:::this is the way the world ends:::

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all have a great one. Sorry you’re not all arriving up here in the cold and snow this evening for a night of Asian food before we have the usual feast on Thanksgiving Day. Tradition looms large in memory.


  1. Shotts

    And here’s to the memory of Jerod Morris!

  2. Ned

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Shotts

    I hope you all have great plans these next days, and some respite. We go to Jen’s parents’ tomorrow and Friday, which should be fun and filling.

    In some nod to tradition, I caught a movie today–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. As tradition dictates, I thought I’d get some conversation going on the movie, if any of you have seen it yet or will soon. I’ve been less than excited about the last couple of the Potter films, including this one. Sort of strangely paced–breakneck, mostly, with a lot of convolution–and not enough Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort and Alan Rickman as Snape (Rickman appears in about five minutes of the new one, which was a huge loss). I think this new film shows the limitations of the main trio as actors, though perhaps that is to be expected. I think the movie, especially drawn out from half of the last book, showcases a lot of the limitations of Rowling’s novel, since it follows it so closely. A lot of meandering around the woods, and it feels like the plot lost its way–in the movie, it really highlights how easily it would have been to edit down to one film rather than two and how the books should, in general, be 200 pages shorter than they are.

    But that said, there are some moments in the movie enjoyed–the animation around the tale of the three brothers, for example, and basically any screen time with Fiennes, who is really pretty frightening. Though this installment ends in sort of a sudden “this part now ends” kind of way, leaving me a bit unsatisfied (compared to how “whole” even the middle installment of The Lord of the Rings movies feels), I look forward to finishing out the series. I look forward to the movie, yes, but also look forward to the whole thing at last being over. Of course I do hear that Rowling has said she might have a thought toward three more books.

    Let’s hear your thoughts, and let’s try to get into an argument–tradition!

  4. Tobias

    Happy Thanksgiving Day to all…I hope everyone’s day is filled with abundant thanks, great food and company, lots of leisure and levity.

    Tradition does loom large in memory, thanks for that Jeff. I suppose it is in part why, as much as I love Christmas, Thanksgiving seems a “purer” holiday to me — that it has managed to stay free of schlocky entrapments and represent something more elusive than other holidays. I do love the flavor of the trifecta in the last quarter of every year: the black and orange spookiness of Halloween, the brown abundance of Thanksgiving, and the winter greens and sugary tint of Christmas … hand in hand with the New Year.

    One thing that I noticed this year about Thanksgiving, the voluminous amount of restaurants that are open and serving Thanksgiving meals today. I remember our first Thanksgiving in Minnesota and the desperate search for something open to serve us turkey (thanks, Embers!). Now it seems like we’d have no problem. I imagine lots of businesses are hurting and it’s a way to attract people who are tired of cooking, but part of me laments that. I wonder if more people will have to work, and that in turn will snowball and more people will have to work to support those people. I like the feeling of empty streets around mealtime, and the feeling of humanity (that’s the best way I can describe) pressing down on me as we wandered the streets in that isolation.

    I also think this would be a fun place to talk about tradition, and compile a lot those memories we’ve had over the years with the each other and our families. (Of course, talking about tradition has become a tradition.)

    I do miss the Wednesday Night Asian tradition. The movies at the theater (I also am going to try to swing HP tonight). I wish I had some Summit Ale to pick up, but I imagine I’ll grab some brews to lift for us all today. Brits or Kieran’s and a Samuel Beckett play….

    The contrast between the Mall of America on Thanksgiving Day and the Day After.

  5. Tobias

    It’d also be fun to remember the Thanskgivings we had together. Every year, I try to mentally tick through them in my mind. Correct and add….

    The first year we got together was 1994, when Jeff wasn’t able to come home for Thanksgiving and he lived in the Jewish house at Macalester. Pulp Fiction had just come out, J.E., Jerod, and I were about to head over to England. I had my fill of Rolling Rock in an unfair contest of who could hold their liquor more. The movies were HP, Pulp Fiction and The Professional (Petes). Jeff, J.E., Peters and I were there, correct?

    That’s a start.

  6. Ned

    I can’t offer much to the Thanksgiving Day memories except a few bad ones. Sara and I, with really no one to watch the kids, don’t see many movies either, but one thing that piqued my interest the other day while on the internet is that Steven Spielberg is making a movie about Abraham Lincoln starring Daniel Day Lewis. I think I may try to see that one.

    I probably will see HP as well, though I am set for disappointment given Shott’s review. Snape is my favorite character of the series, and Rickman one of my favorite performers in the movies. Black and Goldman are probably next. Eliot is looking forward to reading Prisoner of Azkban, as am I since it’s my favorite.

    We just finished the original Pinnochio which ironically would never be published today because it is both too dark (he is lynched as a puppet) and too didactic (go to school , love your parents, etc). Perhaps a little dose of both would do our culture well.

    Before Azkaban, we may read Gulliver’s Travels.

  7. Shotts

    That first Thanksgiving was terrific–lots of snow up this way, as I remember, which was a novelty. Peters, J. E., Toby, myself, and I do believe one Jerod Morris accompanied us on that one too, yes? I don’t think the Harry Potter movies had started, so it was just Pulp Fiction and The Professional that year. Much talk of “the Gimp” ensued, as a major pastime. The Embers meal was, I’d like to think, the weakest of all the Thanksgiving meals, but that’s probably a defense of my own cooking, especially my gravy thick enough you could walk across it. Good stuff.

    1994, Thanksgiving–soon after a historic mid-term election in which the Republicans swept over Congress, led by serious and maniacal conservatives. Sounds frighteningly familiar…

  8. Shotts

    Ned, I saw a trailer for the movie of Gulliver’s Travels, starring (ahem) Jack Black in a modern retelling. I think I will do what I can to miss it.

    Chime in if you’ve seen the latest Harry Potter. Sorry if my review dampened any hopes for it, Ned. More my take than anything, and as I say too, there’s plenty to enjoy in it.

  9. Shotts

    A couple of great Thanksgiving memories from 1996, just as we had all finished up college and were trying to make a go of it:

    1. Peters demanding we look up “oxymoron” in the dictionary as a contest to my etymology of the word. This happened during the Thanksgiving meal itself, as I recall.

    2. The drawn-out discussion of “morality” after seeing the movie of The English Patient. This involved a lot of goading from Peters. I think it continued as we each bought cigars and absolutely filled the screened-off sun porch with smoke.

  10. Ned

    Speaking of movies, I was disappointed to find out “Never Let Me Go” the film adaptation of Ishiguro’s novel by the same name is already OUT of theaters and will be going to dvd. When it came out, it got good reviews, in fact, Time called it the best sci-fi since 2001. I look forward to seeing that since I just finished a series of short stories by Ishiguro which all dealt with music in one way or another. There were a few great ones, including a very funny story.

  11. Tobias

    It’s funny, I had Jerod in the list I made of “attendees” but edited him out five minutes later because I thought maybe he hadn’t attended the first year, after all.

    Sort of what he did to us, I guess 😉

    Harry Potter did come out in 2001, so I think we did catch that a different year…it’s funny how memory works. Can’t believe I was that far off.

    Glad you put the second Thanksgiving at 1996, I thought it was 1995…but ’95 was the year I flew to Dallas on a prop plane to have Thanksgiving with Beth Worley and her family. Of course, she ended up breaking my heart that weekend, and I longed to be with the guys anyway.

    I do remember the dictionary reading during the 1996 meal, and I remember the formentioned gravy being thicker than the potatoes we made. I’ve blocked out most of Pat Brown’s involvement — I remember the smoke and the snowdrifts. Despite our discussion, I think I’d like the English Patient more after viewing it a second time. I think my heartbroken, virgin body couldn’t deal with the spectrum of themes in the film.

    I remember not having any Rolling Rock, but instead having loads of Summit. I also remember Jeff spending more money than he ought have on us, when we probably didn’t deserve it. Was that the year we went to the Sushi Place downtown and established the “Jerod pays for Jeff’s sushi the first night and then doesn’t have to clean up” rule?

    Did we see Endgame that year at Kieran’s?

  12. Shotts

    Great to see these posts.

    Ned, I didn’t see the Never Let Me Go movie, but I did like the book a lot, though it seems very flawed (for Ishiguro). I haven’t read his Nocturnes, if those are the stories you are referring to (I think that is the title). I saw the preview of Never Let Me Go, and it did look good, but then it pretty quickly faded out.

    Toby, you had to follow your heart where it led you, so no regrets there, in looking back. I have to recall that Tricia was at the 1997 Thanksgiving the night before the actual holiday before she left for Kansas and we carried on the tradition, women-free. So I understand those shadows.

    I too have blocked out Patrick Brown–almost entirely, now that you mention it. God go with him.

    I think 1996 might have indeed been the first year of the pre-Thanksgiving Asian food, and Jerod paid for me. Yes, he bought his way out of doing anything to contribute to the meal or its clean-up.

    And yes, we did in fact see Beckett’s Endgame at Kieran’s in 1996 or maybe 1997. All I can say is it had an affect on me, in that kind of small-time back-of-the-bar performance. Little did we know I was formulating the name of my son. I would also like to remember here–or should I say forget–that Toby and I were the only ones who did not fall asleep during the performance. I’m pointing at you, Peters, and at you, Jerod.

    I also have to say a huge part of the Thanksgiving tradition became commenting on Peters’ way of scanning the bars and restaurants, ignoring us in many cases, and trying to make eye contact with various ladies of the Twin Cities. Peters and I have our own private tradition from Thanksgiving, involving the Mall of America food court and mall Japanese food and conversation while the rest of you scouted out your inferior lunches. Only Peters and I know of what I speak.

    Kieran’s has moved a bit farther west in downtown Minneapolis, by the way, but they still have the previous place–now called simply The Old Pub.

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