Monday, November 30, 2015

All the bright sparkling lights

Today's holiday theme - The lights of Christmas (exterior)

Last year, an Australian lawyer, David Richards, has set a world record by stringing up almost 1.2 million Christmas lights in a shopping center in Canberra, Australia.

Guinness World Records confirmed last year that the 75 miles of multicoloured wire strung in the shape of three interconnected giant, wrapped Christmas gifts was the largest ever display made up of LED lights.

Mr Richards briefly held the Guinness World Record for the most number of Christmas lights strung on a house, in 2014 (502,165 to be exact. If you rolled it out straight would stretch a distance of 29.8 miles.)

But almost immediately afterwards, a family in LaGrangeville, New York, decorated their home with 601,736 Christmas lights, reclaiming their 2012 record.

Mr. Richards didn't take his loss lying down as he has just set the record for the most lights on a single Christmas tree (518,838 lights.)

Once again, it's nice to see that the public is helping support the public utilities. You know that they are barely eking out a living.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It ain't pretty but it's here

For better or worse, the holiday season is once again upon us. We're proud to bring you the Eighth Annual Holiday video festival.

Today, we bring you - Really Bad Christmas songs.  (I received word from the Geneva Convention that I am non legally permitted to post the Duggar family singing Christmas Carols.  It would be considered a war crime.  Duly noted.)

All I Want For Christmas (Is My Upper Plate) - Stan Boreson & Doug Setterberg

Hearing All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth is cute once, maybe twice during the holiday season. Hearing a parody, like this, of a song you'd rather not hear is about as exciting as dental surgery.

Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) - The Darkness

I first thought that this was a very funny parody of a metal band doing their version of a Christmas song.  I was wrong; this is a real band and this was a real song (which reached #02 of the UK charts.)

(While not quite a Christmas song, if you read on you'll understand why it has been included in this year's list but I must warn you that is you are suffering from diabetes, please do not watch the following video)
There's No-One Quite Like Grandma - St Winifreds School Choir

There's No-One Quite Like Grandma spent a week at number one having knocked Happy Christmas (War is Over) off the top spot, before being replaced by another Lennon tune, Imagine, in the wake of his death.

Boys and Girls (Xmas Time Love) - The Cheeky Girls

I once thought, their other Christmas song, Have a Cheeky Christmas was bad; I can only ask if  you can forgive me for making you even aware of it's existence.

And our perennial favorite -

The Christmas Shoes - NewSong

What list of cheesy holiday songs would be complete without this wretched dreck concerning a filthy child's odd foot fetish (especially since it centers around his dying mother) - always an uplifting tune.

But I will give Patton Oswald the final word on the subject.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I didn't wanna do it. It was those yams. Oh, those nasty yams!

Here is a brief history of the holiday you may wish to share with your loved ones:

In the winter of 1620-1621, a group of immigrants in Massachusetts experienced a devastating winter. The weather was fierce. Food was scarce. Many died. At last spring came, then summer, and by the time of the autumn harvest things were looking about as rosy as they ever look in Massachusetts.

At a fundraising dinner that fall, Governor Bradford stood up and gave a speech:

"Thank God we survived last winter," he said. "Thank God this harvest gives us a fighting chance to survive the coming winter. And thank you for your support in the last election, please make checks payable to the Committee to Re-Elect the Governor, God bless America, amen. Let's eat."

The ensuing winter didn't turn out too badly, so the superstitious immigrants concluded that Governor Bradford's magic spell of "Thanksgiving" had done the trick.

The holiday was intermittently celebrated for years, with an enthusiasm scaled to the previous winter's weather, until November 26, 1789, when President Washington issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide day of thanksgiving for the establishment of the Constitution.

Washington's proclamation wasn't much different from Bradford's.

"Thank God we survived last winter," he said. "Thank God we've got a fighting chance to survive the coming winter. Thank God we've got our own damn country now and don't have to put up with a bunch of meddling European bastards. And thank you for your support in the last election, please make checks payable to Federalists for Washington, God bless America, amen. Let's eat."

Washington, the Constitution, and many of the immigrants (who were now Americans) survived the winter, so this new spell was also deemed effective.

President Lincoln later proclaimed the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day in 1863 (although he did not survive to see the next Thanksgiving),

but President Roosevelt moved it back to the fourth Thursday of the month in 1939 to extend the time available for holiday shopping.

President Ford proposed making it the third Wednesday in September, in order to really extend the time available for holiday shopping, but he only made the proposal to his golden retriever, Liberty, so the suggestion never reached congress.

And so we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year, in honor of having survived last winter, having got rid of those meddling European bastards, having invented our own rules and having plenty of time to shop before the holidays.

I know it sounds trite but please, take a moment to remember all of the people around our country who are homeless and out in the cold this evening.

And so it goes

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ben Franklin's favorite bird

(Sorry for the brief post but rushing to get shit done before tomorrow)

It's time to consider the main course - Turkey.  I am reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote: After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.  Since Mr. Teeny can't be your sou-chef tomorrow, I've posted a few notes on cooking the bird in question:

Turkey w/ Stuffing
Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Here are a couple more Thanksgiving themes episodes to watch while your thinking about what you've gotten yourself into

Mad About You - The Thanksgiving Show

WKRP in Cincinnati - Turkeys Away

I'll leave you today with a thoughtful quote from Jon Stewart: I celebrated Thanksgiving the old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.

And so it goes

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Maybe broccoli doesn't like you either!

Let's talk vegetables.

You probably don't like them (maybe you do, what do I know.) You probably had a bad experience in elementary school (not with vegetables - just in school.) Well, you have to eat vegetables sometimes and Thanksgiving is as good about a time as any.

Here are a couple of suggestions on vegetables:

Ginger Carrots
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Green Beans

Mash Potatoes (the pleasant way to transport gravy into your body)
Sweet Potatoes

Here are a couple more Thanksgiving themes episodes to watch while your thinking about your choices

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Scrubs  - My Day Off

And so it goes

Monday, November 23, 2015

First, we eat!

If you're getting ready for the holiday (and hosting) you should have thought about your turkey choice this year - frozen or fresh.  I believe this is a more heated debate that Shiite or Sunni.  Look, frozen is cheaper and if you buy it by today you will have enough time to defrost it safely in your refrigerator by Thursday.

If you want to buy a fresh one (or forget to buy a frozen one today,) you have until Wednesday night to go shopping. You can buy a frozen one later this week but defrosting it properly is between you and your god.  While you are having that religious debate with yourself, here are a couple of fun Thanksgiving related sitcoms. 

Cheers - Thanksgiving Orphans

Norm's wife, Vera Peterson, is played by George Wendt's actual wife, Bernadette Birkette.

The Bob Newhart Show - An American Family

The title is from the 1973 PBS documentary series about the Loud family where cameras were taken into their home to document their everyday life in an early example of Reality TV.

You don't need to stress out about the first part of your Thanksgiving feast.  Please feel free to run to your local deli and get the following items:

precut Carrots/ Celery Sticks
Pre-cubed assorted Cheese
Jarred Olives

If you need to work off a past sin or earn your way into heaven, here's a somewhat simple recipe for a Shrimp Dip.  Trust me, if you make it, you will impress you friends and family.

Since Thanksgiving is mostly about ritual and tradition, here is the annual posting of my family's traditional holiday dip. This is literally a blast from the 60s but then again, so am I.

Rather than risk the scornful mocking reproaches from my mother, she is making her shrimp dip this year. But for those of you who are not partaking in our holiday feast this year, I give you my moms recipe for Shrimp Dip (mom if you're reading this, I'm sure I got something wrong). For the rest of you, it's perfect and perhaps you have a slight clue as to the high alcohol content of my recipes.

1 - 10 oz. can condensed tomato soup (you know that kind - Andy Warhol painted it and until they pay me, I'm not mentioning the brand name.)
1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 - 8 oz. jar of mayonnaise
1 package of Knox Gelatin (I mentioned the brand name, sue me, I don't know any other gelatin company.)
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
3 - 5 ounces cans of medium shrimp*
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


* Sharp utility knife
* Dinner size folk (not the salad folk)
* Cutting board
* Small saucepan
* Medium sized mixing bowl
* Can opener
* Medium sized sieve
* 1.5 quart Tupperware bowl (with bumpable lid)**
* 1 large wooden spoon
* Several shots of the best vodka you have (in your freezer)
* 1 Beach Boys CD (preferably Pet Sounds)


Turn on the CD. It had better be Pet Sounds.

Don't argue with me - If Sgt Pepper didn't exist, this would have been the greatest album ever made. Brian Wilson went crazy because of it. A character in Doonesbury died while listening to it - I'll come to your house and hurt you.

Cut your onion and celery into small dice like pieces. I usually don't care about these sort of things but since you aren't going to cook them, cut them fairly evenly and small (those of you suffering from OCD - 6/16 squares.) Take you're first shot of vodka. Put the onions and celery aside. Contemplate the obsessive nature of musical geniuses (think about how many different drugs Brian must have been doing at the time to name an album Pet Sounds.)

Add the cream cheese, mayo, onions and celery into the bowl and mix thoroughly. (Take a shot or not - your choice.) Heat the soup in small saucepan over a medium flame until just simmering and take off flame. Add the Worcestershire and the gelatin package into the heated soup and stir vigorously (to avoid clumping.) This is called 'blooming the gelatin'. Stir for about five minutes. Let 100 flowers bloom (my mother proof read this and specifically wanted me to mention that she is not encouraging the advancement of Communism by the making of her shrimp dip. Duly noted mom.)

Add the tomato soup into the cream cheese mixture and combine thoroughly. Congratulate yourself that you've come this far with the recipe and have another shot. Open the cans of shrimp and drain and briefly rinse shrimp. Add to the cheese mixture and fold shrimp in until just combined, trying not to mash the shrimps up (if you do - so what, your mother isn't going to yell at you.) You should be up to the really sad part of the CD - try not to cry into the bowl. If you can't stop crying - cut your alcohol intake immediately.

Transfer to Tupperware bowl. Smooth the top and seal. Remember to 'burp' the bowl. Giggle to yourself - it's ok, you burped the bowl. Refrigerate several hours (overnight is preferable.)

To serve, remove from refrigerator and warm outside of bowl to loosen dip from side and turn out onto a serving plate. Serve with crackers (My mother prefers Ritz crackers - I like Carr's; it's your choice, she's not your mother.)

* 3 cans of the medium size shrimp equal about a pound of cooked shrimp. If you can't bring yourself to use canned shrimp - by all means use cooked shrimp. You'll need to chop the shrimp into small pieces (maybe even squirt them with a slice of lemon - again, your mother isn't looking over your shoulder.)

** You can use whatever resealable container you'd like, Tupperware didn't pay me a dime.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

This is just wrong!

Everyone knows that you don't let children mix drinks;

they always add too much vermouth.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I'm not crying; I've just got something in my eye

I will say that people in England have a lot more patience - this commercial runs over two minutes.

There are 46 days until Christmas

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I've been looking for this for a while now

This clip has been out of circulation for your, due mainly to rights issues.  But I've found it and even this bad copy is making me happy again.

I'm wondering if  X-10, Sooper Sleuth will take another case?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We should focus on why it is still alive!

November 3, 1954 -

Gojira premiered in Japan on this date 61 years ago (Godzilla debuted in America on April 26, 1956) :

With the ashes of World War II only recently cooled, Japan is plagued by a sudden wave of maritime disasters: Without warning, ships are exploding into flame and sinking beneath the waves. The few survivors are able to shed little light on the situation, as they quickly die from radiation and strange burns. (Hmmm, sound familiar) A group of investigators, including prominent paleontologist Dr. Yamane are sent to Odo Island to investigate. The natives warn that the ships are being destroyed by Gojira (Godzilla), a legendary monster. These claims are verified when a gigantic, dinosaur-like creature comes ashore and demolishes the native village. Dr. Yamane concludes that Godzilla is a prehistoric creature that has been awakened and mutated by atomic bomb tests. It's just the same conclusion you'd come to having just seen the ruins of a Japanese fishing village.

The military decides to use depth charges on the monster. However, the attack is unsuccessful, and Godzilla follows the ships back to Tokyo Bay. (Again, probably just what you would do - annoy a giant radioactive monster.) Coming ashore at night, Godzilla razes Tokyo. The destruction left in his wake is comparable to an atomic bomb. Military firepower proves useless against the monster. It is feared that Godzilla will continue to lay waste to the cities of Japan, and perhaps the entire world.

It is up to Emiko Yamane (Dr. Yamane’s daughter) to convince her former fiancĂ©, Dr. Serizawa, to use his Oxygen Destroyer against Godzilla. Serizawa is skeptical; he fears that this terrible device might be more dangerous than the monster. However, he finally decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to rid the world of Godzilla.

So here in a nutshell, you have the greatest fever dream movie and a warning about nuclear proliferation.

(We take Godzilla very seriously in our home.)