Department Of Stories I So Did Not Need To Overhear…
Especially while finishing my lunch at a Mexican restaurant.
Dateline: last Friday afternoon, circa 1:45pm. At a table kitty-corner and behind mine sit six just-arrived people: what appear to be a wife and husband, their three young children, and grandpa.
The kids look and sound to be in the range of four to eight years old. So far, about ten minutes into their arrival, seating and ordering their food – they have been delightful, if loud (theirs and mine are the only occupied tables at this later-than-usual lunch hour, and their conversation bounces all over the restaurant).
Moiself is halfway through my lunch when the mother, perhaps attempting to forestall fidgeting (the youngest child keeps mentioning how hungry she is), takes over her table’s conversation. At maximum, astonished, wait-till-you-hear-what-I’m-gonna-tell-you!! volume, Mom relates a story she says her friend Anne recently told her:
“…Anne was over at Sally’s, visiting Sally and Sally’s toddler son. While they were sitting on the couch talking, Sally’s boy stuck his hand down the back of his diaper, then held his hand up – which was covered in POOP – and wiped his poopy hand all over the couch cushions!”
All three children (plus grandpa, from the sound of it) squeal in delight and horror, and each occupant of the table feels inspired to start sharing their favorite this-is-sooooo-disgusting poop story.
At least I hadn’t ordered the refried beans.
For some reason, I skipped ordering dessert.
* * *
Department Of Just Wondering
What will be the theme song for the coming new year? 
We’ve got until December 31 to figure it out. This would seem to be an obvious choice:
Runners up might include:
* I Can See For Miles (The Who)
* Tell Me What You See (The Beatles)
* Can You See Me (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Any other nominations?
* * *
Department Of Your Perspective-Enhancing Reading Assignment Of The Week
NY Times op-ed writer Nicholas Kristof has a history of skewed religious apologetics, most recently and specifically on display in Kristof’s Sunday opinion piece, in which he reacted to a recent poll showing a sharp decline in religious belief in the USA:
We’re Less and Less a Christian Nation, and I Blame Some Blowhards –
Some intolerant conservative evangelicals have tainted the faith.
(Nicholas Kristof, NY Times, 10-26-19) .
Kristof’s false assumptions and misstatements – in the very title, never mind the article itself – had moiself stomping my little feet in HE SOOOOOOOOO DOESN’T GET IT frustration.
First of all, “we” (the US of A) were never a “Christian Nation,” by specific design and intent of the US Constitution’s framers.  Nor do blowhards “taint” the faith – just as the faith’s “saints” do not redeem it. “The faith” (the one Kristof refers to is Christianity), like all religious faiths, taints itself by its very existence: it promotes irrational, supernatural belief in a natural world.
Hemant Mehta to the rescue!
Mehta is American born, raised in the Jain-faith,  an author, blogger and atheist activist, known via his moniker, The Friendly Atheist. I think I’ve used the phrase, Yeah, what he said! more often after reading Mehta’s writings/pieces/columns than almost any writer I can think of. His temperate but firm reasoning and clean, to-the-point prose is at once challenging and accessible. I’ve often found moiself thinking, he’s-reading-my-mind-and-translating-it-perfectly when I read his writings, and he makes his points sans the…colorful metaphors, ahem…I would be tempted to use (my emphases):
“The validity (or lack) of faith has never concerned (Kristof). His argument has always been that good Christians exist, therefore religion is good. Bad believers are always the exceptions to the rule, and their awfulness always occurs despite their faith, not because of it….but Kristof misses the larger picture.
He assumes people are escaping Christianity because they want no association with the worst members of the flock. That’s an insult to anyone who’s ever left religion because they looked at it, studied it, and realized it just wasn’t true.
The problem isn’t a bad apple or two. The problem is the orchard. “
(Excerpt from “Blaming ‘Blowhards’ for Why We’re Not a ‘Christian Nation’
Misses the Point,” by Hemant Mehta, 10-28-19)
* * *
Department of Epicurean Excursion 
Featuring this week’s cookbook, author and recipe:
The Minimalist Baker, by Dana Shultz
Recipe: Thai Baked Sweet Potatoes
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Recipe Rating Refresher 
* * *
May you understand the difference between the apples and the orchard;
May your turn down the volume on your favorite poop stories;
May you share your favorite poop stories with moiself (but not when I’m eating);
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Which will be 2020…please don’t ask me to explain it any further.
 Who rejected theocracy, and made no mention of (anyone’s god in the Constitution and referenced religion only twice, and then in exclusionary terms…and if you find yourself even thinking (if not saying aloud), “But wait, what about the part where it says, ‘ “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,’ please douse your head in the nearest baptismal fount and do some research on the difference between The Declaration of Independence (an “apology” and call to arms for the American revolution) and the Constitution of the United States (the new nation’s governing document).
 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.