Department Of You Need This Laugh
And apparently, you may need a toilet plunger if you go to –
or have to go when you’re in [sorry] – Merry Olde England.
You gotta love a travelogue/essay which contains the phrase (referring to the British), “It’s an open question whether they’re better at plumbing or cooking,” soon followed by, “There’s no polite way to begin my testimony. It all started when I took a shit.” This magnificent piece of potty-permeated prose, written by Lewis Lee, for The Good Men Project, describes the difficulties Lee faced when he tried to acquire a toilet plunger in the UK.
I received this link from observant, well-traveled friend DC, in response to my comment on a picture of a topiary he posted on FB: I’d compared one of the elaborately pruned hedges in the photograph to a toilet plunger. After reading this essay, I felt I could skip my core/abs workout of the day, and my sides are still sore from the after-laughter effects. Moiself is forever in his debt.
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Department Of Simple Pleasures
# 3892 in a series
My reading list stretches to infinity. Thus, I am thankful to a certain author for not adding to that (admittedly delightful) burden. She did so by titling her memoir – think along the lines of, “Love’s Labour, Like, Totally Lost: I Was Runner-up on ‘The Bachelor’ ” – the kind of title which relieves me of the responsibility of giving her book a second glance:
“Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me”
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Department Of Today’s Blog Title
Indeed, moiself is *not* writing a cookbook.
I do, however, have a title for one.
This is not the only cookbook I haven’t written. The first one was titled, “Shut Up And Eat This: Cooking For Your Relatives And Your Children.” Literary agents did not leap at the chance to represent that work, imagine that.
The cookbook I am now not writing will be called, Jump to Recipe.
Yeah; they get it.
A brief explanation…
I’ll try again.
A brief explanation, for y’all who perhaps are unfamiliar with food blogs.  If you search online for recipes, you will increasingly/more than likely see, under the recipe/blog title (or somewhere near the top of the post), the option, Jump to Recipe .
It’s an option I appreciate, as in the past few years it seems that every recipe posted online must be accompanied by a certain number of paragraphs of self-indulgent blah blah blah…exposition.
The verbiage include stories about how the Food Blogger Person ® came up with the recipe, how FBP’s recipe has evolved, how FBP has evolved to be able to even imagine such a combination of ingredients and/or techniques and/or cuisine traditions, followed by what seems to be the obligatory bullet-point list of exclamatory statements re why this is such a great recipe:
* It’s simple!
* It’s tasty!
* It’s like Summer vacation on a sheet pan!
* It uses less than ten ingredients!
* It uses ingredients you will likely have around the house! 
* It won’t give ____ ( your in-laws an excuse to order pizza; your children a reason to make that yucky vegetable face; your pee that weird asparagus smell ) !
* Your ____ (friends; cellmates; boss ) will never guess that this dish is ____ ( heart-healthy; vegan; plagiarized from a Martha Stewart cookbook ) !
Yep, I’m having some fun with you food bloggers, even as I hope ’tis obvious that moiself is a fan of (some) of y’alls’ works. That said, as much as there are times when I can appreciate the stellar story behind your stupendous Stavanger Stew, other days, I just want to make a chunky Norwegian soup. I have my ideas and I want to compare them to yours; I want proportions of ingredients, not a six paragraph saga about how everyone you know (or are related to, or sleeping with, or owe money to…) raves about this recipe, or how by making *your* variation on tahini and avocado toast I will be saving the planet….
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Department Of Don’t Try This At Home
Dateline: last Thursday; plenty of time on my hands, as we seem to have These Days ®. I decided to clean out/reorganize the freezer, and in doing so got a nasty cut on my left index finger, from a hitherto unseen but very sharp part of the freezer’s drain panel. Now that I can’t fully use it, I’ve been discovering just how many things I do with my left hand, either solo or in comradeship with my (dominant) right hand.
Moiself is not a true ambidext.  Still, I’ve always done certain things with my left hand, a fact that, for reasons that are not fully understood by moiself, seems to have annoyed certain other people, who’ve then in turn annoyed moiself by pointing it out:
“Hey, I thought you were right-handed?”
“Then why are you ______ with your *left* hand, huh ?!?!?
(dealing cards; dialing the phone; picking your nose;
reaching for a second helping of asparagus….)
It was a nasty cut, requiring butterfly bandages. The amount of blood in one’s fingers is impressive. And it never would have happened had I not had time on my hands, which led to blood all over my hands…
THE CORONA VIRUS IS TRYING TO KILL ME.
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Department Of Right Is Wrong About Left
“Speaking” of left hands….
* a left-handed compliment is not one you want to receive;
* “out of left field” means unexpected, odd, or strange;
* The French word for “left,” gauche, in English means, “lacking social grace;”
* The code of Muslim hygienical jurisprudence – yep, it exists  – decrees that “the anus must be washed with water using the left hand after defecating.”
( from Islamic Toilet Etiquette, – yes, the subject gets its own Wikipedia entry,)
* The association of the directional left with evil is likely attributed to the dominance of right-handed people within a population…. Left-handed people comprise only 10 percent of the population, and the preference for the left hand…was attributed to demonic possession, leading to accusations of witchcraft….
The Ancient Celts worshiped the left side, associating it with femininity and the fertile womb. But beginning with the appearance of Eve on Adam’s left side in accounts of Genesis, the Christian tradition finds instances of the left side being pinned to immorality….
Sinister, today meaning evil or malevolent in some way, comes from a Latin word simply meaning “on the left side.” …biblical texts describe God dividing people into groups on Judgement Day, saving those on the right while those on the left are “cursed into everlasting fire.” …
In the 20th century, anthropologists and psychologists identified left-handedness as a biological anomaly, one associated with deviancy but that could be corrected away with behavioral reinforcement.
(The Left Hand of (Supposed) Darkness, Merriam-Webster )
* In the Middle Ages, lefties were associated with the devil and often accused of witchcraft, and even as recently as the 20th century, left-handed students were forced to learn to use their right hand.
( “21 Things You Didn’t Know About Left-Handed People” )
My father was once considered to be one of those biological anomalous deviants – a natural born lefty, he was forced to write “right.”
From a very young age I noticed that, besides his distinctive (read: hard to decipher) script, there was something unusual about my father’s handwriting; specifically, the process. He would never casually grab a notepad and pen and get right to it: from a personal letter to simply adding an item to a grocery list, writing seemed to involve much more concentration for him than for everyone else. I’d watch him as he would pick up a pen or pencil and grasp it carefully, using an extra second of effort that was probably undetectable to most people; then he’d adjust his grip and make small, almost imperceptible circle with the writing implement before setting it on the paper. He wrote very carefully and laboriously, as if some Higher Authority had given him A Very Important Task – ala transcribing the Dead Sea Scrolls – and he’d be punished if he made one mistake. Turns out, the latter was likely his (subconscious) fear.
I heard the explanation from his older sister Marie, on her one and only trip West to see her brother’s family (I happened to be visiting my folks during a college break). My aunt and I got to chatting privately, with moiself wanting to hear stories of my father as a child. She obliged with tales of his “naughtiness,” some of which I’d heard from him (e.g., ditching the school bus to go skinny-dipping in the river with his friends), but I was riveted by one that was new to me: from infancy, as soon as he could move his quavering hands, little Chester Bryan Parnell would reach for objects with his left hand. That was “wrong,” of course, Marie said; thus; their parents would take the object from Chet’s left hand, put it in his right hand, slap his left hand ( so he would know it was the “bad side”), and admonish his siblings to do likewise. She said between the vigilance of his parents and his three older siblings, Chet had mostly been broken him of that “bad habit’ by the time he went to grade school – then the teachers took over and helped him to write “properly.” [7
I was gobsmacked by this, but hid my astonishment – and disgust at the ignorance and superstition involved – from my aunt…as well as her story, from my father, until I’d confirmed it with another of his sisters, Lucille. Lucille admitted it, adding that in these modern times we all understand how some people are just natural left-handers, but folks didn’t know that back then, and Chet’s family and the teachers were just trying to help him do “the right thing.”
When I spoke to my father about his leftist tendencies he said he had only vague memories of being forced to do things right-handed. To my surprise, he also said he’d become aware, later in life, about with the fact that forcing someone to use their non-dominant hand can have negative effects on brain development….but that it was too late for him to change “back,” after a lifetime of having his “cross-wiring” reinforced.
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Department Of Wait, I’m Almost Serious
I put this out on Facebook this week. I’m still waiting for offers from directors (and cinematographers, and actors, and….):
I’m looking for a film student and/or budding director to turn my fantasy into cinematic reality. Here’s my pitch:
“They whine; they pout; they never go out… It’s every parent’s nightmare – stuck in isolation with a QuaranTEEN .”
* “So, like, you stood in line for three hours to get TP but you forgot to stock up on Mountain Dew?! Thanks so much for raising me.”
* “You can’t limit my screen time – the CDC says it helps with, like, physical isolation…what are you, my parents or my parole officers?”
* “All my friends’ parents are letting them drive to Taco Bell because they trust them to like, help out with the family for food supplies and stuff. You’re the worst parents ever.”
* “I’m supposed to care about all the old people but we’re, you know, like, the future of the nation, and there is no grad night, no prom, no senior ditch day for us, and those grandpas and grandmas got to have that when they were our age and so now they think they’re suffering?”
* “Oh yeah, like, thanks *so much* for picking up the stuff in my room, but you put the remotes so far from my bed…”
* ” Only a fucktard would wear a mask like that, and you can’t make me….”
* “Dad threw away my Axe body spray and said I can’t use it until this shelter inside thing is over – he *wants* me to get PTSD!”
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Department of The Corona Virus Playlist
The “Shock Rock” Edition
Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, and Marilyn Manson and are acts associated with the rock/heavy metal genre Shock Rock, which combines music with over-the-top live performances borrowing staging elements from horror movies, including special effects, fake blood, masks and body paint, and sometimes provocative behavior from the groups and/or lead singer.
Moiself has listed some of those acts’ song titles which are IMHO, applicable to our social-isolating, transmission–paranoid, COVID-19 times, and which, in small groupings, imply a related story.
Breaking All The Rules
He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask
I Love the Dead
The Dope Show
Overneath the Path of Misery
Astonishing Panorama of the End Times
Bark At The Moon
If I Close My Eyes Forever
Welcome to My Nightmare
* * *
Pun For The Day
“So, you saw a group of cats so numerous it stretched
all the way to the horizon?”
“Yes, as fur as the eye can see.”
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Department of Epicurean Excursion Evolution 
And here’s what I made for ours, one day this week
Featuring this week’s chosen Theme Day (Mushroom/Miso/Mustard Monday) and recipe:
* Mushroom gravy over millet
(chaperoned by Roasted garnet yam, scallions and cider vinegar salad; Mojo de ajo asparagus; whole wheat naan.)
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Recipe Rating Refresher 
* * *
May you know your left from your right;
May you fantasize your own quarantine movie;
May you carefully judge a book, even an unwritten one, by its title;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Which, of course, makes moiself wonder how that came about? If food bloggers somehow realized readers left after a paragraph or ten describing how they really weren’t interested in how your variation on hummus came your fantasizing about a trip to Morocco….or a critical mass of readers left comments saying, “Look, I’ll come back if you’ll just let me get to the recipe, please?” If you’re curious as to whence its (the JTR option’s) origin, here’s the take from one food blogger, who added the JTR option (although she initially opposed it).
 I always think, “Oh, like…dust?”
 Is that a word – if you’re ambidextrous, you are an ambidext? I’ve decided it is, and that the world needs this word. You’re welcome, world.
 Matthew 25:32
 Teachers would use a ruler or worse to smack the knuckles of any child who tried to write left-handed.
* Abject Failure: I’ll make a canned wieners & SpaghettiOs gelatin mold before I make this recipe again.
* Tolerable: if you have the proper…attitude.
* Yep: why, sure, I’d share this with my cat.
* Now you’re talkin’: Abby the Support Avocado ® approves.
* Yummers: So good, it merits The Purple Tortilla Chip Of Exclamation ® !