The4thDave’s Friday Five: Thanksgiving Week Edition (11/25/16)

Good evening, friends! I hope you are happily digesting your Thanksgiving meal and/or leftovers, as I am. I apologize for the lateness of the hour, but my family has some specific Thanksgiving Day (and day-after) traditions that needed to be taken care of.

So here’s a list of fun things for your weekend enjoyment:

  1. This short interview clip of Lin-Manuel Miranda: Obviously, Miranda and his hit musical Hamilton have generated some, let’s say, strong feelings lately. I just think it’s fantastic that when asked which celebrity turned Lin into a bit of a fanboy when he met him, this is his first response.
  2. The books of Rob Sheffield. Sheffield is a Rolling Stone writer whose work I have come to appreciate over the years. His first book, Love is a Mixtape, was brutal and gorgeous, as he used the mixtapes he made for his late wife as a framework for talking about their relationship and the aftermath of her death. His second book, Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, provided a fascinating look at how music shaped Sheffield’s formative years. His third book, Turn Around Bright Eyes, is my favorite, in which he describes the power of karaoke and the part it played in his meeting and wooing his second wife. I’m reading his latest, On Bowie, and I have to admit I’m struggling with it, but that’s more due to the subject matter than Sheffield’s writing. (I think I was naive about how sexualized Bowie’s early career really was. *shrug*)  Sheffield’s style is earnest and clever, full of subtle lyrical allusions and wordplay. If you are interested in reading some easily-accessible rock writing, Sheffield’s work is worth checking out, especially his first book.
  3. The4thDave Papers. Here’s where I plug my newest little project: an essay-by-essay examination and interaction with The Federalist Papers. My hope with each post is to summarize the main ideas in each essay (or group of essays, if there’s a continuous series), and address if those ideas have any application here at the end of 2016. I’m sorry to say I’m already a bit behind my desired output schedule, but I’m hoping the longer weekend will allow me a little time to get ahead. Currently, I have a couple of introductory essays and a post on Federalist #1. Look for Federalist #2 no later than Tuesday.
  4. It’s a Wonderful Life. Okay, folks, I’m going to make my yearly appeal on behalf of one of my top-five favorite films of all time. (Not just one of my favorite Christmas films, mind you; one of my favorite films of all time.) The fact that this movie is considered a Christmas movie is incidental; about 80% of the movie doesn’t take place during Christmas. It’s a Wonderful Life is the story of George Bailey, a man who spends his entire life sacrificing his own dreams and ambitions for the good of others. He gives and gives, and when he is faced with the possibility that he could be jailed for a crime he didn’t commit, he questions whether or not his life had any meaning. It’s only through a bit of angelic intervention that George sees just how many lives he affected by his selflessness and sacrifice. (Yes, this movie has some goofy theology. Fine.) This movie touches my heart in a way few modern pictures do. If this is a movie you have always written off as boring or hokey, my request is that you give it another chance during this Christmas season. I usually watch it at least once or twice, starting with Thanksgiving weekend, so I’ll be popping it in the player tomorrow.
  5. Turkey Hash. One of my favorite Thanksgiving foods isn’t part of the meal itself (which is great). I love making turkey hash with some of the leftover meat. It’s nothing fancy, but here’s what I do:  1) Dice up a good mix of light and dark meat [but more dark], some white onions, and some potatoes (enough to where you have a 1:1 ratio of turkey to potato). 2) In a skillet, heat up some oil to a simmer, and throw in some minced garlic and the onions, and fry them up until the onions are translucent. 3) Then add the potatoes, and fry until the potatoes start getting a little soft. 4) Then, stir in your turkey to warm it up.  5) Add black pepper (fresh ground, if possible) to taste, but don’t be afraid to be generous with the pepper. If you didn’t have minced garlic, you may want to throw in some garlic powder at this point. 6) Keep stirring to keep the potatoes from burning. Once the turkey is hot, pull it off the stove, dish it up, and enjoy. You can thank me later. It’s not a fancy dish by any means, but its simplicity is its strength, I think. You could add some diced bell peppers or zucchini or something, but I like keeping it simple.

That’s all I’ve got tonight, folks. Have a great rest of your Thanksgiving weekend.

And, to paraphrase Andrew Klavan from Wednesday’s podcast: Remember that “thank” is a transitive verb, which means it’s an action word that is directed toward something or someone. It’s not just a vague feeling. “Giving thanks” means there is Someone to which we are being thankful. So take a moment, take stock of your blessings, and remember that all good gifts come from God. He’s the One you need to be thanking (and not just on the last Thursday of November).

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