Back by popular demand (well, to be entirely transparent, I realized the other day that I used to many years ago write an "I'm thankful for..." column every Thanksgiving week, but for some reason hadn't done so for several years), what follows is a "What I'm thankful for..." column, since it's the season of expressing gratitude and all of that good stuff.

    Back by popular demand (well, to be entirely transparent, I realized the other day that I used to many years ago write an "I'm thankful for..." column every Thanksgiving week, but for some reason hadn't done so for several years), what follows is a "What I'm thankful for..." column, since it's the season of expressing gratitude and all of that good stuff.

    So in November of 2017, I am feeling especially gratuitous because...

    • I came up with the idea a couple weeks ago, after my wife bought a quart of egg nog, to put an empty glass in the freezer, always frigid and frosty and at the ready when I wanted a glass of the tasty holiday drink. For me, you see, things that are supposed to be hot, like soup or chili or coffee, can never be too hot – I consider burning my tongue or the roof of my mouth cause for celebration – and the same goes for things that are supposed to be cold. Egg nog is a thick drink, and it doesn't seem to want to get sufficiently cold in a traditional refrigerator setting. But when you pour it into a frosty glass and swirl it around, it’s a holiday highlight.

    While many of us might keep a couple frosty mugs in the freezer in case a buddy pops over for a beer, the inspiration for my chilled egg nog glass dates back to my college roommate, who had a brightly colored plastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bowl that didn’t hold enough cereal to fill up a mildly hungry toddler. But that didn’t stop him from keeping that miniature bowl in our freezer at all times, only to be removed when he wanted a bowl of cereal. He’d eat around seven tiny servings until he was sufficiently full, rinse it, and put it back in the freezer until his next Cocoa Puffs or Fruity Pebbles feeding frenzy. I think he kept a spoon in the freezer, too.

    • YouTube is an internet miracle. While looking for a certain music video last week, I inadvertently made the thrilling discovery that, on YouTube, you can find performances by Pink Floyd, post-Roger Waters, circa 1987 from their Delicate Sound of Thunder tour, and, specifically, the recording of the Nassau Coliseum concert in New York, and, more specifically, guitarist and singer/songwriter David Gilmour's masterpiece, "On the Turning Away."

    I'm thankful for all of these things today because my dad and I back in 1987 owned the VHS of that Nassau Coliseum performance and we played it until that poor videotape simply could not be played anymore. The entire show is top-shelf (I love to argue with my music aficionado and Roger Waters-loving friends about the fact that Gilmour is so underappreciated), but it's "On the Turning Away" that's so brilliant and, it turns out, so incredibly timeless.

    When DVDs were considered cutting-edge technology, it was basically impossible to obtain one featuring the Nassau Coliseum Delicate Sound of Thunder show that could be played on a DVD player in the United States. I didn't learn until buying the wrong format that there are DVDs that can be properly played essentially everywhere on the planet, except in the United States. But now, thanks to YouTube, you can watch just about any song from that 1987 concert recording, and there isn't a better use of 8 minutes or so of your time than watching Gilmour and his band, at its peak, perform "On the Turning Away," complete with his closing guitar solo. When I witnessed the song and that solo at a  Pink Floyd outdoor concert in Winnipeg in 1994, my chin quivered like Charles “Pa” Ingalls in the closing scene of most episodes of “Little House on the Prairie.”

    This Thanksgiving weekend and in the United States of America that we are currently occupying in this moment in time, there is no more appropriate song to give a listen to than "On the Turning Away."

   • Heated steering wheel technology. When I bought a newer vehicle because our son took one of our older ones to college, I scoffed when I was told it "even has a heated steering wheel."

    Who needs or wants something like that, I figured. I don't want hot, sweaty hands when I'm driving.

    But, living in northern Minnesota, who am I kidding? When I warm up that truck parked overnight in the cold, press that button on the steering wheel and climb inside a few minutes later and feel that toasty leather, well, not being appreciative is silly.

    • Our son accepted my offer to take our microwave oven back to his dorm when he came home recently for a long weekend, so I could buy a new one that isn’t so disappointing. That low-rent Magic Chef was noisy, and you had to push the button so hard to get the door to pop open that the whole microwave would move across the counter. I replaced it with a Panasonic that cooks with a quiet, reassuring hum, has a pleasant-sounding beep, and a door button that requires merely a feather touch.

    I hope you have lots to be thankful for, too, this holiday season, things far more substantial than the fluff I’ve covered here. You know, health, family, prosperity in however you define it....all that good stuff.