George Boardman: Need something light after that fruit cake? |

George Boardman: Need something light after that fruit cake?

George Boardman

One of the major perils of Christmas Day is overindulgence, the urge to have just one more piece, or helping, or drink that you know you don’t need.

If your home is like mine, there are plenty of temptations to confront as the day progresses. In addition to a large meal that will be consumed later today, there are cookies, candy, fudge, fruitcake and various other temptations guaranteed to put on the pounds and make you feel guilty tomorrow.

My wife and her sisters live in mortal fear that a guest in any of our homes may actually go home hungry, despite the fact that everybody we know over the age of consent can afford to miss a meal once in a while.

So in an effort to lighten the load, I’m offering some truly light fare in today’s column: A selection of Observations from the Center Stripe I’ve written in the last year. I started this featurette as a way of offloading random thoughts and observations that occur to me but will never develop into a column.

People seem to enjoy the interlude. As I’ve written in the past, readers tell me they always read observations first (anything to get them into the tent) or that observations is the only thing they read (thanks, I guess).

So if you’re looking for an excuse to ignore the punch bowl or that last piece of fruitcake sitting on the platter, read this column. The content is non-fattening and just may bring a smile to your face.

Food for thought

ANOTHER SIGN of the apocalypse: Artisanal beef jerky … COFFEE OR PAINT: Starbucks is promoting a new drink called flat white … IS IT consumer fraud if a pound cake weighs less than 16 ounces? … ONLY IN America: Festa Italiana was held at the Croatian Center Grounds in Sacramento … ARE YOU really cooking something if you microwave it? … THAT MUST be tough: A Grass Valley restaurant offers “stake” on its menu …ONLY ON the internet: Google has created a dust-up by placing the cheese under instead of on top of the patty in its cheeseburger emoji. But then the CEO of Google is a vegetarian … I DON’T know about you, but I get queasy just thinking about something called gas station nacho cheese sauce … ONE PREDICTION I hope comes true: The kale fad will fade …

Money, money, money…

IF ELECTRIC cars are the future, why does the state Legislature have to prop up the market with $3 billion in buyer incentives? … NO REPEAT business?: There’s a gun store in Wisconsin named Armageddon Supplies … CONSUMER TIP: If they start advertising a movie less than a week before it opens and don’t tell who’s in it, the movie is a dud … INVESTMENT TIP: Sell the stock of a company that says it had a bad first quarter because the IRS was slow mailing out refunds. And unless a key plant is disabled by a storm, sell the stock of any company that blames its poor performance on the weather … WE NEED drug price controls when the manufacturer of EpiPens can charge $100 to deliver $3 worth of medicine … YOU SHOULD fire your stockbroker if he follows Jose Canseco’s financial advice on Twitter… WHOEVER thought we’d see the day when the price of a smart phone would rival the price of a major kitchen appliance? … IF ADS were really truthful, “free estimate” would be changed to “sales pitch” … FROM A political perspective, a hotel occupancy tax is perfect because the people who have to pay it can’t vote you out of office …

Wee, the people

YOU CAN become educated about all kinds of diseases you never heard of just by watching the commercials on network news … MY WIFE says it’s becoming more difficult to put her arms around me. I think her arms are shrinking … ANOTHER BAD idea: Allowing airline passengers to use their cell phones during flights, a proposal being considered by the feds … IF YOUR new college student is referred to as a “first-year student” instead of a “freshman,” you know the school’s politically correct … FEWER ED questions for dads: Viagra and Cialis didn’t advertise on NFL broadcasts this season … A SURVEY found that 71 percent of Democrats were excited about the eclipse, but only 61 percent of Republicans were. They’re probably skeptical about the science … TENZING NORGAY carried less stuff in his backpack when he accompanied Edmund Hillary to the top of Mount Everest than the average six-grader carries to school these days … SAFE SPACE? A local gym asks members to not drop weights on the floor because the noise might be “alarming or startling for other members” … IF 90 percent of the population is right handed, why is the flushing mechanism for toilets on the left side? Was inventor John Harrington a lefty? … BUMPER STICKER on an old Volkswagen bus: “0 to 65 in 13 minutes” … A MUSEUM in Kentucky dedicated to coal runs on solar power …

Local affairs

THE COUNTY planned to spend $310,000 — most of it state money — to erect 400 new road signs that are supposed to help mitigate the driving danger on four major corridors. At an average cost of $775 a sign, they better accomplish something … GIVEN HOW willing people are to believe fake news, YubaNet shouldn’t be surprised that some people actually bit on its April Fools’ story on the Nevada Irrigation District … PEOPLE WHO say cell towers aren’t compatible with historic downtown Nevada City don’t seem to have a problem with paved streets and electricity … THE DRAFT EIR for three Dollar General stores says they will impact the aesthetics of Alta Sierra and Rough Ready, but not Penn Valley. Should Penn Valley residents feel insulted? …

The Prez

DONALD TRUMP demands total loyalty from his underlings, but doesn’t hesitate to throw them under the bus. Maybe that’s why there are so many leaks in The White House … I’M SURE it’s just a coincidence that Trump criticized the new Air Force One as too expensive after the CEO of the contractor, Boeing, criticized Trump’s foreign trade plans … A REPORTER for The Washington Post was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for catching Trump lying. What’s so hard about that? … TRUMP TOLD Fox Business he made the decision to fire the missiles at Syria while eating chocolate cake, giving a whole new meaning to Marie Antoinette’s famous comment … POLITICALLY SPEAKING, the middle of the road is the road less traveled these days …

Speaking of sports

MORE EVIDENCE that playing football can make you stupid: Former player and coach Mike Ditka said he’s not aware of any oppression in the U.S. in the last 100 years … THE MEDIA’s hyperventilating over America’s elimination from World Cup competition might lead you to believe most Americans actually care … THERE’S A lot of bad facial hair in professional sports, and baseball players are the worst offenders … COLOR COMMENTATOR Rex Ryan was a dud in his “Monday Night Football” debut and sideline reporter Sergio Dipp had a meltdown. It’s a good thing a woman, play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins, was there to salvage the broadcast for ESPN … THE OAKLAND Raiders were 12-4 last season, but outscored their opponents by just 31 points, and won eight of their games by 7 points or less. They won’t have to slip much to see their record go south in a hurry (written in September … NOT ONLY did Sports Illustrated predict in 2014 that Houston would win the 2017 World Series, the cover story featured a picture of George Springer, who was named the series MVP …

Random thoughts

OLD DEFINITION of a reporter: A fellow who walks around with a can of gasoline looking for a smoldering fire. That function’s been taken over by social media … HERE’S A sure-fire money maker: You will be fined if you’re looking at your cell phone when you cross the street in Honolulu … A NEWSPAPER endorsement these days is like a kiss from your sister: Nice to have, but something you can live without … CIGARETTES are the only legal product that can kill you when used as directed … BURNING MAN is going to lose its vibe if it keeps associating with outfits like PG&E … UC BERKELEY officials should be embarrassed that they can’t guarantee the safety of conservative speakers on campus …

George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at

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