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November 27, 2014 7:33 AM

November 27, 2014 7:24 AM

You know that just before that first Thanksgiving dinner there was one wise, old Native American woman saying, “Don’t feed them. If you feed them, they’ll never leave.

  • Dylan Brody

If you want proof that history is circular, try this one on: every 365 days we’re inundated with people writing about what they’re thankful for.

And here we go again….

Not that there’s anything wrong with being thankful, of course. Lord knows I’ve learned that many times over this past year…so, yes, I’m going to go all soft and mushy here…unashamedly so.

This past year has been a good one for me. Not that my life previously wasn’t good- it most definitely was- but this year I managed to one-up myself. After years of being estranged from my family, I finally took the initiative and tried to change course, which led to a family reunion in October. Over the course of a weekend, I went from believing I didn’t have a family to learning that the person most responsible for the separation and estrangement was…wait for it…me. After years of anger and miscommunication, I learned that my family had never really gone anywhere; I had to find myself before I could let go of my anger and reconnect with the people who’ve known me the longest. Today I’m missing my family, most of whom are back in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Unfortunately, while most of them love living in the Great White North, I know I could never go back to that climate and spend five months of the year dealing with snow and below-freezing temperatures. Yes, winters in Portland are grey, dreary, and rainy, but I don’t have to shovel rain.

I also got engaged this year, which I’m beyond thankful for. Erin has been the one person in my life I know I can count on absolutely, who will always be there no matter what. For the first time in my life, I can appreciate that. I can say I’m happy AND that I actually know what that means. We’re getting married on August 1st, and it feels like I’m doing the right thing for the right reasons- and that I know myself well enough to recognize the importance of that. I’m at a place in my life where things feel comfortable and easy. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s fun and it’s light. I can honestly say that I love my life…and not just because it beats the alternative. It most certainly does not suck to be Jack, and given what I’ve had to get through to reach this point, I appreciate that even more.

Artistically, I’m at a place where I finally appreciate my writing for what it is. I fully recognize, and am grateful for, my gift for stringing together complete sentences in a more often than not coherent fashion. Currently, I’m working on figuring out how, with 13+ years of material, I can use WWJD to write a book. I’m not at all certain what form (or how long) that will take, but it’s an idea I’ve been wanting to explore for quite some time. I think I’m finally comfortable enough with, and confident of, my abilities to make it happen.

I’m not as confident with my abilities on the guitar, but I’m improving, and when I play, it actually sounds musical, as if I sort of, maybe, possibly know what I’m doing. My goal is to play a few songs with the band at our wedding, but we’ll see how that goes. For now, I’m just thankful that I’m able to play the guitar, which has been a lifelong dream. I didn’t begin taking lessons until I was 50, but I’m grateful I did. The good news is that it looks as if I may be getting an electric guitar for Christmas. The wonderful Chinese family next door has NO idea of what they may be in for.

I’m a fortunate and- even better- happy man. I have friends, family, good health, my writing, and my music. I have someone beside me that I get to spend the rest of my (hopefully very long and healthy) life with. All in all, it’s a good life…and for that I’m very, very thankful.

Wherever you may be, I wish all of my readers a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe and happy holiday season.

Let the War on Christmas begin!!

November 27, 2014 7:08 AM

November 27, 2014 6:50 AM

During my 10-year sojourn in Texas, there was a Lone Star State ritual every bit as predictable as it was humorous…and potentially deadly. Every Thanksgiving brought the obligatory stories of unfortunate souls who decided to fry their turkeys…without taking proper safety precautions, chief among them the iron-clad rule that YOU CAN’T ATTEMPT TO DROP A THAWING TURKEY CARCASS INTO BOILING OIL. Well, you could, I suppose…if you weren’t adverse to risking life, limb, and property. Every holiday brought variations on the same theme: Joe Sixpack in East Dogpatch, TX, decided to fry a turkey with his buddies. After a few beers to loosen things up, the menfolk fired up the fryer, pulled the turkey out of the freezer, and dropped their bird into the boiling oil. The resulting explosion would be immediate, massive, and sometimes even deadly. The conflagration that followed would burn down their garage, their outbuildings, sometimes even an entire house.

Ah, the holidays in Texas; where people have their local fire department on speed dial.

Man, burning down the garage, the deck, or even the whole house would make for some awkward Thanksgiving dinner conversation, eh?

I don’t mean to make light of what can, and often does, turn into a tragic situation. Still, frying a turkey shouldn’t become synonymous with auditioning for a Darwin Award. This sort of thing happens EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. Without fail…and this year will be no different. Television news stations throughout the South will feature turkey fryer-related mishaps with disturbing frequency. Every year someone thinks they’ve got it nailed…and every year someone dumps a frozen or thawing turkey into a vat of boiling peanut oil, with surprisingly predictable results.

Coming soon to a YouTube Channel near you….

It’s either the definity of insanity or natural selection. Maybe both.

November 27, 2014 6:34 AM

November 27, 2014 6:22 AM

(thanks to David Flanders….)

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A man is facing a felony menacing charge after two western Colorado sheriff’s deputies say he pointed a banana at them and they thought it was a gun.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports ( http://bit.ly/1rqFiVE ) 27-year-old Nathan Rolf Channing, of Fruitvale, was arrested Sunday.

According to an arrest affidavit, Mesa County deputies Joshua Bunch and Donald Love said they feared for their lives even though they saw that the object was yellow. Bunch wrote in the affidavit that he has seen handguns in many shapes and colors.

He wrote that Love was drawing his service weapon when Channing yelled, “It’s a banana!”

The deputies say Channing told them he was doing a trial run for a planned YouTube video and he thought it would “lighten the holiday spirit.”

November 27, 2014 6:14 AM

November 26, 2014 8:59 AM

November 26, 2014 8:47 AM

Thought for the week: For all the hating on Obama, we now have health insurance for millions who were not covered, a climate deal with China, an immigration plan that will keep millions of families together, and imminent detente with Iran. If only all Presidents could fail like that.

  • Andy Borowitz

No matter how hard I try, it’s difficult to wrap my head around the generalized Republican outrage and intractable opposition to anything President Obama tries to do. After spending six years working to thwart him at every turn, no reasonable person could blame him for using whatever tools he has at his disposal to accomplish something.

If this President was shown drinking a Diet Coke, Republicans would be indignant and demanding to know why he hates Diet Pepsi. Sometimes I wonder; if Barack Obama came out in favor of oxygen, would Republicans suffocate themselves? If Republicans are going to participate in the hard work of governing, if all they’re amenable to is bitching, moaning, and talking out their backside about impeachment, then why shouldn’t this President work around Congress? When the Republican definition of compromise is “do things our way or we’ll burn America down,” what hope is there for finding solutions? Good-faith solutions aren’t possible when one side refuses to bargain in good faith.

Time was when the Republican Party actually stood for something. Granted, what they stood for was more often than not wrong, but at least one knew what they were for. These days, Republicans will happily tell you what they oppose, but ask them what they support and for a plan for how they plan to achieve it…and they have nothing. If actions speak louder than words, and in politics they generally do, the things Republicans stand for are truly horrific:

November 26, 2014 8:27 AM

(click image to enlarge; source: http://t.co/biq1E06Oy4)

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