It’s that terrible time of year again

It starts when you walk in to Walmart one day and notice suddenly everything is orange.  Aisle after aisle of all manner of orange and black.  That’s when I realize what time of year it is, and what’s coming next.  Halloween, being a totally bullshit holiday, makes for a short shopping season and quickly fades to make room for the red and green. Red, green, white, silver, and gold.  A hideous, jarring combination of colors that would never be allowed in the same room if not for the unquestionable excuse of christmas – another bogus holiday.

Every Christmas memory of my childhood is a happy one.  I’ve heard people tell stories of their christmas morning disappointments, but I have no such stories.  In fact, I realized even as a very young child that my parents showered me in a ludicrous mountain of gifts I did nothing to deserve. I saw what my parents were going through running a small business, and I wondered even then how much harder all the packages marked, “Santa” were making their lives.  But christmas really was a magical time for me as child.  Even beyond the presents, I loved the family parties where I’d see my aunts, uncles, and cousins, I loved the music, the lights, and the food.

But that was when I was a child.  I don’t know when it changed.  I don’t know when I started to dread christmas.  I suspect if I could travel back through time to find the exact point it might correspond closely with whenever I received my first credit card – or at least my first credit card bill.  But to be clear, this isn’t just about finances – I dread the whole thing now.  I’d like to simply pull the plug on christmas.  For once I’d like to just go through one winter without the hideous color scheme, the fake religious holiday, the cards, the gift exchanges, the trees, the mall crowds, and the terrible movies on ABC Family.

Every year around this time I feel christmas bearing down on us and it puts me in a slump.  It’s one of the few things I feel like American culture really imposes on me against my will.  Christmas should have an opt-out form.  Better yet, it should have an opt-IN form.

Of course, as I’m writing this we still have to get through Thanksgiving.  I’m down with Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is more like a dinner than a holiday.  I’m not one to turn down a meal.


Bloomberg is reporting that the pope predicted our current economic troubles back in 1985.  Now, he was merely a cardinal at the time of this prediction, so this information didn’t come to him through the red phone to god.  His bold prediction was that an “undisciplined economy would collapse.” As near as I can tell he put no date on this prediction, nor did he mention any particular countries that would be in the center of collapse.  He did mention that, “the only solid reality is the word of God.”

As I can’t think of anything else to write about today, I figure I’ll take this opportunity to make some predictions of my own.  Here goes:

The world economy with experience radical change. International borders will be redrawn.  Previously poor countries will be showered in wealth.  Some prosperous countries will slump, while others continue to prosper.  Wars will rage, but later end, to be followed by times of peace.  Large companies will fail, and small companies with new ideas will grow in their place.  Diseases will be cured, but new ones will be discovered.

Mark my words.

Lessons of a first time turkey fryer

  • 24 hour brine – highly recommended
  • 14 lb bird +12 people = no left overs
  • 5 lbs of mashed potatoes isn’t very much
  • There are no drippings from deep frying, which complicates gravy
  • Cover during frying, or you’ll never hit the right temperature (350 degrees F)
  • Get the bird to room temp before you drop it in the oil.
  • Don’t actually drop it in the oil
  • If you have an electric fryer read the directions
  • Watch the episode of Good Eats about deep frying a turkey before you do anything else
  • If you’re going through all this trouble you might as well fry two turkeys
  • Peanut oil is ridiculously expensive
  • You need like 4 gallons of oil
  • Test your displacement with water before filling your fryer with oil (Thanks Archimedes)
  • Forget the whole flavor injection thing
  • Fry some other stuff while you have the fryer set up. Experiment.

Ned Nott and Sam Shott

Just some fun words today:

Ned Nott was shot and Sam Shott was not.
So it is better to be Shott than Nott.
Some say Nott was not shot.
But Shott says he shot Nott.
Either the shot Shott shot at Nott was not shot,
Or Nott was shot.
If the shot Shott shot shot Nott, Nott was shot.
But if the shot Shott shot shot Shott,
Then Shott was shot, not Nott.