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2 Random Things I've Been Meaning To Show You

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Here are two not-at-all-timely topics I meant to cover months ago.

1. Senator John Warner's Son's Wedding Announcement (from January)

Earlier this year, Senator John Warner's son got married. The Times was there. And the author of the announcement sounds intent on breaking them up. Here are some of the highlights...

"Mr. Warner was surprised he had much in common with a schoolteacher."

"Nevertheless, he wasn't interested in a second date with her. Then, one year later, tired of young, temperamental beauties, he called. Ms. Hamm wasn't miffed and agreed to see him. 'I feel strongly that you never want to close any doors,' she said. 'You never know.'"

"Through it all he remained a die-hard and distinctive bachelor, sometimes picking dates up in his 1936 Packard or his 1966 Aston Martin. But he grew to dislike breaking hearts as much as he hated eating tofu. 'Johnny never wants to let anyone down,' said Jill Mullen, a friend."

"He also became disillusioned, always questioning the motives of the women he dated. By the time he was in his early 40s, he had broken two engagements and pretty much given up hope. 'A lot of women in New York and L.A. are in it for the dollar, not for a healthy relationship,' he said wearily."

"He, on the other hand, was unsure about Ms. Hamm, whose family founded the Hamm's Brewing Company, which was based in Minnesota. She was nothing like the wild supermodels and party girls he had been dating. Ms. Hamm has unflashy clothes, jewelry and ways and is the opposite of high-maintenance."

"The bride, meanwhile, looked completely natural in her sleeveless gown and her hair pulled back as if for tennis."

2. David Bowie Introducing Ricky Gervais at the High Line Festival (from May)

When I saw Ricky Gervais perform at the Madison Square Garden Theater, David Bowie was on hand to introduce him. The result was memorable. The video is not great, but thanks to YouTube user Lopyj, you can listen along at home and pretend you just had really bad seats.

If you're not an Extras fan, here's the scene Bowie recreated...

As audience-participation exercises go, this ranks atop my admittedly short list, one spot above the Tomahawk Chop in 1991 (I was eleven) and four-hundred places higher than any "Who's Your Daddy, Battier?" chants in Cameron Indoor Stadium roughly ten years later.

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Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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There’s a reason most of us only cook turkey once a year: The bird is notoriously easy to overcook. You could rely on gravy and cranberry sauce to salvage your dried-out turkey this Thanksgiving, or you could follow cooking advice from the experts.

Brining a turkey is the best way to guarantee it retains its moisture after hours in the oven. The process is also time-consuming, so do yourself a favor this year and let Alexa be your sous chef.

“Morton Brine Time” is a new skill from the cloud-based home assistant. If you own an Amazon Echo you can download it for free by going online or by asking Alexa to enable it. Once it’s set up, start asking Alexa for brining tips and step-by-step recipes customized to the size of your turkey. Two recipes were developed by Richard Blais, the celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for his Top Chef win and Food Network appearances.

Whether you go for a wet brine (soaking your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and spices) or a dry one (just salt and spices), the process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. And the knowledge that your bird will come out succulent and juicy will definitely take some stress out of the holiday.

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Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
Big Questions
Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?
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Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Because it's tradition! But how did this tradition begin?

Every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record has been. It all goes back to when the Lions were still a fairly young franchise. The team started in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. Portsmouth, while surely a lovely town, wasn't quite big enough to support a pro team in the young NFL. Detroit radio station owner George A. Richards bought the Spartans and moved the team to Detroit in 1934.

Although Richards's new squad was a solid team, they were playing second fiddle in Detroit to the Hank Greenberg-led Tigers, who had gone 101-53 to win the 1934 American League Pennant. In the early weeks of the 1934 season, the biggest crowd the Lions could draw for a game was a relatively paltry 15,000. Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, Richards hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. Since Richards's WJR was one of the bigger radio stations in the country, he had considerable clout with his network and convinced NBC to broadcast a Thanksgiving game on 94 stations nationwide.

The move worked brilliantly. The undefeated Chicago Bears rolled into town as defending NFL champions, and since the Lions had only one loss, the winner of the first Thanksgiving game would take the NFL's Western Division. The Lions not only sold out their 26,000-seat stadium, they also had to turn fans away at the gate. Even though the juggernaut Bears won that game, the tradition took hold, and the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since.

This year, the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Cowboys, too, jumped on the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving as an extra little bump for their popularity. When the chance to take the field on Thanksgiving arose in 1966, it might not have been a huge benefit for the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions had filled their stadium for their Thanksgiving games, but that was no assurance that Texans would warm to holiday football so quickly.

Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, though, was something of a marketing genius; among his other achievements was the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Schramm saw the Thanksgiving Day game as a great way to get the team some national publicity even as it struggled under young head coach Tom Landry. Schramm signed the Cowboys up for the game even though the NFL was worried that the fans might just not show up—the league guaranteed the team a certain gate revenue in case nobody bought tickets. But the fans showed up in droves, and the team broke its attendance record as 80,259 crammed into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 that day, and a second Thanksgiving pigskin tradition caught hold. Since 1966, the Cowboys have missed having Thanksgiving games only twice.

Dallas will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.


Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In 2006, because 6-plus hours of holiday football was not sufficient, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup. This game is not assigned to a specific franchise—this year, the Washington Redskins will welcome the New York Giants.

Re-running this 2008 article a few days before the games is our Thanksgiving tradition.


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