A few books are perfect, even when they’re not. Right now I’m yapping about BAGGAGE, by Jeremy Hance, my newest Damn-Fine-Book that everyone should read. Its writer must be one of the bravest people on Earth—one who has followed his convictions with honesty and passion, all the while combating OCD and other forms of mental instability. (Any professional editor should have repaired the few minor flaws--the lie/lay problem, misuse of myriad, for example--- but ignore my pickiness here.) If you enjoy amusing (often hilarious), thoughtful memoirs, believe in conserving our planet, or have occasionally wondered about your sanity, then this is indeed a perfect book.

From p. 99-- “I have a lot of respect for animal activists. The science is wholly on their side. The more we learn about other species’ cognition and emotions, the more we realize how unspecial humans are…. We now know that fish feel pain, elephants mourn, octopi and puffins use tools, dogs learn hundreds of human words (how many of theirs do we know?) bees can count…and animals have personalities.”

From p. 123-- “Nature is magic…. When my depression is at its worst, I want to go to a little house on the coast or a cabin in the woods. That sounds much healthier than a psych ward. I can’t help but suspect that perhaps…what some have described as a mental illness epidemic in the United States—and around the world—may be partially connected to our alienation from, and destruction of the natural world.”

From p. 103— “Galibi (in Suriname) is an ecotone, an area of transition between two ecosystems…. But in a way, we all live in an ecotone, a transition state connecting two worlds. We live in the transition between our past and our present. A transition between our private and public selves. Humans don’t so much inhabit places as we inhabit the tension, the transition, between various selves.”

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  • Joan Carris

Updated: Jun 23

Everything has a story.

Even peanut butter.

Our family considers peanut butter a staple, so I decided to learn more about it. After all, I’ve probably eaten PB in some form at least 5 times a week since I was two years old. Nearly 21,000 happy, sticky, oinky experiences with peanut butter. Already this research is a bit sobering.

It gets worse. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), peanut butter can have 30 or more insect fragments plus 1 or more rodent (rat or mouse) hairs per 100 grams. One 18 oz. jar of PB = 510 grams. THUS, our big jar is allowed to have 150+ insect bits and 5 or more rodent hairs.

Our brand of PB is made from peanuts, sugar, palm oil, a bit of salt, and molasses. Plus those insect bits and rodent hairs. It’s considered a high-fat food and is highly addictive, according to comments on the internet.

Even so… after all these years as a peanut butter addict, I’m still here, and I still love peanut butter. Like so many people, I am good at overlooking inconvenient facts.

Some foods are more important than others. Think about spinach, often called “the whiskbroom of the bowel.” And then there’s dark chocolate, a well-known “upper” that makes us happy and content. Now I ask you….

Why are so many older people good at staying home where they are safe from the virus? Because they are eating dark chocolate.


Did you know that micturition means “the act of peeing”? So DAMN probably means “dreaded, anxious micturition needs.”


Why did God make cats? Because He couldn’t resist, even though He knew He was asking for trouble.

Why did God make dogs? Because He knew how much we’d need them.

Why did God make cows? To create milk and cream for making ice cream, fudge, cheeses, and dark chocolate.


Question: If no one is coming to my house, which is true most days during this weird time, why should I bother to put on clothing? Pajamas are easier to launder and never need ironing. If I get chocolate on them, who cares? They are pajamas.

(Simple solutions are usually best.)

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