Apologies for my absence yesterday; the Thursday Brain Game was eaten by the monster that's been wreaking havoc on our site. (The last month's worth should reappear on the site... sooner or later.) Today is Free-for-All Friday; good luck!

Meet Barbara. She likes picnics, but dislikes cookouts. She'd rather shop for hardware than for footwear. She thinks that terriers are cute, but bulldogs are ugly. And she'd rather fingerpaint than do sculpture. Given all this information...

Would Barbara rather listen to Whitesnake or Santana?

Here is my SOLUTION.

NOTE: These type puzzles sometimes lend themselves to alternate solutions, so if you've come up with one that you feel is correct, then by all means consider it so, and feel free to share it in the comments below.

MY SOLUTION:

Barbara would rather listen to Santana.

Barbara's preferences repeat the same two-letter sequence twice (after the first letter, and again before the last letter):

picnics, not cookouts
hardware, not footwear
terriers, not bulldogs
fingerpaint, not sculpture

So...

Santana, not Whitesnake.