Jim Gaffigan - Holiday Traditions

The first segment is very timely... not to mention hilarious.
Merry Christmas t.c Readers!


Holiday Eating Tips.

1.   Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Chris tmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Chris tmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips.



Michigan Avenue, all lit up.

It's hard not to like this street of consumerism when it's in its
Holiday best. (I don't mind it anyways)

Chicago Bagel Authority.

This is the place I go to right from the airport/L. Great sandwiches,
so many to choose from, heated with steam. Try it, on Armitage.

Beat this!

If you can or dare!


Wondrous Punch, Red Dragon; Minneapolis, MN

So, you may have heard about this place in Uptown that has pools of pink vomit outside of it nearly every weekend. Or maybe you din't know quite where you lost it last night and can't figure out how you got home (or not home).

This place and drink is the culprit. If you scroll really really fast, it'll look like a flip-book. (and you may want to puke again).

> this is the drink that causes all the trouble, aptly named 'Wondorous Punch'. At $10.25, you may think you're being ripped off, but after seeing what goes into it, you may want the price to go up (so you don't buy any).

> it starts off innocently enough, a big, handsome, glass of ice - easy peasy

> then the bartender (who looks like he could be an MMA fighter) starts off with the "light rum". now I know the pics look like I took them in a poorly lit bar, which is good b/c i did, but he's got TWO bottles of light rum. Shots one and two

> then add the "dark rums". yes, Mary, he's adding two more shots of rum. that's shots three and four, still in just one glass per person. and you maybe thinking, "I'll want to drink that?". yes, you will... at least for the first couple

> finally, some common sense into the drinks (I mean, I can't drink four shots of rum, can I?): a splash of OJ and a splash of, what appeared to be, grenadine. it gives the drink a nice camoflaugue, this-isn't-four-shots-of-rum look

> pretty little maids, all in a row (movie quote reference, anyone?)

> he's giving out the last two. 5 more people will be under the spell of wondrous punch soon enough
To be fair, I did have one whole drink. It nearly killed me and the next day I was not fully functional until 3PM. They sneak up on you. Finally, don't forget to have dinner there first... mmmm, Polynesian food! (no, not really)


First Real Snow.

What to do with the first real snow storm of the season - How 'bout a
run?The snow slowed the pace down and the hands still got cold, but it
was fun to be out in the white stuff (esp after driving home in it).
Oh, minus 3 tomorrow night - sweet.


Chicago in the morning, a pictoral.

What does one do in the city when given a 60 degree day in November? How about some quick, sunlight, pics along the riverfront. Check it out:

> the venerable Wrigley Building, sitting so nicely in the sun

> wouldn't you love to have the office where the sun beats in everyday around 10AM?

> interesting to see the old and new right next to each other - Wrigley and Trump

> look down the river and just drink it in

> name the building? (or be banned from the t.c. blog)

> should the Chicago Flag be my first tattoo?


Brrrrrrr!!! Run?

Even these temps couldn't make my legs beat my best run time. I blame it on my cold hands, very distracting. And it looks like I better get used to it... winter's here.


Lululemon, Wicker Park, Chicago.

If you have a little bit of time, happen to like yoga, athletics, or simply well-merchadised retail shops, do yourself a favor and check out Lululemon in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. I don't believe you will be disappointed (plus, you can combine a weekend shopping & deliciously sugary brunch trip and really make a stop here worth your while).

What makes it so unique? Well, see for yourself...

> as you walk in you are greeted by a local info board, including Bike Info - Javisst!!!

> they also make use of their local "athletes", asking them to wear (and I suspect, promote) Lululemon to their clients. This isn't a new idea, but this time it seems well done - the athletes all look buff and well-outfitted

> right next to the info is the yoga accessories and a small sitting area (they hold classes in most stores everyday/weekend. they place all product on shelving with wheels and move it all out of the way so people can get their yoga on

> now now, it's briefs and tops, not what I would wear... but this is a great example of how well-done and inviting their displays are - chalkboard names, great colors, and organized

> a view from the back-to-front

> "would you like to sit down while your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/etc tries on some clothes? (for a few hours)" - please, take a load off. this is basically nicer (ok, waaay nicer) than my living room


Silk Soy, Seasonal.

These are only around for the holidays and I wanted to try them - quite tasty. I prefer the spiciness of the Pumpkin Spice, but both have great holiday flavor with a bit lighter, easier to drink mouth feel than traditional egg nog (like with whole milk). I don't think you'll be disappointed and you won't be ingesting any cow's milk or eggs. I have not mixed rum or whiskey in yet, but let me know if you do. Also note, they both have a good amount of cane sugar, so the calories can sneak up on you.


New Bike, Civia Hyland!

I wanted to introduce a new member of my family, a sage green, 54cm, Civia Hyland with SRAM Rival drop-bar build. It's been a great bike so far (slick looks, light weight, solid as the day is long), I only hope I can ride it enough to do it justice.

> this is my own pic from my apartment, with the bike as built (right now)

> and this is the bike from the Civia website, all pro-photo and shit

If you're thinking of a new bike and want more info about Civia, please ask.


Quiz Day, #1.

Where and what is this a sign for?
Prize of my choosing to the first right answer or even kinda close.
Think hard, think long, and Google it if you're a wuss (no, I don't know what results will come up).


Da Bears.

Not a bad way to ever spend an evening, but always better when the
Bears are playing well. This night they were not, Eagles win.


Very Best Chocolate Cake.

It only took 700 miles of driving through 3 states to find the Very
Best Chocolate Cake, 15 minutes from my parent's house. Please google
and visit your local J. Alexander's, you won't go hungry or be


Ruminate, a pictoral.

Vending machines have changed.

A vending machine in Madison, located near a bike path and who's
original purpose was to serve cyclists (think spare tubes and energy
bars), has now 'broadened' its product selection. I'm not sure how
this was chosen, but it really came out of a vending machine, just as
you see it here.


Results, Poll #60, Bicycle as Transportation.

So, it's about time I wrapped up this little gem. Here's how the t.c readers voted for using bicycles as transportation:

> 3 (16%) people chose 'this week' - wow. kudos to you. what kind of bike do you ride? are you thinking of a new bike soon?
> 3 (16%) people chose 'this month' - that's really saying something. what incentive/conditions would get you to do it more? better weather? better fitness? better bike? what about the bike above?
> 3 (16%) people chose 'this year' - not too bad, but not great. what if you replaced all trips from your house up to 2 miles with a bike (or walking)? how many would that be? would you save alot of gas and money? would you get rid of some extra weight over the course of a year? would the opposite sex find you even hotter?
> 7 (38%) people chose 'this century' - well, at least you have done it once, presumably.
> 2 (11%) people chose 'i don't know how to ride a bike' - this hurts my heart. do you want to learn? let me know, maybe i can help somehow.

Thanks for voting and waiting for results. New poll up now, I encourage everyone to help me out with this new one. Someone must have some idea(s).

Good to be home.

A beachfront shot in Evanston. Boy, were the winds and waves whipping it up. I miss it.


Where's God now?

As many of you know, I was raised Catholic and these days only seem to
be a C&E Catholic.
Well, a friend forwarded an interesting article written by Ben Stein,
of Visine fame.
I thought some of the t.c readership may find points of interest, but
don't take my word for it.
And no, I don't know where God is now - do you?

Remarks from CBS Sunday Morning - Ben Stein
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS
Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it
does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful
lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I
don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I
don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a
ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers
and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me
at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection
near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a crèche, it's just as
fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think
Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think
people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around,
period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an
explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I
don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that
we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as
we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities
came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is
a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny,
it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane
Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this
happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely
profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply
saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God
to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out
of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly
backed out How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His
protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.
I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her
body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our
schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the
Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not
steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they
misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we
might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We
said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why
they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to
kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it
out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the
world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say,
but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes'
through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start
sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through
cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school
and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many
on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or
what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us
than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you
discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what
bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein


Hotel Indigo, Chicago.

Not exactly my kind of decor, but a welcome sight upon entry for this
'boutique' hotel in Chicago's Gold Coast.

There have been some small issues, but right now (before sleeping the
night), I'd try it again based on location and service.


Now that's our niece!!!

Seriously, this is worth the jump.
Goto: http://laughandtears.blogspot.com/2009/10/serious-player.html


Someone lost their job.

If you can't spell this right at one of the city's large public
library locations, that's a problem.


Muddy Waters Coffee Canteen; Minneapolis.

So, for those of you yet to visit me (which is all of you in IL, ahem) - there are more than three unique coffee shops within a half-mile radius of my apartment. I've discussed a couple of them previously, but today I visited the 2nd nearest to my place (it's easier to see on a map... but I didn't link one). It's cleverly titled, Muddy Waters (ok, I linked it), which serves not only as a pun on coffee, but also references the large river on the eastern border of the state. I pass this joint everyday but had never ventured in.

Compared to the two other popular spots for this author, this one seems right in the middle. They have an eclectic, yet not dirty vibe, including board games and a old-school tabletop video game. They serve all the fun coffee drinks, and also seem to have a decent food menu (which always helps). Wireless is free, but you need the passcode (it's always fun to have an element of secrecy, at any store/eatery/establishment).

Here's the hot chocolate they did up for me (food styling by yours truly):

And this really cinched it for me as being the closest go-to coffee place, smarmy suggestions:

I actually did tip too.



The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.
- David M. Ogilvy


No Way, #2.

Did you ever think that your cat was unhappy? Did you ever think that your cat was unhappy because of what you fed it? And finally, did you ever think your cat was unhappy because you did not feed it an appetizer before dinner? Seriously!?!?!

I don't think it's a surprise to many of you that I'm not terribly fond of cats. It seems like the only pet that could care less that you're around. Sure, some are nice and some are cool, but they're still cats. Give me a unconditionally loving dog any day.

And now we have people buying their cats appetizers. Isn't it bad enough that you buy your cat fancy food, litter, scratching items, toys, and birthday cards (don't lie, you do). But now, even though many Americans and people around the world starve, your cat can have Wild Alaskan Salmon appetizers. And I know what you're thinking - "Nice, mk, but my cat doesn't like salmon - so there!" Well, bully for you because there's actually eight (EIGHT!) flavors to choose from... even the most choosy cat can have their favorite app.



No Way, #1.

Have you ever been stuck for a night at a far-away Holiday Inn Express, with no way to go get food and no cash to use a vending machine? Well, you're now in luck. What you see below is a pizza vending machine. And yes, Margaret, it does take credit/debit. Not only that, but once you order your pizza, you can sit and watch it "cook". Uhhh, entertainment too - what else!?! I'll tell you what else. Just in case vended pizza wasn't what you had in mind for dinner, you can also choose other ready-to-heat items, like chicken strips - yum!




One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork.
- Edward Abbey


Crazy Man?

from HelloTxt
Hard to tell from the pic, but if you add in his singing of a terribly off key "...feel like makin' love...", it's a no-brainer. See the MP3 player in his hand?


This is a test.

This is a test. I've just signed up at hellotxt.com for an interesting service that allows you to link accounts and send updates to all linked accounts at the same time. It could be easier than updating blog, facebook, and twitter on their own. This is only a test.


Milwaukee Art Museum, Andy Warhol.

They colored the fountain water outside the museum pink, how Andy-esque, right?

I went "home" a couple weeks back and stopped in MKE for a night or two. During one of the days, I swung over to one of Lake Michigan's prettiest buildings and took in the
Andy Warhol Exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It was a feast for the eyes, and at only $12, pretty decent on the wallet too. Check it out.

Note: Only one pic is from the special Warhol exhibit as photographs aren't allowed in this kind of showing. I found out as I was taking my first shot... whoops. The other shots are from the permanent modern art collection at the museum.
Did you think I was lying about one of the prettiest buildings on the Lake? For shame.

Do you see the man in blue?

Finally! i'm halfway into this post and this is the first thing that looks like a Warhol!

Oh sure, the Campbell's soup can guy - now I remember!

This was done during his most prolific time, but is not known by many - and is the one I got in trouble for taking a photo.

How'd that get in there!?!


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