Saturday Evening Open Thread: The Season’s Upon Us


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Which events/excursions/loved ones will be putting the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’ for you this year?

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82 replies
  1. 1
    Jennifer says:

    I’d like to, in the spirit of sharing, once again pimp this David Sedaris reading of his take on the Christmas traditions of the Netherlands, called 6 to 8 Black Men that I posted at my blog. It’s long, but it’s also one of the funniest things ever, and since first hearing it a few years ago, I go back and listen to it every year during the holidays. I know you’ll enjoy it.

    I also wrote a too-long post about the gun stuff which despite its lack of brevity is halfway decent.

    Happy holidays, all.

  2. 2
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    I’ve volunteered to work if needed over the holiday season. Co-workers have kids & stuff and I don’t. Being out of town on a mission will be great cover for having to miss stuff I really don’t want to attend. So I’m being generous + selfish at the same time. And I’m not a Christian, which makes this easier.

  3. 3
    jacy says:

    I will be spending Christmas day with my new granddaughter Olivia Juliet

    Oh, and all five of my kids (from the 23-year-old Marine home from Afghanistan to the 7-year-old) will be together on Christmas for the first time in four years.

    Dog bless us, every one!

  4. 4
    quannlace says:

    ‘Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” on network tv (NBC) tonight. It’s been a long, long time.

  5. 5
    Hawes says:

    Love the Murphys, but you can’t top Fairytale of New York.

  6. 6
    Cassidy says:

    Attitudinal 12 y/o and a Mom who wants to kill her. I might be drinking heavily tonight.

  7. 7
    Rosie Outlook says:

    Since all the men I know know better than to try to dance with me, I will not be stepping on anyone’s feet and we all plan to have a holly jolly Christmas in between predicted storms. And the same to you, John.

    How do keep your rugs so clean with three animals in the house?

  8. 8
    Jennifer says:

    Oh, and as for the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’, I’m not sure this qualifies, but I will be eating (without verbal complaint) some nasty enchiladas for Christmas dinner. Mom is going out of town with her husband, so I’m doing Christmas with my sister’s family. Her husband is dead set on having Christmas dinner at his mother’s house…and his mother is a HORRIBLE cook…his sisters are too.

    For some reason, it seems that his family developed a tradtion several years ago of having enchiladas for Christmas dinner. The reason why is unclear; they aren’t Hispanic. Apparently nasty enchiladas are what they consider to be a real taste treat. And when I say “nasty,” what I mean is there is about a 100% probability that Velveeta will be included in the ingredients.

    So, anyway, when I heard about the nasty enchiladas, I sneakily tried to tempt my brother in law into opting out, specifically offering to cook dishes I know he likes for Christmas dinner. I told my sister, “tell him I’ll make the citrus marinated grilled pork tenderloins with the citrus ginger glaze.” No go – he’s set on having dinner at his Mom’s.

    Here’s the thing: my brother in law does a LOT of nice things for me. When my car breaks, over half the time he fixes it, when it’s something he can fix and he can do pretty much everything but the most major stuff. My dryer died in March, and I had just resorted to the clothesline while looking for a suitably cheap replacement; then in October their washer died. My BIL worked a deal with a friend who works at Lowe’s and got an almost new washer/dryer set for next to nothing; since he wanted to have a matched set, he loaded up their old dryer, brought it here (75 miles away), moved the old dryer out of the house, moved the new dryer in, and hauled the old dryer away.

    My brother in law deserves to have Christmas dinner where he wants to have it, and if it means nasty enchiladas, he deserves not having me be a buzzkill about it. So I will not say a word(though I probably will eat something in secret before we go over there on Christmas).

    I told this story to someone and they said, “well, really, it is kinda funny when you think about it.” And yes, it is. So I’ve chosen to think about it that way. It’s really only one meal, even if it is Christmas dinner. This is my personal Gift of the Magi.

  9. 9
    Boudica says:

    @jacy: Olivia is beautiful!!!

  10. 10
    efgoldman says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    I’ve volunteered to work if needed over the holiday season.

    For all my dad’s years in the Army, after he made Warrant Officer in the early 50s, and being Jewish, he switched with who ever had OD on Xmas and Easter. In our house, it made no difference.

  11. 11
    Suzanne says:

    I took a really hard exam today and all I want for Christmas is to pass. Some new sheets would be awesome, too. (Yes, I am old.)

    I’ve been watching this over and over, and I am convinced that is is the best thing I have ever seen on Fox News.

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    Down in the in-laws basement in Blacksburg watching a GREAT Illini Mizzou game!

  13. 13
    Raven says:

    @efgoldman: Soonergrunt ” Warrant Officers are the mafia of the Army’!e

  14. 14
    AHH onna Droid says:

    Some young friends of mine have been trolling facebook with paeans to Robert Mugabe. I don’t know if the man is evil, but unlike their other hero, Chavez, Mugabe is an utterly incompetent politician who squandered friendships, natural advantages and even the economic and social reform of the revolution. If you want to change the world for the better, stop making heroes of big talk loudmouths who ruin the lives of ordinary people. If you believe this world is a vale of tears and God will sort out his own, please go be pure in a monastery somewhere and cease sabotaging the efforts of those who seek real, practical social change in this life.

  15. 15
    efgoldman says:

    @Cassidy:

    Attitudinal 12 y/o and a Mom who wants to kill her.

    This too shall pass.
    We found two things that worked:
    1) When the angst shit really hit the fan, mrs efgoldman sat the daughter down and said: “thirteen is miserable. Its miserable for you, it was miserable for me, and it was miserable for Dad. But that doesn’t make it OK to take it out on us.”
    2) Mockery. We graded the eye rolls and the door slams. “That was only a seven – you can do better…” It really worked. Really.

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    @Raven: Basketball is a game Mizzou is usually pretty good at. For some reason I was always much more sober at Hearnes Center than at the football stadium. (Even when I saw Big Star in the parking lot.)

  17. 17
    Raven says:

    @MikeJ: I’m a lifelong Illini. Went to Columbia in 83 when we won and went to the Rosebowl.

  18. 18
    cathyx says:

    Just out of curiosity, what time do you all eat dinner on an average basis?

  19. 19
    Raven says:

    @MikeJ: I expect Mizzou to do well in the SEC hoop.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    cathyx says:

    @Raven: I went to U of I in 1980. Just for one year.

  22. 22
    FlyingToaster says:

    Despite the athiest/Jewish household, we’re going to my (vaguely) Catholic sister-in-laws for Xmas, but we show up after her (way-too-damn) Catholic husband has taken the 5 boys to Mass and back.

    Here’s how we prepped for Hanukkah: photo .

  23. 23
    efgoldman says:

    @Raven:

    Warrant Officers are the mafia of the Army…

    My Dad was a personnel specialist who for some reason wore Adjutant General brass. He served over time with QM, Artillery, Ordnance and Armor units. As a Harvard grad in English Lit, he spent a lot of time ghost writing commendations on behalf of various colonels and generals, including, at least once, his own.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Jager says:

    When I was single, I cooked a big Christmas Eve dinner for 7 of the ‘orphans who worked for me. We ate and drank and then one of the orphans,a bright eyed lad of 22 said, “Hey let’s go to a strip club.” Since I was the mature one I said, “Sure if you can find one that’s open, we’ll all go.” He did and we went. 2 bartenders, 2 waitresses, 6 strippers and 8 of us in a club that would hold at least 200. We lined up right down in front ordered our drinks and enjoyed the Christmas Show. One of the dancers, a cute little shit dragged Mr. Bright Eyes off for a private dance. A half hour later, she came back and punched me in the arm and said, “I hope you’re not a cheap son of a bitch like your son!”

    Bright Eyes ran up a 10 song bill at $20.00 a song and had only 42 dollars in his pocket!

  26. 26
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    My family’s got Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, and Wiccans, so there’s pretty much always a reason to stuff our faces celebrate.

    Also, the SF Bay Area is an awesome place for workplace potlucks; I have co-workers from all over the globe (and a few that I suspect are from other planets).

  27. 27
    MikeJ says:

    @Raven: Mizzou always seemed more midwest than southern when I was there, but things have changed in Missouri as a whole from what I can tell from afar.

  28. 28
    Bago says:

    I went to an awesome party last night where puppets DJ’d, we danced to some dub-swing music, went through a a “portal”, lit some flash paper, and came out on the other side of the end of the world! It was highly amusing.

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    I will be spending three full days with my parents in Arizona. Alone. Just them and me. My dad is a lifelong member of the NRA, and they love them some Sheriff Joe.

    I think I may be buying alcohol to keep in my hotel room. (Yes, that is the saving grace — I will get to stay at the Holiday Inn. There was some rumbling about me staying at the house, but neither my mom or I was enthused about the idea.)

  30. 30
    Steeplejack says:

    @FlyingToaster:

    Linky no work.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jennifer:

    I heard David Sedaris reading his holiday elf story on NPR earlier this evening. So … bizarre. I love it. Every year.

  32. 32
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @jacy:

    Olivia is too cute for her hat!

  33. 33
    Steeplejack says:

    I’m torn between watching Safe House, which is buffering to the DVR on HBO as I write, or the Falcons-Lions game, which I belatedly realized has just started. Anybody have anything good to say about the movie? The previews looked okay, but I missed it in the theater.

  34. 34
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @cathyx:

    When I was growing up, we usually ate Xmas dinner around 6:00 pm. The people (distant cousins) I celebrate with these days like to have the meal around 2:00 pm, Xmas or Thanksgiving, doesn’t matter.

  35. 35
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @MikeJ:

    Things have changed. The Northern part of the state and St. Louis are losing population, and the big gains are in Branson/Springfield/etc., which are basically Oklahoma. That’s also why Democrats don’t get elected there like they used to.

  36. 36
    Yutsano says:

    Test

  37. 37
    cathyx says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Not Christmas dinner, regular dinner.

    I’m going to my sister’s house for dinner tonight, and I don’t have to be there until 7:00pm. They eat late. Or at least, that’s late for me. But she says that everyone eats that late. So I am curious what time does everyone eat their daily dinner.

  38. 38
    MikeJ says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Back in the olden dayes nobody talked about the civil war when Mizzou played Kansas. Now they do and Mizzou is on the side of the bad guys.

  39. 39
    hildebrand says:

    Don’t forget – Doctor Who is on Christmas night at 8pm (Central) on BBC America. Clearly the best event of the day.

  40. 40
    jacy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    You should see some of the other Christmas outfits from her photo shoot — mom and dad went a lil overboard.

  41. 41
    Schlemizel says:

    @Jennifer:

    I love that bit. I first heard it on an audio & laughed myself silly.

    If you still need a little cheering up for the holiday Scalzi’s Interview with the nativity innkeeper is also a delight:
    http://whatever.scalzi.com/201.....innkeeper/

  42. 42
    efgoldman says:

    @hildebrand:

    Clearly the best event of the day.

    Wrong!
    The best event of the day is when we leave my brother-in-law’s to come home.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jennifer:

    We are a (half-)Italian family, and one of my aunts would always make lasagna for Christmas dinner. Problem was, like all of my aunts she was a terrible cook and it was always this gluey monstrosity with the density of plutonium. I was convinced that I hated lasagna because I thought it was supposed to be the way my aunt made it.

    There’s a reason all of the women on my dad’s side of the family ended up marrying men who can cook. Otherwise, they would have starved to death long ago.

  44. 44
    Cassidy says:

    @Steeplejack: I really enjoyed Safe House. Ryan Reynolds doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Would help if he stopped picking crap movies.

  45. 45
    Schlemizel says:

    @efgoldman:

    I’m sure they returned the favor on Pesach and Yom Kippur – right?

  46. 46
    suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Shiiiiit, I wish you’d told us earlier, we should plan an AZ BJ meetup.

  47. 47
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @cathyx: Ah, sorry, misread or misunderstood. Well, I can’t help, I live alone, eat more meals out than in, and it tends to be whenever I feel peckish. Sometime I skip dinner altogether.

  48. 48
    Gregory says:

    That’s easy: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians…featuring a young Pia Zadora!

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @jacy:

    mom and dad went a lil overboard.

    I think that’s an essential part of the job description :-)

  50. 50
    Schlemizel says:

    @efgoldman:

    Do you remember the cartoon show ‘Animaniacs’? There was one of their regular pieces called ‘Katie Kaboom!’ It was about a normal, loving, teen girl who would turn into a raging monster in an instant and finally explode. Our daughter was about 14 or 15 at the time and it hit pretty close to home.

    If you have not seen it maybe they are out there on the web some place. Worth the search!

  51. 51
    JPL says:

    My day was spent running errands and making cookies. Now I’m watching the Falcons.
    Maureen Dowd’s Sunday column slams the NRA which is deserved but ends with this paragraph..
    President Obama, who should have been alarmed that his re-election inspired a boom in gun sales, seems daunted at the prospect of taking on gun lovers, having handed the matter off to Joe Biden to study. The president seems to be setting the table for defeat. If only he had the visceral outrage of a Bloomberg. Who knows what could happen?
    I wrote a comment but not sure it will be printed.

  52. 52
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @MikeJ:

    It’s annoying, and I’m just an alum, not a native. Of course, my fellow Tigers who wear it as a badge of pride are worse.

  53. 53
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Shouldn’t be too much dysfunction here. My uncle and I don’t get along when it comes to politics, but he’s restrained enough to keep quiet about it if the situation so requires.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @suzanne:

    I can be one of two ways with people I don’t know well — completely withdrawn or weirdly manic. So it may be for the best.

  55. 55
    Steeplejack says:

    @Cassidy:

    Thanks. I told the DVR to go ahead and record it for later, but I just don’t have the concentration to watch it right now. So it’s the game in the background, with close viewing when needed. Just wish I didn’t have to listen to the vocal stylings of Jon Gruden.

    I’m in a bit of a grumbly, out-of-sorts mood. I’m dogsitting at my brother’s house while he, his partner and the partner’s family (up from Brazil for an extended visit) are down at Disney World for Christmas. One dog, a rescued greyhound, is fine, but the other one, a really old Italian greyhound who has been nicknamed Dick Cheney in his declining years because he snarls in a Jon-Stewart-doing-the-Penguin-doing-Dick-Cheney way whenever anybody jostles him or startles him, is driving me nuts. He won’t settle, and he keeps escaping from his belt-and-pad incontinence outfit. Basically he needs someone following him around with a roll of paper towels 24/7. And I’m looking at four more days of this. Serenity now.

    Plus the little beasts sleep all day and then alert me at 3:00 a.m. to Things Going On in the backyard that must be investigated right now. I can’t believe they pull this shit when my brother’s home. I think I’m getting the substitute-teacher treatment.

  56. 56
    CW in LA says:

    @Steeplejack: On the other hand, the Lions aren’t getting completely crushed (yet), but is there any real question about the outcome?

    Mind you, I’m still watching. A game is a game.

  57. 57
    gogol's wife says:

    @JPL:

    I hate that woman! Thanks for warning me. I read the paper paper, so I’ll have to avert my eyes.

  58. 58
    Randy P says:

    I’m at intermission in an early music Christmas concert. Nothing like some Praetorius to make you forget those endless repetitions of “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree”

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cathyx:

    It’s 6:15 pm here in Los Angeles and we’re getting ready to head out to dinner. But we often make fun of ourselves for being the only people under 60 who are at dinner that early, so we may be freaks.

  60. 60
    efgoldman says:

    @Schlemizel:

    I’m sure they returned the favor on Pesach and Yom Kippur – right?

    Frankly, I don’t remember. I was maybe 8-9 years old.
    OTOH, when I was in basic, fall of ’68, being Jewish was a real advantage. I never had to scrub the barracks on Friday night or stand inspection on Saturday morning. Plus, there was a bank of pay phones right outside the building they used for chapel, not otherwise accessible to trainees.

    ETA: Oh, and the day when I was scheduled for KP rotation, turned out to be Rosh Hashanah that year,

  61. 61
    PurpleGirl says:

    @cathyx: Because of the meds I take and the timing of meals, dinner ends up being sometime after 7:30 pm.

  62. 62
    Steeplejack says:

    @CW in LA:

    A game is a game.

    True, and, since I had completely forgotten that they were doing this on Saturday night, it feels like an “extra” game.

    And Detroit is not doing too badly so far. As long as they keep it respectable.

  63. 63
    gogol's wife says:

    @cathyx:

    We eat at 7:30 PM.

  64. 64
    efgoldman says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Do you remember the cartoon show ‘Animaniacs’?

    My daughter watched it every day after school. She wasn’t quite that old, though.

  65. 65
    Schlemizel says:

    @efgoldman:

    I hope they did but was sort of assuming they probably didn’t. Its sad how callous the majority can be. Insensitive to the different needs of others.

    Glad you got some advantages.

  66. 66
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Steeplejack: Yeesh. Thank you.

    Sorry, forgot that you have to manually set permissions on Picasa (rat bastards, no dialog box when you set up a new album, bad interface design, grumble grumble).

    Here she is
    .

  67. 67
    PurpleGirl says:

    @FlyingToaster: She’s a cutie.

  68. 68
    Schlemizel says:

    @efgoldman:

    This is my fav
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWcNcJuTHVo

    There is another one about a driving lesson that is pretty good too.

  69. 69
    Schlemizel says:

    Why am I in moderation? All I did was post a link to a youtube of Katie Kaboom!

  70. 70
    efgoldman says:

    @Steeplejack:

    And Detroit is not doing too badly so far.

    I have absolutely no rooting interest, but man, the Lions suck. They’re holding up decently right now (14-3) but they’re ready to dissolve like wet toilet paper if Atlanta scores another TD before the half.

    ETA: And, in the commercial clump that just played, I hope that the cute redhead toddler’s parents (in the Capital One commercials) are putting all the money away in her college fund.
    And I wonder if Troy Palamalu is contractually obligated to keep his hair long as long as he does the shampoo commercials.

  71. 71
    PurpleGirl says:

    Both my parents are deceased and my sister and her family live in the Saratoga Springs area. For years I’ve done Thanksgiving and Christmas with different friends. One friend and I haven’t yet discussed if we’re doing the Christmas Eve and Christmas morning masses this year. We’ve done this to hear the liturgical music and then we go out to eat. There’s one Lutheran church whose Eve service is quite nice and two Episcopal churches we like for Christmas morning.

  72. 72
    FlyingToaster says:

    @PurpleGirl: Thanks muchly.

  73. 73
    Hypatia's Momma says:

    Seasonal things:
    Glass Sculpture.org. I love blown and cut glass.

    Charity for kids in Haiti!. There’s also art for sale; scarves and such, all hand-made by the women of the village. Limited supplies because they can only make so many at a time.

  74. 74
    Steeplejack says:

    @FlyingToaster:

    That’s better. She’s a beauty!

  75. 75
    Cmm says:

    I don’t observe Christmas so I am working. Besides getting 8 hours of overtime, It lets someone who does celebrate the day have the time with their families.

    Also, today is the tenth anniversary of the day our department lost an officer in the line of duty. I was working that night (was a crime scene tech then) and will never forget it. I spent 9 hours on a closed down interstate marking and collecting evidence. That night, combined with 9/11 the year before, made me decide to put in to become an officer. One year later I graduated from the academy. Aside from being one of the worst and most tragic events I have ever been a part of, that night literally changed my life. Please give a thought to the family of this officer, who still travel from out of state each year to attend the memorial ceremony and have this hanging over their holiday forever, and his son, who was a newborn and has never known his dad. And remember that we aren’t all jack booted thugs out here.

  76. 76
    Steeplejack says:

    @efgoldman:

    Yeah, the Lions are bad, but they have a weird tendency to suddenly get competitive in these “off day” games.

    But the Falcons did get that other touchdown before the half, so there’s that. And I am a big Falcons fan. But I always prefer to see a good game rather than a blowout.

  77. 77
    Steeplejack says:

    @Cmm:

    Condolences to you and the family of your colleague.

  78. 78
    Jager says:

    @efgoldman: I remember when I was at Fort Sam training to be a Medical Specialist, during the High Holidays hearing the cadre say “All Jewish personnel fall out” and a Rabbi chaplain would wander off with them.One morning a guy in my squad named Reynolds, a black dude from Detroit, left with them. The Sgt said, “Reynolds where the hell do you think your going?” Reynolds said, “if Sammy Davis can do it so can I.” the Rabbi took him along. That night I asked Reynolds what they did all day, he told me, “watched TV, shot baskets and played pool and did some prayers, ti was cool.”

  79. 79
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Steeplejack: Thank you kindly!

  80. 80
    Ruckus says:

    Best gift I ever got bar none. Sister gave me a photo album titled:

    Dysfunctional Family Album

    Pics from mom’s photos, much of which explains many parts of my life, the whys and wherefores. And the why nots and excuses.

    Also agreeing with the vid, being relatively alone this time of year does have advantages.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @suzanne:

    Definitely no meetup for me — my mom called and my dad has been admitted to the hospital, so I’m flying out tomorrow instead of Tuesday and will get to spend a fun week there with the whole family. Pre-complaining is bad karma, apparently.

  82. 82
    Ivy vann says:

    @cathyx:
    Around here regular dinner is 7 or 7:30, anything later is late dinner. Mr. Reasonable has always had a long commute — when the children were small I fed them a hearty snack after school.

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