• The few Thanksgiving recipes I search for every year

    If I put these here next-year I will only have to search once:

    The Campbell's Green Bean Casserole Recipe: This is essentially vegetarian Tuna Noodle Casserole. I am always OK to skip this but my daughter and mother both demand it.

    Emeril's Bourbon Sweet Mashed Potatoes: I love these, as does my mother. My daughter hates them. This is what denotes 'Thanksgiving' from 'Another Turkey Dinner' for me. I only make them at holiday time.

    Bon Appetit Extra Buttery Mashed Potatoes: My father will complain about the dairy, as if there isn't heavy cream in the Sweet Mashed Potatoes. He and my mother will take lactose pills. There will be no leftover mashed potatoes.

    I have made cranberry sauce before but the jellied stuff out of the can is what my daughter and I prefer. Stuffing comes from a box. Gravy I usually just buy a few jars as I am not entertained by making it. Turkey we've discussed elsewhere.

    I will be preparing food for my parents, and delivering it, but we will be dining in our respective homes and joining the rest via teleconference.

  • Aunt Marie puts the turkey in the oven

    I prefer smoked turkey but my father hates it so every year for this holiday we put the turkey in the oven!

    I can not recall ever thinking oven roasted turkey was particularly better or worse dependent on seasonings, methods, rituals, or even the price paid for said bird. Turkey for .49 cents/lb is often indistinguishable from $2.49/lb turkey.

    Wine? After the first bottle who cares!

  • Spatchcocking a turkey: is this the way?

    This year, to facilitate diving the turkey and delivering ½ of it to my parents for our tele-Thanksgiving dinner, I will be spatchcocking our turkey.

    I just like saying spatchcock. I read someplace once it comes from 'dispatched cock.' In practice spatchcockin' is just cutting the spine out of a bird, flattening it and cooking it.

    I usually spatchcock my chickens for smoking or pan roasting, I have never before spatchcocked a turkey — but everything about it makes sense for this years holiday. The bird will cook faster and it will be very easy to just cut it in half (it is easy with a chicken anyways — I am prepared for an epic disaster.)

    Aficionados of spatchcock and roasted turkey sure do go on about it.

  • Support the Georgia Peach Corps and Stacy Abrams' New Georgia Project

    In addition to sending out postcards, I have donated to the Georgia Peach Corp and to Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock directly.

    It feels like turning the two senate seats in Georgia blue would help things here a lot.

    Georgia Peach Corps:

    The Georgia Peach Corps is a new campaign partnering with Stacey Abrams' New Georgia Project Action Fund to GOTV for Georgia's two Senate runoffs!

    We aim to help The New Georgia Project register 10,000 new voters by the December 7 state deadline and safely knock on 1 Million doors to make sure all registered voters cast a ballot by Election Day on January 5, 2021.

    The Georgia Peach Corps will be sending voter registration/pledge-to-vote coffee and donut trucks in support of NGP's efforts to flip the state. The trucks will come from the community, bring in local revenue, and serve coffee and donuts while safely registering and mobilizing voters. They will be instantly recognizable by their bold NGP and "Sweet Georgia Ground" logos. We will also be texting, phone banking, and raising money to train and equip dozens of volunteers — and a few paid field directors — to assist the New Georgia Project's troops on the ground in Georgia.

    All of our actions will be respectful, self-sufficient, Covid-safe, and serve the unique needs of each Georgia community where we are active.

    Support the Georgia Peach Corps!

    $10 Fuels up a potential voter with coffee and donuts
    $25 Feeds a Georgia volunteer for the day
    $100 Gets texts to 400 unregistered Georgia voters
    $250 Sponsors a trained volunteer for a week
    $1000 Helps pay for one Georgia Peach Corps Field Director
    $5000 Keeps a COVID safe 'Sweet Georgia Ground' truck rolling, registering and mobilizing voters

  • NASA studies show COVID-19 shutdowns lowered greenhouse gas emissions

    By modeling where the trend line was heading for several key greenhouse gases, and then comparing said trend line to what actually happened after COVID19 forced the world to shutter major cities, NASA's study suggests humanity is responsible for global warming (even if they don't just say it.)

    NASA:

    Wuhan, China was the first municipality reporting an outbreak of COVID-19. It was also the first to show reduced nitrogen dioxide emissions—60% lower than simulated values expected. A 60% decrease in Milan and a 45% decrease in New York followed shortly, as their local restrictions went into effect.

    "You could, at times, even see the decrease in nitrogen dioxide before the official policies went into place," said co-author Emma Knowland with USRA at Goddard's GMAO. "People were probably reducing their transit because the talk of the COVID-19 threat was already happening before we were actually told to shut down." Once restrictions were eased, the decreases in nitrogen dioxide lessened, but remained below expected "business as usual" values.

    Keller compared his estimates of the nitrogen dioxide decreases to reported economic numbers, namely, the gross domestic products, of the nations included in the study. According to Keller, they lined up shockingly well. "We would expect them to be somewhat related because nitrogen dioxide is so closely linked to economic activities, like people who travel and factories running," he said. "It looks like our data captures this very well."

  • The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special redeems the genre

    The OG Star Wars Holiday Special was a legendary train wreck. The newly released LEGO special on Disney+ is a wonderful good time.

    No drugs, no dopey singing numbers, no cartoon Boba Fett. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special brings back Wookie Life Day with all the LEGO Star Wars sarcasm and trolling you could hope for.

    A Star Wars adventure that may as well be treated as canon erupts as the modern era SW gang decides to celebrate Life Day with Chewbacca's family on Kashyyyk. Distracted by some Jedi bullshit BB-8 and Rey take us on a wild adventure, while Poe tries like crazy to screw everything up.

  • Yet another incredibly charming moment with Barack Obama

    This woman is just floored to find out she is on a video call with President Obama, and it is absolutely priceless when he starts speaking directly to her.

  • This Pilot 'Capless' fountain pen appears to be a cheaper version of the legendary Vanishing Point

    The Pilot Capless is my beloved fountain pen, the Pilot Vanishing Point, rebranded and for 33% less.

    In my fairly large collection of pens, my Pilot/Nishiki Vanishing Point stands out as number one for travel and number two overall. This fountain pen has traveled with me around and around the world. Designed with a retractable nib and o-rings to keep the ink inside, this is the only fountain pen I've felt safe flying with.

    The weight of the Vanishing Point is just lovely. The clip is in a funny place but not in the way at all, and kinda charming. The fine nib flows ink well, and I routinely use this pen as my instrument for writing with blue ink.

    If I owned only one fountain pen the Vanishing Point would probably be it. The $150ish price tag, however, makes it harder to swallow for folks who just want to write with a fountain pen.

    This Pilot Capless is reportedly the same pen with an alloy instead of a gold nib. It also appears to cost 1/3rd less! Having used many pens with stainless and alloy nibs, you will find it slightly stiffer than gold but if you don't have one to compare to, you probably won't notice the difference. This is approaching audiophile territory.

    I absolutely suggest buying a converter so you can use any ink you chose. The Pilot cartridges are fine and I have a few around for travel, but prefer Noodler's Ink.

    PILOT "Capless (special alloy nib) / Dark Blue" [nib: Fine] via Amazon

  • I am keeping this season's sourdough starter in a tulip jar

    I bought this lovely glass' Tulip' jar for keeping my sourdough starter on the counter.

    Last Spring I decided to not bother keeping sourdough starter in the fridge. Having started a starter from scratch and found it super easy to work with during the cooler months, it went rancid on my counter during a brief trip out of town. I wasn't going to bake until temperatures dropped back into pants range anyway. I was keeping that starter in a Ball Jar.

    The Ball Jar looked boring but putting a rubber band around it at the 'just fed' level let me see how it was doing. This was far better than the stoneware crock I had been using for 11 years.

    I wanted less boring. I wanted glass. I found this Toysdone Tulip Jar. It is darling and has a strawberry on it.

    I removed the rubber gasket and put it away with the metal clips. The glass lid stays nicely in place for me and allows the gases produced by the yeast to vent without allowing any bugs in.

    1 liter is the perfect size.

    Toysdone Tulip Jar – Single 1-Liter Jar via Amazon

  • NTSB determines dive boat operator to blame for horrific fire and deaths

    My friends and I spent a lot of time diving with Truth Aquatics. More often we dove the Vision, but I spent many weeks on the Conception as well.

    NPR:

    The National Transportation Safety Board has placed the blame for the dive boat fire that killed 34 people on the vessel's owners.

    The five-member board ruled unanimously on Tuesday that it was a lack of oversight by the owners, Truth Aquatics Inc., that led to the 2019 fire — one of California's deadliest maritime disasters.

    Investigators said that the burning and sinking of the Conception had made it impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of the fire. But they noted that the blaze started near the back of the deck in the boat's salon, where divers had plugged in smartphones and other devices containing lithium-ion batteries.

    A sister vessel of the Conception, the Vision, had earlier experienced a fire caused by cellphone chargers, The Washington Post reports – but that fire was detected early and quickly put out.

    I used to look forward to sleeping in those tiny bunks below deck and found them to be strangely comfortable — tucked in a small box being gently rocked as I listened to music on headphones. I really longed for that week or two.