Stuffing is Inferior to Dressing—for Two Big Reasons

It’s always a hardy debate, but social media this holiday season seems to show an even bigger uproar than usual over the ongoing war between dressing fans and stuffing fans.

Before we go on, I must admit that I am a dressing fan. So yes, I am extremely biased. That said, it’s still very clear that stuffing is inferior to dressing.  And there are two main reasons:

Stuffing Produces Small Portion Sizes

If you’ve ever fooled with a turkey before, you know there isn’t much room inside a turkey for much of anything other than a free packet of liver. Despite this, our northern friends swear that stuffing must happen so stuffing happens.  But when it’s crunch time, how much stuffing can a family really share together?

There’s enough room inside a turkey for maybe three people to eat stuffing. That may be good enough for the North, but that’s disrespectful down South. Not only can those three people not get second helpings, but no one else can even get a taste. This is especially disheartening since everyone knows that a proper Thanksgiving dish must be big enough to feed 15 people twice.

Stuffing inside the bird - just so disappointing

Stuffing inside the bird – just so disappointing.

Stuffing Ingredients are Too Distinguishable

Some people will argue that stuffing doesn’t have to be inside the bird to be considered stuffing.  That may be true, but that goes to show that dressing and stuffing really aren’t the same thing. If you ever really look at stuffing long enough, it becomes abundantly clear that it really is nothing like dressing—even if it’s in a casserole dish or giant aluminum pan. The main reason? The ingredients, which don’t seem to include cornbread or cornmeal, are too flipping big.

Look at the stuffing photo below.  Notice how held together the white bread seems to be.  It looks like someone just ripped that bread apart and threw it in oven at the very last minute before dinner time.

Dressing, on the other hand, takes time. And the ingredients are so intertwined that you can’t tell what’s what anymore. Like an award-winning concert band, dressing is all in one accord.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Stuffing

Stuffing – on a sad family dinner table somewhere up north.

The Case Against Visiting Meemaw’s Church for Easter

Look, we get it.  For decades, meemaw—or whatever we call our grandmother—has been who we visit on Easter weekend.  We’ve done this for so long that it’s become a tradition.  Some traditions are meant to be broken though, and this is one of those traditions.

No one is going as far as saying not visit meemaw at all.  That would be harsh.  We love meemaw, and meemaw loves us.  We do, however, need to avoid visiting meemaw’s church for Easter service or Resurrection service.

With 82 percent of Alabamians believing in God with absolute certainty (though not necessarily in a church), it’s imperative for us to participate in God’s instructions for us: “go and make disciples of all nations.”

Well, last we checked, meemaw’s church out in the rural countryside was not the most diverse sitting in the world, and it’s definitely not inviting to people from all nations of the world.  And if we’re honest, meemaw’s church isn’t even inviting to every person in Alabama.

With 56 percent of American adults saying they’d accept information about a local church from a friend or neighbor,  regular local churchgoers can’t waste this time of the year going to meemaw’s church.

Easter season is the most fertile opportunity for newcomers to visit a local church, and those newcomers will have a very bad taste in their mouths if they visit church and don’t see any familiar faces.  Those newcomers may not trust an invitation ever again after they have been left behind in favor of meemaw’s church.

So how can Christians visit meemaw out in the country and be present for their friends and neighbors in the city? A little elbow grease and a good calendar will do the trick.  The two main tips are below:

Attend Regular Church for Easter Service

Keep your normal routine for Easter Sunday.  This way if friends and neighbors have been invited, they will be comforted by seeing your familiar face in the crowd.  No one enjoys going to a brand new place with brand new people without a little support.

Drive Out to Meemaw’s After Church

Be careful.  Don’t just jet out of church as soon as service is over.  Take your friends and neighbors out for lunch.  Their comfort is the most important thing this weekend, not yours.  And relax.  Meemaw will still be happy to see you after lunch.  In fact, she will probably have a second lunch plate ready and prepared for your arrival.  Sounds like a win-win.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

5 Toys Bought on Black Friday That Don’t Work by Easter

If you were as oblivious as I was as a kid, you didn’t really understand the connection between Black Friday and the number of toys under the Christmas tree from Santa Claus.  But by 8 years old (*cough* 12 years old *cough*), the gig was up.  Not only did you understand, but you were helping your folks find the best discounts in town.  As knowledgeable as you had become though, you were still powerless to stop the plight of toy deterioration.  It wreaked havoc every year without mercy, but we’re grown-ups now and can put an end to this madness.

So to continue my 30th birthday blog-a-thon and help us all help ourselves, here is my list of the 5 toys that are bought on Black Friday but don’t work by Easter.

No. 1 – Toy Jeeps

Whether it was a Barbie Jeep or a Tonka Truck, these miniature vehicles were the talk of the neighborhood—until about St. Patrick’s Day.  That’s when the batteries would die.  For some strange reason, adults would never take the effort to buy a new battery or recharge the existing one.  So by the time Easter arrives, kids are having to take turns pushing and driving the car.  By the Fourth of July, the car is a bonafide yard ornament.  The only thing is does at this point is grow algae and mushrooms.

barbie-jeep

No. 2 – Video Game Cartridges / Discs

I never had this problem at my house because I knew if I broke something no one was gonna buy me a new one.  But at other kids’ houses, I witnessed this all the time.  When we had cartridges, kids would get food and other junk in the games, and the cartridges wouldn’t work.  In later years when we had discs, the discs would always be scratched up and completely unplayable.

In fact, on that note, I let one friend borrow a game from me once (“NFL Blitz 2000” on Playstation).  He returned it with the case broken, the owner’s manual missing, and the disc scratched up.  Luckily the disc still worked, but I learned a valuable: never loan anything valuable to friends if you’ll be mad if they lose it or damage it.

No. 3 – Tape Players / CD Players

I’m not talking about the good ones that your parents would have.  I’m talking about the cheap knockoff Walkman or Discman that you got for Christmas.  No matter what you did, the mechanisms in your tape player would eventually eat up a cassette tape that you spent hours recording radio music to.  No matter what you did, your CD player would go haywire for no apparent reason.  Of course, neither of these two incidents would ever happen within the 90-day warranty.  They’d always happen a few months afterwards.

No. 4 – Barbie Dolls / Action Figures

Have you ever seen a decapitated Barbie?  I have.  And it’s not a pretty sight.  Sure, when your G.I. Joe action figure’s arm gets eaten by the family dog, you can still make that toy disability work within your imagination.  Unfortunately, your sister or your cousin’s decapitated Barbie just leaves you somewhat uncomfortable.  It’s even worse if Barbie’s head is still around and the hair has been trimmed to the scalp.  Yikes.

screws-rusty-airborne-1024x576

No. 5 – YoYo

I don’t know why, but such a simple toy always had a lot of problems.  Most of the problems came from poor maintenance and harsh care by the kid who owned the yoyo (i.e. not oiling the metal in the yoyo).  A tiny sliver of the problems came from parents who bought dreadfully cheap yoyos.

Did I miss anything?  Drop a comment below and share this post on your social media outlets.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

There Are Only 3 Types of Homeowner Personalities

Every neighborhood has them.  Every friend group has them.  They’re everywhere like gnats in the summer time.  But can you quickly identify the three types of homeowner personalities if you encountered them? Have no fear.  The answers are here.

The Nit Picker Personality

NaggingThis is your former roommate.  Don’t you remember him?  He was always complaining about how your apartment was not as good as someone else’s.  It was quite annoying while you were in a lease together, but now you’re stuck together in the same poker group.

Things haven’t changed too much except the item of ridicule isn’t an apartment anymore—it’s a house.  Ironically, your old buddy is in the house of his dreams—from two months ago.  Ever since moving into the house, he hasn’t said a positive word about the place.

End Result: He will take the negative-equity hit and move into a “better” house.

The Delusional Personality

DenialThis is the lady that sits next to you at work.  She and her husband live in a house with a mortgage that consumes way too much of their monthly take-home pay.  And that’s not including electricity, maintenance, and other house-related things that cost money.

Unfortunately, they won’t sell the house because they are holding on to hope the husband will get another high-paying job again.  He got laid off 3 years ago and has never really fully-recovered.  Don’t worry though.  That doesn’t keep them from using debt to give off the impression that everything is still okay.  After all, the kids are in amazing school district where they are now.

End Result: She will eventually be punished with a foreclosure.  To make matters worse, her husband cheated on her with a neighbor down the street.

The Contented Personality

contentmentThis personality is rare.  It is so rare and silent that you simply may not have noticed it.  The person is the assistant manager of your favorite local fast food restaurant.  In fact, he or she comes home smelling like fries every single day.

Despite the smells, this person makes the best of every situation.  He or she may not have all the perks imaginable, but that doesn’t stop creativity from happening.  He or she is quietly becoming a millionaire right in front of your eyes.

End Result: This person will not move very often, but when he or she does move, it’s with a purpose.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Choose Your Coworkers Wisely

Coworkers can be a blessing, or they can be a curse.   Nothing is more crucial than having the right mix of people around you to make your day more productive and more fulfilling.  But how do you make sure your coworkers are a blessing and not a curse?

Well, if you’re going to spend over 50 percent of your waking day at a workplace, you really want to vet your potential coworkers as much as possible before you start working with them.  Once you accept a job offer or a department transfer, you’re often stuck with your decision for an extended period of time.

So talk to potential workers, scan online reviews, read about the company culture, and ask your potential boss as many questions as possible.  If you do all of those things and still have a warm and fuzzy feeling, then you should feel pretty comfortable about signing the dotted line on a job offer.

From there, all you can do is pray and hope for the best.

This post was previously written by Ben on LinkedIn.

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter

Types-People-You-Work

How to Get 157 FREE Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches per Year

The average American throws away between $28 and $43 in the form of food waste each month.  While that may not seem like much, it adds up over a yearly timeframe.  Using 40 dollars as a reference point, we end up unnecessarily chunking $480 into the trash every year.  Surely, we can find other ways to use that money more effectively.   Please see the following:

An Extra $480 per Year Could Buy…

What some other things could you buy with an extra $480 per year?

Chick-Fil-A

The ABLE Act: Please Write Your Legislator

Normally I wouldn’t do this, but I urge you to write your state senator and state representative and ask them to support the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.  It is legislation that directly supports parents and relatives of children with special needs.  It has already been passed at the national level but needs to pass at the state level to be fully implemented.

If you are not aware, in December 2014, the US Congress created subsection (f) of  Section 529 of  the Internal Revenue Code to allow the ABLE Act to follow all the requirements and regulations of a traditional 529 qualified tuition program.  This simply means that parents or relatives can contribute $13,000 yearly toward a child with special needs and that money can grow tax-free and be withdrawn tax-free for assistive technology, health expenses, transportation expenses, education expenses, and many other needs.

In addition, funds from tradition 529 plans can rollover to ABLE plans and vice versa.  For instance, if your gifted child gets into a car accident at 16 years and suffers severe brain damage, you will not be penalized for the money you saved for the college expenses.  If the ABLE Act passes, you will be able to use those funds to help make your child’s disabled life a little more comfortable.  Or you may have a child that is mentally capable but physically challenged.  Now you can pay for college as well as for mobility assistance.  And it’s all tax-free.

Please write your senator or represenative or even the President of the United States at the link that follows: http://capwiz.com/state-al/home/

01 Write Your Senator

5 Tips for Full-Time Workers Who Go Back to School

Grad SchoolBeing a student—whether in high school, college, or grad school—can be challenging.  It can be even more challenging if concurrent full-time employment is involved.  And furthermore challenging if marriage and parenthood is involved.  However, even with all of those challenges, reaching your goal of gaining more education is still achievable—you just need a few tips to get you over the hump.

(1) Move to 2nd or 3rd Shift

Maybe don’t do this forever, but definitely try it while you are in school.  I have worked with several people who have done this, and it made taking traditional classes a lot more feasible.  Also, most people who work on off shifts get paid a little more than their dayshift counterparts because of the perceived inconvenience.  One man’s inconvenience is another man’s treasure.

(2) Take Online Classes or Weekend/Evening Classes

If you’re pretty much stuck on dayshift or irregular shifts, try taking online courses or weekend/evening courses.  Not only does this potentially give you more flexibility, it also keeps your employer from getting annoyed with all of the personal time off (PTO) you are using to attend classes during traditional daytime hours.

(3) Make the Most of Downtime

Do you have a 10 minute work break? Write flashcards.  Do you take a 60 minute lunch period? Read your textbook.  Is your baby asleep? Start a term paper.  Did your husband go to the home improvement store? Take a practice test.  Downtime is precious.  If you notice that you have some, make the most of it.

(4) Become a 7 Year Senior

Streeeeeeeetch out your time in school.  If you have a pretty decent job and can pay the bills, slow your academic pace so that you can spend more time with your family and friends.  Being able to socialize and stay connected may help the grunts of hard work be a little easier to bare.

(5) Utilize Employer Tuition Reimbursements

With the stress of working a job and going to school, money is the last thing many people want to worry about.  That’s why it’s good to check to see if your employer offers tuition assistance.  This will greatly decrease your financial burden and may help you sleep easier at night.  Better sleeping equals better reaping.

What are some other success tips not listed?

Top 5 Reasons to Quit Your Job (and Yet Remain Employable)

Photo: http://janeencarlberglaw.com/

Photo: http://janeencarlberglaw.com/

If you have followed my career at all, you are well aware that I have been around the block a few times when it comes to employers.  Most of that has to do with the short-term and long-term repercussions of changing careers two years after college because of the M-word—marriage (which I thoroughly enjoy, by the way).

This career change has taught me a lot about recruiting, interviewing, vetting, and networking.  But it has also taught me a whole lot about quitting.  Fancier people may call it “resigning” or “seeking new opportunities,” but regardless, there is an art and science to being able to quit without it being seen as a negative attribute on your resume.  So without further ado, here are the top 5 most acceptable and commendable reasons to quit your current job.

(1) Unethical and Unsafe Work Environment

This is my number one because it has the biggest impact on your future employment.   If you are with an employer that does not truthfully prohibit unethical and unsafe characteristics then you will probably be hurt more by staying than if you quit.  Please turn in your two-week notice immediately if your boss or a significant portion of management are guilty of doing or accepting the following:

  • lying to customers and suppliers
  • using sexual or suggestive language
  • touching coworkers sexually or inappropriately
  • drinking alcohol or doing drugs on the job
  • consistently paying workers late or not paying at all
  • making racist comments or jokes
  • letting jealousy and anger affect decision-making
  • endangering workers with poor safety practices or no safety practices
  • doing other inappropriate behavior

(2) Becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent

This is a very tough (or very easy) decision for many families to make.  If this decision is something you and your spouse are going through currently, then please do not be pressured into feeling you have to work outside the home to be a fully developed human being.  Being a stay-at-home parent is perfectly acceptable as long as you can pay your bills on-time and not accumulate debts.

In order to prepare for this season in life, try living on only one income for 3 months while you are still working.  If you succeed at this task, then go ahead and let your employer know your family’s decision for you to become a stay-at-home parent.  And again, please do not feel pressured into staying at work.  And please, only come back to work when you want to come back to work.

(3) Spouse Works Significantly Far Away

Often this affects newly married couples and military couples the most.   It also affects couples who have a spouse that has received a dream job offer in a distant city.   If you and your spouse work with employers that are hundreds and thousands of miles apart, then you have a pretty arduous decision ahead of you: determining which one of you has to quit.

This can be very difficult because both spouses may love their jobs; however, spouses need to love each other more than their jobs.  Firstly, seek to see if you can just transfer within your current company.  Secondly, if this is not possible or takes too much lead-time, then you will have to quit.  This does not have to be an immediate resignation, but you definitely need to get the ball rolling in that direction.

(4) Becoming an Entrepreneur

Do not do this on a whim.  Only do this if your hobby or “side hustle” has become lucrative enough that you can afford to quit your day job.  The romanticism of being a business owner fades quickly if you cannot put food on your dinner table.  However, if your business is capable of paying you similarly to or more than what you are making currently, then by all means, quit!

Careful: Just be sure not to burn any bridges with your current employer. You may need them to hire you back in the future if your business flops.

(5) Seeking More Pay or More Opportunity

Sometimes you reach the proverbial glass ceiling.  Many large companies do not give pay increases very often, or they give pay increases yearly but at a 1% or 2% rate.  Meanwhile, many smaller companies only have a handful of employees so opportunities for promotion are pretty slim.  In order to grow and reach your potential, you are going to have to quit.  However, make sure you have a new job first!

Depending on the situation, some people may call you greedy for making a move.  Take their opinion with a grain of salt though—while your mentors may have your best interest at heart, other people may just be green-eyed with envy.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER VALID REASONS TO QUIT BESIDES THESE?

Are You Really the Luckiest Woman in the World?

I see it every single day. Someone gets a pretty sweet gift and proclaims, “I am the luckiest woman in the world for getting gift x!!!” Sure, we are elated to get gifts and surprises and may be slightly hyperbolic when we get these things. But is there any truth to the claims? I have decided to put some of these claims under the scrutiny of data and see if you really have a claim to being the luckiest woman in the world.

(Please keep in mind this is a tongue-in-cheek piece. I am sure everything about you is simply splendid. Do your thing, girl.)

Claim: I am the luckiest woman in the world to have such a great job.

Doctor Claire

According to Forbes, the happiest job for a woman (factoring in salary, job growth, and job satisfaction) is a diagnostic medical doctor. The median income for this job is $121,000 and has an estimated job growth of 27% through 2020. Pretty sweet gig.

So how many women are doctors? There are approximately 202,000 female doctors in the United States. Out of those, only 11,000 earn in the top 10% ($233,000) of doctors. These salaries are based off of a general practitioner.

Conclusion: Unless you are a doctor earning in excess of $233,000, you do not have a valid claim.

Claim: I am the luckiest woman in the world because my kids are so amazing.

Gregory Smith could read by 2, enrolled in college by 10, is a children’s rights activist, and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize at the tender age of 12.

Michael Kearney graduated college at 10, was a teacher at age 17, spoke his first words at 4 months, was once the youngest post graduate, diagnosed his own ear infection at the age of six months, and is a millionaire.

Alexis Martin was one of the youngest people to ever be accepted into Mensa, at the age of 3. She has the same IQ as Stepehn Hawking and Albert Einstein.

And just for good measure, literally everyone on this list:

http://www.thebestschools.org/features/worlds-50-smartest-teenagers/

Conclusion: Are one of these kids yours? Claim invalid.

Claim: I am the luckiest woman in the world because I am married to the most handsome man  in the world.

Omar Borkan Al Gala was deported from his country because he was so handsome, officials thought he would give women immoral thoughts. Hold on, I am going to re-type something: HE WAS DEPORTED FROM A COUNTRY FOR BEING TOO FUCKING HOT.

Ok, just wanted everyone to be clear on that.

Conclusion: Your husband is not Omar Borkan Al Gala

Omar Borkan Al Gala...Deported From Saudi Arabia 4 Being To Handsome (Panties Drop)

Claim: I am the luckiest woman in the world because my husband is the smartest man alive

This is easy. Is your husband Stephen Hawking (160 IQ), Christopher Langan (205) , Kim Ung-Yong (210), Paul Allen (170), Rick Rosner (192), Gary Kasparov (190), Andrew Wiles (170), Judit Polgar (for you ladies who love the ladies, 170), Christopher Hirata (225), Terrance Tao (230), or Evangelos Katsioulis (198)?

Only 0.5% of the population have an IQ over 140.

Conclusion: Probably not.

Claim: I got diamonds. I am the luckiest woman in the world.

In 1905 a man named Frederick Wells discovered a rough diamond that was 3,106 carats. Named the Cullinan, it was later cut into 100 smaller diamonds. The largest of those being 530 carats.

Actual-size replica of Cullinan Diamond.

Actual size replica of the Cullinan

In 2012, the Taj Mahal diamond sold for 8.8 million dollars.

The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond sold for $265,697 per carat and 8.8 million for the whole stone.

The total amount that Elizabeth Taylor jewelry collection sold for was 137.2 million dollars.

Conclusion: You do not have any of these diamonds.

Regardless of what I say, having happiness and love makes all of us the luckiest people on earth.