Four Questions

It’s The Four Questions After All

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a light blue polo shirt and a dark blue zip-up hoodie. It’s cold, people!

What is making Dave happy today? Dave finalized plans for the upcoming Disney 10K.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re stuck — like, perhaps, when you’re trying to figure out Disney’s overly complicated new booking and reservation system.

What is Dave’s favorite part of running a Disney 10K? Dave likes the part when it’s over and he gets to eat Mickey pretzels and other Disney snacks for the rest of the weekend.

Four Questions

The Four Questions Come in Peace

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a purple polo shirt and will ignore anyone who says he looks like Barney the dinosaur.

What is making Dave happy today? Dave had a very productive meeting earlier.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says to be mindful of other’s feelings, even if you’re not feeling happy.

What was the first thing that came to mind when Dave learned of the omicron variant? Dave instantly thought of Lrrr and Ndnd from Futurama.


You Can Take the Boy out of Britain, but You Can’t Take Britain Out of His Vocabulary

The first time I told the Complimentary Spouse I felt “a bit peckish,” he looked at me quizzically and asked what he had done wrong. His response confused me. Why would he think that I was accusing him of something when all I wanted was a snack?

It turns out that he had never heard the word “peckish,” and assumed it meant I was mad or annoyed. But it just meant I was hungry. 

Here’s why we weren’t on the same (dictionary) page: I spent part of my childhood in the U.K., where some British words seeped into my vocabulary. Most times, I can remember which words are correct in which countries, but in the case of “peckish” I had no idea it was an obscure word in America. 

I’ve lived in the U.S. now for many years, but there are still a few British remnants in my vocabulary. Sometimes I don’t even recognize when I’m using a non-American word. Here are some examples that pop up from time to time:

  • When I ask Britt for the dogs’ leads, he brings me their leashes.
  • If I tell Britt his windscreen is dirty, he washes his windshield.
  • When I tell Britt I’m going to get a trolley at Publix, he knows I’m coming back with a shopping cart.

Beyond these examples and a few others, you usually won’t hear me mixing British and American words.1 I think that’s because my vocabulary is on autopilot: 99.9% of the time, I will use the words and expressions appropriate for the country I’m in. For example, when we’re in Britain (or Ireland or Australia or New Zealand), without thinking I will:

  • Ask where the lifts or toilets are.
  • Order chips or crisps with my beef burgers.
  • Put luggage in the boot of the car (and petrol in the tank).
  • Write whilst and colour and end my sentences with a full stop.

As soon as the plane touches down in the States, I automatically revert to elevatorsbathrooms, French fries, potato chips, hamburgers, trunk, gas, while, color, and period.2

I suspect I’m not the only former expat with such an elastic vocabulary. This is simply an ability you pick up when you have lived abroad. I’ll chalk it up as another one of my awesome yet unmarketable skills. 

1 I can also switch between punctuation styles. For example, in the U.S., the period goes inside the closing quote, while in the UK, the full stop goes outside.3

2 My Spanish vocabulary is also on autopilot: When referring to a car in Spain, I say coche, while everywhere else I use carro

3 Note that I used “U.S.” with periods while discussing American punctuation, and “UK” without full points when discussing British punctuation. That’s because initialisms are treated differently in each country. I know this stuff inside and out. Just wait till I get started on collective nouns. 

Four Questions

Happy Hanukkah From The Four Questions

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing Lightning gear today. Alas, this show of support didn’t help the Bolts win.

What is making Dave happy today? Dave and the Complimentary Spouse celebrated the first night of Hanukkah.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says gifts aren’t really important — having family and friends to exchange them with is the truly valuable thing!

What is one of Dave’s holiday traditions? Dave chants the brucha for the lighting of the candles as quickly as possible. It was something he and his brothers did as kids so they could get gifts sooner. Dave can do the whole thing in, oh, five seconds or so. Here’s what it looks like:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, יְיָ
אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ, מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֺתָיו
וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חֲנֻכָּה.


The Sounds of Hanukkah

It’s Hanukkah! Let’s celebrate with a few non-terrible Hanukkah songs. The first is “Puppy for Hanukkah” by the incomparable Daveed Diggs, best known for “Hamilton.” Neither Lucy nor Linus are Hanukkah puppies, but they get Hanukkah gifts each year. Linus doesn’t like to share toys, and Lucy has a flazéda attitude when Linus steals hers.

Next, here’s “Goyim Friends” by the LeeVees. Let the goyim have their trees and whatnot. I’m happy with latkes and sufganiyot.

A few years ago, SNL gave us this wonderful musical Hanukkah present. It’s always a chai-light of any Hanukkah playlist.

Here’s an awesome playlist from Apple Music. My two favorites are “Give You Everything” by Buzzy Lee and “Eight Nights a Week” by Loudon Wainwright III. It’s the playlist the Complimentary Spouse and I are listening to now as we watch the candles burn down.

As part of the Gay Agenda™, I’m required to include this clip of Sandra Bernhard singing the prayer for lighting the Hanukkah candles to RuPaul.

Chag sameach! Now go spin some dreidels and eat some latkes!

Four Questions

The Four Questions Are Sick of Turkey

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing an Alabama polo shirt, which he may have to take off when he goes out in public if this game doesn’t turn around.

What is making Dave happy today? Dave and the Complimentary Spouse had a wonderful lunch with friends on the riverfront.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says don’t buy things you don’t need, even if they’re on sale.

Did Dave see any wildlife today? Dave espied a lazy little gator at Ulele Springs. Can you spot him in this photo?

Here’s a close-up:

Four Questions

The Four Questions Are Living in a Material World

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a Lightning T-shirt.

What is making Dave happy today? Dave made it through the wilderness — somehow he made it through — and he didn’t know how lost he was till he found you, Madonna slot machine.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says don’t gamble with Madonna. She’ll always win.

Why was Dave in a casino today if he doesn’t like to gamble? Dave and the Complimentary Spouse had to walk through a casino to get to a restaurant. Dave doesn’t like to do this because he isn’t a fan of cigarette smoke and ugly clothes.

Travel & Food

Turkey Pot, Turkey Pot, Turkey Pot Pie

The Complimentary Spouse usually takes care of all the cooking here at Camp David but, after watching him hard at work all day yesterday for Thanksgiving, I decided it was finally my turn to make dinner.

I promise Principal Skinner’s recipe for steamed hams never crossed my mind.

After researching some ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers, I found a promising recipe for turkey pot pie. Who doesn’t love a pot pie? And, even though it’s about a chicken pot pie, who can resist singing the song?

Britt helped out a little bit with the chopping, but I did everything else myself. In anticipation of tomorrow’s Iron Bowl, I even carved the Alabama logo into the pie crust. 

I don’t think the finished pie will win any awards for looks. The crust looked pale, and it’s clear I had no idea what I was doing when I crimped the dough together.

So, the pot pie wasn’t visually appealing. What about the taste? Pretty damn good, if I say so myself. The filling was thick and creamy, with a good ratio of vegetables to meat. I was worried I had put in too much seasoning, but the taste was just right. It was hard to cut a neat slice, but I think that’s true for all pot pies.

Britt and I both had seconds and polished off about half the pie. 

I’ll be making this recipe again with a few minor tweaks. But not for a while. I don’t want Britt to get used to being on the receiving end of a home-cooked meal.

Travel & Food

In Praise of the Thanksgiving Sandwich

My father, the wisest and kindest man on the planet1, believes that any food worth eating can be turned into a sandwich. I take this parental proverb to heart every Thanksgiving. For as long as I can remember, I’ve eaten my Thanksgiving dinner in sandwich form.

A Thanksgiving dinner sandwich isn’t just delicious. It’s transcendent. In fact, it’s beyond transcendent. How would you describe it, Homer?

If you’re ready to graduate from ordinary Thanksgiving dinner to super-spectacular-sandwich Thanksgiving dinner, here are some pointers:

  • King’s Hawaiian rolls are the best ones to use.2 If you can’t find King’s Hawaiian rolls, opt for small, soft rolls. Something like ciabatta is way too hard.
  • Use just one or two pieces of turkey so you have plenty of room for everything else.
  • Put the gravy directly on top of the turkey to improve your sandwich’s structural integrity.
  • Go light on the mashed potatoes since they’re just going to ooze out the sides.
  • You can’t have enough stuffing3 or cranberry sauce. Honestly. Put on more than you think you need.
  • Skip the green bean casserole. Nothing good ever comes from putting anything green on a sandwich.

Once you have a Thanksgiving dinner sandwich, you’ll never go back to forks and knives again. Enjoy!

1 I wasn’t paid to write this.
2 I wasn’t paid to write this.
3 The best stuffing in the world is made by the Complimentary Spouse.4 He makes homemade cornbread and biscuit stuffing — he even makes the cornbread and biscuits from scratch!
4 I wasn’t paid to write this.

Four Questions

Happy Thanksgiving From The Four Questions

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing shorts with an elastic waistband because, you know, Thanksgiving.

What is making Dave happy today? Dave is happy it’s Thanksgiving, even if he can’t spend the holiday with his family this year. Dave is also happy that he’s drinking Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc, his favorite wine.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says to express gratitude every day, not just today.

What will Dave do with the leftovers from today’s Thanksgiving feast? Dave is googling recipes for turkey chip cookies.