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no time for love, dr. jones: thanksgiving advice, year two

I just realized that Thanksgiving is three days away. I made a mental note to myself last week to repeat the quite successful Thanksgiving advice column from last year. Note to self: notes to self often go unremembered. I was only reminded of said idea when I did a Google search on my site for Thanksgiving. As I was looking for turkey posts to repeat. So, anyhow, once again I open up the blog lines for your pressing Thanskgiving questions. Last year we covered such topics as football, Godzilla, commies, valium and setting grandmas on fire. [commence with the exact repeat of last year's post]

taf.gifBecause I am a selfless and giving human being, and because I am wise beyond my years and becaus I really have nothing else to do the rest of the day or night except avoid cleaning the house, I have decided to devote my time to you, in order that your Thanksgiving may be the best Thanksgiving possible.

I am opening up the phone lines (ok, comment lines) for your Thanksgiving questions. Ok, so I don't know how to baste a turkey and I'm not sure what side of the dish your salad fork goes on, but I am chock full of insight and knowledge when it comes to all things family.

If you have any questions about spending time with relatives - for instance, Is it polite to use grandpa's wheelchair to carry the dirty dishes into the kitchen, or Is it ok to have sex in the coat room - just ask away. I can deal with any issues concerning keeping the family peace and, conversely, adding some spice to your Thanksgiving meal (i.e, with inappropriate prayers of thanks). I also advise on how to get through a meal that tastes like crap and how to avoid taking part in the clean up activities.

The doctor is in.

Update: Forgot to mention that all questions will be answered tomorrow morning. Update again: The first answers are up!


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Michele is fielding Thanksgiving questions. Trust us on this: Do exactly what she says. You won't regret it. Or at least if you do, you'll have something very entertaining to write about for the rest of us. As it happens,... [Read More]


I have to go to my girlfriend's sister's in-laws' house for some huge get-together. It's in Boca Raton, half of the people are successful real estate agents and I harbor secret resentment for rich people. Her parents don't like me and I don't like them. Come to think of it, I'm not sure how much I like my girlfriend right now.

What should I wear?

hubris...wear something dirty and smelly so you don't have to go inside.

my question:
is it wrong to dump someone because they've let themselves go and the thought of physical intimacy with them is not arousing, exciting...or all that intimate now that I think about it.

Shank, I'm dealing with Thanksgiving related questions here only. Are you going to dump her on Thanksgiving? Because then I could answer it if you phrased it in such a way.

well, if it's the only way I can get the advice, then throw the thanksgiving in there. I just wanted to bounce it off someone. you know, like a moral tuning fork that my morals can hum along with and see what it sounds like.

Blowing off the family Thanksgiving feast in favor of Christmas shopping at K-Mart. Mortal or venial sin?

It's not THIS Thanksgiving, but I do have a question.

I live in Central NJ. My parents live over near the Shore, and my in-laws and wife's aunt and uncle live in North Jersey.

Until recently, the T-day celebration moved around from house to house. However, my in-laws have let their house go (imagine piles of junk with a path through it EVERYWHERE). For several years, her aunt and uncle were expected to hold all of the North Jersey events. Now they're refusing, on the grounds that they shouldn't have to hold all of the holidays.

My parents have been very good about this situation, and have alternated with us holding T-day for the whole group (about 13 total). However, they're starting to make noises that they're tired of hosting MY in-laws and related family.

It's looking like we'll be stuck holding T-day forever because of my in-laws messy habits and my wife's aunt's refusal to accept it and hold holidays. We're willing to hold the holiday, but not EVERY year for the crowd.

Any thoughts? I'm tempted to refuse everybody next year and have turkey sandwiches at home with my wife.

Let's say that you murdered a turkey in cold blood. It was sleeping with your wife or it stole your wallet, or maybe you had a business partnership with it and they tried to skip to Rio with your money.

Can you rightfully murder that turkey and serve it as a Thanksgiving centerpiece without facing jail time? After all, it's a turkey, right?

Clerks reference, allways more gooder.

red or white?

Why is Thanksgiving the only time of year that anybody serves cranberry sauce?

I'll tie the Thanksgiving/intimacy thing together for you. Q. Knowing one's wife is going to be stressed out in preparation for the big gathering at our house, what time-frame needs to be bracketed out for "no I'm too tired we've got too much to do don't even think about it." I'm thinking if I catch her Wednesday morning before she's fully awake, and then if I do enough dishes to build up some good will, Friday night is also possible. What do you think?

I recommend a nice Pinot Noire...and a beer.

The situation:

In-laws refuse to hold Thanksgiving because mother-in-law is OCD (undiagnosed) and has so much shit lying all over the house it would take too much effort (on her part) to clean. Oh yeah, the woman can't cook to save her life either.

Brother-in-law refuses to eat anything except hot pockets, boiled hot dogs, corned beef hash, dinty moore stew and white toast.

Mother is never wrong, is insecure, resentful, and dominates every conversation (especially if she knows nothing about what is being discussed).

Wife inherited her cooking prowess from her mother. She's sweet, sassy, and mine-all-mine but she finds brownies from a box challenging.

Never know if I'm cooking for 20 or 10 because traveling relatives won't commit until the last minute.

I have 4 dogs, Grandma has to bring her dog, and my Aunt and Uncle have asked if they can bring their dog along. Both sets of parents have expressed guilt for leaving theirs home. Next year the dogs may very well outnumber the homo-sapiens.

Grandma (in-law) claims that whiskey helps the tickle in her throat.

So, my question... If a turkey loaded with C4 detonates and nobody is around to hear it, would I be eligible for the death penalty in Pennsylvania?

Is it okay to host a turkey-less Thanksgiving?

One of these years, I'd like to host Thanksgiving, and I hate cooking turkey. Besides, my husband is a vegetarian. An all-vegetarian thanksgiving? If we've got enough alcohol, do you think that would be okay? We brew our own beer.

My sister and brother and their spouses are wine snobs... my wife and I typically drink box wine 'cus we (err... after just getting an elbow in the ribs), I mean, I drink like a fish... do fish really drink? don't think they do unless you call the water going through the gills "drinking"... so I drink like a fish has water going through its gills... that doesn't really roll of the tongue, does it?

Where was I? Oh yeah, so my family always buys wine that oz. per oz. I really don't want to pay "my share" of the cost. How do a tactifully bow out of the wine-of-the-hour club?

If I may(in deferance to our fine hostess) suggest a solution to JFH:just show up hammered already,and ask where thay keep the bourbon.

I want oyster stuffing. I like oyster stuffing. Nobody else likes oyster stuffing but me, so we never have oyster stuffing. I'm the only person in the house that has a job. So how come we can't have oyster stuffing?

Is it wrong to prefer flying home 3000 miles for Christmas instead of Thanksgiving even though this cuts down on seeing family?

I should also stipulate that the earliest I can ever get out of work for Thanksgiving is Tuesday and I have way more flexibility during Christmas. I also make one or two trips home a year in the summer, depending on family events.

What exactly are Tofurkey and "NoTurkey"??

they might be suitable alternatives for Meep's vegetarian husband.....

Why is it that a holiday that was intended as a traditionalist backlash against the Industrial Revolution is now often a banquet of industrially-prepared foods such as factory-made pumpkin pies, mass-produced McCormick's gravy packets, instant mashed potato mixes, pre-sliced pre-roasted quick-heat turkey dinners, and corporate juggernaut colas to wash it all down with?

Should Drew Henson or Vinny Testaverde start against the Bears on Thanksgiving Day?

Does anyone miss that mutant 6-legged turkey that Madden used to award players?

Ok, ok, real question this time: what's a good wine with turkey?

is it rude to make fun of your relatives when they're sitting at the table with you?

is it rude to make fun of your relatives when they're sitting at the table with you?

It is if that relative is YOUR SISTER!

But it's ok if it's Donny. Hey, we can spend Thanksgiving saying "shut the fuck up, Donny!"

Oh my...

I want home videos of all your Thanksgivings!

Priceless. :-)

Oh...one moderately related Thanksgiving question... or could be Christmas

I want to show my ex-husband how thankful I am he is an EX and FINALLY has agreed to settle the years of back child support. NOW maybe he'll leave the alcoholics halfway house where he's been hiding for the last several years pretending he can only make $7/hr when he used to make a six figure salary.

Do I send him a case of bourbon or vodka?

OK, here's one. How do I spend the entire holiday in a tiny NYC apartment with my brother and SIL who I have disowned and vice-versa?

Has anyone ever actually made a Turducken or is it just one of those urban legends?

Also, why do people eat cranberries out of cans when they're so much yummier when they're real?

Shawn -

Wine with turkey - a few thoughts:

If you like red, drink red, even though it is (mostly) white meat. I would recommend pinot noir, or perhaps a zinfandel (not "white zinfandel" however). Cabernets, merlots and syrah (shiraz) are a bit too much for this bird, though.

If you like white, then you have lots of options. A chardonnay (but not a "buttery" one) or a good riesling will usually do the trick. I am also a sauvignon blanc fan - try one from New Zealand. Avoid pinot grigio.

My take on the Cranberry Wars

I've lived in Asia (Shanghai) for the past 10 years havent been to NY for Christmas with my 6 sisters for 4 years. My Mother just moved back to NY from AZ after 20 years to be with the grandkids, so I would usually see her during Chinese New Year in AZ where it was warm and sunny.

Heres the problem: 5 out of 6 of my Sisters (all older) are full-blown dimmy-moonbats. They get their info from Dan Rather, the NY Times, and Moveon.org. Otherwise we are all very close once I ignore the tinfoil hats. How do I survive a week in the same house without getting into a huge fight?
I see them so rarely I would hate for that to happen.


Drew Henson. Please let it be Drew Henson.
SEP has good wine choices- I like a good riesling, myself. Chateau Saint Michelle is one.

Tofurkey just plain sucks (or NotTurkey, or FauxFu, or whatever it was). We tried this a couple years ago. It creeps out the vegetarians because the texture is too like meat, and the meat eaters are displeased because it doesn't really taste anything like meat. Pissing off all parties involved doesn't seem smart.

Pasta and veggie dishes (beans, rice, whatever) work better for us, because they're not pretending to be meat. You get what you see. And one can make vegan versions of cakes, pies, etc. (no one has yet caught me out on this... though I have never made an acceptable vegan cheesecake. That will be my Mount Everest).

By the way, your description of yourself as a selfless human being... so way off base. You're SO self. You've got a whole shelf full of self. You've got self to spare. We're talking a self-and-a-half!

"Has anyone ever actually made a Turducken or is it just one of those urban legends?"

A good friend who is a chef made that for his family last year. Though they tend to go a bit out of the ordinary for Thanksgiving. In years past they have fried their turkey and also bar-ba-qued it(hey we're in San Diego, my first year here we ate OUTSIDE)

Hopefully this is not too late to ask the good doctor. I will be heading over to my brother's house for the feast. My brother in law just got out of jail and will be there. If he starts out ragging on my beloved Cowboys and their pitiful record, would it be appropriate to buy him soap on a rope for Christmas?