Department Of What A Difference A Letter Makes
Dateline: Saturday; mid-afternoon; on my way to drop off donations to Goodwill. Driving south on a throughway street which bisects residential areas to its east and west, I pass a blue sign on the left side of the road  . This sign directs you to find:
The sign is bent in the middle, which causes moiself, at first glance, to miss the I in the top word.
All those headed to the church of the Holy ARSE, turn right.
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Department Of, Oh, Ya Think?
Dateline: 6:45am last Saturday. A dear friend is in the hospital, recovering from life-altering  surgery. I found a respected medical clinic’s website and looked up information on radical cystectomy, the surgery he has undergone. From the site:
“The procedure to remove the entire bladder is called a radical cystectomy. In men, this typically includes removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles….
“After removing your bladder, your surgeon also needs to create a new way to store urine and have it leave your body. This is called urinary diversion.”
Under risks associated with urinary diversion there is the following bullet point. Which I had to read several times to assure moiself, yep, that’s what it says. Apparently, one of the risks following removal of your bladder is:
* Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence)
Yeah; kinda difficult to control an organ you no longer have in your body.
* * *
Dateline: last week, Valley Art Gallery
Department Of Gawddammit It’s Like They Know I’m Coming In…
And so they put this right where I’ll see it. Because a sculpture like this, displaying both the talent and whimsy which moiself so admires in art…and which the artist oh-so-appropriately-not-to-mention-appealingly named, “Speckled Twerp”…they know who’s going to take it home.
At first I tried to divert moiself by falling for this charming piece, called…wait for it…Yellow Chicken.
But the twerp in me would not be denied.
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Department Of Things You Talk About With Good Friends After A Good Lunch
The Miriam Webster online dictionary has a special link for those and other “funny-sounding words,” but that’s not enough, sez moiself (and friends agree). There needs to be a special day set aside, or declared, to encourage the usage of these words.
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Department Of Why Has It Taken Me So Long To Realize This?
I don’t use marjoram. As of last Wednesday, there is no longer a jar of marjoram in my Wall O’ Spices ®. You know how it is, when you redo your kitchen’s spice holding system and buy those pre-printed spice jar labels which of course include one for marjoram and you think, “Ah yes, a classic spice,” and so you give it jar space but then forget that you never use it because…you never use it.
Nor is there a marjoram jar or tin on the cabinet shelves filled with refills for spices I commonly use, and less-commonly-but-still-occasionally-used ones, from amchur and asafetida to celery powder to gochugaru.
When I last encountered a recipe calling for marjoram  I used up the pitiful amount I had left. And when looking for more, I found none in the bulk sections of several markets, and I wasn’t about to pay $8.99 for a small jar which would go stale before I would use even 10% of it.
Thus, for perhaps the first time in my adult life, I am marjoram-free.
* * *
* * *
Department Of Getting To Play The Game
Check this out, for an interesting listen: the recent Clear + Vivid podcast Alison Gopnik: Making AI more childlike.
Gopnik is a professor of psychology and researcher into cognitive and language development. She spoke with C+V podcast host Alan Alda about her (and other people’s) research which shows how children are generally curious about their world; thus, children are interested in science and have innate abilities for experimentation and theory formation…then tend to lose interest in the subject itself as they age. Gopnik, along with many other scientists, argue that this is, in great part, because of the way science is taught:
“Suppose we taught baseball the way we teach science. So for the first five years you’d be reading about baseball games, and maybe you’d be reading about some of the rules. And then in high school you’d get to reproduce famous baseball plays…and you would never get to play the game until you were in graduate school….
That’s kind of the way we teach science – you don’t really play the game, you don’t really *do* science, until you’re in graduate school.”
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Department Of Here We Go Again
Sub-Department OF Preview Of Coming Grievances Attractions
( Sub- Department explanation: my next three blogs will deal with various aspects of The Writing Life As Moiself Sees It ® ).
Dateline: Earlier this month, researching and updating guidelines for literary journals and publishers.  What I find in my research confirms one of many reasons moiself rarely submits my work anymore. For example, I come across this, from the guidelines of a self-proclaimed “international” journal:
“Submissions are open to all, but we particularly welcome work from….
First Nations and POC writers, the LGBTQI+ community, and writers with a disability.”
Should I decide to send my work to this journal I, like any writer submitting work to any journal, would not be doing so in person. I’d submit material as per their guidelines: either online via their submissions portal (the default nowadays) or via mail (much less common, but still used). Either way, the journal’s editors can neither see nor hear nor speak with me.
My first name may or may not indicate my gender; my surname might convey an impression (which could be a false impression either way) as to whether I am or am not a First Nations and POC writer. How will the editors know if I am a LGBTQI+ community, or a writer with a disability, unless I declare this in my cover letter? And if I do so, will the journal’s editors then “particularly welcome” my story due to my personal particulars that they have particularly decided to find particularly welcoming?
Moiself can’t help but suspect that the content of my work will be read and judged differently under such circumstances. Which moiself finds both ethically odious and disturbing. Speaking  both as a writer and *especially* as a reader, I don’t give a flying buttress’s butthole…
…about writers’ “identities” or “qualities.” I’m interested in the quality of the *stories* they write, not in who or what they *are.*
* * *
Freethinkers’ Thought Of The Week 
* * *
May you remember to make someone a sandwich;
May you support the reform of how we teach science in schools;
May you not be hornswaggled into giving a tarradiddle’s colleywobbles
about doing things widdershins;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 You’ve seen those signs, with names of churches or other businesses located in an otherwise residential area.
 And ultimatly, lifesaving, fingers crossed!
 In itself a rare thing, and I have found that the recipe either won’t miss it or that oregano will do just fine – or even better – instead.
 (I’ve addressed complained about this issue previously, in this space.
 There should be at least five footnotes in this post.
 “free-think-er n. A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists. No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.” Definition courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, http://www.ffrf.org
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