Department Of Is This The First Bad Pun Of The New Year
Or The Worst Bad Pun Of The New Year?
So, if you identify as pansexual, would the above be an acceptable threesome?
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Department Of Keep Calm And Just Walk On By
While Looking Down At Your Cellphone
(You Know, Like Everyone Else Does These Days)
Dateline: earlier this week. Moiself had time to kill before an appointment, so I went to a nearby, large indoor mall. It used to be *the* mall in our county, and I hadn’t been there in a couple of years… Wow. I can actually say that.
Anyway. I am walking as I usually do in a mall: expeditiously, as if I have an Important Destination ® in mind. I am passing a series of – what are they called, those mini-merchants, those booths in the walkways between the main stores on either side? Kiosks? You know the ones, they hawk sunglasses and calling cards and everything in-between and upside down….
Anyway #2: As I pass one of those kiosks an overdressed, hipster-ishy young man steps from behind the kiosk’s counter, holds out some kind of…sample, and says, 
“Something for your face, ma’am?”
Now then. If you are a young (-er than me) male, unless your name is Tex and/or you are wearing a cowboy hat and spurs, please don’t call me Ma’am. Yep, that preference of mine makes it difficult for a stranger to address me (and if you are a stranger, why are you trying to address me?), but there you have it.
Anyway #3: “Something for your face, ma’am?” My first instinct is to blurt out, “Are you implying that my face needs ‘something’?”
I somehow manage to quash that instinct. I learned years ago that most people should think twice about asking a question if they don’t want to hear the answer. Keeping in mind the time-tested wisdom about which Dionne Warwick sang, I just walk on by.
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Department Of Sports Team Names That Have Got To Go
Dateline: Later that same day, 1:45 pm, having a late lunch at a McMenamins Pub. I am seated in a corner booth almost directly under a wide screen TV mounted on the wall; the TV is at an awkward angle for viewing if you are seated where I am seated, and the server apologizes for this. I don’t mind – I came to eat, not to watch a hockey game or whatever.
Near the end of my meal I glance up at the TV and see a headline on the bottom of the screen –a sentence moiself’s brain doesn’t register as being related to sports news:
Predators Hire John Hynes As Head Coach
PREDATORS have their own team ?!?!?!
I don’t follow hockey and have never heard of a sports team with that most unfortunate (IMHO) moniker, so for one gloriously short and moronic moment, I’m thinking that a group of priest pedophiles has hired a high profile lawyer…and what’s with those guys wearing ice skates in the background, and…oh…never mind…
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Department Of “Best ____” End-Of-The-Year Lists
You can’t avoid reading about them, or even listening to them, if you are a radio or podcast listener. What with the changing-of-the-decade aspect to the year 2020, list-makers – from news pundits to music critics to podcasts hosts – have the chance to not only compile their best/favorite episodes of the year, but also of the decade.
I recently listened to a Best Of TED Radio Hour podcast. The Source of Creativity, which originally aired in 2014, poses a – if not *the* – prime question about creativity:
Is creativity something we are born with or can we learn it?
Questions like that make my brain hurt.
The episode featured excerpts from three different TED talks by three different speakers, on the subject of creativity. “How do you get over writer’s block?” by musician Sting, gave way to Charles Limb, a doctor studying the way the brain creates and perceives music, who spoke on “What does a creative brain look like?” By the time the third speaker, British education specialist Sir Kenneth Robinson, ruminated re “How do schools kill creativity?”  I found my mind wandering (this happens to us Creative Folks ® , you know) in the direction of contemplating my current/ongoing creative excursion: culinary pursuits.
I once heard cooking described as performance art. Those of you who know moiself, either personally or through this humble high tech scribble fest,  may recall that performance art is something I have totally trashed for which I have a little respect (“Oh, I see…you can’t actually do anything or make art, and aren’t willing to put in the discipline to acquire artistic talent and skills, but you can ‘perform’ a facsimile of it.”)
Cooking as art? Certainly, it can be.
Apart from the glut of television/streaming cooking shows, which can range from entertaining and motivating illuminations of craft/technique to dreadful, self-aggrandizing platforms for the host chef’s expansive and a blustering ego, I’ve never considered cooking, and the creation of meals and edible  delights, as a *performance* art. However, with my self-imposed sabbatical from fiction-for-publication-writing, I’ve come to see cooking and meal planning as a major creative outlet.
What I like about this particular art form is that it is recyclable and consumable. When I experiment with a new curry combination I am not crafting an object – e.g., a painting or sculpture – to be a representation or an abstraction of a separate object or concept. I am making the curry itself. The dish will either be consumed and hopefully enjoyed, or ignored/disliked /discarded into the compost pile or garbage disposal…unlike the painting which may hang on someone’s wall until it migrates to the landfill (or the curry-themed short story collection which ends up on the remainders table at the bookstore).
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Department of Epicurean Excursion 
Featuring this week’s cookbook, author and recipe:
The Silver Palate Goodtimes Cookbook, by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Really. Flipping through the book’s pages, which I hadn’t done in years, I realized there was nothing I wanted to make. Butter butter butter butter, and did I mention butter?
I keep this cookbook because a dear friend gave it to me and MH, along with the other Silver Palate cookbook, as a wedding present. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I would have – and did – make some of the recipes from the SP books. But I don’t cook with those ingredients anymore. And didn’t feel like going through all the modifications to make the recipes palatable to my taste and health and sense of ethics….
About the latter: the SP cookbook recipes are dairy-and-meat-heavy, and this homey don’t play that game. It’s hard to address this issue without getting up on the you-know-what,
…But please, watch the National Pork Producers Council’s chief veterinarian Liz Wagstrom squirm, during her interview on the latest 60 Minutes segment, “Is overuse of antibiotics on farms worsening the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria?”
The episode focuses on how and why public health officials investigating a drug-resistant salmonella outbreak were thwarted from visiting farms that provided pigs to contaminated slaughterhouses. Watch the veterinarian squirm on camera; try to imagine the idealistic young person interested in science and animals that she likely once was, now reduced to alternately shilling like a snake-oil salesman (she’s a veterinarian working for a pork lobbying group, for fuck’s sake) – and deflecting like a politician, for the unethical and barbaric factory meat industry. Watch, and for the 659th time (if you’ve been paying attention) ask yourself, Do I really want to support the cruel and corrupt system that is industrial farm meat production?
Once again, I digress.
I keep these SP cookbooks in my collection, and always will. They still make me happy, just to see them up on the shelf, and think of the good times with the person who gave them to us. So, I appreciate the books and the people they remind me of…and I move on to the next cookbook in the list:
Tahini & Turmeric, by Vicky Cohen & Ruth Fox
Recipe: Saffron-infused Cauliflower Soup with Sumac Oil
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Recipe Rating Refresher 
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Department Of The Partridge Of The Week
It’s that time of the year again. As has become a tradition much maligned anticipated in our neighborhood, moiself will be hosting a different Partridge, every week, in my front yard.  Can you guess this week’s guest Partridge?
Of course you can.
We’ve come full circle: say goodbye to the Partridges in my pear tree until later this year.
* * *
May your new year be filled with good puns (that is not an oxymoron)
and bad puns (that is not a redundancy);
May your musings on the source of creativity not stifle your imagination;
May you hold gentle thoughts for young men whose job it is to approach older women with
something for your face;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Presumable to moiself as there is no one else in the vicinity.
 This talk had a rather provocative title, as it starts with an assumption, not a fact, as a given – that schools *do* kill creativity, and thus the issue is *how* schools do that, not if they do or don’t.
 Aka, blog.
 ‘Tis unfortunate, IMHO, that because the term edible has come to be associated with cannabis use (at least in this weed-legal state), I feel compelled to add a disclaimer: my edibles are not “edibles.”
 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’d 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.
 In our pear tree.