Thursday, August 26, 2010

How Cookies (and best intentions) Crumble

This last week, the Yummish Council met to select the Second of the Yummish Saints. However, as the Yummish Center was experiencing an unpleasantly intense heatwave, the decision was made to conclude early and go out for iced coffees instead. We stand by that choice. (See lesson “Everything in Moderation, Including Moderation.”)

Therefore, in lieu of the usual, long-winded, hard-to-follow, Joseph-Campbell-wanna-be diatribe, I offer you a cookie recipe. (Especially now that the heatwave has passed and it is again reasonable to turn on the oven.)


Ingredients :
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. Salt

Mix thoroughly the butter, sugar and egg. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda and salt and stir in. Chill dough 1 to 2 hours. Drop rounded teaspoons about 2" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 400 degrees until set but not brown, about 10 minutes.

- Author: Unknown Seeker of the YUM, possibly my mother-in-law

Today's Yummish Exercise: Enjoy a cookie!

Next: "Angels & Demons" or "We Are All God's Particles."

Monday, August 23, 2010

The "Ground Zero Mosque": The Official Cocktail Party Response

The renovation plans for 51 Park Place in New York City call for an Islamic community center that includes a prayer room. It is not a mosque. The term "Ground Zero Mosque" is inaccurate and inflammatory.

The community center would not be built at "ground zero" or on "hallowed ground". 51 Park Place is about two blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center. Also within that radius, you can find McDonald's, Burger King, and the New York Dolls Gentlemen's Club. Hallowed, indeed.

A Relevant Yummish Meditation from the Cocktail Party

1) In the year 1620 C.E., a small sect of fanatic Protestant extremists, loyal to the teachings of the radical cleric John Calvin, came to reside on the shores of what had historically (for thousands of years) been an animist continent. This flight, or "Great Migration," by these Calvinist Fundamentalists was necessary as they had become extremely unpopular in Europe, largely due to their repressive, restrictive dogma and their tendency to get along poorly with anyone who did not agree wholeheartedly with their worldview.

Upon arrival, these religious fundamentalists founded the Plymouth Colony, governed by a theocratic mix of English Common Law and Calvinist doctrine. All citizens were legally required to attend religious observances and all children were required by law to attend schools where they received instruction in Puritan doctrines. Women were considered property and had no legal standing, their rights subsumed by their husbands'. Church officials held sway in all matters, both secular and ecclesiastical. Those who flouted their authority often received violent punishment. This settlement, they hoped, would be a shining example of the religion-based communities they hoped to create throughout Europe.

2) The first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791. Before there was a Second Amendment, which seems to be the one that gets the most airtime these days, there was a First Amendment. The first amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

3) 1 Corinthians 10:23

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Ties That Bind: The Importance of Kinks, Fetishes and Bondage Accessories in the Yummish Life

It is important to state, from the outset, that the Yummish use of the term “bondage” differs somewhat from that found on the high-number channels of your digital cable box. (Though it can encompass that definition of the term, as well, if that is one's Yum.) The Yummish use of the word in no way implies limitation or, worse yet, enslavement. Rather Yummish Bondage is closer to the merging of two or more atoms to form a single molecule. Each part retains its own identity, its own “self,” at the same time, each is completely changed, transformed into a new whole greater than the sum of these parts. This is the bond shared among spouses (result: marriage), parents and children (result: family), soccer fans (result: stadium riot) – a bond of deep caring and great passion.

Some sticklers for grammar have pointed out that the word “bonding” could be used in place of “bondage,” thus clarifying the whole issue. After giving it much thought, the Yummish Council elected to stay with the less grammatical but cheekier term, simply because it was so.

However, to avoid/create future confusion, below is a list of terms related to said Bondage and their use in the Yummish context:

Kink: (n) A Yum shared by two or more people which non-participants might consider offbeat, such as a shared passion for salsa dancing or for dancing in salsa. Kinks are often the foundation of Yummish bonds.

Fetish: (n) An external sign of a Yum shared by two or more people. The fetish is used to signify the Yummish bond both between/among the partners and to the world at large i.e., wedding bands or Red Wings fan jerseys.

Bondage Accessory: (n) Externals that strengthen and promote a Yummish bond. They may be large and complex affairs, like a summer home on the beach, or small, simple items like the old swing on the porch where you sit every night after the kids have gone to bed.

These kinks, fetishes and other accessories are the ties that bind us together, allow us to share something of our unique experience as a person (aka Yum) with another person or persons and to know, with complete, blissful certainty, that the other has felt as you feel. That experience makes all these accessories sacred, no matter how great or small their “actual” value.

Our lives are filled with such kinks and fetishes. We share friendship bracelets. We share last names. We claim songs and dates and places as “ours.” We make homes and fill them with mementos and souvenirs. We cling to the tangibles left behind when a Yum has departed – Grandma's pearl earrings, Grandpa's vintage girlie magazines – to help us reconnect with that Yum, out of time and place. We stockpile pictures and keepsakes, memories of who we've been and known through time, to give us a sense of our own place. They are both the ties that bind us and the experiences that define us.

Today's Yummish Exercise: Identify your own kinks and fetishes and their attendant bondage accessories. Practice taking more mindful pleasure in their use while being aware of their great power and importance.

Next: Either a new recipe or a new Yummish saint. It remains to be seen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School


That's not because today's lesson is particularly sexy or profane or anything fun like that. (Sorry to get your hopes up.) Today's lesson is not intended for minors because chances are, if you are a minor, you are already preparing to go back to school, where you will be reminded repeatedly of the value of the education you are about to receive, particularly by the Bursar’s office, bookstore, etc. Today's message is directed less toward active students than to former students, or as we prefer to term them "non-practicing students."

For many people, the end of their formal classroom-based education, be that the completion of 8th grade or the conferment of one's third doctorate, marks the end of their intellectual pursuits. This, the Yummish believe, is a tragic error. More important than learning the Pythagorean Theorem (A2 + B2 = C2 ) or the chief exports of Sweden (IKEA meatballs, Red Wings players, 1970s stag films), is learning how to learn.

During the years of formal education, learning can seem, at times, un-Yummish, particularly if the subject matter is difficult or uninteresting. This process is necessary, however, for expanding the mind, forcing it open to previously unconsidered possibilities. The reward for all of this effort, however, is a well-developed intellectual curiosity, better capable of appreciating the YUM in all of its many forms.

We Yummish feel it is a waste to spend so many years of one's life developing a skill only to let it be lost through neglect. Graduation from formal schooling should not be a retirement party for the mind, but a debutante ball. (Or whatever the male equivalent is. Probably something to do with football.) Learning is a source of joy in the Yummish life. Intellectual pursuits enrich one's life by inspiring yummy feelings of personal achievement and enabling you to share that Yum with others.

It is a common and debilitating mistake to assuming that whatever tickles your intellect is not "intellectual" enough; that the interests of others somehow hold greater value than your own. This is not true. They may be different, but their Yummish essence is no greater. Whether your passion is primitive ethnography or the baking of desserts, the strength of your commitment to the pursuit of greater knowledge is key. There are, after all, myriad diverse paths leading to the YUM; a unique path for every seeker.

Today's Exercise: Read that book you've been meaning to get to. Do the puzzles on the comics page of the newspaper. Write a reader's guide to Gravity's Rainbow. Stretch your intellectual legs.

Eat, Pray, Love. (Wait... No... That's not right...)