach to the jobs in unhealthy ways.

I gave the example of fast food service, which is, I think, widely seen not as "real work" deserving of respect and decent wages for exactly that reason. It's still stereotyped in the public consciousness as something teenagers do for pocket change on summer vacation. And so any time a minimum wage raise comes up for debate, you'll see people claiming that "real" workers aren't affected, and minimum wage changes would just be a windfall for teenagers. (Of course ignorant on multiple levels, but it's a thing.)

I'm just saying that the fact kids do something mustn't be an excuse for treating it less seriously or respectfully. Either it (mowing lawns, babysitting, whatever) is a real job that needs doing -- and earns respect and a living wage -- or maybe it just doesn't need doing.

Yes, lawns are evil. IF you live west of the Mississippi. If you're on the east coast, they don't need water you don't have, so much less of a problem.

Less of a stressor on the local municipal water supply, sure.

Still major sources of run-off pollution, and slow-rolling holocausts for native plant, insect and animal species.

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