Being Thankful for Thanksgiving Specials

Thanksgiving always seems to be a bit of a no-man’s land holiday. Wedged between the “cool kids’” Halloween and the consumer-palooza that is Christmas, Thanksgiving in the United States is usually just a day to eat food and get a preview for how uncomfortable Christmas dinner with these same people will be in three weeks. At least once upon a time my family had a “let’s just get Chinese food” tradition, but lamentably that too seems to be a faded memory…

Because of this rather nebulous state, Thanksgiving doesn’t tend to have big holiday specials or events. Even the Thanksgiving Day Parade, once a staple of the holiday, has become a reason for celebrities to hock their latest projects and it has mostly been taken over by Christmas as well, after all everyone waits to see Santa at the end of it.

Despite this, some great Thanksgiving episodes of TV shows have been made. I took a moment to list a few of my very favorites:

Seinfeld: The Mom and Pop Store

The Gang at Tim Whatley’s Pre-Thanksgiving Day Party. Though Jerry Crashed…

Following the Seinfeld rules of “no learning and no hugging” this episode takes place with Thanksgiving as kind of a backdrop, without the episode being about anyone being thankful or hitting anyone in the feels.   Elaine wins her boss, Mr. Pitt, the opportunity to hold one of the ropes of the Woody Woodpecker balloon in the Macy’s Parade. The gang goes to Tim Whatley’s party to view the parade and the trophy she won along with the tickets falls out the window and pops the balloon. This episode also contains the Jon Voight car and Jerry sneaking into Whatley’s party to get dental advice (he wasn’t invited because he’s an instigator). The namesake comes from Kramer’s business with a shoe repair shop he accidentally gets shut down for code violations. The episode ends with a great Midnight Cowboy.

Frasier: A Very Lilith Thanksgiving

That turkey mysteriously vanishes while Niles is cooking it later this episode…

One of my favorite episodes of this venerable show. Frasier and his ex-wife Lilith are desperate to get their son Frederick accepted into the prestigious Marbury Academy. The dean of admissions can only interview them briefly just before Thanksgiving and hilarity ensues. Frasier was always at its best when it was played as a stage farce and this is that quality perfected. Frasier and Lilith obsess over what they said in the interview, make multiple, increasingly cringe-worthy visits to the dean (one of which includes mention of Golda Meir’s little known relative “Oscar”), steal the Crane family turkey, and cause a huge fight in the Dean’s family. In typical sitcom fashion everything works out of course, though in typical Frasier fashion not like anyone expects.

Frasier: The Apparent Trap

Are they getting remarried for real? Frasier’s face says it all…
“What’s this joyous news I hear?”

Yes there are TWO episodes of Frasier and yes they both have Lilith in them, and it has nothing to do with my celebrity crush on Bebe Neuwirth. In this episode Lilith and Frederick end up stuck in Seattle for Thanksgiving and Frederick seems to be trying to maneuver his parents to get back together. Through more excellent farce setup, Frederick puts the seeds of this concept into each of his parents’ minds, and both Frasier and Lilith seek council (Frasier from Martin, Lilith from Niles) about what to do. The absolute discomfort the two of them feel just before they discover that Frederick has been setting them up is gloriously funny. This episode also has some of my favorite all-time Frasier quotes: Frasier (upon hearing Lilith’s date caught something from lab rats): “Now, nobody ever got anything from a rat that wasn’t resolved in a day or two;” Martin (Instructed to find a subtle way to tell Frasier if he think Lilith is coming on to him): “Run for your life!” and Niles (after hearing from Frederick that Frasier and Lilith are getting remarried, in an absolutely flawless strained line reading): “What’s this joyous news I hear?” It is family holiday anxiety to the extreme.

Spin City: The Competition

The fun starts at 4:00 in…

The City Council challenges Mike and the Mayor’s office to a competition to see who can feed the most homeless people turkey dinners (Mike: “Did she just question….my stones?”). The loser has to perform a song at a press event. During some great, typical sitcom setup Mike and crew are Daffy Duck’d into picking the worse shelter, have to improvise their cooking, and deal with personal issues, including James’ girlfriend (played by Jennifer Garner) coming to visit him from home. The absolute payoff of this episode comes after the credits, when Mike and the Mayor’s office have to sing “So Long Farewell” from The Sound of Music at a press event, having lost the bet. Their deadpan delivery of this song is one of the funniest events in the show’s run.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Dressing

The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future (aka “Hustlin’ Tom Turkey”)

Yes this absurdist show had a Thanksgiving episode, and it’s a great one. The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future returns in a new “sleek turkey body” interrupting the Aqua Teens’ Thanksgiving dinner with Carl (he stayed outside for fear of catching “some disease,” though his roll was wet…). During typical Aqua Teens nonsense the story told by TCGoCPftF’s story is disassembled and he’s discovered to be a malfunctioning “Hustlin’ Tom Turkey.” Though apparently his old sock is still laser-guided… The story ends as dozens of Tom Turkey descend on the Aqua Teens’ home only to be sent next door to Carl’s where they unleash laser-guided sock vengeance upon him for eating a turkey leg. It’s ridiculous, hilarious, and contains a burned taco pie. What else could we want?

BONUS! Addams Family Values

As a bonus I have to bring up Addams Family Values. Not only is this one of the rare sequels superior to the original film, but it also has one of my favorite Thanksgiving moments in media history. Sure a lot of people point to other movies as “Thanksgiving Movies” (Sorry, I don’t like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…) but how many of those have an original Thanksgiving play including a song?! Not just any song but a great song.  Yes, a turkey just yells at the audience to “Eat ME!”

Thanksgiving: Take a Break

be thankful
Photo by

This Thanksgiving, I found myself in more of a holiday mood than I’ve experienced in years. I decided this week’s post would be simple, and I hope you enjoy it.

A few weeks ago, I became a little more sensitive to whining and complaining. I really started to listen to people and what they said. It surprised me how much complaining we all do every day. So, I decided to try to stop complaining and focus on – you guessed it – what I was thankful for. I decided I would do a Thanksgiving Day resolution, and since Thursday, I am complaining less and enjoying what I have.

Here are the things I’m thankful for, and as we approach the Christmas/holiday season, I hope this finds you a little nicer and in better spirits. The holidays are stressful and busy, but let’s not forget what’s really important.

1. Friends and family. I combine these because my friends are very much my family as well. Each day, I am surrounded by amazing people who try their best to work hard and support others. For the most part, everyone is happy and healthy.

2. Work. Let’s face it: no one loves to work all the time, but I do enjoy working and I’m happy to have a job that allowed me five days off this Thanksgiving. I so needed it. I’m thankful to my company and that I have a good job, working with even better people.

3. My home. Home is a very sacred place and should be the one place you can hide from the world if needed. It should be an escape, and I’m thankful to have a home that is comfortable and warm.

4. My car. I love my Z for its speed and hotness, but it also gets me where I need to go. I drive that little car all over the place, and it hangs in there. There are days I take out my stress on it, and it keeps up with me.

5. Love, nature and beauty. Love keeps us going in the darkest times, and I feel loved by many. It is truly the greatest emotion to have, so be sure to spread some this holiday season. Also, if you struggle with the grayness and dreariness of the weather, keep fresh flowers in the house. It’ll help. Nature is truly beautiful, and when you stop to smell the roses (so to speak) you’ll be surprised how much better you feel.

Feel free to share what you’re thankful for in the comments section, and here’s to a happy holiday season!

An Unlikely Thanksgiving Treat

Let’s face it, sequels are lame.  They either do the exact same thing as the first film, only less effectively, or they do something completely different and lose all of what made their progenitor worthy of continuance.

Every now and then, however, a sequel can surprise you and sometimes even surpass the original.  A couple of famous, celebrated examples are Aliens and Terminator 2; two Jim Cameron films that built on what the original did and included new elements that added to their luster.  But then there are some less-well known films, where the original isn’t considered a classic, the sequel relatively forgotten, and, while both are actually fun movies, the sequel is by far the better.  In this particular case, I’m talking about Addams Family Values.

The original live-action Addams Family film starring Raoul Julia, Angelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, and a very young Christina Ricci, was a fun little caper film.  Well-acted and entertaining.  Addams Family Values is far zanier.  It’s like the best episode of your favorite cartoon show, big laughs, satisfying stories, priceless moments.  The dark humor is spot-on, every actor is terrific (bringing great characters to the sequel are Joan Cusack as a psychotic black widow, with Peter MacNicol  and Christine Baranski as two sociopathically happy camp counselors, and you’ll even spot Tony Shaloub in there if you look carefully…) and still featuring all the actors from the first returning to their original roles.

It’s goofy, dark, simple, and damned entertaining.  I’ve seen it dozens of times and laugh all the way through it.

So why am I posting this on the day before Thanksgiving?  Because it’s the only movie I actually like (sorry but Planes, Trains, and Automobiles isn’t entertaining to me at all…) that has a memorable Thanksgiving theme and the ONLY Thanksgiving song I know.  The Thanksgiving song is one of my favorite movie musical moments.  It sounds ridiculous but it’s true.  Doubt me?  Well here it is!

And for the great full Thanksgiving play:

Happy Thanksgiving from RevPub!

Thanksgiving: The Little Things

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. – Robert Brault

Recently, my amazing grandmother messaged me and moved our family’s Thanksgiving to the Sunday after. At first, I couldn’t believe what was happening…I don’t have to go to two Thanksgivings in one day? Has the world come to an end?

It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it is. I talked with people all week about their plans, and I heard, “I’m driving to Illinois, Ohio, this city and that. One day here, one day there.” And I realized her very small gesture actually meant a great deal.

After 15 years of having two Thanksgivings a day, and before that, three or four in two days, it’s so nice to know we can go to one and relax. My grandmother gets it.

Me with my grandmother

As I listened to everyone explain where they were going or how many people they were hosting, I heard the truth. The holidays stress people the hell out. Is that what we really want to remember in 20 years. Is that what matters?

Families should be more flexible and understanding. After all, is it not our families who are supposed to be that way no matter what? Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to love us unconditionally and support us through life?

Don’t Have Traditions for the Sake of Having Them

Too often families gripe and moan about not celebrating on that day. “It’s not the same…but it’s Thanksgiving…,” and they whine and whine. Thanksgiving is whatever day you schedule it. The whole purpose of the holiday is to spend time with people who care about and show thanks for what we have. And yes, I believe we can do that every day of the year. Thanksgiving is just to make sure we do it.

Let’s talk about food. Not everyone eats the same thing, so why should an entire family cater to a couple of people? Shouldn’t we all compromise and find a solution? Thankfully, my family is very diverse, so we have lots of options and favorites. We try new recipes and all pitch in.

If you have more than a few people who want to see, say an average of 10 people, consider rotating who travels where, maybe change the day of the feast, or throw in the cooking towel and go to a restaurant. You don’t have to have turkey and dressing. In fact, I’m having Chinese soon. And it will be a Thanksgiving celebration because I will eat a lot of good food and enjoy even better company.

So, this year I thank my grandmother, who truly gets the spirit of the season. She made a very small decision that meant a great deal – she just wanted everyone to be able to attend and bring a dish. Consider doing the same for the people you care about – you may help stop some madness, too.

Story of the Month: Brain Breaks


In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, we at RevPub decided to do a special post about something we are very thankful for: the brain.

The brain doesn’t get nearly enough love. We tend to just expect it to work well all the time, and when it doesn’t, we think what the hell? Sometimes, the brain needs a reboot — just like our phones and computers. It’s these moments that make us appreciate the power of our brain. It’s these moments that make for some really awesome (and funny) stories.

10 Epically Stupid Things We’ve Done When Our Brain Breaks:

(10-6 are by Raven and 5-1 are by James)

10.) I have put my hoodie on backwards several times. And I mean hood full-over-my-face, and I ask myself every time, “Why is it so dark?!” and am really confused. I’ve even tried walking a couple times — probably looking like a mummy.

9.) One night when I got home from work, I got out of the car and walked up to my backdoor. It was locked, so I grabbed my car keypad and pushed the unlock button. And again and again, but the door wouldn’t unlock! Turns out, you need a KEY to unlock a deadbolt, not the car keypad…

8.) And one morning at work, I walked up to the elevator and swiped my key card in front of the buttons. After a few swipes and mentally stomping my foot, I realized what I was doing and pushed the button. (I’ll only admit to doing that once, the others I deny).

7.) For the girls out there: The last time I dyed my hair, I mixed the conditioner in the solution instead of the color. I even put it all over my hair until I realized I’d mixed the wrong thing. I couldn’t believe how thick the color solution was and it smelled great! I basically deep conditioned with chemicals for 15 minutes.

6.) Just last week at about 6 p.m., I was talking with a friend and getting ready to leave work. So, naturally I grabbed my keys and sunglasses. I put my sunglasses on top of my head, talked with her for 20 minutes, and headed outside. The moment I stepped outside I pulled my sunglasses down, and it got really dark fast! Because it was night.

5.) Not just once, but SEVERAL times I have washed my face with my glasses on. It’s something I will do again in the future too, I know it.

4.) Not only have I washed my face with my glasses on, but I have also gotten in the shower with my glasses on. Ever had rain get on your lenses? Try shampoo…

3.) I don’t know why this has suddenly been a trend, but three times in two weeks I found myself driving around with my emergency brake on. Including once on the interstate. As Mitch Hedburg said, “It doesn’t say much for me, but it really doesn’t say much for the emergency brake. More like the emergency make-the-car-smell-funny lever.”

2.) Recently while cleaning a bottle of super glue, I glued my eyelid shut. It was a brief moment of horror when I thought “I’ve gone blind!” which turned into “Oh good…I’ve glued my eye shut…” It took serious scrubbing with hot water to get it out. And I looked like Rocky at the end of his first fight with Apollo for a couple days. My only saving grace: I didn’t glue my eye shut with super glue IN my eye as well…  So not as stupid as it could be, although still pretty stupid.

1.) Once I had the brilliant idea of using Thai Chili oil in my olive oil do-it-yourself aerosol sprayer. I put the oil in it, pumped it up, and sprayed it on a pan thinking, “Why don’t they make chili oil spray like they do canola and olive oil spray? I’m a super-genius-man!” As my nose hairs burned out and my eyes watered, I realized why — because it’s pepper spray, you idiot. That’s why…

Off the Top of My Head #7: The Thanksgiving Bird is the Word

Off The Top of My Head

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving.  That usually means family, food, and time off work.  And typically when people say “the bird is great!” they’re referring to a roasted turkey they’re eagerly devouring along with various vegetables, pies, rolls, and sauces.  It’s as often as not a bald-faced lie too as, it turns out, turkey is apparently rather difficult to cook to perfection.  My dad usually has a good-turkey trick, but I’ve heard not everyone has as fool-proof a poultry plan.

This year, however, when I think of the “bird” from my 2012 Thanksgiving, I’ll think of THIS:


After our Thanksgiving food-fest, I went to a store for a major caffeine hit, and when I returned this guy was waiting at the house.  He swooped down in most magnificent fashion, then performed daring, aggressive leaps at a small bush at the terrified little birds hiding within (he didn’t get any of those).

He then flew to a nearby powerline (where he imposingly glared down at me) …

I took this pic and the above pic with my phone…which is why it’s as grainy as it is. Don’t believe the hype…phones aren’t cameras…

…and then to a pole where he regally surveyed the surrounding terrain for more accessible prey.  He stayed there long enough for me to run inside, grab my a55, and run back outside telephoto lens attached.  I was in such a rush I didn’t have time for the tripod set up.  Fortunately he lingered long enough for hi-drive speed to net me some good pictures!

Hawk HD


I was able to get over 150 photos of him perched up there before he locked eyes on something a hundred or so yards away and again dove impressively out of site to either another near miss or on top of a less-fortunate small animal than the birds hiding in the lucky shrub.

I learned a few things from this:

1.) There’s something unique about seeing a natural predator like this in the suburbs.

2.) Birds of prey are fearless and seem naturally pretentious, the whole time he looked at me it was as if he was thinking, “Look at that clumsy mammal down there staggering around me for no reason…”

3.) No matter how old you are if you see such a thing in action the only thing you say is, “Wooooow…”

I think he was a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, but can’t say for sure.

Seeing him definitely changed my definition of the Thanksgiving “bird” for a while!

To see more on strange avian holiday visitors see Story of the Month for November written by my lovely RevPub counterpart!

Next week will be a requested Illustrator tutorial, and the following week a return to Life-Lessons from Video Games!