Department Of, And Yet Another One
I wrote about this recently – was it only two weeks ago?
I was going to title this segment, Department Of No Comment…except that – surprise! – moiself be commenting.
Gender Reveal Device Explodes, Killing Man in Upstate New York
A man who was expecting his first child was killed on Sunday and his brother was injured when a device they were preparing for a gender-reveal party exploded in a garage in the Catskills in New York, the authorities said….(another) brother, called what happened “the freakiest of freak accidents…”
What set off the explosion remained under investigation…. The device consisted of some kind of pipe that was intended to be used at a gender-reveal party, but the nature of its explosive material was not yet known….
( Gender-Reveal Device Explodes, Killing Man in Upstate New York,
NY Times 2-22-21 )
Apparently, my sarcastic rebuke wise warning words re the foolhardiness of the gender reveal party phenomenon was not significant to the expectant father/now existent cremation candidate. He, of course, like 99.9999999% of the population, doesn’t (uh, didn’t) know or care that I exist, nor what I write about. Common sense, along with any sense of proportion and propriety wasn’t enough, either. Nor was Learning From The Mistakes Of Others. ® 
As for the description of the incident as, “the freakiest a freak accidents…”
Public Service Announcement: it’s not a freak accident when an explosive device explodes. That’s what explosive devices are designed and constructed to do.
Ask fire fighters or EMTs or hospital ER personnel: their collective “Can you believe this?!?” arsenal of stories is replete with tending to people injured by explosive devices which unintentionally exploded – people from munitions “experts,” to the schmuck who volunteered to shoot his high school’s pep rally confetti cannon.
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Different as in, something which restored my optimism about humanity.
Department Of: This.
Dateline: Tuesday morning; circa 7:30 am. I am on my morning walk, headed toward a light rail station. As I turn onto the bike/walk path which parallels soccer and baseball fields I see a young woman walking on the path ahead of me. She hears my footsteps as I close the gap between us, or so I assume because she does (and then I do) The Right Thing® : she scooches all the way to the right and I to the left, and we both raise our masks.
I call out a good morning to her; she greets me in return, and although my pace is quicker than hers for a moment we are side-by-side (if 10 feet apart). She says something else which I can’t understand due to both her mask and her heavily accented English. I politely ask her to repeat herself; she asks how I am doing…but not in that casual way where people say, How are You? in lieu of Hello or Good Morning. She means it.
I hope she sees the smile beneath my mask which makes it up to my eyes, when I reply that I am doing very well, thanks, and that I hope the day will be good for her. “Yes, yes it will be,” she says, as we both reach the point where the path ends. She begins to head right, toward the light rail station, and I am headed left.
I stop, turn to face her, and call out, “By the way, thank you for asking.” She gives me a cheerful wave and we go our separate ways.
And I was…content. I had the proverbial warm and fuzzies, which lasted all day. Two strangers made a connection, brief yet significant, heartfelt if ephemeral, with the subtext of, in these stressful pandemic times, intentionally acknowledging a passerby beyond the usual, “G’morning.”
It takes no time at all and only a few kind words to acknowledge a fellow human being. “Hi there – I’m here; so are you. I wish good things for us both.”
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Department Of Something New To Do When You’re Bored
Take out your canned food, your cereal boxes, your condiments and beverage cartons from the frig, your vitamins/nutritional supplements, and line them up on the kitchen counter. One by one, read the items’ ingredients list, out loud, and wherever it lists “extract” substitute the word, “urine.”
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Department Of Just Wondering
Moiself is imagining something of a sticky wicket situation for women in science. Specifically, in the branch of biology known as zoology.
Say you’re a female British ornithologist curating your university’s natural history museum. A visiting American professor of ornithology wishes to review your collection of native European bird species. You invite him to the museum to do so.
Now, are you technically responsible for his reaction, when he sees your display case of Parus major specimens and exclaims,
“Wow! You have great tits!” 
* * *
Department Of Yet Another Reason To Never Fine-Tune
My Cellphone’s Voice Typing Feature
Dateline: Sunday; MH and I both away from home, separately running errands. As I’m entering a grocery store I receive a text from him, alerting me to the fact that we are out of hairball chews  and asking if moiself’s errands are taking me anywhere near a pet supplies store which might have them?
I reply in the affirmative. Except, dictating through my mask (and, as always, sending it before proof-reading), my text comes out thusly:
I will go to PetSmart to get the hairball truth.
When I read what I’d sent, moiself is transported into existential-mode. First, I follow up that text with
Chews! I will get the chews! That’s the truth.
But I can’t stop thinking about it. What *is* the hairball truth? Is it something that can be gotten, or comprehended – or merely contemplated – by mere bipeds?
* * *
Department Of Did You Know About This?
Woman in Motion is now available for streaming. And you are going to watch it, right?
I knew that actor Nichelle Nichols, best known as the iconic Lt. Nyota Uhura from Star Trek’s original series, is quite beloved by the sci-fi aficionados for her knowledge of the genre and passion for space travel, the latter of which included working to recruit astronauts for NASA. I did not know of the extent of her involvement.
“Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA,” tells the story of how Nichols, in the late 1970s, led recruitment efforts at NASA to bring in more women and people of color. According to the film’s synopsis, “In 1977, with just four months left, NASA struggles to recruit scientists, engineers and astronauts for their new Space Shuttle Program. That is when Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, challenges them by asking the question: Where are my people? She embarks on a national blitz, recruiting 8,000 of the nation’s best and brightest, including the trailblazing astronauts who became the first African American, Asian and Latino men and women to fly in space.”
(Daily Star Trek news 2-8-21 )
* * *
Department Of What I Aspire To (Metaphorically. If Not Literally)
You’ve seen your pet  do it: find that sunny spot on the rug or floor or windowsill or bed (or, if it’s your cat, your computer keyboard), plop down atop it, and bask in the simple pleasure of basking. They’re not trying to figure out where the coveted sunny spot came from, what causes it, or where it’s going. they’re just…there.
Moiself aspires towards, at least occasionally, achieving an equanimity akin to the cat-on-the-sunny-spot-on-the-carpet moment. And when the spot “moves” I’ll move with it, or realize that what I had was enough, and get up and go on with whatever.
* * *
Department Of Huh?
Dateline: Sunday 2-21. I am posting a for sale notice on a classified ads internet site. MH suggests I also post on the FB marketplace, so I check it out. I find several local/neighborhood groups, and request to post on four of them. Two of these groups have questions you must answer before you can be “‘approved” to join (and thus post on) them.
The first group has only one question: Are you advertising for a business? The second group, for my city, has two questions: What is your zip code? (I assume to make sure you really live in Hillsboro, and/or weed out scammers), and:
“What is your favorite thing about Hillsboro?”
That question strikes me as odd. It’s not relevant to my intent, nor the intent of others posting on the group who, I assume are, like moiself – listing items we wish to sell to anyone who might wish to purchase them, regardless of what they like (or don’t like) about the city.
“The capital H!” 
* * *
Pun For The Day
My musician friends formed a quartet called “Duvet.” They’re a cover band.
* * *
May all of your food item’s extracts be bona fide extracts;
May you exchange greetings with amiable strangers at every opportunity;
May you find your sunny spot on the rug;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 “Celebratory Cannon Salute at Baby Shower Ends in Death,” (NY Times 2-7-21); “…An Iowa woman was killed when her family inadvertently built a pipe bomb as part of their gender-reveal party” (The Atlantic 11-11-19); A fire sparked by a “pyrotechnic device” during a celebration meant to debut the sex of the hosts’ baby-on-the-way has scorched more than 10,000 acres of Southern California (The Washington Post 9-10-20)
 The great tit is the actual name of a species of bird in the songbird/perching bird family known as the tit family (Paridae), which includes chickadees, tits, and titmice. I think it is safe to assume that some British dude is responsible for the name.
 For one of our cats, who really needs them.
 Or someone else’s, if you’re not a pet person.
 Hell yeah my request was approved.