David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, December 14, 2009
Accumulated Turkey-Related Thoughts

Thanksgiving turkeys, economic turkeys, pardoned turkeys, and more.

Been a While

Good grief! I just went more than three weeks without a blog post. And I haven't even been on Facebook in almost two weeks. So much for what could lately be called my principal hobbies. I could claim that I've been sitting back sagely and watching things percolate, but mostly I've just been caught up in work and a variety of holiday things, not to mention shoveling snow and, lately, slush.

Or maybe I was arm-wrestling a big bout of blogger guilt, induced by no less than two readers who lately told me, on separate occasions, that they enjoy reading here so much that they sometimes spend an inordinate amount of work time doing it. Actually, hearing that was like Christmas in . . . well, early December, but if I were some sort of moral hypochondriac, I might worry that my blog is reducing economic productivity and thus deepening the recession -- or slowing the recovery, or otherwise interfering with whatever phase of whatever economic phenomenon we are currently experiencing -- which, of course, depends on which White House economic adviser is speaking on which day.

On second thought, no harm done. President Obama said in a speech the other day in Allentown, Pennsylvania, that US companies' recently increased per-employee productivity is a problem, because it keeps them from needing to hire more workers. In fact, that increase in productivity is a completely predictable and responsible approach in an environment where employing people is already unnaturally expensive, because of taxes and regulations, and is certain to get more expensive, if the health care takeover passes, among other things. Never fear, though. The next thing the President said affirmed his awareness that people want and need jobs, which is why he . . . had a meeting. 

Mind you, it probably did help the economy to have a large, high-profile meeting to talk about how to create jobs in a policy environment where every answer is welcome except the real one. Someone had to cater the meeting, you see, so the local catering industry got a bit of a boost. Don't tell the Democrats, though; they'll want to impose a windfall profits tax on caterers.

One Feast, No Post

I almost drafted a blog post for Thanksgiving, but thought better of it. It's not that I won't blog on or for holidays. I have done so before. And it's not that my Thanksgiving itself didn't have merits . . .

First, I went to the gym. Then I ate.

And ate.

But I pulled up short of my traditional excesses. I used to be able to eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh rolls, apple pie, and so forth quite literally until I very temporarily ceased to be thankful for turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh rolls, apple pie, and so forth. I can't eat that much any more. Maybe my appetite has decreased. Maybe my gratitude for turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, apple pie, and so forth has increased. Maybe both.

Just so you know, we flirt with disaster at my house every year. The USDA's fretting to the contrary notwithstanding, we stop roasting the turkey when it's done inside but still tender and juicy. The only time we ever waited for the little plastic timer to pop up, the poor, big bird was dried out. So far, we haven't made anyone ill in our recklessness -- but, officially, you should do not, repeat not as the Rodebacks do, but as the USDA says, even if they even recommend cooking the stuffing outside the bird.

I guess this means you won't want to come to my house next Thanksgiving. There's always Christmas, when we traditionally do a cranberry roast beef that -- and this is probably exactly the wrong expression, in context -- is absolutely to die for. Never fear; most of the family prefers its beef to be well done, though I occasionally try to lobby it back a little, toward medium-well.

To date, by the way, we have never deep-fried a turkey, even though that is the most popular means of incinerating a garage on Thanksgiving. Ours is a detached garage, so the peril to property would be somewhat limited, even if we were fools enough to do it inside the garage. In any case, it's fine with me if you want to deep-fry yours and invite me to help you eat it. But I'd like first to get back the books you borrowed, if you plan to do the deed in your attached garage.

Still No Post, but Thanks

But back to my somewhat narcissistic point. Well, one of my points.

The problem with the blog post I conceived for this Thanksgiving was that some of the things for which I was feeling most thankful were politically partisan, even highly charged: the American people largely emerging from their political coma this summer; the Democrats' extraordinary difficulty forcing a health care takeover through Congress (which they haven't done successfully yet); and, one may hope, the wheels beginning to come off the anthropogenic climate change bus. The last, happily, is just in time for a big meeting in Copenhagen, where the industrialized world, especially the United States, is supposed to be lured -- willingly, this time -- into another economic suicide pact, even bigger than the one we didn't swallow before. And I'm also thankful that a large contingent of the self-governing American people seems increasingly suspicious of the save-the-economy-by-buying-everything-in-sight-on-credit approach to our national finances.

So now Thanksgiving is more than two weeks ago, and I'm feeling Christmasy enough, with the help of implacable forces such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Wasatch Winds, not to mention, most recently, the Timpanogos Chorale. But somehow that politicized Thanksgiving spirit hasn't left me yet. I'm just as thankful now as I was then, for exactly the same things.

If that's not too much Thanksgiving for you already, at such a late date, you might enjoy the transcript of President Obama's remarks on the occasion of pardoning a turkey and exiling it to Disneyland. There's some wit there, even though I cannot explain how a pardon did not lead to the yummy bird's release. It seems he might only have commuted its death sentence, leaving it to serve life without parole at Disneyland. Whatever.

I'll have some more accumulated thoughts for you tomorrow, but I'm warning you in advance, they're not a lot to show for three weeks during which I purport to have been thinking.

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