Thanksgiving Days 4 and 5: To the motherland and back

Yesterday, my wife and I went to the Albany area to visit my family, culminating with a family dinner that included us, my parents, my brother, my grandmother and my aunt and uncle.

The visit with my parents was nice, and good time was had by all at dinner, but for the longest time, someone was missing.

Billy Fuccillo.

He’s not a family member. In fact, I’ve never met the guy. But any “You know you’re from Upstate New York” lists that don’t include the ubiquity of Stewart’s Shops and Billy Fuccillo telling you his deals are going to be “huuuuuuggggeeee” is literally doing it wrong and should be dismissed immediately with extreme prejudice.

At times, it seems likes he’s on every third ad, but we had been at my parents’ house four hours without seeing one. I was starting to worry there was something wrong, but no worries; once we switched to the Wisconsin-Minnesota football game, there he was.

So it must be our man Billy isn’t especially interested in Saturday-afternoon “Monk” marathons on WE Tv.

* * * * *

On the drive to and from New York, we surfed the radio dial looking for Christmas songs and the answer to the annual question, “What do you have to do to become the  ‘official’ Christmas station of a particular place?”

Seriously, is there a competitive-bidding process? Do the stations play rock-paper-scissors? Is there skullduggery involved? Do stations send teams of three into a steel cage to fight it out?

Most Christmas songs are like early ESPN bowl games — there’s no reason for them to exist, but they fill time.

The bottom-of-the-barrel efforts tend to show up on the radio around Dec. 20, unless they’ve been playing Christmas songs for weeks already, in which case they’ve already reached the point of “We’ve played Johnny Mathis five times a day for three weeks already,” which I’m pretty sure the Opry Mills mall in Nashville had by the time we were there a couple weeks ago.

Driving home today, my wife and I heard the Brett Eldredge/Meghan Trainor version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” which I’m sure they recorded because … reasons.

I’ve read arguments about how you should view the song in the context of its time and not today’s — when I think Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” would look at it and say “Seems a little rapey, don’t you think?” — but there’s something even worse about this version.

It’sterrible.

I find Meghan Trainor to be a perfectly fine singer — I even have a couple songs of hers on my phone — and while I would know Bret Eldredge or one of his songs if I fell over them, he seems to have a good voice.

However, throughout the whole song, he keeps stepping on her lines like he’s wearing giant clown feet.

Seriously, dude, let the woman finish a sentence. You’re not in a race. Let the song breathe.

* * * * *

So here I am again, right where I knew I’d be when I left work last Tuesday afternoon.

It’s Sunday afternoon, the sun is setting, and I’m asking myself how the hell I got here.

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