February. The worst month, so let’s make it the best. For me, the new secret to happiness is to have the lowest possible expectations of the day, and hitting every one of them. This also includes keeping in mind the things you do not expect, because that sets you up for grousing.

Although I did grouse today. It was a continuation of Sunday grousing, and had to do with frozen pizza. I’ve been buying these small pizzas, because there’s just the two of us - wife likes something with olives, I cannot abide olives, Jack Sprat and all that. So I’d make two frozen, with the substantial leftovers used for Saturday lunch. But she has tennis sometimes that takes her away at dinnertime, so I’ve been -


(Editor's note, upon reading what follows: that assertion is entirely a matter of opinion)

I’ve been putting the smaller ones in the toaster oven, and I will cook her one before she goes. Then I have half the tiny “personal” pizza, a term I’ve always hated. Any pizza is a personal pizza if you're hungry enough. This particular brand replaced the one I used to buy, which scrimped on ingredients when inflation hit. Then the ingredients on the new choice were reduced.

Then the price went up. It used to be $6.49, and would always be sold at $5.89 - such a deal you get when you sign up for membership! Look at me, a real grocery insider, scoring mad deals. Now the price is $6.99, and the membership price is $6.29. It crossed over a psychological border, as did eggs when they cracked (sorry) $4.00, or iceberg lettuce when it went over three dollars.

Now, you say, these are temporary things; we all know there’s been an epidemic of iceberg lettuce flu that’s constricting supplies. And of course hens aren’t laying because China put mRNA and 5G in the feed. The salmon is four dollars more because, oh, I don’t know, micro plastics in the water reduced the T level of the males and they can’t vault the falls to swim upstream and spawn. But by Bog you can get, for a reasonable price, this:

  I don’t know anyone who tucked into a stack of pancakes drenched in butter and good maple syrup and thought “this really needs sugar-dusted styrofoam nuggets that suggest Irish necromancy.”

But wasn’t the worst thing I saw in the pancake aisle. It was -

Hold on, you say. Pancake aisle? I thought you were doing keto.

Mmmmm yes and no. I still abjure carbs and sugar. At the gym today I made the mistake of weighing myself, just to see. That way lies madness, because you check it every day and think Oh no I am up an ounce, I am failing or Oh no I am incrementally diminished and this is the new baseline, now I have to give up TicTacs or something. Won’t do that again. My metric is no more complicated than “belt loop.” But on weekends I will have an English Muffin with cream cheese and jam, or a few silver-dollar pancakes, because A) it’s one of the things that says “weekend!” And B) the chance that I will be drafted into service as a swimsuit model are probably pretty low. So it’s not as if I have a piece of French Toast and then spend the rest of the afternoon on the treadmill, smoking cigarettes and doing coke in case the agency calls.

There’s low-carb keto pancake mix, but it’s, like, forty-six dollars and probably tastes like granulated particle board. There’s sugar-free syrup, but it’s watery with an ugly label that hasn’t changed in 20 years, because they know you’ll buy it no matter what. So no. Real pancakes. Proper French Toast.

I bring this up because the new national diet expert was in the news the other day.

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, a doctor specializing in obesity medicine at Mass General Health in Boston, claims diet and exercise have little impact on the disease that affects nearly half of all Americans, so what does she think people should do about it?

“The number one cause of obesity is genetics,” Stanford told CBS’ Lesley Stahl. 

Okay, but it’s possible that the number two cause might be this:


I did not know that "chocolate" was a unit of measurement. Surely Triple Chocolate is next. Or this already Triple, because it has Chocolate Fudge? No; they'd say so. It's Double Chocolate Plus Chocolate in Fudge Form.

And sprinkles.


It’s interesting how neither Lucky Charms Pancakes or Mrs. Butterworth’s Butt-n-Belly-Building Batter has the spoke creatures on the box. You’d think Lucky would be spreading his arms with his usual manic glee, and Mrs. B would beaming her contented material smile, approving of your choice. Except she’s a syrup, not a mix. and Lucky does not countenance this appropriation of his Fun Shapes.

Once upon a time the truly lazy could buy pancake mix in a plastic container. You added water, shook it up (this constituted "meal prep") and poured it over something hot, like an aluminum pie plate on a radiator, and you had pancakes. I always had a few on hand, because sometimes you just want to make pancakes without seeing batter dust float everywhere. They were easy and cheap, but now they're gone.

You can, however, buy Industrial Quantities of pre-made pancakes in bags of 40, which microwave up to a nice semi-leathery state. Or you can buy Eggo French Toast for $4.99, box of six. Actual bread and eggs are cheaper.

Hmm. Turns out I didn't have a point at all, except "stuff is bad and expensive." And we knew that.




It’s 1922.

We’re in Colville, Washington. The paper concerns itself with the doings of the town, not the world beyond.


The more things change, etc



They reported on a molecular level.


  Where . . . did this happen? When? How did they know of it?

Also, so what?

  "I swear, sir, put that in your paper and I’ll sue!"
"Go ahead, young fellow; you’ve a lot to learn about this country and our tradition of free and unfettered speech. We’ll print it, and hang the consequences!"


(Man blushes, remembering the sharp look his wife gave them, and tries to recall the poster again; wonders if he could secure one for himself)


Someone in nearby Hunters has a perky style.

The town has a population of about 300 people today, and hardly any downtown at all.

“Thriving.” I wonder what standards they used.

Marcus today is as insubstantial as Hunters.

  O that lovable Slats:
  Syndicated feature. Don’t know how many papers it had, but I found another paper that ID’d the author: Ross Farquhar.

Finally: could you people please put the receiver back on the hook? We’re begging you.


Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do - see you around! Some Fifties interiors await.



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