Ned’s Low-cal holiday treats that won’t cause vomiting

imageUnless you’re a hyperactive nine-year-old fueled by Pixie Sticks and Hostess Cupcakes without an ounce of concern for weight-gain because concern is the ONLY ounce you’re going to gain this holiday season, then you’re like the rest of us trying to get through the next six weeks without looking like Jabba the Hutt’s stunt double.

What this means is finding a healthy balance between satisfying your God-given right to partake in all of those delicious holiday treats while, at the same time, adhering to the God-given Commandment to avoid gluttony.

Yes, the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways. Take fruitcake for example…

No, seriously. Please take mine.

That’s because over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing quick and easy holiday recipe tips that are both low-calorie and delicious! And not just because “quick and easy” is my pet name.

Today, I am going to show you how to make a cup of hot chocolate that you can drink as an alternative to buttered rum or egg nog, which are not only high in calories but also lead to drunken fights about that time you — again, after too many buttered rums — made a snow angel in the front yard wearing nothing but a Santa hat.

In August.  Continue reading

Apparently, a blogless day and a deep breath is what needed

imageAs I mentioned at the beginning of yesterday’s post, I was going to be unplugging from everything for a day or so  to find my peace with what happened earlier that morning. No social media, websurfing, instant messaging — nothing. I needed to be completely in the moment. To embrace the sadness willingly rather than be enveloped by it. As  I’ve said before, sadness is the flipside of humor. And as much as I’d like to think I’m pretty good at the humor part, I’m also pretty good at the sadness part when the situation warrents it.

Yesterday definitely warrented it.

Today, I returned to the blogosphere and just wanted to say thank you; for respecting my need to shut down for a bit; the kindness you shared in the comments left on yesterday’s post; and the incredible number of shares my tribute to Shiloh received. Writing it was as close as I could get to sharing his warm handshake with as many of you as I could, in a moment when I needed to share it most — so that his warmth and goodness could in some way touch your life as it did mine. Thank you for understanding that, and for returning the handshake with the same kind of warmth. It made me smile for the first time since yesterday.

It was a fitting reminder that, though gone from this world, Shiloh’s handshake is still making me and others smile.  Continue reading

Spring never officially started until I got a handshake from Shiloh

This is the only thing I will be posting today, in tribute to a wonderful young man who was tragically taken from the world early this morning. After this, I will be shutting down my devices for the day and avoiding my social media sites. But before I did, I wanted to share my thoughts with you about a young man named Shiloh Sundstrom…

imageThe four years I covered Shiloh Sundstrom during his time as a Mapleton High School athlete remain among my favorites in my 16 years at Siuslaw News.

Not because he was a particularly extraordinary athlete. But because he was most definitely an extraordinary person.

The kind that makes you feel good just to be near him because he not only carried positive energy and warmth with him, but shared it with everyone he came into contact with.

Even after Shiloh graduated and moved on to Oregon State University, his seasonal returns to Bowerman Field to assist his dad, longtime Sailors’ track coach Johnny Sundstrom, remained something I looked forward to. It was my opportunity to be in his energetic and positive presence while catching up on what he’d been doing. I discovered early on that, much like talking with his father, it was impossible not to smile while talking with this young man.  Continue reading

Voting has opened; time to get “RAW”

imageHey everyone! Voting in this week’s round in the “Performer of the Year” competition at The Public Blogger has begun!

After six weeks of voting — and an unfortunate outbreak of salmonella — the field has been reduced from 12 nominees to five heading into tonight’s round.

This week’s challenge, titled “RAW,” was possibly the toughest yet, with each of us given just 24 hours to complete our presentation — which was to answer the following two questions:

1) What is your contribution as an artist?
2) Have you ever had sex while dressed as a Star Wars character?

OK, not really. Ha! Ha! I made the first question up. Continue reading

Tonight’s performance will be raw — and not that funny

Tonight, things get serious.

Tonight, things get a little serious.

For those of you following and supporting my pursuit of “Performer of the Year” in the A Star is Born competition at The Public Blogger, the theme for tonight’s round is “RAW.” Fortunately, since this isn’t Hell’s Kitchen, there won’t be Chef Ramsey yelling at everyone about their uncooked chicken or lamb. What it does mean is that, unlike past weeks in this competition, we were given just 24 hours to respond to two questions:

What is your contribution?

And

Where will it find its home? 

The point of this round, and why we were given such a short time to put our submission together, was so that it would be as unrehearsed, real, live and “raw” as possible. For my piece, I decided to strip away as much as possible (Don’t worry! There’s no nudity!) by answering those two questions as spontaneously and unrehearsed as possible. To do that, I avoided the written word, which allows me time to think things through. I simply set myself up in front of a camera and answered the questions uncut and unrehearsed. No fancy images. No music or flashy segues — just me, answering in one take.

No second chances.  Continue reading

Your Thanksgiving questions answered by Mr. Knowitall

(Today I’m over at Long Awkward Pause, where Mr. Knowitall is talking turkey about Thanksgiving myths. Just don’t stand in front of him when he actually says “myths” because he tends to spit a little…)

Mr. Knowitall is happy to answer your questions

Mr. Knowitall is happy to answer your questions

It’s been 395 years since that first Thanksgiving, when the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians sat down together in celebration and, much like the Americans of today, made a solemn vow not to eat more than your standard bull elk. We know this because of a passage recently discovered in the diary of Pilgrim Edward Winslow, who described the first Thanksgiving like this:

“Our harvest be large so that we might rejoice! Our plates and bellies be full to swelling! We have feasted on meats and gathered crops, and pies of sweet fruit!
Aye, I say! I think it be time to vomit!”

Edward Winslow, Nov. 26, 1621

In spite of this kind of irrefutable historic documentation, many myths still exist about one of our most celebrated holidays.

For example: Did anyone actually eat the Indian corn, or was it just used as a decoration?

As a special tribute to Thanksgiving, we asked our resident historian, Mr. Knowitall, to help separate fact from fiction about this important holiday. We encouraged readers to send us their own Thanksgiving questions and, as a result, were inundated with hundreds of emails! Mostly male enhancement offers… but still enough questions that choosing a handful (of questions) required a highly complex selection process utilizing dozens of volunteers, an empty office and one wild squirrel… (MORE at Long Awkward Pause)

It’s a Wonderful Life… er, I mean time to promote your book

imageDaddy, every time a bell rings, an author sells a book!

That’s one of my favorite lines from the Frank Capra Classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It always makes me smile and never fails to offer hope and…

What?

That’s not how it goes?

Well, that’s embarrassing.

But still! The holiday season is one of the best times of year to get your book out there in front of prospective readers and buyers. Everyone is looking for something unique to give their loved ones and friends. And if they can’t get a Star Wars waffle iron before they sell out, why not your book? The key, of course, is to use a light coat of cooking oil in the batter and then…

Sorry. I got sidetracked. Continue reading

It’s official: Let’s try this post again! (In its entirety this time)

(Note: This has been updated from the original post earlier this morning, which was missing 300 words thanks to the new “auto-save” feature on the new “WordPress Editor.” In short: I almost had a stroke already this morning…)

image The latest round in The Public Blogger’s “Performer of the Year” competition has been completed, and thanks to your continued support — and a little help from Canada,eh? — I not only made it through the round but remain in the No. 1 spot after sweeping the public and judges vote. And yes, and investigation has been launched.

My reaction when the results were posted was something along the lines of:

“HOLY @#$%!”

So what does this mean exactly?

I have no idea, other than I’ll be heading into Round Six with my fellow nominees — Oscar, Rebecca, Kelly and Charles — this Sunday for our next challenge, which is called “RAW.” The one thing I do know is that if they want the ratings to stay up, it better include me keeping my clothes on. Continue reading

It’s official: Canadians still like me pretty much

(Note: This has been updated from the original post earlier this morning, which was missing 300 words thanks to the new “auto-save” feature on the new “WordPress Editor.” In short: I almost had a stroke already this morning…)

image The latest round in The Public Blogger’s “Performer of the Year” competition has been completed, and thanks to your continued support — and a little help from Canada,eh? — I not only made it through the round but remain in the No. 1 spot after sweeping the public and judges vote. And yes, and investigation has been launched.

My reaction when the results were posted was something along the lines of:

“HOLY @#$%!”

So what does this mean exactly? Continue reading

Not sure this will help me with the Canadian vote…

image For those of you following — and in many cases supporting — my pursuit of The Public Blogger’s “Performer of the Year” award, the voting has officially opened tonight for round five! I say “in many cases” because, after seeing tonight’s performance, I may lose the support of Canadian readers.

Yes, all seven of them.

So why am I even taking the risk? Because this week’s challenge required each of the remaining six nominees to create a special presentation showcasing the country of our choice — in the genre we have been nominated in. Since I’m a humorist, I chose Canada! That’s because I figure any country that could give us Justin Bieber must have a good sense of humor.

I guess we’ll see, ey?!? Continue reading