November 24th, 2008
10:08 AM ET

There’s no place like home for the holidays…and by home I mean a bar far away from home

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/24/art.turkey.jpg]
Jack Gray
AC360 Associate Producer

Well, we’re just a few days away from Thanksgiving. Or, as I call it, Xanax Appreciation Day. The airports, railways and roadways will soon be filled with travelers heading home to be reminded of why they no longer live there. Then, on Thursday, families across this great land will gather around the table for heaping portions of turkey and passive aggression.

I myself will actually be staying in New York. I drew the short straw and was assigned to take care of Anderson’s goldfish, Regis Hussein Philbin.

But even though I have to work on the holiday I’m still going to make some time for myself. In fact, I’m thinking of going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That, or set my hair on fire. I haven’t decided.

Believe it or not, I kind of like spending Thanksgiving on my own. No boring small talk with lazy-eyed relatives and my main course can be a bowl of Cocoa Krispies. And don’t even try telling me that Cocoa Pebbles are just as good because you’re lying. You know it, I know it, Elisabeth Hasselbeck knows it…

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Cereal? That’s not very Thanksgiving-ish.” To that I say: Look, I once spent Easter Sunday at Wendy’s. So if Jesus can overlook me having chicken nuggets and a Frosty then surely the pilgrims can get over a little snap, crackle and pop.

And for what it’s worth, I’m having stuffing, too. It’s going to be made from my General Motors stock certificates.

One thing, though. I don’t have a centerpiece for my dining room table. And by dining room table I mean floor. I tried looking for one but didn’t have any luck. I spotted a guy in Washington Square Park with what I thought was a brightly colored cornucopia, but it turned out to be a bong.

I will say that I’m going to miss not having homemade dessert. Not that I don’t have options. Sarah Palin called and offered to slaughter some pies.

All this talk about food is not to diminish the true spirit of the holiday. In fact, there is much for which I am thankful: my family, my friends, my job, Larry King’s suspenders….the list goes on and on.

I’m not the only one getting into the spirit of the holiday. When John Kerry started pouting after learning he wouldn’t be Secretary of State, Barack Obama told him he could be in charge of the cranberry sauce.

And fortunately my dog Sammy, bless her heart, hasn’t once complained that we’re staying in the city for the holiday. As long as she has her Newport menthols and some cash to bet on football games, she’s happy.

In honor of the holiday I’m taking the rest of the week off from blogging. So here’s wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving a couple of days early. And please, in all seriousness, keep in mind those less fortunate.

And no, your uncle who falls asleep in his mashed potatoes does not fall into that category.

He's just drunk.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray • Thanksgiving
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. JRQQ , Ca

    Whao Jack, not a very boring Thanksgiving your having. You might need a vacaton by Monday. Hang in there and maybe the world will calm down.

    November 29, 2008 at 12:14 am |
  2. Julie San Diego, CA


    You're more than welcome for hot spiced wine in the hot tub and turkey served San Diego style: al fresco by the pool.

    Dress casual, we'll be in the flip flops. Bring Sammy too.

    November 26, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  3. Ilhana, Bosnia

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jack! And it's a good thing you're not gonna eat any turkey, I firmly support vegetarian cooking (or in this case, milk + cereals). Rest well!

    November 26, 2008 at 2:27 am |
  4. Lori from IL

    Jack – Thanks for the laughs. I love your sense of humor. Obviously, given the name Regis Hussein Philbin – Anderson doesn't expect his gold fish to run for president one day! Hope Sammy doesn't see the fish and think "sushi."

    I'm having two turkey dinners and four days of relatives - but I have a great extended family so there will be lots of food (I'm making the pumpkin pies.), fun (typically around a card game or two) and laughs (recalling past stupid acts by fellow family members that we vow never to let be forgotten) . The family is loaded with smart a's who love each other - but no uncles who fall asleep in their mashed potatoes. Trust me - with age comes an appreciation for the ecclectic group we call family, even the reather "strange" members.

    Hope you resist the temptation to set your hair on fire and have a great Thanksgiving. Looking forward to your next installment of "The World as Seen Through the Eyes of Jack Gray." (And if that becomes your book title you'll be hearing from my lawyer!)

    November 25, 2008 at 8:56 pm |
  5. Adriana

    God love you. lol. I will be joining you in the festivities by eating a turkey sandwich and drinking cran-apple juice. hey, dont judge me. Happy Turkey Day to all! See ya at the Macy's Day Parade! Ow!

    November 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  6. JRQQ , Ca

    Happy Thanksgiving Jack! And thank you for your blogs. I"ll miss you Turkey Day.
    My family were part of those greedy people who sold their run down homes for millions and moved to Nevada or Arizona.
    So It is just me this year.

    Enjoy the naps!

    November 25, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  7. LisaL - Canada

    that's funny. does Anderson really have a goldfish?

    When I was younger, I had seasons where I was not able to connect with family. I would usually volunteer to work holidays so that the people who had families to visit, and to who'm the gathering meant a lot, had the extra time [got extra holiday pay most of the time, so whatever]

    I spent one Christmas eating KD and drinking far too much red wine.

    November 24, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  8. Holly, CA

    Jack, Here's a thought, since you have to babysit the fish – why not just ask a few (say 40 or 50) of your nearest & dearest friend's to "help" you out over at Anderson's place and make a party out of it! Works for me!

    November 24, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  9. Annie Kate

    Hey Jack,

    I hope you enjoy your respite from blogging. I will miss you and your humor.

    I know what you mean about Thanksgiving. I used to go home every year. And every year my mother would say "You need to lose weight"....and then close onto that "Wouldn't you like a second helping?". Now I try not to complain but isn't that kind of a mixed signal? So you are sitting there trying to answer without saying the wrong thing and you realize that anything you say will be wrong. I say no, and she gets upset and says "you don't like it this year – what's wrong with it – too much salt, too much sugar, too much whatever?" and if I say yes – well here we go with the you need to lose weight lecture again.

    Of course she only does that to us girls....my brothers could pull a donkey into the kitchen, shoot it, roast it over the fireplace and have donkey burgers and she would never say a word. Mother makes everyone's favorite pie dessert and I have watched my brothers go through the pie line 2 or 3 times, each time getting a slice of each pie (and there are about 6) and Mother never said a word. Life is never fail and yes my mother told me that but I thought at least my mother would be!

    The best entertainment of the day though is always after dinner when mother takes the rest of the meat off the turkey carcass and stores it away and gives the rest of the carcass to the family dog – a basset hound named Seymour. Now Seymour's ears are longer than his legs and when he gets finished with that carcass – and yes he eats the WHOLE thing – its fun to watch him try to walk as his belly drags the floor. Then he sleeps for 2 days.

    I'm not going home for Thanksgiving this year; the food is good but all that togetherness makes me ill. I see my brothers enough, thank you, and they still pick on me like they always have. I don't see driving hours to give them a chance to do it some more. I got myself some good books, a turkey and dressing tv dinner, and a couple of nice movies to watch and I'm going to curl up by the fire and be thankful for the quietness all around me.

    Have a great Thanksgiving Jack!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 24, 2008 at 6:56 pm |
  10. Rose

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your chain-smoking pooch, Maybe you could combine the cocoa krispies and the Frosty and market it to your beloved Carvel. We will wait in anticipation for your next blog. In the meantime, please tell Sammy to pass the menthols.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  11. Megan Dresslar (Shoreline, Wa

    Hellooo Jack!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!!!! I love this blog!!!! I read all your comment! LOL! very funny!!!! I would like snap, crackle and pop tto eat, That is my favorite krispies bar to eat! I agree with all bloggers....... you are so funny man!!!!! Thanks for cheer me up! I love to read joke comment all times! I can't wait eat the turkey at my mom's house! it will be fun for the holiday! Take care Jack! enjoy your thanksgiving day! I agree with Sandra. Don't forget watch the heroes on Thursday night! Tell Anderson for me "Happy Thanksgiving to you from me"! P.S. Please will you write more joke for viewers and me? Thanks Jack............ Also I will take care of Anderson's goldfish! LOL!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  12. Don, WA

    A Sarah Palin slaughtered pie huh – that would be a turkey pot-pie would'nt it. That would be a good name for a backwoods pub that she could open up there in alaska, serving dark beer and turkey pot-pie: Welcome to "The Slaughtered Pie Pub and Brewery" – and stick to the road if you're walking home in the full moon. Happy Thanksgiving.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  13. Roweena D'Souza, Seattle

    you know for the life of me, I could not figure out why the holidays or visiting home could cause depression among people. I get it now... age definitely makes you wiser 🙂 It's great that you are going to honor the holiday, frosted flakes it is... for thanksgiving dinner!

    Enjoy the holidays Jack and Happy Thanksgiving.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  14. Kristien,Antwerp, Belgium

    Hey Jack,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Sammy!
    Thanks for yet another funny, funny post!

    November 24, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  15. Pinal, CT

    Hello Jack,

    May I spend Thanksgiving with you, your dog and Anderson's goldfish. Sounds like a whole lotta fun. Happy Thanksgiving.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Renee

    Jack, thanks for keeping us laughing. Can you "shame" Anderson into blogging one day again? Too busy, I suppose.

    Happy Thanksgiving to You!

    November 24, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  17. Brooke - Baton Rouge, LA

    Jack, I am totally with you. Although I do appreciate playing with all my lovely nieces and cracking jokes with my sis... I could really opt out this year. I have a huge exam coming up at the end of January and would much rather dive into some MCAT practice tests.... but for the sake of the holiday and some good food that I can't cook myself, I'll be home.

    Thanks for the laugh 🙂

    November 24, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  18. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    Cocoa Krispies? Jack, you disappoint me! It's got to be Trix! Who can’t resist that silly rabbit and those fruity flavors – raspberry red, lemony lemon, orangey orange, wildberry blue, grapity purple and watermelon. Not to mention, it's fortified with 12 vitamins and minerals....Ha! And no, I don't have stock in Trix but maybe I should consider it. Hmmm.

    Anyways, tradition in my family has always been to go to the Detroit Lions football game on Thanksgiving but since their record is about as gloomy as what’s happening in the Stock Market, we, as a family, have decided not to go. That being said, I would much rather be at a game, yelling, screaming, drinking beer and eating pizza. But then, in our family, you don’t have to be actually at the game to yell, scream, drink beer, or eat pizza so instead, we will just be in front of the TV tube (that’s if Detroit decides to even have a game on Thanksgiving Day). Whoever said Thanksgiving Day had to be all about eating turkey anyway! After seeing that Sarah Palin video the other day, I'm feeling a bit sorry for those little fellows....

    I think you should go to the Macy’s Parade, take your camera and do a Jack Gray Reporter’s Notebook for us groupies! Please....please?

    Happy early Thanksgiving Day to you too! 🙂

    November 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  19. Em

    Hi Jack, I taught my D.I.L. to cook last year so she is cooking for her folks this year....what's up with that! Thank god the mister likes his cocoa krispies too!. Gus and Tracker the Wonder Dog send holiday greetings to Sammy. Tracker is trying to quit but wonders if Sammy might bum him a Newport? And thanks...my goldfish Hymie isn't speaking to me cause he knows he will be left all alone again...glurb, glurb.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the wonderful AC360 crew!

    November 24, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  20. Dulcie


    Geez, I should know better than to read your column while eating lunch. I was almost the first person ever to choke to death on soup.

    I used to endure family dinners with lots of Xanax and beer, but now I just stay home and skip the beer part. They kicked me off the island anyway.

    I think a bong as a centerpiece would be really lovely.

    Thanks as always for a good laugh

    November 24, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  21. Maria

    Happy Thanksgiving Jack, Anderson and All
    Finally, the holiday season approaching and we will have fun. Like you, we should always thankful for the fortune we had and remember the unfortunate people. You looks you will be lonely this holiday, try to spend some time to greet your relatives and friends by emailing, sending card or calling. Burning hair is not fun at all, if I were you I will go to hair dressing salon. Jack, enjoy your Cocoa krispies and spark some Cocoa powder on Anderson’s goldfish, he will be busy with the CNN Heroes and I think he will like his goldfish tanned for winter. Sammy, bless her heart, looks she is having busy schedule this weekend, keep watching her and don’t let her drink too much….
    Wish all AC360 team happy thanksgiving….

    November 24, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  22. Missy

    Jack, remember Cindy Lou from The Grinch? She likes to eat cereal, too.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  23. Sandra Robertson

    Hey Jack; don't forget to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" followed by happy-ending bedtime stories, "CNN Heros: An All-Star Tribute." Happy Thanksgiving to all and God Bless.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  24. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Happy Thanksgiving Jack! Enjoy your Cocoa Krispies...they really are better than Cocoa Pebbles! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy the parade or lighting your hair on fire which ever you decide to do! 🙂 Don't spend too much time with Anderson's goldfish! Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 24, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  25. Johnny from SC

    Funny as always...If you wanted to hit my bong you were wlecomed to it. All you had to do was ask. I don't normally smoke in the park. But the in-laws are in town for the holidays. So I needed some stress relief ( ran out of crack )lol. Sarah, Todd and the rest of their poorly named clan are coming over to hunt strays later you're welcomed to come but you probably need to leave Sammy at home. Sarah tends to shoot at anything darker than McCain. lol

    O'ya Cocoa Pebbles beat Cocoa Krispies hands down.


    November 24, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  26. jill

    Oh Jack, can I come and have cereal with you?

    November 24, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  27. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Jack, Very funny post! Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving whatever you decide to eat. I thought cereal was a good choice – I used to live on it when I was a kid. And you're right, cocoa krispies is the only way to go for sure! Before my husband and kids, I spent many a holiday by myself. Now, we can all have cereal together – just kidding. I made two homemade pumpkin pies from scratch (crust, pie pumpkin and everything) just the other day. It tasted great! So, I froze the second one for Thursday's desert! I'll have a piece for you don't worry. Have a great day – I look forward to your next post. Till next time.....

    November 24, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  28. EJ (USA)

    Happy Thanksgiving Jack : )

    November 24, 2008 at 12:43 pm |
  29. Terra Hoskins

    Regis Hussein Philbin. Now that is funny.

    I once went into a cigar shop on Melrose Ave. with my mom (don't ask) and asked if I was looking at an opium pipe. The guy behind the corner said, "If I said yes, that wouldn't be legal would it?"

    I guess a bong standing in for a cornucopia wouldn't be legal either, but it would be kind of funny. My grandmother wouldn't know the difference.

    Happy Thanksgiving all.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  30. Lilibeth

    Hi Jack, Happy Thanksgiving to you too. I will be in Vancouver, Canada for the holiday, not to see relatives, but just because I like to visit Vancouver. It’s a beautiful city. It’s not Thanksgiving there, so I don’t know if I’ll be having turkey. Christmas is when I’ll go to California to see relatives. And yes, everytime I go down there to visit, I am reminded why I moved to Seattle in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. My in-laws…that’s another story. Let’s just say I do everything to keep things civil.

    But I do have a lot to be thankful for. Everyday, I remind myself of the many blessings I have, and I help and pray for those who are less fortunate. I’m thankful everyday, not just on Thanksgiving.

    You sound lonely, Jack. Cereal for Thanksgiving? Why don’t you join me and my husband to Vancouver? It will be a blast!

    Take care,

    Edmonds, Washington

    November 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  31. Pamina

    Best wishes for this festive ( I think that's what their calling it this year) season! You are always welcome at my apartment, with the 8 others who are joining me. I will try not to get my hand stuck up a frozen turkey this year. Let me know if you and Sammy want to join us!

    November 24, 2008 at 11:53 am |
  32. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    LOL Jack!
    Lordy, I need more coffee to get to your level of hysteria, but I'm working on it!
    Oh, those holidays! My whole family is coming to my house for Thanksgiving. You may call it xanax appreciation day, but at my house we call the holidays the bi-polar express!
    We have vegetarians and non~vegetarians so the menu gets tricky. I make Palin chicken pot pies and humane vegetarian pot pies. I have a real turkey for those who like to eat flesh, and tofurkey for the kind hearted ones. See? I need wine already! Also, would you pass the xanax?
    For breakfast we will have anything fried up like Texans like it! That brings a whole new meaning to snap, crackle, pop, hm?
    Pass the yogurt please~
    The trick to a happy holiday with family is to have a horn of plenty of wine on hand. When each person walks in the door, hand them a glass poured FULL!
    That's right. Get them all drunk and nobody remembers those nasty remarks they said. Sometimes when everyone gets tipsy you even hear laughter. Except from me. I laugh my ass off through the whole holiday. I simply find dysfunctionality amusing.
    Take care Jack and be sure to take care of Anderson's goldfish. No flushing!
    Here's wishing you and Sammy a great holiday!
    Peace, love, dove~and (((tail wags)))
    Betty Ann

    P.S. If you get bored, you are always welcome to the bi-polar express in Texas! (funny, funny blog!)

    November 24, 2008 at 11:29 am |
  33. pati mc., camp hill, pa

    Happy Turkey (er, Cocoa Krispies) Day, Jack!

    Truthfully YOUR Thanksgiving sounds like nirvana to me. I may miss the turkey, but I love me some Manhattan. Your ideas are refreshing and unique, so rock on, and enjoy.

    Sammy smokes? That's awesome! Buy her a carton and tell her to smoke up.

    November 24, 2008 at 11:26 am |
  34. mmmarete

    Happy Thanksgiving and nice remembering those in need.

    November 24, 2008 at 11:21 am |
  35. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Well, Happy Early Thanksgiving to you. I'll be in the kitchen all day Thursday, as I am every Thanksgiving. I'll think of the Macy's parade as I roll out the pie crust and mix up the pumpkin pie, have a great dinner, listen to all the relatives, then wash one million dishes! Ain't Holiday's grand. I guess on the bright spot of life, Christmas is suddenly on target and songs of the season will be playing from every mall in America. Frosty the Snowman and Santa got run over by a Reindeer....played over and over and over.. Oh Joy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Sammy.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    November 24, 2008 at 11:07 am |
  36. Dee from CT

    Of course, I'm now craving Cocoa Krispies, wonder if the cafeteria has any for lunch ...

    I'll be watching the parade – a tradition at my Mom's – while we set the table and cook more food than we can ever eat – I'll look for you in the crowd ...

    Jack and Sammy have a great Thanksgiving week – even if you're not going back home to the family. And Jack, maybe if you get Sammy an extra carton she'll snuggle with you.

    November 24, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  37. Tammy

    My family and I had the obligatory sweet potatoes, poultry, dressing, and pecan pie yesterday with the passive-aggressive relative (there really is one in every gene pool or legally joined union), came home, had a moment of clear sanity in all this holiday nonsense, and decided I'm taking my friends up on the offer to celebrate with them for the next one. You have no idea how much I appreciated my happy pill and the mindless blither of Hallmark channel movies to help me not think for the next six hours.

    HIt the parade with the tourists. I think we have to see things through their eyes sometimes to appreciate where we live (it's the only way I've found to remotely appreciate Mardi Gras). Besides, it beats that burning hair smell any day.

    Happy Thanksgiving. And thanks for the reminder to help those without.

    November 24, 2008 at 10:53 am |
  38. Missy

    You can watch The March of the Wooden Soldiers, the one with Laurel and Hardy. It comes with a happy ending and a lesson.

    November 24, 2008 at 10:45 am |
  39. Presley

    Have a Xanarrific Holiday Jack.
    I will watch the Parade so yes you should go and maybe do a video diary and ask parade people if NeNe is "Real".
    I cook and if you were here, you would totally get all the eats and fixin's minus the sides of drama. I host the "Orphan Thanksgiving", those that don't travel home come over and bring a favorite Junk Food of choice for snacking. We don't dress up and we watch movies and Football. This year, we will watch "Gone Baby Gone" & "The Departed" again and do our best Bostonian accents, "The Depahted", "it ain't supernatural". good times.

    Hang out with Sammy, enjoy the Cocoa Krispies. See you in December.

    XXO and ♥'s
    p.s. You too Anderson, Have a good one Boo.

    November 24, 2008 at 10:32 am |
  40. Michelle D. Fonthill,Ontario

    Happy Thaksgiving Jack

    Cereal on Thanksgiving !? That's a real turkey !-wa-wa here the chessy music now! Please don't set your hair on fire go to the parade at macy's and put some whipped cream on a steraming hot bowl of Cocoa pebbles . Have a great holiday ! come back to the webcast soon! It was funny!
    Michelle D.

    November 24, 2008 at 10:29 am |
  41. Cindy

    AWW...you don't like Thanksgiving!? You mean spending hour upon hour listening to old stories of when you were little and did embarrassing stuff isn't fun for ya? Or maybe you aren't into having fifty people crammed into a space meant for 6 or 7 at the least? LOL Come on Jack...it can't be that bad...I can see now why you work at 360! Does every one there have to take on Coop's persona and not do holidays!?

    And as far as taking care of Anderson's goldfish...well just throw it in a cup of water and you've got a carrying case for the little fella! Just watch out for Sammy though..she may make an afternoon snack out of him! LOL

    Too bad you are stuck in NY but while you're there you may as well have some fun!! You can hang out of the window or on a rooftop and when the Macy's hot air balloons go by try to shoot them with darts and see how many you can deflate! That would be fun. Ok...until you got arrested and had to be bailed out of jail by the boss man! That wouldn't be too nice huh? LOL

    The least you can do is go get Sammy some cigs and wine to celebrate. Hey..just because you don't want to have fun doesn't mean that she shouldn't!! LOL Or maybe you could get that bong from the homeless guy and you both could have a HIGH and mighty time!

    Have a GREAT Thanksgiving Jack!!


    November 24, 2008 at 10:29 am |
  42. Ariston, FL


    I sensed a little bitterness at the beginning. but I think Sammy helped you out with that. You are always hilarious. Happy Thanksgiving to the goldfish, Sammy (the Newport smoking dog) and you.

    Ariston, FL

    November 24, 2008 at 10:23 am |
  43. Mary Lou

    Happy Thanksgiving! Perhaps you could put some whipped cream on your cocoa krispies for dessert! Yummy! I agree Cocoa Krispies are far superior to Cocoa Pebbles...that may be the one and only thing upon which Elizabeth Hasselbeck and I actually agree.

    November 24, 2008 at 10:15 am |

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