Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tis the Season To Be...Wait, No It's Not


That's not til NEXT month...


For Now...


Be Thankful You're Not Having Eel Pies 

(Take Four)

"WHAT!?  Where's the deviled eggs, you savage?"
NOTE:  This is a repost.  Basically, it's a warmed over Thanksgiving feast.  If you haven't read it already, though, it's new to you.  If you have read it, this makes me sad.  Not really.  If you have read it already, but can't remember that you did, congratulations.  The Republican Party has a spot for you.

NOTE FOLLOWING THE NOTE:  This is kind of a long post.  But, you can come back to it during the week.  It's a lot like coming back to graze on Thanksgiving leftovers.  Except this won't get all gamey after a few days.  It already stinks.

       Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

NOTE:  This is true.  Although Presidents Day lets me wear a powdered wig.  And make fun of the British.

    It’s the first of the year-end celebrations, the others being Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years. And, by New Years, I mean New Years Eve.  January 1st is really only meant for watching college football and making resolutions to not act like a jackass at the next New Years Eve party.

Go ahead.
Party like it's 25 Kislev.
NOTE:  Occurring as it does on the Jewish date 25 Kislev (yeah, I know.  
Their whacky calendar doesn't even list Easter), Hanukkah (or Chanukah.  Whatever.  However you say it, it sounds like hawking phlegm) 2014 begins on December 17th and ends on December 24th (those are some eight crazy nights).  From a Jewish person's perspective, this is swell timing because they can swing right into Christmas and keep on drinking.  As long as the Naked Dreidel Marathon is done.

    All that said, it’s really the 4th Thursday of November which gets the festivities rolling (hey, it’s easier than trying to figure out when the frik Easter is.  Something to do with the moon.  Or devout rabbits.  Something).

    After all, what evokes the holiday spirit more than getting trampled at Wal-Mart by frenzied harpies in bathrobes and curlers on Black Friday?

NOTE:  Or, now, on Thanksgiving Night, with drunken harpies in curlers.

Thanksgiving was proclaimed a federal holiday
in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln.
Not surprisingly, the Confederacy said,
"Ya'll can take your Yankee Holiday and shove it."
Which sucked. Because they
were supposed to bring the sweet potato souffle.
    As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate how special Thanksgiving is.  A more sober occasion than the frenetic zaniness of the Yuletide season, at Thanksgiving we gather just to be together, not because we hope to score the latest electronic gizmo.

    Oh, sure, even though there are parades, football games, and enough food to sink the Mayflower, Thanksgiving is thankfully (pardon the pun) devoid of the commercialism of Christmas and the bacchanalian excess of New Year’s Eve.  Or, if you were paying attention, whatever it is they do on Hanukkah.

On December 26, 1941, signed a resolution
switching Thanksgiving
from the last Thursday in November to the fourth.
"Hey, get off my ass, it's all I had time to do.
There's a frikkin' war going on, you know."
    Gratefully, we aren’t bombarded by wall-to-wall advertisements to get our loved ones (or our families) the very latest in techno wizardry (“Because, if you REALLY loved Mom, you’d buy her a Kindle Fire!”) in the run-up to Thanksgiving. Plus, there’s no such thing as a “24-Hour Thanksgiving Music Station” or a “Randolph the Hair-Lipped Turkey” special on the Hallmark channel.
Oh, forgot about this one.
No wonder.
It sucked.

    No, it’s a calming prelude to the mania which paralyzes every December.  It’s a time to appreciate what we’ve been given.

    As the day draws nearer, I think back to that very first day of thanks held almost four hundred years ago...

    The brightly colored leaves swirling madly amongst the trees, a chill autumn wind blowing briskly over freshly-harvested fields, and the forest animals bustling crazily about in preparation for winter.

"Hey, does anyone else
have to pee after that long ass boat ride?"
    And nobody fighting over the remote.

    So it was in 1621 that Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony thought it was high time to celebrate a day of thanksgiving.

"I know.  Whaddya say we have a harvest feast right here?"
"Outside!?   You do know this is Massachusetts, don't you?"
"Hey, we can stay warm by burning a witch or two."
    Frantically scurrying to find a suitable venue at which to hold their celebration, the Pilgrim Fathers were disappointed to learn they were too late; all the good days in October and early November had been reserved months ago for the Pequot/Schwartz wedding reception, the Jamestown “Up Yours, We Were First” Commemoration, and the last of the Mohican family reunions.

    Luckily, a spot opened up the last Thursday of November when “Mohawks On Ice!” was forced to close after some Hurons stole their loincloths.  So, the Native Europeans invited their friends, the Native Americans, to a grand feast at the local Elks Lodge picnic pavilion (with real elk). 

    A deeply devout people, the Pilgrims wished to thank the “Godless heathen savages” for all their help getting the colony on its feet.  After all, the tribe was essential to gaining a foothold in the New World, long before the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and all-you-can-eat casino buffets. 

"Behold, for I bring you the gift of maize.
As long as you don't mind the smell of dead fish."
    Imagine what would have happened had Squanto not taught the Pilgrims to plant fish with their corn.  

    Prior to that, they just stuck them in their trousers.

"Seriously, Sleeps With Chickens?  Eels??
Couldn't bring a French Bean casserole
like a normal person, could ya?"
    Plus, the tribe brought the eel pies. Hmmmmmm....eel.

    Many customs today hearken back to this coming together: the feast, the fellowship, the two-hand touch lacrosse game after supper, and the men falling asleep in front of the fire with their hands down their pants while the women cleaned up all laid the foundation of our nation.

    Happily, it was the giving of thanks which has endured through peace, war, and disco.  No doubt Governor Bradford himself began a tradition which survives to this day: putting relatives on the spot to state that for which they were thankful.

    In homes across the nation, this scene will be played out anew during halftime.  In the true spirit of the holiday, millions of family members will likewise be grilled.

    This year, though, in addition to joyful thanks for family, friends, and the feelings of warmth which come from both, one will resonate above all:

    That Great-Aunt Mildred was able to buy the last case of Twinkies from that guy in the back of his van at the Stop N Shop.

    Because the alternative was Eel Pies.

    And I don’t care how much Cool Whip you put on them, they’re still eels.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

And...Robyn and Julie (and whomever I missed)...HAPPY HANUKKAH!

"I see that you mentioned 'Eight Crazy Nights.'
So, we should be expecting a check to cover the royalties?"




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Captain Caption LVIII

"Hey, it's no Fifty Shades of Grey, but it is called Love Ball."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mickey Al-Donovan

Inspired by Julie Kemp Pick of Empty Nest Insider.




"And then Mickey arrived home from the Great Satan Summer Camp, where he had a wonderful time chasing apostates through the woods armed only with a hatchet, paraffin-coated matches, a compass, and a Stinger missile.  But, what did he see when he walked through the door?  His father had wrapped the family's toilet all in shag carpet, that most Zionist of floor carvings!  Mickey had no choice but to remove his father's head with the electric knife that the family used to carve turkeys-never ham!-or to take care of that annoying Gold couple across the street.  His mother protested, but she was just a woman, so Mickey cut off her fingers.  Then, when he was done, he sent a video copy to the local NBC affiliate.   After he was finished, Mickey still had to go to the bathroom, but there was no toilet paper!  So, what did he do?  Yes, he pooped in the bathtub and used his left hand to wipe.  
And they lived happily ever after.  
Now, what do we say at the end of every story-time?  
That's right!  
Death to America!"

NOTE:  While purporting to be an excerpt from that great American novel, Shag Carpet Toilet, it is nothing of the kind.  Even thought Mickey did go to summer camp.  And the first room he visited was the bathroom.  And his father did wrap the toilet in shag carpet.  And the Golds did run a store across the street.  And, for all I know, the Donovans did own an electric carving knife.  Still, if you want to find out just how close to accurate this is, you can get your copy at amazon.com (or on the bottom of bird cages).  Tell 'em Julie sent you.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Captain Caption LVII

"And then the handsome prince Hamsa married the infidel
 Cinderella because the shoe fit.  But, he had to have her
 beheaded because the slut went to the ball without three
 male chaperones.  And she was a Jew.
And they lived happily ever after.
The End.
Now what do we say after story time?
That's right, Death to America!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

11 11 18


  Once again, I'm trotting out an old nugget which I wrote several years ago.  And, of course, several of you have already read this (although I updated a few items.  See if you can find where!).    
  Unlike most of my usual pieces of literary offal, I'm playing this one straight (much like I do with my post on 9-11).  
  I'd say enjoy, but as long as you remember those who served in good times or in bad times, I'm good with that. 

"Okay, just so we're all in agreement,
it was the Germans who started this whole thing.
You don't think this is gonna come back
and bite us on the ass, do you?"

Last joke.  Serious stuff starts...now!


    Despite the Christmas displays in Home Depot, it’s only now Veterans Day.

    On November 11th, 1918, the Germans surrendered to the Allied powers in the Forest of Compiegne, ending what was then known as the Great War.  Little did they know there would be a sequel nearly 21 years later.

    But that’s another story.

    The following November, President Woodrow Wilson declared that “Armistice Day” would henceforth be observed in honor of those who had fallen during the “war to end all wars” (kinda dropped the ball with THAT one, didn’t we?).

    Following the Second World War (the “good” war, an oxymoron if there ever was one), the town of Emporia, Kansas changed “Armistice” to “Veterans” Day.  The idea was to honor everyone who had served in the armed forces rather than only those who’d fought against the Kaiser.

    As the years went by, the idea of setting aside a special day for veterans took hold throughout the nation.  In 1954, Congress made the name change official while President Eisenhower called on all Americans to observe the day.  But, surprisingly, it took until 1971 for Richard Nixon to declare it a federal holiday.

    In the years since, it’s become little more than an excuse to hold blowout sales on everything from bed linen to used cars (“Buy this Chevy because Fred Bean knew Patton.  Well, he saw the movie, anyway.”).  Ceremonies marking the day have been lost in the madcap frenzy of pre-Christmas commercialism.  In fact, what was once a universal day off has turned into pretty much a “federal government employees only” respite.

    I don’t have a problem with this, per se, if it was still recognized for the somber event that it is.  After all, Veterans Day is much more than sleeping in late and watching Sponge Bob Squarepants in your underpants while wolfing down a bowl of “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.”

    Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what Veterans Day is all about.  While working at a local school district on November 11th several years ago (actually, more like eight now), I was flabbergasted when the morning announcements proclaimed Veterans Day merely as a “day to recognize older people who had a lot of experience.”

    What!?  Now, I don’t wish to denigrate Grandpa’s fly-fishing prowess and, boy howdy, ain’t it cool that Great-Aunt Tilly can knit a quilt with her feet, but c’mon!  Since when is bowling a perfect game the same as "advisor" duty in Iraq?  Quick answer-it’s not.

    As a result, I spent the balance of the day quizzing my students on whether they knew what put the “veteran” in Veterans Day.  Sadly, I was depressed by their appalling lack of knowledge, as very few of them actually understood what all the fuss was about.  But, you can bet your bottom dollar they knew when the sequel to “Harry Potter” was coming out or who won the last American Idol.

    NOTE:  Like I said, this was eight years ago.

    Shocking as it was, I know they weren’t the only ones who had little clue that the 11th of November was different than any other day.  It goes without saying there’s a need to set a few things straight. 

    So, I call on all of us who know better to teach others about Veterans Day.  Urge those around you to take a moment to remember our veterans and those who are still in harm’s way.

    You don’t have to go to a flag-raising ceremony, attend a parade, or even buy one of those “Buddy Poppies” (although I do, because I enjoy talking to those guys).  You don’t have to agree on this war or that war and you certainly don’t have to watch “The Sands of Iwo Jima” at attention.

    Although the Duke would love you for it, may he rest in peace.

    If nothing else, reflect on the service of all those who have worn, and continue to wear, our nation’s uniform.  From Lexington to Kabul, they deserve our respect and our thanks.

    As a veteran myself, I salute them all.

Have a Happy Veterans Day!
Or, better yet, a solemn one.

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Just Sad

"I'm tellin' ya, Jack, it's a frikkin' shame.  Here it is, only ten days after Halloween and they already have Santa in the mall.  You?  Oh yeah, well, you they're gonna make a big-ass pie out of in a couple weeks."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Captain Caption LVI

"Have you been reading about the War on Women?"
"Tell me about it.  Women in America have it rough."
"You've got that right!  For instance...hey, what the eff?  Is that you, Ahmed!?"