Department Of New Year, Same Old Mouth
Dateline: January 1: MH and I did a First Day Hike. Never heard of the FDH program? Put it on your calendar for 2020. A lovely way to start the New Year:
On New Year’s Day, America’s State Parks have all 50 states offering free, guided First Day Hike Programs. These hikes provide a means for individuals and families to welcome the coming year in the outdoors….
(from the “First Day Hikes” website)
We signed up for the Elk Flats Trail hike, in Oswald West State Park. We hiked on a frozen mud trail down down to the Devil’s Cauldron overlook where, on behalf of himself and his fellow rangers, our guide, Ranger “Jeff,” respectfully requested that we stay on the designated trails and not fall into the Devil’s Cauldron – which has happened before, most recently last year (and body retrieval is not one of Ranger Jeff’s favorite duties.). We then backtracked to the main Elk Flats trail which eventually led down to Short Sands Beach, where we got to see many more surfers than I’d anticipated, given the weather (sunny, but brrrrrrrrr). The surfers were doing their own First Day Surf event, or so I liked to presume.
Ranger Jeff met MH, moiself, and ten other First Day hikers at the trailhead just before 8 am. It was very brisk, and as we waited for the departure time I was teasing Ranger Jeff about his (seeming) lack of preparation: The temp is just above freezing; where was his hat?! Where were his gloves?! Ranger Jeff showed me his gloves and then his hat, which he had with him but had not yet donned. When he’d decided to wait no longer for stragglers (33 people had signed up for the hike; 12 of us showed up), he began fiddling with the Oregon State Park badge which was pinned to the front of his hat, just above the brim. He told the hikers gathered around him that a fellow ranger had told him to “Move the badge higher on the hat, because it makes you look dorky.”
The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them: 
“Do you think just moving the badge is enough?”
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Department Of It Seems To Be A Thing
People announcing (on Facebook of course) that they are quitting Facebook, that is.
Perhaps it is a New Year’s Resolution of sorts, for some folks. Reasons given include personal schedule management issues (aka, “the time suck”) but mostly seem to involve the Cambridge Analytical scandal and concerns about the way FB handles one’s (supposedly) private data, and also/primarily FB’s complicity in fake ads and other political manipulations by Trump supporters.
All of which I most certainly understand. Moiself has also been… disturbed, to put it mildly, by the privacy breaches, political scandals, ad nauseum. So far, the people (I know of) who have either announced their intention to quit FB (and/or other forms of social media) or who have already done so are all intelligent, empathetic, socially aware and generally Working-To-Make-The-World-A-Better-Place ® kind of folks. Which gets me to wondering….
Fucking Russian blog hackers.
Um…yeah. As I was wondering: what will that mean, for Facebook and its ilk, if those kind of people all (or mostly…eventually) leave? What will be left – the voices of Orwellian nightmares (“War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength”) exchanging such “dialogue” with one another?
Will Facebook become another Fox “News”, where the fact that people who have intelligence/rational thinking/social awareness/compassion quotients larger than their shoe sizes generally boycott Fox News doesn’t matter to those who listen to Fox News, and thus Fox News listeners receive little input outside of that venue, and the Voices of Sanity have little influence re Fox News content and procedures?
I don’t have an answer here. Just another thing to wonder about in the new year.
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Department Of Yet Another New Year’s Day Thing
As I have noted several times before in this blog, moiself always serves some version of black-eyed peas (aka Hoppin’ John ) and greens for New Year’s Day dinner. These culinary creations are prepared in homage to my father’s family’s logic-defying adherence  to the tradition which told them that, by eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, you assure good luck in the year to come.
This year I made a kinda-curried Hoppin’ John variation. I found moiself wishing I could invite The Ramones over to sample my version, which I was certain they would enjoy,  because as any Ramones fan knows,
There’s no stoppin’ the cretins from hoppin’…
Make that, there’s no stoppin’ the cretins from eatin’ their hoppin’ (John).
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Department Of Cranial Effluence  Which Should’ve Stayed In 2018
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread. 
Hold on to that bone-grinder, kiddies: dead is a perfect rhyme for bread, but “fum” does not rhyme with “man.” Why isn’t it, English–bum, or mum or rum or…a word appropriate for a mere mortal who is stupid enough to mess with a giant:
I smell the blood of an Englishdum-dum….
I know; none of this matters. But why, when a noise awakens me at 3 am,  is this question regarding a fairy tale rhyme fail on my mind? ‘Tis hardly a matter of international, national, local, or even personal security, although it seemed compelling at the time.
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Department Of The Partridge  Of The Week
As per an earlier warning post, we will be hosting a different Partridge, every week, in our front yard’s festively lit pear tree. Can you guess this week’s guest Partridge?
Yes, this is a trick question. Alert readers may note that this is the same Partridge as last week. In respect to the one Partridge player who has passed from this mortal realm,  I thought he deserved a repeat week of hanging on our pear tree until we take down the rest of the Yule decorations.
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May you never lose sleep over a fairy tale rhyme fail;
May you appreciate our dedicated and cute (and never dorky) state and federal rangers;
May you rest assured that in the coming year, as luck may come and go, there’s no stoppin’ the cretins from hoppin’…
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 To my chagrin, but to the obvious delight of my fellow hikers and, fortunately (for moiself), Ranger Jeff.
 They were dirt poor sharecroppers tenant farmers. That good luck meal thing failed, year after year.
 Three of the original four Ramones are dead, but for the purposes of this fantasy…just bear with me.
 That’s brain farts, for you delicate flowers.
 From the English fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.
 A noise which might be the loud muffler of the paper delivery car, or a snoring spouse (just a random snoring spouse in the neighborhood – not necessarily mine), or ….
 In our pear tree.
 David Cassidy, who played Keith Partridge, died a couple of years ago.