A whisper rooted in thankfulness

Since becoming editor at Siuslaw News in September (Yes, I’m still the editor), one of my goals has been to make a more personal connection as a newspaper with our community. In Wednesday’s issue, I took the opportunity to open up a bit to our readers about one of the things I’m most thankful for and why…image

 

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Though it’s been 35 years since I arrived in Oregon as a high school sophomore, when people ask where I moved from, I still whisper when I say, “California.”

I do so in jest (mostly), secure in the knowledge that revealing my California roots — however withered — won’t suddenly bring nearby conversations to an embarrassing halt, leaving cricket chirps in its place.

Part of the reason is because, more often than not, those around me are also originally from California.

Seriously, folks. I’ve heard you whispering.

But recently, I’ve come to realize there’s a different reason I whisper when it comes to explaining where I was in relation to where I am now.

It’s a whisper rooted in thankfulness.  Continue reading

Not even bad Tofurkey will stop you NaNoWriMo writers!

imageLet’s be honest: No one is going to read this.

Why?

Because everyone is busy working on their novel this month! Who has time to read a blog post — even if it’s about writing — when they have 30,000 words remaining in their 50,000-word manuscript, no to mention a 30-lb. Thanksgiving turkey already thawing in the sink?

Plus, in just a few weeks, many NaNoWriMo participants will be following up their day of giving “thanks” by attacking fellow shoppers on Black Friday for the last pair of “Walking Dead” slippers! What if their fingers get broken during a tussle at Target? Or they get walloped at Walmart? Mauled at Macy’s? Shanked at Sears? Body slammed at Bloomingdales?

You get the idea.

Even though it’s less than a week into NaNoWriMo, a lot of writers are feeling the pressure to finish their manuscripts before Nov. 24 because anything can happen once Thanksgiving Day arrives. No one wants to take the chance of being within 500 words of finishing their manuscript, only to have it consumed in a sudden turkey flashover fire thanks to the combustable nature of aunt Renee’s new whiskey stuffing recipe.  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)

Don’t let your Thanksgiving turkey become memorable for the wrong reasons

imageThe countdown has begun. Before long, thousands will be in the kitchen preparing their very first Thanksgiving turkey. As a service to readers, I felt a responsibility to help educate people about foodborne illness by offering a special holiday feature that I’d like to call:

Don’t lose your giblets this Thanksgiving.

Being a writer, I’ve naturally spent a good portion of my career working in the food service industry. And like most writers, it was there that I was able practice my craft and eventually acquire something that ALL good writers must have: A Food Handler’s Card.

Because of this, I can stand before you as someone highly qualified to talk turkey.

So let us begin. Continue reading

Accompaniments for deep-fried turkey should include a fire extinguisher

Deep frying a turkey. Watching football. Both are great, but not together.

(Welcome to Flashback… Thursday? Sorry, I know this is a feature reserved for Sundays, but it must be the tripptof tryptoagh triptoe sleepy stuff in my turkey talking. Either way, just think of it as a special holiday post no one really asked for… And a chance for me to say: Thank You to each of you for all the laughs we share each week…)

The human brain.

Most of us have one.

For those who don’t, there are warning labels.

Unfortunately, these warnings don’t appear on actual humans. Instead, they are issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has the monumental task of thinking up ways stupid people might injure themselves using standard household items.

While the commission generally stays ahead of the curve with the help of researchers, lab studies, and a select group of retired circus chimps, from time to time a hot new product is embraced so quickly by the general public that there’s simply no time to warn them that actually embracing it could result in serious injury. This past holiday season, according to the safety commission, reports of house fires involving large men submerging whole turkeys into deep fryers has risen dramatically. This prompted the commission to issue a special, multi-paged consumer alert called:

Fryer, Fryer Pants on Fire. Continue reading

It’s time to separate Thanksgiving fact from fiction with the help of Mr. Knowitall

image It’s been 389 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, Dec. 13, 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? Continue reading

Accompaniments for deep-fried turkey should include a fire extinguisher

Deep frying a turkey. Watching football. Both are great, but not together.

The human brain.

Most of us have one.

For those who don’t, there are warning labels.

Unfortunately, these warnings don’t appear on actual humans. Instead, they are issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has the monumental task of thinking up ways stupid people might injure themselves using standard household items.

While the commission generally stays ahead of the curve with the help of researchers, lab studies, and a select group of retired circus chimps, from time to time a hot new product is embraced so quickly by the general public that there’s simply no time to warn them that actually embracing it could result in serious injury. This past holiday season, according to the safety commission, reports of house fires involving large men submerging whole turkeys into deep fryers has risen dramatically. This prompted the commission to issue a special, multi-paged consumer alert called:

Fryer, Fryer Pants on Fire. Continue reading

When planning your ‘Black Friday’ shopping, don’t forget Bigfoot

There are many advantages to shopping with Bigfoot. Keeping a low profile is not one of them.

There are times when, as a columnist, I am faced with the difficult decision of choosing between two equally important topics in order to meet my deadline.

Then there are times like this when, thanks to years of experience and accidentally consuming a quadruple espresso meant for the person next to me at Starbuck’s, I realize both topics can be combined into a single, well-structured piece of journalism.

Which is why, today, we will be talking about how to prepare for holiday shopping with the help of Bigfoot.

As some of you may have heard, a hiker in Utah recently posted video of what appears to be Bigfoot rummaging through the brush.

In addition, some of you may have heard about Thanksgiving.

I don’t believe this is a coincidence. Continue reading

Preparing your first Thanksgiving turkey? Hold on to your giblets

Don’t let your first Thanksgiving turkey become memorable for the wrong reasons.

The countdown has begun. Soon, thousands of newlyweds will be in the kitchen preparing their very first Thanksgiving turkey. As a service to our readers, we felt a responsibility to help educate people about foodborne illness by offering a special holiday feature that we like to call:

Don’t lose your giblets this Thanksgiving.

Being a writer, I’ve naturally spent a good portion of my career working in the food service industry. And like most writers, it was there that I was able practice my craft and eventually acquire something that ALL good writers must have: A Food Handler’s card.
Because of this, I can stand before you as someone highly qualified to talk turkey.

So let us begin. Continue reading

Don’t become the victim of an unprovoked gravy ambush

Maintaining “situational awareness” is key to preventing yourself from becoming the victim of a gravy ambush.

Admittedly, the closest I have been to an actual military “hot zone” was when, on a grey August day in 1977, my Cub Scout troop was deployed to sell candy on the same block as the Girl Scouts. Our prime objective was Hilltop Road, which was a critical strategic vector. At least in terms of foot traffic.

Because our troop transport had overheated in the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru, the Girl Scouts had already claimed the high ground next to a busy movie theater. Outnumbered and without tactical advantage, we implemented our most effective defensive strategy, which was to form a tight perimeter directly behind 200-pound Billy Schlependorf. Continue reading