Cluckquackgobble

I was discussing the mythological turducken beast with a coworker, and we decided there is no reason to stop with a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey. I would then stuff that turkey in a pig, stuff that in a sheep, and stuff that in a cow. You could feed a small town with just one of those bad boys. And if you wanted to get really crazy, you’d stuff the cow in an elephant and the elephant in a whale. Then you could have the biggest Thanksgiving dinner ever.

I have never had a turducken, so I did a Google image search. It looks kind of gross, but I bet it tastes divine.

And here’s a little excerpt from the Wikipedia article on the subject: “The largest recorded nested bird roast is 17 birds, attributed to a royal feast in France in the early 19th century—a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an Ortolan Bunting and a Garden Warbler.”


By the way, I'll be heading down to southern Utah tomorrow for the weekend, so if there's a dearth of posts for a few days, do not despair (although I admit I'd find it extremely flattering if you despaired just a little).

Things You May Not Know about Me

I have never worked in fast food or had any job involving serving food.

My favorite brand of pens is Pilot.

I am not double-jointed.

I firmly believe that nobody is ever as busy as they claim to be (especially, back in my single days, all those girls…)

Last night I dreamed that my eyeball was “deflating.”

When I was a kid, I injured myself so often that my parents had to take me to different emergency rooms so nobody would suspect them of beating me.

The first book I remember owning was Clues in the Woods by Peggy Parish.

I can make sweet pickles out of watermelon rinds.

I secretly want to give my kids Greek names like Apollo and Prometheus.

I actually did once see an unidentified flying object.

Friday Confessional

Those who are around me very much know that I’m always complaining about not having any money. I guess this is because there I feel a lot of pressure as the sole provider for the family, which is a good thing because it helps me avoid ridiculously unnecessary purchases (to a point). But it seems like everyone I know is getting free week-long vacations from rich relatives, or all kinds of goodies from work, or some other grass-is-always-greener kind of thing.

But, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been the recipient of some pretty crazy generosity over the past few years, so I really need to be careful about complaining. Here are some examples of me being treated far better than I deserve:

Free trip to Hawaii

Free laptop (I had to perform a minor repair on it, but still...)

(Mostly) free trip to Disneyland

Free baby delivery (courtesy of Medicaid, since I was a poor student at the time)

Free Wii

Various sums of money from parents and in-laws to help out when we needed it


I intended this post as a catharsis, but I think I feel more guilty as a result of seeing it in writing.

Disney and Parenthood

I found a list of Disney animated feature films and narrowed it down to those with a human child as the main character. There are 18 such films between 1937’s Snow White and 1999’s Tarzan. So, if each of those main characters had two parents, that would make 36 parents total. If you count the number of (biological) parents actually known to the audience to exist (and survive the film), the number is 9. The only characters with both parents alive are Aurora from Sleeping Beauty (though she isn’t even raised by them, and I’m not sure if they’re both alive by the end of the film), and Mulan. Seven of the characters are orphans from the beginning of the film.

This was just another one of those things that I had always meant to look up but took forever to get around to. (BTW, Walt Disney's parents survived into his adulthood.)

California Adventure

Last weekend we went to Disneyland with some good friends. We thought it would be a good idea to break up the drive, so on Thursday night we drove down to my in-laws’ in southern Utah. Then we finished the drive to California on Friday.

When we got to the park Saturday morning, we immediately noticed the smell of smoke from the wildfires, and all day we had to deal with ash raining down on us. I even got some in my mouth at one point (which still tasted better than the $8 chicken sandwich I had for lunch). It was weird to see this massive smoke blanket come across the sky throughout the day. (Naturally, I forgot my camera, but I borrowed a friend's and at least got a couple pics.)

Here it comes...








Here’s a little something to remember in case you ever find yourself at Disneyland with a young child: Do not under any circumstances take him on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It seems like a nice, friendly little romp, but for some reason the Disney “imagineers” decided to add a Hell section to the ride, just in case any little kids weren’t sufficiently frightened by the rest of it.

Anyway, it was great to have a small group, so we could split up and do different things depending on who wanted to do what. We hit all the rides we really cared about, including the ones at California Adventure (the Tower of Terror and California Screamin’ were incredible).

We ate dinner at Naples Restaurant in Downtown Disney. You know that scene in What about Bob? Where they’re eating dinner and Bob can’t stop moaning because he’s enjoying the food so much? It was just like that, so if you’re willing to shell out the cash (it’s pretty pricey) it’s unbelievably good, especially compared with the cardboard we ate for lunch inside the park. And our server was a very nice man who was born in Communist Romania and had emigrated here a few years ago. His story was amazing.

Sam was having a hard time in the restaurant until a kid just walked up to him and gave him a balloon animal. It seemed the world was just full of nice people that day.







That's Sam sitting by me. Can't you tell?








We stayed in the park until it closed at midnight, and I was ready to call the Guiness folks, because I thought we had actually managed to tire a three-year-old. He nearly fell asleep on the way back to the hotel, but then he perked up again for three more hours. So cancel that record, I guess.


He did manage a nap, though.











The next morning we were to leave and drive back to southern Utah, but the wildfires had closed one of the freeways we had come in on. But a little help from my wife’s brother, who lived in Orange County for several years, enabled us to escape the fires and a lot of the traffic. We spent Sunday night at the in-laws’ again, and were on our way early Monday afternoon.

So, for our first “real” family vacation, it was a tremendous success, due in large part to generous financial support from a friend who may or may not wish to remain anonymous, my wife’s parents for free room and board, and my brother-in-law for his knowledge of California’s less-than-user-friendly freeway system.

Today's Pointless Anecdote

One day when I was in Korea, we were sitting in a little restaurant eating lunch when one of the girls working there came up to me and asked me for some help. There was a white guy sitting at another table, and they were having trouble communicating with him So they wanted me to translate what they wanted into English for him. My companion at the time was a Korean, making me the only other white (which they equated with “American”) guy available.

So I went and sat down by him and started jabbering away about what they wanted. He looked at me blankly. It turns out he was from Spain. Eventually, using two of the three Spanish words I knew, I got the point across to him, but it has always been a good lesson about preconceived notions.

A Free Market Is the Mother of Invention

Warning: This post contains quasi-political material, and may be considered inappropriate for those with the attention span of a 13-year-old.

I have been worried for some time that our country is becoming more socialist (I’m not going to blame a particular party, though, because both sides have contributed to the problem). It’s pretty obvious that people are expecting more and more intervention from the government in their everyday lives (and yes, I did spend my $900 stimulus check). At this point we could depart for a tangential discussion of welfare-statism and the downfall of Rome, but I’d rather talk about human nature in general.

People are lazy. I know this because I’m a person and, being lazy, I assume most other people are lazy too. Ha. But seriously, I believe the main reason people work hard is to get rich. All those backyard inventors have a dream that someday they’ll perfect the self-microwaving dinner and become an instant millionaire. Now, a socialist government tends to take away that guy’s millions and spread it around, which sounds nice if you’re spending your days sitting in a hammock instead of working. Such a government is always concerned about equality of result rather than equality of opportunity. For example, I saw a news article a few months ago about people in France who simply didn’t want to work and demanded that the government provide housing for them. (Just for the record, I’m not suggesting that we do away with all forms of financial aid; I’m just saying we need to be careful about it.)

Now, how does this relate to the list we’ve been working on? My theory is that these advances which make our lives so much better (remember that I’m speaking of technological rather than social advances here, since some people will be miserable no matter what) tend to occur in economic climates where there is a great deal of freedom. Let’s see if our list supports my theory.

Lasers (without which we wouldn’t have CD players, supermarket scanners, or a lot of medical technology): Developed in 1960, in the U.S.

Transistors (making possible radios, microprocessors, and other electronic devices): 1948, U.S.

Photocopier: 1960-ish, U.S.

Microprocessor (I hope I don’t need to explain this one): 1968, U.S.

DVR (i.e., TiVo): 1999, U.S.

GPS technology: 1960 U.S.

Mobile phones: the initial patents were given in 1908, 1947, and 1978, in the U.S. the first cellular network was established in Japan in 1979.

Microwave oven: 1945, U.S.

(I couldn’t find specific enough information on the advent of automatic flushing toilets or databases.)

Now, GPS technology was developed by the Navy rather than the efforts of individual inventors and entrepreneurs, but the list as a whole is very heavily skewed toward the U.S., which has allowed its citizens a great deal of economic freedom throughout most of its history. I believe that this pattern will hold true regardless of the time we examine—whenever a nation with a free market has existed, more great achievements will come from that nation than any other.

What I was really wondering was if anyone could come up with great advances by individuals in a socialist country. I can’t really come up with any, but they may be out there.

The whole point of this is that we might like it when the government does everything for us (free health care, anyone?), but it’s ultimately better to let people compete and work hard on an individual basis to make our lives better.

Congratulations to anyone who has actually made it through this post. I’ll try to make sure I don’t talk about anything else boring for a while.

Sock It to Me

I never used to be comfortable without socks on. I couldn't even sleep without socks. Over the past couple of years that has changed and now I can't sleep with socks on. It's funny how things like that change over time.

BTW, I need more answers to yesterday's post.

Are You Asking for a Challenge?

As part of a line of thought I’ve been entertaining lately, I have a request. I want to put together a list of the greatest advancements in technology (or anything that has really improved the quality of life for humanity as a whole) in the last 50 years or so.

The Sweetest Thing

Ice cream, cake, or pie, and why?

Reset

Why is it that I can have an idea for a blog post that seems totally brilliant, and then the next day it seems like the dumbest thing ever? What is it about our brains that allows us to look at an idea the next day and wonder what in the world we were thinking? There must be some sort of reset button triggered by falling asleep.

We Interrupt This Blog Post

So I was going to write some post regarding my feelings about the election, but I promised myself I wouldn’t. Instead, here’s a haiku about ginger ale.

Bubbling soda sweet

Honey, puréed ginger root

Nectar of the gods

Why Did None of Us Ever Have This Conversation with Our Parents?

“Son, sit down. We need to have a talk.”

“Gee, dad, I’m pretty busy right now. Could we talk later?”

“It’s important. Put down the video game paddle.”

“Fine, dad. What is it?”

“You’re becoming a man, now, so it’s time we talk about the—”

“Geez, dad. I’m almost 18. We had that talk like 6 years ago. Remember the puppets?”

“No, son, this is more important. We need to talk about the elephants and the donkeys.”

“…”

Seriously, why don’t parents ever sit down with their kids and talk to them about politics? Most of us grow up with only a vague idea of which political party, if any, our parents belong to. But wouldn’t it be nice to sit down and tell your kids why you believe the way you do? If parents cared even a little bit about their children’s political education, maybe we wouldn’t have to rely on news-channel pundits to spoon-feed us all our political information. Just a thought.

Good, Better

Good:








Halloween temp tattoos


Better:














Glow-in-the-dark Halloween temp tattoos!

Sam's Halloween Costume















Well, he did wear shoes when we went trick-or-treating...