Friday, June 18, 2010

The Official Cocktail Party Response to the Gulf Oil Disaster


As a rule, we don't encourage the emotion of anger, as it is, in all ways, devoid of YUM.

Anger is an essentially useless emotion, except for the surge of energy that often accompanies it. That burst of potential power can be harnessed to great effect. The trick is to change impotent anger into potent, passionate action.

The danger, in the case of the current BP-Halliburton-Minerals Management Service clusterf*#$, is in thinking too small. It is not enough to boycott BP, only to fill your tank at Chevron, Shell, etc. There is, currently, only one source for oil – Earth. While boycotting BP might hurt their shareholders, it won't do a thing to fix the problem of our dependence on oil. Shutting down drilling along the Gulf Coast will only increase drilling in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Mexico, etc. For decades now we've enjoyed the increasingly mercurial global hijinks of the Petrol Dictatorships our dollars support as we watched our air turn grey and our water acidic. Punishing one of, or even a handful of players isn't the answer. We need a new game.

As the political branch of the Yummish Faith, we want to do our part to spread the YUM and protect our precious home. At the same time, as devoted Yummish, we don't want to do anything too terribly difficult, aka un-Yummish. Below are some suggestions we thought sounded both easy and effective:

Shop locally. Patronize local businesses, area farmers' markets, garage sales, etc. Do as much of your shopping as you can as close to your home as you can. If possible, select local producers and manufacturers over foreign and far distant business.

Yummish benefit: Puts you in closer contact with your neighbors, allows you to spend less time in your car, reminds you about what is cool/unique/special about your home community.

Revolutionary action: Reduces oil consumption, strengthens local businesses and business owners, supports state and local governments, including schools.

Walk or Ride a bicycle.  Take alternate transportation whenever it is practical and occasionally when it isn't. Research bike lanes, well-lit sidewalks and public transit in your area. If they're missing, contact your city, county and state representatives.

Yummish benefit: Better looking butt and thighs, increased calorie expenditure justifies the eating of yummy desserts, less time hunting for parking.

Revolutionary action: Reduces oil consumption, reduces crime by increasing community awareness, reduces air, water and noise pollution.

Set up a shopping carpool. Batch errands in order to reduce the total number of car trips taken in a week. Invite others to join you when going to the grocery, etc.

Yummish benefit: Shopping with friends is more fun and can involve long (and boozy, at least for the non-drivers) lunches, time formerly spent running out for “one or two things”  can be used to bake cookies, eat cookies, blog about cookies, etc.

Revolutionary action: Reduces oil consumption, reduces pollution and traffic, maximizes the benefit of the energy produced by fossil fuels.

Celebrate Gulf Day. Earth Day was established 40 years ago as a reaction to an oil spill off of the coast of Santa Barbara, California. That spill was devastating enough to prompt a moratorium on drilling off of the California cost. As horrendous as the Santa Barbara spill was, all reports -- even the low-ball numbers coming from BP -- indicate that the current Gulf disaster is many, many times worse. Therefore, the reaction needs to be many, many times bigger. The Cocktail Party proposes celebrating Gulf Day each and every month of the year. Gulf Day is a day selected by the celebrants and dedicated to appreciating and protecting our precious and fragile home. That's one day a year set aside in honor of each of the 11 men killed on the Deepwater Horizon and one day for Gulf environment. Should a future disaster steal any more husbands and fathers away from their families in the name of Big Profit (the BP we should be most concerned with going forward) add another day. 

Yummish benefit: Any excuse for a celebration!

Revolutionary action: Remember yourself and, through your actions, remind others of the true blood-cost of oil, reduce the big profits of Big Oil.

These are just a few suggestions. The Cocktail Party encourages you to examine your daily habits and come up with your own. Taking even a single step to reduce your oil consumption does infinitely more good than driving your car over to the protest about BP or (as in our case) yelling rude things at the snotty British guy on the television. Leaving your car in the driveway is the most powerful statement you can make about this disaster. Making permanent reductions in your use of fossil fuels forces Big Oil to make permanent changes in the way they do business. Demand more accountability from business and government investment in renewable energy sources. Speak your mind, follow your conscience and never apologize for doing what you know is right

Today's Yummish Exercise: Walk to a local business and buy something yummy. We recommend doughnuts, but, as always, let your conscience be your guide.

Another one? But...  I want my life back!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Cocktail Party: What We Believe

We are not alone.
The Earth is filled with billions and billions of unique expressions of the universal life force, each of which has an important role to play in the drama of living.

Don't Yuck someone else's Yum.
The Cocktail Party believes in an individual's right to pursue their own path to the YUM, as long as their actions don't inhibit the pursuit of others. As the elder member of the Yummish Council has been known to say, “My right to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose.”

Seek balance in all things.
OK, we basically cribbed this from the Buddhists, but we really dig yin-yang tattoos. (I mean we really dig them. A lot. And dragon tats. Yum!)

Serve the greater YUM in all that you do.
Do good things and good things happen to you. Do good things and, sometimes, utter shit happens to you. That's the game of life. Roll the dice and do the best you can. Doing bad things, no matter how tempting, only leads you away from the path to the YUM.

Tupac is alive, Elvis died in a suburb of Phoenix in 1997, and Mulder had a point.
The Cocktail Party believes in keeping an open mind and considering all possibilities, no matter how far fetched it may seem at first. Geometry, Heliocentrism, Democracy – History is filled with examples of progress fueled by imagination. While it wouldn't do to unquestioningly accept every crackpot theory you come across (i.e. Nazism, Facism, Dittoism) we do believe it is a good mental exercise to at least consider the possibilities. It keeps the imagination agile and flexible and more open to the YUM in all it's forms.

Party on!
The Cocktail Party needs you! After all, the more, the merrier. Call your local representative today and tell them you're switching to the only real party, The Cocktail Party.

The Cocktail Party: A Yummish Response to Tea-Baggers, Switch-Hitters and Other Mad Hatters

The Yummish Council recently held a meeting to discuss the weighty issue of politics in the media. Actually, it was something more of an intervention – something about the way I mainline talk radio destroying my kidneys by causing an overproduction of bile. (There was also a side discussion about how best to pry the mug of hot caffeine out of my Vulcan death grip. Unfortunately there was little significant progress on that front and the Council eventually had to settle for a still reasonably Yummish compromise. While it proved infeasible to remove the mug entirely, they discovered that it is possible to quickly swap the mug for a glass of wine or a frozen margarita, a la Indiana Jones. Score: Me 2, Kidneys 0)

The Yummish Council first wanted to make it quite clear that The Yummish are in no way opposed to people being informed about the world in which they live. Being aware of the world around you is a fundamental Yummish value and is instilled in us from a very young age. How can you appreciate the depth and breadth of Yummish experiences available to you otherwise? If the Yummish Council had its way, in fact, more people would be well informed and actively engaged in this act of survival we call self-governance.

The problem, as the Yummish Council sees it, is not a matter of primary elections, but primary hues. We must end this blatant and disturbing abuse of color now! Every day our eyes are assaulted by unsightly maps tinted in clashing colors - raging red, beatnick blue and perplexed purple. These images are disturbing to the Council, not just because they foster and further artificial divisions between us and suffocate any hope of shared Yum, but, frankly, because they aesthetically offensive. In a world of infinite digital color and soy based ink, why are we limiting ourselves to fewer options than offered up by even the smallest package of crayolas?

The more the Yummish Council explored the issue of pigment abuse in the media – meaning we sat in front of the tube flipping between cable news outlets, while surfing the NPR and Huffington Post websites and tweeting about True Blood (Team Sam, BTW. Infinite possibilities. Think about it.) --
the more hopeless we became. Everyone seemed to be shouting all of the time, even in print. We got the distinct impression that, with everyone talking at once, there was no one left to listen.

After making the always-wise decision to turn off the television, close the browser and change the radio to the classical station, The Yummish Council decided to share a bottle (or two) of wine, to help unclear our heads. In pouring the wine – a cheap Chilean merlot, but it got the job done – I became aware of its color. Held to the light, the true color was closer to purple. Oil on the glass left by my hand acted like a prism and as I turned the glass, the light broke out the rich indigo, the vibrant crimson, the almost black-greenness that made up the color the bottle described simply as “red.”

Nothing as complex as a human being can be represented by a single, flat tone. I, for one, could never define myself with just a single color, let alone a single hue of that color. I want pale blue for the sky, bright green for the hills, hot yellow for the sun. I need shades of grey. I am curious turquoise.

Like even my cheap wine, the more attention you pay to a person or an issue, the more you nuance you discover. So inspired, and possibly slightly intoxicated, the Yummish Council created the official political arm of the Yummish Movement – The Cocktail Party.

In future weeks we will be discussing The Cocktail Party further, laying out our policies and agenda. However, given that it is Friday afternoon and I have yet to prepare for tonight's Yummish Devotional (read: I need to go to Trader Joe's for more cheap wine), this will have to suffice as an initial introduction to/apology for the cause.

Today's Yummish Exercise:

Enjoy a Cocktail with someone then ask them their favorite color.

Next: Cocktail Party On! 

The Joy of Peeps

Rumor has it that this cold, rainy weather is actually going to fade away and spring will come again. Springtime – the glorious season, wherein we celebrate the return of the finest of the seasonal candy – specifically Peeps.

There is also that deal about the return of the sun and the attendant regrowth and rebirth, but we won't get into that. If you don't already realize and appreciate the sun, nothing I can say will impress you. However, you may not be aware of glory of these so-vibrant-they-must-be-nuclear sugar-coated marshmallow treats, so allow me to elucidate.

Some people extol the virtues of the Cadbury egg, with its sugary faux-botulism center. Other sing the praises of the Jelly Bellies, with their combination of real-food flavors and texture of half-dried rubber cement. Those waxy-chocolate foil wrapped eggs have their fans, as do hollow chocolate bunnies, but the finest offering from the candy barnyard is inarguably the Peep.

What sets the Peep apart from the rest of the spring candies is the warm embrace of the marshmallow center. Beneath the thin crisp of sugar and dye is the sticky embrace of chemical goodness – a high fructose hug for your tongue. The sugar that clings to your teeth and the pounds that settle to your thighs are also a beautiful symbol of everlasting love, but it's the surrender to the soft white confectionery oblivion that truly sets the Peep apart.

The only true Peep is the chick shaped one. In recent years a bunny shape has been introduced and, while the ingredients are identical, they are far less satisfying. The premier Peep must also be yellow, though the blue ones are notable for their ability to dye one's teeth and tongue a festive cerulean.

The proper way to eat a Peep is head-first. Some prefer to give the neck a little twist and pop it off. Others use the more traditional Osbourne method. It is not acceptable to eat your Peep in a single bite, but it is permitted to cram them in to your mouth two or more at a time. Most importantly, they may be toasted over a campfire only in the summer months, after they have had sufficient time to go stale. Plan ahead accordingly. Toasted Peeps should not be used to make s'mores, as, well, s'mores are just gross. The Peep should be enjoyed in its simple glory and not subject to the insult of graham crackers and chalky Hershey bars. Do not denigrate the Peep.

There is much more to be said about such an important subject, but the sun is shining and there is a sale on candy today at the grocery...

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Take advantage of the extra daylight hours to enjoy a Peep or your favorite seasonal candy in the sunshine.

Next: Hard to say, but it will be fascinating, I'm sure.

The Anti-YUM

In the Yummish tradition the source of ultimate good is known as the YUM. Each person experiences the power of the YUM through their own set of filters – the sum of their life's experience and expectations. This is a person's individual Yum, which is so singular and unique as to make snowflakes seem derivative.

As we have learned from Taoist scholars and the Wachowski Brothers, there must be a balance to this equation – an Anti-YUM.

The effects of the Anti-YUM at work in the world are many and can, at times, seem to overshadow those of the YUM. They are as varied as their Yummish counterparts, since, like the YUM, the Anti-YUM, works through the actions of individuals. The effects of this Anti-YUM are known by many names – Deception, Theft, Neglect, Abuse, Violence, etc.

Many traditions teach that these are the symptoms of a single destructive force. Some say it is the work of a self-aware being – Beelzebub, Angra Mainyu, Cheney -- who is the embodiment of this evil power. Others say it is an aspect of society, like money, drugs or Dancing with the Stars.

However compelling they are, neither of these explanations is complete. In most traditions this destructive force is the dark twin of the creative force – a necessary element in the cycle of death and birth. Before the Christ could be born and die so that all mankind might live, Lucifer had to fall from the grace of God. Kali dances in her garland of skulls, devouring life, but, in the guise of Shakti, she is also the consort of Shiva, the creative force of the universe. The seed of death is planted in birth, with each death the birth cycle begins anew and the wheel in the sky keeps on turning and yin-yang earrings will never go out of style.*

Most aspects of life have his dual nature. The same drugs that heal can kill in different circumstances. The things themselves are neutral – the details of daily life. The application determines how they are viewed in any given circumstance. The Yummish, however, do believe in a single destructive source, from which, if not all suffering, all man-made suffering can be attributed – Greed.

The Yummish Council defines Greed as “the pathological belief that an individual's needs or desires are greater or more important than those of all others.” For the Yummish “greed” and “sin” and synonymous.

How much human suffering can be traced back to simple greed, to a person or group of people who feel that their “rights” outstrip those of others? The planetary environmental crisis, the destruction of the world financial markets, the mutilation of children as a result of the international diamond trade... How much misery is caused by the gluttony of a few?

In recognition of the dualistic nature of the universe, the Yummish tradition teaches a two part response to this creeping evil. First, the Yummish must always be mindful of both their real and relative value in the world. All people have the same real value – 1.6666666666666666666666666666667e-10 – essentially one of 6 billion equally valued components. A person's relative value is more complex – the ratio of creative and healing acts divided by the acts of greed and destruction. Value can only be built, to borrow a trite phrase, through acts of kindness and beauty. The dividends they pay are greater than any CD or mutual fund you are likely to find. Trust me. I've been looking.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Invest in your human value.

*For more information on mythological symbols, see “Masks of God” by Joseph Campbell. For more information on Taoism, see “The Watercourse Way” by Alan Watts. For cute illustrations of teddy bears and piglets, see “The Tao of Pooh” and for yinyang earrings, see

Next: Maybe something about Spring and rebirth and baby bunnies and marshmallow peeps.

Bonding Day

As we have discussed in the past, the Yummish Movement is rather holiday intensive. Of the scores of holidays recognized, the most important of these is Bonding Day.
Bonding Day 1999, Las Vegas, NV

Bonding Day is celebrated on February 14, making this lesson either embarrassingly late or impressively early. This past Bonding Day coincided with an important Council Retreat, preventing me from giving the topic the serious thought and study it warrants. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Bonding Day is the time set aside for careful, contemplative reflection about the important relationships in our lives. Though the more orthodox members of the Council tend to disagree, it is generally accepted that this thoughtful meditation can happen concurrently with activities like a trip to the amusement park or dancing at a rave. The nature of the celebration will be determined by the individual Yum's involved. What's important is that by the end of the day, you feel closer to the people in your life.

There ya' go. Duty discharged. Whew.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Toss out any candy or flowers you have left over from Valentine's Day. I mean, come on already. It's been over a month. What's wrong with you?

Next: The Anti-YUM

New Year's Resolutions

Though the first day of January is, in truth, a random mid-winter's day (as opposed to the Winter Solstice which actually heralds the return of light and a new growth cycle), it is not in the Yummish nature to turn up one's nose at a party, especially one involving champagne.

Many Yummish also choose to celebrate the Lunar New Year (known as “Chinese New Year” in California, New York and other sinospheric cultures, and “Saturday” everywhere else.). The date of the Lunar New Year changes each year, but it is usually celebrated about six weeks after the date chosen to celebrate the Solar New Year, which had occurred about ten days before that. The Yummish do not see a conflict in any of this, as devotees of the true YUM are happy to participate in any celebration, no matter how astronomically suspect.

Most of the traditional rituals for celebrating this semi-holiday are warmly embraced by the Yummish Council, which has a soft spot for all things bubbly. However, there is one New Year's tradition about which the Council has serious reservations – the New Year's Resolution.

The perils of the New Year's Resolution are, perhaps, best expressed in this excerpt of the transcript of the Great Yummish Retreat of 1993*:

“New Year's Resolutions create too much pressure. Change and renewal happen every day and no one should try to set the tone for the next 364 days while so very tired and hung over.”

Remember, no calendar system – even one so sophisticated as to give us Leap Years and “observed” holidays for extended 3-day weekends – is more powerful than your will. No calendar – even one of those glossy, motivational jobs – should harsh your Yum. Yes, some aspects of our lives are informed by the clock and the calendar, but, as a devotee of the YUM, you know that each day presents us with a chance to renew and rededicate ourselves as we exfoliate away the past and cleanse and condition ourselves for the future. (See Yummish Baptism)

(*Historical note: This was the last Great Retreat to be held in January. In 1994 the GRs were restructured to rotate among several Southerly coastal towns during the spring time academic hiatus. Consequently, it is the last GR for which we have a complete transcript and why the Yummish Council is no longer welcome in Okaloosa County, Florida. Again, Sheriff, we'd like to offer our most sincere apologies. We really had no idea ferrets would do that.)

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Let your calendar know who's boss. Also, check into that Chinese New Years thing.

Next: I had resolved to plan these lessons in advance, but...


Cashmas, often shortened to $mas, has been defined by a senior member of the Yummish Council as “the primary holiday celebrated in capitalist cultures. Generally observed around the winter solstice, $mas is a celebration of materialism in which its celebrants attempt to flatter or impress relatives, friends, and acquaintances with the extent of their purchasing power. (The "power to get".) $mas co-opts signs, symbols, and sympathies from other religious holidays of the winter season to mask its foundation of conspicuous consumption. In the United States, where the holiday is most actively observed, $mas traditionally begins on "Black Friday", that is, the day following Thanksgiving Thursday in November. Holiday observations traditionally end on January 2nd, but may arguably be said to extend through "Super Bowl Sunday" of professional American football. This event can occur as late as the month of February.”

$mas is not, as is sometimes misunderstood, a condemnation of the Christmas holiday. The Yummish Council is all in favor of that nice Jewish hippie boy getting to celebrate his birthday in a big way. The Yummish faith calls for all birthdays to be celebrated and if a few million people want to get together to mark the day selected to commemorate the birth of a guy who decided to blow off carpentry to go fishing for the rest of his life and then got nailed to a tree because of his lack of a Protestant work ethic, it is absolutely fine with the Yummish. Many Yummish celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus or a combination thereof and find that these celebrations are effective at increasing their Yum, which is ultimately the point.

There are others, however, who find themselves growing tense and angry, feeling inadequate, or stressed and stretched beyond limit. These are the victims of $mas.

With traffic, crowds, high prices, rude staff and other shoppers driven mad by the constant exposure to saccharine holiday music since early October, it is easy to get caught up in $mas. What may start as a deep and heart felt desire to do something pleasant – give a gift, throw a party, travel to visit loved ones -- can quickly devolve into something negative if we lose sight of the YUM.

There is no guaranteed path to avoid the pitfalls of $mas, as it is so deeply ingrained in our (OK American , but don't get too smug, probably yours' too) culture. Even the most devoted seekers of the YUM can find themselves getting swept up in the powerful negative currents of $mas. That is why it is important to keep your Yum strong and ready for the task ahead. Below are some suggested means of fortifying your Yum during this perilous season:

*Treat yourself. Gifts are more meaningful when the giver is joyful in spirit, so when you take a moment to go have your toes done, remember that you are doing it not just for yourself, but for everyone on your gift list.

*Skip something. Let one task go. Strike it from your “to do” list and savor the feeling of relief in having one less thing to accomplish. Chances are that no one but you will even know.

*Drink hot chocolate. Saint Peet forgive me, but Starbucks has the best, with Tully's a close and less humiliating second. The Yummish Council has done extensive research in this area. (If HC is not your trip, simply substitute your own preferred indulgence.)

Remember, only those things that add to your feelings of Yum are truly in the holiday spirit.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Watch for signs of $mas invading your holidays.

Next: Probably something about New Year's Eve... or Day... or something else entirely...

Pets: Your Yummish Spirit Familiar

The Yummish tradition teaches that pets are central to the development of two of the most fundamental building blocks of your personal Yum – generosity and humility. The Yummish Council defines a “pet” as a “non-human being that serves as an in-home spiritual guide for a human or group of humans.” In recognition of this sacrifice, the pet is given an exalted place in our homes and lives. The pet must be free from stress or want in order to stay in a pure state of YUM. In exchange for this the privilege of living with such a sacred being, so fully dedicated to the YUM, we cheerfully accept responsibility for all of the pet's corporeal needs.

It is a tragedy that not everyone can have an in-home relationship with a pet. The Yummish Council is saddened by this and encourages those for whom it is practical to pursue enlightening non-human relationships through volunteer opportunities. Though it is not mandated, time spent in service to non-humans is strongly recommended at some point in the life of the Yummish devotee.

It is easy to see how such an arrangement builds a person's generosity. A certain percentage of your daily efforts and resources benefit a being who will never repay them in any tangible way. Instead, such deep connection to the YUM can cause the pet to behave in ways those less Yummishly inclined might find unnerving. When you enter into a relationship with a pet, you are agreeing to share with them all that you have or will have. Your food is their food; your home, their home. When your cat becomes annoyed with you for not giving her the pepperoni from your pizza, know that she is right and you were wrong to frustrate her and harsh her Yum. You may begin such a relationship thinking that you can keep some Yummish thing – the couch, the kitchen table, your leather jacket – for your exclusive use, but with patience and love your dog will soon bring out your generous nature as you give up on your rules, give in to his desires and give up the foot space at the end of the bed.

Pets also increase our sense of humility as each day we prostrate ourselves in service to beings whom we might, in different circumstances, consider a tasty lunch. No matter what power and influence a person may wield during the rest of the day, all men are truly equal when holding a hot plastic bag of fresh doggie waste. People far and wide may quake and tremble at the sound of your name, but to your cat you're just the guy who scoops his poo out of a box. Pets are not generally compelled to thank you and may give your service little or no regard. You may call yourself “master” or “owner,” but to your pet you are “servant,” and it is better to embrace this role.

Once you have embraced this role of grateful servant to your pet, you may find yourself having more empathy with and patience for your fellow flawed, annoying humans. You will experience much less frustration and disappointment as you stop expecting external reward for your actions. Once you are able to put aside your ego in favor of Yum, you will find that things that mattered before matter differently. When that happens, thank your Yummish spirit guide.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Play with your pet(s). If you don't have a pet, spend at least 20 minutes at Cute Overload or cruising your friends Facebook or MySpace sites for pet pictures.

Next: $mas

Consecrating Your Yummish Temple

As mentioned in the treatise on Yummish Thanksgiving, the Yummish consider their homes to be Temples. The Yummish Temple is a sacred place consecrated to the development of your personal Yum and the pursuit of the universal YUM; a source of great spiritual power as well as a good place to get a fresh change of socks and a cup of tea. This Temple is the repository of many of your most sacred Yummish fetishes, such as your bed, couch, favorite coffee mug, fuzzy slippers, and that really awful but cozy pair of sweatpants you can't/won't wear anywhere else (except to the corner store to buy an overpriced real sugar Coke bottled in Mexico or maybe to that funky little sushi joint across the street). Most importantly, the Temple is a safe, comfortable staging ground for your Yummish rituals, both prescribed and personal.

Often this point is misunderstood to mean that only acts performed within the Temple are truly Yummish rituals. That, of course, is a misconception. The Yummish can worship everywhere – in the park, surrounded by nature or in the bakery, surrounded by cupcakes. However, it is important to practice at least some of your devotionals in your Temple, as that is how you keep it consecrated to the YUM.

Another aspect of this sanctification is preservation and renewal. That means you must do housework. No whining. Every religion has its down side and this one is better than piercing your entire body with giant hooks or having to eat tuna noodle casserole every Friday.

For most of us, creating and maintaining our perfect Temple is a life-long pursuit. Don't be surprised if your tastes change over time. Don't doubt your own sense of Yum just because the sun-and-moon themed futon cover you bought in the 90s, in a haze of incense and Lilith Fair, now makes you want to open a vein. Take it as a sign of your personal Yummish growth. Similarly, don't let fear stop you from buying the brown leather couch that may or may not look like something from a bad, hairy 70s Euro-porn flick. If it pleases you now, follow your Yum. (If nothing else, think of it as an investment in a future garage sale. Those are a fun and humiliating way to meet your neighbors.)

Your Temple should be the most comfortable environment you can establish, no matter what others may think of your personal taste. (Unless, of course, the approval of others is the most important thing for you, in which case, follow your own neurotic Yum.) Feng Sui-enthusiasts, IKEA-maniacs (me!), DIYers (not me!), and even Two-by-Four Cinder Block Bookshelf Guy (That may be sexist, but, honestly what are the odds it isn't a guy?) all have a place in the spectrum. What is important is that when you enter your Temple you are filled with yummy homely feelings. If a life size cut-out of Johnny Depp in his Pirates of the Caribbean drag enhances your Yum, or if it is a stupidly expensive blown glass piece - created by a former student of Chihuly and which doesn't look all that different from something you saw in Pier 1 last week for ¼ the price, but that you actually saw being hand-blown in a studio in Benicia - that brings you a deep sense of inner glee, then these become more than "objects" or "possessions". They are sacred relics.

By filling your dwelling with such sacred relics, sanctifying it through devotionals, and preserving and maintaining it with continual cleaning and shopping, you elevate it from mere home to most holy Yummish Temple. (No tax loopholes implied.) Treasure it as a place of peace and sanctity and keep it filled with the things and people you love.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Add one new thing to your Temple, no matter how large or small. Also, improve one existing aspect of your Temple.

Next: Pets: Your Yummish Spirit Familiar

The Yummish High Holy Season

The Yummish High Holy Season is almost upon us and the Yummish faithful are busy with preparations. Homes and temples are being decorated according to tradition, with ritual candles and other symbols of the season. Great stores of goods are being laid in for the sacramental feasts. Scholars debate the finer points of the rites – Lard? Butter? Crisco? The whole Yummish world is focused on the great day – Thanksgiving.

The Yummish celebrate many holidays throughout the year. As spontaneously realized holidays are not only permitted but encouraged, and birthday celebrations mandatory, there are generally many Yummish holidays being celebrated on each day of the year. In addition to all of these, the Yummish recognize two Most Holy Days – Bonding Day (February 14) and Thanksgiving. Bonding Day is the day in which we celebrate the bonds between ourselves and those who share our Yum and is the most sacred of all Yummish holidays. Thanksgiving is second only to Bonding Day in importance.

The Thanksgiving holiday is common to many religions, to which the Yummish Council says “groovy tunes.” That so many faiths agree that it is important to take a day to play and feast is to us affirmation of the Yummish nature of all mankind. That it is held on a Thursday and can generally be parlayed into a 4 day weekend is proof of the power of the YUM at work in the universe.

The rituals of the Thanksgiving holiday are more narrowly prescribed than those of the other Yummish holidays, especially Bonding Day, where creativity and customization is at the core. At the center of the Yummish Thanksgiving is a celebration of “home” and so the rituals must be observed in a homely environment. This can be your actual home or the home of someone close to you. If you are traveling, your hotel/motel/hostel/RV/tent/etc. is an acceptable ritual space, provided the purpose of the travel is Yummish in nature. (i.e. Being stuck in a hotel on business travel on the holidays is in no way Yummy. Being stuck in a hotel in Disney World on Thanksgiving has better Yummish potential.)

The Yummish Thanksgiving is very food-centric. It is not enough to have one big, gut-buster of a meal in the middle of the day on a random weekday. A properly planned Yummish feast begins first thing in the morning on Thursday, peaks that evening and tapers off about three days later. No opportunity for gluttony should be ignored, no avenue for self-indulgence left unfulfilled. Each meal, each snack is a devotional act, a moment of grateful appreciation of the best our lives have to offer us. Ensconced in a homely environment, the proverbial larder full of the most tempting treats to be had, it is not hard to conjure a grateful spirit.

As with most Thanksgiving celebrations there is a traditional meal that is the focus of the Yummish Thanksgiving. The content of the meal is unimportant, but focusing on those foods that are biologically and culturally unique to your homely environment is generally a good idea. Whatever the meal, it should be a “favorite” meal, a treat. The meal should also consist of the best quality of these foods available to you and the quantity to should be somewhere between “plentiful” and “that's just plain ridiculous.” As with all officially sanctioned Yummish feasts, dessert is obligatory and the sacramental imbibing of spirits encouraged.

Some of the Yummish Council feel that there should be a mandatory “homemade” aspect to the feast. The more orthodox feel that, at the very least, the main Thursday meal should be prepared by hand from ingredients as fresh and natural as possible. A small but vocal minority insists that at least one ingredient of the meal should be cultivated entirely by the devotees – garden grown herbs or even hand-raised poultry – in recognition of the circle of life, looking for the bare necessities of life, and that a dream is a wish your heart makes. (We have since cut back on his TV time and that seems to be working well.) Others say that at least one handcrafted aspect is required for the meal, but it is not necessary to create the entire feast from the soil up. Since the debate is as yet unsettled, the Council's official stance is that a homemade contribution is strongly recommended, but not mandatory.

Feasting is central to the Yummish Thanksgiving, but “play”is nearly as important. No doubt you have noticed the special weekday football games that are televised on Thanksgiving day – further proof of the creeping influence of the Yummish faith. Your options for play are not limited to watching televised sports, though they do provide handy entertainment between course preparations. Again, the Yummish Council has no official definition for “play,” only that it be in keeping with the general principle of “fun” and recommends that for this aspect of the ritual the faithful should follow their Yum.

Ideally the Yummish Thanksgiving lasts from Thursday to Sunday. We Yummish feel that there are enough things in life to be thankful for that you need at least four days to properly appreciate them all. If you find yourself forced into an un-Yummish situation during this time, i.e., work, it is important to remember that your Yum is not diminished, though your employers' Yum may be. Some Yummish even find themselves in the unenviable position of having to work in a retail environment on that blackest of Fridays. If you should find yourself in this anti-Yummish situation, please know that the Yummish Council will be spending the day shut away in deep meditation, interceding with the YUM on your behalf. ('Cuz we sure as shootin' ain't goin' to the mall...)

If you have not yet begun your preparations for this most important of Yummish holidays, I encourage you to do so now. It is not possible to be too prepared and there is so much to do. The right wine must be selected, which means you should be trying a different bottle each evening until that onerous task is complete. Pies and baked goods are very important to the feast, so if you are not sampling from at least one bakery each day you are woefully behind. It is also advisable to increase the amount you eat each day between now and the feast in order to prepare your body for the challenge of gluttony it faces. There are challenges, to be sure, but with proper planning and mindful dedication to the pursuit of the YUM you can enjoy the rewards of celebrating a traditional Yummish Thanksgiving

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Begin preparations for your Yummish Thanksgiving.

Next: Consecrating Your Yummish Temple

Yummish Baptism

Many of today's popular baptism rituals have a Yummish flavor. Most involve some form of ritual cleansing, with, perhaps, the application of a nice smelling unguent at some point, as well as a new outfit and food of some sort afterward. The only problem we can find with baptism rituals is that you only get to do them once, maybe twice if you are born-again in some fashion. Rituals this pleasant really shouldn't be limited to twice in a lifetime.

We Yummish spend our lives trying perfect our own Yum and pursuing the perfection of the greater YUM. This is not an easy task. Everywhere you look, people seem to be working against their own Yum, worse yet, against the greater YUM. The anti-Yummish forces weigh upon us daily, forcing us to think about un-Yummish things, like sickness, death, and thin, bitter coffee. These un-Yummish influences can build up over time like so much psychic smut. The only thing to do is to wash yourself clean. Therefore, Yummish baptism is celebrated daily and can involve many different varieties of ritual.

The most basic Yummish baptism is the Daily Dedication and Renewal. This is the ritual wherein the Yummish follower prepares his or her sacred vessel for the day by freeing the body of any impurities and reconsecrating it for all things Yummish. You might know this as your morning shower or evening bath, or midday sponge bath, or what have you (The Yummish are open to alternative bathing lifestyles!), but it can be so much more. Whether your day permits long, leisurely soaks or a 5-minute cold-water, dry-razor spritz-off, those moments are dedicated to the preparation of your temple. I encourage you to set aside as much time and hot water as you can for this ritual. If your time is limited, find creative ways to make the ritual special. Don't underestimate the importance of the unguents and ointments, fancy spa sets and the like. Getting rid of those rough patches on your knees and elbows seems like a pleasure when scented with flowers or other yummy scents. Extra Yummish points are awarded if you can follow up your dedication with the ritual donning of an outfit you like and something tasty to eat. (The Yummish are big believers in breakfast – a meal where it is not only permitted, but encouraged, to eat large amounts of sugar and caffeine, two of the Yummish Council's favorite drugs.)

The next level of the Yummish baptism is to become the celebrant for another's Dedication and Renewal. It is an opportunity for you to celebrate the Yum of another and for them to relax in the warmth of your Yum. Playful showers with your partner are a prime example of this, but so is bathing your child. Even caring for your pets in this way constitutes a Yummish baptism. What matters is strengthening that Yummish bond. Don't forget to swap roles when appropriate!

The third and most advanced level of Yummish baptism is the Spontaneous baptism. This occurs when you realize that your current situation presents an opportunity for Dedication and Renewal. Some examples of this could be snuggling in a hot tub, swimming in the surf, or kissing in the rain. The important thing is to recognize these opportunities in the moment and mindfully commit to enjoying them while obliterating your ego in the face of the YUM.

As with all things, Yummish baptism must be seen through the filter of moderation. If you spend an entire Saturday in the same sweat clothes you woke up in or let a cranky kid hit the sheets without a full scrub-down your Yum will not be diminished, provided you enjoy and appreciate the act of cutting yourself some slack.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Lather up!

Next: The Yummish High Holy Season

HGM's Oven Roast Tri-Tip

You thought I was kidding, didn't you?
2 – 2 ½ lbs of beef tri-tip (This is a regional cut, so you may need to ask your butcher. The grain of the muscle will be long and there should be a decent amount of fat to keep the meat moist.)
2 russet potatoes
2 ribs of celery
1 clove of garlic
baby carrots – to taste
mushrooms – variety and number to taste
frozen peas – to taste
½ cup water
4 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce
fresh cracked black pepper
white pepper

Cook time: 2 ½ hours

Preheat oven to 350.

Dry rub entire roast with mix of salt, black pepper, white pepper and rosemary. Place beef in roasting pan. Add to roasting pan ½ cup of water, 4 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce and minced clove of garlic. Cover tightly and roast for 1 hour.

During this time, rough chop the potatoes, celery and mushrooms. Baby carrots can be added whole. Season veggies with salt and rosemary.

After 1 hour, add fresh veggies to roasting pan. Cover and return beef and veggies to oven for another hour. Add frozen peas during the last 20 minutes of cooking time.

After the second hour, remove the cover and let brown for 30 minutes.

Let meat rest 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 – 6, depending on their commitment to gluttony.

Consider this recipe a starting place. I encourage you to make changes and additions. For example a nice tannin-y red wine could be a great substitute for the Worcestershire. The addition of onions would be good as well. Let me know what you come up with.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Share one of your favorite recipes (or bottles of wine, or brand of chocolate, etc.) with someone.

Next: Yummish Baptism

Halloween: A Delicious Celebration of Evil

Once again we find ourselves preparing for Halloween, that delightful day on which we embrace all of the things that make the red states uneasy – flagrant sexuality, clever literary references, the creeping socialism of trick-or-treating (spreading the candy around!).

If Halloween were a place, it would be Berkeley.

There are some who would tell you that Halloween is an evil holiday (oxymoron; look it up) but this is misinformation spread by those who would oppose the YUM and its followers. Halloween is no different from the many other harvest festivals celebrated throughout history, with feasting and merrymaking and the occasional strigoi or two. You know how it is... Anytime you throw a party you risk someone overindulging, starting a little trouble, turning into a preternatural wolf with glowing red eyes... It is a small price to pay to enjoy the conviviality of your friends and colleagues and to get to see them all in tight/revealing or dorky/embarrassing outfits.

You also get to eat. A lot. Of junk. It's great.

There are rows and rows crammed full of candy, from floor to ceiling in every store I've gone in this week – something of a Fortress of Yum. Yes, yes, overweight, hyperactive children. Yes, yes, big agribusiness monoculture. Yes, yes, countless health ramifications. Yes, yes, corn in my hair. (See King Corn) I didn't say it was wise to eat it all (everything in moderation...), but if you can stand in front of a giant wall of candy and not find your deeply hidden inner juvie clapping hands and saying “Oh, goody, goody!” then you really do need to get back to your Yummish center. I promise you that never, ever, ever of my own volition would I order a drink that involved lime sherbet or dry ice, (I'm more of a “Stoli-martini-with-a-twist” girl) but if someone hands me one on Halloween, I am transported. I actually despise Hershey bars, but if I thought that there was even the vaguest chance I could get away with it, I'd be out there going door to door in the hope of scoring a “fun size” sample of that very same chocowax. And Sweet Tarts? Don't get me started. I have eaten so many Sweet Tarts in a (far too recent) Halloween evening that my teeth hurt for days afterward. (...even moderation.) I don't care who you are. There is room in everyone's life for more treats, whatever your kink.

As far as the scary stuff goes, there is no need to do anyone permanent psychological damage or actually invoke any real evil. The aim is more to thrill than to terrify. (As with many things, you have to find your own threshold.) The goal is to get the blood racing, the heart pounding. Your senses heighten, alive with anticipation. Your breath is rapid and heavy. Now... what else does that remind you of? Yummish, indeed!

The sexy costumes are self explanatory. Disguises and role playing in general are playful and fun, letting us set aside our every day identities and every day mores to embrace those things about which we are curious and that our “real” lives won't accommodate. Blah, blah, blah. You guys know this one, so we'll skip ahead to...

Today's Yummish Exercise:
It's Halloween. Dig it.

Next: A really good recipe for oven roast tri-tip. (ask your butcher)


 Sharing is a very Yummish concept. Giving is a very Yummish concept. These are time tested ways of increasing the general Yum of a situation. People have been sharing and giving for centuries. Scenes of giving and sharing have been found in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and scrolls. (At least I assume so. There is a lot of ancient Egyptian stuff online. I started to look it up, but then didn't.) Our First Nation brethren shared life-giving nourishment and farming techniques to the European-American immigrants, who in turn shared the blessings of gun powder and grain alcohol. (Um...) The young fellow in my neighborhood with the killer sound system in his car is ready to share his kickin' tunes, no matter how early or late it may be. (In truth, there are about 17 of those guys in my neighborhood.)

Our society claims to value Sharing and Giving. We teach our children these values. How many times have you said “Give that back to your brother,” “Share that with your sister,” “Let little Fenster have a turn.” The question is, do we truly feel that way, or is this just lip service meant to prevent yet another outbreak of youthful shrieking? (NOTE: This is NOT an ignoble motivation. If you have experienced that particular sound in a small, enclosed space, such as a car or, say, coming from the seat behind mine on the shuttle flight between Oakland and Anaheim, it is very reasonable that you would not want to hear it again.) Of course, we often end up buying every knick knack and gee-gaw (I'm getting old and get to use fogey words now. Yowza! 23 Skidoo!) we can afford (or not) for the next 18 – 25+ years for people who can't be bothered to remember their own parents' dates of birth. (Maybe a Blackberry would help with that...)

That parents try to instill the value of generosity in their kids, whether or not the value is incorporated into their own lives until they in turn become parents, is not in doubt. The question is whether or not we practice the Twin Yums of Sharing and Giving in our adult lives.

I struggle with this one in my daily life. There are so many reasons to keep things close to the vest, as it were.

“If I lend my car to my friend and he runs into someone, my insurance won't cover the damage.”

“If I let my roommate borrow my dead grandmother's necklace and it gets lost, my mother will be heartbroken.”

“If I share this ice cream with my husband, I won't get to eat it all myself.”

Still, there are things we can Give and Share that cost us little:

A hug (unless unwise from a sexual harassment point of view)
A joke (as long as it is not dirty or impolitic in any way and is still actually funny)
A smile (except baring ones teeth is generally considered an act of aggression in the rest of the animal kingdom)


This is why increasing the Yum is so important. The more Yummy the environment, the more people will feel free to Give and Share freely. How do we increase the Yum? By living in harmony with Yummish ideals, such as Giving and Sharing.

You know, it really is a hell of a catch, that Catch 22.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Plan to share a meal with or give a small (or large) party for friends and/or family. It's OK to start small and safe. Yum has a way of spreading. Sort of like melted cheese.

Next: Depends on if there is still some of that Crown Fino Chevere left in the pantry.

Something Food Related... Probably...

I recently had the pleasure of escorting some out of town guests to the Napa Valley to go wine tasting. (By the way folks, the only time people from the Bay Area go to the wine country is to escort tourists. Otherwise we go to this secret place known only to locals – BevMo! In fact, the Yummish Council is considering making the 5-cent sale a religious holiday. Tell your employer!) The wine country truly is exquisite, with fingers of fog stretching over rolling hills covered in neat rows of vines, grand wineries melting into the hillsides and charming restaurants flirting with you from the side of the road. By taking visitors I was able to see it anew from their eyes, and from their eyes it was... expensive.

This is the part where I am supposed to lecture you on quality over quantity, on the pleasures of the handcrafted and the organic, the superiority of slow food, sustainable farming, fair trade and the like. And I could, too. I'm a big geek about these things, so you're really getting off easy here. (Getting off easy... that sounds like a very Yummish concept. Hmm...)

I am also supposed to transition into a spiel about people who have so little food and how they are grateful for every hardscrabble mouthful they wrest from the dry earth or the concrete jungle. I'm supposed to remind you how our way of life limits theirs and the disparity of calorie distribution around the globe.

Frankly, it's Friday afternoon and I don't want to. Go bug Michael Pollan if you really want the full lecture. It's worthwhile, but more of a “Monday-doing-penance-for-weekend-indulgence” thing and I am trying to get my mind set for my Friday Devotional. Yum!

Therefore I am going to skip ahead to the Yummish Exercise. It's fun to make the rules.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Spend at least as much time contemplating what you are going to eat for dinner as you spend deciding what to watch on TV at night.

Next: Your guess is as good as mine...

A Question of Deity or The God Thing

The formal name of the Yummish god is YAYWAY. Belief in YAYWAY is not a fundamental tenant of Yummishness. If you have previously established a relationship with a Deity, you should probably keep it up, as some of them have a reputation for violent jealousy and I don't really need to be turned into a pillar of salt or any such nonsense. Besides, YAYWAY doesn't care if you believe in it IT or not.

You have probably heard of “Yahweh” -- a blatant case of copyright infringement if I ever saw one, perpetrated by a group of pork-o-phobic desert dwellers who shall remain nameless. The Official Yummish Response was to enjoy a hot dog and to decide that there were better things to do than to waste anymore time thinking about it. (The hot dog was bunless. All Hail Discordia!)

The first syllable of YAYWAY is YAY, which stands for “You are Yummy.”

The second syllable is WAY , which stands for “We are Yummy.”

Over the last couple of days I have written two or three really awesome treatises on the above, in gloriously overblown language worthy of an actual religious text, waxing way, way philosophical about the significance of IT all and how IT should be a touchstone for conducting our daily lives, even attempting in my infinite hubris to define “god,” but ended up deleting it all. Frankly, if you can't figure IT out for yourself, I really can't help you. Maybe that's harsh. If you don't like it, you are free to start your own religion. Really. You should. It's pretty fun. Maybe something centered around dolphins. They're cool...

A Yummish Prayer:
YAYWAY, help me to embrace the love around me - wholly, holy holey. Yum!

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Spend at least as much time meditating on YAYWAY as you spent thinking about what to have for lunch.

Next: Probably something food related. I'm not sure yet. I'll have to check the pantry first.

Friday Night Devotionals

Friday is traditionally the night the Devotionals are held. Some Yummish have weekly schedules that differ from the classic Monday through Friday Dead Time. (Defined as the time when the soul is too confined to feel alive, it often coincides with the Time of Obligation or time devoted to doing what is necessary to survive in the circumstances in which one finds oneself due to one's birth or other cosmic accident.) Some of these will still practice the Devotionals on the traditional night, but that is a mistake. The purpose of the Devotional is to prepare a Yummish enclave for a weekend of Yummish Time. Therefore Devotionals are to be practiced in the time leading into the greatest period of personal freedom in a given time period.

Some have tried to make the Devotionals a mandatory practice for all. This, too, is an error. For many younger folks the proper use of such time is to pursue building their own individual Yum. It may begin with sleepovers with other children, shopping with girlfriends/playing video games with the guys, and countless hours of unstructured “hanging” with friends, but is part of the growth of Yummishness and must be encouraged. (Be warned, sometimes these events will involve your house and/or your car. These times will be anti-Yummish for you, but you will be rewarded with quiet the next weekend when it is time to “hang” at someone else's house. Be strong.) Friday Devotionals are most appropriate for couples and families with small children – people for whom the concept of “home” is very concrete, rather than a castle still being built in the sky.

You may have read (on some of the more suspect Yummish websites) of highly structured Devotionals, with standardized rituals and menus. There is nothing wrong with (most of!) these and they can be used if that is what appeals to you. However, they are not, as some (generally those selling weekend seminars in the back of “Open Exchange” promising “full Yummish awakening guaranteed.” For shame!) will tell you.

In order to be considered a proper Friday Devotional, the following tenets must be met:

1. It must be held in the “cusp” time – the time separating the Time of Obligation (school week, work week, overseas military deployment) and the Yummish Time devoted to celebrating all that is Yummy and pursuing the Greater Yum. For most people, this will be Friday night. The purpose is to release the stresses and concerns of the Time of Obligation and to gracefully transition into a more peaceful time. (In the Yummish tradition, this short period of personal freedom is the only time that really “counts,” where your actions and attitudes matter. Anything that happens during the Time of Obligation is considered simple survival.)

2. Music should play a part in the Devotional. This can be recorded music or live. It can be a single song played during the final commute of the week. It could be soft music played during dinner or a sing-a-long afterward. As in medieval times when townsfolk believed they could drive out evil spirits by shouting and loudly beating drums and sticks, the Devotional music drives out any remaining worries or concerns left over from the Time of Obligation past. When the music begins, you must put aside these ghosts of the Dead Time and not let them rob you of a moment of the precious time ahead.

3. Feasting should play a part in your Devotional. You may find it advantageous to make a meal at home, but it is not strictly necessary. If you enjoy cooking, do so. If not, do not force yourself. The meal should be enjoyable, and preferably symbolic. Some Yummish follow the Discordian tradition of the bunless hot dog, a perfectly acceptable Devotional meal that can lead to repetitious in-jokes about how everyone managed to fit into a post office box as well as high-pitched giggling. (If you are not aware of the Principia Discordia, Google it or ask the next old white guy selling “Grow Your Own Hemp” handbooks at the Farmer's Market. He'll have a copy folded up in his Grateful Dead tam which he'll offer to lend you, but touch it at your own risk. Trust me on that one.) Whatever the meal, try to be mindful of both the beauty of a world that creates so many wonderful ways to nourish ourselves and the strength and healing the nourishment is bringing to the body, repairing damage of the past and bringing energy to help you in the future.

4. Your Devotional must also feature an indulgence – something that, in small, occasional quantities won't do you any real harm, but that is not strictly good for you. Enjoy your indulgence, but stop short of the point of tainting future fun. For example, a glass or two of wine is preferable to a bottle or two; a dish of ice cream preferable to a gallon. (However, even this is subject to the “All Things In Moderation” rule, which requires a moderation of all strictures.)

5. The Devotional must, most importantly, involve intimacy. The type of intimacy that is appropriate will vary from enclave to enclave as circumstances vary. What matters is that the participants in the Devotional spend time focused on one another and the joy of being together. Whether this involves a special bedtime story or special bedtime playtime, the goal is to re-connect and strengthen the relationship after the separation brought on by the Time of Obligation.

Working within these guidelines, a Yummish Friday Devotional can and should be customized to best reflect the individual Yum of the participants. The best Devotionals are those that celebrate the specialness and uniqueness of your individual Yum.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Plan your own Friday Devotional for your next “cusp” time. It is not necessary to get everything right on the first time, as the Devotional can grow and adapt over time. Instead, concentrate on representing the Yum of everyone involved.

Next: A Question of Deity or The God Thing

Everything in Moderation... Including Moderation

 As we have already discussed, the path to the true YUM is a mindful journey, not swine's trough of sensual pleasures. However, there are times when nothing else will suit but to stick one's head straight into the swill and slurp up every last drop. Yum!

Decadence is a great vacation spot, if not suitable for a permanent residence. Indulgence, even over-indulgence, can teach us a lot about ourselves. A person who can maintain a sense of perspective in the midst of a binge – eating, drinking, dancing, playing World of Warcraft - has in his possession a valuable skill. The heedless drunk may enjoy the pleasant sensations brought on by the alcohol. The mindful drunk, however, can take pleasure in both the chemical sensations and the joyful abandon that comes with intentionally laying aside one's inhibitions and embracing the taboo. It is embarrassing to drink too much and accidentally make a fool of one's self. However, if you approach the situation with the intention of overindulging and acting the fool, then you've accomplish a goal. Perhaps you have had one of these Yummish insights during a moment of sheer decadence:

“If I eat another slice of cake I will actually become ill,... So just give me a small piece. No, not that one. The one with the big frosting rose on it.”

“There is no room in my house for another (TV, lava lamp, Precious Moments statue, life size Storm Trooper cutout), so I guess I'll have to get rid of the dining room table to make room for this new one I just bought.”

“Hey, y'all! I'm drunk!”

Embrace these moments.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Plan a mini-vacation into indulgence. This may mean getting extra toppings on your pizza, turning the electric blanket all the way up, or buying those shoes that look so hot and match nothing in your wardrobe. Be sure that your indulgence will not interfere with others' pursuit of the YUM, and plunge in. Take joy in (temporarily) abandoning convention and revel in the YUM.

Next: Friday Night Devotionals

Yummish Overview

Yummishness is often confused with Hedonism. Hedonism, with its focus on pleasure, is very similar to Yummishness. However, the ultimate focus of Hedonism is the pleasure of the individual. The Yummish Faith teaches that an act or an object is not truly Yummy (of The YUM) if, for one party to maximize their pleasure, another party must suffer. For example, you might find listening to loud music to be enjoyable. Done in the privacy of your home, walking alone on the beach, or while driving your car to work, it can be a fun and Yummy activity. However, if you choose to set up your stereo in the middle of the public library or in a crowded train car, the Yummishness you experience is offset by the irritation or inconvenience experienced by the others, and the act is no longer Yummy.

This relativism means there are many gray areas in the Yummish Faith. We like to think of them as soft balls of fuzzy, gray confusion and embrace them. Why? Embracing feels good. It is also a chance to reach for the ultimate Yum; because even more than experiencing Yummishness yourself, the goal of the ultimate YUM is Yummy Feelings for all.

Yummishness is about pursuing the true YUM, not just any ol' good feeling you can manage to find. For example, it may seem Yummy to drink an entire bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon oneself, but the resulting illness is a sign that the act, while momentarily enjoyable, was not of the true YUM. Feeding your family Twinkies for every meal may appeal to their taste buds, but the consequential decline in overall health tells the true tale. That does not mean that the path to the true YUM isn't strewn with empty wine bottles and cupcake wrappers. They are just intermingled with banana peels, apple cores and lettuce bits. Speaking of, someone really should sweep up in here.

Today's Yummish Exercise:
Do something that brings you pleasure as it brings pleasure to another.

Next: Everything in Moderation... Including Moderation