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Office Rat-A-Tat: Music in the Office?

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Years ago I worked in a cubicle next to a woman who played gospels tunes at a ridiculous volume on her computer all the day long. After complaining to mid-level management, I was moved to a different bank of cubicles, only to discover that my new neighbor not only kept a radio on her desk playing from morning to night, she also sang along. Oh joy.

And as annoying as her voice was (it had the tessitura and rapture of a power drill), even more annoying was the fact that I'd find my emails and memos littered with whatever lyric she was singing, as if they'd somehow worked their way into my consciousness and forced themselves out through my fingers, rather than my tapping toe or vox box.

A memorandum to our facility manager on the installation of a new security system in the server room wound up going something like this:


Please be advised that our team has located the east bay corridor track and tagged it with proper I.D. for the scheduled installation on Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee that Monday evening you would still be here with me.

Eventually, I moved out of cubicle city and landed a job with a real office and a door that kept the locals' soundtrack out of my life. And, yes, I'll admit it, ever since, I do find myself now and then tuning into the radio online, or popping in a CD on the job, with my door closed, of course.

At my wife's architecture firm, everyone listens to music at his/her computer. They even have iTunes on a common server so they can listen to each other's music. But they're all into big, expensive headphones that keep the music in their own, respective ears. And if any one starts singing along, that person is blindfolded and shot between the eyes. (Well, at least in theory.)

My question to you all is: Is it okay to play music in the office? If so, what music??? Which tunes enable you to get through your difficult days with grace and efficiency?

RPPRs (Related Past Posts that ROCKED!)

Though they weren't official Office Rat-a-Tat posts, they might as well have been: Higgins' wonderful post a couple weeks back on Annoying Office Interruptions and Ransom's totally clever post on Work Incentives. Check "˜em out if you missed "˜em.

And check out all the official past Office Rat-A-Tats here>>

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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.


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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.


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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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