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A Word to the Wise…. There’s a new restaurant –reported on in The New Yorker—that you might want to think twice about patronizing this month (or any other month, if you ask me ). It’s in Paris, for one thing, not exactly on our regular circuit of dining experiences (anyplace over twenty miles away seldom makes the cut), but that’s not the disqualifier. The thing is, and the name sort of gives it away, it’s called O’Naturel and it is a “naturist” restaurant. In France, “naturists” are the same folks that we here might very well call “nudists”. Indeed, the customers , upon entrance are shown to a changing room for disrobing, given a pair of terry slippers and shown to a table—definitely with large napkins, rapidly deployed.

The menu is notable for the absence of soups or dishes incorporating sauces or melted cheese, or anything else that might take an unscheduled sub-table descent, which could prove alarming. The restaurant’s website explains that the dining room chairs’ slipcovers (black) are changed after each seating (for obvious reasons, I’d say) and the waiters are prevented, by law, from providing their services in the same altogether state as the diners.

Now as to going to dine at this new enterprise, there are any number of considerations, I suppose, but chief among them, in this winter of extremes, would be the very thought of eating anywhere sans a stitch of clothing unless the heating system were to be cranked up to tropical levels…which , I think would cut into the profit margin rather severely. Another thought, concerning appearance, would be the risk of having to explain any untoward marks or tattoos, hitherto unknown to the viewing public…OR…the sight of goose bumps so emphatic as to resemble a set of—snug– knitted long johns, thus defeating the intention of the venue in the first place.

I don’t see this dining innovation coming here real soon, certainly not until Spring.
I’m changing the name of the youngest porch kitty. I’d originally thought to name it (still don’t know its gender) “Moppet”, referencing a cow we once had on the farm. A moppet originally was a ragdoll, then an affectionate name for a small child. The cow was kind of small, shaggy, and playful. This cat is not so much like that, so I decided to change its name to “Grimalkin” (which means, among other things, “cat”), a name found in some pretty weird contexts around in literature. For instance, the Scots mention a “faery cat” to be found in the Highlands; Nostradamus (1503-1566), that guy who’s always being dragged out with some predictive saying –from the 16th century!—had a cat named Grimalkin and the three witches in Shakespeare’s MacBeth were assisted by a grimalkin in revealing MacBeth’s future. Some job, eh? Anyway, I figure that I can always just call it “Grimmy”. Much more euphonious than “Moppy”.

The chance of a commercial plane being involved in a fatal accident are now approximately 1 in 16 million, according to the aviation consultancy To70. Take THAT, Turnpike.
Speaking of which, Roger Staubach (U.S. naval officer, NFL Hall of Famer, originator of the term“Hail Mary”)once said, “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”

A new entry in the realm of pet entertainment came up the other day—not going to come into my house—is an app named “Shru” that can play on a laptop or tablet or—in a pinch—a cell phone, featuring a rodent-looking little blip that zips around with rapid stops and starts, whirls and turns, changes of direction and speed on the electronic screen that apparently fascinates a cat and encourages predatory behavior like tracking and pouncing, all to no avail when it comes to actually crunching down on a tasty, furry creature…no taste, no fur. How long will it take a feline to figure this out? They’re still into laser-light pointer chases, and mine are even entertained by batting at a ping-pong ball trapped in a race around their cat-scratcher pad. As soon as they can afford their own electronic device($98), I’m all for it. Maybe they can sell their memoirs.

One can also acquire a pet door synched to the pet’s microchip, which will only allow THEM to gain entrance, and not the local raccoon or ‘possum that might be looking for fast food. Two hundred smackeroos will put that gadget on your back porch. Of course, you could freak out the ‘coon or ‘possum when you take the dog (or cat, if you’ve got one of the unusual ones that will tolerate a leash) out for a walk with the niteyleash, which is illuminated by rechargeable LED lights.

You’ll notice that, no sooner had Christmas decorations left the storefronts and TV commercials, than Valentines frippery began to appear. This includes cards and candy boxes, hearts and flowers, cookies and jewelry. Here’s a new one : How about a bouquet of salamis? Saw this in a food magazine and looked up some possibilities. Olympia Provisions and Mancrates will both provide buyers with arrangements of salame—French? Italian? Spanish? Mexican? Your choice, either paper-wrapped and looking sort of like fat cattails or thinly- sliced and shaped to resemble actual blossoms. Makes your heart go pitter-pat, right?

And then…”Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin’ down the Bunny Trail. Hippity-hoppity, Easter’s on its way.” No down time around here.