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Stupid Bitey Thoughts


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Ever wondered what kind of idiot thoughts and idiot ideas an idiot has? I just mixed sugar free mango Torani syrup into a glass of diet Dr. Pepper. The end result was equal parts nauseating and addictive. The word for that flavor in Spanish is empalago. There is no direct translation of the term empalago into English. The closest translation is cloying. But cloying in the sense that it's too sweet, to the point of causing nausea. If you've ever had Mexican sweets, you may find that they aren't quite as sweet or as sugary as American ones. This is out of a general distaste for things that are empalago. But there's a Dominican beverage called Morir Soñando which may well be the sweetest beverage ever. Its name means "Die dreaming." If you are lactose intolerant, it will surely kill you. But it's probably worth it.  Doubling back to my own vile/addictive concoction, I'm deathly afraid of turning into Wilford Brimley, so I tend to avoid sugary drinks. The stupid things I do concoct sometimes make me feel like die-a-beetus waiting to happen though. I once on multiple occasions made a rather concentrated cup of coffee in my Aeropress only to mix in whatever kind of energy drink I had on hand at the time. Probably one of those 300mg caffeine ones knowing me. I call that concoction Retarded Mutant Fuel. Usually, I just drink my coffee black. I want coffee for my stupid face right now. 

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I haven't seen much Ukraine in the news lately. It's all still going on, but I guess it's just not. . . news. But you know? There was a fella from Ukraine a long time ago. Central Ukraine more specifically. Uman, Cherkasy Oblast. His name was Nachman. He had a saying that's been on my mind a lot. 


כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד והעיקר לא לפחד כלל

That's pronounced "Kol ha olam kulo gesher tzar me'od ve'ha'ikar lo lefached klal." The "Tz" sound is like the "Zz" in pizza and the "Ch" is like you're clearing your throat. But it means something like "The entire world is a very narrow bridge, but the point is not to be afraid at all." That's become a very popular saying, even to people with less ancestral connection to the Ukraine than I have. There's a popular melody to it that the late Yemenite singer Ofra Haza sang in an album of children's songs. Ninet Tayeb, whose best work involved collaborations with little felt puppets, had a beautiful song about how hard that advice can be to follow.


It sounds like a meaningless self-help platitude, doesn't it? Fifteen years ago, you could have falsely attributed it to the Buddha or Dalai Lama and put it on a little motivational poster and you'd get a whole lot of likes and people would tell you it was so deep. Today, you could falsely attribute it to Marcus Aurelius or Seneca to the same approval from the same crowd of people who are obsessed with self-improvement and only seem like worse people for it. But when Rebbe Nachman said it, he said it as a Jew in Ukraine sometime between the late 18th and early 20th century. The "narrow bridge" involved pogroms, invasions, plagues and famines. He didn't have to elaborate on "Very narrow bridge" and what he meant because narrow bridge was the lived experience of the Ukraine then as now, and Ukrainian Cossacks basically invented the pogrom. But it's that last bit that's been on my mind. "Don't be afraid at all" is blithe. It's unrealistic. But it's also ha'ikar. I don't feel like digging up my little Hebrew dictionary right now, but if I recall, עיקר (ikar) means bulk, main, primary or point. ה (ha) is the definite article. It acts similarly to the Arabic definite article ال (al) for those of you who know Arabic. So, is there even a point to being stuck on a very narrow bridge? I guess, if there even is one, then the point is just not to be afraid. Or something. I dunno. I'm stupid.

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I hope I'm not overusing this thread. Posting too frequently or anything. But. I had a mango earlier. I ate the skin. The skin contains something called urushiol, which is an irritating compound found in both poison ivy and poison oak. Some mangoes have more palatable skin than others, with that honey gold one being particularly bitter and unpleasant to taste yet soft to chew. I really want to micro-dose urushiol and build it up in my body so that, if I ever accidentally make contact with poison ivy, it simply won't bother me. Poison ivy really, really hurts. So, I'm going to Princess Bride that shit and eat all the mango skins from now on. Banana skins, on the other hand, taste great raw or cooked. If you like artichokes, you shouldn't throw away your banana (or plantain) skins but boil them or steam them instead. You get the skin free with every banana so why waste it? Or you could just buy artichokes, but those are a bit more expensive. I want to try banana flowers someday. Those are like really pretty artichokes. 

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