Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tough like a Ukelele

There's something about the ukulele that just makes you smile.

Carol of the Bells - Jake Shimabukuro

Blue Christmas - She & Him

Sleigh Ride - The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Mele Kalikimaka - Jingle Bells - Troy Fernandez

It's the annual U900 Christmas Special featuring Usagi-no U (Rabbit U) and Kuma-no Kulele (Bear 900)

- Nothing says Happy Holidays more that a pair of ukulele playing knitted puppets.

And so it goes

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Holidays during Wartime

Ike was absolutely correct, we truly need to beware 'the military-industrial complex.'  I was highly suspicious of the follow statistic - the US has been involved in some form of 'armed military' conflicts 223 out of the 240 years of it's existence.  But I've tracked it across a number of different sources, for example 1, 2 & 3, and a consensus seems to be that we are a very war-like nation.  So it is very easy to see how the true reason for the holidays is lost in the fog of war -

Today's theme - The holidays during wartime -

The Christmas Truce on the Western Front of 1914 -

I'll Walk Alone (Through Every Christmas) Dinah Shore -

The Reason For The Season
   Christmas messages from soldiers in the 7th US Infantry Div., during the Korean War -

I Want To Come Home For Christmas  Marvin Gaye -

Bob Hope USO Christmas Special from the Persian Gulf

Christmas in Fallujah  Billy Joel -

Christmas Eve in Kabul  2015

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

And so it goes

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Our Ninth Annual !!!!

The holiday season is once again upon us and with Hanukkah starting on Christmas Eve, I'm gearing up for the long haul. We're proud to bring you the Ninth Annual Holiday Video Festival.

Today, we bring you - Really Bad Christmas songs.  (I received word from medical authorities that I should avoid posting Kanye West singing any Christmas song.  It would be considered risky given his mental state.  Duly noted.)

Jan Terri - Excuse My Christmas

I am of two minds on this - this is an amazingly bad holiday video, almost on the level of Ed Wood.  But Ms. Terri is very well known as an 'Outsider Rock and Roll' performer and there are people posting on the web that this is one of their favorite holiday songs.  It is not one of mine.

The Killers - Don't Shoot Me Santa

You are not going to get on the 'nice list' any time soon 'thumbing up' this song.  I'm going to show my age here, but this is hipsterism at it worse.

Justin Bieber  Drummer Boy

If you can afford it, please feel free to smash the speakers of your computer.

Duck the Halls - Hairy Christmas

Members of the Duck Dynasty crew, continuing to play on their cheap fake-hillbilly schtick, pluck the twangy heartstrings with a nonsense song about doing Christmas the redneck way.

Bon Jovi - Back Door Santa

Ah, Christmas. Snow. The spirit of goodwill to all men. The innocent joy in a child’s eye. Bribing those same children to go away so you can have anal sex with their mums before their dads get home. And remember this song was on an album that raised millions of dollars for the Special Olympics.

We'll end with our perennial favorite -

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.

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gobble, gobble, gobble

Who's a turkey? Now wait a minute, Myles Standish. I'm a duck.

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.

Demand euphoria!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I can have Thanksgiving all year round.

It's time to consider the main course - Turkey.  I am reminded of the W. Somerset Maugham quote: At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely.  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

Frasier - The Apparent trap

The New Adventures of Old Christine - Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner 

I'll leave you today with a thoughtful quote from Erma Bombeck: Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.

Demand euphoria!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Think how healthy you'd be if vegetables smelled like bacon.

It's time to think about the 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 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

Lee Mendelson always objected to the ending where Snoopy serves Woodstock a piece of turkey, because it made him seem like a cannibal. But it was kept in at the suggestion of Charles M. Schulz and Bill Melendez.

Everybody Loves Raymond  - Turkey or Fish

Demand euphoria!

Monday, November 21, 2016

You'll have to wait for the main course.

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 ISIS vs ISL.  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.

The Drew Carey Show- Mimi's Day Parade

Mimi Bobeck's character was not meant to be a regular on the show, but was written in after positive public reaction.

WKRP in Cincinnati - Turkeys Away

After this show aired, many radio stations across the country started the same Thanksgiving promotion, but dropping certificates redeemable for turkeys at their local supermarket, as opposed to live ones. Richard Sanders was often paid by stations to appear in his Les Nessman character and broadcast the event live.

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.

We are having Thanksgiving this year totally on our own; no scornful mocking reproaches from my mother about my cooking this year. But most, if not all, of you 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.

Demand euphoria!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Don't forget to check out the Supermoon tonight!

If you happen to miss the moon tonight,
you’ll have to wait until November 25, 2034
so take some time to go outside tonight
and witness the impressive moon.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

... the whole world can wake up and live again.

November 3, 1954 -

Gojira premiered in Japan on this date 62 years ago (Godzilla: King of the Monsters 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.)