Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - Niche market edition

 I've seen restaurant supply stores before, but this is a new one on me.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving advice

I originally published this column in November, 2008. But botulism humor never goes out of style. Enjoy and share—GW

My Thanksgiving advice column was so popular last year (judging by only one cancelled subscription, and you know who you are…mom), I felt no harm could be done by another one this year, unless you count the botulism. Below are a few of the most common questions people ask about Thanksgiving preparation, as far as I know, not having asked anybody.

Q: Which is more traditional—cornbread stuffing or giblet stuffing?

A: Traditionally, giblet, but seeing as how the dictionary defines giblets as "the edible offal of a fowl," I say we break with tradition this year before I hurl a few edibles of my own.

Q: What is offal?

A: I'll tell you what's offal. The Titans playing the Lions while people are trying to eat.

Q: Why do some people say "stuffing" while some people say "dressing"?

A: Some people are "idiots." No, really, stuffing gets its name because it is stuffed into the cavity of the bird for cooking, while dressing is something you put on a wound at a field hospital. So the latter is not as appetizing.

Q: You call this "advice"?

A: Oh no. Gosh, no.

Q: How can I accommodate my vegetarian relatives?

A: I don't believe in doing so. Look where that got us with Hitler.

Q: Are there any new trends this year, like that "tur-duck-en," where they stick the chicken inside the duck inside the turkey?

A: Yes, in order to be "cutting edge" in the arena of nested meats, this year some of the more fashionable tables will play host to the "squir-munk-oon," a squirrel stuck in a chipmunk stuck in a raccoon.

Q: Are you making that up?

A: If you have to ask, I can tell there is a career waiting for you in the manly and lucrative world of snipe hunting.

Q: Is the watching of football on Thanksgiving, with its emphasis on the symbolic conquest of terrain, kind of ironic, considering what early European settlers eventually did to the Native Americans?

A: No. The Redskins actually have a good shot this year.

Q: Where did the tradition of serving cranberry sauce come from? That stuff is foul.

A: Foul things becoming traditions are actually very common in U.S. history. Just look at war.

Q: Should I be worried about food-borne disease?

A: Yes.

Q: How worried?

A: Let me put it this way. Don't eat the dressing. It used to be on a wound.

Q: What is the secret to hosting a successful Thanksgiving party?

A: Remembering the best part of what the day truly represents, and honoring it with at least two television sets in each room.

Q: Even the bathroom?

A: Ha ha, don't get nuts on me here! One is fine.

Q: What is the best beverage to serve on this festive occasion?

A: A lot of people like that non-alcoholic sparkling cider, and I call these people "Seahawks fans." Wine is better, or, if the Cowboys are losing, beer in your lucky stein. The one with the spurs.

Q: How do they get the squirrel into the chipmunk? Isn't a chipmunk smaller?

A: You don't want to know.

In just a few days, one of our nation's oldest celebrations will be upon us. Our forefathers, who overcame great hardship, could not possibly have imagined our own travails in the 21st Century, like covering the point spread, but if they were here now, and able to speak, I know they would agree with us on one thing: those Dallas cheerleaders just never get old.

. . .

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - Billy Joel was right

 Some are satin, some are steel, some are silk and some are leather,

 They're the faces of the stranger, and the lamest one is Sport

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ancient furnace finally gives up the (smoky) ghost

There is a lot of charm in an old house, unless you own it.

We bought ours years ago "as is." "As is" is a real estate term meaning you are aware it is an old house, with the eventual costs that will come with that, and you hold harmless anyone involved in selling you the beast.

You get a cheaper house up front that way, but you pay on the "back end," which is a nicer way of saying "out the wazoo."

We have a vintage 1960s gas furnace in our basement, a relic which began its service back when I was still planting seeds in paper cups in kindergarten. It has heated our house reliably, if noisily, for 20 years.

Until last week.

I turned it on for the usual first-of-the-season dust-burning session where I open up all the doors and windows and hasten climate change.

The old girl heated for awhile, but when the blower should have kicked in, there was a "pop." A pop is not good. Outside a Dr. Seuss book, a pop is bad.

Even the dog turned toward the sound, as if to say, "My ancient wolf survival instincts tell me that pop right there is going to run you fifteen grand."

I called a furnace guy, who looked at the random wires running here and there from the unit and practically ran up the stairs, unwilling to touch the thing for fear of liability.

A friend recommended another guy, who was unfazed, even reattaching a loose wire and installing a new fan belt.

"The blower switch is shot," he said, "but you can hand-start it by turning the wheel, see?"

And the furnace began to blow.

"I wouldn't recommend it, though," he said. "You could lose a finger."

The next morning the house was cold. I turned on the heat. I figured I would go get a hammer and turn the wheel using its claw. I need my fingers. I like to give people the thumbs up in traffic, to congratulate their excellent driving.

Then I saw the smoke. The kitchen, which is right above the furnace, was rapidly filling with it.

I ran down to the basement and shut off the pilot light. Ran back up and opened windows and doors. Started fans.

Saving your house from a conflagration is even better than saving your fingers. And it looks like I'll be needing them to write a big check.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - I'd a named it something nicer myself

Reverse psychology? Or is there a stinky subculture I know nothing about?