Phyne tuning the concept

In Editorial on March 8, 2011 at 11:16 am

Tired of having your buttons pushed?

Things are costing more and it is taking more hours of work to pay for goods and services obtained from the fruits of our labor.  In response, Phyne Dyning announced a course change that would address the home cook’s shrinking food budget.  It just did not seem right to promote cooking extravagance when just cooking adequately has become a challenge for the family chef.

Now it is time for some phyne tuning of our new course.

The Phyne Dyner has a “Eureka!” moment ever blue moon or so.  I had two such moments over the past weekend.

The first “Eureka!” came on the heels of an accidentally wonderful Shabbat meal.  The Phyne Dyner prepared something so wonderful and so economical that he walked out of the kitchen thinking, “That will be a hard act to follow and how can I do that again with something new?”  Then, the “Eureka!”

“How do I share this with others and how can this be a vehicle for tikkun olam?  After all, it was Shabbat and one becomes attuned to listen to one’s head for such thoughts on Shabbat.

The result is an emerging project for the Phyne Dyner, one that will bring immediate Shabbat joy to the celebrant and will bring a bit of tikkun olam to the people who do not share our Shabbat table.

Then, there was the second “Eureka!”

For quite some time, the Phyne Dyning family enjoyed weekly Torah study at our Temple.  Recently, the course predictably drifts from Torah and Shabbat learning into all things political.  We consequently drifted away and now do our own learning from a variety of texts spanning the breadth of Jewish thinking…and no politics on Shabbat.

No “Eureka!”  But, it opened my mind to listen for it.  It came while watching the local, late-night news.

If you ask most people, “What is Iowa’s chief industry?” they would answer with, “farming and agriculture.”

Not so.  Elections are Iowa’s chief industry.

You know, those processes where immense amounts of advertising dollars are spent convincing people to select the next winner from the last season’s crop of losers and whereby nothing ever changes.  Iowa is a perpetual season of American Idol where the smarmy contestants never change and where a new referendum or ballot issue auditions almost every month.

“Enough already!” I shouted at the television.  “Give us a break.  Isn’t is possible to have even one newscast absent of a red-faced, talking head from last month’s crop of losers, standing behind a red, white, and blue placard…proclaiming how much happier, wealthier, successful, beautiful, or well-loved we would be ‘If you vote for me’”?  How about a few minutes of peace from the telephone and the legions of breathless political activists asking for “a few minutes of your time”?

We need a “safe place” where endless politics, controversies, and the polltakers cannot penetrate.


“Make Phyne Dyning a politic-free zone.  Even better, make it a controversy-free zone.”

I may be flirting with blogging disaster.  My editorials having a political bent or with an air of controversy have been my most viewed pieces…even over the recipes which is more to pity.  The seasoned writer who counsels me on all things blogging tells me the surest way to build readership is to punch emotional buttons.

But, is that building a readership?  I think it is more like being part of a circus where people only follow the ringmaster out of morbid curiosity.

It’s time to ditch the circus tent and get to the business of Phyne Dyning.

Do people want a place of refuge where they can sit down at their screens with a glass of wine and hang a “Do not disturb” sign on the back of their chair?  Do readers long for a food blog where the recipes offer simple, economical elegance?  Do readers actually need a site where they are inspired to cook great foods for the people they love?  Do they want only those things…and a bit of peace?

I am willing to gamble that they do.

It may mean some changes from what the Phyne Dyner has been doing.  The Phyne Dyner’s Facebook page may get a little more editing by removing political happenings from its wall.  Phyne’s friends should not be offended if their pet political cause is excised or if routinely political posters are muted altogether.

That’s the Phyne Dyner’s goal, to build a place of refuge where readers can get away from a world where climbing to the top via another person’s back is the norm and where we, too often, feel like just another crab in the world’s bucket.

So put on your rattiest bathrobe and pour a Flintstones jelly-glass full of Chablis.

It’s time for Phyne Dyners to gather.

  1. Nice!!!!

    • Thanks Georgie!

      I recently read an unfortunate survey finding. Since 1990, surveyed people between the ages of 19-35 report record lows of empathetic feelings for others, while narcissism in that age cohort is at an all-time high. Those of us who are older failed to set the example and our young colleagues missed the mark. The good news? There’s still time to turn the trend around…hence the “phyne tuning”.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Hooray, PD! Loved reading this – your ideas and your prose! Keep it coming.

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