For the second time in my life I took the long train ride to Janesville, Wisconsin to see my oldest sister. This time it was during the Christmas holidays, where a large fully decorated tree sat in the lobby of the old Michigan Central Railroad station. As was before, we stopped at the Union Station in Chicago and boarded a charter bus to Wisconsin, which was packed and full of frequent bathroom goers (the facility located at the back of the bus). Ended up in the same hotel as the last couple times as well, the Baymont Inn and Suites, in which the luxurious hot tub was broken this time, but still warm enough to put our feet in.
The continental breakfast is always a scrumptious affair at the Baymont. The question of the day written on the board in the front lobby elicits discussion. Getting to sleep in an actual bed is great as well.
They may say the bird is the word but that’s not the case this year.
The title says it all.
This Thanksgiving, my family is ditching the bird because of being so tired of eating turkey and feeling full afterward, not being able to eat another bite. That dry meat doesn’t exactly go down well even with gravy.
Which is why this Thanksgiving, me and the rest are going a different way:
The German Way: Ertedankfest.
There will be a couple of foods native to German culture:
German potato salad, German bratwurst (which is a redundant saying because all bratwursts are German), some Heineken beer (a German lager), sauerkraut, and pasta salad (okay, that’s not German, it’s Italian, but close enough (Italy is just underneath Germany on the map).
This is always an anticipated holiday, even if the family is slowly getting smaller (and less enthusiastic about it). Football is the centerpiece of the day, with the annual Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game always a national spectacle. The Lions play the Vikings this year, a rarity on this day. They largely take control of the division if they win but slip to second if they lose.
We had a pre-Thanksgiving last night that consisted of turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, deviled eggs, and stuffing. Pretty light and easy to put away.
I like Halloween but I personally think it is one of the cheesiest and overhyped holidays ever. There’s no other day of the year where people volunteer to walk around in funny masks or costumes meticulously made out of household items. Halloween was such a fun holiday when I was in elementary school but after I got older it started to become less important; less about the all the cavity inducing candy received and more about celebrating this great time of the year that is about transitions.
This year I bought a pumpkin and only penned in the outline of the Michigan block ‘M’, too lazy to gut out the nasty innards of the gourd, realizing it is such a waste of time as the pumpkin is no good afterward.
The 1988 cult classic Pumpkinhead was watched again this year, as is a tradition that started a few years back. In order to watch the film this year, I had to order it online because it is virtually unavailable anywhere in stores and only freely available through shady bootleg sites. The film is nothing special and has one of the most ridiculous plotlines (summoning the monster just because a boy gets accidentally run over by a motorcycle) but it’s the uniqueness and artistic value of the film that makes it a favorite among underground fans on Halloween.
The original poem that inspired the film:
“Keep away from Pumpkinhead,
Unless you’re tired of living,
His enemies are mostly dead,
He’s mean and unforgiving,
Laugh at him and you’re undone,
But in some dreadful fashion,
Vengeance, he considers fun,
And plans it with a passion,
Time will not erase or blot,
A plot that he has brewing,
It’s when you think that he’s forgot,
He’ll conjure your undoing,
Bolted doors and windows barred,
Guard dogs prowling in the yard,
Won’t protect you in your bed,
Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead!”
Valentine’s Day is that mushy holiday that I’ve never really cared for (basically because I’ve never had a reason to). It just comes and it goes. I was going to wait until next Valentine’s Day to publish this but since it has been stowed away in my drafts for a while, I thought I’d publish it now.
Here are ten things I dislike about this annual celebration, said to have originated way back in the ancient Roman times, from a number of saints named “Valentine” (who the actual one it’s named after is an extraordinary debate):
It’s such a manufactured holiday
No one cares about the single guys
People with diabetes are the minority
What the hell is a Cupid?
We spend BILLIONS on worthless Valentine cards that get thrown away
The one day of the year where couples sweep their troubles under the rug, and then pull them out again the next day.
You forget about the credit card debt from Christmas and buy that expensive ring for your spouse.
Like Halloween, it comes and goes really quickly and has no lasting memory
All the fake, empty “Happy Valentine’s Day” greetings you’ll get at the office.
It doesn’t make February any less boring.
This is a first in a series of “Things I Hate” posts.
I love the fourth of July, otherwise known as Independence Day, but there comes a point when shooting off tons of gun powdered fueled pellets becomes, well, ridiculous. Five fireworks equals a whole show of them. What is it about the colorful bursts of powder in the sky that excites us humans? What is taken from this? Sure, it makes for a spectacular light show but at the end of the night, the only thing that really happened was pollution of the environment. The different colored fireworks contain metallic compounds that are known to cause problems in humans and animals and shoot off harmful substances into the atmosphere. Some common elements on the Periodic Table are what account for the different colored fireworks. Those aren’t just pretty colors.
Here’s something to consider the next time you look up at a fireworks show. It will make you realize the incredible science behind fireworks. I made this neat infographic:
Repeated exposure to these elements is known to cause some health issues, including cancer. Generally, you’re pretty safe at a fireworks show because of being so far away from the launch zone, but it’s best to know how to protect yourself. Don’t breath in the smoke if you can help it.
Now here’s a challenge for you: the next time you’re at a fireworks event, whether it be a local event or one of the big shows like the Boston Pops, try to name off the element associated with the color as they shoot off. It’s like a colorful musical with the elements as the notes.
Here are 25 things to do (or probably not) on this Mexican holiday that Americans feel so passionate to celebrate, even if it has nothing to do with them. Most of these are suggestions that probably shouldn’t be taken seriously but what I’m offering for humorous effect.
Celebrate it as National Mayonnaise Day
Have a mock Mexican-French war recreation
Eat like a Mexican all day (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Spread 1/5 of mayo on your sandwich
Take a picture of your mayo and put it on Instagram
Wave the Mexican flag in the general direction of France
Correct the people that think this is Mexico’s Independence Day
Attempt to learn Spanish
Read up on the history of Mexico
Sing the Mexican national anthem:
Make a list of the things you should do on this day because you are so bored
Go to Cancun
Wear a sombrero to work
Go to a Spanish bull fight
Eat at your favorite family Mexican restaurant (mine is “Casa Rodrigeous)
Watch a movie in Spanish or with the subtitles on
Listen to a song in Spanish
Count to one hundred or more in Spanish
Put on a Mexican musical complete with maracas, accordions, and castanet
Drink a fifth of rum, whiskey, or vodka
Listen to “Macarena” by Los del Rio
Eat Mexican jumping beans
Remember the Alamo
Dance with a Mexican girl or guy
Try to celebrate this holiday as tasteful as possible and don’t do most of what I suggest!