BUFFALO WINGS IN CRISIS!


rooster

original watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

I was surprised to learn that buffalo do not really have wings! This is not a term that I grew up with. However, the annual frenzy of the Super Bowl is upon us, and it is a known fact that chicken (aka buffalo) wings are one of America’s favorite Super Bowl munchies.

This year, however, the ubiquitous treat is in jeopardy. There might not be enough wings to feed America’s insatiable hankering for Buffalo Wings. This Super Bowl, snackers will have 12.3 million fewer wings to chow down on than last year, according to the National Chicken Council. The culprit: Last summer’s drought drove feed prices up, so farmers couldn’t afford to raise as many birds.

This is at a time when wings are increasingly becoming to Super Bowl parties what eggs are to Easter and candy canes are to Christmas. Snacking is so important to Super Bowl activities, in fact, that many snack makers say the week leading up to the Super Bowl is when they post their biggest weekly sales bump of the year. Avocados are at a rock bottom price to encourage guacamole makers. The potato chip shelves are emptying fast. Cases of beer are sailing out the doors. Is sit any wonder then that America has an obesity problem?

All I can suggest then, is to make a mad dash for the nearest supermarket and load up before the Buffalo wings are history. For we fans in the Bay Area, our pom-poms are dusted off, and front row chairs reserved. Go Niners!!

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DEATH PANEL FOR AN OLD STOVE


stove To Whom It May Concern:
They’re trying to get rid of me! I can’t believe it. After only 45 yers of loyal service, they think I’m all through. All because I ruined her stupid pie because I couldn’t get my ovens hot. Well, she’s not so hot either. I see her limping around here. No one’s talking about getting rid of her. I remember when they unpacked my crate and took a look at me. She almost kissed me. Not so now.

They soon forget all the thousands of cookies, cakes, pies and bread I’ve turned out for them. Oh sure, they gush over her thinking it was due to her great cooking. Well, it wasn’t. It was me! People come in here and say “thank you, how delicious”, but not one word of congratulations to me. I’m sick of it.

Oh sure, there have been mistakes, but not on my part. I can’t help it if she wasn’t paying attention and I burned a pan or two. And I won’t even go into the way I have felt when he decides to cook! He hasn’t a clue. But I have been loyal and done a good job of heating a few cans of beans, or scrambled eggs now and then. And I have to give him credit, he does a good job of cleaning me now and then because she’s too lazy to do it.

The tons of pasta and sauce, and all the rest of the stuff I’ve cooked for her and they’re talking about replacing me with one of those big shiny eyesores which won’t look right in this kitchen anyway. What’s the matter with them, can’t they see?

I’m so ashamed. Some stranger came today and totally undressed my large oven. I’m so embarrassed; imagine how you would feel. He was quite nice about it though and began poking around up in my control panel, so maybe that’s what is wrong. They stopped making my kind nearly 20 years ago, which was sad enough. Someone else is coming to see me, so maybe they can save me. Keep good thoughts for me.

Well, I just wanted someone to know about this miscarriage of stove justice before it’s too late. Signed: Gaffers and Sattler, a dying breed.

HIDDEN MESSAGES IN NURSERY RHYMES


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A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go—-”

For centuries children all over the world have been delighted by these charming nonsense ditties.

But these little songs frequently held hidden messages covering a more serious saga of a political person embroiled in the throes of a scandal, or perhaps even a royal personage falling out of favor. More often than not though, they were simply humorous rhyming verse sung as an amusement to children.

The frog parable is the story of a young frog who went courting his lady-love, Miss Mousey, who in one version runs a neighborhood pub. They were married by her uncle Mr. Rat, and left on their honeymoon. Unfortunately, the merriment was interrupted by a prowling cat, who ate the rat, as Miss Mousey wisely hid under a nearby leaf. Poor Froggy quickly left for home, but on the way he was swallowed by a large white duck. (These little tales rarely ended happily.)

The marriage of the frog and the mouse was sung as early as 1714, with fragments being sung repeatedly through the years. It was prevalent during the Old Price Riots in Covent Garden in 1809, due to the rising prices of theater tickets. This was important because the Drury Theater had burned down and Covent Garden was the only theater left. The riots lasted for three months until the manager apologized and brought back the old prices.

Nursery rhymes were often used as rhythmic accompaniment to spinning, and as a family game to improve memory, due to their repetitive wording. They are found throughout the world, and included in “Nursery Songs From the Appalachian Mountains “ in 1906. The Frog story became an especial favorite in the U.S.A. with 40 versions of it found in various folk-lore societies.

A Gaping Wide-Mouthed Waddling Frog” was featured in “The Top Book of All” in 1760, and was a long 12 verse bit of cumulative nonsense reminiscent of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. It was often performed rapidly by singing it all in one breath.

Rhymes, songs and riddles have entertained people through the centuries, and perhaps lightened the sting of an ill-humored subject.

NOTABLE & QUOTABLE


“I have never been in a discussion where people said ‘I only wish we had nore time to talk about the weather/sports/gossip’ But, given the need to find common topics for discussion, these are some of the easiest common denominators to find.”

Quote by Dan Ariely, Wall Street Journal

SHAMANS AND KUSHTAKAS


North Coast Shaman
Happy Tlingit Shaman, sculpture by kayti sweetland rasmussen

chilcat blanket
Chilcat Blanket Tlingit

Shaman and Kushtaka! Both struck terror in the hearts of the Tlingit and Haida people, for both possessed frightening supernatural powers. The shaman, healer and seer, battled the kushtaka (Tlingit for Land Otter Man; in Haida, gageets) for the spirit of a man in danger of drowning or dying of exposure. Stories of kushtaka exploits, though they may no longer evoke the spine-tingling chill of earlier times, still have the power to mesmerize those who hear them.

The Tlingit and Haida universe abounded with spirits. In this world, the boundaries between animal and human realms were blurred. Early people could hear an omen in the hoot of an owl, or a chilling curfew in the croak of a raven. Should you hear the hoot of an owl, be prepared, it may be heralding very bad news if you are of the North Coast people!

The Chilcat blanket is quite an intricate robe, each family handing down the blanket from generation to generation.

The shaman mediated between the spirit world and the human realm. He was a figure of great power in most Native American cultures. Both the Southwest and North Coast people overflow with tales of the supernatural, so if you are feeling low, see your local Shaman! The cure may be worse that the cause, but it’s worth a try.

PEOPLE OF THE SUN


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“People of the Sun” oil painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

What is this painting asking us: Are we blind to Life’s possibilities? Are our lips sealed to prevent the dissemination of heretic thought?

The rising sun is obviously our touchstone, without which we would forever wander in the terrors of darkness.

Now put this in the context of today’s life.

Do we stumble through life without taking every advantage offered us in the way of work, play and love?

Are we quiet in the face of dissention? Do we keep our opinions to ourselves for fear of disagreement?

The sun gives new life, light, warmth and hope.

Possibly the painting is saying “The darkness is over, it is a new dawn, and you can escape fears of the night.

THE ART OF AGING GRACEFULLY—-OR NOT!


Beijing grandpa_0002If we are fortunate, we will age. It will happen, whether you like it or not, and if you are healthy, it needn’t be a time of despair. My friend refers to us as “functional seniors”, which is also an apt description of an old car in good repair.

These are mostly the seniors I consort with, although there are a few who no longer function as well, and I love them even more for their courage in the face of their pain. A strong woman does not let the hardships of life tear her apart. But a woman of strength goes on to accomplish what she wants even when she is torn apart.

Two women friends who are well into their senior years, one of whom is nearly 91 (going on 75), prepared a full Christmas dinner for their large families, and thought it was not a big deal. Another, a high school friend of mine of 85, regularly drives almost 4 hours to Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area to see her family. My mother-in-law, when in her 70’s, drove a number of times to Washington state to visit us, sometimes carrying a jug or two of the good wine we liked. As a matter of fact, she got a ticket once in Ukiah for speeding. I don’t think the trunk was inspected however.

My husband, who is quite a handsome fellow of 86, can frequently be found on top of our roof, or at the top of a ladder trimming a tree. His loving companion, besides me, is a frisky Jack Russell Terrier, a breed sometimes humorously referred to as Jack Russell “Terrors” They regularly disappear twice a day for mile-long walks which keeps them both in trim.

I took part in a great tap and ballet class with a stunning group of women when in my senior years, as well as a Tai Chi group for many years. As a dare from a grandson, I got a tiny “three-feather” tattoo to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary, even though I really, really dislike the abundant tattoos on other people! Show a little class, please.

However, the best example of a “functional senior” is Liu Qianping, who is a 72 year old grandfather in Beijing. The five foot 8, 110 pound former rice farmer has become the new fashion sensation, and according to his fashion-designer granddaughter Lu Ting, “Looks great in crimson”. After struggling to find a model who could boost her online store, she realized her retired grandfather was the perfect model for her line of clothing, and now credits him with more than quadrupling her sales. He sometimes struts out on stage doing his own version of Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” dance.

Enjoy life, it has an expiration date.