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Welcome to 2016 — Need a Calendar??

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Well, here we go again.  ”Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme.”

As you, no doubt recognized, the above aphorism attributed to Jean-Baptist Alphonse Karr, means “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”  (You might also be aware that albums by the groups Cinderella, Machine Head and Bon Jovi used the phrase, either as album or song title)

And you thought that I was just another pretty face!

New year, same old crazies, in my book.  For instance :

The Plain Dealer featured a article from the New York Times recently about new words/terms in  the world of foodies—or as the official agency for Canadian French has labeled them, cuisinomanes.  The very first one was an import from Japan, “cat café”.  It seems that there are high-end apartments which do not allow pets, so there are poor deprived individuals who seek interaction with felines in the coffee bar outfitted with free-roaming cats.  There’s apparently one in New York too, opened in 2014.  No word on how that’s going.  If it becomes a craze here, I could make a fortune!  Not sure how co-operative bobbed-tail cat Bob would be, nor his partner-in-crime, Fuego; the recluse, old-maid-aunt in the basement, Spooky, is definitely not going to be a feature player.  Both upstairs cats have been making more appearances lately when company comes so they have star possibilities.  The porch kitties—we have a new guy, a grey tiger, who looks like the feline equivalent of an NFL linebacker, and the occasional-mamma calico—may have to be recruited as part of the floor show; the calico would do just about anything to gain entrance and become an “inside kitty”.  So far, I’ve been able to forestall that.  The big bruiser has no such aspirations.  Fuego freaks out whenever Mr. NFL shows up outside on the porches or the back step, he cusses and howls something fierce (often in the middle of the night) but when the door is opened for him to take on the intruder, you can almost hear him mutter, “Oh never mind.  I’ll get him later,” as he heads off to the couch…with his tail about three sizes larger and the hair along his spine standing straight up.  The whole confrontation might make a great floor show if we ever do the cat café thing.

Now “cookie butter” I have tried.  It’s just about what you would expect—pulverized cookies(originally spice cookies from the Netherlands, speculoos) mixed with something soft and spreadable(think butter, peanut butter, condensed milk, for example).  It’s not bad on crackers and apparently, there are recipes in the U.S. for making  homemade versions with Oreos or Thin Mints or graham crackers.  Don’t pitch your chocolate chips just yet.

“Piecaken” sounds interesting but the description sounds like a lot more work than I want to go to for dessert…at least as long as there’s still a hot fudge sundae left in the world.  Ever since the “turducken” (a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken) hit the internet, the “piecaken” was sure to follow, in some form.  The finished product involves three 9-inch pies baked inside three 10-inch cakes then stacked—probably with icing.  Originally, since the pies were cherry, pumpkin and apple, the confection was called a “cherumple”.  Stay tune for the “pielogen” (with chocolate butter cream).  All of this stuffing stuff is termed “engastration” by the dude that compiled the list.  Just in case you wanted to know.

“Wine o’clock” is one’s personal assessment of the right time of day to begin imbibing.  Could catch on.

And let us close this outing into the online Oxford English Dictionary (the revision of the Scrabble Tournament and Club Word List will be coming this spring) with “zarf”.  Surely you have been pondering that one.  It made the online American Heritage Dictionary this year.  It comes from an old Arabic word for an ornamental holder for a cup with no handle and in modern-day parlance is often known as a “cup sleeve” around a paper cup to protect your hands from heat.  McDonald’s could have used this one awhile back.  It’ll be big on the Scrabble board, for sure.

There are a few more but you get the gist.

Meanwhile, give a sympathetic thought to the poor person who suffers from “gut fermentation syndrome” or “auto brewery syndrome.”  These unfortunate individuals suffer from near-constant hangover symptoms whenever they consume either sugars or starches—any carbohydrates, because their intestinal tracts produce endogenous ethanol  (mostly in the small intestine) without their ever having touched an alcoholic beverage.  No piecaken for them!

And there’s more!

Lake Superior University has just released its 41st annual list of “banned words” in an apparently futile attempt to tidy up the language—never an easy task, we’re still suffering from “like.”  But that’s a story for another day.

Happy New Year!  Prospero Ano!  Gelukkig Nieuwjaar.  Bonne Annee et Bonne Sante!  Felice Anno Nuovo!  Bhliain Nua Sasta!  Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!  Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

How’s that for multicultural?

And with the new year comes calendars…..

Anybody need a calendar?

I am on the list of virtually every charity and/or advocacy group on the planet—haven’t heard from Bulgaria yet but it’s only a matter of time—and pretty close to all of them sent out “free gifts” (If they weren’t free, would they be gifts?), usually address labels or calendars, sometimes cards, a couple of pairs of socks (!), a scarf, one stuffed animal…a pretty miscellaneous assortment.  What I have now is a real stack of calendars, with some of the greatest photography anywhere, animals—cats, horses, dogs, etc.– nature scenes, cartoons; you name it.  (I still haven’t talked the JAG Historical Society or the Silver Creek Garden Club into doing a swimsuit edition like  Sports Illustrated, but I’ll keep trying.  Could be a big seller.)

Anyway, I don’t really have enough wall space to put all of these up. So they’re available by request.

Speaking of calendars, did anyone other than myself notice that the  calendar that came out with the Record-Courier, with Portage County townships and communities on the cover, managed to neglect to list the townships of Nelson and Freedom, while including Middlefield, Newton Falls, Lake Milton, Twin Lakes and Diamond.  Don’t they have a proofreader over there?  Or somebody who knows the county?  They’ve done this before, when putting out maps.  As the newspaper of record in Portage County, you’d think that somebody would know this stuff?  Right?  They did manage to include Leap Day in February.

Happy Leap Year!  Olympics coming up.