You are again assailed by the scents of Coffee Hot Chocolate, and hot fresh holiday cookies as you step off the elevator along with another more subtle one…is that? Could it be? YES! EGG NOG!
All these things you see offered for all when you enter the conference room. What you don’t see is Impish Dragon anywhere, nor any signs of the recent anti gluttonous dragon defenses that have been employed the last few times. The screen about the stage is dark and shows no image of a tied up in his work dragon either.
Lethal hastily finishes the remainder of the oatmeal white chocolate and cranberry cookie he’d been dunking in his coffee, brushes the crumbs from his vest and ascends the stage and podium.
Grab your goodies and your seats quickly please ‘tis a full plate we have and I’m not talking one like the one in from of Paul B. Though you have to admire the ingenuity of his cookie stacking technique. I’d never have believed you could get a stable pile 5 cookies tall on a paper plate.
Well while I lucked out and got missed by all that snow sleet and freezing rain that plagued so much of Northern Texas Sunday night into Monday instead just getting about an inch of rain we didn’t miss out on the bottom dropping out of the thermometer. Our temps here at Keebler Towers dropped 25 degrees in about 4 hours on Monday from about 73 to 48 with a strong enough wind to make it feel like 39. I do believe our winter has arrived.
You’ll notice Impish not in attendance nor being considered a threat to the Kraft table this morning. Up until Sunday he was still sulking about being tied to that chair and the length of time it took for Ginny to sober up enough to locate him and cut him loose.
Then Sunday he reported suffering from a nonspecific general malady. At first I thought this was more sulking or gold bricking. I was also considering if this was a long con designed to give him an excuse for appear to look and feel like crap on New Year’s Day and avoid showing just how big a light weight (WOW! Gimme a sec… basking in the novelty of the term “light weight” actually being used in connotation with Impish…and the moments over where was I?) he is when it comes to imbibing and partying. However he did from speaking to him sound as though he was genuinely ill.
Then I found this photo on our security cameras. Seems mister sulky pants fell asleep outside in the cold and got his self sleeted and snowed on then caught a cold or the crud from it.
Anyway as you know the time for our annual New Year’s Blowout is upon us. When it comes to wild times, the only other party we throw that rivals it is our annual Independence Day one. Well some of you might remember that one other party I got conned by a former Fairie reader into throwing while Impish was away a lot of years ago, but that one wound up with me imprisoned by Impish in the middens and Bacchus making off with most of Impish’s wine cellar, as well as several of his virgins after besting me at drinking by cheating and slipping me a Mickey. I’m not keen of recreating that scenario any time soon and I’m sure Impish isn’t either.
Check in fro Patrons starts at 6 PM tonight, while the rest of you will have to wait until noon tomorrow. Party kicks off at 6 PM sharp and I’m given to understand that David Hasselhoff will be in attendance to through out the first obnoxious drunk of 2016, which will probably be himself. Also Steve Harvey will be here to count down to the New Year…so you’d better expect to do that twice until he gets it right.
Mean time let’s enjoy the last official laughs of the old year as we wait with high expectations for the new one shall we?
When your morning cuppa can sparkle, shoot off fire works, and skywrite in steam you know you’ve got one heck of a cuppa Joe there. My question is how the hell did you manage to grab a cuppa my Brown Gold?
That’s a pretty good New Years Resolution for you Impish!
Speaking of resolutions—
I know some of you are hard at it trying to come up with your list of resolutions. While I’m in no position to advise you on any you might wish to consider having plenty of faults of my own and things I need to change, I am in a position to offer a few sage words as observation on New Years Resolutions as a whole concept:
With regard to eating healthy, organic, macrobiotic and all that other buzz word hype, please consider the following:
This woman is 51 yrs old. She is TV health guru Gillian McKeith, advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and health, and promoting exercise, a vegetarian diet which is high in organic fruits and vegetables.
She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation, and supplements.
(Isn’t she the looker?)
and, she washes it all down with wine!
I rest my case with regard to all that healthy eating crap/vegan crap. Cheers to all, a glass of mulled wine or cider and a warm mince pie with real whipped cream…
As to the subject of resolutions in general, well consider this guy’s luck with his:
As for me, this year I’ve only one single solitary resolution. To be more like this guy:
Some people take their Gingerbread art work very seriously as seem here:
Somebody has recreated “The Shining” hotel with gingerbread!
Apparently, it was a full family effort and I think you’ll agree the level of detail is extraordinary.
Can you identify all the classic scenes?
That refers to SANTA Impish, not me when it comes to not being able to hold things against you! Just so you’re clear.
As you can see from the following the Ninja Kitty Clan is getting a jump start on their NYE celebrating.
How NORAD became the world’s official Santa-tracker
So there I was surrounded by Molly’s family which now includes multiple under foot while constantly pestering ad nausea of adults over when Santa is going to arrive and when the earliest access to presents can be had kids. Needless to say I was feeling more and more Grinch like with each passing moment as a result.
Then inspiration hit. I got them all together and sent them to retrieve their tablets or hand me down smart phones. I download the Santa Tracker app for them and tied them into the house’s WiFi so they could watch his progress and check it themselves. (I also might have informed them that Santa sent me the Hawaiian shirt I was wearing because we’re Bros so one call from me and they’d be getting clothes or school supplies for Christmas. I might also have shown them my speed dialer with a photo of my buddy Kris who sports long white hair and a beard dressed in a red polo replete with reindeer.)
This pretty much had the desired effect of calming/quieting down the kids as well as clearing them out from underfoot in the cramped kitchen we were working in. This lead to me blessing NORAD under my breath and one of the other adults inquiring why I was blessing NORAD since it was NASA that tracked Santa. I insisted that it was NORAD, he insisted it was Santa and Molly reached for her phone to settle it. as it turns out I was right (surprise!) but there is quite an interesting story behind how it came to be.
It was December 1955, the height of the Cold War, when the red phone on Col. Harry Shoup’s desk at the Continental Air Defense Command began to ring.
Only an elite few knew the number. Odds were good that a four-star general from the Pentagon was on the other end of the line.
Shoup reached for the phone.
“Yes, sir. This is Col. Shoup,” he said.
“Sir? This is Col. Shoup.” Pause. “Sir, can you read me all right?”
That’s when Shoup heard the little girl’s voice.
“Are you really Santa Claus?”
For the last 60 years, officials at the North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., have tracked Santa’s whirlwind tour across the globe to deliver presents on Christmas Eve. Nearly 9 million people from more than 200 countries are expected to check in with NORAD’s Santa-tracking website before they go to bed on Christmas Eve.
And it all began with that phone call.
As Shoup later recalled in a home video, his first response to the unlikely query was that someone was pulling his leg — and he wasn’t amused.
“I said, ‘Would you repeat that please?'” he replied.
“Are you really Santa Claus?”
That’s when he realized two things: Something had gone wrong with his phone, and the question was genuine.
So he told the little girl on the other end of the line that he was, indeed, Santa Claus. Relieved, she informed him that she would be leaving him food by her fireplace, plus treats for his reindeer as well.
“I said, ‘Oh boy, they sure will appreciate that!’”
Then Shoup asked to speak to her mother. That’s how he learned that a Sears, Roebuck & Co. advertisement in the local newspaper had invited kids to call Santa at ME 2-6681 — the number for the red phone.
It was a misprint, of course, but that didn’t stop kids from flooding the line all the way until Christmas. Shoup assigned a couple of airmen to answer the line and act like St. Nick, Shoup’s daughter Pamela Farrell recounted to StoryCorps.
After a few weeks, someone at the Continental Air Defense Command (which is now NORAD) had an inspired idea. He went to the giant glass board where airmen tracked the planes in U.S. or Canadian airspace and added a drawing of a sleigh with eight reindeer. They were headed south from the North Pole.
Shoup studied the board. Then he picked up his phone, his other daughter, Terri Van Keuren, told StoryCorps.
“He called a local radio station and said, ‘This is the commander of the Combat Alert Center, and we have an unidentified flying object — why, it looks like a sleigh!’”
After that, Van Keuren added, stations would call every hour to ask for the latest on Santa’s whereabouts.
The military’s Santa-tracking efforts have become considerably more elaborate since 1955. NORAD’s online tracker plays Christmas tunes while flying reindeer pull a red sleigh over images of the Earth provided by NASA. The site shows Santa’s last stop and gives an ETA for his next destination. It also keeps a running tab of the number of gifts delivered.
Those who find websites passé can download the NORAD Tracks Santa app from the iTunes store, follow @NoradSanta on Twitter, “like” NORAD’s tracker on Facebook or keep tabs through a variety of other social media sites.
More than 70,000 children still call NORAD to talk to Santa on a toll-free line — (877) HI-NORAD or (877) 446-6723 — and another 12,000 or so send e-mails to email@example.com.
All of this would have been impossible for Shoup to imagine as he spoke to the little girl who inadvertently kicked the whole thing off 60 years ago.
Before handing the phone to her mother, the girl asked a question that was certainly appropriate for an Air Force colonel: How is it possible for Santa to visit so many houses in a single night?
Years later, Shoup still remembered his answer: “I said, ‘That’s the magic of Christmas.’”
For me the biggest problem with holidays is mornings. Invariably there are guests before or after the main event expecting to be fed and draining your coffee supplies. Here are a couple of quick and easy recipes to insure your culinary reputation remains untarnished while not putting you out there too much.
Total Time: 18 min
Prep: 8 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 (4 section) waffles, 16 pieces, up to 8 servings
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, plus some to butter the iron
Syrup, whipped cream or fresh fruits for topping, to pass at table
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, then beat in pumpkin, milk, molasses and melted butter. Stir the wet into dry until just moist. Do not overstir the waffle batter. Brush the iron with a little melted butter and cook 4 waffles, 4 sections each. Serve with toppings of choice.
Now I’m not a waffles/pancakes & syrup kind of guy, that is really Molly’s Department (especially since my sister has been supplying her with real deal hand made New England Maple Syrup for the past couple years) but a couple of these with honey whipped butter eaten like toast with a hot cup of fresh coffee are a seasonal thing I look forward to every year.
Mini Cheddar, Broccoli & Bacon Quiches
Prep 15 min.
Total 50 min.
Servings: 2 mini quiches each Bake: 30 min. Cool: 5 min. Cost per recipe: $4.64
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or Healthy Request )
1 package (10 ounces) chopped frozen broccoli cuts, thawed and well drained
6 slices bacon, cooked, drained and roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup all purpose baking mix
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 Heat the oven to 375°F. Spray 12 (2 1/2-inch) muffin-pan cups with vegetable cooking spray.
2 Stir the soup, broccoli, bacon, baking mix, milk, eggs and cheese in a medium bowl. Spoon about 1/4 cup soup mixture into each muffin-pan cup.
3 Bake for 30 minutes or until the quiches are golden brown and a knife inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let the quiches cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the quiches from the pan.
A great breakfast item and a nice lunch presentation on a bed of dressed greens or in accompaniment to a salad or soup If this is all you are serving for breakfast I’d figure on 3 or 4 per person.
Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole
Cook Time: 1 h
Makes: 12 servings
1 (32 ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes
8 ounces cooked, diced ham or bacon
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of potato soup
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix hash browns, ham, cream of potato soup, sour cream, and Cheddar cheese. Spread evenly into prepared dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly brown. Serve immediately.
Nearly similar cooking temperatures and times mean that with a little effort and a bit of watching these can go in the same oven as the Mini Quiches and be ready just about the same time. If you don’t want to double up on serving breakfast meat [s], you could substitute 8 ozs of cooked chopped mushrooms for the ham/bacon. Served along side the Mini Quiches you should have breakfast covered.
Ah bless Molly’s heart! She got me a taste from home for Christmas!
Being a young sarcastic wiseass, that is precisely what I did too. Now you know the reason behind Impish and I meeting up. Yup, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
What are you doing this New Year’s Eve? If you can’t pack your bags and travel around the world, well, join the club.
For most people, New Year’s Eve celebrations take place close to home. That’s good, especially if you want to keep your family off the roads on this festive but risky holiday.
Still, you want to have fun. One way to do that is by watching people around the world celebrate New Year’s Eve.
You know there will be huge celebrations in places like New York City, where the Times Square ball drop is just part of the fun that night. There will also be fireworks, tons of ticker tape fluttering through the air, and a million or so people braving the cold temperatures to blow noisemakers, jump around in their funny 2016 glasses, and make lots and lots of noise.
You can be part of that, and many other New Year’s Eve celebrations. For the 20th year in a row, the website and app EarthCam will live stream the Times Square ball dropping at midnight. (See video on the next page.)
EarthCam captures all the activity from multiple webcams. That includes the ball dropping, signifying the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Plus, EarthCam will capture people in Times Square, and many other locations around the world, as they celebrate.
But you don’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve to get excited about it. Visit the site now for clips from last year’s celebrations that were captured on webcam.
Auld Lang Syne
“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scout youth movement, in many countries, uses it as a close to jamborees and other functions.
The song’s Scots title may be translated into standard English as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”, “days gone by” or “old times”. Consequently, “For auld lang syne”, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as “for (the sake of) old times”.
The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the phrase “In the days of auld lang syne” as the equivalent of “Once upon a time…” in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.
There is some doubt as to whether the melody used today is the same one Burns originally intended, but it is widely used in Scotland and in the rest of the world.
Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (not to mention English, Welsh and Irish people) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.
A manuscript of “Auld Lang Syne” is held in the permanent collection of The Lilly Library at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
The song begins by posing a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships.Thomson’s Select Songs of Scotland was published in 1799 in which the second verse about greeting and toasting was moved to its present position at the end.
Most common use of the song involves only the first verse and the chorus. The last lines of both of these are often sung with the extra words “For the sake of” or “And days of”, rather than Burns’ simpler lines. This allows one note for each word, rather than the slight melisma required to fit Burns’ original words to the melody.
English translation (minimalist)
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
CHORUS:For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine†;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.