the show: 11-21-06

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Intro Latino with Cool Sunglasses: Buenos Dias, Sports Racers. Esta es The Show con Ze Frank.

Ze: Gracias, hermano.

Nader writes, "Anyone else have problems with the family and the holidays?"

Nader, you're not alone. Plenty of people have problems returning to their families over the holidays.

However, most of these problems can be dealt with with a proper understanding of the situation. Let me break it down for you:

As there are some unknowns, you'll want to go in with a sizable force. If you're an only child, think about coalition building.

"So you're not doing anything for Thanksgiving? You should come to my family's. I know we just met, but it'll be a good time to get to know each other."

Not going in with adequate troops can lead to sectarian conflict, which can rapidly spin out of control.

"Things are good...except your father hasn't had so much time to help out around the house...because of his new hobby. Who knew that stained glass could be so interesting? More interesting than his wife!"

Be sure to rely on the locals for additional support.

"Heheh...stained glass, yeah....oh look, Fluffy!"

Realize that you're entering into a foreign political structure. Dictatorship, for all its flaws, can create stability among otherwise warring factions.

"So we're going to start dinner at three."

"Wait, three in the afternoon?"

"Dinner's going to be at three because Thanksgiving dinner has always been at three."

Realize that to your eyes, the culture that you are entering into may appear to be backwards, or old-fashioned. You may be exposed to unusual foods.

"Holy crap, what the hell's that?"

"It's wheat germ stuffing, your father's been having some problems with his colon, his number twos are coming out all r—"


You may be introduced to foreign customs.

"Yeah, I'm gonna pass at the holding-hands thing. It's a little hippie."

"You're gonna hold hands because we always hold hands at Thanksgiving."

"'s sweaty."

And know that you might inadvertently break certain rules, without which the entire infrastructure could fall apart.

"Okay, who squeezed the toothpaste in the middle of the tube? We roll in this family. For God's sakes, we're not heathens."

Your accomodations may seem rudimentary, and you'll have to get used to them.

"Mom, did you get new pillows?"

"Yeah, we switched from goose down to pillows that are stuffed with actual geese."

"Oh, comfy. Is this the same bed I slept in when I was ten?"

As for the day-to-day, try to travel in groups to avoid being ambushed. Interrogation tactics in foreign countries can be grueling.

"So, tell me about your life. What do you do every day?"


If confronted, ask questions about the realities of living in that place. In these foreign places, nearly everyone has a story about someone who's dead or dying. Start there.

"Well, there's Mrs. Olny, your crossing guard from third grade. She passed."

Be sure to focus on your goals: Survival and temporary stability. A regime change is out of the question, and nation building should be avoided at all costs. Make sure you have a precise timetable for withdrawal.

"Could you stay an extra day and help your father with the driveway?"

"Oh, I wish I could, but my flight's non-refundable."

Don't judge your successes in areas of philosophy or politics.

"You voted for Nader?"

To judge success, go back to the basics. How much money will you be bringing home?

And finally, don't set your expectations too high. Remember, these problems took a generation to create, and they'll take a generation to solve.

Heh, love you guys, see you Thursday.

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