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Christmas

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TFB’s 11th Day Of Christmas: Pistols

(from The Firearm Blog)

TFB’s 11th Day Of Christmas: Pistols

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Ah, what more do you need on a long winter’s night than a crackling fire, a warm drink and a pistol that you can use to fight your way back to your rifle. That saying never seems to get old… however, without starting a full-on blizzard of angry comments, a pistol is an adequate defensive weapon in the majority of first-world scenarios. That’s not to say that I would try and dictate how others decide to protect themselves.

A proper pistol outfitted with a weapon light, suppressor, optic and spare magazines is a very capable loadout in trained hands. Besides, they are easier to conceal, carry and deploy in those “oh sh*t” moments that can interrupt everyday life.

But, being the Holiday Season and all, I picked out handguns that I’d like to wake up to under the tree on Christmas morning. Not only because they can be used to defend and protect, but because they are just plain fun to shoot.

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More at this link!

As if you haven’t already spent all your money!

😛

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

To all my friends and family near and far.

And, to all my Jewish friends,

HAPPY HANUKKAH!

And to my ‘other’ friends,

Joyous Solstice (belatedly)

And Best Wishes for a Safe and Healthy return for those in service to this Great Republic!

And to everyone, regardless,

PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN

Let’s hope 2017 is a better year for everyone.

Guffaw

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Christmas Eve at my niece’s last night!

Kitchen Secrets

Well…A kitchen secret.

Okay, for anyone who cooks, not a secret at all!

I don’t cook as often as I used to.  This is because a combination of neuropathic foot pain and the lesser availability of funds for quality ingredients.   In short, standing for any length of time is painful, and I can’t afford the fine ingredients I would like.  Yes, I’m a kitchen snob.

Also, my roommate gets cabin fever and likes to go out – even if it’s for ‘cheap fast food’.  So, there’s that.

I recently posted my standard recipe for Garlic Goldfish.  A staple in my Christmas household for over 30 years.  I used to use Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce™ initially, because many times it was the only brand available.  And certainly the most famous.

But, in recent years, with my income having been cut (going on disability), I felt the need to cheapen the recipe.  After all Worcestershire is Worcestershire, right?

WRONG!

The past few years, I used whatever was on sale, sometimes a ‘name brand’ in condiments, like French’s™, other times Ralph’s Brand (my nom-de-brand for a generic product).

And I found the Goldfish have suffered for it.  They just didn’t taste the same.

SO, after making an initial small batch using French’s this year, I bit-the-bullet and spent the extra .75 and went back to Lea & Perrins™.

What a difference!

Now I can visit my Sister this Christmas Eve with confidence.

Accompanied by quality Goldfish, and my ex-wife (it’s a long story).  🙂

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FTC – neither Lea & Perrins, French’s, Ralph’s Brand or Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers gave me anything!  Go make your own!

 

The Garlic Goldfish Have Returned!

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The Garlic Goldfish (a perennial favorite Christmas snack) have arrived!

Actually, they were assembled by yours truly, in a couple hours standing at the iron skillet, Worcestershire, Blue Bonnet margarine and garlic powder at-the-ready.  Then slow baked until dry and toasty.

(For the uninitiated, this is a snack I’ve made traditionally for years.  Originally, I made standard Chex Mix, with the requisite addition of peanuts, pretzels and the like.  With a tablespoon of this, a dash of that.  I determined two things – people singled out the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers for consumption so the other ingredients were wasted, and screw this tablespoon-dash thing!)

I cover roughly 9/10 of the bottom of the skillet with Worcestershire, add 1/2 a stick of margarine, and sprinkle garlic powder generously.  Then marinate a pan full of crackers until they soak it all up, over medium heat.  Transfer all to a turkey roasting pan and bake @ 300° or so, turning every 10 minutes of so to check for burning, until they are all dry and crispy.  (I use Blue Bonnet because it’s cheap and takes the high heat.)

I used to make these in massive quantities for Christmas when I was employed and bring them into work.  It became such a tradition that folks would start asking me in September if I was bringing in goldfish that year!
🙂

Consumer Warning – they are QUITE addictive and go great with beer!  People consuming these snacks needn’t be concerned they will be molested by vampires, or members of the opposite sex. (Unless they, too, have partaken of the garlicky treats!)

FTC – neither Blue Bonnet, French’s Worcestershire, Pepperidge Farm Crackers or anyone else gave me anything!  I bought and assembled it all myself.  Go make your own – and Merry Christmas!

‘Tis The Season!

And, we’ve not guffawed in a while…christmas-drones

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spooning

Just In Time For Christmas!

(from my friend Borepatch)

Dangerous toys NOT to get for Christmas

I strongly recommend that you do NOT buy the My Friend Cayla doll, the i-Que robot, or the Barbie Hello Dream House as gifts due to a grotesquely dangerous security flaw in the toy’s design.
I often rant about poor security in products and how “security wasn’t an afterthought, it wasn’t thought of at all.”  Mostly it’s about something that is unlikely to effect most of all y’all.  This time is different – here are some toys that can endanger children, and I STRONGLY recommend that you do NOT buy these as gifts this holiday season.

My Friend Cayla is a doll with embedded voice recognition technology similar to Apple’s Siri, that can interact with children.  It not only listens to what the child says but can respond appropriately.

While it’s somewhat concerning that the doll “phones home” over the Internet for the voice recognition to work, the issue isn’t that it’s listening in on your kid.  Mind you, I find this more than a little creepy, but I remember when there were only 3 TV channels.

The danger is that the doll is Bluetooth enabled, and the Bluetooth is completely unprotected.  What this means is that anyone within Bluetooth range (which at 100 yards is actually further than many think) can connect to the doll and start talking to your child as she plays.

Let me say that again – Joe Shmoe in the park across from your house can connect to your little Princess’ doll and have a chat.There’s a video of this, although they’re wrong to call it a “hack”.  It’s simply use of the functionality as it was designed.

Also using the exact same technology with exactly the same flaw is the i-Que robot: this isn’t just a threat to little girls.

Unconfirmed reports also include the Barbie Hello Dream House.  I don’t know whether this is vulnerable to remote Bluetooth access, and it’s almost certain that nothing definitive will be published on this before the holidays.  Given that I recommend that you don’t buy this, either.

This seems to me to be bordering on criminal negligence by the companies involved (certainly My Friend Cayla and i-Que; possibly Mattel).  The idea that a child’s toy could be released that would allow someone to remotely talk with your child his his or her own bedroom is mind bogglingly stupid.

To reiterate, I strongly recommend that you do NOT buy the My Friend Cayla doll, the i-Que robot, or the Barbie Hello Dream House as gifts due to a grotesquely dangerous security flaw in the toy’s design.

Anyone remember “My name is Talky Tina” from Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone?  These toys take that to a whole new level.

Frightening.

Christmas 2015

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As Don Benjamin (my high school English Lit. teacher) used to say when he’d (intentionally) run out his lesson plan:

“Well, here we are!”

My roommate did a fine job on the tree (which she also bargain purchased – it’s artificial!).  Sadly, neither one of us has enough money to do the holiday up right.

And she’s visiting her daughter in Tucson, today.

I visited my Sister’s for Christmas Eve festivities – here is a pic of nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews and my sister sporting their silly socks!  🙂  ♫You put your left foot in…

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I’ve the critters to keep me company today, and a traditional dinner of Italian food later for which to look.

Santa didn’t bring me the woman I asked for!  Nor the guns!

But, I’ve a roof over my head, a 16-year-old car that sometimes works and fuzzy creatures to annoy, confound and entertain me.

And food for my belly.

Life is good – to all my friends, near and far,  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

A Christmas Tradition

When my marriage was winding down, my wife and I separated.  And we eventually got divorced.

It’s only by the grace of God we remained friends.  (And remain so to this day! 🙂 )

The separation was longer than most.  Eight years.  But, we lived apart, shared custody of Molly, equally (alternate weeks, with one alternate day in the middle.)  And living a little more than a mile apart, it ‘worked’.

But, initially, when she told me she wanted to separate, pain aside, it occurred to me that I wanted to do something extra special at Christmas for our daughter.

Because.

And I found these art pieces of little girls interacting in their world, by Frances Hook.

And determined I could probably afford one each holiday season, as a special gift to Molly.

Sometimes, getting funds together for toys, clothes and such was difficult.  And the statuettes were an additional hardship.

But, I managed.

And she seemed to appreciate them, even when the tradition began, when she was age 5.

birdie

The first one was entitled “Birdie”.  I got it because I remembered her chasing sparrows in the park, trying to get one to light on her finger.   Calling out “Birdie, birdie!”

And so it was to pass she received a different one each year for Christmas.  It was nice as we all continued to share Christmases together.

But, Christmas 1994 found me having difficulty finding another Frances Hook porcelain statuette with a little girl in it that she didn’t already have.  Eventually, I did find one, though.

And I found out the reason for the dearth of sculptures.  It seemed, the artist had passed away the year Molly was born – 1983.  And in 1994, the porcelain figurines stopped production.

We lost Molly the next March.

I wonder if somehow The Universe had made the connection.

WHAT? Not Garlic Goldfish, AGAIN! :-)

The Garlic Goldfish (a perennial favorite Christmas snack) have arrived! 

Actually, they were assembled by yours truly, in a couple hours standing at the iron skillet, Worcestershire, Blue Bonnet margarine and garlic powder at-the-ready.  Then slow baked until dry and toasty.

(For the uninitiated, this is a snack I’ve made traditionally for years.  Originally, I made standard Chex Mix, with the requisite addition of peanuts, pretzels and the like.  With a tablespoon of this, a dash of that.  I determined two things – people singled out the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers for consumption so the other ingredients were wasted, and screw this tablespoon-dash thing!)

I cover roughly 9/10 of the bottom of the skillet with Worcestershire, add 1/2 a stick of margarine, and sprinkle garlic powder generously.  Then marinate a pan full of crackers until they soak it all up.  Transfer all to a turkey roasting pan and bake @ 300* or so, turning every 10 minutes of so to check for burning, until they are all dry and crispy.  (I use Blue Bonnet because it’s cheap and takes the high heat.)

I used to make these in massive quantities for Christmas when I was employed and bring them into work.  It became such a tradition that folks would start asking me in September if I was bringing in goldfish that year!
🙂

Consumer Warning – they are QUITE addictive and go great with beer!  People consuming these snacks needn’t be concerned they will be molested by vampires, or members of the opposite sex. (Unless they, too, have partaken of the garlicky treats!)

FTC – neither Blue Bonnet, French’s Worcestershire, Pepperidge Farm Crackers or anyone else gave me anything!  I bought and assembled it all myself.  Go make your own – and Merry Christmas!

Christmas Movies

My roommate and I differ slightly in which movies we like to watch to commemorate the holidays.

My roommate likes everything Christmas, especially SANTA CLAUS related.  The three Santa Clause films (Tim Allen), Miracle On 34th Street (two versions), It’s A Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, White Christmas, The Bishop’s Wife – you name it, we’ve (I’ve) been subjected relegated thoroughly enjoyed them over the past week or so.  Some multiple times.

On DVD or BluRay, in Stereo High Fi…

Don’t get me wrong.  I like some of those, in small doses.  Some even get me a little misty…

But over-and-over tends to be a bit much.  (Sorry J.)

I blame commercial television.  Most networks essentially shut down production for the holidays, having fall or winter finales, promising new shows in February!

And giving us fewer choice in the likes of reruns, cartoons and the stuff enumerated above for our viewing pleasure.

It’s like Steve Martin said.  127 channels and nothing’s on.

For television addicts like me, it’s dire.

But, I found a way to counteract the Christmas movie doldrums.  I’ve included in the DVD rotation, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard!

As was recently stated on Facebook, it isn’t really Christmas until Hans Gruber is seen falling from Nakatomi Plaza!

Merry Christmas to all you movie fans like me out there…

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…