Sunday, November 21, 2010

A touch of thanks.

It just dawned on me last night that this is the week of Thanksgiving.  As it usually seems, time has flown past and here we are again, another year of over-indulgence, family, friends, thankful reasoning and a serious sugar high to end the nights festivities.  As I sit here this morning thinking of the coming risks associated with this holiday, I ask myself, what was the original reason of Thanksgiving?  A day to celebrate the pilgrims faith in God, an abundant growing season and their survival of their first brutal winter in New England.    Hmmmm.  The pilgrims who escaped the tyrannical grips of  England to set forth with a new and free society independent of heavy handed rule.  Now, it may just be that it has been a long and busy month for me and being that I am relaxing today, my mind may be waning a tad.  But isn’t it kind of ironic that on the holiday most Americans associate with food, freedom and celebration, that many of us will be subjected to heavy handedness….or a light touch if you elect the personal groping… if we choose to travel via the airways?  Hmmmm.

But fear not, the courageous, all knowing and unwavering leader of our nation has assured us that we 'need'  to subject ourselves to this unwarranted personal molestation to “assure the safety of our fellow airline passengers“!  Since you really have no choice in the matter, you might as well have a little fun while doing it.  In the name of tomfoolery, the worst that will happen is they will jail you temporarily  as a terrorist suspect.  But when they realize the obvious….that you were just being a jackass…they will more than likely only fine you heavily and put you on a no-fly list.  Here are a few of my recommendations to make a TSA operatives’ day:

- Pack a 3 ounce bottle of  Vaseline (contained in a zip lock baggie to follow regs) in a readily available carry on bag…’ll more than likely need it!

- Ladies, test the intellect of your TSA cavity search associate.  Stuff a tightly bundled sock in your pants….this will certainly jolt them back to life.  Look for their reaction….it should be priceless.

- Men, go out and get that prescription of Viagra before your departure.  Make sure to take a couple of pills 45 minutes before going through the security checkpoint.  This is one time you may appreciate an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours!

- If you choose the full body scan, insist that you be able to where your lead lined body suit.  Did you know that the odds of developing cancer form these “safe” scanners is likely greater than the possibility of being hijacked on a plane?!  But then again we are poisoning our bodies daily by the food we eat, so what does it all matter anyway?!

Some rogue groups have stated they will assemble a nationwide protest by conducting a national “opt-out day” during this Thanksgiving travel holiday.  What is the point?  Your just gonna piss off the people behind you in line and one of them may end up having the seat behind you on the plane.  The increased tension as a result of all this will make the entire flying experience memorable.  If you want to really stick it to the man….stop flying!  If everyone in the nation decided just not to fly this Thanksgiving holiday, imagine the financial loss that the airline industry and all associated parties would experience.  Do that a few times in a year and someone most certainly would find a way to reconsider how the TSA conducts it’s security interrogations and invasive tactics.  But….nobody wants to do that!  It would be an inconvenience to everybody not being able to fly this Thanksgiving holiday.  So, in the name of the safety of all air passengers, just like he stated it would be….,get up there on that pedestal show some pride and shake your wee wee!  Hell, most people are walking around half naked most of the time these days anyway…so what is the big deal!

What it all comes down to is that this is just another chip off of the old block of personal freedom and another way for the government to control your life.  Isn’t this what we all stated that we wanted back in 2008?!  Get up there and shake your wee wee!  Those of us who chose to sit home and watch all the fuss from afar will be thankful we did!

In all seriousness though, we wish everyone a happy, safe, and uneventful Thanksgiving!  Although there is plenty of cynicism in this post, there are a couple of points not to be taken litely; reasonable cooperation and personal freedom.  This year I will be thankful for my personal freedom, and for all those who have made it clear through their efforts and personal sacrifices that freedom is the foundation of our country.  God Bless America!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A twisted tale of the baby and the conviction of gravy!

One thing that has had me perplexed for some time, is the Alaskan and the absolute unconditional fascination with.....gravy!  My first encounter with the overindulgence of gravy was at a restaurant down in Homer a couple of years back.  Maryann and I were down there for a two day two night hiatus from life at the compound and some relaxation.  It was the middle of winter and there isn't much of anything open in Homer, in the middle of winter, in the way of food establishments.  Homer thrives off of the tourism of summer and provides minimal existence for locals in the winter months.  So, hungry, we went to the first place we saw open, next to the bowling ally.  Now this is an important fact, so, pay attention.  It looked like a "locals" joint, that served good comfort food and as we pulled in the parking lot, we noticed all of the cars parked about which at least seemed to confirm our suspect, especially to be so crowded on a weeknight.

What we were soon to discover was that the cars in the parking lot were not there for the restaurant but in fact were all patrons, at the bowling ally!  This factual light became solemnly apparent as we walked into an empty restaurant.  Oh, we should have turned face and ran at this simple fact, but being the courageous and optimistic adventurists that we are, we took our chances.  Maryann had ordered the turkey and mashed potatoes plate with stuffing and green beans, thought in mind being that it is really hard to screw this plate up so she can't go wrong!  When the waitress arrived with our food, she put Maryann's plate down and submerged somewhere in the pool of gravy, lay sunk the mashed potatoes, turkey and green beans, with the lump of stuffing listing like a waterlogged buoy floating in the sea of gravy!  This became the center of calamity for Maryann who found the whole episode a point of laughter and boisterous jokes!  The girl just couldn't stop laughing!  Such laughter and attention that we almost got 86'ed, which probably would have been the best thing that happened to us that night.

In short, dinner sucked, we walked out far from "happy, happy".....although we giggled on like kids.... there was absolutely no 'comfort' in the food and the only reason I asked for a box for my leftovers, was to keep it for valuable evidence...just in case I got sick or worse overnight!  The one positive that came out of this night was our first example on the indulgent importance of Alaskans and their gravy!

I once heard a story of a bush pilot who got stranded out in the bush after his planes' engine leaked out all the oil.  The one thing that saved him and got him back to civilization, was the the tub of his wife's gravy in his ice chest of leftovers for lunch.  As folklore goes, he used the gravy to replace the missing oil in the planes engine!

This past weekend at one of my string of pottery shows, a woman walked up to my space and went berserk with glee, over one of my mix and pour bowls.  You know, the ones you can mix about a gallon of batter or what not in and has the handy handle with the pouring spout.  Only thing was, she immediately sounded out to her friend that she finally found something big enough to serve gravy in!!  Of course this episode in itself brought about the need to tell my story of gravy.  Coincidentally, the inside joke for the few that know the story of our gravy dinner experience is, "do ya want some food with your gravy"!  One friend of ours heard the story and now every time Maryann see's her the woman starts cracking up and asks if Maryann has had any gravy lately!  Another woman who heard the story last year,  has seen us in public a couple of times and addressed us simply as..."gravy"!  Frankly, I can't even make the comment that "at least it is a healthy habit..."

The other day we took two of the three dogs to the doggie wash to bath them.  The doggie wash is in the back part of the pet shop, and much like an eager little kid, Kenai was absolutely intrigued by all of the little stuffed toys that lined the pet toy area shelves.  When she was younger, she used to love those little stuffed squeaky toys and every time she would get a new one, she would  kill it and rip out the squeaky!  Referred to as "her babies", she had literally at one point a pile of dead and spent babies in the corner of the deck.  John would even go so far as re-sewing new squeakers into her babies and bring them back to life.  We were fortunate to have found a source that sold bags of 'replacement squeakers'!  Apparently our dog wasn't the only animal with doggie psychosis!  The age of the baby came to somewhat an abrupt halt around the time we adopted Seska.  You see, Seska found the spent and torn carcasses of Kenai's babies as tasty treats.  Keep in mind, she would eat anything.  But this didn't fare justice to her digestive system, and after a few unfortunate explosive situations in the house overnight, we figured it was best to keep the babies away from Seska's insatiable appetite, which meant for poor little Kenai, no more babies.

Getting back to the pet store, me seeing her child like fascination with the toys on the wall, I bought and snuck out a little squeaky rubber duck for her being such a good girl during her bath.  Later that night as I pulled out the toy and squeaked it, her reaction was priceless as she ran into the kitchen with her head bobbling on a 360 degree pivot, in search of this baby that needed her!  Although her comical little ways with her babies haven't changed much, her demeanor and 'pro-life' stance towards them has!  No longer does she kill the baby to get to the squeaker, but rather she carries it with her everywhere in her mouth, squeezing out little squeaks every now and then.  She goes potty with the baby in her mouth.  She lays on the floor with her head resting on the baby.  She sleeps at night with her body inches away from the baby and positioned between the baby and Seska....who seems affixed on the potential appetite before her.  All the while, Seska lurks and waits for Kenai to screw up and leave her little green rubber duck baby alone....just for a moment.  Just long enough to snuff the squeak out of it and claim victory to a free meal!

Oh, to say the least, there hasn't been a dull moment around here since the baby came home.  It's fate or survival will surely continue to be a menial doggial controversy!  Our first snowfall came with a vengeance, as it snowed....and snowed....and snowed.... about a week ago.  It was a wonderful shot in the arm for early winter plowing, and we only hope that it is the beginning of a bountiful season.  John unfortunately missed the opportunity all together as he ran into an unfortunate chain of events with a bad radiator, and a new one that must have fallen into some strange vortex....or huge bowl of gravy...  No, he was doing good getting the Dodge together, but learned a lesson about the availability of radiators in Alaska.  Finally, after a long and depressing week for the boy, his radiator arrived today, and he also found a used set of marginal snow tires for the plow truck to get him through for the meantime.  So, now....we wait.  We wait eagerly for snow and the glory of white gold.  The days are getting shorter, the nights longer....darkness is slowly beginning to rein and after a week of mild temps in the 30's we are experiencing single digits and teens.  It's just beginning, man!