You are probably at this very moment attempting to communicate with family members you have almost nothing in common with. What do you do if it turns out Aunt Edwina is a birther?

First of all, this is not a list of "counter-arguments," or methods by which you can convince a conservative relative that their beliefs are wrong. Because these are not "political positions." These are mythology. Just as you would not try to convince a Viking that the sun will not be eaten by a wolf during Ragnarökr, or try to convince an ancient Mayan that a camper van could not drive up and down an erupting volcano during 2012, you cannot actually convince a conservative old white man that Barack Obama is not a socialist.

Instead, you should steer the conversation somewhere safe. Here, our advice.

Health Care
Any discussion of health care policy at a gathering of extended family members can be easily cut off before it becomes heated. As there will probably be children and old people present, simply inquire as to recent hospital trips, illnesses, and injuries. Watch as those who minutes earlier were complaining about government rationing are suddenly bitching about their insurance company! (Unless, of course, they are one of the Olds who loves their Medicare.) Alternatively, you could bring up the inspiring play of Lions rookie QB Matt Stafford, who will miss Thanksgiving play with a nasty shoulder injury.

Just read up on your "wacky foreign customs" and distract everyone by talking about how in Japan it is polite to slurp your soup as loudly as possible and you heard it was considered polite in Bahrain, or was it Saudi Arabia, to burp after a meal, to demonstrate your satisfaction. And did you know that a thumbs up is obscene in Iran? Wonder aloud how ritual displays of male affection in American football may relate to how Europeans are always kissing each other.

This would be a good opportunity to talk about the mess that the Cleveland Browns are in, and ask if Mike Holmgren would make a good "football czar." (Pro tip: Holmgren is a better coach than an executive, as his stint as Seahawks GM proved.)

Illegal Immigrants
Sometimes it's just best to let older relatives be racist for a little while, but this could be a good opportunity to talk about your favorite Canadian-born football players, like Mark Rypien and Bronco Nagurski.

Where Barack Obama Was Born
There is not really a good way to get out of this one, so you might just want to change the subject entirely. How about bringing up the atrocious play of the Packers offensive line? Now there's a Death Panel.

Glenn Beck
Just get wasted, but not so wasted that you start yelling at everyone about how much of an bastard that Glenn fucking Beck is.

There you go!

Happy Thanksgiving! The finks at Universal Music Group have disabled embedding of Gus Van Sant's video of William S. Burrough's Thanksgiving Prayer, so enjoy this one, instead.