The First Thanksgiving by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris
Everything you were taught about Thanksgiving in school was wrong (at least for people my age, I have no idea what they teach today). Pilgrims didn't wear black with gold buckles, Wampanoag certainly didn't have feathered bonnets (as shown above), and the early white settlers preferred killing Indians to eating dinner with them. The traditional turkey dinner we eat today was quite unlike any meal they would have eaten at the time (venison and waterfowl were the main dishes).
I really enjoy the traditional dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. Too much, in fact. Like a dog, I have no self-control (I'm a weak man) and always end up eating way too much and feeling bad the next day (as I write this). Just what I needed, 7,000 calories of food. The only saving grace is that I was working outside all day Wednesday and Thursday.
Worked outside all day Wednesday and Thursday (winterizing my yard, shed, and gardens) and now I have a half-dozen little fluid-filled bumps that itch like crazy all over my torso and arms. They look like bad mosquito bites. I have no idea what kind of bug was biting me - it was too cold out for most things.
My family is nuts. They were watching Ancient Aliens on the so-called "History" channel and think it's very convincing. Sigh. One of these days I'll deconstruct one of their episodes and show why it's complete bullshit (it's a rehash of Erich von Däniken's Chariot of the Gods book that was debunked 40 freakin' years ago when it was first published in 1968!). The crazy-haired guy who appears in these shows really pisses me off because he confidently states things that are factually false (he's either intentionally lying or just dumb, I'm not sure which).
Tried to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with the kids yesterday. NBCs coverage was unwatchable. They spent more time interviewing NBC sitcom actors and featuring their two talking heads than covering the parade. It was literally 5 minutes of coverage and 5 minutes of commercials also (I timed it). Since I don't ever watch network TV, I'm not sure if that's normal or not but it was annoying. CBS was a little better, but not much. We have 100+ tv channels and not one could just plant a camera somewhere and just show the damn parade without a constant stream of advertisements (which is what all the interviews were - advertisements for the network's shows).
Christmas season apparently now begins after Halloween instead of Thanksgiving (I first started seeing Christmas decorations in late October). Black Friday now begins on Thursday (I feel sorry for all the retail workers who have to work on holidays). I stopped for coffee the other day at Dunkin Donuts and they were playing Christmas music - damn them to the deepest pits of hell (it's bad enough to have it playing in every retail store in America, do they really have to play it in Dunkin Donuts - are they hoping I'll get in the holiday spirit and buy a dozen of their crappy donuts for someone special?). It's completely absurd that as a culture we celebrate the birth of a religious savior by an orgy of greed. I'd like to set up a creche display in the mall and fill the manger with dollar bills - that's what we worship in this country. Bah, humbug!
Put up our bird feeder yesterday but no seeds since there are still black bears prowling the woods (we've had them in our yard in the past). I'm watching the poor birds (titmouses, titmice?) landing there and flying off disappointed.
Typical November weather today. Cold drizzly rain, steel gray skies, dead-looking trees. Every winter I think I'd like to live elsewhere - the Hudson Valley has too many cloudy days. Unfortunately, academic jobs are very difficult to come by these days. It would take a lot to make me give up a job as a tenured full professor. Of course I'd probably earn more money if I could land a good job like WalMart manager or similar (seriously, probably pays better than being a professor).