Around this time of year, my night-shift job becomes rather tedious, as the holidays ramp up and health journalism turns to two tired topics: how to avoid overeating (before the new year) and how to lose those holiday pounds (after).

I have already seen a dozen iterations of this story — 15 tips, er, “useful suggestions” on how not to gain weight at Thanksgiving — and will see dozens more by New Year’s Eve. I’ve always despised this sort of filler copy; as my husband likes to say, “Where would we be without newspapers to remind us to wear sunscreen?” What’s more, so much of it simply pure, unadulterated bullshit:

Turkey skin has considerably more calories than the breast. Turkey skin is very high in fat. …Supposedly healthy low fat foods, such as some vegetables, carrots, soups, or mashed potatoes may have been prepared with lots of butter and are laden with fat. If you are cooking, try putting a little less than you did last year. If you were not involved in their preparation, try to find out (discreetly) how they were prepared. …If you are trying to watch your calories, don’t have a second helping. You should not be hungry if you have chewed carefully, consumed plenty of water, and selected a good quantity of low calorie foods.

That last passage? There really are earlier tips advising people to chew thoroughly and drink lots of “calorie-free water” during their meal.

How many Atkins dieters have to lose how many millions of pounds on a diet of fat and protein before we acknowledge that perhaps we’ve been led down the primrose path when it comes to dietary fat? Atkins isn’t for me, or for anyone who really cares about food, but there’s no question that it works as a weight-loss strategy with those with the will to endure it. And yet, concerns over minor amounts of fat in turkey skin and the traditional sides is the basis for much of the alleged journalism perpetrated around this time of year.

Fie on it all. And if anyone discreetly asks me how I make my mashed potatoes, they’re getting a face full of ’em.

Because this is the holiday for gratitude, however, let’s show a little. A short list of the year’s blessings:

** Family, friends, related human beings, without whom life would be grim indeed;
** Animals to remind me how strange all of the above really are;
** Having the basics covered — food, shelter, indoor climate control;
** All my NN.c peeps. I continue to be amazed and amused by how our community here grows, changes, supports and enhances what I do in this space every day. Someday, this all will pass. But for now, it makes my life so much richer and more interesting.

So with that, a jump to bloggage:

From Eric Zorn, the state of Illinois awaits its Fort Sumter moment.

One of the things I love about this holiday is how deliciously it demonstrates the diversity of the United States while still honoring its commonalities; I love to read stories about how different ethnic groups do Thanksgiving, with antipasti starters, pierogi and kimchi side dishes. Of course, some people will never, ever be happy about that. New York magazine catches up with crazy Pamela Geller and her Butterball j’accuse: Halal turkeys! Is nothing sacred?

Tom & Lorenzo give J-Lo a WERQ, and I have to say, she does look spectacular here. How does she still look so great at a time when her peers are starting to overdue it with facial fillers and Botox? I’m going with “because she hasn’t dieted herself down to a skeleton.” What do you think?

OK, I’m off to make my brine. Happy holiday, safe travels and remember: Only discreetly ask how the sides were prepared. It’ll save you a black eye, unless it doesn’t. Back here on Monday.

Posted at 9:39 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

97 responses to “Fatheads.”

  1. Jen said on November 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Halal slaughter sounds almost exactly like Kosher slaughter, except that, obviously, Jews are doing the slaughtering and blessing instead of Muslims. I hope this Pamela Geller nutball doesn’t eat Kosher food either.

    Wait, you say she’s Jewish?


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  2. Karen S. said on November 23, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I’m at work right now, but I had to delurk and say, first, how much I enjoy your blog, Nancy, and your regular commenters.
    Second, I used to be a reporter at a community newspaper in suburban Chicago, but no more. I remember the various seasonal stories we had to write, which were mostly silly. My least favorite, though, were the stories about weather events. It’s a snowstorm! In the Chicago area! In January! Get that story now! Good times.
    Thank you for this blog and have a great Thanksgiving.

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  3. Jolene said on November 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

    That idea about not having second helpings: sheer genius. Who’d have thought that two pieces of pie would be more likely to lead to weight gain than one? Just astonishing what you can learn by reading the news.

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  4. caliban said on November 23, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Turkey skin, basted properly, tastes far better than turkey breast meat, which tastes about like cardboard.

    I like Ike. Time to restore Eisenhower tax rates.

    Palin turkey slaughter, on the other hand, is far more humane than that practiced by the godless heathen Muslims and their sharia.

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  5. Deborah said on November 23, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I’d love to live in the great state of Cook. Buncha weirdos.

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  6. Randy said on November 23, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Does anyone put strips of bacon across the turkey for its time in the oven? That’s the best-tasting bacon of the year.

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  7. Colleen said on November 23, 2011 at 10:43 am

    My stuffing recipe alone calls for 2 or 3 sticks of butter…..

    I hate those articles. They are all about the DUH. Of course, we are doing radio DUH stories right now too, in part because of the slow news cycle. The assistant principal nabbed on drug charges will only go so far….we have to have something in there about fire safety or remembering to recycle….

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  8. caliban said on November 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Speaking of fire safety:
    Family values for Thanksgiving.

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  9. Snarkworth said on November 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

    her peers are starting to overdue it

    Actually, that’s pretty good.

    (Sorry. Itchy copy editor fingers.)

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  10. MarkH said on November 23, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Yeah, right, caliban. 90% tax rates. That’ll solve everything.

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  11. alex said on November 23, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Well, my Thanksgiving plans changed. Out-of-towners not coming so I don’t have to do a traditional spread. I just need to take something to my partner’s family’s get-together so I’m doing a non-traditional ethnic dish. I’m sure our nn.c friends Jason from McKeesport and Colleen (who has landed a broadcast media job once again, btw) will know this one.

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  12. coozledad said on November 23, 2011 at 10:58 am

    It’s hard to think about Pam Gellar and food at the same time. I suspect her dietary requirements are unique.

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  13. Jolene said on November 23, 2011 at 11:02 am

    This list of great vegetable recipes popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. Even if your menu is set, the pictures make it worth a look.


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  14. Dexter said on November 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

    About eleven years ago I was working the early morning shift on a Sunday, and driving to work at 6:00 AM. I tuned in to WJR-AM and listened to a Thanksgiving production with dramatic music bursts inserted for effect. Dick Haefner was the narrator as I recall.
    The next day I was browsing the web and it turned out the entire radio play was copied verbatim from the first search for “Thanksgiving” offered up. Some imagination there, WJR. Talk about filler….

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  15. Connie said on November 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

    That sounds tasty Alex, but only one stick of butter?

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  16. Deborah said on November 23, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Connie, Alex’s recipe may only have one stick of butter but it also has 1 cup of sour cream.

    I can tell that I’m not going to get any work done today.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on November 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Jolene, I had just finished looking over the vegan feature, and now I’m wishing I had bought red cabbage. Some other good possibilities there too. Yesterday I read on the NPR feed about taking a brie round, slicing off the top and drizzling with honey and thyme before nuking for a minute. I bought one just now so I’ll let y’all know if people like it tomorrow.

    My grateful list looks a lot like Nance’s, and includes no shopping over the crazy weekend. It also includes having the freedom to say I don’t always agree with my government but I love this country. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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  18. MichaelG said on November 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Brokaw piss you off yesterday Dexter? Numbah 10? Or numbah Sau Muoi Chin? Feel better, please. Lots of people side stepped the military in those days. I don’t even worry about it anymore. Especially if they were honest about it.

    I just took a walk around our floor here at work. The place looks like it was evacuated. Humm. Maybe it was and they didn’t bother to tell me.

    Have a great Thanksgiving and a happy weekend, everybody. And Happy Birthday to all of the Birthday folks.

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  19. Sue said on November 23, 2011 at 11:47 am

    The Great State of Cook isn’t exactly demographically homogenous… I haven’t heard if Palatine was able to secede from Cook County awhile back, but if this bit of nonsense ever came to pass the burbs would be scrambling to get out. Because, although everyone likes the benefits that come with living near a world-class City, uh, taxes and poor people and stuff. Oh and corruption, too, so let’s all move to Lake County – what? There too?
    Anyway, I can say for sure that one of the recipients of my Thanksgiving gratitude would be my vet, who over two days treated two of my cats and did not find the obstructions or toxicity we feared.
    My vet, I assume, is very grateful to have a client like me – $500 to diagnose and treat 2 very constipated cats.

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  20. Jolene said on November 23, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I saw that brie recipe too, Julie, and thought it sounded great. I’m a guest tomorrow w/ different responsibilities, but I bookmarked it for the next time it’s my turn to bring a decadent appetizer to bookclub.

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  21. LAMary said on November 23, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I share your theory on why J-Lo looks good. She’s got curves and hasn’t tried to diet them away. No scary Madonna sinewy arms on that girl.
    Speaking of turkey wings, it looks like the kids will be eating turkey with me tomorrow, and I’m very thankful for that. I enjoy their company so much and they’re smart and funny and sweet.
    The highly informative story on my local morning tv news was that wearing extremely high heels can lead to injuries. Who knew, eh?

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  22. caliban said on November 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    That’s marginal rate, Mark.

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  23. Kim said on November 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving, all. Always grateful for the conversations that start here. Happy birthdays to all who are celebrating those, too. May everyone have as much butter and salt and all the rest of the forbidden foods in amounts they can tolerate.

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  24. 4dbirds said on November 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to all. Just our immediate family this year. I plan on using lots of butter, cream, sugar and salt.

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  25. Suzanne said on November 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    There is a good part of me that wishes Indianapolis would form thier own state, of which Mitch could be king, thereby acknowledging what we all know is true;the rest of the state is off the radar and nobody in a position of state power gives a plug nickel about us.

    Butter all the way. Margarine is one or two molecules away from plastic.

    Happy Thanksgiving one and all!!

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  26. beb said on November 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    So does Cook County want to secede from Illinois, or Illinois from Cook county? Since 50 states seems like the right number I would oppose this until and unless North Dakota merges with South Dakota.

    Jen @1 pretty much encapsulates the whole halala issue.

    White meat v dark meat? I’m very much a fan of the dark. It has flavor. White meat various from dry and tasteless to juicy and tasteless. Why else do you put mustard on a turkey breast sandwich but to give it something, any kind of taste.

    Eisenhower Taxes: first of all, those were marginal tax rates. And that’s why there were so many tax brackets. If the brackets were $0-$100,000 and $100,001 and up and the margin rates were 10% and 15% and you earned $100,001 of taxable income. You would pay 10% on the first $100,000 and 15% on the remaining one dollar. The 90% bracket would only apply to whatever was above the highest bracket. It’s not as much as it sounds, and of course, a lot of money could be sheltered through charitable donations. The important thing to remember is that even in the 50s with their high taxes people were still getting rich, the economy was booming. The same is true for Clinton’s tax hikes. It did not kill the economy. And it was paying off the national debt. Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing?

    The real problem with Thanksgiving is that there’s only one refrigerator in the house and currently it’s so stocked with food that I can’t find anything in it.

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  27. coozledad said on November 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Now that Linda Katehi has started looking for a Lynndie England to hang her failure on, it’s important to remember she wrote the book on “depoliticizing” campuses.

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  28. LAMary said on November 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I bought some cranberry mango salsa at Trader Joe’s last night. That combination sounds so delicious to me, like on turkey and roasted sweet potatoes. Now I’m hungry, damn.

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  29. Scout said on November 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Cheesy as it may sound, a few years ago I got into the habit of daily reflection on things I am grateful for. It is amazing the things small and large that we take for granted until we make a conscious effort to think about them. nn.c often makes my daily list. You all are such fun and veritable founts of information and insight.

    Have a great holiday, all!

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  30. Jolene said on November 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Not cheesy, Scout. Gratitude is good for your health.


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  31. Jolene said on November 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Other useful advice from today’s news: Lots of people are traveling. Allow plenty of time at the airport.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

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  32. caliban said on November 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Just got a copy of 1Q84 in the mail. I had to have it as soon as I read this cocmment in NYRB review:

    This romance is at the core of the novel, as if Murakami had somehow hybridized The Magic Flute and Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, with a touch of Rosemary’s Baby thrown in for good measure.

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  33. MarkH said on November 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Speaking of holiday travel, I suppose it was inevitable that it would come to this. Airlines are packing airliners by shrinking the number of flights. Anyone been on a half-full flight lately? Or even 3/4 full? Anyone have an opinion on how this overweight passenger situation was handled by US Airways?


    US Airways is pleading diplomacy among passengers in a situation like this? It was the displaced passenger’s “choice to stand”? Where was safety in all this? Probably more to the story. Some of the comments are a hoot.

    EDIT — Happy Thanksgiving to all! Some great food ideas here as usual. Also Happy Birthday to those celebrating.

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  34. Deborah said on November 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to all at nnc. Hope you enjoy your holiday with good food and interesting friends and family. Well, if not interesting at least more than tolerable. I’m looking forward to a few more days out of the office since we get both Thursday and Friday as official holidays. Cheers.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday as appropriate – I’m at relatives w a new, barely understood Kindle Fire and a neighbor’s unsecured wifi. It keeps trying to change my words even after I hit space. This’ll slow me down in a good way. Thanks for all the recipes, even the ones I’ll never make.

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  36. Dave said on November 23, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    We’ve got a new Fire, too, Jeff, and haven’t had that problem. It’s good for a little browsing but I got it for my wife because, although she originally wanted a Nook, we decided this would be more useful. Of course, I personally would have rather have had a Ipad 2 but $$$$$ and this will do for now.

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  37. Dexter said on November 24, 2011 at 2:20 am

    So I was just going to roast a chicken and have some parsnips and things, since our Thanksgiving feast / party must be delayed until Saturday in Columbus, and it’s just me and the wife tomorrow.
    Then Mrs. Dexter finally got inspired, and we drove to Kroger and filled up two shopping carts. It’s oven-roasted turkey and no parsnips. Potatoes, pumpkin pie, oyster dressing (yikes! on the price of those tasty morsels…$9.99 for less than a pint)
    old school white dinner rolls, some kind of green beans almondine.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 24, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Apologies to the Dispatch employees I know we have around here, but my annual amazement at reading the Indy Star (does more go on in Indy than Columbus? do the advertisers somehow shape it differently in volume & quality? or is it just a better paper, and if so, how and/or why?) is tempered by a startling new development. It feels mean and juvenile to point this out, but I just kept staring at the new publishers page A2 letter, and her signature. Search for it if you like, but I just have trouble believing that’s a family name worth holding onto. Of course, to get here, I have to drive by 78 billboards proclaiming the family values of Tom Raper.

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  39. Maggie Jochild said on November 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I woke up to a cokey-cola and the annual listening of Alice’s Restaurant. My morning attendant Tammy is due to arrive and we will get her outta here early so she can go be with family. My evening attendant won’t be here until after 5, so I’ll have a nice long chunk of the day alone, which is an actual treat for me. Never cared much for this holiday, and it is definitely better without my family. Am also not a major fan of Turkey (unless I make it) or pumpkin. I declined the Meals On Wheels dinner, and instead am having my fave of pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, spinach, and pecan pie. My GF, being English, finds this holiday bewildering and will skype me when she’s done with a regular day at work.

    I AM looking forward to the National Dog Show. And I make it a daily practice to notice and give thanks for what I have — rent paid until the 1st, a refrigerator, prescriptions all filled at the moment. And that pot roast ready to be heated up, hot damn.

    After an unusually bountiful meal when I was a child, my father would always say “Wonder that the po’ folks are eatin’ tonight.” I didn’t know it was irony until I was a teenager. It’s a good way to live, being glad. I have a lot of love coming my way daily. And discovering this community here, with diverse and intelligent viewpoints, has been a blessing this year.

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  40. alex said on November 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Some vindication for Jerry Fallwell and the kulturkampfers who think Sesame Street is subversive.

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  41. Dexter said on November 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    “Tom Raper Motor Homes, right off I-70 in RICHMOND INDIANA!!”

    Pretty close, JmmO?

    I remember the horrible killer explosion that took 41 lives in 1968.
    I marched in solidarity with Richmond workers employed at a Dana plant twenty-some years ago. We hit the bricks and marched several miles.
    Richmond? That’s all I know about thay-at.

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  42. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Well, I know driving through Richmond smells like driving through a cigarette made into a tunnel. Great Thanksgiving leftover concept:


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  43. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Long day at the food bank Thanksgiving meal. It’s really fun for a gifted amateur cook to be let loose in a vast restaurant kitchen with great space and tools. Somewhat depressing though, when we arrived at 5:30 am there were already destitute people assembling for the free feast and food takeouts. We fired up the coffee urns. Even in paradise it was chilly out. Used my superb Ethiopian dark roast from Gevalia. These were families. Heartbreaking, in my country.

    I don’t generally read non-fiction, except for phenomenolological theology, like Teilhard, which I read and reread fairly constantly. But yesterday, I read a book of political philosophy by one of my favorite fiction writers that I want to recommend strongly. Walter Mosley has written the greatest noir since Phillip Marlowe, and those of you who appreciate that genre should surely check out at least the Easy Rawlins novels, particularly Devil in a Blue Dress. Chandler and Hammett dealt in sociological truths, but Mosley takes it a step further by making it about race in the USAA in the ’50s and ’60s.

    Anyway, the guy has written a book recently that was far ahead of progressive movements in identifying oligarchy and engineered wealth inequality as the root of America’s problems. Mosley has been through AA and offers Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation. It’s only 92 pp., and easy read in a single slow day. And I believe it’s brilliant. The book is a perfect antidote to some asshole like Herman Cainster claiming people are poor because they are lazy, and could break through the self-narcotization necessary for decent Americans to buy into that unAmerican, anti-Christian snake oil. The book is available on Amazon for abot $10. Well worth reading. I thought about it today while feeding homeless and starving poor people today for a meager one holiday of the year.

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  44. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Cookbooks. I know my political views are strident, and sometimes divisive. But they are based upon my commitment to Christianity, in the form of Catholicism, as expressed by Jesuits and Teillhard in particular. But also, I think that the point of this country is a social compact that GOPers don’t believe exists. I think that is a heinous crock of shit. We aren’t responsible for the less fortunate or those who need help? In what country, you hypocrites?

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  45. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Is social justice very far from what anybody of you ever thought was what was meant by basic rights and the USA Constitution? I doubt it.

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  46. Deborah said on November 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    It’s officially been communicated over the Thanksgiving meal that Littlebird will be moving to Santa Fe in 6 to 9 months to set up a place to operate out of for the next phase of our lives. She is thrilled. We will be giving up the place she now has in Chicago in the building next door. This place in Santa Fe will be great for her and for us, it’s totally a win/win all around. We are all excited. We will start building our place in Abiquiu sometime soon, although it has completely changed again. We have changed the design so many times I have lost count.

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  47. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Deborah, so you are going to be painting gigantic Irises that look like inflamed vaginas? Way cool. I’ve spent only brief time in New Mes, but I’ve spent lots of time in the High Desert. It;s the most gorgeous country our country has to offer, aside from cities. I have no idea which I prefer. I love Boston and NYC, But I love the desert in Utah and Arizona and New Mexico. I shouldn’t have to choose. I don’t think. I don’t know the specific NMex landscape you are talking about. The Southern rivers, like the southern San Juan, that’s my sort of country.

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  48. Linda said on November 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Sitting down after a day of helping w/Thanksgiving at my sisters–have a big pot of turkey stock cooking on the kitchen, and it smells better than any air freshener in the world.

    **Congratulations to Deborah and Littlebird–I hear all sorts of great things about New Mexico.

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  49. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Do people acrtually watch CBS sitcoms and think there is anything remotelely funny? What the fuck is wrong with people? Holy shit that is bone stupid,

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  50. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Ladies, but whatever you may think:


    Best New Mexico Song ever. Y’all enjoy the getaway.

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  51. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Paint inflamed vulva, that look like ireses, or whatever.

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  52. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Why do women assume men don’t get shit?

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  53. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    None of it is all that difficult to understand. Why does anybody think the sitcoms are remotely funny, Way stupid. Not funny in the slightest. Big
    Bang? That is so stupid it is beyond comprehension. Dumber than grunt. Really fucking stupid. Cannot be stupider. This is supposed to be funny? Beyond fucking stupid. What is wrong with people?

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  54. caliban said on November 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Please tell me none of you watch this idiocy. Not remotely funny. Big Bang, sorry but that is funny as a hangnail. I could watch the whole shit and never crack a smileBut is there a sitcom that is? Not quite, since, maybe Frazier. But sorry, since Monk there has really been nothing funny. Sean Spencer is a pissant little asshole, and he is not remotely clever. I am not joking, If people believe this shit is funny, they really have omething to consider. How does anybody think any of this is funny or not obnoxious to gay marriage? Are these aholes not making fun? Screw Conan, Screw his alleged marriage partners. What a bunch of dickheads

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  55. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Maggie, the cherry cokey cola is actually better, I think. You are my favorite person on the net. By a mile. I am not joking about the cherry coke. Give it a try.

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  56. ROGirl said on November 25, 2011 at 6:57 am

    A link from Mark Bittman’s column about fake honey.


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  57. Deborah said on November 25, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I was relieved to read that where I buy honey is safe- Trader Joes.

    To clarify my comment earlier about New Mexico, we will continue to keep our place in Chicago too. So we’ll get the best of both worlds. Because of the economy the place in Abiquiu is shrinking compared to the original design. We have a completely different strategy now and as it turns out we don’t regret not doing our original plan at all.

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  58. nancy said on November 25, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Amazing story, ROGirl. Makes that $8.50 I spend for a two-pound jar at the farmer’s market seem like money well-spent. I’ve been leery of supermarket honey ever since I read that much of it comes from China, with the bees nourished on god-knows-what toxic flora, but this is a new one. Yep, we need LESS regulation of food and medicine, fershure.

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  59. coozledad said on November 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Once you get rid of the child labor laws, you can breed a bunch of little monkeys up to taste that honey and make sure it’s pure. Then you can get rid of the FDA, the Department of Education, and…another one of them departments.

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  60. Julie Robinson said on November 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

    That is sickening about the honey, but even if you buy it at a farmers’ market you’re not guaranteed it’s local. I bought some this summer and asked the guy where it came from. He claimed it was from his yard, but I saw the same label at the local Amish store later. Who knows where it really came from?

    And speaking of honey, the honey drizzled over brie was a huge hit. We nuked it for 90 seconds, and completely forgot about the thyme, but it was delicious, and everyone loved it. Well, the nine year-old thought it looked weird and wouldn’t try it, but that was just more for us. Since the meal over an hour late, it was perfect.

    Deborah, I’m excited for you too. I hope you’ll share some photos as you build so we can retire vicariously along with you. We have 10-12 years to go if we wait for full retirement and it seems like forever. Our daughter already said she’s moving us to live with or by her. It sounds great; we are really missing her now that she’s so far away. Isn’t it wonderful when your kids become mature adults and you can just enjoy them?

    My husband went out to buy a couple of door-busters but I stayed home and slept in. We’re going to see Hugo later, in 2D.

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  61. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Honey is bee food. Is fake honey being injected into fake butts in FLA? So they remove the pollen to cover up the country of origin? I’m not sure I get it? But wouldn’t it be easy, given oppressive government regulation, to simply ban imports from China and India? But let’s have Archer Farms be the judge, instead of a government agency. We’ll trust them to tell the truth.

    And if the FDA is falling down on this job, it is because the W administration pretty much shut them down.

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  62. brian stouder said on November 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I was sick as a dog Wednesday, but felt better Thursday morning, other than an annoying chest-tickle/hacking cough.

    Alex, that was a funny bit about the muppet song. ‘Course, speaking of marvelous institutions that have annexed features of morally questionable provenance, the Christmas holiday has appropriated so many pagan features that the holiday itself should have capsized into incoherence long ago, except that it hasn’t, eh?

    Caliban, one of these days I shall take one of your book suggestions. I’m thinking that 90-page nonfiction one will go onto my Christmas list.

    Last night the women loaded up and went to (the Logansport) WalMart for some of their Thursday night door-busters; I begged off – although the prospect of actually witnessing this newest “Christamas tradition” sounded intriguing….and they saw scuffles and there was an honest to God fight in the aisles, including blood and arrests, here in Cass County.

    The honey article was genuinely troubling, and President Obama oughta put a bee in the bonnet of whoever faces him next year, for just the reason Nancy points out. I WANT government regulation, and effective enforcement of those government regulations…and even the GOPers should see the point, when we’re talking about subversive Chinese worker bees working from some insidious hives on the other side of the world.

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  63. beb said on November 25, 2011 at 11:07 am

    looks like calibans got into the cooking sherry. Sit-coms on CBS? While I haven’t watched one in years I’m sure there are some that are funny. And anyway who are we to tell other people what they should or shouldn’t like? Isn’t that being a bit elitist?

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  64. Sue said on November 25, 2011 at 11:35 am

    brian stouder, this year shoppers are incorporating a new tradition in honor of our current mindset – pepper spray!
    I was on my way to pick up my cat from the emergency vet clinic last night around 11 p.m. (the problems continue, no diagnosis yet) and passed a WalMart. Every parking spot was filled and there were a couple car-to-car standoffs going on. Across the street a bank parking lot was full and cars were also parked along the building. I do not see the fun in this, or even the challenge, and I definitely do not understand the reward vs. threat to life and limb factor.

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  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Caliban, if you’re waking up still toasted, that might be a sign to cut back. I liked Nancy’s idea to have a day with zero intake per week, and a week per month. Good way to keep the creature from getting too tight a grip, says a fellow who does value his bourbon in the evening. (Did you know a Baptist minister invented the Kentucky bourbon making process?)

    Happy birthday, Nancy, officially speaking — you are a gift to many of us with your posts and management of the tavern here, and I hope you have a lovely, low-retail day. The Kickback lounge is a great place to buy your Kindle Fire if you’re thinking about one (nudge, nudge). As a low-grade tablet, for someone who’s never used one (so my expectations are low), it’s a great on-the-road tool.

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  66. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm


    Nobody that can cook uses cooking sherry. And maybe it’s elitist, but would you apply that term to literary or film criticism. I simply stated that I watched half an hour of Big Bang Theory without once being remotely tempted to crack a smile. Fucking LCD drivel. Only stating an opinion, not dictating taste. And that one is supposed to be the funniest. Even Blossom doesn’t save it. I do think its immense popularity says something somewhat frightening about America, but I wouldn’t have the gall to try to pin that malaise down, like Bernard-Henri Levi or some other pisant of that sort. But shit, people care about Dancing With the “Stars”, even if they are Kardashians or Gosselins. I just find this overall degradation in common discernment of entertainment mildly depressing.

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  67. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    One to add to all those anti-weight-gain holiday must filler stories:


    Or, you can just ignore it.

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  68. Basset said on November 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Opting out of Black Friday and all football right now – out in the woods near Bucksnort, Tennessee, waiting for the wind to die down so the deer will start walking around again.
    We ate way too much and watched the James Bond marathon on SyFy yesterday, during which Mrs. B. claimed that Sean Connery is still the most attractive Bond. Opinions? (Ian Fleming mentioned twice in his novels that Bond looked something like Hoagy Carmichael, make what you will of that)

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  69. brian stouder said on November 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Sean Connery is the “real” Bond to me, because he’s the one I grew up with (Roger Moore is still “the new guy” to me, and the others are empty-suits…imo!)

    The accent alone makes the sale; somehow he “sells” the concept of a nattily-dressed, suave and well-spoken cold warrior better than the others. Hell, that’s probably it; in the absence of the “cold war” (especially just 20 years after our cataclysmic planet-wide “hot war”, when Sean first played – and cheated at – baccarat* for us), the whole concept of James Bond just vaporizes

    Agreed 110% with Jeff about our hostess with the mostest; here’s wishing her a great birthday (the weather seems to have brightened right up in her honor!) and a peaceful run-up to the climax of the holday season.

    Someday this place won’t exist anymore, but we’ll always fondly remember it. (I’m betting it will live on in cyber archives, for as long as any of us remains among the living)

    The women are all watching the various Twilight dvds, in preparation for going to the movies tonight….so, I’ll surely be checking in here again, soon!

    *I love that going to Google and typing in “James Bond card game” got me “baccarat” within 2 seconds, after trying to remember it for 3 minutes!

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  70. MichaelG said on November 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    That bee stuff is scary. I had no idea. Wonder what else is out there. There is a bee store nearby where I buy my honey. It’s a very interesting place to spend a half hour or so browsing. They have all the paraphernalia to raise bees and harvest and package honey. All the hives, trays, dividers and lots of other arcane stuff. Also centrifuges, filters, bottlers and so on. They have lots of books and friendly knowledgeable staff. They also have honey. Tons of the stuff in every flavor and it’s all available for tasting. Bring your own container or they will fill one for you. Prices are reasonable as well. Great place.

    I saw a trailer for Big Bang this AM while watching the news. It looked pretty God awful. I sure as hell wouldn’t watch it.

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  71. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Basset, Hoagy Carmichael was actually a pretty handsome gent, that looked most like Robert Montgomery, or William Powell when mustachioed, and a bit like Sean Connery. In my mind, the guy always pales in comparison as a songwriter when compared with Mose Allison. They wrote some similar music, actually, but Mose was the master. But Beatle George didn’t cover him:


    ZZTop did:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6rebzl6BcsBest Bond? Couldn’t say. George Lazenby sucked. Daniel Craig is mighty good. Never bought into this franchise, and I liked the Roger Moore versions. Never actually watched one with Daniel Craig, but it’s my impression he’s a good actor. As is Sean Connery, who starred with another icon, Michael Cane in another of my top ten, The Man Who Would Be King, a truly great movie.

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  72. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Sean Connery was also excellent in Time Bandits, another movie I esteem. Well, if Terry Gilliam directed it, I’m all for it. But if basset is tramping around the woods trying to shoot Bambi, how is he communicating?

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  73. Jolene said on November 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    NPR has a different take on the honey issue. According to them, the situation is not quite so dire as the Food Safety News piece suggests. In particular, it points out that although there have been occasional problems w/ Chinese honey, the main problem is that US honey producers don’t want it here.


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  74. brian stouder said on November 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks, Jolene; an interesting (and credible) counterpoint.

    I think your post wins the Honey of the Day award!

    edit – and now I’m in the mood for some Mudhoney

    http://www.mudhoney.net/mudhoney.htm )

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  75. MarkH said on November 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Pity any of the others who came after Connery in the Bond series. In what was an otherwise good treatment, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, Lazenby stands out as the worst Bond. He fit the appearance, but was certainly no actor. Next worst was Timothy Dalton. Moore was an acquired taste, but aged out long before he left the series. However, “For Your Eyes Only” stands out as one of my favorite Bond films for its return to minimalism of gadgetry and a healthy dose of real suspense. Even Connery’s last three Bond efforts are forgetable. Best Bond films, in order: “From Russia With Love” (“My orders are to kill you and deliver the Lektor. How I do it is my business. It’ll be slow and painful”), “Goldfinger” (“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to DIE!!”), “Dr. No” (You are just a stupid policeman.”). Apologies to Siskel and Ebert, who both agreed that Goldfinger was the best.

    Also pity the man who played Bond on screen before Connery. Anyone remember him? Of course, you don’t. Barry Nelson, American television, 1954:


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  76. Julie Robinson said on November 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Oh, Connery, definitely. He’s still got it. Although, to confess, I’ve never sat through an entire Bond movie. They don’t work for me. And I see no appeal whatsoever in Daniel Craig.

    Very appealing, though, is Hugo. I was hesitant to see it since I loved the book, but it was surprisingly faithful to the source material. And just plain sweet. Saw it in 2D, #D makes me nauseous. Now I’ve got pizza dough going so we can can continue the holiday feasting.

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  77. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Black Friday.


    Black Friday.

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  78. MarkH said on November 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    caliban, how could we not prefer Black Friday #2?

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  79. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Mark, very fine, for sure.

    As for Bond, James Bond. How about Peter Sellers, David Niven, Ursula Undress, and Woody Allen? From the real Casino Royale?

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  80. MarkH said on November 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    A lot of fun, for sure, caliban, although most folks leave it out their James Bond favorites for its overt spoofiness. Inspired casting, too, with the ones you mentioned plus Orson Welles and John Huston (as “M”?) Five directors, TEN writers? IMDB trivia section has some fun stuff:


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  81. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    What Arthur Laffer actually meant, before he got all goofy and talked Raygun into sheer idiocy.

    I love that movie Mark. It’s hilarious, in my opinion. Jimmy Bond? Played by Woody Allen? Orson Welles as the world’s greatest villain. David Niven satirizing himself. Great fun.

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  82. Jolene said on November 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I haven’t seen a Bond film since the Connery films, which I saw almost too long ago to remember. There’s been talk of Idris Elba, who played Luther and Stronger Bell in The Wire, playing Bond. That would definitely get me to the theater again.

    Happy Birthday, Nancy. Hope you’ve had a great day. As others have said, our little corner of the Internet is a very fine place, indeed.

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  83. Jolene said on November 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Mark Bittman’s suggestions for New things to do w/ leftovers: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/magazine/rethinking-thanksgiving-leftovers.html?_r=1&smid=fb-nytimes&WT.mc_id=DI-E-FB-SM-LIN-ARO-112511-NYT-NA&WT.mc_ev=click

    Made me wish I had some leftover mashed potatoes. May have to make some to generate the raw material for the leftover recipes.

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  84. Deborah said on November 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Happy Birthday Nancy. Hope it was fun.

    We had a great day in Chicago, I had a few retail freebies to cash in on, the deadline was the end of Dec for them so I decided to do it today. Littlebird and I got all gussied up in our shopping finest and headed out to the mag mile. We got some great deals too. It is astounding to me how these places can give such bargains on days like this. It makes me realize how much they overcharge the rest of the year. At the end of the experience we went to the newly renovated Pump Room for a drink at the bar and it was quite elegant. I recommend it for anyone visiting. A little tradition with a contemporary twist. Very nice.

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  85. Dorothy said on November 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Happy birthday Nancy.

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  86. MarkH said on November 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Happy Birthday, Nancy. Hope it tops off an equally splendid Thanksgiving.

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  87. ROGirl said on November 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Love the Steely Dan, Caliban. Merci mille fois. And Happy Birthday, Nancy.

    I love honey with all the crystals in it. It spreads like butter. For this I’ll spend a bit more and get a product that’s locally produced.

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  88. coozledad said on November 25, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    The make up sex between these two, when AEI decides who’s pitcher and who’s catcher, should be immortalized in a soft-focus porn miniseries. For a title, I nominate “Willard and his Balling Trophy”.

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  89. caliban said on November 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Turkey slaughter, up close and personal.

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  90. Basset said on November 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Through the miracle of iPhone, Caliban… Three Verizon bars on the ridgetops, one or none in the hollows depending on which way they face, and better reception seven miles out of Bucksnort than AT&T gave me in parts
    of metro Nashville.

    Bambi was safe from me today, though. Didn’t even see one.

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  91. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Time Bandits is one of the best movies ever, IMNSHO. And it was one of Sean Connery’s most heroic roles, next to “The Man Who Would Be King”.

    My brother roasted two ducks for the 9 of us in our side of the family for Thanksgiving II: The Revenge of the GI Tract. Very sweet of him to put it all out for us, given that as soon as we all were done gorging, he’s one of the chefs (he’d say “cook”) at Alibi’s in northeast Indy, and went to work cooking until after midnight. Then to the Circle for the “world’s largest Christmas tree lighting” as it’s no longer called. No more than a few tens of thousands, but always a grand event.

    Tomorrow, “The Muppet Movie”!

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  92. John C said on November 26, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Zorn’s post reminded me of my favorite bit of obscure geographical trivia. Illinois is the state with the greatest difference in population between its largest city and its second largest city.

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  93. John C said on November 26, 2011 at 10:52 am

    For the record … Chicago has 2.9 million people. Aurora (home of Wayne and Garth!) has 190,000.

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  94. beb said on November 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Bucksnort, Bassett? A couple years ago my wife and daughter went to see Graceland then the Smokies. One of the things they couldn’t stop talking about was the town with the weird name of “Bucksnort.” I always assumed they were just making it up.

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  95. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Jolene’s right that it’s an exaggeration to say Chinese meg-filtered honey “isn’t” honey, but in so many ways it simply isn’t what eating honey made by bees working your local ecosystem is to your own personal “you are what you eat.” It’s like saying turkey today isn’t turkey, which is hyperbole, but if you’re comparing to what anyone in America ate as turkey from 1621 to c. 1950, you’d be entirely correct.

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  96. basset said on November 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Bucksnort indeed, Beb, it’s an unincorporated community and the postal address is Only, Tennessee… really… but Bucksnort does exist, I was there just today.

    It’s at exit 152 on I-40 west of Nashville… downtown Bucksnort is a closed gas station, a closed truck stop, an open gas station, a motel, a restaurant, and a porn shop.

    The restaurant is the only one I’ve ever been in which could screw up frozen biscuits. That actually happened to me, they were cold in the middle… I mean, how hard could it be?

    We hunt a few miles north of there, been a tough season for me but one of the guys in my club got a nice 6-point today.

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  97. Brandon said on November 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    The actors playing James Bond alternate between more rugged and more suave, with Connery, Dalton, and Craig tending toward the former, and Moore and Brosnan, the latter. Also, Craig is supposed to be a younger Bond, or at least he gets his license to kill in Casino Royale.

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