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Thanksgiving video break: Comfort music

In times like these, we turn to old favorites for joy and solace:

Thanks for being there for us, Arlo. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Thanksgiving video break: It was like the turkeys mounted a counterattack

The greatest holiday TV episode ever. If you haven’t seen this before, you are in for a treat. And if you have seen it before, you know what I’m talking about:

I hope your Thanksgiving is better and less chaotic than that. Enjoy!

Friday video break: Black Friday

I have no idea why I haven’t used this on Black Friday before:

I love it when a band successfully reinterprets its own established work, as Steely Dan does here, turning the synth-driven tune into a slowed-down blues rocker. For a band that didn’t tour much in their early days, they’re an awesome live act. I’ve seen them twice now and would see them again tomorrow if they were in town. By the way, if you listened all the way to the end, here is their rendition of Dirty Work that Donald Fagan was introducing. Whether you’re at home, out shopping, or hard at work, I hope you have an excellent Black Friday.

Thanksgiving video break: I’ve done this often enough to call it a tradition

And what a tradition it is:

I plan to be in a turkey coma today, hopefully in front of a football game. Hope you have the Thanksgiving you want as well.

Friday random ten: Leftovers

In the spirit of the weekend, ten songs about food.

1. Hotdogs and Hamburgers – John Mellencamp
2. Watermelon Time – Marcia Ball
3. Col. Josh’s Homestyle Barbecue – Asylum Street Spankers
4. Ode To The Lima Bean – Flying Fish Sailors
5. Corn Dogs – The Bobs
6. Tastes Like Chicken – Austin Lounge Lizards
7. Too Much Barbecue – Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows
8. Junk Food – Patty Larkin
9. Hot Soup – Lager Rhythms
10. Belle Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson

May your fridge and your belly be full.

Thanksgiving video break: Alice’s Restaurant

Needs no introduction, does it?

That was at Farm Aid 2005. Still sounds great, too. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Where to eat if no one is cooking in your house

I figure most people are eating at home, or the home of a family member or friend, but if you’re not and you’re in Houston, has a list of restaurants that are open today. Some pretty fancy places in that list, actually, so if you were going to cook but had a catastrophic failure of some kind, you can still eat pretty well. Hope you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving no matter what your dining situation is. I’ll be back tomorrow.

The helium shortage gets real

It could affect Thanksgiving.

“We’ve secured helium to meet some of our parade needs, and we are working to secure more,” Kim Stoilis, president and chief executive officer of the Houston Festival Foundation, said in an email Wednesday. “We’re excited about this holiday tradition and our parade director assures me that all of our balloons will be flying high on Thanksgiving morning.”

But the full impact of the helium shortage on the parade remains unclear. Parade organizers declined to specify how much more helium is needed or whether the shortage would translate into fewer floats along this year’s parade route.

“Due to the severe shortage of helium and our continuing negotiations to procure the resource we’d rather not discuss specifics,” Stoilis stated in the email.


The Bureau of Land Management, which maintains much of the nation’s helium supply, held about 43 billion cubic feet (bcf) of helium in 1960, but today holds only 13 bcf because the nation’s supply has been privatized, said Joseph Peterson, assistant field manager of field resources at the bureau’s Amarillo office.

Under the 1996 Helium Privatization Act, the land management agency has been charged with selling off the remaining supply of helium on federal lands as private industry and overseas production plants take over the role of helium extraction, he said.

But today, Peterson said, the worldwide supply of helium has not kept pace with the demand.

“The past few years (the shortage) has been crucial because everyone wants the helium for their parades,” he said. “In the past there have been a couple of suppliers that were able to meet that demand. There is still some helium available but there may not be a lot of balloons in this year’s parades (nationwide).”

I wrote about this last year. It’s all fun and games until the parade floats start being affected.

Friday random ten: Black Friday edition

Today is Black Friday, the traditional start-of-the-Christmas-season holiday in which crazy people get up before the crack of dawn to have first dibs at discounted merchandise. I understand our neighborhood Target took things to the logical extreme and opened at midnight. How can I not celebrate this in song?

1. Black Friday – Steely Dan
2. Black Annie – Solas
3. Black Blade – Blue Oyster Cult
4. Black Coffee In Bed – Squeeze
5. Black Eye Blues – Asylum Street Spankers
6. Black Is The Color – SixMileBridge
7. Black Rain – Fastball
8. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall
9. Black Night – Deep Purple
10. Black Widow – Michelle Shocked

Happy day after Thanksgiving, y’all.

Beyond turducken

You’ve had turducken. You’ve had turbaconducken. Where do you go from there? How about the Quaducant, with Creole sausage? That’s just one of several options presented to you at that link. I may have to ask for that next year. This year, we’re having turkey enchiladas, made by my most excellent mother-in-law. Oh, and pie. There are some side dishes as well, but really, what more do you need to know? Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Saturday video break: Won’t I get a reputation for being soft on turkeys?

President Bartlett, doing his Constitutional duty:

There’s also the classic Butterball hotline sequence if you want more. Happy Saturday!

More stories about building food

After having turducken for your Thanksgiving dinner, how can you not have something like this for dessert?

A Los Angeles man named Charles Phoenix has created the turducken of Thanksgiving desserts and dubbed it the cherpumple.

Turduckens are pretty commonplace these days; the cherpumple decidedly is not. A cherpumple is a three-layer cake sporting an entire pie in each layer (spice cake holding an apple pie on the bottom layer, a pumpkin pie nestled in yellow cake in the middle and a top layer of cherry pie baked into white cake) iced with cream cheese frosting.

“When you slice and serve it,” Phoenix says in a video on his cherpumple-pumped site charles, “your company will be astonished.”


But one thing bothered me about this strange and clever creation. Who the heck eats cherry pie at Thanksgiving?

I thought I could best the cherpumple. And now I present to you the pumpecapple.

OK, maybe it doesn’t roll off the tongue, but the pumpecapple – my “improvement” on the cherpumple – better represents Thanksgiving flavors with layers of pumpkin, pecan and apple pies baked in cake. I also thought good pies and homemade cake batter (Phoenix used frozen pies and box cake mix) would make a crazy dessert idea palatable. Even delicious.

My first and only call was to Three Brothers Bakery on South Braeswood. (You think I’d make this thing myself, are you crazy?) Three Brothers immediately came to mind because the Houston bakery’s pecan pie recently was recently singled out by Country Living magazine as one of the best pies in the country.

Janice Jucker, one of the business’ owners along with her husband, Robert, immediately bit. Three Brothers was game, and they also suggested improving on the layers: Apple pie baked in a spice apple cake; chocolate pecan pie in a chocolate cake; pumpkin pie in a pumpkin spice cake. Robert did the baking, and decorator Heather Campbell did the icing (Janice did a lot of the encouraging and cheerleading).

Read the rest to see how it turned out. All I can say is OM NOM NOM, I so totally want to try either one of them. Maybe this can be the cake for my next birthday.

Special Thursday video break: It’s not the name of the restaurant, it’s the name of the song

You can get anything you want at you-know-where:

I did this last year and figured I’d do it again this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Smoked beer can turkey

For those of you with an engineering bent and a large enough grill, I give you smoked beer can turkey, based on a popular grilling technique for chickens. Bon appetit!

Friday random ten: Thanks for giving

In honor of the holiday weekend, ten songs about thanking and giving.

1. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again) – Sly and the Family Stone
2. Thank You Girl – John Hiatt
3. Thank You Friends – Big Star
4. Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is In Another Castle – The Mountain Goats and Kaki King
5. Thanksgiving Song – Mary-Chapin Carpenter
6. The Thanksgiving Song – Adam Sandler
7. Give A Little Bit – Supertramp
8. Give It Up – Fishbone
9. Give Me The Love – The String Cheese Incident
10. Give Blood – Pete Townshend

You can be thankful you didn’t have to wrestle with any demonic lawn furniture for your Thanksgiving.

At least, I hope you didn’t have to do that. What songs are you thankful for this week?

Special Friday video break: As God is my witness…

I give you the 1970s precursor to “The Office”, the wonderful and underrated “WKRP In Cincinnati” and their all-time classic Thanksgiving episode. Seriously, if you’ve never seen this, you really need to watch it all the way through. If you have seen it, you don’t require my encouragement for that:

While Mr. Carlson’s iconic line about the turkeys at the end is what everyone remembers, I can’t really pick a single funniest moment in this. I’m giggling as I type this post. Time to watch it again, methinks.

Special Thursday video break: You can get anything you want

It’s not the name of the restaurant, it’s the name of the song:

I was hoping to find a video based on the original recording, but failed. Since I always manage to forget to turn on the radio in time to hear its annual airing, this will have to do. So walk on in, it’s around the back.

By the way, am I the last person in the world to realize you can’t buy just this song at the iTunes store? They make you buy the whole album to get it. Even more annoyingly, the album is listed at $9.99, while the other six songs can be bought for the usual 99 cents apiece, thus making this tune, at $3.94 for the balance, probably the most expensive single tune in the store. What a ripoff! Amazon has them beat on both counts, though I’m suspicious of the song’s shorter listed length. And the updated 30th anniversary edition, whose version I can recall hearing once on the radio, isn’t available as an MP3 download. Argh!

Ah, well. Happy Thanksgiving anyway.

For those of you who think turducken is too wimpy…

…I give you Turbaconducken. Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is. If you click the link, you will either rush right out to buy several pounds of bacon, or you will become a vegetarian. If you’re already a vegetarian, for the love of God do not click the link. I cannot be held responsible if you do.

I linked to this last year, but after being reminded about it by Andria, I figured it deserved its own post. As it happens, we’re having turducken – the normal, old school, un-baconified kind – for our Thanksgiving dinner today. Tiffany picked it up on a whim, and I’m psyched about it. Anybody out there doing something a little different for T-Day? Leave a comment and let me know. And Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving travel

If you’re traveling this weekend, you’ll find the roads a bit more crowded than last year, but down from the norm.

Americans shaken by last year’s economic crash may be regaining enough confidence to hit the roads in higher numbers this Thanksgiving, according to AAA.

When a wobbly economy finally nose-dived last fall, Thanksgiving trips also plunged, by 25 percent from the year before, the travel association reports.

This year, with unemployment higher than it’s been since 1983 despite economic growth last quarter, 38.4 million Americans — one in eight — will travel 50 miles or more from home, up a slight 1.4 percent.

More here. Drive safe, y’all. Link via the On the Move blog.

Get well soon, Pancho Claus!

See you at the parade!

The Houston actor best known locally as Pancho Claus still plans to make his annual holiday appearance in the Thanksgiving Day parade despite suffering a heart attack last week.

Richard Reyes, who has portrayed the zoot suit-wearing, lowrider-cruising Hispanic icon for 28 years, said he was admitted to Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital on Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was moved from intensive care to a regular room over the weekend and said he hoped to be released [Monday].

Despite his recent ordeal, Reyes said he sees no reason he can’t be in the downtown Houston parade as usual.

“All I’ve got to do is wave,” he joked in a phone interview from his hospital room.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Pancho Claus. Good to see he’ll be all right.