The Rant 

Thanksgiving, Mayor Rob Ford, Comet ISON, and sundry bits of gimcrackery.

click to enlarge Mayor Rob Ford - VALENTINO VISENTINI | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Valentino Visentini |
  • Mayor Rob Ford

Well, the official publication date of this issue is Thanksgiving Day, and I was kind of nervous over the thought of writing a list of things for which I am thankful, because that just has "nightmare" written all over it.

I can't stand all that gobbledygook. So you can image how thrilled I was to flip on the computer and find this in The Washington Post:

"As Comet ISON hurtles toward the sun, its million-year-long journey through our solar system may end with its violent death — or a spectacular sky show. On Thanksgiving, when the comet rounds the sun, professional and amateur astronomers alike will await ISON's fate with bated breath. Its tail may get ripped off by a cloud of solar particles, or the sun's brutal radiation and pressure may demolish it completely."

Yes! A big fat explosion in the sky on Thanksgiving. That is my kind of holiday. None of this sitting around thinking about how fortunate I am and making mental — or, God forbid, spoken — lists of things about which I am thankful.

But if I did have to make a list like that, next on the list after Comet ISON hurtling toward the sun for a million years and then being demolished on Thanksgiving Day by brutal radiation and pressure would be Rob Ford. Yes, Toronto mayor Rob Ford. You gotta love that guy. He got himself photographed smoking crack out of a crack pipe, and his excuse was that he was drunk. Then he knocked down a city councilwoman while charging around the room like a wild moose. And as fabulous as all that is, it's not as great as these recent remarks by Toronto Star reporter Christopher Hume about a newspaper columnist and former American prison inmate coming to Ford's defense: "Writing about His Worship in a recent newspaper column, the Lord High Windbag prattled on about Ford as if his problems amounted to nothing more than 'his full-figured, Archie Bunker style.' Clearly, his Lordship brayed, this is a case of 'rank hypocrisy from mouthy journalists and gimcrack municipal politicians, and ... the confected and inflated sanctimony of prigs and twits.'"

Now, why on earth have I never used the term "gimcrack" on this page? I am going to every week from now on. And possibly "prigs and twits."

"Why, old dear, have you succumbed to the message of this holiday season's gimcrack advertising, when you know that such commercials are targeted to prigs and twits?"

I love this. I am thankful to be able to write sentences using the word "gimcrack," and I am very grateful to Mayor Rob Ford for bringing this all about.

And speaking of the holidays, and commercials for crap no one needs, I saw something on the news last week about people who were already turning the parking lots of big-box stores into campgrounds. I don't mean a few days before Black Friday; I mean weeks before it. Do these people not have jobs? Lives? Families? As I wrote on this page around this time last year (and I repeat this for a dear friend), "I am hightailing it to the parking lot of the nearest big-box store and camping out in the parking lot so I can be one of the first shoppers to hit the door running and buy, buy, buy. I can't wait to be a part of the mob that storms the place. In fact, I hope I get trampled just to make it more exciting."

But now I want to run around the stores like Mayor Rob Ford, drunk and on crack in the city council meetings up in Toronto — kind of like how Lobster Boy used to fly across the room in his wheelchair and head-butt his wife.

Ah, Lobster Boy. Now, that just makes me feel downright nostalgic. Not that I am "thankful" for nostalgia. It just reminds me of when I was in my 30s and had a beard that was not white. I should have been more thankful for that back then, but I'm sure I took it for granted.

So, aside from gimcrack, what exactly am I really thankful for this year (even though I promised not to do this)? I'm thankful that I haven't seen an army of raccoons on my porch recently — although I did have a stare-down with a possum on said porch the other night, and I was sitting in my bedroom the other day when a chipmunk ran past my foot. I'm just waiting to find an armadillo in my bathtub any day now.

I'm thankful for Bettye LaVette, Mavis Staples, Bobby Womack, Singa B, and a great number of other singers who can put me in a great mood. I'm very thankful for Al Green's Full Gospel Tabernacle, especially since when a baby starts crying in church during his sermon, he now shouts, "Shut up, kid!" and then just starts laughing and dancing around the pulpit, urging those in the crowd not to add that big extra shot of Grand Marnier to their margaritas, 'cause they just don't need it.

And I am thankful this column is now coming to a close, because I have obvious issues that need to be addressed. Happy Thanksgiving.

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