Except maybe that we’re getting some December snow on this blog.
Except maybe that we’re getting some December snow on this blog.
One feature of life in the USA is that we have a few unofficial holidays invented by the American people, that do not commemorate historical or religious events. Superbowl Sunday is one; Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) is another. But because of the savage behavior by shoppers at many stores across the country this week, I now declare Black Friday to be the worst of them. Evidently folks have forgotten about the poor Wal-Mart employee who got trampled to death by bargain hunters (see my message from November 29, 2008).
Until a few years ago we didn’t have a name for the day after Thanksgiving. I called it “Cold Turkey Day,” because it’s time to eat the leftovers from the day before. A lot of people had the day off, but it wasn’t a big deal, and they were off because Thanksgiving never falls on a weekend or a Monday, and we didn’t want to go back to work immediately after our national feast. The shopping part of it crept in gradually as after-Thanksgiving specials, popping up in more and more stores, until this replaced the days around Christmas as the busiest shopping time of the year.
However, now the shopping aspect has become overbearing. This year I have gotten a few e-mails for Thanksgiving and a lot for Black Friday. To gain the edge over the competition, several stores opened and began their sales on Thursday. It wasn’t that many years ago when most stores weren’t open on Thanksgiving Day, and you only shopped if you needed an ingredient for the family cooking. Has Black Friday really become more important than Thanksgiving? Is Thanksgiving about to be renamed Grey Thursday, or Black Friday Eve? Here is why I don’t approve of it:
1. In the past I said I like Thanksgiving because we haven’t strayed from the holiday’s original meaning. Sure, the Pilgrims didn’t have football, but I didn’t mind football games on Thanksgiving, because they still allowed the family to get together for fellowship—and if you’re going to lie on a couch after eating, you might as well have a football game on the TV. Black Friday, on the other hand, reduces fellowship by pulling away the employees of participating stores from their families.
2. The crass commercialism is an insult to those of us who can’t afford to buy the trinkets being offered. And because we haven’t yet recovered from the 2008 recession, I know I’m not the only one hurting for cash. If the merchants expect me to participate, one of them ought to offer me a job appropriate to my skills first.
3. Camping out the night before in below-freezing weather to be first in the store of your choice is just stupid. Especially when you consider that other bargains will pop up closer to Christmas, and that Cyber Monday is just around the corner. At least with online shopping you don’t have to leave your home and family.
4. Black Friday specials seem to bring out the worst in people. The article below makes that point, and also how the only Americans benefitting from Black Friday are the merchants, because most of their merchandise is now made in China, not in the USA.
Last Tuesday I got a phone call from the Kentucky Blood Center, telling me that this week would be a good time to donate. So when I left the house today, instead of shopping, I went to the blood bank (which is just a mile from home) and gave a pint. At least I know somebody needy will benefit from that!
Another Hannukah celebration begins tonight. Long-time readers will know that every year I observe it by lighting a virtual menorah on this blog, LOL. However, this year will be different because Hanukkah and Thanksgiving come on the same day (Jewish days begin at sundown, not midnight, remember).
This is an extremely rare occurrence. I heard on the radio that the last time it happened was more than a century ago (1887?). On the Jewish calendar, the date for Hanukkah is 25 Kislev, and Kislev normally coincides with December on the Western calendar. So when Kislev falls in November, it is definitely time to give the Jewish calendar a leap month; look for it 3-4 months from now.
One product of mixing the two holidays is a new recipe – pumpkin latkes. Another is the menurkey. The menurkey looks like a turkey, but has candles sticking out of its tail. This morning I watched a video where the smart kid who invented the menurkey told how he did it. And now it has a song already!
This may be the only time I say it: Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Well, the Thanksgiving luncheon at my father’s retirement home went off well. The only unhappy part was that Dad slept through most of it; he probably didn’t know I was there until we were having dessert. But then he needs to recover from all he has been through for the past couple of weeks. Then in the afternoon I went and bought the ingredients for the cooking Leive plans on doing for our Thanksgiving. Now it’s snowing outside, so I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow.
The food at the luncheon was all traditional Thanksgiving fare, as you might expect. So is the meal Leive has in mind; no Philippine recipes this time. I pointed out to her that if she wants a Thanksgiving meal like the one celebrated in Florida in 1565, fish would be on the menu, because the Timucua Indians contributed that.
We’re not tired of baked turkey with the trimmings, but if anyone wants a more exotic dinner, I recommend the link below, for some Peruvian, Cajun, East Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and Greek recipes. I trust the Pilgrims wouldn’t mind this variation on what they had:
On the other hand, I don’t recommend what some restaurants are doing with Thanksgiving. This year they are offering turkey doughnuts, turkey pizza, oversized leftover sandwiches, and turkey ice cream. Those aren’t variations so much as perversions of what we expect at this time of the year!
Finally, if you are avoiding turkey because you are a vegetarian, here is a turkey for you!
Those living in Kentucky know that’s all I have to say. An Arctic air mass blew in on Saturday and it has been really cold ever since. At dawn on Sunday, it was only 17 degrees F.; that’s the kind of weather we normally don’t get until January. This afternoon I was able to mow the backyard, when it got up to the low 40s (I’ve been meaning to do that for a week, but the weather wouldn’t let me), but now as I write this we’re getting a bit of snow.
These days Leive only sets foot outside to go to church, but I’ve been out more than I would like. The main reason are all these doctor’s appointments my Dad has had for the past month; the retirement home wants me to accompany him on all of them, so I have done just that, just about every weekday. Today’s trip to the Lexington Clinic was particularly difficult, because it was an 8 AM appointment, so I had to leave home at 7. But that was the last in the series; because Dad wasn’t seriously ill, they’re all done for the time being. Now when I go to the retirement home tomorrow, it will be to attend their Thanksgiving luncheon, a much more pleasant duty.
Foreigners operating retail and wholesale businesses in Zimbabwe risk being arrested if they continue doing business after a deadline for them to relinquish their businesses to Zimbabweans, state media has reported.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper said on Friday that the move was in line with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
It added barbershops, hairdressings, beauty salons, bakeries, employment agencies and grain milling to the list of those who may be prosecuted if they fail to comply.
The Herald said the threat was made by George Magosvongwe, the Secretary for Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, while appearing before a parliamentary committee in Harare, the capital.
The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act also lists agriculture, transportation, estate agencies, tobacco grading and packaging, advertising agencies, milk processing and provision of local arts and crafts as reserved sectors of the economy.
"I confirm that some non-indigenous entities are still operating in the reserved sectors and there is a deadline for January 1 for them to comply with the requirement to relinquish their holdings in that sector," Magosvongwe was quoted by the paper as saying.
Magosvongwe said the government was in the process of identifying indigenous Zimbabweans who would take over ownership of the businesses, the Herald reported.
Read more here: Zimbabwe gives foreign shops 30-day ultimatum
Obviously “Farmer Bob” Mugabe hasn’t learned a lesson from Idi Amin expelling the Asians from Uganda in 1972, or from the United States embargo during Thomas Jefferson’s second term as president.
I’m going to predict that because of this event, Mugabe’s presidency will end in 2014, one way or another. And he will take Zimbabwe with him.