Reader Note: The kids from Denver are referred to by first initial only. D is for Dad, S is for Mom, A is for granddaughter and J is for grandson.

I suppose you are wondering why I would write a column about our adventures around here this weekend. The answer is simple: I promised to send along a few things and I also promised readers a useful column this morning. So I figure I can kill two fish with one bottle of nitrogen.

The Turkey

We’re glad you enjoyed it. According to the Sunday afternoon inventory, we collectively managed to wolf in 4- boxes of StoveTop stuffing. No, we’re not too thrilled about commercially prepared products, but the flip side is when you get to be our age, maybe a few preservatives will help. And the toxins – if any – should be out of your system in six months, or so.

Elaine is now nearly addicted to turkey and Swiss on raisin bread. I admit to personal responsibility for one of the stuffing mix boxes.

Oven Bags

As I think I explained there are four ways to cook the turkey: There is the 180F meat near the thigh bone approach. Another school says 165F in the middle of the stuffing. Third approach is the Butterball website. And the fourth is the Reynolds Cooking Bag table which is a half-hour shorter (more or less) than the Butterball table. Cooking in a bag is faster, easier clean-up, and results in a moister meal.

Weight Loss

Amazingly I was still 220 lbs this morning and holding what is now a 13-pound loss since October 25. There is something magical about half a cut (dry) of oatmeal per day when comes to fat reduction and appetite suppression.

Grand Children Notes

Elaine is still smiling that A found her shoe closet so interesting! No doubt, A will be the hit of her class in school this week. Elaine figures at some point, over-the-knee red leather disco boots will come back, but we may not be around for it. Fashion, or what passes for it, is responsible for much of the decline in America, near as we can figure it.

J’s chess game is pretty good. I let the game develop somewhat organically and he shows a typical young-person’s fascination with the center of the board.

What he may wish to do is focus more on the positions of the players that have “long range” capabilities. Bishops, Rooks, and Her Majesty. His middle game is quite good, however.

I’ve always found Bishops the most treacherous and I’ve written several letters to the Pope about this. He hasn’t answered, yet, but the mail’s not here for the day, either.

Both children – as I see it (and I’m a cheap old S.O.B.) should be considering full use of the C.L.E.P. test for college credits. This is a program that allows bright people to challenge lots of different college credits and the CLEP results are accepted at 2,900 colleges and universities. The website address is As the website points out, when you can CLEP at $80 instead of $700 per credit, it’s a damn fine way to not only reduce the cost of sending young ‘uns through school. It also saves a lot of time. And if J is serious about being done with his residency by age 26 or 27, this is one way to get there faster.

The program is not widely advertised.  There’s oh, sooo much money to be made with 500 frosh in a bit lecture hall with a teacher’s assistant moaning out the notes.  Trust me on this.

I bagged my undergrad degree in two years and the MBA is another two using this approach, so it does work, depending on which college, which classes or whether they still administer the CLEP Five-Part General, which I used to blow off virtually all my electives.

Oh! One other edujumacation note: Don’t co-sign on student loans. Make the kids figure it out. Get them thinking early about cost-benefit. When J started talking about being a doctor or a chef, I was quite clear than spending $40,000 in student loans for a $15/hour job was not the epitome of financial savvy. I think he got it.

Spaghetti Recipe

Two and a half pounds of lean stew meat

Two large jars of Kroger’s Private Selections brand Basilico red sause

¾ to 1 cup of thinly-sliced fresh celery.

Brown meat, seasoning to taste

Toss in sauce and celergy

Bring to boil, then reduce heat to an occasional bubble and cook for four hours, or so. Stirring if you remember.

Serve over those Chinese Egg Noodles (Rose Brand) that we sent home with you.

Guest Quarters

Glad the new guest quarters worked out. We figured out the inexpensive bed from an AirBnB operator up in Tacoma, WA, who equipped his united with it.

Sorry no wireless keyboard and mouse for the new computer in there…getting old, I suppose, there are occasional gaps in planning.

As I mentioned, we’re nearing the age where we can “hide our own Easter eggs” now.

Movie Ratings

Yeah, we don’t know why that Clive Cussler-based movie Sahara only had two stars. I thought with such a good cast it would make four stars. But there’s no accounting for public taste anymore.

After you left, we watched the new Jason Bourne movie and seems to use Sahara would rate higher.

There does seem to be something of a public shift going on, though in people’s taste for violence. There was too much of it in the Bourne movie for our tastes.

Killing, should (like taxes) be infrequent and just enough to continue functionality or ther plot, in our world.

According to latest space research, however, our world is mostly uninhabited.

The Corporate Suck-Up Issue

Since it is Monday and you’ll be back on the front lines of Capitalism, no, I don’t understand how people get promoted anymore, either.

Used to be that it was mostly marginally-qualified “brown-nosers.” But lately, reports suggest the “marginally-qualified” part has been removed and only the coating of brown really matters.

That said, there’s an older country-western song that offers some fine perspective on your problem:

Bobby Bare’s classic “Drop Kick Me Jesus -Through the Goal Posts of Life.”  (I told you I worked in country radio for a while, right?)

And on that note, almost time for kick-off for another week here at Uretopia. Best of luck with this morning’s events.

Not too many people would drive 3,000 miles in two-days worth of driving to have turkey with us.  Come to think of it, though, that does make you kids (and the kid’s kids) exceptional…

Write when you get rich,