Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Teaching a guy to cook and other horrors

Teaching guys cooking is like pulling your tooth out without anesthesia.

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After successfully teaching many a cousin brother to cook and explaining to them for the 284762468 th time that “No”my mom wont be a better or more patient teacher than me, I think I have found a fool proof method of teaching guys cooking. Here are the necessary ingredients to make a successful guy-cook.

1 guy (preferably willing to learn to cook)
1 clean kitchen
1 tape recorder (to record everything that happens during the class in case you need to defend yourself in court one day)
Several Calmpose tablets
One or 2 bottles of strong liquor incase the Calmpose doesn’t kick in early enough.
(If you can’t get the Calmpose without prescription, bribe the pharmacist with promises of marrying his daughter/son. It always works)

Now get out of the clean kitchen as fast as possible and set up a gas stove in an open area preferably a football ground, but far away from schools, hospitals and military installations. Make sure the guy has medical insurance, vehicle insurance and life insurance. The medical insurance will take care of his medical bills after he eats what he cooks. The vehicle insurance will make sure he doesn’t make excuses to come late for classes like, ‘I got caught by the cops because I had no Vehicle Insurance”. Of course this clairvoyant cop has a personal vendetta against this particular cousin and so on every cookery class day catches him without fail. The Life Insurance will make sure that his next of kin get back his college tuition fees in case of his unfortunate demise due to food poisoning. Make sure he doesn’t have an engineering degree. Among my cousins the engineers are the worst cooking students. They argue too much, use expletives like “I’ll think I will watch while you cook first” and “I will have a beer while you demonstrate” or worse “Why don’t you cook and we will tell you how each dish turned out”.

Among my students I remember a cousin, Suresh a first year MBBS student in St Johns Medical College , Bangalore. Suresh wanted to learn to make omelet or fry an egg for breakfast. He had an electric stove and a non stick pan which he mostly used to keep his bike keys and other miscellaneous articles. After an unfortunate accident though he had to discontinue cookery classes and rely on the Hospital canteen. I still remember the day:

Suresh: I have bought you some spirit from the lab. Very good for removing nail polish my Chechi (elder sister) says.
Me: “So sweet of you.”
I liberally apply some on my nails. Quite effective.
Me:“Da listen, how much did you have to pay for this? I don’t want you spending your pocket money on purchasing stuff for me ok?”
Suresh: “Oh it’s free Chechi, I just filled up this bottle from the tank”.
Me: Tank?? What tank?
Suresh: “The tank where they keep the dead bodies.”
Me: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

Six months after the incident, I still use fork and spoon and knife to eat. Of course I had to temporarily give up cooking for some time too. But there were plus points. The stray dogs now look at me with a lot of respect. Though I don’t know why they drop their tails and slink away the moment they see me. Anyway no more medical student cousins I have decided. I think I will let a more experienced Mom handle them.

Ok so here are some facts I have learnt after teaching a motley group of cousin brothers the basics of cooking. I hope you gals find it informative and migrate to the US or marry a chef or take up transcendental meditation instead of trying to teach a guy to cook.

· You can teach guys to cook however you CANNOT teach them to clean up after them.

· You Must enlighten them that it is necessary to have a stove to cook.

· And also that it is necessary to have utensils to cook.

· You have to listen with sympathetic understanding when they say that they never noticed the above two points at home.

· After every culinary success the guys will say “Cooking! It’s so easy. It’s like Chemistry. You have just got to put the right ingredients and its ready ha ha ha.”

· After every culinary failure they throw their arms and the cutlery in the air exclaiming, “If I want to eat home cooked food I will get married hmph”

· Before every Sunday cooking session they will have beer, which they will buy at the eleventh hour and then insist on keeping it in the freezer and ‘waiting’ for it to chill.

· You have to gently point out that Beer is not recommended when you are learning to hold a knife for the very first time.

· You have to firmly tell them “You CANNOT put whiskey into every non veg dish to ENHANCE the taste.”

· You must repeat for the 284762468th time or longer that washing hands is not enough; you HAVE to wash the vegetables too.

· You have to emphasize that it is not wise to turn the gas on and then sprint across to the grocery store to buy a matchbox.

· You also have to emphasize that while he is at the grocery store it would NOT be a good idea to stop and have a smoke before he gets back to the kitchen.

· And that if he does have that cigarette at the grocery store and then gets back to the kitchen, then it would be very wise to wear fireproof clothing before lighting the matchbox.

· You have to explain that going for a movie while the chicken is cooking is not a good idea.

· You have to also explain that asking the girl friend to learn cooking can be potentially dangerous to his relationship or lack of it.

· You must assure them that they need not be formally dressed to cook.

· And that they don’t have to be in a state of near undress because the cooking is a hot and sweaty job.

· And that blaring music louldy will drown out important instructions like "Your shirt is on fire"

· You have to remind him that he MUST put water into the pan if he is trying to boil the egg.

· Also remind him that he cannot pass off your cooking as his when the fiancée is visiting because she knows that he cannot even boil an egg.

· You must smile and say “I know Chetta that inserting the lid on the Hawkins pressure cooker is tricky.” Don’t yell “ THEN WHY THE HECK DID YOU BUY IT WITHOUT ASKING ME?”(Because you know the answer to that one. The sales girl was pretty)

· Give him a hint that making jokes to his friends on the mobile on how he is trying to humor his little cousin sister by pretending to learn to cook can be dangerous, especially if that little cousin sister is in the vicinity holding a very sharp knife.

· And that Fish fry is good, but you have to clean them first. And ‘NO” he cannot send them over to your house to be cleaned ( and preferably cooked).

· Tell them patiently that they can’t call you every time they have to put salt in a dish. Last time I had to make an entire group of people on a teleconference wait while I patiently explained that two teaspoons of salt would be too much for one fried egg.

· You have got to teach them that egg shells don’t walk themselves into the dustbin and that the stink in the kitchen is not a dead rat but the egg that had fallen under the refrigerator last week and is now peacefully decomposing under the fridge.

· And ‘NO’ having a dog will not take care of aforementioned problems.

· Let them know that leftovers can lead to high attrition rates among maids.

· You must tell them that the printouts of recipes you email them can get smudged if you use them to wipe hands.

· And that laminating these printouts would be a very good idea indeed.

· You have to bite back that expletive when he tells you flippantly that he is going to get married anyway and then in all probability he will not have to cook, after you have taken him step after laborious step of making a Biryani. Don’t wail “Then why oh why did you waste my precious Sunday????” (Because you know the answer to that one too. Saturdays are for nursing hangovers)
Pity I don’t get Mondays off to do the same because after that remark I feel like washing the Calmpose tablets down my throat with the strongest available liquor.

· Tell them strictly that calling you ‘kunjumole’* and 'chakkare'* will not get them off the hook after they had burnt the biryani you asked them to watch over because they and their pals suddenly felt like a game of one day cricket at the BCC ground next to Bethany School. Let them know that a bottle of very dry white wine will make you feel indulgent enough not to empty the burnt biryani over their collective heads.

( * mallu endearments used to placate supposedly stupid cousin sisters after you have done some act of $#^@&(#%@ stupidity yourself).

· You have to let him know that not having his mom/sister in Bangalore is no excuse for forgetting a cousin sister’s birthday. Especially since she is on the verge on mental breakdown teaching him cook. And that a potato peeler is a not a very good idea of a belated birthday present.


Anonymous said...

chakkare, you're the best cousin ever.

silverine said...

@anonymous: So you burnt the Biryani again!!!! ROFL :))

Matter of Choice said...

ahem..what is this calampose??

is it cheaper/effective than whiskey? :)


Geo said...

Is this a family affair?
Are outsiders allowed in?

And abt the need for guys to learn cooking...
There is an easier solution.
"Get Married"

silverine said...

@matterofchoice: Look who is talking. Ahem what did you say? You dont know what Calmpose is? Check your dad's medicine closet:))

@geo:This is an account of what I have learnt trying to teach some cuz brothers to cook. And 'No' I dont offer cooking lessons LOL. Though I do have outstanding students like my pal Anish the commentor before you. Check out the redone last para :))

Jake said...

i had no clue it was this tough. and to think that a stove is needed. :-))

which means that classes are needed. i am enrolling. i promise to bring enough calmpose.

Anonymous said...

Trust me I am worst than your cousin when it comes to cooking but note that the top most cooks in the world are "guys"..buhahaha. ;)


silverine said...

@jake:Calmpose doesn't work anymore. Methinks a shrink might help LOL
@shan:Nice to see you again.Very true, that most top Chefs are guys.Which is why I dont understand why 99.9% of the Indian male population find it so hard to cook.

hope and love said...

i wonder why u bothered to teach them at all..
its hopeless generaly..
but ya some men r very good.. when it suits them..!! and thats rarely..!!
and the dishes r never washed up of course..!!

Jake said...

shrink coming along. he wants to learn too. LOL

Sinfully Pinstripe said...

I cannot even cook Tea?
My roommate does it.... but then he has stayed in the US for 6 months. And being a veggie, he has done his bit of burnt-finger-burnt-potato-burnt-daal-burnt-rice bit...

I instead get the milk for the tea in the morning. Now that's ok, because I will need to go out to get my smoke, na?

Unknown said...

Do you mean all Chefs , mostly of the male species learned their stuff this way? God save my stomach and senses ;-)

pDd said...

you had me in splits!!
that was absolutely hilarious...
men can't cook for nuts, mostly, but there are exceptions to that my dad..
and i'm very happy that the culinery genes have been passed on..or it would've been sheer sacrilege :)

scorpigle said...

A hilarious account.. caught me in splits.. but I must disagree with you on men's cooking skills... there are a lot of decent [including me lol] and some very great cooks I have come across..

Pratish Menon said...

LOL!!! #@$! good 'un

Jiby said...

excellent one...another solution i have seen works wonders in making mallu guys cook...instead of forcing them to try a hand at cooking keep them on a diet of all non-keralite food until they get absolutely sick of it and then let them loose in the kitchen...if the gals can bear to see their kitchen looking like the aftermath of an earthquake they sure cud get to eat some of the most delicious food in the whole world.

-Poison- said...

i dont have a cooking problem cos i am omnivorous..when alone
fruits n raw eggs n bread
no mess

tcr_79 said...

I hate this article because they are quite close to the truth

But you know what - I cook pretty well - experience is a good teacher (though i hate it) - And yes - I learnt to fry an egg, make an omlette etc all by myself, though I needed classes for Maggi

But all the chefs in the world are men - how is that?

kickassso said...

There are guys who cook better than gals:P a friend of mine has a brother doing hotel management in kovalam . He is one kidilam cook I've smelt his work while I was at his house. too bad he cooks for one:(. even the girls in his class admit he cooks better than him. HOWZAT.:> personally, I'm a practitioner of the fine art of cooking instant noodles. I even have my own recipe. With my trusty array of four sauces , I fight one of the greatest scourges the world has ever seen...Hunger (mine of course:D)even MY SISTER does not know .She makes me cook for her. but yes , I do agree with the tpical guy "Cooking! It’s so easy. It’s like Chemistry. You have just got to put the right ingredients and its ready ha ha ha."
but timing, proportion and a sense of smell helps

Arun R said...

chanced by ur blog, u write very well!!

the pennukaanal ceremony were real good....

shall keep visiting.....

The elderly camel said...

One of your best ever :)!

Naresh Krishnan said...

It's the coronary inducing coconut oil I guess, that makes the male of the species wary of the attempt. Akin to poisoning oneself.
Never easy.

Finely cooked post.

Praveen said...

Wow, i cant stop laughing :). I am a nobody at cooking too, when are you teaching me? :)
Nice to see you really active at writing. Was a bit late here.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

heh heh heh ....

Miss ... i agree w./ u sentence by sentence ..... word by word ... letter by letter ...

I know what it feels like to teach ur cousins that ur best baked cake IS not cats' food or that lemons and tomatoes are not juggler items ...

And Miss , maybe i will just get around to being a gal in the crazy world of guy cousins ... Thanx for the inspiration

Vikram said...

see, the problem with cooking at home is - gyus have been trained since birth to understand that what _their_ mom makes is the _right_ way. hence when they start out, they already have a set ideal to imitate. which coupled with the fact that cooking is as subjective as a political opinion and has no standardized procedures, makes it impossible for us poor wretched guys to perform.

that's why so many of us choose to get married instead.

nibujohn said...

cool silverine, nice observations. well, the part i agree most is the one that talks about the utensil cleaning bit. it is really hard to clean them after all the effort you put in to make the impossible happen, er.. i mean to make the dish.

Geo said...


Looks like you can give Ms. Thangam Philip or Mr. Sanjeev Kapoor a run for their money if u start a culinary class. A lot of people eager to be taught. LOL.

Leon said...

I don't drink or smoke. Neither do I have a dog. That considerably reduces the trouble you will have to undergo while teaching me how to cook. You also mentioned a lot of non-veg stuff in your post which makes you an ideal candidate for being my cooking teacher.What say you teach me when I come down to Bangalore next year? :p

Long post but every bit of it was funny..I loved it.. Way to go... :-)

Sujith said...

ha ha ha... that was awesome! so you had a nice time with the cadavers ;-)) hey btw males are not that bad a cook as well..

my simple observation.. whenever there is a big party, for example a marriage function in kerala, i have seen only male cooks in the kitchen area. really havent seen any female cooks. is it bcoz women know to cook only in a small scale (family) and when the scale increases, they just fail?? this is not my opinion, but a simple observation ;-))

Anonymous said...

how to teach guys to cook in one single step;

1. Bring Shilpa Shetty or look alike to a kitchen, this will get the guy's undivided attention... rest is academic ;-)

Goan Pao said...

after reading this Im still not sure in my head which one suits the article better...bad students or worse teacher...he he ..just kidding...
but if youd like to teach a man to cook....just send him to an unknown place..and keep him hungry..
Ive seen my roomies learn to cook from scratch here....
Thanks to my mom's belief in gender equality I was forced to learn to cook some basic dishes...I must say I can cook really well...but some times I burn stuff so that I am not asked to cook again....hope my roomise dont see this.. ;)

silverine said...

@injinuity: Wow! Now why didn't I think of that??? And to think I wasted precious Sundays when all I had to do was call Shipa Shetty!!! I am so dumb! LOL
@Leon, Praveen and Geo: Well this teacher has taken premature retirement. Perhaps as Goan Paav says maybe I was a bad teacher :))
@jithu and scorpigle:I do agree that most chefs are male and that there are many good male cooks, But they are an exception and not the rule :)
@manu:Thank you and I have noticed that guys get so exhausted after cooking and eating due to a genetic predisposition to laziness LOL
@Densel: One chicken curry does not make a cook make. So stop resting on your laurels and tell me how the mushroom curry turned out. Then maybe I will reverse my biases ;)
@Deepa, Pallavi @ Hope and Love: Hee hee know what you mean :)
@arbit council:Trained? I dont think guys need training to avoid work ;)
@goan pav: Your mom deserves the 'Mom of the Year" award:)

kickassso said...

" When men cook, it is cuisine.When women cook, it is food" men just don wanna cook because we can get to do no work and make the womenfolk feel needed( coz if it werent for cooking and reproduction...we couldave gotten along just fine)

kickassso said...

by ourselves :P

silverine said...

@kickasso: as your name suggests so be done to you for that MCP statement:)

chanakya said...

wow Silvine that was tops. I cant cook for the life of myself. What jiby says is true though for most indian men though. My roomates cant live without Indian food, not good when you are moonlighting in a different country for a couple of months :)).

Though Densel she should sample Dyan cooking. The guys on a roll . What say u ?

silverine said...

@tcr: Well...Maggi does need the expert guidance of bum cooks. LOL And having been abroad I guess you would have picked up cooking by now.

@poison:raw eggs??? yuck!

@jake: So the shrink is a bachelor too I presume? In which case no thanks.;)

@chankya:Exactly the reason why my cousins wanted to learn cooking . They were so fed up of eating out of the various Kerala Messes in Blr.This account was about ordinary guys not extraordinary male chefs :)

Ar said...

heh charakane cooking padapikya mo?...seriously, i can be the most toughest of students ever, as u can totally scratch out step 1 of ur ingredients to teach me cooking...'Oh, so who's cooking turn is it today?', ask my roomies. 'Its arun's'. Everybody's glum. 'Guess, we will have to eat at McDonalds today.'...that sums up my cooking.

@goan pav: i read ur comment. i dont have any comments on it, xcept ur cooking was really up there.

came across ur blog from gaon pav's. really, I am ROFL here.

Anonymous said...

damn!! hehe...feel like pulling your cheeks...wonder why men need to learn cooking from body taught me...necessity is the mother of invention still holds aint a bad cook far my friend got addicted :P

Living Dead

chupru said...

I know to cook and I do it best; Maggi 2-minute noodles and MTR product lists though,
but I CAN COOK humph.....

Anonymous said...

cant do it now... i kept my ____ elsewhere:>

Leon said...

Hey.. there are a hell of a lot of people commenting here..

Why don't you create a blogroll and add my name to it..

I could use the publicity.. :p

aravind said...

Men do cook occasionally, atleast. But for me and my dad we do cook a lot. Atleast it seems when ma dad and me cooks it seems tastier than what my mom does.
May be because I usually get to eat what mom cooks.
Still I agree as far as I am concerned after I cook I need someone else to clean up the hell of a mess. The only bright side I always make my younger bro to eat up most of what I cook. Ofcourse It aint that bad thats why he agrees to try out.

monu said...


nice blog :)

But dont say that all guys are too bad at cooking ...

Here we have to cook ourself. otherwise u will have to depend on hotel food which is not that good.

cooking is one of the techniques we should know to survive here :D

BTW am a good cook ;)

-Poison- said...

raw eggs r beautiful to taste...i wonder why people hate them. :-?

aravind said...

Some say Sushi is the best. Try that too. You dont need to cook for that You just have to cut the fish in the right way. :p

Anonymous said...

And so i stood there inspecting the carnage - knife in my hand; conspiciously dripping red.My fingerprints were all over it.........Maybe i shouldnt have done it but it was too late now !
There were noises from the next room; of pain, of horror, disgust...

I called out but there was no reply. And so i went over there knife in hand.

I saw him there tears rolling down his face....

And so i called out to my roomie " Bugger, I ve cut the tomatoes; have u done the onions???
(And the tears were not due to Arsenal losing the game on TV but of course due to the onions & ; the beer on the floor was empty too)

Thts btw the usual scene during my cookin; have stayed away frm home for 5 years. I know i can make anything with tomatoes n onions..if u have any of eggs, fish, prawns, cauliflower to put it into the pan with both of these. If it becomes too spicy add ketchup; if its bland have another drink!

And of course i'm no flaash in the pan.been there done tht..

Slverine as i told u; this was ur best post ever!And so thts the scret of ur fingernails! Would u come over 2 my street and play pied piper to the street dogs in my road. Damnd #%# SOBs howl thru out the night!


silverine said...

@flaashgordon: rofl on that comment. Please blog about your cooking experiments. Would love to read that. And to think I believed all those lies about your cooking prowess :)) LOL
and grrrr go bark at those dogs on your street yourself.Would make a lovely cacaphony. If you can't beat 'em, join'em ;)

Anonymous said...

C'mon Silverine;

some "smole" lies about my cooking are ok....Afterall everything is fair in u-know-wot and war.

And my cookin is still evolving ; improving by leaps and bounds (of people who eat my cooked food)its according to the quality principles laid down by "kaizen"- a japanese method for continuous improvemnt

and btw sorry, i cant adopt ur tried n tested "Final Solution" for street dogs. Mebbe howling with street dogs works for u; but in my case i dont want my neighbors to think i turn into a werewolf at night or such. Can damage my marriage prospects severely ; u see..


Naresh Krishnan said...

Silverine furnishes the recipe.
Flaash cooks the pot.
Dogs fed to heaven.

I guess that solves ur problem, flaash.

silverine said...

@Naresh Krishnan:Amen!

@Flaash: I just have to brandish my nails to drive away the dogs.Besides I have no howling dogs in my neighbourhood. I have heard that dogs hang around bad cooks . LOL
Check out Praveens blog for more on dogs. He is a commentor here.

Ashwin Raju said...

Well. I do cook, and have been cooking since i was in school. I have even taught some gals to cook, and lemme say it aint that easy either. Anyway i hope the girl i marry (hopefully the one i've been after for the last 5 years ), cooks for me, cos knowing to cook and cooking are completely different things.

Sreekesh Menon said...

and yet the worlds greatest chefs are all men. why is that?

and the qoute reflects a time long ago when the society saw men as the masters and it was always a horror trying to teach the master.

asliarun said...

Silverine, a hilarious post! hehh You DO write very well!

Unknown said...

First stop here !! Pretty hilarous and partly true :)

Anonymous said...

Your blog was recommended by Flaash. And I thank him for that. The read was worth it. I too, am an occasional cook. And I think now I understand the meanings of those terrified looks I got from female company (Wife, Mom, Cuz Sis.. all form a union when it comes to the 'looks') during my cooking endeavours. God Save Them.

--Nishad Paul

Lost in trance... said...

outright hilarious. i can so relate to it, coz i've been showered with praises like "never knew somebody cud ruin a pack of noodles this bad".
show some mercy to the guy. :))

Jagan said...

hilarious !!! .. actually when i cook , the kitchen looks like a war zone . yep .. i can only boil water ..and if i remember to put the egg , then i can have boiled egg too :-) . will i get to learn cooking from u ?

Rays Of Sun said...

Oh Boy! This was hilarious!!
Esp the "Nail polish incident"!!

Camphor said...

Dear Lord! I swear I need to keep away from your blog. This much laughign in one day CANNOT be good for my health. :P

Krishna Ram Kuttuva Jeyaram said...

great post!

"It’s so easy. It’s like Chemistry."... ultimate.

first time here, keep kicking!

silverine said...

@bleak: Best of luck with the girl you been after for 5 years :)
@Sreekesh: Male chefs are one in a million and the rest are bad cooks lol :))
@Jaya and Asli: Thank you :)
@Nishad: Thanks for dropping by. Your mum, wife etc know only too well the hazards of leaving a man in the kitchen :))
@lostintrance: A guy who spoils noodles must be bad lol :))
@Jagan: Boiling an egg is the first step:)
@rays of sun and camphor: Thanks girls!! I know for a fact that you empathise with me :))
@kicha: Thanks for dropping by :)

mathew said...

i wonder how i missed this post all these of the best in your blog i should say!!!

ancientmariner said...

Absolutely hilarious..having experienced the perils of cooking myself, i shud state that mallu guys do cook well once they have mastered this art..yea had to spend lots of dollrs on ISD's to figure out what to use for 'parippu' and how to prepare ellisery/pulusery' without letting the curd go bad..

cutefreaky said...

well.. if i were to teach some guy to cook.. n am hoping to taste it after.. i wud order a pizza as a back up plan..


Alameen said...

Late night.. Sitting in the office.. And you know what I am doing.. Reading Silverine veera ghaadhas..

All this reminded me about the day i prepared "Anda(egg) silent mutter violent"..

LOL.. I was trying to imagine the Stray dogs respecting you. Then I had to explain the security guy that there is nothing wrong here.. I was just laughing..

Silverine, You are the best

:) Alameen

രാജ് said...

ഹലോന്‍ റെസീപ്പ് മെയിലിങ് ഓണ്‍ റിക്വസ്റ്റ് സര്‍വീസ് ഇപ്പോഴും നിലവിലുണ്ടോ?

പഴേ പോസ്റ്റൂകള്‍ ഇന്നാണ് വായിക്കുന്നത്, പാവം എന്റെ കസിന്‍സ്, ഭാഗ്യം അവരിതുവരെ ബ്ലോഗ് ചെയ്തുതുടങ്ങിയിട്ടില്ല :-)

Anonymous said...

god bless mr ramen and his pack of noodles.

Anonymous said...

Hey, here's something you may want to chew on... Many guys can cook. And cook well, too. They just don't like to cook consistently.

And if you offer proof of passable culinary skills, well, that sort of raises expectations...

I'm not much of a cook in the Naadan sense. But other dishes, particularly Chinese and Mughal, I can cook circles around you... sometimes literally... Ok, so maybe that wasn't helping my cause.

I figured that by the next generation, guys would be cooking more than gals. I base this on the fact that during my Engineering days, all the guys lived in rented independent houses, slaving at the kitchen floor, while all the ladies lived in pampering hostels... they wouldn't even stir their own tea. They needed help putting in the sugar and of course, dissolving the same...

I thought the equation would have shifted more than it has. I could be wrong now... But I don't think so...


bangles said...

this is a damnnnnnnnnn good post. ultimate comical one! my jaws are in pain man! can't seem to stop laughing!;)

Hatikvah said...

Here was a post that I wished never ended...