Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday, 11/22

Am I missing out on something by not eating stuffing?

A couple of years ago on our “Tuesday Topic” we asked listeners about the food they most enjoy on Thanksgiving. And I have to admit I was a little surprised when the winner was stuffing. Not turkey, not pumpkin pie, my two favorites, but stuffing.

Really?

I think this proves a couple of things, one being that it's further evidence I'm not like other human beings. I've never liked stuffing, and I don't know that I ever will. I don't know why; I like many of the ingredients that go into stuffing. But I guess I've just never liked the overall end result, per se, of stuffing. I don't know if it's the flavor, the texture, or the fact that it's usually shoved up a turkey's butt to cook. For whatever reason, I personally don't like stuffing.

But I know I'm in the minority here. I know that every other single person with whom I traditionally share my Thanksgiving dinner adores the dish. And they're probably happy I don't like it. After all, it just means more for them. From the sounds of it, I'm guessing this would also get replayed in any other households where there are a bunch of stuffing lovers and one naysayer. The people who love the dish—the vast, vast majority of people—get a little more because there's one person who, for whatever rational or (ahem) irrational reason doesn't like it.

You know...like at any Thanksgiving dinner where I'm a guest. Unless, of course, someone figured out a way to make it with chocolate. Then, just maybe, I might consider it.

Maybe.

8-)

On that note, I hope that you and everyone with whom you might celebrate has a great day tomorrow. There won't be another one of these until Monday, although I will be on the air Friday should you find yourself so insanely bored that you don't have anything else to do.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday, 11/21

Who knew so many people also miss Big Lots?

After writing yesterday's entry about how I've missed the store since it closed its doors in Marquette a couple of years ago, I was stunned by the batch of e-mails I received from people who said that they too missed wandering around its aisles, looking at some merchandise that no one in their right mind would like while at the same time stumbling across the occasional hidden treasure tucked in the shelves.

Wow.

Now, I'm sure the e-mails I received are not a proper sample size, and may just reflect the fact that people with a skewed outlook on things read this (or are at least driven to send me notes). But the outpouring of affection I received about the store makes me wonder why it pulled up stakes in Marquette in the first place. I mean, I know it closed because it “lost” its lease (corporate-speak for “they just didn't want to be here any more”), but obviously there were people who enjoyed going there. And if you extrapolate the number of people who sent me notes, factor it into how many people read this on a daily basis, and then extrapolate that number into the current population of Marquette County...

Well, actually, I have no idea what that number would be, or even if it would mean anything. But it just seems to me that the store, while here, banked a lot of goodwill among the people who visited it. At least, that's what I inferred by reading the e-mails I received yesterday.

Thanks for sending them along. Now, Big Lots, if you ever wanted to come back into the market, I know a group of people who would be there waiting for the doors to open!

8-)

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Before I go I have to do one thing, and that's wish the Most Amazing Woman in the World a happy birthday! That's right; it's Loraine's big day today, and while she's luxuriating in a day off of work (she's one of those lucky people who gets their birthday as a paid day off), and enjoying the birthday cookies I made for her last night (pecan chocolate chip, if anyone's curious), I just wanna make sure that this is another of the 12 or 13 ways in which I'll be wishing her a great day. I know I write in here all the time about the incredible stuff she does and about how she helps makes me a better person, and I appreciate the fact that you allow me to do so. I can't imagine what life would be like without her, and I'm just overjoyed that I get to celebrate it with her.

So happy birthday, Loraine!!!!!!!!!!

Hugs, kisses, and all that good stuff,



Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday, 11/20

Don't laugh, but I really kinda miss Big Lots.

I know; I don't necessarily seem like the Big Lots kind of guy, do I? And I really wasn't. After all, when the store was open in Marquette I would only visit it once or twice a year (so yes, I'm to blame for it closing two years ago, I guess). But it was around this time of the year that I'd pop in, and it was probably not for the reason you'd think. I didn't like to go to Big Lots for their collection of off-brand merchandise and factory seconds, or for their overly fluorescent lighting.

Nope—I liked to go to Big Lots because you would've found that the store had somehow amassed this amazing collection of interesting foods from around the world. Over the years I'd picked up blackberry jam from Turkey, cheese gnocchi from Italy, and a package of raspberry filled chocolate cookies from Poland, just a few of the many treats I found there.

And that's why I'm sad they closed their doors and never looked back.

Aside from the oddities of international food you could've picked up at the store I can also vouch for another service provided by Big Lots when it was around. If you had found yourself in need of a small, shall we say, out of the ordinary gift for an upcoming holiday season you could've found one while looking through the food shelves of Big Lots. Not only did they have a bunch of snacks and treats from around the world, but you could always find something weird from here in the USA, as well.

Case in point? A couple of years ago I needed a small gift that cried “strange”, and I found it at Big Lots? What was that gift, the one that cried “strange”? How about Elvis Presley flavored hot chocolate. That’s not to say the hot chocolate was flavored like Elvis Presley which, if I had to guess, would taste vaguely of fried banana sandwiches and painkillers. Nope; it actually had different flavors you’d expect from hot chocolate, flavors like mint & caramel. But just the fact that you could get “Elvis Presley” brand flavored hot chocolate at a store (at least at a store someplace outside of Memphis, where everything has Elvis’ picture on it) was one of the prime reasons why I would visit Big Lots once or twice a year.

And that's why, especially this time of the year, I kinda miss it.



Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday, 11/17

I'm ready for summer to come back.

Yes, I know we just finished summer (or “summer”, as some of us refer to it, seeing as how this year we really didn't have much of one), but I'm more than ready for it to come back. The sunless, cold, snow-filled days of yuck that we've experienced pretty much the entire month of November have pegged the “blah” meter up past 100, and the fact that we still have months of this to go is almost enough to make one throw up their hands.

Almost.

So, because it's (almost) the weekend and because I refuse to give up without fighting the good fight, here are some pictures, taken during this past “summer”, that have two things in them—sun, and color. In fact, more color than we'll probably see any time soon-



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And, just to show almost every single color seemingly known to humanity...



I don't know if they helped, but at least it gives one hope, right? Have yourself a great weekend, and remember—just four or five months before we see color again!

8-)


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday, 11/16

I think I have my list of cookies set.

As those of you who have reading these forever know, Christmas cookies are a big deal in the Koski household. I make a crapload of them at home and then give most of them away to family and friends, then repeat the whole thing over again when I go over to my parents and make most of THEIR cookies for the holidays.

What can I say? I'm a masochist.

Whenever I sit down to make the ones I give away, I always have to consider it from two different directions. I need to make four or five cookies that I always make—the “traditional” cookies. These are the ones I've made forever, the ones that would get a “why didn't you make?” if I ever decided not to make them. So I know that every year I'm going to make those particular cookies. But I always save a slot for a cookie I've never tried before. While I enjoy making the “traditional” cookies, I also enjoy challenging myself just a little. So each year around this time marks a quest to figure out something different, something out of the ordinary, that I can add along with all the “traditional” cookies.

This year's entry? Lemon rosemary cookies.

Yes, I made cookies with rosemary in them. No, they didn't suck. In fact, I made a test batch for a friend and she said, and I quote, they're “perfectly light and airy cookies with just the right amount of sweet, and the lemon flavor and the rosemary sends it over the top”. And I have to admit, she's right. There's something very addicting about them, despite the fact that they're basically just shortbread cookies with fresh lemon rind and fresh rosemary (but not too much fresh rosemary) added in. I can understand why people might look askew at cookies with rosemary in them; after all, I usually use rosemary on things like pork chops & chicken. But in these cookies?

Yum. And there was an added bonus in that I had to buy a lemon to get the rind while making the cookies. So when I was done with the lemon I juiced it, made myself some lemonade, and you know what I threw in it as an added flavor boost?

Why, rosemary, of course.

I'll be interested to see how the cookies go over with the people who receive them this year. While I realize they're not as “traditional” as the sugar cookies, the chocolate cherry bombs I make, or the Grandma Cookies everyone goes gaga over, I'm hopeful these experiments hit the spot. And who knows—if enough people like them?

Maybe they'll get added to the rotation every year.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday, 11/15

They can't do this to Loraine!

Well, technically, “they” can, because in this case the “they” is the Marquette County District Court and the “this” is jury duty. That's right; my (much) better half gets to be part of a participatory democracy for up to three different Tuesdays in December, and I feel her pain. Those of you who have read this for a while may recall two or three Decembers ago when I had the exact same call to duty, except mine was for SIX different days during the month.

I was even paid $1.89 (seriously) for the rearranging of my entire month.

While neither Loraine or I balk at doing our civic duty, I find it kind of funny that both of us have gotten called to the same court for the exact same month. I'm not a mathematician (after all, we don't want heads exploding anywhere, do we?), but I would have to think that the odds that both members of a couple getting jury duty during the exact same month of the year would be, well, small. My pea brain says it should be 24 to 1; I'm sure someone out there can calculate them much better than can I, so feel free.

Still, it is what it is. I know when I had to clear six days during the busiest month of the year a few years ago I spent many a night or weekend day at the station, working ahead in case whatever case was coming up actually went to trial. Five out of the six days I was on jury duty the trial was called off; on the sixth, I showed up early that morning and found out a settlement had been reached a few hours before. Still, they did pay me mileage—that $1.89 I previously mentioned—because I had to walk the six blocks from my apartment to the court house.

So the month of schedule disruption wasn't a total waste. I think I bought a bottle of Pepsi with the money.

My hope is that Loraine calls the day before each of her three scheduled dates, and is told that she doesn't need to show up. That's my hope, and given the experience I had a few years ago, that's the assumption we're working on. Hopefully, she'll be able to slide through the month with minimal disruptions, and then we'll both be off the hook for jury duty for the foreseeable future.

Or until next December Whichever comes first. Wish us luck.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday, 11/14

I don’t get it myself, but that’s okay, because everyone else seems to.

The “it” to which I’m referring is, of course, the Yooper national holiday that starts tomorrow. I myself have never gone hunting and I’m guessing I never will, but I realize that puts me in a minority here in the U.P. And that’s all right; I’ve pretty much made a life of being a little out of the ordinary. So to everyone who IS heading out tonight or tomorrow, I wish you the best of luck. I also hope you stay warm, hangover free, and come home both safe and facial hair-free.

And in the spirit of the holiday, here’s something I wrote last century (no, really, I wrote it last century) and stick up here just about every year on this day. But before I get to that, I do have to mention that today my favorite newborn in the world becomes my favorite 1-year old in the world, as my nephew Abel celebrates his first ever birthday. So happy birthday, Abel. I'm sure this will be your best one ever!


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“’Twas the Night Before Deer Camp”,
by Jimmy Koski, grade 3.

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE DEER SEASON
AND ALL THROUGH THE CAMP
HUNTERS WERE UNLOADED BEER CRATES
AND LIGHTING UP LAMPS

THE RIFLES THEY HUNG
IN THE PICKUP WITH CARE
IN HOPES THAT A 10-POINTER
SOON WOULD BE THERE

I IN MY ORANGE
MY BUDDY IN GREEN
SAT DOWN TO A CRIBBAGE GAME
THE BIGGEST EVER SEEN

WE PLAYED THROUGH THE NIGHT
AND EMPTIED THOSE CRATES
BUT MORNING SOON CAME
WE DIDN’T WANT TO BE LATE

WE SET OUT AT SUNRISE
AT DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT
PUT DOWN A BIG BAIT PILE
IN HOPES THAT BAMBI WOULD BITE

WE SAT AND WE WAITED
AND WAITED SOME MORE
I KEPT MY EYES OPEN
MY BUDDY STARTED TO SNORE

WHEN TO MY SURPRISE
STANDING RIGHT BY A TREE
WAS A BIG 12-POINT BUCK
MY PANTS I DID...WELL, NEVER MIND ABOUT THAT

I BROUGHT UP MY RIFLE
I LINED UP THE DEER
THEN MY BUDDY WOKE UP AND YELLED
“HEY--WHERE’S THE BEER?”

THE BUCK RAN AWAY
I LOWERED MY GUN
MY BUDDY JUST LAUGHED
SAID “LET’S HAVE SOME FUN”

WE WENT BACK TO DEER CAMP
AND HAD US A BALL
SO LET ME SAY THIS--
GOOD LUCK DEER HUNTING TO ALL...

(copyright 1999)