Department Of Why The Two Party Duopoly Has To Go, Reason #379
Republican, schmublican; Democrat, schmemocrat – both parties use the same sleazy-ridiculous tactics when it comes to fundraising. As per the following which MH received in the mail – previewed by moiself to him in an oh-so-excited text:
MH, look what you’re getting! It’s official party business!
It has official numbers on it! Quick – find something to salute!
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Department Of I Guess You Had To Be There
Homemade yogurt joke:
“Whey! No whey!”
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Department Of You Need To Watch This Show Because I Say So
“Happiness is amazing. It’s so amazing, it doesn’t matter if it’s yours or not.”
(“Anne,” to “Tony,” at their regular meeting place – in a cemetery,
sitting on a bench which faces their respective late spouses’ gravestones.)
A British black comedy, After Life follows Tony, whose beloved wife has died and whose dementia-addled, elderly father is in a care facility. Tony, struggling to deal with the irritations and futility of everyday life, considers suicide, then decides to live long to punish the world for his wife’s death by saying and doing whatever he wants, including telling the truth about the pointlessness of his and his colleagues’ jobs – working for a community newspaper no one reads. Tony thinks of this as his “superpower,” but his friends and colleagues persist in seeing through his gruff persona to the decent chap  he used to be.
Every episode had me on the verge (and sometimes over the edge) of tears, of both mirth and pain. Keep the Kleenex handy for the laugh out loud, spit out your popcorn/iced tea/wine dialogue, interspersed with gut-wrenching displays of the depths of Tony’s love for his wife and grief at her loss. Tony’s observations about humanity are cutting; his misanthropy can be obscene; his heartache is raw and palpable. And the supporting cast – from his colleagues at the newspaper, to a prostitute (“Excuse me, sex worker!”) he befriends, to the inept postman he taunts, to the nurse at his father’s care facility, to a widow he meets at the cemetery who becomes a kind of grief mentor – all are multi-dimensional characters, keenly written and well-acted.
Frankly, imagining moiself in his shoes, I think Tony shows remarkable restraint in many of his interactions with his fellow humans. For example, he goes on assignment with the paper’s photographer to interview yet another clueless couple who think their daft doings deserve media coverage – in this case, parents who think themselves newsworthy for having “…a baby who looks like Hitler.”
Newspaper staff member:
Got a good lead for you: “Local baby looks exactly like Adolf Hitler.”
Tony, at the baby’s home, with the staff photographer,
looking at the Hitler-style mustache on the baby’s upper lip:
So is that a birthmark?
Oh, no, it’s eyeliner. We did it with marker pen at first, but it took ages to get off.
Yeah, I mean, this way we can do it when we want then wipe it off if we need to.
So hold on, it doesn’t really look like Hitler then.
No. I mean naturally. It wasn’t born with its hair combed forward
and a mustache, was it?
Nor was Hitler, to be fair.
What I’m saying is, it’s not a revelation, is it? I mean, to get in the paper. “Baby born that looks a bit like Hitler,” mildly interesting if it had a real mustache. But you can draw a mustache on any baby and it looks a bit like Hitler.
Not a black one.
Not as much.
I’ve got one more question. Why do you want your baby to look like Adolf Hitler? You’re not fans, are you?
We’re not Nazis, no. Just a bit of fun, innit?
I mean – Yeah. Hitler’s the funniest thing to do, I guess.
Tony (like his creator, Gervais) is an atheist. I’m grateful for Gervais using Tony’s character as a foil with which to reveal and parry some of the absurd things people say to non-religious believers, as in Tony’s meaning-of-life exchange with Kath, a co-worker. Kath, the newspaper’s advertising editor, is a haughty thorn in most of her colleague’s sides. She’s also a fervent fan of the American comedian-/actor Kevin Hart:
If you were atheist –
– and don’t believe in an afterlife –
If you don’t believe in heaven and hell and all that, why don’t you just go around raping and murdering as much as you want?
I do go around raping and murdering as much as I want, which is not at all.
(a co-worker chimes in):
‘Cause he’s got a conscience.
But if death is just the end, what’s the point? –
What’s the point in what?
– Livin’! You might as well just kill yourself.
So if you’re watching a movie, and you’re really enjoying it – something with Kevin Hart in – and someone points out that this’ll end eventually, do you just go, “Oh, forget it then. What’s the point?” and just turn it off?
No, ’cause I can watch it again.
Well, I think life is precious ’cause you can’t watch it again. I mean, you can believe in an afterlife if that makes you feel better. Doesn’t mean it’s true. But once you realize you’re not gonna be around forever, I think that’s what makes life so magical.
One day you’ll eat your last meal, smell your last flower, hug your friend for the very last time.
You might not know it’s the last time, so that’s why you should do everything you love with passion, you know? Treasure the few years you’ve got because that’s all there is.
(a thoughtful silence envelops the newsroom)
I’ve watched Ride Along 2 five times.
Well, you haven’t wasted your life, then.
Series Bonus: you know satisfying it is when you resolve a Where do I know this actor from?! feeling? By the last episode I was so happy when I figured out (without “cheating” – i.e., looking at the credits) that the actor who plays Anne, Tony’s cemetery buddy, is Penelope Wilton. Wilton is probably best known to American audiences for playing Downton Abbey’s Isobel Crawley, the more liberal member of the family whose modern outlook is an irritant to the imperious Countess Dowager.
Anyway, if it isn’t obvious by now, I found the show quite entertaining as well as thought-provoking and mirth-inducing. And if anyone else thinks they have a better philosophy of life (that can be proven) than Tony’s what makes life so magical speech (along with what his friend Anne says in the quote which opens this segment) – well then, to use a suggestion the Tony character would likely approve of, go $#?! yourself.
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Department Of Words A Parent Lives For
(Sub-Department of My Work Here Is Done)
Earlier this week moiself ran into one of son K’s high school teachers/coaches when I was out walking and she was out for a run. So, wait a minute: did she run into me, or did I walk into her?
I didn’t recognize her at first; it had been at least six years since I’d seen her. She wore a running shirt emblazoned with the logo of the fitness club she and other coaches had started at K’s and our daughter Belle’s high school. I asked her about that, we chatted, I introduced myself, and she remembered K from his years on the Cross Country team and also from one of her classes. She will always remember K, she said, as being …“very intellectual, and also kind, very kind.” Two more times in our conversation she used the word kind to describe him.
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Department Of One More Thing About Offspring
I found this while going through the file cabinets, looking for something which was in a folder adjacent to the folders in which MH and I keep old notes and sketches written by Belle & K. There is no date or attribution on it – PARENTING FAIL!  I’m thinking it was done by K, due to the handwriting…but then, as MH pointed out, Belle was big on writing notes to us, so it could have been either one of them.
How to take care of children
- get in PJs.
- eat dinnr.
- let them have as much Desrt as they wont!
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Department of Epicurean Excursion 
Featuring this week’s cookbook, author and recipe:
The Food of Morocco, by Paula Wolfert
* Creamy Fava Bean Soup
* Eggplant Zaalouk
* Berber Skillet Breads
My ratings: for the Fava Bean Soup and the Eggplant Zaalouk:
For the Berber skillet bread:
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Recipe Rating Refresher 
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May you appreciate (or at least tolerate) yogurt puns;
May a teacher remember your child – or you – with fondness;
May you rest assured that no baby is born looking like Hitler;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 He’s British, you know.
 I always (or so I thought) wrote on the back of a drawing or note I saved, the name of its creator, and the date.
 A recurring feature of this blog, since week 2 of April 2019, wherein moiself decided that moiself would go through my cookbooks alphabetically and, one day a week, cook (at least) one recipe from one book.
* Two Thumbs up: Liked it
* Two Hamster Thumbs Up : Loved it
* Thumbs Down – Not even Kevin (a character from The Office who would eat anything) would like this.
* Twiddling Thumbs: I was, in due course, bored by this recipe.
* Thumbscrew: It was torture to make this recipe.
* All Thumbs: Good recipe, but I somehow mucked it up .
* Thumby McThumb Face: This recipe was fun to make.
* Thumbing my nose: Yeah, I made this recipe, but I did not respect it.