Archive for the ‘holiday’ Category

I Solve Your Holiday Shopping Dilemmas

December 2, 2010

Overpriced three-piece tool set.The Sharper Image 3-Piece Tool Set.

Do something or other with this stylish 3-piece tool set. Includes three people who’ve purchased items from The Sharper Image. Only $259.99!


GOOD GOD, DON’T EAT THAT! – Thanksgiving Leftover Edition

November 29, 2010

Since I’ve occasionally used this space to write about Frankenstein-like food concoctions I’ve created that would frighten Rachel Ray, I’ve been thinking it might be time to start a catchily-titled series of on-again, off-again posts about off-kilter, improvised recipes I’ve come up with — maybe something like, GOOD GOD, DON’T EAT THAT!

This installment of GOOD GOD, DON’T EAT THAT! revolves around a typical Thanksgiving dinner leftover: herbed potatoes. You know the kind; potatoes are cut up into small pieces, mixed with a blend of oil and herbs, and baked in the oven. Normal people will typically use red potatoes to do this.

However, we had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house this year, and my parents don’t qualify as “normal people.” They know less about cooking than I do. My mom’s favorite food is boiled chicken. That’s right, plain boiled chicken. For seasoning, there might or might not be a stray bullion cube casually tossed into the water. One year for my birthday, I got to feast upon an unrisen orange cake. Then there was the Christmas my mom made sugar cookies and forgot to add the sugar. That one worked out okay, though, because my sister had a very bad cold at the time, so we just fed all of them to her since she couldn’t taste anything. She didn’t know their flavor was practically inedible until after she’d eaten all of them. I won’t go into details about The Great Scone Incident of 1981, other than to say that it explains the origin of the mysterious dent in the kitchen floor of their old house. My dad used to try to make something he called “snowballs” during the holidays, except they ended up looking like underwater mines and managed to suck all the moisture out of your mouth in addition to being totally devoid of flavor.

Anyway, the potatoes they baked this Thanksgiving were a mix of red potatoes, white potatoes, yellow potatoes and sweet potatoes. None of these — especially not the sweet potatoes — cook at the same rate. So, some of the potato chunks were a little al dente while others had turned to paste. Also, the herb dressing the potatoes received was a little unorthodox. My parents had purchased some fresh tarragon to use for the potatoes, because that’s what they heard you’re supposed to use. They didn’t use the tarragon, however, because, according to my mom, “It smelled kind of funny, like it was going bad.” It turns out the smell my mom interpreted as rancid was actually the smell of fresh tarragon.

At any rate, at the end of the day we were given a vat of the oddly un-herbed “herbed” potato leftovers to take home. They sat in the fridge until this afternoon, when I decided I’d better use them up. Since they were a little weird to begin with, heating them up in the microwave didn’t seem like the best option. Plus, I had about half of a leftover onion in the fridge, as well as a few corn tortillas that were nearing their expiration date, so I decided to combine all of them.

The potatoes were already herbed and oiled, but I added more olive oil to the pan for the onion. Once it was hot, I added the potatoes and onion and let them sauté/fry for a while. When they were done, I put them into a bowl with some shredded cheddar cheese and let the cheese melt. Then I added the corn tortillas, one at a time to the still-greasy pan, and spooned the potato and onion mixture into them and let them cook some more (and absorb more oil in the process). To each of the “tacos,” I then added a little bit of Tabasco Sauce, quite a bit of ranch dressing, and a shred of romaine lettuce.

The result was like a mutant offering to the Gods of Taco Bell. I’ve convinced myself that these inbred tacos aren’t as horrifically unhealthy as they certainly are, because:

  1. I added olive oil to the already oiled potatoes. That’s healthy, right?
  2. Corn tortillas are whole grain, which everybody knows has fiber and crap.
  3. Romaine lettuce is supposed to have vitamins and shiznit.
  4. I used fat free ranch dressing, which we all know makes it totally okay. Actually, I purchased the fat free variety by accident, but that’s neither here nor there.
  5. The potato mixture contained sweet potatoes, which according to all the latest dietary research are supposed to be able to summon Jesus or something.

The result ended up tasting surprisingly good, although the kids refused to touch them. Unlike me, they know better.

Fire Up The Torches!

November 24, 2010
The 2009 Gävle Christmas Goat.

The 2009 goat, before it went all Guy Fawkes on us.

This just in: the Christmas Goat of Gävle, Sweden, will arise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of its many previous incarnations at 3:00 p.m. local time November 28.

I give it about five days this year. If anyone wants to start a pool as to when it will take the flaming dirt nap, let me know.

If, in the meantime, you want to send the goat an e-mail and ask it to reflect in Swedish upon the meaning it finds in its rapidly impending mortality, you can do so by contacting

Holiday in Cleveland

August 6, 2010

Once, about 20 years ago, my family went to Cleveland, of all places, for vacation. It actually turned out to be a really good trip. Since then, I’ve been back to the area many times. For all the city’s current and chronic problems, you have to love a place that can produce people with this kind of a sense of humor (I wouldn’t play these clips at work if I were you due to some of the language used in them, by the way):

The second video is now slightly inaccurate, unfortunately, as the LeBron James leg of the region’s economy has now been cruelly torn out from under it by some bronzed, plastic jerks in South Beach. But hey, at least you can still go surfing in Lake Erie.

Adventures In Lousy Parenting

December 24, 2009

The two year-old and I are fencing with empty wrapping paper rolls. I’ve taught him to say, “En garde!

Goat Effigy Arson: The New Holiday Tradition

December 23, 2009

One would think that the good people of Gävle, Sweden would have gotten the hint by now. Their 43 foot high straw Yule/Christmas goat was just set alight yet again. It’s been burned down 24 times since the first goat was erected in 1966. That one was burned down, too. The goat has also suffered dismemberment and was once even run over with a car. Here’s the news report from when it was burned in 2005 as well.

A webcam showing the current burned out goat is available here. The now deceased goat also has its own blog, as well its own Twitter feed.

The goat’s final tweet was: “I’m gone dear friends! Someone se me on fire at 3 AM. Terrible hot under my lovely snow blanket! So sad today. Farewell & Merry Christmas…”

Even weirder, the goat’s penultimate tweet was tangentially related to Tiger Woods: “Elin Nordegren (still married to T Woods) might be on her way to Gävle to celebrate Christmas with her mom at the castle. Twin sister here!”

Still, the goat seems to have a sense of humor about its travails, having also tweeted, “Santa Claus and a ginger bread guy set me on fire a few years ago – using flaming arrows. The competition is hard!”

I don’t know about you, but I would have gladly paid to see Santa Claus and a gingerbread man shoot a giant straw goat full of flaming arrows.

Maybe it’s time that Gävle takes a different approach to the goat’s struggle to exist. Embrace the annual arson. Turn it into a festival. Just imagine: BURNING GOAT!

Mythbusting Time

November 12, 2009

It’s time for a preemptive strike, since I’ve already seen this latest load of B.S. beginning to make the rounds on Facebook. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the annual “War on Christmas” rite of hyperventilation kicks in, and when it does some will start shouting to the hills that the Obama White House has renamed the White House Christmas Tree and is now calling it the White House Holiday Tree instead.

The problem is it isn’t true. Anyone who says it is has fallen for an Internet hoax. That’s right, it’s totally made up. It is still, in fact, being called a Christmas Tree, and there has been no attempt to rename it.

Actually, if you want to get technical and insist on calling things by their proper names, Christmas trees, such as the one at the White House, really ought to be called Yule trees instead, but I really don’t see that catching on in any truly widespread fashion anytime soon. Personally, I’d love to see the White House rename it the “Hanukkah Bush,” or something really obscure like “Ygdrasil,” but I don’t see those happening anytime soon, either.

Maybe this fake renaming of the White House Christmas tree flap isn’t such a bad thing. Just think of the possibilities that could come of renaming the tree. It could help make a small dent in the deficit if we sold the naming rights to the tree. After all, that’s a very American thing to do. Imagine: “Weyerhaeuser Presents The Glidden White Maxwell House Christmas Tree Hill,” or the “Stihl Chainsaws White House Ygdrasil.” You could so thoroughly decorate it in the corporate logos of paying sponsors that you could enter the tree in a NASCAR race and nobody would notice. Think of all the money it could raise. Isn’t that what the season’s all about for most of us anyway?

Ineluctable Modality of the Visible

June 16, 2009

Eat with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls in celebration of this fine day, and spend tonight hanging around some insufferably pretentious kid!

The heading on my old Myspace page (which I’m not sure if I even have any more, since I haven’t checked it in about half a year) says (or said): “All wind and piss like a tanyard cat.” I got that by opening a copy of Ulysses sight unseen to a random page and jamming my finger down upon it. That was the sentence my finger pointed to. It seemed like an appropriate enough statement to sum up anything I would put on the Internet.

If you ever wondered what the original Bloomsday would have been like had it taken place 105 years later, here it is.

. . . yes I said yes I will Yes.

As Seen on TV!

February 17, 2009

We’ve gone down the wormhole, people.

On Saturday, the in-laws dropped off a pair of Valentine’s Day presents for us. Why they feel the need to do such a thing for such a B.S. non-holiday, I can’t say. Perhaps the gifts were meant as something of a joke. You’ll see why below.

The first gift was something called “The Slanket.” A blanket with sleeves. Just like those silly TV commercials for another blanket with sleeves called “The Snuggie.” The very thing that I’ve savagely mocked on this blog before. Apparently there’s quite a rivalry between these two sartorial disasters. My wife found a Facebook group called “Snuggie vs. Slanket,” wherein the members debate the relative merits and drawbacks of their preferred brand of druid-dork outfit. There are also multiple Slanket fan clubs on Facebook, according to her.

Why, I cannot fathom.

Our Slanket is pastel pink. It came in a bag with a label card that reads, “Welcome to the world of Slanket ownership. You are now considered a friend to all of us at The Slanket. The only thing left to do is find the nearest couch and get cozy with it.”

The other gift we received was — I cannot belive I’m publicly admitting we now own these things — a box of ShamWows. The commercials would have you believe that these are the greatest things to ever come out of Germany — screw Goethe (many did, by the way). I haven’t yet discovered whether or not that’s the case, as we’re still too ashamed to open the box.

Although we have been getting this strange temptation to dump a couple of bottles of soda and wine on our carpet and see what happens, I’ll probably just go find the nearest couch and get cozy with it, instead.

Fun With Toy Packaging

December 30, 2008

And now, an update to the last paragraph of two posts ago:

I finally succeeded today in freeing the kid’s talking globe from the last bit of box that clung tenaciously to it.

In the process, I broke the handle off a pair of scissors, and I ended up resorting to a pair of aviation tin snips to finish the job.

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