The Alternative Turkey Hotline

turkey-dinnerBack before the Google, when people needed a phone number that they didn’t have, they picked up their landline and dialed 4-1-1.

The formal name for this service was “Directory Assistance”, but everyone called it simply “Information”. Need to call the movie theater to find out what movies are playing, but don’t have the number? Just call Information!

Well, one day, when I was in college, sometime in November 1984, I was hanging out day-drinking with my buddies, we had purchased a frozen turkey the day before, but we were grappling with the fact that not one among us had any idea how to prepare and roast the thing.

In my drunkenness, I joked that we should call Information and ask. After all, it’s called “Information”, not, more narrowly, “Phone Information”. (These things are always funnier when you are intoxicated.)

Anyway, my joke was immediately met with an uproar of approval and insistence, and, before I could protest, the phone was passed to me, 4-1-1 dialed, and I was on the phone with some gal from who knows where.

Much to my surprise, rather than being met with massive annoyance and summarily hung up on, the operator was delighted and humored me, providing me with her family’s recipe from memory, along with cautions about thawing and a warning not to cook the stuffing inside the turkey.

Anyway, I was reminded of this memory when I saw this tweet today:

I didn’t know about the Butterball hotline back in college, but I’m actually glad that I didn’t. I’ll always fondly remember that directory assistance operator’s act of arguably undeserved kindness.

Just as I’ll always fondly remember this scene from The West Wing:

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Self Hate: GOP-Style

Oh Rats!

The photo that some editor chose for this National Geographic piece cracks (pun intended) me up!

Listen rats, you can have my walnuts, but stay the hell away from my liquor, damnit!

Daylight Is Always Better: Climate Change, Racism, Oligarchy, Sexual Harassment/Assault, Guns, Etc.

daylight-thru-windowListen, I’m not totally anti-darkness.

For instance, I used to be an orthodox night owl, and once my age/health and career rendered my nightowlism unsustainable, I learned that I sleep better in a room that is totally dark.

However, set aside those few quirky exceptions, and shifting from this ridiculous introduction to my primary point:

Daylight is Always Better

Scoundrels hide in the dark, they meet with each other and scheme, some are scared of getting caught, others are simply waiting to be emboldened to step out into the light, either by recruiting co-conspirators and building strength by numbers, and/or by some mouthpiece or another who succeeds in dignifying the existence of scoundrels and arguing that they have a right to be heard.

The one thing in common between a variety of contemporary phenomenon — climate change, racism, oligarchy, sexual harassment, gun violence, etc. — is that daylight — in the form of environmentalists, groups like Black Lives Matter and Occupy, brave victims of sexual harassment/assault going public with their stories, gun control advocates, etc. — is shining more consistently and revealingly than it has in a long time, maybe more than ever.

The most immediate result of this daylight is media saturation, which has a profoundly demoralizing impact at first. It’s simply harsh to see horrors everywhere you look.

But, on my better days, when I can muster a modicum of optimism, I can just about reach for and try to embrace the possibility that with more daylight on these issues the more chance there is that a critical mass of concerned human beings will demand and eventually achieve badly needed change.

The villains in these situations range from clueless and passively participating, to truly diabolical.

They won’t give up without a fight, and we have to be prepared for that.


Fuck Nazis: The Latest Installment

GOP: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time