Monthly Archives: November 2008

Family Fun with Turkey

Thanksgiving is always fun around my family. Though every year I try to avoid it like the plague. I leave the country or town for one of the major holidays and my friends always ask, “JP do you not like your family?” I answer, “No. I love them and this is why.” It starts off with just a few of us (about 30-35), then mix in some friends (10), and stir in a mess of Redneck. That’s right, I said it, Redneck. Now I like to think of my self as an up and coming city dweller that is culturally hip that know a thing or two about what is going on. But every year I am reminded about the cold hard truth of my existence. I am from the heart land, plain and simple, country. I cannot escape it. I tried to warn Chocolate Bear last year when he came with me, but he still wasn’t prepared.

 As I walk into my uncles house on Thanksgiving, I am greeted with the delectable smell of home cooking. Though just as that sweet smell hits my nostrils, my ears and eyes are assaulted by NASCAR on the top t.v. and football on the bottom. Yep, two t.v.’s both with the quintessential redneck programs of choice. I understand that both of these items are usually on in other peoples homes, but there is something strange about a group of grown men yelling at cars going around in a circle. I get football, there is sport and athletics; NASCAR has still not proved it is worthy of my time. Now, the football, well we in the “clan of JP” have never been shy about gambling on anything. Football is just an excuse to trash talk and take our relatives money and the same goes for NCAA basketball (GO GATORS). This years football buy in was $125 if that gives you the gravity of the situation. Every once in awhile this betting can go a bit far. Take for example a new addition to JP’s Thanksgiving, thanks to an innovative cousin: Beer Pong. Ladies and gentlemen, our family has been playing beer pong for the past 3 years and it only gets worse every meeting.

So lets re-cap before we move forward. We have about 40 people, NASCAR, Football, gambling, food, and beer pong. Hmmm, how do I explain this to those who have a traditional turkey day? You know those people that break out the good dishes and real silver-ware. Where their day is full of pomp and circumstance, where dressing up is mandatory and the turkey has little chef’s hats on the leg bones. Hell at our function if the males of the clan still have their shirts and shoes on were are doing good. Okay that is a bit dramatic, but you get the picture. Anyways, back to beer pong. It is quite interesting to see all those 18 and over break into teams and the dynamics that begin to form. It is from these teams one can see the true meaning of family. For those not playing, they are the equivalent to bookies trying to stack the odds and the money on the different teams. Another skill we JP’s are good at.

When playing beer pong the following is mandatory conversation at the table: tales of grandeur and defeat while hunting since the last meeting. How many beers you will consume and how drunk you will get. Which cousin should get married (dodged this bullet twice now). Which cousin should be “volunteered” for military service (brother was nominated this year). And last but not least, any off color joke you have been saving all year, preferably directed at you opponent. We think of this as a team building exercise and something to talk about at Christmas.

This year my Sis said something that really stuck in my head. It was random and low-key but had a profound impact on how I looked at this whole redneck coming together. Sis said, “well this may be the last year to spend Thanksgiving with our Grandmother.” These words had hit me like a ton of bricks after complaining that I had to go to another damn redneck revival. Her words are true and for the first time in my adult life, I had something to be thankful for. It is amazing that the little things in life can still have an acute impact on ones life. So, even though we may be low-class and rowdy, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Cheers!



Filed under Family Traditions, Uncategorized

Thats a nice set of cans you have there

Courtesy of www.rep-am.comIn all the great debates of history, I cannot think of one more compelling than Bottles vs. Cans. My sister and I have been arguing for years over this subject. I have made the appeal that cans cool quicker. More accepted at beaches and public parks. Environmentally conscious. Have you ever heard of a “Can Koozie?” Thats right, you wouldn’t be able to encapsulate your favorite brew with your favorite sports team or “where the boobs at” slogan, if it wasn’t for the can. We even have a “can in effect” rule on Saturdays when the Gators play. This is to do with a bottle that decided to go airborne and make out with a t.v. screen. My sister on the other hand didn’t see it my way until about a month ago, due to her wonderful counter argument; “but its in a can!” Yes, a brilliant defense. Strong work sis!

I was sitting in my local watering hole where you are greeted by the thick tar haze of Turkish Silvers and stale ale, not to mention some killer on tap specials. We’re talking a buck for any domestic draught! Are you serious?  Are you trying to kill me? I had like 20 bucks with me this night. Anyways, after becoming a bit lubricated, I asked Benny the bartender if he had anything new in. Sure ‘nough he did. As usual Benny comes through in a pinch, always tossing my palate in a different direction. He goes on to tell me he has a new IPA in, from New England Brewing. Here is where the fun began. Ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate canned beer. I know your first though, PBR, Natty lite, The Beast, items of this nature. Cheap beer in a low-brow wrapper. This was true for my sister as well, until the night of enlightenment; hell, even the Frankfurt School had their time and this was mine.

The spark of light was a black can with this anime looking witch on it named “Sea Hag IPA.”

An unassuming looking package, with an easy open top-you know for us Neanderthal types-was cracked and tipped. First drop, I was hooked like a crack head. Being an IPA fan or even border line “hop-head” I was quite impressed. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect, I mean even as a can fan, I had my doubts. Nope, no way, take a hike, get out of town, this stuff is Awesome! All doubts faded as quick as my sobriety. New England Brewery describes their beer as:


“A rich and full bodied Pale Ale with a complex malt character, blended with Casade and Noble hops. The end result is a beer that satisfies the “hop head” out there and won’t chase away the newcomer.”

I would go on to describe this unique package of ale as nectar. Strong and passionate, like a new lovers first embrace. The citrus aroma of the hops and the caramel full flavor backing of the malt makes it a great first tier beer. I would even go as far to say a first round draft pick kind of beer. The kind you might have to make a special side trip for. 

After trying this for the first time I had to tell everyone. But first my sister! Sure enough, hooked! Hooked on a can. Though this is not a new phenomenon among even the most sophisticated palates. People will inevitably be coy with their admission and secret love affair with the can. If this beer does not convert those in denial there may be no hope for them. However, you my friend there is hope. But lets not stop with an IPA, if you are into a lighter more south of the border fare, try Tecate dipped in lime and salt. Or, a tall boy of PBR for those worried about their image. Either direction you swing your bat you really cannot miss with the can.Currently, the only place I have located this vibrant neuroepithelium tickler for purchase is Total Wine. Hopefully the brewery will expand their distribution.  So step out of this “I’m too cool for school” mentality and get back to what made this country great. The can.


Filed under Booze, Non-Sense

So this is JP…

As I am new to blogging and putting myself out there, I feel I must give you a proper introduction to the realm of JP. This telling of events is proper for my “virgin” experience. Yesterday started just as any other day would; woke up late, yelled at traffic, and was greeted by shrill cackling of my co-workers. Lets just say by noon I had been an unwilling participant in three meetings that that pushed me closer to the proverbial edge. I received a call from Chocolate Bear (big as a bear and he’s chocolate) needing to hijack my computer. During our conversation we came to one conclusion. Happy Hour!

The Plan was put into motion. I cancelled all of my meetings and placed a call to the roommate, who just so happens to work in the same building. Done, the wheels were greased and the troops, well the troops were more than willing to participate. Houlihans was the unsuspecting target and cheap 2-4-1 gin and tonics was the mission. Chocolate Bear (CB), the roomy, and I proceeded to rack up a $70.00 tab sans tip in the matter of about an hour. It was magical. The stresses of the day, hell, even week just melted away drink by cheap, glorious drink. But wait, I forgot to cook the ham! Oh wait, I forgot to buy the damn thing too. 

For some crazy reason I felt I should bring the only pork product to a thanksgiving pot luck featuring several Jews, Muslims, and Vegans. Yea, I’m like that. Kind of like drinking a beer in front of an alcoholic. So here we are the 3 London Crack ambassadors, lit like the 4th of July in the grocery store. I get the feeling that the guy behind the butcher counter is holding the best hams out on me, as if somehow he is the door man for the black market of pork. He came to the quick conclusion that we were hammered and proceeded to give me a 20% discount just to get rid of me. Smart man! Our next brilliant idea was to roll by mama duke’s house and swipe a “bitchin platter.” 

Back at the honey comb hideout I whipped up a concoction of 1 pound brown sugar, “splash” of mango rum, coke, cinnamon, and what ever glaze packet came with my discount ham. I put the ham in a newly acquired disposable aluminum pan (I’m lazy) and coated it generously with the concoction. In the oven it went and out came the Diplomático.  CB and I went out for a smoke and exaggerated conversation, leaving the backdoor open. CB turns to me and says, “dude that ham is smelling really good.” Then I see his attention shift to the door, “dude your kitchen is on fire.” He said it so non-chalantly that it didn’t sink in for about a second, thats when the fire alarm started going off. Smoke is billowing drifting out of the oven. I go and open the oven and sure enough, that cheap piece of shit pan had obtained a small rip during the transition from counter to rack. It looked like I was cooking caramel crude oil on the bottom of my stove. A small fire had started in the back of the oven, due to the mass amount of fuel provided. So what does a trained fire-fighter do when faced with an oven fire? Right, I stuck my head in the oven and blew it out as if it was my birthday. In one big breath, problem solved. Closed the oven and back out to finish my smoke. What could I do damage was done and the ham was unharmed. After my smoke and a few refills, I carved it like a champ. All fingers in tact. 

This morning, woke up feeling a little furry. Went through the routine of yelling in traffic and dealing with people, to show up with a beautifully carved ham laid out on a “bitchin platter!” I was an office rock star to all of the carnivores. No one knew my struggle and my status as the man went up a couple notches. Boo yea.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do living it. Cheers!


Filed under Non-Sense