25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Today happens to be my favorite holiday of the year. I love that there is no hype, no expectation other than hang out with family and eat yourself into oblivion (if you so choose). Plus it gives me the opportunity to post this, the best Thanksgiving story ever, again. My mother is a wonderful person, and the fact that she readily admitted her "error" also shows what a great sport she is. Believe me when I say we laugh WITH her about this, not at her.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, especially Mom!

(The following was written in late November, 2004)

Is that a neck in your turkey, or are you just glad to see me?

I would like to apologize to my mother in advance, for being unable to resist the urge to tell this story...

My fiance and I had Thanksgiving dinner at my mother's home this year, with the rest of my family. My mother is an excellent cook and has prepared many wonderful holiday dinners throughout the years. This year was no exception.

Wednesday afternoon I was home as Mom placed the frozen turkey in the sink to began preparations to cook it. At one point as I was walking through the kitchen, I heard her say that something was missing.

I don't know anything about cooking turkeys.

I looked at the turkey in the sink. Mom had removed two packages from inside, which I assumed to be giblets and something else, a liver maybe, since it was dark. My mother and I then had the following exchange:

Mom: Doesn't it look like it is missing something?

Me: Um, the head? I hear they usually get rid of it before they sell them.

Mom: I mean from the inside. There should be something else.

Me: I don't know what's normally inside a turkey.

Mom: It's male parts, it's missing it's male parts.


Mom: The male parts of the turkey aren't inside like they usually are.

Me: (Just now understanding what she is talking about) What? I'm never eating turkey again...

As I said before, I know nothing about cooking turkeys. I can identify the parts of the turkey after it is cooked, but I have no idea how one is packaged. So I did a little research and found that when you buy a turkey, there is supposed to be a package inside containing the giblets and the liver, and also the turkey neck. For all I knew before, I thought the neck was still attached and you just cut it off when you prepared the bird. I don't even know what the point of including the neck is.

Then it hit me.

My mother, who later told me that she has been cooking turkeys for over 40 years, has always thought that the neck that is normally included inside the turkey was instead, um, "something else."

That something else being what puts the "Tom" in turkey.

This explains why the neck has never been part of a holiday meal in her house.

And why I will never not laugh at the sight of a turkey, live or dead, cooked or uncooked, again.

25 October 2010

Don't stand so close to me

Potentially, I may be about to tick off God, so be warned about lightning strikes.

Evan's baptism was Sunday. We had the christening in the chapel of the parish I attended when I was growing up. I had all of my "C" sacraments there-communion, confession, confirmation-and I bet I've attended close to one thousand masses there in my life.

But not recently. I have a tendency to encounter "falling out" situations with churches. I grew tired of this particular parish over a decade ago, because they played the city in which the parish is located for fools, acquiring a valuable piece of land (in the name of creating a "badly needed" parking lot) and demolishing an historic building. Guess what? The lot is nothing but grass, and has never been anything but. I have had a falling out with two other parishes in the area over what I believe are blatant political endorsements-more on this later, promise.

I digress. We went to this parish for the baptism for logistical and sensible reasons. My mother still attends this parish, and we thought it would be nice to have her third grandson baptized there (five of her six grandchildren have now been christened there-Desmond is the only one who was baptized elsewhere). I had no problem with going to back to this church.

We arrived at the church about twenty minutes before the start of the baptism, and I snagged a bulletin available in the lobby expecting to see our son listed with the other babies being christened there on this day. To my surprise, there was no mention of forthcoming baptisms.

I was a little disappointed but it was certainly nothing for me to be alarmed at. However, later in the bulletin, there was a half-page block of text, and it began like so:

"We remind our parishioners to vote, and to encourage others not just to vote, but to vote correctly. We all should vote and encourage others to vote for life."

The emphasis is mine. It took a few moments of conversation in my head to figure this out: Vote correctly? What the hell does that mean? And why does the parish want to make sure that I vote for the remainder of my life...wait a tic, that's not what it means. They're telling everyone to vote pro-life.

I wanted to leave. I wish I had the stones to say that I didn't want to be a part of anything this church participates in, but of course I didn't, and we had our son baptized, and I forgot about all this until we returned home.

Look, I understand the Catholic Church's position when it comes to abortion, and I understand why they are so passionate about it. Truly, that would never upset me, but I draw the line at them telling me that I need to vote Republican.

And let's be honest, that is what this was, an implicit endorsement of the GOP because it is the "pro-life" party. And it is completely wrong. As far as I'm concerned, this parish should have it's tax-exempt status removed for making a political endorsement.

(For the record, if there had been an implied message to vote Democratic for any one particular reason, I'd say that was wrong too. However I admit that it would not incense me the way this actual message does, because the entire abortion debate nauseates me.)

The Church is pro-life, and I am pro-choice. By the way, that does not mean that I am "pro-abortion." I wish there never had to be another abortion performed anywhere on this planet, and I am tired of pompous, holier-than-thou pro-life supporters who accuse those of us who are pro-choice of encouraging pregnant women to have abortions no matter the circumstances, like we are all population control freaks or something.

I am pro-choice for one and only one reason: I am a man. I will never know what it is like to be pregnant. I really don't think men should have a fair say in restricting a woman's personal choice.

Obviously, this is an extremely volatile topic, and I could write about it for the next year. To placate my disappointment, I am going to write the pastor of this church a letter expressing my distaste for seeing a thinly-disguised endorsement in the church bulletin. The church has no place in politics unless it wants to pay taxes. I will be respectful and courteous, but I won't feel better about this until I write him. I will be curious to see if he contacts me afterward.

One last point, and I can't express this in any other way, so let me apologize in advance for the way I say this. Have you ever seen a bumper sticker that says "You can't be Catholic and Pro-Life"? I see them around more and more these days, and when I do, I want to tape a large piece of paper next to the sticker and write in big, bold, block letters with a giant black permanent marker:

"The fuck I can't!"

04 October 2010

G'night Stimpy

So Bears quarterback Jay Cutler got sacked nine time in the first half of the team's 17-3 loss to the Giants last night, and I think I might know how Jay is feeling.

Am I equating sleep deprivation to being slammed to the Astroturf over and over? Yes. Yes, I am.

Seems lately that if I am not sleeping, I am thinking about sleeping. Yes, I'm thinking about it now. ZZZZZZ.

Evan will be two months soon, and he's a great baby. He has a witching hour, however, that lasts for more than an hour. It's closer to three or four, and it starts around midnight. I did not give birth to this baby. I did not go through the anxiety of knowing that there was something growing inside of me that would eventually have to be expelled. Or excised like a like a fly out of soup. I slept fairly comfortably from the time this baby was conceived until the time he was born.

Thus, I stay up with Evan during his witching hours. We go to sleep sometime before two and three in the morning. Evan is a ball to be around during his nighttime prowl-he's not fussy unless he's hungry-and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy the one-on-one time with him.

Did I mention that we have another son? Did I mention that he gets up every morning by 7? Did I mention that he creates about as much noise as a jet engine at takeoff?

I've taken more cat naps in the last eight weeks than I had in my life up to that point. I have fallen asleep while standing in the shower. While drinking coffee. While watching the first thirty minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

I'm sure on more than one occasion when I've been out in public lately someone has taken a look at me and thought "Yowsa, that guy looks horrible; he must feel awful."

Just the opposite. Sure, I'd love to be sleeping more (or writing more) but if I have to be lacking in sleep, let it be on account of my boys. These days wont last forever.

02 September 2010

Six pounds later...

We're alive. The baby was born on August 12th at 8:55 AM, and we named him Evan. He's thriving. Big Brother Desmond is thriving. And we are tired. Really, really tired.

Did I mention that we are tired?

No complaints though. The surreal feeling that comes with doubling the number of kids in our house has finally worn off, and I no longer anticipate the knock at the door that brings an official-looking person who tells us that this is all a mistake, that this child is not ours. Parenthood 2.0 has officially left the beta stage.

Every single time in the last three weeks, when I have tried to write here, Evan wakes up. It just happened again two minutes ago. As I took him upstairs to Kristen for a feeding I told myself to come back and at least write something.


More later. Promise. There's a lot to say about this new kid.

11 August 2010

My new hero

One thing I absolutely love about the Internet is when it delivers pure liquid gold.

Like this video, for instance:

The woman in orange is my new hero. The banner she is standing next to says "Worst Governor Ever." I have a minor complaint: it should say "Worst Half-governer Ever."

What the hell is Sarah Palin wearing on her feet? Are those Caribou Barbie boots? And clearly, Bristol has been working on her sign language, given her use of international symbols when she defends her Grizzly Mama as "defending United States."

24 carat!

07 August 2010

Six months later...

So I took half a year off. And now the layout of this blog is blue.

Speaking of blue, there's about to be another boy in our house. Come Wednesday the size of our clan is doubling. Circumstances beyond our control means our son will be "plucked" instead of going through a natural childbirth, so we know exactly when he's going to be born.

The idea of having two kids? Surreal. More than surreal. It was surreal thinking about having a child when we were waiting for the arrival of our first, a little more than thirty months ago. Thinking about having another is almost beyond the realm of my comprehension.

I may not sound thrilled. I assure you that I am.

We feel like we are ready for this, since we've been through the newborn experience before. The difference this time is that we
know that we aren't going to sleep. The first time, we had no idea how much sleep we would lose with a newborn in the house. It was a lot. Being sleep deprived soon became as normal as breathing and eating, though I will forever be surprised by just how much my intelligence waned during that period. About a month after Desmond was born, if you had asked me how much two plus two was, I would have said fifty-six.

Two kids. When I was a kid, a family with two kids was small. Now it seems huge. I look at our house and deem it too small. I wonder if I will ever have a day when I don't trip over a toy or a laundry basket. How old will I be when I no longer hear the Thomas the Train jingle over and over and over and over...

We aren't going to name this child until we see him. I had the name of my first son picked out ten years before I ever met my wife, so I let her choose names this time, with the caveat that I wouldn't support a name that I really, really disliked. And there were a few of them.

I'm thinking "Rabo", which would only make sense if you've read Kurt Vonnegut.

I do plan on visiting these parts a little more often than I have so far this year.

07 February 2010

Who Dat? No, really, who is that?

If you twist my arm and force me to pick, I'll go with the Saints to win the Super Bowl, but this is one of those years when I'm fine with either team winning. I just want to see a good game.

A bigger issue for me is the fact that The Who are the half-time entertainment. My reaction when I first heard this was "WTF?"-with the 'W' standing for 'Who' instead of 'What'-because The Who doesn't really exist in a modern form anymore. Unless Keith Moon and John Entwistle come tumbling out of the Miami sky, what you'll see at half-time ain't gonna be The Who.

I love The Who. Have since I was thirteen or so, whenever "Faces Dances" came out. And what a treasure it was to realize a few years later that that was far from their finest work, and that there was a whole trove of earlier stuff to discover.

And I love what Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have done together and alone, both when the Who was still whole and after. Townshend's "White City" is my favorite album of all-time. But they are 65 and 64, respectively, and for the life of me, I can't figure out what they are doing performing at half-time of the Super Bowl.

Uh oh...follow me to...the horror.

The game is being televised by CBS!!!

The game is being played in Miami!!!


Three...is a magic number.

1. CBS has three "CSI" shows-Las Vegas, New York, and (gulp) Miami.
2. All three shows have opening theme songs written and performed by...The Who.
3. Super Bowl half-time shows are usually three songs long.

If the half-time show by The Who today are "Who Are You" (theme for Vegas), "Baba O'Riley" (NY) and "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Miami), I'm going to be physically ill.

Well, spit: I just went to The Who's Wikipedia page to verify the spelling of their songs, and there's a snippet at the end that claims "Pete Townshend says the band will play a medley of their hits consisting of "Pinball Wizard", "Who Are You", "Baba O'Riley", "Won't Get Fooled Again" and the finale of Tommy.

If you told me back in 1979 that this was going to happen, I'd've started listening to opera instead.