2020 Thanksgiving Guidelines

In light of these precedented times and the unprecedented overreactions I thought it would be a good idea to share some guidelines that ought to be universal to all this coming Thanksgiving. I would require that you follow these rules, but I don’t want to enforce them at your home. They are the expectation at my family’s Thanksgiving though.

  1. Pray before the meal. Pray to God in the name of Jesus. Don’t just go around the table and ask what each person is thankful for. Pray and thank the fount of every blessing.
  2. Be a good host. And to do so, ignore the conflicting information coming from the CDC as well as your local lawmakers. We were told masks don’t work. We were later told to wear one, not to protect yourself but everyone around you. Now we are told they protect you as well, even though the CDC said that 85% of the positive cases were from people who wear masks either All or Most of the time. The CDC has been on every side of this and your best response is to ignore them.
    • If someone shows up in a mask, be kind to them. They know that they will need to remove it if they will be eating anything, making their arrival in a mask purely cosmetic.
    • If you are invited to someone’s home, don’t show up in a mask. Don’t be that guy. It sends a message that contradicts the very reason you were initially invited.
  3. Gravy is a near-universal condiment. The only exception that comes to mind is dessert. Don’t put gravy on your pumpkin pie.
  4. Don’t talk politics. Just don’t.
  5. Any news program is verboten on this day. I saw my first bit of national news in over a year this last weekend and it was just vile. I took a journalism class in college and these clowns have absolutely none of the objectivity that was restated in every class session. They are in the midst of a historical time that will be dissected by future generations, but all they can do is recite “Orange Man Bad.” Pathetic.
  6. Sigh. The early NFL Games both suck. Texans at Lions? Washington at Cowboys? Ugh. Unless your team is playing, you can get some brownie points with your wife if you tell her you want to focus on just family during them. Don’t tell her why, you dolt! But the late game of Ravens at Steelers is worth watching.
  7. Cranberry sauce is useful. Put some on the white meat. You’re welcome. If you still don’t like it, refer to rule #3.
  8. Are you nervous about ruining the turkey? Buy a couple Costco rotisserie chickens the day before and stick them in the refrigerator. The next morning, put them on the smoker or in the oven at a low temperature. You’re not cooking them again because you bought them cooked. You’re just warming them up and maybe adding a little extra flavor. I smoked them last year and the results were delightful!
  9. Congratulations, you have now entered the Stuffing and Eggnog Season. You have roughly 5 weeks where it’s OK to consume these with every meal. If you aren’t counting carbs, take full advantage! But know that you will pay for these 5 weeks with a gym membership in January, that you will regret before February.
  10. Will the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade be worth watching? I want to say no, but with the lunacy going on it will be a memory to tell your grandchildren as you tell tales about what it was once like to be free.

Has Google/Android jumped the shark?

Hey y’all. I was on a boat Saturday after being thrown from the tube being pulled behind it when I saw some footage of the wipeout on an iPhone. I said that I really wanted that footage and the girl said that it would be easy if I had an iPhone because she could beam it to me, but she had no service at the lake.

I thought about mentioning that this was a feature of an Android phone from years past and that it had (to my knowledge) been retired as it wasn’t widely used, but I stopped short and thought that comparing features and timelines really isn’t the point in the Android v iPhone debate. What really matters is overall experience and compatibility with the technology of your friends.

I’ve been using Android phones from the start, with my only non Nexus/Pixel phone being the Droid Incredible, and that’s only because the OG Nexus device wasn’t available on Verizon. I’m a homer who buys paid apps frequently. My history is tied to my Android account. I love buying a new phone and adding the wi-fi and watching everything just work.

But has Android jumped the shark?

Remember when Google+ came out? Sure they made a few mistakes, first of all with the name of the service. Google is a polarizing company, and naming a social media service after the parent just advertises bad vibes to anyone who distrusts Google to begin with. Then there’s the policy of requiring real names and making that spill over to YouTube as well. Despite a few miscues, they were innovating like crazy at that time. In the Google+ features, the various Google products, and also in Android. Everywhere you looked, Google was making things awesome! When is the last time a Google innovation made you do a double take and just know that this was a game changer?

What happened to Google? What happened to Android? Where did the excitement go? Have we reached a point where a few apps like iMessage, Garageband and FaceTime will eventually win the market for Apple? Is Google/Android unable to put together a compelling feature any longer?
My next phone will likely be a Pixel, more because I don’t like change than because it’s a better experience than a comparatively priced iPhone 8. But will I end up regretting not getting a phone that can get away with adding retired 8 year old technology?

I ask in another way. Has Google lost it’s competitive and/or innovative spirit?

Switchfoot and the Art of the Bridge

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a love for the band Switchfoot. Their music, the interaction they have with the fans, the words that Jon Foreman writes, the whole enchilada. I became a fan when the album “The Beautiful Letdown” was in stores, so that would make it about 2003 or so, and since then I have purchased every album they put out, as well as any solo project that Jon has produced. I have seen them in concert several times and love every moment that I’m there.

Their song lyrics are honest and they hit home with the realities of life. It is no stretch for me to say that “Hello Hurricane” was an album that helped ground me during the most difficult time of my entire life. I could see the trouble on the horizon. It was headed my way and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Landfall hit and it was horrific. And after the storm had passed, there was clean up to do, but clean up is something only done by people who had survived the catastrophe more or less intact. And I had survived.

And in my clean up effort, the album “Vice Verses” had some key songs that helped me communicate where I was at. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually.

Many of the songs the band sings come to a head. Everything leads up to a bridge, and in that bridge, Jon sings something profound. The entire song has prepared you for it, and the bridge is the application of what they are trying to convey to you. Read without context, the lyrics of the bridge may not make as much sense, and if that is the case my best advice is to listen to the entire song a few times. Everything sung before and after the bridge makes sense in light of the bridge.


Recently, Switchfoot has announced a well-deserved hiatus from touring. They’ve been busy for 20 years, and I don’t blame them one bit for taking a break. If they never produce another record, their career as a band will not lack for anything. If they do return, which I do expect eventually, I have no doubt that the new music will be awesome.

I am adding a new category to my blog. That category is “Switchfoot Bridges” for lack of a more interesting name. I’ll try and remember to name the posts with the song name and include the album name as well. So if you see a post entitled “Needle in a Haystack Life” or “The War Inside” please don’t get all concerned for me. I’m just remembering the discovery of songs that spoke to me as few others have.

“Your wounds are where the light shines through.”

Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?

Never one to shy away from controversy, I have decided to tackle this topic today. I have long put it off, but it is a topic I can ignore no longer.

First things first, it is important that we determine the parameters of a sandwich. That is, what it means to be a sandwich. If you can’t properly define what a sandwich is, then your opinion in this matter bears very little weight. A quick Google search (AKA: “Research”) tells us that a sandwich is an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal.

If you ask my lovely bride, a hot dog is not a food item. If you ask anyone who has ever eaten a hot dog, the bun is expected to be cut down the middle, but not separated into two distinct pieces of bread. A hot dog is a sausage that is frequently served in a split single bun, and it shares that category with bratwurst, polish sausage and other sausages of European origin, with a strong emphasis on Germany. The frankfurter and kielbasa are also within this category. Please note that the category is the sausage, specifically the linked sausage. The bun is an optional modifier. The category that houses the hot dog is German while the proper sandwich is of British origin.

Then comes the debate over whether it is acceptable to use ketchup on a hot dog. If the hot dog is intended to be served to children, I say that it is acceptable. But don’t you dare put ketchup on a Chicago style or on a Chili dog. Those versions are not for children but for men.

Well-Protected Yo-Yo Strings

I got a yo-yo in my Christmas stocking, so I bought a 10-pack of yo-yo string from Amazon.com. I actually feel a little bit bad about not adding to that order. I really took advantage of my Prime account. One pack of ten strings!

Anyway, when I got the notification that it had shipped I wondered if it would arrive in a regular envelope or a padded one. Much to my surprise, it arrived yesterday. In a box about twice the size of a shoe box. Stuffed with those big bubble wrap balloons that sound like a shotgun when you stomp on them.

I’m very grateful that they took such care to ensure that my yo-yo strings didn’t get damaged en route to my home. Those FedEx guys have been known to drop packages on my doorstep a bit more forcefully than necessary!