My little granddaughter — like her significant mother – is socially adept, a natural conversationalist, though she has been known to sneeze directly into people’s mouths without warning, as if to test your love, as if to say, “You really love me? Really? Ka-CHOOOOOOO!”
I think that sums up parenting more than anything. I think it is fair warning for the holidays as well: Gird for airborne germs, the surprises, the relatives.
I mean, who sneezes like that? Debutantes, swimsuit models … the bored and the beautiful.
I forgive Catty Cakes, since I love her a little too much. That’s always a mistake. My grandbaby could wreck my car, steal my dog, riddle my finances, and still I would love her madly.
Really, love is the worst disease of all. Think of all the heartbreak it causes for dopes like me – the men who love too much.
That’s why I order my Bloody Mary’s “a little dirty,” as you would a martini:
“Four olives and a prayer,” I tell the barkeep. “A splash of indulgences to offset our collective sins.”
During the holidays, I warm a barstool like Frasier Crane, though I am not nearly as witty or wise. At least I don’t have a Lilith to deal with. What heartbreak? What was he thinking?
As Frasier once said of Lilith, “Your tongue could open a wine bottle.”
Speaking of beery existentialists, someone was complaining that there’s no good emoji for the impending sense of doom everyone seems to be feeling these days, though I will point out that there are many people who deal with their worries and get on with their lives, taking care of others as they take care of themselves.
We call these people adults.
The homeless get more attention from our leaders than the typical hard-working mom or dad. Fine. As it should be.
But young people today are like a herd of deer drowning in a blanket of cherry blossoms. Can’t wait for them to become adults, because if they don’t like being young and free and hopeful, how will they handle middle age? How will they handle property taxes?
Brings to mind the Dylan lyric, “America looks like it’s a-dyin’, and it’s hardly been born.”
Fortunately, there’s Sneezy Cakes. She gives me hope, in places where I find none (the voting booth, Wrigley Field, network TV).
She’s like the minor league slugger tearing it up in Albuquerque. She is like the first butterfly of spring.
Smartacus too. A slugger, a butterfly…the future.
Seriously, so proud. The other day Smartacus’ pre-frontal cortex started functioning again. I could tell, because when he looked up from his phone, I saw flickers of light and recognition where I used to see only fog and confusion. Like the Tin Man, he slowly came to life.
I immediately texted his sisters. “HIS FRONTAL CORTEX IS WORKING!” in all-caps, the way newspapers used to announce the ends of world wars.
They cried. Catty Cakes clapped – then sneezed. The world was once again where it needed to be.
I attributed Smartacus’ pre-frontal cortex issues to a series of bad haircuts over the years. They affected its development. Like a womb, his brain just needed room to stretch and grow and flourish.
Now, with the right hair stylist, he’s off to conquer the world. Yay.
Speaking of newspapers, did you hear that they no longer publish Parade Magazine, America’s greatest guilty pleasure since 1941?
Apparently, circulation dropped to 54 million readers, so they discontinued it.
Such is the state of American journalism. They canceled their last remaining hit.
Seriously, do I really want to live in a world without Parade Magazine? Without it, how will I know how Celine Dion is coping? How will I know how much dog groomers make? Where will I order my Beauty & the Beast Christmas trees?
And what will happen to Ask Marilyn? Wonder if no one asks her anything? Wait, I have one:
Dear Marilyn, why on Earth would anyone discontinue a magazine with 54 million readers?
To this day, Parade was the best Sunday morning bathroom read ever. Cover to cover, 7 minutes! Even me.
Mostly, I’ll miss the recipes because I could tear them out. Every time I cook from a laptop or phone, the keys stiiiiiick for weeeeeeeks.
And simple?! One of my favorite Parade Magazine recipes (for toast): “Place two slices of bread in a toaster. Cook till crisp.”
So, goodbye, Parade. So long to yet another American treasure. I’d say thanks for all the laughs, though there weren’t many. I’d say thanks for all the valuable information, though that was rather sparse as well.
Still, the loss of Parade feels bigger than it should. Remember the feeling you used to get bumming around record stores on rainy afternoons? Remember the oaky pleasure of entering a ma-and-pa hardware store? Or even the neighborhood Blockbuster with the kids in tow.
Parade provided a bit of that as well.
Admittedly, I’m a very strange man living in the strangest of times.
Kinda suits me, doesn’t it?
Still have some turkey around? In honor of Parade, here is one of my favorite recipes from the Sunday magazine, an easy version of turkey fried rice:
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp ground white pepper
5 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp minced ginger (about one two-inch piece)
Salt to taste
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups diced roast turkey (sub in chicken or shrimp if you prefer)
1 12-ounce package frozen peas and carrots, thawed and patted dry
4 cups cooked rice, chilled
2 tsp sesame oil
- In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce, soy sauce and white pepper; set aside.
- In skillet or wok, heat ¼ cup vegetable oil over medium high. Add garlic and ginger. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes till golden and crisp, careful not to burn. Remove pan from heat. With slotted spoon, transfer garlic and ginger to paper-towel lined plate, leaving oil in pan. Lightly salt garlic and ginger.
- Return pan to medium heat. Set aside 2 tbsp green onions for garnish. Add remaining green onions to pan. Cook 2-3 minutes until very tender. Lightly season with salt.
- Raise heat to medium-high; add turkey, peas and carrots. Cook 2 minutes. Add rice, stirring well; cook until heated through. Stir in oyster sauce mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Keep warm.
- In large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Add eggs. Cook 3 minutes till edges are set and yolk still soft.
- Divide rice mixture among 4 bowls. Top each with 1 egg and ½ tsp sesame oil. Garnish with reserved green onions and crispy garlic and ginger.