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Showing posts from November, 2013

Servo on the Shelf

You know this plucky fellow right? Of course you do! He's your old buddy Tom Servo from that little slice of genius known to one and all as Mystery Science Theater 3000! In recent years one of the most popular trends for young American children around Christmastime has been Elf on the Shelf. Which is an uber creepy doll that "comes to life at night and repots on your behavior to Santa." I suppose it's all well a good, but next thing you know little Timmy is wearing a tin foil hat and trying to fight off the Kaiser.

That's why this year, I choose to begin a new and wonderful tradition! I don't want a creepy elf doll watching over me at night. Oh, sure, it's cute at first, but then just as you're about to open your gifts it turns into "My name is Talking Tina, and I don't like you." That's why I'm proud to announce to one and all a snappy replacement for Elf on the Shelf. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, say hello to Servo on…

Ken Burns' Black Friday

Support for “Batteries Not Included” comes from The Andrew W. Ross Foundation for Chickens That Don't Understand the Music of Paul McCarney, The American Board for the Furtherance of the American Board Tomorrow Today, The Flood Cleaning Frog Team Fund, and Readers Like You. Thank you.
Many people don't know how big an impact the yearly tradition of Black Friday shopping made on the American family in the early 2000s. Houses were divided against each other on which store to go to. Backwater Walmarts all over the south broke out in civil shopping wars, and untold millions was caused in damage. Postal workers developed gangrene after being trapped under mounds of packages for months and months. Recently, a letter from a husband to his wife, written from inside a big box department store, was discovered. We hope in presenting it that it sheds light on what it was like to shop on Black Friday.
My Dearest Delilah,
I don't know when I shall see you again my love. This store …

What I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving is this week (don't panic!). Since we tend to get a little too caught up in the idea of Thanksgiving being all about the food—I'm just as bad as anyone about this—I've decided that I wanted to a column that's a little different from what I usually do in these pages. Thanksgiving is really all about taking a moment and remembering what you're thankful for. The modern world is crazy, and the more we spend invested in our phones than our interactions with each other, it's easy to forget the aspects of life that are really important. So if you'll indulge me, this week's column is going to be a list of what I'm thankful for. If you don't want to read it, that's fine. My usual fare will be here next week, but this is just something that I wanted to do.
I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for their support, and their love, and their care towards me. I'm thankful that I'm around to help take care of them in ret…

How to Survive Thanksgiving

OK, I’m gonna tell you exactly how you’re gonna survive cooking a large meal, and feeding it to more members of your family than you’re used to dealing with at the same time. I’m not going to tell you how to cook the meal, you can google Alton Brown for that. The stress factor on Thanksgiving can be high, and mostly it doesn’t come from preparing the meal, so much as that one uncle that wants to do nothing about talk about politics and Jesus. It's that you really have to worry about. Fear not! We're gonna get through this, it's gonna be alright.

First off, focus on cooking the meal. Why? Because that will give you a legitimate reason to not talk to family members. Welcome them, greet them kindly, then say “Sorry, I've got to get back to the kitchen”. Granted, some family will want to linger in the kitchen and try to talk to you/sneak a bite of something. If someone wanders in, put a spoon in their hand, and make them do something. At some point your Uncle Bill will show…

All The Things!!!

We're entering into that time of the year known affectionately to one and all as “The Holidays”. What this means, besides an overwhelming sense of anxiety about the state of your bank account, is that a large number of people who are related to you will be showing up at your doorstep. Basically from now until the end of the year, you're going to be on high alert to keep your abode as spotless as possible. Borderline obsessiveness kicks in as you roam from room to room, examining everything to make sure not a spec of dust is within sight.
Knowing that company would be coming at some point, I began my focus on the guest bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom is carpeted, and I began by vacuuming up every square inch of the carpet, then I deloused it. I mopped, sprayed, and sanitized the bathroom, then I did the same for the bedroom. The last task was to seal both rooms, I had no intention of letting anyone in those rooms that weren't planning on staying over for an extended…

Free to Gloat

If you've been in a retail store anytime from the middle of October to now, you've noticed something. There was an alarmingly early display of Christmas items. I took my mother to the grocery the other day, and in the dairy section I noticed that there was already Egg Nog on sale. Out loud, I said “Egg Nog? But it's not even Halloween!” My mother laughed, she laughed a laugh of glee and delight and said “Oh, how I love it.” She's referring to the fact that for years, when she would complain about the sight of Christmas in stores before Thanksgiving, I would call her out on it. She took great delight in gloating over how I was now doing the same thing.
Matter of fact, if one digs through the archives of my column, and goes back a good six or seven years, I actually WROTE about my mother's complaints of “It's not even Thanksgiving”. Since things are coming full circle with my entering into the stage of “It's not even Thanksgiving”, I'd figure I'd ma…