ERROL CASTENS: Open wide: A dose of miscellany

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Earth-shaking dilemma: While mowing the pasture, I noticed caterpillars eating the only clump of butterfly weeds (asclepias tuberosa), my absolute favorite flower, on our place. Haven’t yet identified the caterpillars, but I infer from their colorful markings that they’re from a particularly beautiful species of butterfly. So, do I let the caterpillars eat the just-blooming asclepias in favor of butterflies, or do I pick off the caterpillars and save the only clumps of butterfly weed on the place?
It’s a bit like being graduated from college with the realistic potential to be either a surgeon or a pro quarterback: Either choice will be wonderful, but either excludes the other.
– Daniel Henninger writes in the Wall Street Journal that the special-election victory of a Democrat to Congress from upstate New York is no reason for Republicans to wet their pants (my phrase, not his) over the 2012 elections: “That 2010 vote was the American public screaming at their elected officials to stop the country from hurtling toward fiscal and economic calamity. They’re still screaming.”
– Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has thrust aside the usual Governmentese for the tongue-in-cheek specter of a “zombie apocalypse” to highlight the dead-serious subjects of how and why to prepare for disaster.
“You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this,” he jests. Setting aside the farce momentarily, he adds, “And, hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”
– Whatever commentator Ed Schulz’s faults, he knows how to apologize. After hurling a misogynistic insult at a competing broadcaster earlier this week, he apologized on his MSNBC cable TV program before suspending himself without pay. He admitted using “vile and inappropriate language,” said he was “deeply sorry” and spared no effort to express contrition before appealing to his target to forgive him. It’ll take time for him to recover from his foolish tirade, but this kind of hat-in-hand response is an example of how to start the atonement process.
– “Frugality cultivates the manly qualities of independence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, simplicity, and minimalism,” write Brett and Kate McKay in “The Art of Manliness.” “It keeps a man free from the enslaving chains of debt and gives him a sense of manly pride and satisfaction.”
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or

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