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.
I haven’t liked America Online for many years, as you can see from this page I wrote called Friends Don’t Let Friends Use AOL. While the company is only a shadow of its former self, they have offended the online community again, this time by dumping Winamp, one of the all-time best programs for playing MP3s.
AOL says it can’t compete with iTunes. Hello? There are some users who find iTunes too demanding, in space and other requirements, and Windows Media Player isn’t always the best alternative. Even now I still use Winamp occasionally, because it is still the best program I have found for editing the information in MP3s (song title, artist, genre, etc.). If you have installed Winamp already, it will still work on your computer, you just won’t get any more updates. That’s fine for the short run, but someday we won’t be able to use the old program anymore. In my case, when I went to Windows 7, a lot of my software did not work on it. One of those programs was Sonique, another MP3 player that I liked. Now Winamp is doomed to go the same way.
Thank you for all the entertainment you gave us, Winamp. I for one see your departure as the end of an era.
No, I’m not talking about Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, though by coincidence, he happened to be killed on this day in 1718. If you’ve been watching the news, you know I’m talking about John Fitzgerald Kennedy, because today is the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
We’re all supposed to remember what we were doing on November 22, 1963. I was around, but being four years old, my memories from that day aren’t meaningful. What I meanly remember are the TV stations pre-empting "Captain Kangaroo" and "J. P. Patches" (Seattle’s favorite clown), for coverage of the funeral. If you’re looking for reminiscing, try comedian Tim Wilson’s story about his lying uncle on that day. You can listen to him tell it at https://myspace.com/timwilsonofficial/music/song/uncle-b.s.-1963-34505973-35900837 , or just read the transcript below:
Tim Wilson: "Uncle B.S – where were you on November 22, 1963?"
Uncle B.S: "November 22, 1963. Lemme think a second. That’s the day that we all s’posed to remember where we was.
"I’s working at a school book depository in Dallas, Texas. Houghton-Mifflin had just come out with that new math, with them real thick math books. And it was hard to pick up them boxes up by youself. I told ’em, ‘Y’all gotta get somebody in her to help me with them boxes.’
"And they hired a fella named Harvey sumpthin’. I can’t think of his name. He’d been in a Marine corps, and I, of course, was in the Navy for 5 years. He kept braggin’ about what a great shot the Marine Corps was as opposed to your Naval forces.
"I said, ‘I tell you what, you little pinko Commie bastard! This afternoon, at lunch, I want you to go back to yer boardin’ house and get bring back your rifle. I got two tickets to the Texas theater says you can’t hit that manhole cover, down there, by that grassy knoll’."
"You know he cracked off 4 shots? Damn, if the President of the United States didn’t drive by at that exact moment. And we felt bad about that."
Unquote: What amazes me is that whenever somebody makes a list of the greatest US presidents, Kennedy is usually on the list, but these days, we are more interested in how he died than how he lived. It shows on my webpage about the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidencies ( http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/northam/na05c.html ). While I wrote a suitably long section about the accomplishments of the Kennedy administration, I also had to include a section on the assassination, its aftermath, and all the conspiracy theories it has produced.
I think I know why we have that morbid interest, and why so few people these are asking what they can do for the country, as Kennedy said. The most important paragraph on my page may be the one about how liberals were changed in 1963. Quote:
Perhaps these theories are the reason for the transformation that occurred among liberals in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. The Left acted like it had lost its innocence, and subsequent events like Vietnam and Watergate seemed to reinforce the new attitude. In the past liberals had believed that the United States could be a force for good in the world; now they were more likely to blame America first when things weren’t going right, and demand perfect behavior from the United States, while overlooking the shortcomings of nations with left-wing governments. These neo-liberals called themselves the "New Left," to separate themselves from the "Old Left" that had run the Democratic Party for most of the past century.
Unquote: In 1972 the New Left secured the nomination of George McGovern as the Democratic Party candidate. However, he went down in flames on Election Day, though when looking back, Richard Nixon also seems rather liberal, as Republicans go. Over the next generation, the New Left gradually gained control over the Democratic Party; that is why today’s Democrats look so moonbatty, compared with the Old Left. The last member of the Old Left I can think of is Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, and he retired last year. Since the 2008 election, the New Left has run this country as well.
For the past week and a half, my father has been getting radiation treatment for some spots of skin cancer. I’ve been accompanying him to the hospital each day for that. Some days definitely work better than others. Today was one of the quickest treatments, and the van we used for transportation was waiting when we got done. On the other hand, yesterday’s appointment included a lot of waiting.
In fact, yesterday could be called “Hurry Up & Wait Day,” because I must have spent half the day in that mode. Before Dad’s appointment, I had an appointment of my own, the six-month checkup. I don’t remember ever waiting as long in a doctor’s office as I did for this – at least an hour and a half before he saw me. When he finally showed himself, he said he was terribly busy (though I didn’t see any more patients than usual), and gave me the name and phone number of another doctor to go to next time. When I asked if it had anything to do with Obamacare, he admitted that it did. I guess the patients are really piling onto the doctors who haven’t chosen to retire at this time.
As I write this, the official website for Obamacare, Healthcare.gov, is still a disaster. Today I read an article that suggested IdentityTheft.gov might be a better name. I don’t care what liberals say, it’s not right to be fined for not buying something you don’t want, from a website that doesn’t work.