The Joy of Recurring Gratitude

Thanksgiving Card!

Art by an anonymous Hallmark staffer, probably.

Every year I receive exactly one (1) greeting card wishing me Happy Thanksgiving. A fellow who works for my company in another state used to need my help on assorted requests several years ago, and I’ve been on his Thanksgiving card list ever since. Nowadays he needs my help only sporadically — if we have contact more than twice a year, I’d be surprised. But he keeps me in his thoughts. Above and beyond the pre-printed, mass-produced, well-wishing boilerplate, he writes a note of personalized appreciation inside each card, much more than just “Hi!” and a name. It’s always wordier than 90% of the Christmas cards we receive, the closest I ever get to an old-fashioned letter. It’s a tradition that used to strike me as odd, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate it as a kind touch that adds a modest, welcome flourish to the proceedings. Also, this year’s model looks niftier than ever.

To MCC’s longtime readers: thank you for being you. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks very much for the comments and the encouraging feedback, whether one-click or multi-paragraph. Thanks for your acts, great or small, that go a long way toward making this peculiar labor of love an enriching experience. Special thanks to anyone who’s ever recommended or just mentioned the site to any other human. Thanks to all of you for being there at every level.

Our family wishes a happy, blessed Thanksgiving to you frequent visitors and newcomers alike. May your holiday and your weekend be filled to overflowing with a continual parade of kindnesses, from the largest favors to the smallest gestures. And may you find yourselves pleasantly surprised at which moments come to mean the most.

The Springs in Fall: 2015 Photos #4: Quest for Snow


Last Saturday, November 21st, Indiana got its first snowfall of the 2015-2016 winter season, a month ahead of its official kickoff. Three weeks earlier, I drove my wife up the side of a Colorado mountain just so she could throw a snowball.

Right this way for teaser photos of precipitation coming soon!

“Mockingjay Part 2”: Girl on Fire Burns Out, Fades Away

Mockingjay 2!

Even in dystopia, there’s always time for handheld gaming.

At long last, the 1853 book series that was turned into a beloved but unfinished 1970s film series has reached its long-forgotten conclusion! That’s how long it’s felt since this franchise started, anyway.

It began with The Hunger Games, which brought Battle Royale to the West, adding shaky-cam and subtracting sex. It escalated in Catching Fire, in which the adult characters had to bring their A-game because the Games themselves no longer mattered. In Mockingjay Part 1 it paid homage to Wag the Dog, went behind the scenes at a post-apocalyptic marketing firm, and basically felt like one of those all-talk episodes of The Walking Dead where the stunt crew takes a week off while the characters sit around exchanging feelings so their eventual, horrible deaths will mean something.

And now, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is here to wrap up the character arcs for anyone who didn’t read the books, to finish adapting the remaining 213 pages of the 390-page novel that concluded the original trilogy. Closure is here for one and all, especially for DVD fans waiting to buy the eventual Hunger Games Quadrilogy set for cheap on some future Black Friday.

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2015 Road Trip Photos #29: The Market and the Mint

French Market!

The French Market may seem empty around 10 a.m., but the calm and the extra personal space don’t last.

Day Four was spent walking here, there, everywhere around the French Quarter — gawking at random sights, browsing festive shops, learning history from museums, weaving through crowds, and trying our best to withstand the 90-degree heat that kept hammering at us all along the way. Fortunately a few places offered respite from melting.

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Indiana Couple Negotiates Tentative Agreement for Turkey After Weeks of Diplomatic Stalemate

Turkey and Pie!

Turkey and pie. Let’s face it: everything else at the Thanksgiving table is disposable.

All this week, every time someone friendly asked me, “Got plans for Thanksgiving?” I’ve had to shrug and say, “Wish I knew.” As of this morning, six days before the big event, neither my family nor Anne’s had communicated a single word to either of us one way or another. No Facebook “event” set up. No direct messages. No general statuses. No phone calls. No cards. No sign of any volunteers. No visible evidence that any of them still considered Thanksgiving a worthy celebration and not a fabricated Hallmark card-selling stunt.

Hoping for the best but planning for the worst, we decided tonight to buy our own fourteen-pound backup turkey. Just in case. Because sometimes you gotta take holiday matters into your own hands.

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“Sleepy Hollow” 11/19/2015: Sumerian Gothic


“I got a rock.”

Previously on Sleepy Hollow: a Norse monster pack tore each other apart; Pandora summoned her evil husband into our plane of reality; Jenny got powers but was summoned to the Dark Side; Sophie Foster, relic hunter, stood revealed as Agent Foster, FBI; and “fan favorite” Joe Corbin got kissed, pretty much his career highlight.

On tonight’s fall finale, “Novus Ordo Seclorum”: Pandora stands by her man, who’s not Anubis! Ichabod Crane goes to college! Joe is tempted to get tough! And when the dust settles, one of our cast members is gone!

For those who missed out, my attempt to hash out the basic events follows after this courtesy spoiler alert for the sake of time-shifted viewers…

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