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Wednesday, 16 May 2007 00:00

Recommended diversions

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Tomato plants

If there’s one food that always tastes better fresh from the garden than bought at the store, it is surely the humble tomato. An ingredient for everything from spaghetti sauce to salsa, tomatoes are to a gardener what mom and apple pie are to a patriot.

They are the staple of any vegetable garden. Attached to a stake, they rise up smelling of summer earth and sunshine, and bear a delicious fruit. You can grow them anywhere; my own four plants are shooting up from buckets on a roof outside my second floor apartment. Put in a few of these delights, and come August, with a little gardener’s luck you’ll have a basketful of plump, red treasures. Get yourself some white bread, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and you’re eating with the gods.


Attempt contemplation

Sounds like a bumper sticker, doesn’t it? Joseph Pieper once wrote a book Leisure: The Basis of Culture in which he showed how our bourgeois urge to work and to be forever active was killing our instinct for contemplation. In a culture plugged into iPods and cell phones, Pieper’s message seems today more appropriate than ever. An experiment: I decided to try taking some leisure time yesterday by sitting on my porch. I lasted about two minutes before rising to get first a notebook, then a book for reading. As a result, I plan to force myself to sit a few minutes daily without doing anything except thinking. Try taking some leisure time this summer Joseph Pieper style.


“Pride and Prejudice”

Considered by some the finest novel in the English language, Jane Austen’s book has come to movie palaces in a variety of forms. Recently I watched director Joe Wright’s version starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet. Though the movie cannot do full justice to the book, if for no other reason than time limitations, and though strong adherents to the story will probably prefer the BBC production, I nevertheless fully enjoyed this DVD, especially Knightley’s performance (One minor criticism: though I enjoy watching Knightley, no English woman of that era and class would run around the countryside in summer without a bonnet). After you’ve watered the tomato plants and contemplated the sunset, let your eyes feast on this beautifully filmed movie.

— By Jeff Minick

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