Tuesday, March 20, 2012


         Santa Ana, CA – Welcome back for the conclusion to my latest Occupy weekend. For the sake of brevity and cutting to the chase, in my last report I revealed the bottom line for the motivation of Occupy. The forces that plunder this planet are serious and scary, cough Jason Russell’s breakdown, but the rebel forces aligned against this evil are no slouches either. Didn’t we all cheer at the end of the first Star Wars? So in this report we meet some GMO rebels, get a confirmation that short range atomic weapons were used in Vietnam, and find out another reason why Orange County was chosen for a TV series. This entire segment is brought to you by Mother’s everywhere.
         For a TV series to be named after a specific location, that location must be unique. Orange County is all of that, being transformed from largely agro to a world class center for economic and medical businesses. Not bad for the smallest county land-wise in California. Sharp ideas are stock-in-trade for the real OC. One of the sharpest, cutting edge ideas is also a friend of the people who are trying to make a difference in California, and by extension, the nation, in the food supply. And wouldn’t you know two of the most sentimental names are involved in both, Mother and Lucy, or in this case, Lucille.
         Since 1978, beginning in Costa Mesa, Mother’s Markets have been providing organic, locally grown produce, sports nutrition, supplements, herbs, plus free seminars, cooking classes, books on proper health, bath/body care, and house wares, but it is their kitchen, deli, and juice bar that are the nemeses to a poor outside agitator’s wallet. Manning a table inside Mother’s at the Santa Ana location was a look inside a different world for me. I don’t eat healthy so I can’t compare food prices with the local healthy markets of Spouts* and Henry’s, but I can tell you this. Any store that supports the GMO labeling efforts of John and the right to label GMOs by allowing sign-up tables inside the store is on my ‘solution’ list.   Mother’s owner Lucille made that happen at all 7 of her locations. That was great too because the weather on St. Patty’s day was very Irish but wearing my neon green 3-sleaved GMO awareness t-shirt seemed to keep me out of the really blustery quall that blew through the parking lot periodically as I dashed back to John’s truck occasionally.
         Despite the weather the store stayed busy and more than 50% of the people we asked “Are you aware of GMOs” said that they had already signed our petition. John walked me over to the deli/kitchen/juice bar area during a rainy break from customers entering the store to show me where it was. Before the day and night had passed I walked myself back there several times to gobble up some food stuffs that I was familiar with, like freshly made diet tuna salad, and some that I wasn’t, like Sconehenge’s yummy lemon poppy seed cake servings. Had two of those. Over the course of the day I chased a dry mouth first with some Prometheus Springs** Lychee Wasabi Capsaicin spiced elixir, [Mama Mia, that’s some spicy juice extracted from chili peppers], and later by trying a smoother, if different, swig of Rob’s Really Good*** Swirling Cucumber drink. Guess what, it was really good so I wound up having two of those puppies over the course of the day into night stint.
        The store is well lit and reminded me a lot of where I usually shop when I go to my closest super market. The prices weren’t as bad as you might expect from a health food supermarket and the whole place smelled fresh, especially by the roses which rang out an aisle away like incense. When I questioned some staff about a piece of chocolate that I plucked from a POS box dispenser, it was the deli dept mgr who found said box at the checkout stand for me. There is so much variety of products that I had simply forgotten where I had copped them from. (For a close themed store replica, see 'The Simpsons', 3/412 "Exit Through The Kwik-E Mart"/Swapper Jack's episode)
        This event wasn’t an 'occupy protest' though the sentiment for being outside the box is clearly evident in both Coni (Connie)and Jerry, the two volunteers that John and I joined up with when we got to Mother’s just before the real rain hit. Coni had all the zeal of a new recruit to the cause and the intelligence of a ‘professional student’ maiden. Slim, bright, and serious, she had pages of notes to check on from the comments of petition signers, an intelligent lot all.
       Sporting a bit more grey, actually quite a bit more was Jerry, an Army Ranger vet from the Vietnam War days. Eager to relate the difference between his group and the type of ‘special forces’ that ‘killed’ Osama Bin, he clarified, “We was goons with guns” in a still thick Brooklyn accent before showing me a picture of himself with other members of his squad in Tayninh, Vietnam. Among those members was the son of the man who broke the sound barrier, Chuck Yeager’s son, Don. Upon seeing this and hearing of Jerry’s tour duty, I put this statement to him.
       “I have written a book [to be published] that has a mention of American troops using atomic cannons utilizing low yield devices in Vietnam to clear jungle areas. I was shown pictures of it, called a Long Tom, by one of the squad members back in the day.” His reply.
       “275MM with a range of thirty miles.”
       But it was Jerry’s young at heart attitude that won me over as he shared his life story with me capped by the motto espoused when his college enrolled daughter asked him if he wanted to live in a senior care center. (Those places) are ‘God’s waiting room’.
       Long after Connie and Jerry had put in their shifts and a few others had been recruited to carry the petition drive forward, it was time to call it a night. John made a phone call to his better half, an ad sales exec for a century old boating magazine named Suzanne, to fix us some vittles, and we were off, concluding our latest adventure together. After a delicious no-GMO meal of pasta mixed with Wahoo and cod, covered in a tasty red sauce, all prepared by Suzanne, John hit the sack and I enjoyed a glass of organic wine as Suzanne told boating and magazine tales about a job she obviously enjoys. As Jerry had showed me pictures of two of his five sloops, it seemed a fitting end to a rewarding two days of raising awareness on the western front of LA and in the real OC, especially for an outside agitator from Temecula, like myself.

(* - Sprouts gets Honorable Mention for spreading autism awareness about the correlation to the increased vaccination schedule and autism, see archive story; ** - bears USDA Organic Seal; *** - bears FAIR TRADE Certified Ingredients seal; all emphasis - Ed)

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