The Chickens Are In The Chimes
Once again, our tribute to our favorite Christmas song growing up — you may know it from Dr. Demento, but it was also the most-requested song on Eugene’s AM radio station.
In the year that it’s been posted at our YouTube account, we’ve had a few compliments from similar fans. And a couple weeks back, this comment showed up:
My father was in the Skip-Jacks and this has always been a favorite.
Having a dad in the Skip-Jacks is just short of having a dad who worked for Stan Freberg. We’re insanely jealous.
Already took my first Xanax on Baby Jeebus Day!
Hey Stinquers! Happy Jeebus Day (even though he was really born in like March or April or something, but we won’t split hairs). I am feeling a little down today I must admit. Which considering my year is pretty much par for the course. Christmas was actually always a favorite time of year for me. Of course, I also am lucky enough to come from a functional family. But all of the traditions that I grew up with have slowly been chucked out of the door, and for the first time this year I am not even having my family Xmas today – it is tomorrow. I did get to go watch my 2 year old niece and nephew open thousands of dollars of presents from my sister-in-laws family. Do you know how much Disney princess crap exists in the universe? I can promise that she has about 60% of it at this point. Now I am being forced tonight for Xmas dinner to chose between my dad and my brother and the twins. Sigh.
Sorry, not trying to bring down the mood. Can’t really bitch about this on the Book of Faces for obvious reasons. Can we just all go to some warm island next year and lie on the beach and get trashed?
@homofascist: Our kids broke with tradition and woke us at 6am; yeah, that’s storybook and all, but they’ve actually been good about sleeping in – it’s always been me that woke at oh-dark-thirty with anticipation, for them of course.
This morning one was awake at 4 or so (he wore his watch to keep track), got the other up at 5, who then came and tried to get us to stir. It was the cat who finally got me up to make coffee, 7ish, and once Ma Nabisco was functional at 830 we had all the swag unwrapped, documented and the
whining fun began.
So far, aside from their initial squeals of delight at all the stuff they got, it has been a pretty meh holiday. We’re off to my lives-alone-with-her-cats mom, and divorced brother and his four adult, teen and tween daughters, where there will be no shortage of passive-aggressive comments about lifestyles, clothing and politics.
On to New Years, the real secular paradise of the year!
ADD: where can I get some of this “Xanax”?….
So my Libertarian cousin with whom I often argue bought me Atlas Shrugged for Christmas. Question: toilet paper, kindling, or paper weight?
Kindling (no good as TP because the paper is already covered in shit), but keep the first two pages in case you want to fall asleep. Best sleeping pill ever.
@homofascist: Door stop.
I’m on Xanax #2 and wine bottle #1. Just denounced the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches for their Yes on 8 shit in California. Chilling in the kitchen now putting leftovers in Tupperware.
Usually I’m seething at this point. Had the dinner in the afternoon as my sister is leaving on a trip early tomorrow. Aside from a couple of semi snotty comments from my mom, I emerged from dinner intact.
Now I’ve got to clean the house as I have house guests coming in two days.
@homofascist: I’d check to see whether the pages are stuck together. Your cousin may have used it first.
@ManchuCandidate: Just got shit about when Mr. SFL and I are having a wedding or will start breeding like everyone else’s kids. Time to reach for Xanax #3 and/or open 2nd bottle of wine.
@homofascist: An island, you say? Sounds lovely. Belize and Oaxaca are lovely this time of year, though technically not islands. Unless we all crash at baked’s next year…..
ADD: nobody besides HF, Manchu, and I are liveblogging Xmas madness??I’m awaiting Prommie’s food pron description of his menu of creations for the day.
Everytime a bell rings, Dick Cheney rips off an angel’s wings.
@SanFranLefty: After my day of small children (which is still in progress BTW), I would settle for a corn field at this point…
@homofascist: @SanFranLefty: Mr Cyn and I have decided it’s Xmas in Hawaii from now on. We’re already talking about renting a place next year to save $$$ (bar bill at the hotel? $600). If enough of us Stinquer refugees go in on a place, we’ll have tons of cash left over for booze and other party essentials. Lots of people sublet their places during the holidays while they visit their mainland relatives to do penance for living in paradise the rest of the year.
Our plane got in a 6:30 this AM, so I’m just getting up from nap/crying over dead kitty. Lefty, if the xanax and wine cocktail isn’t doing it, try it with a flexeril twist. I often find that extra added muscle relaxant is just the thing.
We had a Dark Chocolate Mousse for after humbug lunch instead of pudding. Thick, Rich, Creamy and oh so chocolatey!
Additional whipped cream or French Vanilla ice-cream for serving is recommended as it helps to cut the richness. Sorry for the Australian measurements.
Decadent chocolate mousse
Ingredients (serves 6)
250g dark chocolate, finely chopped
80mls (1/3 cup) freshly made strong black coffee
3 eggs, separated
2 tbs caster sugar
185mls (3/4 cup) thickened cream
Place the chocolate in a large bowl and pour the coffee over. Stand for 1 minute and stir until chocolate melts.
Add egg yolks and beat using a wooden spoon until combined. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle the caster sugarover and whisk until thick and glossy.
Fold a large spoonful of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and then fold in the remaining egg white mixture.
Beat the cream until soft peaks form and then fold into the chocolate mixture until well combined. Spoon into a large serving dish or 6 individual serving dishes or glasses.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Notes & tips
Tip: If the coffee isn’t hot enough to melt the chocolate, place the chocolate and coffee mixture into a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl and heat, uncovered for 1 minute, on High/850 watts/100%. Stir until combined.
@Mistress Cynica: Mr SFL and I were talking about next Xmas in Hawaii. I know a couple people with condos there. I’ll find out if they do friends and family discounts. No flexeril but I figure an Ativan chaser will do the trick.
@Mistress Cynica: Now that you mention it…
Did a week-ish in Maui about twelve years ago with a group o’ pals. Spread ourselves over three condo rentals, had a great time — folks who liked doing Group Things went off and did Group Things, the rest of us would just hang, with occasional beer & munchie runs to the store. If yer gonna do it, that’s the way it’s done.
I think we included a night or two at the Waikiki Decrepit Grand Hotel before taking the island hopper. Breakfast at the open-air Dennys with birds crowding the rafters is a hoot.
@SanFranLefty: It is the new cry of our people: Next year in Hawaii!
@Mistress Cynica: I’m down for that. I cannot take one more Xmas with my crazy mother. Luckily, I was able to do some damage control by persuading her to go see Sherlock Holmes. Even she won’t talk during a movie. V. good flick, by the by.
@Jamie Sommers: Are you in the 713? I’m in the 210/512 if you need a break or need a Xanax or 3.
@SanFranLefty: Unfortunately, no. I’m in the 602. She moved here a couple of years ago.
I need another drink. Just had to explain to my sister that she can’t use the word faggot around me and that it made me jump the same way as if she used the word nigger. She said “All my black students call themselves nigger all the time,” as if by her idiot logic that excused her use of the slur so I responded “so is it okay they call you a wetback spic? Why do you let 13 year olds guide acceptable behavior? Why not see what educated adults do?”
fucking moron insisted that “faggot” isn’t an insulting word. I told her to tell it to my friends who have been verbally and physically attacked by morons screaming that word.
@SanFranLefty: Sorry, no food pron. I made a ham, everyone in my family clamors for it. I only had a brunch, anyway, the ham, some good breads, good pastries, a fruit salad, cool little frozen mini-quiches, all happy.
Its probably the third time, but here is the thing with ham.
The thing with ham is that its a preserved meat, all the essential “hamminess” of ham was not originally, I think, meant to be positives, it was a substitute for fresh pork. Like baccala is a substitute for fresh fish, and sauerkraut a substitute for fresh cabbage, vestiges of the days before refrigeration. (people are so perverse, though, and people learn to prefer the substitutes, the most strange example I think is that caribean island natives lurve them their salt cod, even though they are surrounded by plentiful and wonderful fresh fish, because back in slave days, they were fed the cheaper salt cod.)
Anyway, the thing with ham is, to make the best ham, you have to do your best to de-hammify it. Ham is salty and strangely red in color. The way to reduce these characteristics is to simmer it in water, for a long long time. In a lot of water, with onions and carrots and celery and bay leaf and such, but the thing is, the water pulls out all the salt. It even washes out the color. It turns it back into something more closely resembling “meat.” It can actually remind you of pork after this. Its no longer rubbery and wierd in texture, it has the texture of stewed meat again, it can actually come to resemble a nicely, strangely marinated piece of pale pink pork. After this simmering, of course, you cut off the rind and the fat, and cover the surface of the meat with brown sugar and thai sweet chili sauce and bake it for a couple of hours, at a low temp, and that dries it out some, and makes it even more like what it once was, and when I do this, people looove it.
Part of what you are doing with this process is making it more like real ham, too. Modern processed wet-cured, brine-injected ham is dreck. The long simmering actually pulls water out of it, too, and it becomes drier, beleive it or not, and its better that way.
I have not yet tried this with a country ham, which would be a real, 18th century style ham, dry-cured, hard as a rock, and raw, which most modern hams are not, they are fully cooked. I think I am ready for that experiment, though; I will braise it for an even longer time, changing the water, to see what happens.
The same hold true for sauerkraut. I grew up in a house where sauerkraut was a part of several traditional family meals, pigs in blankets (cabbage stuffed with hamburger, braised in saurkraut and tomatos) and something like a frankenstein monster version of choucroute garni. But mom, and I think most US americans, would put that saurkraut into these dishes along with all that horrid sauerkraut brine, yuuuuuuccckkkk.
Get some sauerkraut in the plastic bags, and open the bag, put it in a colander, and rinse it, soak it, rinse it, remove all that salt and brine. Then put it in a dutch oven with chicken stock, white wine, onions, garlic, bay leaves, , and then put some browned pork chops in their, with some good kielbasa, and braise that in the oven for 3 hours.
Its not sauerkraut anymore, its a wonderful, mild, delicate shredded cabbage thing, something totally different and wonderful.
Thats my food pron for this christmas.
@Promnight: Dude you just made ham sexy. And if you and Mrs Prom ever get to EssEff I’ll take you to the best pig parts/salumeneria this side of Montepulciano.
I’ve had quite a pleasant Chri’mas. Mr. OA and I never go back to the South to see family during the holidays–it’s just too stressful, expensive, and most alarmingly of all, potentially semi-permanent, since they frequently receive terrible storms in December that can strand travelers for days.
We have a small group of friends whose families are all back East that we usually do the holidays with, and it’s great. Last night we watched The Empire Strikes Back dubbed in español, which was trip-py–especially Darth Vader, un señor muy mal.
Today we cooked breakfast for lunch, complete with mimosas, pancakes, waffles, vegetarian sausage, fakin’ bacon, apple strudel, the works. We didn’t even do gifts, mostly ’cause of the Depression, and it was awesome.
Merry Chri’mas to all, and to all a good snark. (hugz)
@Original Andrew: Gawd and FSM that is my dream Xmas. How do you get around the constant passive aggressive (to be accurate there’s nothing passive about it) comments about how selfish you are putting your needs above the “opportunity to be together as a family ” when my response was we were never a close family and it was made abundantly clear when I left for college at 17 I was to never come back for more than a few days, so why pretend to be a family. My more recent tack which is honest is to say I have no money for a ticket. Then they buy me a ticket an of course I am held financially hostage.
I need to grow a set and learn to say no and not let myself be manipulated and feel guilty or that it’s my responsibility to make others happy and ignore my feelings. Plenty of material for the shrink since ive been dealing with this shit directed to me at least since I was 4.
It’s quite simple, The Tried-And-True Reverse Guilt-trip.
The beauty of it is that your answer is always the same:
“And the last time you came to see me was 20__? Uh huh, see you in April or October when it’s not too hot (or cold).”
Watching El Regreso del Jedi ahora.
!Es una atrapa!
@SanFranLefty: The fact is that the best Christmas gift you can ever give yourself is to let go of the guilt you’re feeling about not wanting to be with your family. Simply pay attention to how wonderful you feel sharing Christmas with the people you have CHOSEN to be with and any feelings of guilt automatically disappear.
Just keep in mind that nobody else but you can make you feel guilty. If family members start in with the comments about why you’re not complying with that bugaboo “tradition” just recall the words of Melville’s marvelous character Bartleby the Scrivener, “I prefer not to.”
PS “I prefer not to” are some of the most empowering words ever written. They fit an unlimited variety of situations.
@Dave H: @SanFranLefty: Amen to that, Dave. The last Xmas I spent at home, my asshole grandfather started drinking early in the AM on Xmas Eve and was so far gone–and ranting angrily about everything–by the early afternoon that we ran to Hardee’s to pick up burgers for dinner, which we consumed at 3:30 pm (he never drank after the evening meal because that would mean he was an “alcoholic”). He then drunk dialed everyone he’d ever met and told us all what pieces of shit we were before blessedly passing out at about 7. My grandmother and I then took some (more) Valium and watched Trading Places. I decided then and there “Never again.” I spent a number of Xmases all alone, but that was way better than family hell. When they would beg, I’d say that I just couldn’t get away. Or I wouldn’t answer the phone–the inventor of caller ID deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
We all need pillows embroidered with the words I Prefer Not To.
Remember Lefty, Next Year in Hawaii!
Good evening, my Stinquers. Mellowish Xmas here in the East Bay — sorry I won’t have time to seek you out, SFL, it would have been a hoot. We’re headed back in the morning.
I am fortunate that I mostly get along with my family. The worst I have to endure is a set of people who constantly interrupt each other trying to prove how much more libtard they are than the person talking. Could be a lot worse. I just shut up and read my book, only occasionally chiming up to express a preference for pie type. Currently reading “Ahab’s Wife” by Sena Jeter Naslund, who also wrote “Sherlock in Love,” a fine novel, my copy of which is now under Flippin Eck’s protection. Ahab’s Wife is a bit slow to start, but picks up after about 50 pages, and is pretty interesting — an imagining of the woman Ahab left behind in “Moby Dick.”
An interesting fact, which I had not previously been aware of, is that the average fuel economy among new cars must hover around 20-22 MPG. Holy crap that’s bad. The joys of having the Consumer Reports car issue lying around. There are a lot of super gas guzzlers out there.
Anyway, a decent Xmas, at which people didn’t unnecessarily load me down with presents: relatively few gifts to me, and I don’t think I regretted any of them, an unusual occurrence. Of course, I have to carry every last one of them on the train/bus/uphill to get home, so I’m always appreciative of small/no presents.
These stories make me so happy and sad at the same time.
Stinquers, well, many of us are gay, and most of the rest are militant liberals, with strongly held liberal beliefs, but these beliefs are not held in the rest of the family, and in both cases, well, family holidays, I am seeing, are not pleasant for many of you.
I am very, very, lucky. You all have made me see that. I never feel angst at having to see my family. And I never realized before that this makes me lucky.
I am from a big Irish family, and we all spent all holidays getting drunk and shouting at each other, all my life. Shouting, we don’t have “inside voices” in my family. I am used to screaming, its nothing to me, its what we do. No emotional problem, we all scream at each other, its an Irish thing.
I have siblings I disagree with violently on political issues, so we shout at each other about those things, but its no big deal, because we also shout at each other over sports and which beer is better and who was the cheap asshole who didn’t bring their share of beer.
We shout at each other about who was the favorite child in the family, we shout about how much we love each other.
We have, among my siblings, all manner of people, my lesbian sister, me, the marxist, my CIA brother, we have jailbirds and drunks and functional but totally fucked up people, but we love when we get together. My mom and dad never ever ever made any child of theirs feel that they were not absolutely accepted and loved, no matter fucking what, and there was some pretty fucking bad “what.” Dad is gone now, but the single thing that is deepest in all our hearts, is that Dad would not abide, would never abide, anyone being ostracized or rejected, and I mean never, no matter what. Yeah, the memory of him makes sure we invite all of our siblings to everything, every time.
I have spoken of my dad, a city kid who grew up in the 30s, Archie Bunker, if you focused on the language he used, you would think he was a hateful racist and bigot, but he was not, he absolutely was not, and he did instill in us all one overwhelmingly powerful value, your family is your family, and you never reject family, no matter what, and again, I mean this, no matter what. Homosexuality, crime, drugs, multiple divorces, no matter what, your family was your people, you never ever reject family.
And here it is, the day after Christmas, and I have been seeing many Stinquers speak of how they hate Christmas, hate seeing family, and it makes me very very sad. I have known, god, duh, many of us are not heterosexual, we are all liberal progressive to an extreme, I have felt at home, though, with you all. But I never realized, many of you, do not feel at home with your own families.
I never realized that there are parents who would ostracize their own children over sexual orientation or politics, I simply never realized that this happens so often, because I was so lucky, because in my family of bigoted shouting angry drunk micks, no matter what, we would never ostracize family, never make family feel unwelcome, never let an argument rise to the level of dividing family.
I am horrified, at the situation of some of you people I love, that you cannot feel welcome with your own family, that your own people don’t have that absolute bond of love and loyalty that my dad instilled in us, and that lives beyond him in us still.
That sucks shit and is wrong. next christmas, can I invite every one of you who is conflicted and pained and at odds with your family, to come to my house and join my family?
@IanJ: If you’re still in the town you mentioned in El Libro de las Caras, you are one town over from Mr SFL’s hometown. He was at the Peets in your town this afternoon after he went to his parents’ house to feed their goldfish while they’re out of town. Your relatives probably went to the same HS w him. Sorry I missed seeing you.
That book sounds interesting. I just finished “The Septembers of Shiraz” by Dalia Sofer. Excellent story, lyrical writing. Should we suggest Ahab’s Wife as the January stinque book club selection??
For many years christmas sucked badly. I spent the day either in bed asleep, or drunk, or in horribly conflicted emotional pain.
Then one year I just went “Fuck it” and started addressing it as “Humbug Season” It was my way of saying I will not join in the consumerism or the faux jolliness of a manufactured religious ceremony.
Instead, I’ve turned it into a kind of “Thanks Giving” for friends of mine that are alone, excluded from their families, just passing through on the day and at a loose end. These people mean something to me, and my feeding them is an expression of my love for them and appreciation for what they have given me throughout the year.
Never forget it’s this time of year when domestic violence and suicide show a dramatic increase, and it’s all because of this stupid, stupid, stupid, ideal of happy families gathered around the table and putting their grievances aside in the name of baby jeebus.
When in reality they are just stocking up with further ammunition for their vendettas and petty hatreds as some one snubs another with a cheap gift, or store bought sauce for the lunch, or not using the good silver-ware that Aunt Beth left her instead of me for the dinner.
Hmmm I appear to be ranting. Happy Humbug everyone.
Sin City and a martini by the fire . . .but what a week.
Cranked the hours til 6 pm Weds. Met Mrs RML at the paper, gave her my truck to drive home on the icy snow packed roads. Friend called with girl friend problems. Martinis, cigars, deep talks. Christmas Eve day, watch weather and road reports, switch to Plan B, stay in town, great Christmas Mass at the cathedral (the 400th christmas mass in Santa fe). Up til 330 am wrapping, setting up my mom’s laptop, prepping the nephews’ .22 rifle. Martinis at 3 am to chill.
Up to ancestral home on Christmas Day. See the folks, watch the Deer Dance with Mrs RML. Nature, community, goddesses incarnate, celestial motion, presence of devine. Home for roast beast, presents.
Today: errands, Matachine Dances north of here. Hour of cardio at gym. Set up Mrs RML’s new tv that I’m watching Sin City on and holy shit.
Christmas is one of the most important times of year for transmission of customs and making prayers. I’d be happy getting an orange in my stocking if I saw my family back home and did the things we do. Getting to the point where obligations are changing, knowledge increasing.
it’s not just an irish thing. ever been to a large group of italians or jews around a table? LOUD. and hoo boy do we fight! what do i always call my own family functions? the cage match.
and yet, this year i was sad to miss thanksgiving in new york, figured i’d see the folks when they get to florida, which is today. i’ll go up again soon and have the whole mishpucha to fight with.
they’re ignoring my political positions, food choices and hair style mostly because i’m bereft at the loss of 2 of my adored dogs within 2 months of each other. they feel sorry for me. no one has asked me if i’m taking my meds for weeks! i’m still crying stinquers. i took out sergio’s reindeer costume and just wept bitterly. he was supposed to sit by santa, as he does every year, on saturday. he loved kids. he was so enormous, many adults were fearful of him, but not children. dogs and kids see each others hearts. every kid who sat on santa’s lap got a big kiss from sergio, the reindog. i have a broken heart this christmas.
the rat is well intentioned, but moronic. he keeps showing me baby borzois to choose from. it’s like showing a grieving mother pictures of available babies while she’s at her baby’s funeral. he means well. he did something that touched me, so i extended my lease on him a few more weeks. we kept sergio’s leash on the doorknob of the front door. it made me sad, so i put it in the closet. without a word, he put it back on the doorknob. i’m at that dangerous place that so many fall victim to: so heartbroken that i don’t ever want another dog. i’ve lost dogs before and never felt that, thought it was ridiculous thinking. that’s how bad this one hurts. my sweet sergio, rest in peace. go hug your dogs everyone!
@CheapBoy: I’ve missed you!
@baked: Hugs to you, sweetie.
@SanFranLefty: I was still there, but today we drove back to PDX, and tomorrow I board the train for Seatown.
Ahab’s Wife could make a good book club book, it’s certainly interesting. Dunno if it’s short enough to be a reasonable read for most, though. I’d have to devote serious time (which I don’t have) to reading from here out if I wanted to contribute in any meaningful way.
@baked: Hugs to you. Tell RB to perhaps show photos of DIFFERENT breeds – if you wereto get another Borzoi, he’d spen his life trying to measure up to the fabulous Sergio.
exactly! i told him it would be so unfair to a new dog to be expected to be sergio. no matter how wonderful he would be in other ways, the shadow of the irreplaceable sergio would hang on him.
his answer was, well, why don’t we get two? i shit thee not. he’s hell bent on another one, “likes their traits” no, he likes sergio’s traits!
anyway, it will take some more time, i’m still mourning terribly.
thanks for hugs lefty and cyn…hugging you back.
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