Chewing the fat with today’s chat

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Photo by Lyn MacDonald

Yes, indeed, it’s Wednesday and we’ve come to another Chat Day.

The odd schedule is finished because there are no more holidays for a little while — are there?

Sadly, Celine Dion is tied up and can’t handle the background music today, so just go with whatever floats your boat.

ITEM: A female friend of mine — name withheld this time around — phoned Monday in a panic.

“No, no, no,” she cried. “I can’t believe it. I gained 11 pounds over the holidays.

“Even though we went to some parties, I was really pretty careful. Really. What did I do wrong?”

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the dreaded answer.

I tracked down the subject of holiday weight gain on a few medical and dietary websites, and discovered the culprit that punished my friend and others.

Leftovers.

Yep, it turns out most people do basically avoid going crazy over Christmas and New Year’s, but ...

They’ve had friends over for various events, and when the smoke clears, there’s a lot of party food left on the counter or in the fridge.

It still looks great, too.

Say hello to those 11 pounds.

ITEM: It’s no secret that I love a good cigar.

On the other hand, a bad one can be wretched.

It’s happened from time to time that a golf partner will hand out stogies to everyone in the group, and you have to stagger along while waiting to faint from the truly terrible tobacco.

There was no such fear, however, when Paul Banducci — you know him as proprietor of The Bulldog Lounge in the Silver Lake Mall — hosted friends and anyone else who happened along last week.

The occasion was the unveiling of The Bulldog’s own house brand of cigar.

Banducci and cigar maker Matt Booth went through a six-month process to find the exact taste and texture they wanted from a product that comes basically from the Dominican Republic.

What’s fascinating is that The Bulldog is a really, really small shop to carry its own brand of cigar — which makes the decision a pretty serious financial gamble.

“I talked to Matt (at a Las Vegas trade show) when I saw some of the individual brands he was doing without any publicity,” Banducci said.

“Lots of people said they were interested, but only three followed up and we were the smallest, by far,” Banducci said.

At least in terms of the cigar itself, there should be no worries.

Booth and Banducci found a tasty blend that gets your attention but isn’t too strong for the average customer.

That part was a rousing success.

“Now we just need to sell them,” Banducci said.

ITEM: The Press has provided you with some spectacular photos and stories about the eagles that come to visit us each year.

Cars line up at lookout points, and folks tote binoculars to get better views of these magnificent birds.

They take your breath away, truly.

One thing we cannot do, however, is actually hold an eagle without tons of government permitting. It’s illegal, in fact, to pick up an eagle feather that might fall to Earth.

Rules concerning birds of prey are super-strict.

Imagine my surprise and delight, then, when I was living in Scotland and found a ranch that raises various birds of prey — and puts them on display, both flying and at rest.

There are protections, but the laws are not as tough.

The ultimate thrill was being wrapped in protective gear, holding an arm straight out, and having a bald eagle — America’s national emblem — zoom down out of the sun to land gently on my left forearm.

I was supposed to hold on for a while, as the curator told spectators all about the eagle, whose name was Cochise.

But magnificent or not, he was heavy. You don’t realize the size when you see an eagle in flight.

They’re big.

Whenever I’m lucky enough to see one of the beautiful eagles that wing over our lakes, of course I think of Cochise.

Having him on my arm was an honor.

•••

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

A Brand New Day appears from Wednesday through Saturday each week.

Steve’s “Zags Tracker” column on Gonzaga basketball runs on Tuesday.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com

Facebook: BrandNewDayCDAPress

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

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Chewing the fat with today’s chat

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