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8 Things to Avoid and Discuss this Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving seems to have gotten intense the last decade or so. Granted it was always a time fraught with family wide arguments about politics or sports. Maybe someone brought a vegan home or a person of color to a family with beneath the surface racisms.

But this year has been a lot. I’ve written some articles lately about some difficult topics, and I’m exhausted. Even seemingly simple subjects like Marvel movies or Star Wars can lead to nonsensical rabbit hole lined with anti-cancel culture rhetoric straight from the Tucker’s mouth.

They put peanut butter in his mouth to simulate talking.

So I decided to come up of a list of subjects to avoid, and some ones that are fun to talk about.

Avoid on Thanksgiving: The Weather

Ah, weather. Once a staple of boring small talk now a veritable minefield of climate change denial. On one side you’ll have your exhausted, second wave feminism aunt that will in the same breath state that animals should be treated humanely, but then argue that J.K. Rowling is getting a bad wrap. How either one of these things link to this climate change argument is anyone’s guess. 

On the other hand, you’ll have your strict baptist uncle that says it’s impossible to have climate change because the earth is only 6,000 years old. He’ll then disagree about J.K. Rowling, because she introduced witchcraft. 

Discuss on Thanksgiving: Nicolas Cage

The man who haunts your dreams

Nicolas Cage is the unsung hero of modern cinema. His poor financial decisions have lead him to star in some of the most American films ever made. And sure, one of them is a heist movie about the Declaration of Independence. But for my money he’s at his most patriotic in this year’s Willy’s Wonderland.

Nicolas Cage does not have a single line in this B-Camp Horror Flick. Instead he alternates between beating up possessed, Chucky-Cheeseque animatronic animals, and playing intensely sexual games of pinball. This movie barely has a plot and it is wonderful. Nicolas Cage plays the ultimate stoic, hard-working everyman. He comes in to do a job, and by-golly, the job gets done.

So whether you talk about his more recent ludicousocities (I invented the word just now) or some of his classic Con Air/The Rock nonsense, he’s sure to be a hit during mash-potatoes time.

Avoid: James Bond

Having two different white males as fathers, James Bond was always on during family gatherings in my home. But, unfortunately even James Bond could be uneasy given that No Time to Die did something that no other Bond film dared to do: something different.

Now there are many ways this conversation could get ugly. Could be a race angle, where some people don’t like the idea of a black Bond. Or it could be from a sexist viewpoint, where they don’t believe a woman could be a spy.

Or a left-fielder could pop up, and someone could misinterpret what Daniel Craig said. But even if we aren’t bringing up the more recent stuff, the older films are filled with sexist or racist themes in the movies. So maybe avoid British spies altogether.

Discuss: Colin Robinson

For those of you that aren’t watching What We Do in the Shadows, available on Hulu and HBOMax, Colin Robinson is an energy vampire. An energy vampire feeds by boring their prey. That’s right, his character could literally bore someone to death, and he is one of the funniest characters on television right now.

Colin Robinson’s character goes to City Council meetings for fun. Some of his best moments include when he dates another energy vampire, played by SNL’s Vanessa Bayer. Bayer’s character depresses people with her comically sad stories rather than boring people. Together they go around their offices, boring and depressing people until everyone in the office is in a coma.

The rest of the cast is absolutely brilliant, but Mark Proksch’s Colin Robinson steals every scene he is in. Here’s a video of Mark Proksch pretending to be the world yoyo champion on regional news stations in the midwest.

Avoid: Rising Cost of Gas

Even though gas isn’t as high as some former Presidents seem to think, the prices are high right now. Mentioning this will lead to a long argument about Biden, which honestly, he will get plenty criticisms from all sides of the table.

But in any case, some will blame inflation on tax-cuts for the rich. Some will blame the rising gas costs on pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Some will blame Build Back Better. It doesn’t matter who’s making the argument: it will be heated and tangentially linked to other hot button issues.

Discuss: Hyenas

Earlier my partner showed me a video from Reddit that claims that Hyenas raised in captivity are extremely docile and affectionate. And it was very cute.

This lead me to learn some more things about Hyenas. Fun stuff like that Hyenas have eight inch long clitorises that can apparently get erections. Also Hyenas are more likely to have their food stolen from a lion, than scavenged from old lion kills. In any case, they are pretty cool.

Avoid: Cranberries in Stuffing

Look. I’ve had every damn variation on stuffing, and no one makes it better than Stouffers. But if you feel like you must make some dumb recipe your dead grandmother stole from Reader’s Digest: please leave out the damn cranberries. They are tart and distract from the otherwise savory goodness of shrunken, spiced, dehydrated-then rehydrated breadcrumbs.

Discuss: Where’s Grandma?

She’s ready to get turnt up.

No but really, grandma can’t be more than a few feet from her oxygen tank. I swear if she’s at the casino again smoking cigarettes I’m going to put a lo-jack on her Hover Round.

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Sonny Curtin

Sonny Curtin

Sonny Curtin is an absurdist, and not particularly tall. Their hair color changes frequently to avoid paternity suits.

Once Sonny watched a sea catch on fire. The reflections of the embers beamed off the Red Sea in the Saharan night, as they tried to remember a past long forgotten. They felt the heat from the flames as the wind swirled around them, thrusted up sand and seemed to reshape the dunes in front of their eyes. It was then that they knew. It was time to move on.