It’s that most wonderful time of the year, a time when snarky Christians lose their minds if somebody wishes them Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. If you’ll recall, according to Eric Trump—the least intelligent of Donald’s spawn, which isn’t saying much because IQ standards represent a pretty low bar in America’s most dysfunctional family—saying Merry Christmas was against the law. His father changed all of that to the point of almost banning our right to say Happy Holidays.
I don’t get it.
There are countless holidays celebrated by countless people of various faiths. Just a tad over 31 percent of the world’s population is Christian, yet they seem to have a corner on the holiday market with the whole Christmas thing—a holiday book-ended by Black Friday, the day people trade their large-screen televisions for larger-screen televisions, and December 26, the day people return unwanted gifts for much wanted cash.
Unless the person I might be greeting is dressed up as Santa Claus, I avoid the Merry Christmas greeting. Happy Holidays covers the whole spectrum of believers and nonbelievers as well. Quite frankly, if somebody wishes me a Happy Weekday, I’m delighted they thought of me in a kindly way.
A holiday I wish was more widely celebrated is Church / State Separation Week, which is observed November 21-27, 2021.
And speaking of holidays, politics is something to be sure to mention at Thanksgiving dinner. The resulting conversation (no doubt lively and spirited) will help narrow down the holiday gift list.
Aaron Rodgers was in the news this week for his competition with Eric Trump to see who reigns as America’s most stupid man. While Eric was vaccinated, Aaron can throw a football. Kind of a toss-up.
QAnon is always there to provide a healthy dose of paranoid implausibility as it promotes the most ridiculous of claims. This past week’s theory—in case you might have missed it—had JFK, Jr. returning from some other world to take his rightful place at the right hand of Donald Trump. It wasn’t entirely clear what such a bonding might portend, but it no doubt had something to do with taking over control of the world—or, at least, Florida.
You really do have to hand it to the conspiracy whackos. Theirs is not an easy task to conjure up such nonsense and then get ABC News to talk about it in oh-so-serious tones for days on end.
I’ve been working all week on a conspiracy theory of my own. So far, it involves Gwyneth Paltrow and Buddy Holly (he arises from the dead just like JFK, Jr.) plotting to remove alkaline from our drinking water by adding lemon slices to those places where our drinking water is stored, thereby ensuring that we won’t overdose on chlorine and short our supply of COVID-19 cures. Somehow, it involves multi-national ZOOM meetings.
I think I’ve achieved my goal of creating a successful conspiracy theory: it makes absolutely no sense.
Speaking of making no sense, what is it with these people who insist that we be just like them? Keto dieters argue we should all be following their lead by eating tons of bacon, few beans and no pasta. If they want to suffer, I say let them suffer alone. The same thing goes with vegetarians, who, if pushed, can be moderately annoying, and vegans who are predictably insufferable—many of whom belong to PETA yet still wear Birkenstock sandals.
If you don’t want to eat as your parents taught you, then don’t. Enjoy your McPlants and Impossible Burgers. Just leave the rest of us alone.
Speaking of vegans, New York City’s mayor-elect, Eric Adams, is probably the first vegan mayor New York has ever had. After his election last week, he promised the people of the city that “I’m going to be a broccoli mayor. You’re not going to like it when you eat it, but long term, you’re going to see the benefits of it.”
George H.W. Bush had a different take on the subject.
“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
I agree with Bush. And I’m not too fond of cauliflower, either.
And while we’re on the subject of food, language usage comes to mind.
The idiomatic proverb, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” is a popular English figure of speech. It literally means “you cannot simultaneously retain your cake and eat it.” Once the cake is eaten, it is gone. Happy to clear that up for y’all.
Food can be many things to many people. It can be delicious, nutritious, tasty, or awful (see: broccoli). It can be restorative and contribute to one’s well-being. In its preparation, it can be gourmet or homey, fancy or plain. Food cannot, however, be healthy.
Unless you’re pledging a fraternity whose initiation rites include swallowing live goldfish, all of the food we consume is dead. And as we all know, dead is not a healthy state.
Just as an aside, Gordon Ramsey needs to be drawn and quartered.
I read (and write) a lot of recipes. Both activities I find to be enjoyable, especially reading those others have written. But I object to the most common inclusion in most recipes: to taste. If you’ve not made the dish before, how are you supposed to know what it’s supposed to taste like?
President Theodore Roosevelt, a Progressive Republican and founder of the American Progressive Party, said that “this country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”
It is in that spirit that we should put an end to gerrymandering, a political process geared to ensure one party’s dominance over the other’s by designing districts—however ill-drawn.
My thinking is to abandon the entire act of districting by making each of the 435 members of the House of Representatives at-large members, in just the way the Senate is structured.
Let each aspiring representative present his/her positions to the entire state, rather than a selected “district” whose boundaries are solely political.
As we enter another winter of discontent—some of it sequestered and distant from loved ones—we need to understand that leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals but is not transmitted through saliva.
Let your dog lick your face.
Photo illustration by Courtney A. Liska
Penne with Chicken Sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 chicken 2/12-3 pounds, cut into 8 or 10 pieces, liver reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
2 tomatoes, chopped (canned are fine)
1 pound penne or other pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan, optional.
Put oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. A minute later, add chicken and brown thoroughly, adjusting heat as necessary and sprinkling with salt and pepper as it cooks; this will take 10 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken, lower heat, and add onions, stirring occasionally, until they become soft and golden brown, at least 15 minutes. Chop liver and add , along with bay leaves and thyme, and cook for a minute, add tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Return chicken to skillet and add water about halfway up its sides; partially cover and cook at a brisk simmer, adding water as needed to keep mixture from drying out. When chicken is falling off the bones, raise heat if necessary to achieve a saucy consistency (or add a little more water if needed and continue to cook a bit). Set a large pot of water to boil and salt it. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Cook pasta al dente; drain and put on a platter, topped with chicken and sauce, passing grated cheese.