You find Lethal standing at the podium in the strangest manner of dress you’ve ever seen him in. He’s clad in black fleece pants, a tropical print Hawaiian shirt and a Notre Dame watch cap.
He observes your quizzical stares and explains:
“Welcome to Texas December attire. In the last week we’ve gone from highs in the high 70’s to a high in the low 40’s. Lows have ranged from 66 to freeze warnings and I can honestly say I have had the air conditioning and and heat both going in the same day.”
“The weather man and his forecasts are of basically little use beyond his observations of current conditions and the prevalent temperature trend for that particular day. The extended forecasts are changing with nearly every website update. Heck they even go as far as to radically disagree with each other at times. Hence our mode of dress trying to cover all contingencies. At this point we don’t even know if we’ll be wearing thermals or board shorts for Christmas morning.
Moving on, ‘tis a brief housekeeping note I have for ya. Next week Impish and I will be swapping places. You be seeing DragonLaffs on Wednesday next so that our Holiday Issue can fall on Christmas Eve. Things will be back to (what passes for) normal around here with my being back on the Wednesday between Christmas and New Year. In keeping with his desire to be less of a gold brick and contribute more Impish who did so well with the Halloween Issue will be doing our 2017 New Years Issue this year.”
Anyway, you folks get on with the issue it’s full and near to bursting with manic holiday cheer and good will. Mean time I’ll get back to working on my DIY present for Impish.
Straight No Chaser – The Christmas Can-Can
Santa’s house, workshop and 25 acres listed on Zillow real estate website
The folks at the real estate website Zillow are obviously in a holiday mood. They’ve just revealed a listing for Santa’s House at the North Pole.
It’s not opulent but it’s extremely cozy, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 2,500 square feet of “gorgeous old-growth timber logged on site.” Santa Claus’ house has never been sold and is not on the market, Zillow said in a news release.
Although the house is not for sale, Santa was able to update his home’s description and add photos, which can enhance the “Zestimate” value, Zillow said.
Built in 1822, the home looks great, thanks to a 2013 update with modern amenities.
The gourmet kitchen, for example, features an oven with 12 different cookie settings. The living room retains its Old World charm with a floor-to-ceiling river rock fireplace for roasting chestnuts.
In Santa’s study are a writing desk and sewing table where Santa made the original teddy bear, according to Zillow.
“Santa’s home at the North pole is one of the most famous homes in the world, so we’re thrilled it’s now on Zillow,” said Zillow spokesman Jeremy Wacksman.
Also, at the Santa’s house listing on Zillow, children can start following Santa’s Christmas Eve trek to deliver presents around the world through the official NORAD Santa tracker. Type “Santa’s house” into the search bar on Zillow.com and click on “Locate Santa” in the lower right corner of the page.
The 25-acre property includes a workshop that is, of course, state of the art with work stations for 50 elves. The garage houses Santa’s all-weather sleigh, and the stables have space for eight live-in reindeer.
With all these features, this property would be snatched up if it were for sale. The “Zestimate” price of $656,957 or rental rate of $3,300 per month would be a bargain for Santa Claus’ house at the North Pole.
Santa’s Comin’ In A Whirly Bird
Maybe Impish should think about hiring these too to get him off the Naughty list. I don’t know though, what penalty does Santa impose for hacking his system? Sounds like ground for addition to the ‘You’ve Got to be Kidding Me’ permanent Naughty List if you ask me!
Yup, even Impish is benched this year, something about failing his sleigh flight physical
Cute, certainly. Adorable, agreed. But that turns into this:
the nanosecond your back turns. TRUST ME on this!
OK so maybe Chef Lethal and a few Leprechonia style ‘Elfettes’.
Here’s a fast, easy, and soul warming one pot dinner that goes well on nay cold night.
One Pot Spaghetti Carbonara
This one-pot wonder makes a simply delicious recipe easier than ever. Pasta cooks right in the sauce adding to the rich creaminess that comes from cream of chicken soup. Bacon adds a smoky note while Parmesan gives a great flavor boost.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 people
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup or Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 3 1/2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- Cracked black pepper to taste
Cook the bacon and shallot in a 6-quart saucepot over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until the bacon is browned, stirring occasionally.
Stir the soup, broth and 1/2 cup cheese in the saucepot and heat to a boil. Stir in the spaghetti. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until the spaghetti is tender and the soup mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and freshly cracked black pepper just before serving.
I usually use Cream of Mushroom soup and/or add a can of precooked sliced mushrooms in broth. I’ve also use the precooked shredded bacon in the pouch for this with great success. I’ve also used Fettuccini in place of the spaghetti but found I needed slightly more chicken broth to account for the longer cooking time and larger size of the noodle.
Finally if you have leftovers (what are those?), just reheat with a little milk or half and half the next day and it goes right back to creaming goodness.
I’m sure you’ve noticed there hasn’t been that many cookie recipes this year. That’s because few of the new recipes have met my criteria for ‘’keepers”. Yes I have criteria- the recipe has to not have weird, rare, or hard to find ingredients, it can’t be involved- no two day cookie making process etc. and finally the recipe has to make more than just a dozen of dozen and a half cookies- if we’re baking cookies by the cookie gods I want to have cookies for a week not a day and a half!
It goes without saying that they have to look and taste good as well and if that happens to include being good for you (or at least not overly fattening) well hey look at that- another Christmas miracle!
Both the follow recipes met all the above criteria and passed the all important taste test.
Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.
Eggnog Meltaway Cookies
Total Time: 2 hr. 25 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive: 1 hr. 10 min
Cook: 50 min
Yield: 4 dozen cookies
1 cup blanched almonds (skinless)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon bourbon
2 teaspoons rum extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook’s Note)
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for serving
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Put the almonds and 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until very finely ground, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and process until smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scrape the dough off the inside of the bowl if needed. Add the bourbon and rum and vanilla extracts and pulse until smooth. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the dough forms a ball.
Roll mounded teaspoons of the dough into balls about 1 inch wide and place on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the cookies are firm when gently pressed, completely dry and just beginning to crack at the top, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes; they will firm as they cool.
Meanwhile, put the nutmeg and remaining 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar in a pie plate or wide baking dish and mix well. Toss the warm cookies very gently in the sugar mixture until evenly coated; the cookies need to be warm for the first coating of sugar to stick. Cool the cookies on a wire rack completely, about 30 minutes, then toss again in the sugar mixture so they are very white. Sprinkle with additional grated nutmeg.
Store the cookies in a little bit of extra confectioners’ sugar in an airtight container for up to a week.
Bill Engvall – Here’s Your Sign Christmas
T’was the Night of online shopping
T’was the Night of online shopping byJohnthomas1969©
T’was the night of online shopping and all through the net,
You could buy an actual tiger cub to have as a pet.
No waiting in line just easy shopping at home,
and you get your items delivered to you by a drone.
The children won’t know what you got them unless,
They stole your Amazon password to gain your access.
It’s shopping made easy you just look, point and click,
And you will fill up your shopping cart extremely quick.
Twelve hours of screen staring may make you go blind,
Or simply overload your senses and you’ll loose your whole mind.
No more driving to Walmart on Thanksgiving day,
Only to find the item you wanted has been raffled away.
No camping at 2:30 a.m in the snow,
hoping not to get trampled by those playing Pokémon go.
Free shipping you’ll get with Amazon prime,
And with some of the deals shopping feels like a crime.
For those who are naughty and in need of a thrill,
There’s Spencer’s, Wild Secrets and even Jack and Jill.
For you who are willing to just chill and relax,
There’s Stitch fix and Target and of course TJ Max.
Shopping on ebay is always a trip,
You can buy vintage clothing to make you look hip.
You can buy watches and records and real paper money,
There’s even a beehive to make actual real honey.
You can buy tickets and stamps and things just plain scary,
Like an old grilled cheese sandwich shaped like the Virgin Mary.
You can buy seashells and starfish, heck even a whole beach,
Just be wise with your password in case there’s a breach.
No bell ringing Santa’s will you have to avoid,
Nor entitled little brats to make you annoyed.
Please take a quick survey for your chance to win,
One million dollars or a personalized pen.
Yes online shopping is finally a blessing to all,
With the possible exception of the owners of malls.
Amazon sells everything except time, space and air,
But I guess even they can’t have everything to be totally fair.
You might run out of room in your overcrowded house,
Or get blisters on your finger from clicking the mouse.
A small price to pay for shopping online,
And where else can you shop while enjoying some wine?
You can shop in your pj’s or even in the nude,
And not have to deal with cashiers who are rude.
Although returning your stuff might be more of pain,
It beats walking through a parking lot in the heavy pouring rain.
And please remember to subscribe, share and like,
To get your packages by Christmas unless there’s a strike.
Well Impish appealed his “Naughty List” certification and asked for a hand count by Santa instead of a machine review. I’ve just received the review’s results so lets see what they have to say-
OUCH! I think that’s a little harsh! It is Christmas after all! Where’s the good will towards men (and the odd, ok very odd dragon)? I might have to appeal this one myself.
Joe Diffie – Leroy The Redneck Reindeer
Japan Gift Wrapping Hack Explained
Yes I know its Christmas time. Peace on Earth, Good Will toward men- even Liberals etc. ad nauseum. However the problem with great responses such as this is that they never come exactly when you want or need them to publishing wise. With Veteran’s Day just a month past and last week being the 75th Memorial of Pearl Harbor I felt it was important to call attention to this response to a prevalent undertone of attitude in our modern society.
Mike Rowe slams critic who calls American flag a “mere symbol”
Michael Gregory Rowe (born March 18, 1962) is an American actor primarily known as a television host and narrator. Known for his work on the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs and the CNN series Somebody’s Gotta Do It. Rowe has narrated programs on the Discovery Channel, The Science Channel and National Geographic Channel such as Deadliest Catch, How the Universe Works, and Shark Week. He has appeared on commercials for firms such as the Ford Motor Company. On Facebook he has 4+ million followers, where his frequent essays draw anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of “likes”. He’s served as a social activist on the causes of economic growth and job expansion as well. [He’s also unabashedly and unapologetically patriotic. – L.L.]
A few days back, former host of Dirty Jobs and national treasure Mike Rowe called schools that refuse to fly the American flag yet are happy to accept federal money hypocritical. He argued that such schools, pointing out Hampshire College in particular, benefit from taking students’ federal financial aid because it allows them to raise their tuition costs.
His responses stemmed from an event in which students at Hampshire College burned an American flag, resulting in the president removing all flags from campus. His opinions about Old Glory seemed to strike a nerve with one of his fans, and she thought it a sound idea to let him know about it, calling him “blindly patriotic”. We’re guessing she regrets it.
“How did you become so blindly patriotic? First of all, the college you were referencing in your rant about the American flag is a private college and doesn’t receive federal funding. However…the very essence of freedom in this country is our right to speak out against the flag, which is a mere symbol. If you take away that right, then we have lost all freedom. You really need to take a civics course, Mike Rowe. I used to like you; but, you have really become very annoying to me in recent years. I thought you were more intelligent. But, I guess appearances aren’t everything.”
I’ve never thought of myself as “blindly patriotic,” but I am a fan of the United States, the founding fathers, and the men and women who have served on my behalf. I also confess to feeling lucky to live here. Having said that, I think you’re correct about the flag; it’s only a symbol. So too is the Crucifix. And the middle finger. And the Swastika. And the compressed chunks of carbon that millions wear on their ring fingers as expressions of timeless love and eternal devotion.
It’s easy to make anything feel small and silly by reducing it to its chemical composition or its various component parts. But if you really believe our flag is nothing but a “mere symbol,” equally suitable for flying or burning, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable if the people you work with suddenly started coming to the office in pointy white hats fashioned from bedsheets? Would that be a problem for you? Or how about The Rainbow Flag, favored by the LGBTQ community? Would it be OK if people started burning that? If not, why not? I mean, it’s only a symbol, right?
Years ago, an artist named Andres Serrano presented a charming piece called “Immersion.” It consisted of a Crucifix, immersed in a glass of the artist’s urine. Amazingly, some people were offended. Christians, in particular. They just couldn’t see that Andres was using a symbol to express himself. Silly Christians. Interesting though, that Andres didn’t submerge Mohammed in the same glass. I wonder why that is?”
“The thing about “mere symbols” Susanne, is that they represent “mere ideas,” and “mere ideas” are the backbone of “mere humanity.” In the case of the flag, we’re talking about ideas that are wrapped into the Constitution – a document that separates us from every other country on the planet.
Mere ideas are the reason people fight and die. Mere ideas are the reason we’re allowed to speak freely, protest publicly, bear arms, and burn the very symbol that represents those very freedoms. I didn’t suggest that you or anyone else be denied your right to fly or burn whatever flag you wish. What I failed to do, is quietly accept behavior I don’t care for. Which, if I’m not mistaken, is the same compulsion that motivates others to publicly express themselves in whatever ways they choose.
As for Hampshire College, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. If you check the link I provided in my original post, you’ll see that several forms of federal funding are readily available to their students. Also, according to their site, you’ll notice that the flag is once again flying at full staff. I’ll take no credit for this, if you offer no blame. Deal?
Finally, regarding my overall annoyance, you’re correct, and you’re not alone. I’ve been annoying people for years now. Just ask my mother. And yes, I too, once thought I was more intelligent than I actually am. I still remember the disappointment when the test results come back.
Anyway, thanks for your comments, Susanne. I do hope you’ll stick around.
Well done Mike! Semper Fi. ‘Nuff said right there.