My Video Thanksgiving Toast

I made this video several years ago with the help of my friend, Ali Palmer. More than help really, as I have no idea what you do with a computer to make a video. It’s honestly all I can do to bash away at the keyboard like a money trying to type Shakespeare and use Google to find incredibly specific niche pornography.

Over the years since this was made, I have posted ‘links’ to it pretty much every thanksgiving, but what the hell, here it is again. Possibly one of you has never seen it before, and some of you may have gotten old enough you don’t recall watching it before. In any case, here it is.

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Famous Pirates or My First Post with Added Media in the Form of Illustrations!

 

Pirates have a perennial hold on the popular imagination, at least if I’m using the right word. If I have mistakenly suggested something alarming concerning pirates, their grip and an embarrassing yet perfectly natural part of human anatomy, please forgive the hell out of me. What I mean to say is people like pirates. They always have. After all, what’s not to like about a cultural subset consisting almost exclusively of violent, alcoholic, maimed, amoral professional murderous thieves? My point is, it’s easy to get all swoony over Johnny Depp. Actual historical pirates are harder to crush on, as these brief biographical sketches will illustrate.

 

BLACKBEARD

AKA Edward Teach, Edward Thatch, Edward Drummond. Born in Bristol England around 1680, he served in the royal navy during the War of Spanish Succession. When the war ended, loathe to give up setting other people’s ships on fire, he turned to piracy. Known for the fearsome and reasonably stupid practice of shoving burning cannon wicks in his hair and beard, The legendary Pirate king commanded a small fleet of vessels from the decks of the forty gun “Queen Anne’s Revenge” a slang term of the day for Syphilis.

“Arrr, Matey, soon me whole face will be on fire!”

After an extended Plundering of the Bahamas, he moved on to the Carolinas. But Good ever triumphs over Evil, as the highly civilized Royal Navy proved when the hunted him down, killed him, sawed off his head, mounted it on their bowsprit and sailed into Williamsburg harbor, where seagulls almost certainly pecked out and ate the eyes from his severed, lifeless head.

JOHN BARTHOLEMEW ‘BLACK BART’ ROBERTS

Navigator under famed Pirate Howell Davis, Captain of “The Princess”, Roberts assumed command after Davis succumbed to a severe case of giving a Pirate ship a really effeminate name. During his four-year reign of terror, ‘Black Bart’ looted and sank nearly 400 ships. A man of many contradictions, he dressed well, employed classical musicians as part of his crew, and never attacked on the Sabbath, but was also extremely fond of torturing people to death and had a scandalous May/December romance with the Governor of Virginia’s Wife’s pet monkey, Mister Skibbles.

“Nothing goes better with Bach’s Fourth Cantata in G Minor than whipping a naked sailor to pieces and dangling him by a rope into shark infested waters whilst romancin’ a monkey.”

At the height of his career he commanded 500 men, but his luck ran out in 1722. During a fierce battle with the HMS “Swallow” he was fatally distracted by considering the many hilarious scenarios that might have led the Queens Royal Navy to overlook what an outrageous name “Swallow” was for a ship belonging to a country already internationally notorius for what was then considered the scandalous behavior of it’s sailors.

THE BARBAROSSA BROTHERS
Aruj, Khier ed-Din, Isaak and Zeppo, were all born in the 1470’s on the Greek Island of Lesbos. Make your own cheap jokes; it’s a matter of historical fact. Taking the name ‘Barbarosa’ a word that apparently means ‘Red Beard’ in Italian, they grew beards and dyed them red so the name wouldn’t seem weird.

“Arrrr, see how the author don’t mention we’re Muslims to avoid playin’ into racist stereotypes, arrrrrrr.”

Aruj, a former slave, worked out his issues by enlisting his brothers in the systematic terrorization of the Aegean Sea. He went on to become Sultan of Algiers in the traditional fashion, killing the Sultan of Algiers. The Spanish Navy hunted down and killed Aruj, but were disappointed to find entire Navies ineligible for Sultanship under Algerian law, a job that now fell to the next eldest brother Khier ed-Din. Isaac, known as ‘The Quiet One’ had no interest in politics and contented himself with finding people on ships, taking all their stuff, killing them, violating them, setting them on fire and throwing them in the ocean, often in that order. Little is known of Zeppo, save that the youngest Barbarosa was considered handsome and appeared in only the first few films.

LARGE BREATED BOSSOMS MCGEE, THE SEXY GIRL PIRATE QUEEN

“Even this parrot is ashamed of itself”

From 1648 – 52, the ‘Leggy Terror of the Tortuga’s’ commanded the dreaded ‘Embarrassing Fantasy’ inspiring fear, terror, frightendness and furtive shamefaced hurried self-abuse by unpleasant men and boys even to this day. Long thought to be mere legend, it turns out she totally was. I mean, come on. Seriously.

JEANE LAFITTE
“The Gentleman Pirate of New Orleans”, “The Corsair,” “The Buccaneer,” “The King of Barataria,” “The Terror of the Gulf,” “The Pirate With The Most Nicknames”. Infamous for his brutal piracy in the Gulf of Mexico, yet revered for his heroism in the Battle of New Orleans, he is mostly remembered today as the basis for Jean LaFeet, the French, barefoot, Crunchberry thieving archenemy of Cap’n Crunch.

“Arrrr, I needs a job, I ain’t been seen on tv since the late Seventies!”

EDWARD “LADY LIPS” WILSON
Legendary for brutality, cunning, and the skillful, dexterous, mastery of his wiener. Believed to be J.M. Barrie’s inspiration for ‘Captain Hook’ and the actual author of the “Man from Nantucket” poem.

“Note to self: Come up with real funny ‘poop deck’ joke before submitting article”

OLD, BLIND ONE-TESTICLE HOOK-HANDED PETE, THE HIGHLY UNRELIABLE HELMSMAN
Not really very famous, but MAN what a name!

“Ship ahoy, I think!”

BLACK HENRY ‘SINKS LIKE A STONE’ CARVER, THE ROBOT PIRATE SCOURGE OF THE SEVEN SEAS FROM THE FUTURE.

“Beep. Boop. Pieces of eight. Boop. Arrgh, me matey. Beep”

Okay, I made that last one up.

My Grandfather’s Thanksgiving Toast

Family. Friends. Neighbors. Freeloaders one and all, welcome to my table. Before we begin the ritual consumption of more food than the average African Child will set eyes on over the next two months, I think it is right and fitting, that I lead you in prayer. How unfortunate for us all that not only do I not believe in God, It is my opinion that your belief is a manifestation of fears, ignorance and prejudice of a level that makes you superior to apes only in that you are, most of you, less hairy. So instead, I propose this toast, and if one of you so much as lays a finger on a roll before I’ve finished, I’ll cut that finger off. See if I’m kidding.

The celebration of the traditional American Thanksgiving presents us with two great lies. The first is the handprint Turkey. If you place your hand upon a sheet of construction paper, trace around it, and cut it out, you will have a piece of paper that resembles a Turkey given only the most liberal and compassionate interpretation. Glue googly eyes upon it, cut feathers of red, yellow, and orange, affix a clever wattle if you like. My eldest daughter suggests an uninflated red balloon, and her Sunday Schoolers swear by it. It hardly matters. What you have is a cut out of your hand with things glued on it. And yet, thought we all know this, I am expected to ooh and ahh over the various hand print Turkeys my grandchildren gift me with, just as if I won’t throw them out as soon as, if not before, their little backs are turned. Stick a prom dress on a turd, it still will not dance with you.

The second great lie of thanksgiving is that the so-called ‘First Thanksgiving’ has anything whatever to do with the holiday we celebrate tonight.

One of the things I am most thankful for is that since my own children somehow graduated elementary school, I have not been required to sit through a Thanksgiving Pageant. Our entire community should be thankful, since as the years have passed, my patience for the public display of folly has deteriorated to the point where the sight of small children aping Pilgrims and savages before the footlights could not be born without the discharge of firearms.

I do not mean to imply that history does not record a harvest meal in 1621, shared between the Wampanoag and the fifty some odd surviving human flotsam clinging to life scant yards from where the Mayflower dumped them. Our Native American guests placed corn, squash, fish and Turkey upon the festive table. We supplied liquor, smallpox and for desert, a foreshadowing of genocide. Why we insist on harking back to this single instance of poorly conceived tolerance on the part of the indigenous population is beyond me. They thought better of it soon, but not soon enough. The children at the table will PLEASE MAKE NOTE that Thanksgiving as we know it was not an annual tradition from that point on. Tying that one damn dinner to our modern tradition is random, bizarre, unwarranted and infuriating.

It was not until 1863, more than two hundred years later that a weary, drunken, acromegalic, possibly homosexual Abraham Lincoln created the modern Thanksgiving. Declared as it was in the midst of a bloody civil war, it may well have been, like the suspension of Habeas Corpus, Lincoln’s idea of a good joke. It is a well-known fact that marriage to a psychotic will turn your sense of humor black. This may or may not have been Lincoln’s excuse, but it is certainly mine. That being said, if my Brides signature giblet gravy appears more lumpy than usual, I advise you to give it a miss. You will see there is no knife at her setting. While I can spare none of you her genetic taint, I can at least deprive her of weaponry.

Still and all, though I have demonstrated that from hand Turkeys to history, Thanksgiving is as much about lies as anything else, I insist we have much to be thankful for.

At this table, we, all of us have had the good fortune to be born Caucasian. If this weren’t enough, as Americans we own all the best weapons. As miserable as my life has been, it is entirely due to irritation caused in the main by all of you. It is in no way comparable to the misery experienced by almost everyone else on the planet, quivering half naked at this very moment in their mud and wattle huts. I do not know what wattle is, I will never need to know, and for this I am grateful. Soon the Heathen Chinee will doubtless swarm the globe and all we hold dear will be dust and memory, but chance has deposited us in this historic instant of American dominance, and so we are able to stuff ourselves until we are as gorged as Ticks on the belly of a paralyzed dog!

So lets raise a glass. I intend to keep refilling mine until I fall backward out of this chair in a dead drunk. Let my children and their children know I have emptied my pockets. There is nothing to be gained by rifling them.

Let’s eat.

Time to be Thankful Again

Oh good Christ, Thanksgiving is in less than a month and I haven’t spent any time at all thinking of what I’m thankful for! Crap!

Um, okay, well, I’m thankful I’m not a Turkey! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! What? Screw you, it’s funny. You try coming up with a joke that good right off the top of your head. Yes, I have probably made that joke before, perhaps most Thanksgivings, I was feeling a little pressured here and I FORGOT! OH GOD PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR BEING HUMAN AND FORGETTING IF YOU THINK YOU ARE BETTER THAN ME, BECAUSE NEWSFLASH, YOU ARE NOT!!

And isn’t that the meaning of Thanksgiving, really, when you think about it? Unreasonable rage and over reaction? See how I did turned that around? That’s thinking on your toes. That’s being a professional writer. You try that. Well. Not I used to be professional. These days I just give my writing away for free. There’s a whole different word for that. We can debate which is more dignified if you’d like. Frankly getting paid for it and giving it away are both degrading, just in different ways. Are we still talking about writing?

But seriously folks, unreasonable rage and over reaction are the backbone of the American dream and I’m thankful for them, so shut up. The Native Americans brought corn and wild turkey to the first Thanksgiving. Know what we brought to the table? That’s right. Unreasonable rage and over reaction. And intolerance. And a centerpiece. Good knows what was on it. Couldn’t have been a pilgrim, right? That wouldn’t have made any sense. And we didn’t even know Turkey would be the traditional meal until the Native Americans brought it. So that’s out. Probably a cornucopia.

‘Cause what’s more fun in the center of your table than a symbol of bounty when you’re probably going to starve to death over the winter if you don’t freeze first? The Native Americans did not know sh*t about centerpieces, because they may have been helpful, kind, and the only reason we survived the first, second, and next thirty or so years in America, but they were also savages.

I mean, look at the corn they brought! You know that inedible crap you hang on your door with the multi colored kernels, ‘Indian’ Corn? Well why the hell did you think it’s called that? It’s racist code for ‘not food corn’. Of course, they called it ‘Maize’ because they couldn’t speak a damn word of English. And Wild Turkey? I’ll tell you what; it wasn’t the Wild Turkey I bring to Thanksgiving. And you know why I bring my Wild Turkey? Oh yes. Because it helps fuel my Unreasonable rage and over reaction. And I don’t really ‘bring’ it, so much as I ‘arrive having finished a the bottle’.

I mean, let’s face it, Without unreasonable rage and over reaction I’d still be at the damn kids table, in the basement! I’m fifty-two! I have children of my own! We have thanksgiving at my house; I am not spending another Thanksgiving in my own basement! The wife says I have to be down there because of my problems with unreasonable rage and over reaction, but A.) The Wild Turkey helps me fear her less and B.) The children don’t enjoy my drunken antics any more than my adult relatives and assorted guests do and C.) WHY THE HELL DID WE INVITE MY ADULT RELATIVES AND ASSORTED GUESTS AGAIN!? I THOUGHT I HAD BEEN CLEAR ABOUT THAT! I THOUGHT I HAD BEEN VERY, VERY, CRYSTAL CLEAR! DOESN’T ANYBODY GIVE A LITTLE TIN CRAP ABOUT WHAT I WANT AT THANKSGIVING!?

Okay. Okay. At least I’m not a Turkey and OH CRHIST I MADE THAT JOKE ALREADY! SH*T! GOD DAMNIT! CRAP! Oh, I’m thankful for cursing, that’s three things. No, no, four things; Not being a turkey, unreasonable rage and over reaction, and cursing, that’s four. And Wild Turkey, and not being at the kids table this year, that’s five and six, and you know what, I’m thankful my adult relatives and guests are going to be here. I truly am. Because the only thing that says ‘Hello!’ to a big, steaming cornucopia of unreasonable rage and over reaction better than a full bottle of Wild Turkey is having to listen to your adult relatives sling barbs at each other about sh*t that happened during the first BUSH ADMINISTRATION! “Could you pass the peas or are you going to CHEAT ON ME and finish them?” “Well maybe if you didn’t spend all your time on the mashed potatoes and stuffing and corn relish and cranberry sauce so that at the end of the day you had nothing left for ME I’d never have needed so many PEAS!!” And yes, sure, I could let it just roll off me like whiskey off a Turkeys back, but that wouldn’t be unreasonable, would it, and it sure as hell wouldn’t be rage or an over reaction, and if I wasn’t so neck swelling enraged there’d be no reason to drink so much Wild Turkey that I don’t even find out ‘til the next day how I stripped to my underwear, climbed atop the table weeping and tried unsuccessfully to have a meaningful interlude with the gravy boat! Thank God I won’t be at the kids table this year. I’d hate for my children to see me like that instead of just hearing desperate screams and the memorable, near symphonic sound of a full Thanksgiving table collapsing.

That’s got to get me up to at least ten things I either am or plan on being thankful for. That’s not even counting pumpkin pie, which I find very soothing the next morning when the sound of chewing anything more solid than Pumpkin pie would be unbearable, as I plan on having a Macy’s-Parade-Giant-Ass-Clifford-the-Big-Red-Dog-Balloon-Sized Wild Turkey hangover.

Turn the sound down kids. Daddy loves the floats, but the marching bands are God’s own punishment on The Damned. Happy Thanksgiving.

AUTHORS NOTE: The idea that I am a raging alcoholic is not autobiographical detail and is used here strictly for comedic purposes, which is not actually that funny if you think about it so please don’t. All that is in my past. But if you are looking for ‘amends’, you are looking in the wrong place.