Valentine’s Day. I always thought that Hallmarkification of that day was a sexually transmitted malady, and thus enjoyed its abbreviation, VD. But nowadays we have STDs, not VDs. The new-fangled acronym spoils all the fun.
I know it’s a corporate conspiracy to make single people feel lonely and miserable, and make those who are coupled, happily or otherwise, feel pressured to spend big bucks and Do Something Special. Still, if you can stand it, Happy VD, y’all.
* * *
Oh no, the family moans, the Winter Olympics are here.
Summer or Winter games, I like ‘em both. For two weeks, when the Olympic Games are televised, I have to fight the urge to nest on the family room floor and watch every event.
Some urges are easier to fight than others. For instance, I don’t care to watch the luge, for several reasons.
1. The name of the event, Luge, sounds to my eternally-amused-by-a-nine-year-old’s-sense-of-humor portion of my brain has something to do with boogers.
2. It’s probably a blast to do, but it’s a rather passive sport to watch. The riders hop on, and you watch them either hold on or fall off.
3. The inward turned leg position a successful luge (there it is again!) rider must hold atop the booger-sled luge reminds me of salmon steaks. And while I adore salmon in most any form, for some reason, I do not like the cut of salmon steaks. 
4. Did I mention boogers?
Salmon steak, or luge? Can you spot the difference?
* * *
Tuesday morning I emailed friend LAH, another member of the <!–aAWWAF (Adult Women Who Adored Their Fathers) club. L’s father, Jesse, died a little less than two years ago.–>
I wondered why I woke up thinking of you and Jesse. Then I looked at my calendar: Chet died 5 years ago today. Hmmm.
I also subsequently had this email exchange with friend SCM (and daughter P):
My calendar says my dad died five years ago today, which seems at once bizarre and yet, “Oh, yes, it’s been five years.”
One of the things-I-never-got-around-to-doing with him was to take him out for sushi. Being both a seafood and soy sauce loving man, and willing to try anything (if his daughter recommended it), I think he would have liked it. If you & P are available I’d like to take you to sushi lunch, in Chet’s honor.
Has it been five years? Damn. I am so sorry you never got to take him for sushi. Maybe it is a Kentucky thing, but ______ (SCM’s husband) will eat anything at least once. Or maybe it is a military food thing.
I think it may be a southern/poverty thing – they’ll eat anything at least once, because growing up dirt poor like my father did, I got the feeling he had to eat anything…and often more than once.
We met for lunch, at a sushi spot in Portland. I took one of my most cherished pictures to show P: of my father astride his Palomino stallion, “Stardust.” P was suitably impressed, and SCM said Chet was quite the handsome dude in his cowboy days, and also, that she saw a resemblance between my son K and his grandfather, something I’d never thought of before.
* * *
Happy Belated Darwin Day (February 12 ). If you don’t already have this on your calendar, mark it for next year.
Our Darwin Day dinner celebration included Primordial Soup:
Primordial Soup (serves 3-4; soup is vegan friendly if you lose the dairy garnish)
- one medium white or yellow onion, chopped
-1/2 green and ½ red bell peppers, seeded and diced
-4-5 garlic cloves, minced
-1 small celery stalk and 1 peeled carrot, sliced
-1 generous t ground cumin
-1/2 chili powder (chipotle, if you have it)
-pinch of cayenne pepper
-2 c no or low-salt vegetable stock
-1/2 c frozen organic white corn
- ~ 2c cooked black beans or black soy beans
-chopped fresh cilantro and/or Italian parsley for garnish
- (optional) sour cream, Greek yogurt to garnish
1. In a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, sauté onions in EVOO ~ 8 m, until just starting to brown. Add celery, carrots, green peppers, sauté for 2 m.
2. Add garlic to pot, stir until fragrant (30 sec – 1 m).
3. Add remaining ingredients (sans garnish), bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover pot & simmer for 25 m.
3.5 Ain’t no step 3.5 You could do the prep dishes while the soup simmers. Better yet, floss your teeth (they probably need it) Since that won’t take 25 m, floss someone else’s teeth, too.
4. Let soup cool a bit, transfer to blender or processor and puree it, then transfer soup back to the pot. Better yet, use a hand blender if you have one – and you really should have one if you frequently make soup – to puree the soup right there in the pot. More fun than watching a luge race!
5.Taste for seasoning: add salt, pepper, more cumin, whatever you’d like to taste.
6. Serve garnished with fresh herbs, and a spoonful  of cream or yogurt.
7. Wait for the complex organic polymers to arise. Or, just enjoy the soup.
* * *
My son K’s FB message to me re the Bill Nye – Ken Ham debate:
ended up watching more of the bill nye debate.
man I want a sample of whatever ken ham is smoking.
There were those who thought Nye lost the debate just by showing up; that is, by legitimizing creationists’ whackadoodle alternate reality  as being capable of rational debate. Then there was the post-debate, informal poll on the website Christian Today, in which a whopping 92% of respondents – presumably, people who even know there is a website called Christian Today — said that Bill Nye won the debate.
I suppose it comes down to how you define win. Bill Nye got to do his geeky, sincere, Science Guy presentation, which perhaps sparked the teensiest seed of hmmmmm? in a few true believers who may have dropped their blinders just long enough to notice that Ham’s version of refuting scientific claims was the intellectual equivalent of a third grader’s Nyah yah nyah nyah nyah (“Well, you weren’t there so how do you know?). Ken Ham got a wider-than-usual audience for his blind faith fables.
* * *
There was the potential for a nasty, man-slap brawl at the Nye-ham debate, as there is when any testosterone-laden beings disagree. But the participants for the most part kept their cool. Could it be that they suffer from….low T?
Pre-peri-post-persistent-paleolithic-menopause – when it come$ to redefining a human being’$ natural life a$ a di$ea$e proce$$ that mu$t be managed and treated (read: medicated), Big Pharma ha$ pretty much exploited women a$ much a$ they can.
Menfolk, don’t say you weren’t warned. It’s your turn. And the trouser-snake oil purveyors know what’ll get your attention: a T & A show! 
You may have noticed the increasing amount of commercials, articles and emails – even youtube videos, FFS – with such ominously titillating titles as How to Tell if Your T is Low and How to Increase Your Testosterone Level. The underlying assumption the T-teams are trying to hammer into that Male Pattern Balding head of yours is that your natural aging process is faulty, and can and should be “fixed,” Specifically, the ebbing of men’s testosterone levels be bad, and increasing men’s “T level” be much more better.
Don’t forget to follow those links in the ads, which will take you up the creek down the yellow brick road to the products those fear-mongering, money-grubbing whitecoat quackery selfless angels who are concerned only with your well-being have concocted to raise your guy-juice levels.
Although many if not most of these hormone peddlers will be wearing the Hallmark of Sciency Authenticity (a white lab coat ), their spiels won’t contain anything resembling the real science behind the issue of testosterone supplementation. It’s a safe bet that they won’t be touting the results of the Boston medical researchers’ trial which found that that men taking testosterone supplements had five times the number of “cardiovascular problems”  vs. those taking a placebo (a finding which caused safety monitors to end the trial earlier than planned). They’re trusting you’ll fall for claptrap about vim and vigor and the other/usual limp dick scare tactics and won’t want or care to read, say, articles like the one in this week’s New York Times Science section, A High Price For Vigor.
Testosterone declines naturally with age. The lifestyles of many American men can exacerbate this decline; however, as Internist John LaPuma points out in his New York Times op-ed, Don’t Ask your Doctor About “Low T”, clinical testosterone deficiency “isn’t nearly as common as the drug ads would have you believe.” And the “tried and true way to naturally boost testosterone levels” – losing weight,  limiting alcohol consumption, “eating more of the right foods and fewer junk foods”…well, that’s just not as sexy a sell as popping “a prescription for a risky drug to treat a trumped up disease.”
I pity the fool who thinks Mr. T needs more T
* * *
Why is “trousers” such a great word? You can wear pants or slacks, britches or breeches or knickers.
But if given my druthers  (another great word!), I’d choose trousers.
But not these, even if they were the last trousers on earth, and wearing them would bring world peace and cure cancer. Nope. Sorry.
* * *
Sometimes It’s Better to Stay Awake and Organize The Sock Drawer
I had a dream. Not your noble speech-inspiring, Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. I Have A Dream kind of dream. Rather, it was the kind of dream where you are trying to wake yourself up because the dream really sucks, and finally you do wake up, but damned if you don’t fall right back into it when you close your eyes.
I had been conscripted into the army. They had given me a backpack and a list of supplies with which to fill the pack. I was concerned that I didn’t have enough wool socks, and should I bring a toothbrush and vitamins and…? It was getting late; I didn’t want to report for duty, but I had to. At the check in station, which was in a large, airplane hangar-like building, I was directed to the “Welcome Area For New Recruits.” I sat down at a large table with other conscripts, and we spoke of our mutual fears re what was in store for us. I told them I wanted to talk to my dad before I left (ouch), because he knew something about war. The other draftees, male and female, looked SO YOUNG to me, as if they were in junior high school. I was my real/present age in the dream, and wondered why They (whomever They were) would want me at my age? And yet, in that out-of-character reality peculiar to dreams, it never occurred to me to protest.
I woke up wondering about this pesky aging think. If I had no mirror to remind me otherwise, on many other levels I can fool myself into thinking I’m still in my late twenties/early thirties. So, how did I get to be the age I am?
In a moment of (what passes for me as) mathematical genius, I came up with
☼ THE FORMULA THAT EXPLAINS IT ALL  ☼
Q: “How did I get to be x (where x = your present age)?”
A. By not dying at x-1
But please, save the congratulatory phone calls. I need to keep the lines open for the Nobel Committee.
* * *
You know what’s odd to me? Numbers which are not divisible by two.
That’s so funny my camel forgot to laugh.
May your worst joke delight your best beast of burden, and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 Give me a filet, any day.
 Chuck Darwin shares a birthday with Honest Abe. Good to know.
 Or a dollop, if you prefer that term (and who doesn’t?).
 including such pseudoscience gems as humans hunted dinosaurs to extinction a few thousand years ago after peacefully using them for transport companionship (“Buford, Jethro, y’all seen Rex’s saddle?”)
 Similar to the one worn by your veterinary tech or manicurist.
 Including heart attacks and strokes
 Belly fat depresses testosterone levels, as do obesity-caused or exacerbated diseases like diabetes II, and also steroids and opiates and BPAs (commonly found in plastic food containers)….
 And please do give me some, because we’re all out of fresh druthers.
 Remember, all caps means, “this is where you’re supposed to pay attention.”