Big props to the people behind the Apollo Olive Oil Festival last weekend, which took place across from the Renaissance Vineyard near Bangor (no, they’re not a bunch of cultists up there; they just like their art and natural beauty, making wine and such!). Guests got to watch the traditional oil-making process as buckets of olives were mashed and spread onto disc-like plates, stacked into an old, authentic Italian compressor and slowly pressured to produce fine olive oil.
Outside under the tents we enjoyed excellent wine, real mozzarella cheese from Water Buffalo milk (thanks to a wild-eyed lady from Milano), delicious assorted dips and fine acoustic music with romantic Italian/Greek singing. Fall colors were noticeable in nearby trees, and the Old Country atmosphere was enough to inspire anyone to slow down and enjoy the finer things. When I got home, I even started a new poem. Not about outdoor beauty or rustic wine-n-cheese gatherings, mind you, but about an unusual experience I had back East when I was about 16.
One afternoon I had gone to a rival high school to watch a wrestling match featuring a friend named Drew Owen. Little did I know that Owen would be wrestling that day against none other than Oliver North’s teenaged son. This was during the middle of the Iran-Contra scandal, when North’s face was plastered across every major magazine in the country, providing great inspiration for my testosterone-fueled friend.
Sure enough, just before the match began, Colonel North himself—the most infamous figure in the country at the time—walked into the musty old gym and sat next to me on a rickety wood bench. He cut a dour presence sitting there, with military haircut and official gray trench coat and wearing one of the most stone-faced, unyielding expressions I’ve ever seen. A Cheney-esque man accompanied him (in fact, it may have been Cheney): evil Babylon CIA mother-f’er. Either way, he was the kind of stern-faced official whose card could easily read: “Killing’s our business and business is fine.”
Turned out my boy made quick work of North’s son (breaking his nose in the process), and I distinctly remember his clean-cut father, expressionless, turning his back and walking out of the gym—on to discuss matters of national security somewhere.
I could ramble on about the dangers of untouchable, secret governments and official unaccountability, but at this point in our sad state of national affairs that might be best left to a poem. Perhaps one that laments a once idealistic nation gone wrong through the shale-like eyes of one of its supposed “heroes.”
Or maybe I should follow my own advice and never write poetry after wine tastings.
“In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge uttered the famous line, “The business of America is business.” However repugnant a truth that may be, fighting over the long haul against U.S. arms exports to the world—and diminishing the political influence of the defense industry—is important if we, as a nation wish to avoid the continuation of an even uglier truth: that the business of America is the business of war.” —Brian Awehali, co-editor of LiP Magazine
1. Repeal the Three Strikes law in Cali!
2. New Missy Elliot single
3. Far from Heaven
4. Peets vs. Starbucks downtown cage match
5. Homeland Security Bill = pure evil