SwanShadow Gives Thanks: This Time, It’s For Real

On each of the five most recent Thanksgiving Days, I’ve used this space — and the space this blog occupied previously — to itemize in alphabetical format a random sampling of things for which I am grateful.

This year, I told myself: If it’s working, don’t fix it.

Thus, the sixth annual edition of SwanShadow Gives Thanks. (You can peruse the previous years’ lists here.)

Amazon Kindle 2. A virtual library of books everywhere I travel, in a lightweight device the size of a DVD case. Everyone on the staff at the hospital KJ frequently visits wants one. I’m currently reading Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, Larry Tye’s fine biography of baseball star Leroy “Satchel” Paige.

Brizzly. A nifty online client that lets me track both of my Twitter accounts and my Facebook page in one convenient location. If you’re not already following me, you should be.

Common Elements, my signature theme of comic art commissions. Each artwork in the series depicts two (and occasionally more) unrelated comic book heroes who share something in common. The connections are sometimes obvious (i.e., Red Arrow and Red Sonja), sometimes obscure (i.e., The Question and Starfire, whose civilian names — Vic Sage and Koriand’r — are both herbs). You can see all 87 of the existing Common Elements pieces in my online gallery.

Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth. This summer, I had a chance to visit there for the first time in several years. It still makes me giddy.

Eugene Finerman, one of the all-time great champions in the history of Jeopardy!, and the man who every day on his excellent blog, Your RDA of Irony, teaches me something that I didn’t know. Eugene is a one-man compendium of all things historical — like a university survey class, only funnier.

Freebies. I love getting stuff for free, whether it’s product samples in the mail or random nibbles at Costco. Uncle Swan’s credo: If it’s free, it’s for me.

Gasoline. We need things to make us go.

Headlines, the most hilarious five minutes in weekly television. I missed my Monday night fix while Jay Leno was transitioning from The Tonight Show to his new 10 p.m. gig. I’ll probably miss it again when Jay’s new show gets canned by NBC, as I’m increasingly certain that it will.

Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece. I spent two halcyon years of my youth there, in the early 1970s. Some wonderful memories that I cherish more than 35 years later. The base is long since decommissioned, but I’d like to get back and see what’s left of it while I’m still on the planet.

Jon Miller, quite possibly the premier broadcaster in all of baseball. And we Giants fans have got him.

KJ and KM, my wife and daughter. I’m especially thankful that they are together for Thanksgiving. They’ve missed each other while KM’s been away at college.

My Lord Jesus, who makes all things possible, and who hasn’t given up on me just yet.

Max’s Café in Corte Madera. Terrific sandwiches, and friendly service. You’ve gotta love a joint that gives you both French fries and onion rings with your order. I recommend the BLT with avocado, and the Philly cheesesteak.

No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain’s show on the Travel Channel. I don’t think I’d want to tour with Tony — he drinks and smokes too much for me to find him a pleasant companion — but I’d like to see some of the places he goes. In fact, I have seen some of them.

Oracle Arena, the home court of my beloved Golden State Warriors. KM and I saw a few fun games there last season. The games will be even more fun when head coach Don Nelson finally retires.

Plasma TV. Ah, the wonders of modern digital technology.

Quiet. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how great a blessing it can be.

Round Table Pizza. It’s the last honest pizza, or so the ads say. All I know is that it tastes pretty good.

Sausalito, the beautiful waterfront town where I go every week to study the craft of voice acting. Speaking of which…

Traxers — my fellow students at Voicetrax. A more encouraging and supportive community of actors you will not find. Here’s to everyone’s success in 2010.

Unfriend, the Oxford English Dictionary‘s 2009 Word of the Year. In case you’re unclear, it’s a verb, not a noun. Although I’ve known a few people to whom such a noun might have been appropriately applied.

Vitamin Water. Because you could take vitamins, and drink water, but it’s just simpler to have them commingled together.

Walmart. Scoff if you will. They have the stuff I need at prices I like. And the other patrons provide free entertainment. Do I think the people who run the company are whacko? Sure. But I’m not so wealthy that I can afford to pay a premium for non-whacko. If you are, do what pleases you.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Not because it was a great — or even a good — movie, but because it made enough dough that other superhero films will continue to get the green light. You know I loves me some superheroes.

Yellow highlighter. Whoever invented this indispensable tool should have received a medal. Or a knighthood. Or something.

Zero Tolerance, manufacturers of military-grade blades. I like sharp things.

I’m thankful that you’re here, too. Be genuinely grateful for every one of your blessings — they can disappear in an instant. Never forget that.

May you and those you love enjoy a happy, healthy, and honored Thanksgiving.

Explore posts in the same categories: Aimless Riffing, Listology, SwanStuff, Thanksgiving

7 Comments on “SwanShadow Gives Thanks: This Time, It’s For Real”

  1. Sheryl Says:

    Thanks Michael, that was lovely :o)

  2. Hilly Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, sweetie. I’m pretty sure that our Lord Jesus created Disneyland, just so you know. 🙂

    • SwanShadow Says:

      Hilly: I know He did. I’m just not sure why He put it 450 miles from my house. 🙂

      Have a most excellent Thanksgiving! You have so much to be grateful for this year!

  3. Sank Says:

    Great list Uncle S. Except.. except… sad to see that Wal-Mart has bumped Target off the list.

    • SwanShadow Says:

      Sank: Don’t think of it as a replacement. With two exceptions, I don’t repeat elements on the list from year to year, and the Target folks already got their plug back in ’07. It’s still a fine, fine store. Even though it always smells funny in there for some reason.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, my friend!

      • Sank Says:

        OK Leave them off. I got up at 4:30 to get to Target at 5:00 and, thanks the massive line did NOT get the TV I wanted. Soooo heck with all those guys. Serves me right for buying in.

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