Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Mother Superior—Always ready for The Season...has already got Pandora tuned in to Bing Crosby. Or is it David Crosby? She keeps that silly hat in her purse, at the ready.
—Never ready for The Season. He even looks like a slacker...probably just got out of bed...certainly looks like it. A bedhead if I ever saw one.
Now you ask, Dear Reader, where is this all going. Well, just grab on to your britches and rest easy for a bit.
I did what any right-thinking male (or left, in some cases) in the household would do. I tore into it to see if a fix might be found. Alas, it was not to be. The investigation damage was too extreme to be mitigated. So I did the next best thing. I put .00085898 cents in my pocket and went off to Target to sort out slow cookery for the new Trumpustian Era. (I'm working on adjectives that work well with the adverb"bigly." )
Mother Superior, never a big fan of slow cookery, in fact not a real fan of cookery, period, walked over to the island where I was proudly setting up my new cooker whilst taking a quick glance at the two-page, "quick-start" booklet (the message inside the booklet read "Plug in the cooker").
Having consulted her extensive library she pulls out a book and slides it my way. It was entitled 700 Recipes for Your Slow Cooker..."Here," says she, "have at it." And I'm wondering if the "slow" was directed at the cook....
And so I did. With your patience, I will share my first success with the new cooker:
Line the bottom of your cooker with some fairly large carrots. They double in brass as they become both the cooking rack for your 4.5 pound grain-fed chicken, appropriately rubbed with your favorite seasoning (any combination of those little jars seldom used, and always past expiration date), as well as a very tasty vegetable side, post carving. Don't forget to season the inside of the bird as well. Toss a bit of chopped garlic into that ol' birdie. Put birdie on the carrot rack, cover, set 'er on low, and make sure you've got that "quick-start" advice foremost in your mind. Otherwise, 8.5 hours later, that bird will still be raw and you'll be distressed at having to order in Dominos, that pie where you eat the well-flavored cardboard and toss out the pizza.
Next year I'll give you the sausage stuffing recipe that goes with this birdie. Too many of my cooking tips at any one time might cause serious indigestion.
The older I get, the simpler I long for things to be. Let me illustrate—as a kid interested in college football, largely because Dad was, I was filled with anticipation at the prospect of New Year's Day bowl games. There were several, and they were all played on January 1. I remember the Cotton, Orange, Sugar, and Rose Bowls, and later Fiesta crept in, like a cricket sneaking into the garage in late October. It was regarded as a privilege to be invited to participate in these bowls, and brought pride and honor to the campus. Fast forward to 2016.
A quick look at what's coming up this "bowl season" indicates that there will be 35 bowl games, more or less, between 19 December and 9 January. Looking at the offerings this year I am declaring the seven worst possible invitations your favorite university could receive. They are in no particular order here, but you should cower in shame should your school be playing in one of these; it means that your season has amounted to nothing:
(I'm not pullin' your leg here, folks. You can fact- check this.)
—Tax Slayer Bowl
—NOVA Home Loans Bowl
—Auto Zone Liberty Bowl
—AdvoCare V100 Bowl
—National Funding Holiday Bowl
—Camping World Independence Bowl
—Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Impenetrable aren't they? In all humility I am proposing that next year there be six bowls to compete with the Worst-of-the-Worst aforementioned bowls:
—Build a Border Wall, Quickly, Bowl
—Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Bowl
—I Would Be the Greatest Jobs President That God Ever Created Bowl
—Bannon Let's Manufacture Some News Bowl
—Deportation (Win, 'ya Stay; Lose, 'ya Go) Bowl
—Is There Anybody Else in this Toilet Bowl? Bowl
Oh, and let them all played on New Year's Day, s'il vous plait.
The Year in Photos
Other Important Stuff
This painting, "Sticks and Stones," completed circa 1990 may have been eerily predictive of the Trumpustian Era. Can the locusts be far behind?
The Cedar Rapidians
Graedy O' Muirgheasa took his parents on an all expense paid trip to the National Invention Convention in D.C. this year, as winner of the Iowa contest for his age group. This is "the man" with his working model of a stoplight which changes from red to green when there are no oncoming cars from other directions. The contest finals were held in the U.S. Patent Office.
He was then forced by aliens to have the obligatory White House photo taken—enduring proof of his visit.
The most recent addition to the piano playing Morrisseys in Cedar Rapids would be Courtlyn. Here she is practicing Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. Without any music, of course. Her first recital is upcoming shortly.
Megs is caught working hard on her first recital piece. It all came together this past Saturday just before we all ran off to Cousin Maddy Haas' wedding. Lots of excitement in the lives of old folks. Here Meggie practices crescendos and diminuendos in the middle of the night, her effort saving a mediocre concert by her virtuosity on Bach's Fugue in G minor.
We've downsized purely in the interests of mild-mannered folk who travel the biways, as we are no longer found on highways...and, yes, I too have a helmet. But not canary ;-)
A snippet follows:
"One evening during the spring of my eighth-grade year, a knock came at our front door. I opened it, and to my great surprise, standing there was the Rev. James Dawson, Pastor of St. Catherine Church. While I had spent countless hours kneeling on the hard terrazzo in the sanctuary staring at his back while serving Mass—pre-Vatican II—he had, to my knowledge, never visited our home. I invited him into the living room where he was greeted by our mixed-message furniture and slightly threadbare area carpets, and my parents. I was about to escape whatever was going to take place and headed in the general direction of the kitchen.
'Mick, come back in here,' said Father Dawson. I turned on my heel and returned apprehensively to the living room, taking a seat on the couch.
'Mother Albertine and some of your other teachers and I have determined, after careful consideration, that you have a vocation to the priesthood,' Father Dawson began, 'and we want to support you in whatever way we can,' he continued.
Ad Deum qui latificat juventutem meam. Adjutorium nostrae in nominee Domine rattled about in my head. I was stunned. While I had been serving Mass since the third grade, and had taken great pleasure in participating in the rituals of Holy Mother Church, I was not prepared for this!" (tbc)