Tots & pears… page 204

Moonset over The Oread – Kim Smith 01/29/2021

Day 322 – 01/31/2021

Here’s to another month in the can and the world moving on, which it seems to be doing. But in this country more evidence of scandal, grift, and greed comes to light every day. Thousands of ventilators have gone missing, likely sold to the highest bidder in a foreign market. Millions of vaccine doses, paid for by our tax dollars, are not there – maybe sold to finance some of DJT’s $900 million in personal loans coming due soon. President-elect Biden’s team wasn’t allowed access to the coronavirus records until the last minute, only to find that the disaster they dreaded is indeed fact, and America pays the price.

Ice holes. Farging bastidges. They let almost half a million of us die and now they’ve walked away to live their self-absorbed lives with impunity. And still people follow them, affirm them, and in DJT’s case, apparently worship him. If I had to unify with any of that I’d need a lobotomy first.

It’s a cold and windy Sunday morning, with good things to look forward to, and I’m here for it, starting with a ranch omelet, which I inhaled, along with fresh-cut pineapple – that’ll work. Kim’s catching the last few of the 24 Hours of Daytona… we’re chillin’/staying warm… writing, reading, drinking coffee, playing music. Life feels so right on so many levels I should be satisfied, but I’m as greedy as those billionaires who make things difficult for us – I want it all. Saying it out loud, I want what we’ve lost. Leaving that right there, Universe.

A woman named Jen posted this on Twitter… and then apologized that it sounded lame. Au contraire, sweet girl, you managed to nail me from the inside out in only a few more syllables than a haiku:

I’m like my aloe plant.

I don’t need much, but when I have what I need, I thrive.

I’m strong but a little bit fragile. 

I don’t look like much on the outside but what’s inside can soothe you. 

I’m thankful for the real people who feed us with love. As for the rest, may whatsoever gods there be judge them justly.

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Oooh, rainy Saturday… page 203

Kitty City at Lawrence Arts Center with Resident Kittehs – Kim Smith 01/30/2021

Day 321 – 01/30/2021

My favorite mornings are the ones when dawn starts to happen but then rain steals the show as dusky dark closes in again. Kim got out early for a walk, and soon after he circled back home the streets and sidewalks were shiny with rain. So far, our 100%-chance-for-hours forecast has held true, mostly a steady drizzle.

It’s heavenly to have a sense of smell and taste again and breakfast today was indescribably satisfying. Grandma Wagner never stopped reminding me that good health is everything, and she was right. Kids know it all but they don’t know that – that understanding sinks in much later. But yeah, health – the better I feel, the more I wonder if there’s been something low-grade going on since last March, simmering under the surface, not contagious, just there – feels like I’m waking up from a long uncomfortable hibernation. My eyes still look like they’re floating in clear Jello this morning because, as Robert’s mom always said, “If it’s not one thing, it’s two,” but it’s no BFD.

Kim gets the baking jones on rain or snow days. Today it was banana muffins and I scarfed one just out of the oven, with lots of butter – life is good. Jayhawks will be playing the Tennessee Vols at 5:00 while we munch on tacos and queso, that’s just how good life really IS. Food and sportsing will get us through.

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Friday it is… page 202

Day 320 – 01/29/2021

Yesterday lived up to its billing, and the sun’s shining this morning. Life… it goes on. Kev came by last night and we fed him street tacos and got caught up – so good. Next, Typhoid Mary and I need to pick up where we left off, now that we’re both apparently over the ‘rona. I miss her like rock misses roll and I need to laugh at her funny self again.

I put on eye makeup yesterday for Kevin’s benefit, and this morning my peepers are all puffy, red, and teary. So what NOW, 2020-Extended-Version, have I become allergic to eye shadow after not wearing it for a year? Must I present as a lizard for the remainder of my days? Hardly seems fair… I’m such a good kid as far as anybody knows.

Speaking of good kids… I love all of these ones:

And especially today, to every nurse, doctor, medical person, thank you with everything I am for all that makes you YOU. For showing up shift after 12-hour shift, pulling extras when somebody doesn’t make it in… working via smoke and mirrors on little sleep… treating an illness you often can’t make better… most of you in the pressure cooker without tests or shots for the past year… like the rest of us, if we were all under insane stress every minute. I want THIS for you when it’s all over, you brazen caring souls who make it out of the fire day after day:

Also there’s this, so…

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A Thursday… page 201

Day 319 – 01/28/2021

I woke up early, just as Kim was leaving for his walk. When he came back he had a bagel in his pocket AND he was glad to see me. He said it was 24º with a real-feel of 19… hardy soul. Any day that starts with Einstein’s is in danger of turning really good, so I’m standing by. We might actually get to see somebody we love later today – it’s been months – and the Jayhawks play tonight, so the possibilities are lining up.

We’re almost a month into the new year and it’s feeling better every day, having the adults in charge… but the damage is still a little overwhelming. From a friend: “A second Capitol police officer has committed suicide. A statement was also released saying 140 cops were injured, in addition to the one killed and the first suicide. One cop is going to lose his eye. One was stabbed with a piece of fencing. Others were beaten severely. Mostly by folks who would probably tell you they’re all about law & order and supporting the Thin Blue Line.” It’s impossible to unify with that, so the grown-ups know what the task ahead looks like.

Another friend shared this:

“There’s no way that America would have elected an openly racist sociopath for a president, stood idly by as children were put into cages, a pandemic was ignored and science turned into a dirty word as we all hurtle toward an open race war where the government backs the wrong side. Yet, here we are… ”

People are suffering horribly, here and around the planet – we have to be about fixing that, one starfish at a time.

Our country’s on its way again and really good news is hitting our eyes and ears minute by minute… but I did nail down what this *limbo-life and other-shoe* sense of things comes from: We’re at least temporarily rid of Trump, but not trumpism, and its devotees seem entirely disinclined to turn loose of minority rule, so where does this end, if ever? If the head guy and his posse aren’t held accountable for all the death and desecration they’ve wrought, then we just hosted a 4-year rehearsal for the next coup, and a subsequent wannabe dictator will likely be smart.

But… here we are … -X- … and life is good, that’s the truth.

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Note to Self: F is for… friends, fairies, flowers, fish, and frogs.

Also, there’s more good soup and bread for lunch. ♥️

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A winter Wednesday… page 200

Day 318 – 01/27/2021

More snow overnight and our temps aren’t expected to break 30º today. Everything was pristine before the snowplows, cars, and dog walkers made their mark, but it’s slick underfoot so Kim gave me a ride to the barbershop where I exchanged my big silver helmet for a choppy haystack. I was Shelby’s first head this morning and there was nobody waiting so she gave me a $40 haircut for cheap. Good thing I’d brought her a big slice of Kim’s banana bread.

Pretty sure that’s the first time I’d been out since before Christmas and it felt like *home* to laugh with Shelby and John, and to be reminded that good people are still out there keeping the great world humming. Excellent, since I’m no help whatsoever.

I assume that’s hyperbole for Ms. Doyle as much as it is for me, but it’s close to the mark. In theory, I love people… in actual practice, it rarely comes out that pure.

Lawrence’s contribution, on Mass Street, to the Bernie madness:

I love that his team immediately had shirts printed, sold the first run in short order, and are donating all the profits to Meals on Wheels.

There are positive things happening every day now, sometimes in bunches, and the PTSD is starting to release its hold on me, one little frozen bit at a time. Feels… too good to be true, but I’m all about it until further notice. And there’s potato soup and toasty-cheesy French bread for lunch. Gonna get over you, HumpDay!

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Oh, those street tacos… page 199

Day 317 – 01/26/2021

We woke up to rain yesterday morning and light snow today. It’s cold out there, but cozy in here and we had beautiful little street tacos for lunch, with Cielito’s queso and chips. Yay, TUESDAY!

Across the hall in Mike’s old place they’ve been tearing out lots of tile work and two complete showers, and the noise is deafening – all this concrete, steel, and glass does a superb job of conducting sound. Kim doesn’t have the luxury of pulling the speakers out of his ears like I do, but noise doesn’t torture his immune system, so maybe we’re even. Today we got a break from all that – they might be through with demo and ready to renovate, which I’m sure won’t be loud at all… but progress. Progress is good. And new neighbors.

The world feels like a more hope-filled place with all the possibilities opening up again, but I’m still limbo-oriented, waiting. I don’t know what it is that will tell me we’ve truly avoided the catastrophic loss of everything we care about, but meanwhile, I float along day by day, out of touch with people, lacking the energy for real communication, letting a “like” here and there suffice for now. It’s no doubt a lot of things, including the recent month-long bout with COVID, and when I wake from my defensive slumbers I’m sure I’ll be a whirlwind of love and friendship again. Maybe.

We’re emerging from a long abusive relationship and it will all take time – trust and a sense of security are easily lost and hard to recover. The ground has shifted under our feet… so on we go, we have miles to go before we sleep.

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Sunday morning comin’ down… page 198

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/24/2021

Day 315 – 01/24/2021

It’s wet out this morning but close to 40º so Kim suited up, made his trek from the city building to South Park and back, and didn’t see another soul the whole time he was out.

Chiefs and Buffalo Bills play tonight for the NFL Championship and there’s likely unlimited sportsing between now and then. The longer the isolation lasts, the more I look forward to the highlights, and another will be that luscious omelet in a bit…

COVID-19 has to be the most insidious thing to hit the planet in eons – it has a billion iterations and never seems to actually leave. This morning, after several symptom-free days, I’m back to gagging, coughing, and other shit, and wondering WTF. NOTE: My omelet went down just fine, I’m relieved to say – I’ll give that one up when I’m dead.

We’re only a few days into a new administration and mindset, but it’s clear that the uncivil war between America’s two factions – democracy vs fascism – is far from over, light years from resolution. How will we choose to gather up the pieces and move on? How will we reconnect with people whose hearts we no longer trust? Rainy days and Mondays make me ask the hard questions.

Lots of work ahead…

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More work than we knew – I understand there are people who believe a cockamamie conspiracy theory that goes something like this:

Oh, Mama…

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We have to fix some things.

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This Pollyanna chick right here is struggling with the whole thing. I feel far safer than at any time in the past four years, but my happiness and gratefulness for new leadership are heavily tempered by the frightening ugliness I’ve seen coming from other humans. Hard truth: my job is to do what I can do.

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Wow, the weekend again… page 197

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/23/2021

Day 314 – 01/23/2021

We’re three days into the Biden administration, which was denied transition materials that would have allowed them to be fully up to speed on day one. But working in White House offices without desks, computers, paper clips, and other basics of government life, he and his team read the tea leaves and have already done more for America in those few hours than we saw in four years. People, however, never change, and some factions are already asking why he hasn’t fixed everything and turned the country into their version of utopia. At the same time, any mention of using $$$ to achieve that lofty goal is immediately shot down. “Money? OMG!! We can’t spend MONEY! Just look at this huge hole somebody dug in the budget while we weren’t looking, OMG!!!”

And just where, between 400,000 dead and “incites a coup,” do we place President Joe Biden’s Rolex watch? Dan Rather says, “One president burns some money on a watch. Another president burns down the country on his watch. Got it.” That would be the guy who once lived HERE but isn’t welcome to return to his former city, post-presidency.

Heart-of-America’s Poster Family

The couple who vacated their New York penthouse for the White House remained petty to the end, dismissing the staff before leaving the premises, thus temporarily stranding the new president and his family outside the doors when they arrived on foot up Pennsylvania Avenue. I’m sick of shitty human behavior and the people who support it. The shameless hypocrisy at every turn is truly a bridge too far, especially now that we have good-hearted, moral, decent people leading the nation again. We can kick the idiocy to the curb and get on with putting things back together, and that’s the only way it will happen.

Pretty sure it’s gonna stay ugly for some time here in what we once blithely referred to as the UNITED States. The fuck-your-feelings crowd from Hillary Clinton’s loss are all up in theirs and laying that whine on anyone who will listen, which doesn’t include me. As peaceful and liberated as I feel under Joe Biden’s first week in office, I’m hard-assed about the unhinged realm of *social media.* I have zero tolerance when I’m there… and I’m there less than I was. The rote, knee-jerk comments, repeated ad infinitum, have worn me to a nubbin and escapism can just come right on and carry me away. Breakfast was a perfect start, and Jayhawks are playing B-ball today. A win would be sweet, but I hardly care – they’re my boys and they improve my world by being in it.

I feel a great affinity for Pluto today, for purely self-centered reasons. Nobody’s rejected me… not in a long while… but like Pluto, we can all use a little TLC from time to time. And I feel somehow that Pluto is of the female persuasion, so…

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Kim’s filling the spa tub, so all is well. Hello, weekend, I intend to appreciate you and the fact that the sun’s shining, food is a taste & aroma balm again, and hope is streaking around the globe.

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Sunrise… page 196

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/22/2021

Day 313 – 01/22/2021

I fell asleep last night with a quiet sense of peace that’s been absent for too long – it felt amazing. And when I woke up this morning my first impulse wasn’t to check the news for overnight disasters emanating from Washington DC, specifically one big white house located there. I could get used to this.

All of the other crises roll inexorably forward, but these few days of taking a deep breath are already erasing some of the fallout from what we just survived. President Biden faces a monumental task in raising us out of the COVID pit we were left to wallow in; fortunately, he’s the man for the moment. We’re almost certain to lose another 100,000 Americans by the end of February, if not sooner, and it’s a job for the ultimate experts to get us through this horrendous failure of leadership without our losing hundreds of thousands more. Apparently the production of vaccines was semi-ramped up, with a stingy outlook to the future, and no roll-out plans for getting the preventative into our arms. I checked Douglas County’s COVID information site just now to find that our vaccination status is currently late-spring to early-summer, and that’s just the first shot. By the time we wait the required interval and get our second vaccination, then keep on keeping to ourselves until the numbers drop appreciably, we can count on another year of this. I’ll never forget that it didn’t have to be this way.

I’ve aged in here, from the inside out… by fifteen years at least, and most of it in the past year. My heart has grown a protective crust; I find it harder to forgive; I will not suffer fools; I’m grumpy with the people I love most, and snippy with friends. I’m inattentive, self-absorbed, quite often oblivious to what’s going on with the humans I care about. On the outside, I look more like my Grandma Wagner by the day, my turkey neck rivals Mitch McConnell’s, and I’ve acquired what John called at age four “soggy arms.” I may be stuck with most of that, it just sort of happens when you sit around and get old – but I can shed a lot of the inside stuff, and I can work seriously on doing that now that the air’s been cleared. It starts with being just as real as I always try to play it.

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Feeling good… page 195

Day 312 – 01/21/2021

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for (you and) me.”

Yesterday’s inaugural was amazing, beautiful, and healing. It was America in all our incredible diversity… and it was just right. Chris Wallace said he’s been listening to presidential inaugural addresses since JFK, and Joe Biden’s is the best he’s ever heard. I listened to all of them too, and he’s right – it was exactly what the nation needed.

President Biden’s day yesterday began at 6am and ended at midnight. He gave four speeches, signed seventeen executive orders, swore in 1,000 workers, walked down Pennsylvania Ave to the White House, at a run a few times, on his recently broken foot, and more. Late last night he was watching the Parade Across America on TV, holding his great-grandson, with a cozy fire going, still on his feet, not a chair in sight. He was back at work in the Oval Office early this morning. And then some idiot named Hannity referred to him as “the weak, the frail, the cognitively struggling Biden.” Yeah, I watched him in operation all day and saw none of that, so Mr. Hannity can tell it to the rain.

Time to bid farewell to the circus that was the outgoing administration. Time to let the memory of it fade away. Time to forget we ever had to deal with those people on an hour-by-hour basis. Time to let that name leave our mouths, and for the ubiquitous red hat to become our shameful swastika. The Spooky Men know…

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We made it out alive. And now we get busy fixing things.

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Goodbye to Donald J. Trump, the man who wanted to be Conrad Hilton but turned out to be Paris Hilton. – National Review

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Oh Happy Day… page 194

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/20/2021

Day 311 – 01/20/2021

There’s such a deluge of thoughts and emotions since yesterday it’s hard to hang onto them long enough for posterity. Good things are happening fast, and the first act of our incoming administration last night was a simple, beautiful memorial service for the nation’s COVID dead, numbering more than 400,000 now. The healing we need is under way. We’re home.

Earlier in the day, I watched our new president say his farewells to Wilmington, Delaware, before heading to DC for the inaugural. Joe’s an Irishman who wears his heart on his sleeve, thanks be to god, so I’ll be crying for days now, and for the four years to come, but for all the right reasons. There are still good men. Joe’s the kind of Irishman who’ll cry over a song, a memory, a loss, then turn around and pop you right in the forehead if you need it, so we’re in good hands.

This morning I was up before 6am like it was Christmas, glued to the day’s events. When the helicopter finally left the White House south lawn, carrying the Trumps away for the final time, I dissolved into sobs – it’s been a long five years. The reality show star’s ride down the escalator and the speech that followed confirmed to us where the United States would be in five years’ time if he somehow won… and here we are, finally, kicking all of that to the curb and ready to make America what we wanted to believe she was.

This whole thing is starting to feel real – President-e Biden invited a bipartisan group to attend church with him this morning and I look for Joe’s administration, after the dust settles, to be sweetly boring in all the best ways.

From Minnesota’s Star Tribune:

President-elect Joe Biden is attending church ahead of his inauguration, a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.

Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden on Wednesday are attending a service at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. With them are incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.

At Biden’s invitation, the first couple is joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including all four top-ranking members of congressional leadership.

That includes both Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Many presidents have chosen St. John’s Episcopal Church, sometimes called “Church of the Presidents,” for the inaugural day service. Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and St. Matthew’s is the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Washington.

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Where it started…

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Where it’s going.

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Progress… page 193

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/18/2021

Day 310 – 01/19/2021

Inauguration Eve. The Capitol of the United States of America is a Baghdad Green Zone, locked down as airtight as 25,000 added National Guard can make it, with active-duty soldiers standing ready to back them up. Everything is fencing, concrete, and razor wire, with military personnel fully equipped. If we hadn’t watched the armed insurrection on live TV this might feel like overkill. As it is, we simply hope it’s enough.

The New Yorker released footage in the past 48 hours that’s exceedingly hard to watch – just twelve minutes of the violence and destruction that took place both outside and inside the Capitol over long hours on January 6th. The scenes are straight out of hell itself, shocking and deeply disturbing, beyond anything I’d seen in prior videos. If I’d not made myself look at what happened that day, I’d owe it to my future self to do a forced viewing – there’s never been anything like it in our government. It’s rightfully stomach-turning.

https://www.newyorker.com/video/watch/a-reporters-footage-from-inside-the-capitol-siege

Yesterday being MLK Day, there were quotes flowing like a waterfall from Trump admin people and others whose whole lives have been lived in opposition to the things he fought for. They should keep his name out of their mouths forever.

A lot is being desperately put forward from a panicked GOP about unity. Instant unity in the face of one of the greatest upheavals our government has ever gone through – just add water and there ya’ go.

From Twitter: Lindsey Graham saying that the Senate should dismiss the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to allow for “national healing” is like an abusive husband gaslighting his wife for “tearing the family apart” when she finally calls the cops.

Call me old fashioned, but unity does not mean letting the instigators of an attempted coup off the hook. Show us the slightest bit of contrition and “lesson learned” and we MIGHT think about it. But there’s nothing in that mindset I can unify with – that’s a dilemma going forward.

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And so… we go forward anyway, with hope, aware of the harsh realities. Tomorrow is a watershed day – may we all survive it and keep moving. It’s the day we’ve anticipated for five years and we deserve to celebrate it.

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John Pavlovitz on the legacy of Donald J. Trump:

“It’s never been about him. It’s been about your limitless tolerance for his infidelity, his cruelty, his intellectual ignorance, his immorality, his violence, his disrespect for the rule of law, his alliances with dictators—things you once claimed you could never abide in a leader.”

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And we know this to be true:

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On the home front, yesterday was the first day in three weeks that I’ve felt “normal.” No coughing fits, no gagging, no body aches, no chills, no sweats, and only a little exhausted. Progress is a beautiful thing.

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Sunday… page 192

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/15/2021

Day 308 – 01/17/2021

Sunday morning sunshine is all over the place, but it’s cold out there. Kim slept past his 6am walk and we got around to inhaling omelets sometime after 10am. I’m so thankful I can smell and taste food again – I still gag but it’s getting easier to make myself keep eating. And if my belly will accept anything it’ll be one of those exquisite omelets. After three weeks of this I’m sick of being sick. Can’t whine – I’m alive and haven’t had a respiratory crash, and this will be over soon. Every day goes just a little bit better, so we’re headed in the right direction.

Kim’s been making little carnitas street tacos and they’re perfect. Four bites and you’re ready for the next one – the flavors and textures just work. My mouth and my tummy love them and food that doesn’t make me want to hurl is high on my list right now.

Cruised yesterday, didn’t move a whole lot… today’s shaping up to be much the same… but maybe tomorrow, on a Monday, I can kick this into gear and get on with it. Ever the optimist. We have Chiefs playing Cleveland Browns in Kansas City this afternoon, so there’s that.

There are a lot of things I could tell you, my diary friend, but it wouldn’t be prudent. I’d end up breaking this sweet guideline:

Three days…

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Snow day… page 190

Day 306 – 01/15/2021

We have blowing snow and cold temps this morning, which calls for biscuits & gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, and a spa soak. Sometimes it’s good to be quarantined.

The information spigot is still gushing after the coup attempt, but with our anti-fascist forces, the true ANTIFA, on the J-O-B, my anxiety has taken a dip for now.

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Makes it easier to appreciate good stuff from my friend Steve…

FOUND IN COMMENTS: Fun nerd fact, the candy banana flavor we are all familiar with is based on the Gros Michel Banana. That was the original commercially available banana, which was nearly wiped out by a fungus in the 1950s. We then switched commercial bananas to the Cavendish which was resistant to the fungus and is now what everyone knows as the standard banana. Therefore, artificial banana flavor is based on a banana that almost no one born after 1958 has ever tasted.

As a 1947 baby, I must have known real bananas.

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Feeling funny… page 189

Day 305 – 01/14/2021

I’m in the mood for a humor infusion this morning, so thanks to my friend Patty for the material!

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HISTORY NOTE: The House of Representatives impeached Donald J. Trump yesterday, for the second time in his term, on charges of “incitement of insurrection” against the U.S. government and “lawless action at the Capitol.”

It’s a gray day, and a spa soak sounds exactly right.

 

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