Thanksgiving, America's national pre-Black Friday ritual, has its origins as a celebration of harvest bounty and an opportunity to reflect on the things and people for which we're thankful. This is what the staff of Gawker is thankful for. What about you?
I am thankful for National Geographic magazine. With stunning photography and intensive journalism that spans the globe, National Geographic reminds us each month that we live in a wonderful world. Thank you, National Geographic, for everything that you do.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a very corny person. Besides the bounty of delicious homecooked food that arrives on Thanksgiving, I love the cheesy ritual of expressing gratitude because I am very wack and uncool. This year, all the same people and things that I loved last year will be on my to-thank list, but a special shoutout is owed to the year of the girl gang. I am lucky to know smart, compassionate, and laid-back women who keep me on my toes and give me good things to think about, in addition to their strong recommendations for books and cheap peanut noodle spots. I don't know if you've seen this Beyoncé video (jk you have) but this is what 2014 has been about for me. While it was less hot and not as coordinated, you get the idea.
I'm thankful for this goddamn website and this goddamn company, which allows me to do whatever the fuck I want to creatively and call it a job. I am limited only by my own imagination and ability. I would be miserable if things were any other way.
This sounds earnest and ass-kissy, I know. Thank you for reading me, regardless.
I am thankful for Costco, LaCroix water, and the few magical weeks this summer that one Costco in Los Angeles stocked LaCroix water.
Thanks be to Anthony Cumia and his stans, who presumably only exist in the annals of Reddit. A strong contingent of the shock jock's fans blame me for his firing from SiriusXM, though this assumption would fail to award Mr. Cumia the credit he deserves—he said some pretty racist shit after all. In the Cumia fan army's onslaught against me, primarily manifested in the form of death threats (to my Twitter, to my email, to my phone), they also made a classic workplace prank: signing my email address up for various mailing lists. Not an especially creative bunch, most of the emails I received were from clothing chains they believe gay men to frequent (H&M, Topshop). But also: Bed, Bath and Beyond! What you can buy there really goes beyond your expectations. Thanks for the discounted razor cartridges, soap, and bags and bags and bags of chips, Anthony Cumia fans. (Also, for your outrage helping me get a full-time job at this fine blog you are reading.)
I'm thankful for toddler who is healthy, happy, and not yet in need of an explanation for the awful things humans do to each other when they're wounded or fearful. Relatedly, I'm grateful for Daniel Tiger DVDs and over-the-counter sleeping pills.
I am endlessly thankful for the small group of people in New York City who tolerate the presence and companionship and "humor" of a weirdo like me: That is, my friends. Their generosity and compassion, in a city which harshly punishes both, remain two of the greatest gifts life has given me.
On a less serious but not really facetious note, I am quite thankful for the Twitter account of Commentary editor John Podhoretz. And not in a it's-so-bad-it's-good way. I disagree with John on a lot, but I appreciate having a window into his mind and heart, both of which are more complex than his politics and personality would suggest. I have never met him in person, though, which might be for the best.
This year I am thankful for the countertop dishwasher. At first I was skeptical of such an extravagance, but without it, our marriage would have been over before it started. Bless you, you conveniently-sized, mechanized key to romance. (Please don't ever break down.)
I am thankful for spaghetti with anchovies. My father taught me to make it, as his grandmother had taught him. Every generation, down to the present day, is glad to eat it.
There is almost nothing to it. There are recipes that involve lemon zest and recipes that involve bread crumbs, and they have their merits, but they are not the family recipe. Olive oil, minced garlic, a shake of crushed red pepper, anchovies. At my wife's suggestion, years ago, I started upping the quantity of anchovies from one can to two. Now we buy anchovies in a fat jar and I fork out what looks like two cans worth. Sometimes I grab an extra anchovy to snack on while I work, a feat of decadence impossible in my one-can childhood, when every fillet had to count. Back then, if I was cooking it, I would settle for swabbing out stray flecks of anchovy from the creases of the can, trying not to slice my finger on the sharp edges where I'd peeled back the lid.
I am grateful that I can buy anchovies by the jar. I am grateful that on a weeknight, after a day at the office (I am grateful that I have a job), I can come home without needing to stop by the market, knowing that there will be the jar of anchovies in the fridge and pasta in the pantry and olive oil and garlic on the counter. I am grateful for the big rectangular Chinese knife with which to mince the garlic and the little cutting board to mince it on. I am grateful to have a cutting board reserved for garlic. I wish I had more counter space, but making spaghetti with anchovies doesn't require it. I am grateful for the big stainless-steel spaghetti pot my parents gave me when I moved out, and for the stainless Ikea saucepan I bought on the other side of the Pacific when I needed one, pots that have moved from city to city and kitchen to kitchen and across an ocean, making pasta with anchovies at every stop. I am grateful for the muscle memory that pours the right-sized big handful of salt into the water, and for the sense memory that knows the smell when the garlic is sizzling but not browning. I am grateful for the hand-me-down fork from my parents' old steel flatware set (Oneida Surf Club, knowledge for which I thank the Internet), and for the silicone spatula that works better than any wooden spoon for stirring and mashing the anchovies into paste.
I am grateful that I can ask my older son to choose among the thick spaghetti, regular spaghetti, and angel hair. It works with any of them. Maybe a little extra olive oil in the saucepan if he goes with the angel hair. I am grateful for the chipped yellow pasta bowl and the one-handled colander. I am grateful that the empty steaming pasta pot fits into the back of the dishwasher, and the saucepan fits in the top rack. I am grateful that the children will be excited to eat spaghetti with anchovies, that there will be no complaints and no surprise repudiations. I am grateful that there will be leftovers to pack in their lunchboxes tomorrow morning, that every problem up to dinnertime tomorrow has been solved. I am grateful to lift up a forkfull and eat it.
I'm thankful for both of my parents being alive and healthy and a great part of my life, as well as my grandfather, who is old as hell. I'm thankful for my own health and not being born with any serious infirmities.
I'm thankful for a lot of things this year—family, getting to see OutKast live in Atlanta, Black Twitter, Tom's weather reviews, friends in New York City who have become family—but mostly this video. It brings me unending joy. It reminds me to never truly grow up.
I'm thankful for the band Parquet Courts:
Andrew Savage is the rare rock songwriter who is both engaged enough to address the world beyond the confines of his own inner life and skillful enough to do so in a way that isn't completely ham-fisted and dull. In two years, three albums, and one EP, his band Parquet Courts has tackled racist judges, a bad economy, the military-industrial complex, our endless appetite for #content, and the hardships of finding a healthy snack when you're stoned in New York City—all in a voice that's biting, funny, and never moralistic. In "Pretty Machines," the best track from new album Content Nausea, he turns a critical eye to his own medium after poking fun at various instruments of capitalism: "Punk songs/I thought that they were different/And I thought that they could end it/No, it was a deception."
This probably won't surprise those who know me as the Internet's biggest Onion geek, but this year I'm thankful for ClickHole. Between deliberately vile troll articles and garbage bad faith "satire" sites, it seemed like being awful on purpose was the dominant business strategy on the web in 2014. The success of The Onion's clickbait parody site shows that there's still another way, whether that means alerting readers to the eerie prophecies of Adam Sandler or just giving out helpful sex tips like "light a ring of sexual Fuck-Torches."
I am thankful for a nail salon on Metropolitan Avenue called Cutie Calls and the fact that I rarely see anyone's boyfriend in it.
I'm thankful for the edit feature of Kinja because I forgot to write one of these, and now maybe no one but Max will know. I am also thankful to the New York State Board of Law Examiners who, I assume, accidentally passed me, my awesome parents, and Postmates, for routinely delivering me cookies without judgement.
This is my second year playing Fantasy Football. Last year, I came in last place. This year, in a league comprising the same friends, I am ranked number one. Soon I will face off against a small group of friends who have done nearly-but-not-quite-as well as I have this year in our league's playoffs—a feat that last year seemed a million miles (or should I say, a million yards) away. I am grateful have the opportunity to shove my stellar Fantasy Football record in the faces of friends who, last year, believed me to be a weak competitor. I am grateful for my ESPN app. I am grateful for the members of my Fantasy team, whoever they are. Thank you.
I am thankful for @ClarenceHouse, the British royal family's official Twitter account for news relating to Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Harry, Prince William, and his lovely wife Cathy, currently pregnant. Lots of times the things @ClarenceHouse has to tell me are boring, like "The Duchess of Cornwall, on behalf of The Queen, is holding a reception for winners of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition today," but I always read all of them. If a tweet describes an activity (such as a party for the winners of an essay contest, or a visit to the West Midlands, or a tour of a pottery studio in Middleport) I try to imagine the logistics of that event, and the nerves and anxiety of the people responsible for its coordination, and the excitement of the people who turned out specifically to see it happen. It's a good reminder that nothing is ever as important as you think it is. Occasionally I will tweet back at @ClarenceHouse, like an Internet troll writing "KILL YOURSELF, QUEEN" on Rihanna's Instagram. One time I responded "You are drunk" to a tweet in Welsh, and a couple angry Welsh people chastised me for suggesting that the Welsh language written out loosk lik a drynrk prsn typping. Generally, though, my comments go unnoticed, which I prefer. It's soothing to type into a void and receive no opinions back. I like the silence.
I'm thankful that Kelly reminded me about the Things You're Thankful For assignment in Slack a little bit ago. Earlier today, I couldn't think of a good thing to be thankful for in this post, and I was stressed. But now I have something. I'm also thankful for my grandparents; this afternoon I found the below picture of the four of us—taken just after my high school graduation—in my old bedroom at my mom's house.
It is trendy now to be tired of Twitter—to complain about the existential emptiness of Twitter, to take Twitter hiatuses. I, of course, understand it. Twitter is a neverending Katamari ball of anxiety and bad opinions, and even on an average day keeping up with it can feel overwhelming. But all that said, I can think of nothing in 2014 that has brought me more respite from boredom, helped educate me in more subjects, or introduced me to more people whose opinions I value. I am thankful for Twitter for those reasons, and because whatever replaces it will probably be worse.
I'm thankful for the incredible collection of people with whom I work, and with whose intelligence, humor, and skill I am lucky enough to associate myself: You make me look good. I'm grateful for dedicated readers who like Gawker and tell their friends about us: You are the reason we do this. And I'm even a little thankful for people who arrive via Facebook, don't read the article, leave garbage in the comments, and never return: Every new visitor counts.
What are you thankful for?