Cranks, stanks ‘n’ thanks

Shut up, kid.

Shut up, kid.

Editor’s note: This was intended to be the kickoff to a podcast, but I couldn’t quite corral the folks I had hoped to rope in as contributors. So instead it’s just words in a row, in the usual fashion.

Thanksgiving, man.

The holiday is practically synonymous with “turkey,” and man, did we ever have a big one come home to roost this year. Orange. Noisy. Indigestible.

He looks more like a turkey buzzard, when you get right down to it. Your turkey buzzard sings no songs; when it speaks, it does so in grunts and hisses. It roosts on lifeless trees, and will shit on itself to stay cool when things get too hot for it.

And if you fuck with it, it will puke on you. Generally around three in the morning, on Twitter.

Still, hail to the Chief, right? Right.

Thanksgiving, man. Definitely a holiday with its ups and downs.

In my misspent youth Turkey Day around the O’Grady table was often an exercise in intoxicant management and impulse control, which can be rough on the digestion. Also, the crockery. Once I left home and took up the news biz I generally worked holidays, having no family of my own to preside over with a scepter of vodka and crown of thorns. It’s a lot more fun to argue with people when you’re getting paid and can eat whatever you want for lunch, especially if it’s whiskey.

Once I was married and the parents were gone, the daily news biz receding in the rear-view mirror as I detoured into the cycling press, holiday mealtimes mellowed considerably. Herself and I spent Thanksgivings with friends and neighbors, or my sister and her husband, since Herself’s kin were a ways off in Texas, Tennessee and Maryland. Lacking a sparring partner, I indulged my contrarian streak by cooking non-standard meals — Chinese, Mexican, Italian, whatever. “Home for the Holidays,” “Alice’s Restaurant” and (if we were driving to my sister’s place in Fort Fun, for some reason, “Sam Kinison: Live From Hell”) replaced the turkey in our family tradition.

Thanksgiving, man.

Herself the Elder joined us for our first Thanksgiving here at El Rancho Pendejo, but I can’t remember what I cooked. Last year, with just the two of us, it was chicken cacciatore, Emeril-style, with a side of Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash with edamame.

And this year? Braised turkey thighs with roasted spuds and steamed asparagus. It’s just the two of us again — sis and bro-in-law had hoped to come down, but work intervened, and Herself the Elder is in Florida inspecting another daughter’s new quarters. Thus, something easy, for a simple mind in complex times.

One thing that won’t be on the menu: Arugula. Twice now I’ve come home from the Whole Paycheck with bad batches and I’m kind of over cracking the lid on its plastic coffin and getting a $4 snootful of stank. Who knows what’s going on there? The arugula dude probably left his 18-wheeler parked in the sun while he was doing the nasty with a lot lizard in the sleeper, but who am I to judge a man by how he spends his lunch hour? I like to spend mine eating lunch, but it’s not for everyone, especially if you’ve been taking those little white pills and your eyes are open wide.

Thanksgiving, man.

I’m lucky I made it to the grocery at all last week. I put it off until Friday afternoon, which is amateur hour — all real pros shop on Tuesday or Wednesday — and I nearly didn’t get there on Friday because it took three or four tries and about two hours to send a two-minute video review to the Adventurous Cyclists in Missoula, almost certainly because the Duke City remains mired to the driveshaft in the Adobe Age and uploading video via our internet hookup is the equivalent of tossing a thumb drive into the arroyo behind the house and hoping the wind blows it to Montana.

So I’m sitting here watching the progress bar mostly not move and thinking Jesus, the Merrick Garland nomination is moving faster than this file. Hell, the entire federal government is showing more speed, if only in reverse, motoring back to the Articles of Confederation or maybe King George III, if George wore an even cheesier wig and was the shade of an overcooked yam.

I stopped the upload and restarted it, then stopped it again and restarted it again, and finally unplugged the modem and stomped around the house, which still smelled faintly of rotten arugula. Then I plugged it back in and hey presto! The file finally transferred and off to the Whole Paycheck I went.

So I’m thankful for that.

And I remembered not to get any arugula this time, for which I am also thankful.

What are you thankful for?

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35 Responses to “Cranks, stanks ‘n’ thanks”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Thanksgiving meal? “I don’t want a pickle. Just want to ride on my bicycle.”

    We wish you and Herself a mellow and enjoyable day. Let you know how our vegetarian meal goes.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Well, I took the Right Arm Torture Device off and drove the ’97 Tacoma for the first time in months (stick shift doesn’t work too well when one’s right arm is immobilized). The homemade mock turkey just went into the oven and I start on the garbanzo gravy in a few minutes. I plan on trying to eat with my right hand, too. Don’t watch. Tomorrow is the end of 8 weeks and that was the official time when the Torture Device comes off. I decided to say fuck it and go a day early. Sore and stiff, but its nice to see that sling hanging on a chair rather than on my arm.

    Happy happy to all.

  3. Sharon Says:

    Thankful I have so many wonderful friends and cycling pals. Thankful I have so much great music available to drown out the sad noise out there. Thankful I am free to travel and experience wonderful adventures. Wishing that others of all walks of life will have the same opportunities available to them as they start and continue their own journey.

  4. JD Dallager Says:

    I’m thankful for Family, friends, the Big Bang ….. And for PO’G’s creativity, curmudgeonship, cynicism, and cycling craftiness ….. And for bad alliteration!!!

  5. larry brown Says:

    Do the native humans celebrate the take over their land.

  6. veloben Says:

    The dog. The Lab goes everywhere and eats anything. Perfect companion.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yesterday was Lab Day around here. I was headed out for a ride when I stopped to chat with an acquaintance who was airing out his dogs in a nearby park (one was a Lab) and then met up with another Lab-walker while surfing the trails in Piedra Lisa.

      Earlier, I had been editing a story by my friend Hal and there was a Lab in there too. Weird.

  7. Libby Says:

    Family, friends, pets and of course, your blog. The insight, the funny, the edumacation, the illumination, the music, the recipes, the bikes and the pets. Your phrase, “I will never be smart.”, kept me sane during a series of contretemps this past week.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Kept you sane? Usually I have the opposite effect on people.

      I had a couple of those moments this week myself. Coming to terms with the notion that I will never be smart is a never-ending process, the gift that keeps on giving.

      It must be something like battling addiction. Now and then I’m tempted to think otherwise and then I remember: One day at a time, pal. “Hi, I’m Patrick, and I will never be smart.”

  8. Herb Clevenger Says:

    Strange as it sounds I’m thankful that racism, apathy and bigotry are now out in the open where all can see what I’ve smelled for years. Now at the very least we all know where our “friends” and neighbors stand. As a result we won’t be fooled again. Adolph Trump has awakened in me a long lost anger against tyranny. And I’m not alone that’s for sure. So in a perverse way, raise a glass to The Mouth That Roared since he alone has done more to galvanize we left leaning citizens of the Republic than anyone in history.

  9. Mike Frye Says:

    I will confess , I placed that envelope underneath that mound of garbage.

  10. debby511 Says:

    I’m thankful that the paychecks are still rolling in. Last year at this time it looked like the government contract that keeps my employer in business was going to get awarded to a competing company, in a no-bid sweetheart back room deal. I did some interviews for a new gig but discovered there is little demand for 59 year old software developers.

    But my employer lawyered up and got our local congresscritter involved. After months of work, the contract officer at the government agency suddenly announced his retirement, the contract got reposted, and we won the new contract. So it appears those paychecks will keep flowing into my bank account for a while.

    Sitting in a windowless cubicle staring at a computer screen isn’t tops on my list of fun things to do, but it does pay the bills. And having a roof over my head sure beats sleeping under a bridge. So I’m thankful for that.

    Happy Holidays.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Good news indeed, Debby. Those bridges are drafty and the roommates often of questionable character.

      Herself and her eldest sis also work for contractors employed by Uncle Sammy, and the bridges down here aren’t any better than they are up north, though the weather is better.

      Now and then I think about what it would be like trying to find work as a 62-year-old alleged journalist. I keep seeing Rod Serling as the head of HR. It ain’t pretty.

  11. larry brown Says:

    Are we in Westworld?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We haven’t watched that yet, Larry. Is it any good?

      Last night we replayed that holiday fave “Home for the Holidays,” when Robert Downey Jr. was still a dope fiend and “Iron Man” was a long ways off.

      You can see the shit working on him in a couple of scenes. Makes me glad nobody was filming me at work in the Eighties.

  12. Carl Duellman Says:

    My cousin is in town for a wedding. she couldn’t fit her bike in the car so i borrowed one from the bike shop. i’m thankful for mark, the shop owner, for hooking us up with a townie for the last few days. my cousin is a bit on the obese side but she’s been working at it for a year or so trying to ride to the gym. i’m thankful she’s trying to get healthy now that she’s nearing 50. we rode the local rails to trails, about 25 miles round trip on wednesday afternoon we did a route on the beach yesterday and again today. i’m thankful that when she starts talking about how great things are going to be under trump i can slowly increase the pace so either she can’t breath and talk or just gets dropped until she changes the subject. thankful for getting invited up to a friend’s farm for a nice thanksgiving meal with his family and no talk of politics. met a guy who is a big jim harrison fan and is also into fly fishing. i’m thankful for my friend andrew that made us a disk of leonard cohen, mose allison and that other guy that died whose name escapes me. mose allison was a pleasant surprise. i liked the leonard cohen a lot especially some of the stuff i had never heard. the other guy that died was a big disappointment musically but still thankful for getting to hear some of his stuff. thankful there are still two more days of holiday. merry thanksgiving!

  13. Dale Says:

    Went to my grand niece’s place for dinner on Thanksgiving. The only vegan in the joint was our son, and we were the only 3 that didn’t vote for Trump (unless someone is a closet lefty). Turkey, ham, oysters, stuffing, kale, green beans, hummas, lentil stew. baked apples, blueberry & apple pies, and stuff I never had room for after all that. Everyone played nice, and there was no talk of politics.

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