Coping: Thanksgiving For What?

It’s only a week now until we get down to the serious business of having the annual gout-encounter with the high-purine dinners that invariably spring from National Gluttony, Exploitation and Denial Day, but we’ve some not yet come to terms with the reality of next Thursday’s holiday.

Oh, sure, modern school curricula has associated the date with the Mayflower and pilgrims, trading with the Indians (one of the all-time screw jobs) and horns o’ plenty and yada yah.

But the reality is that Thanksgiving happened for the first time during the Civil War, 1863, and worse, it was a national religious holiday.  Yes, dear victim of wrongful education, the day was, per Wikipedia, the day that…

President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.[1] As a federal and public holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.

As for the Pilgrims, oh sure, they broken bread with the Indians, but the Indians were given to feasting and partying at the drop of a hat.  And why not? 

They had no budget battles, no central government, they walked with a light environmental footprint, and seemed to be able to live in harmony with Nature, which was doing a fine job of supporting the 20-million, or so, that populated North America at the time the white dudes showed up with genocidal disease (small pox) and crooked land deals backed up with a gun.  Check in with George Custer in the afterlife on this point.

The Pilgrims, on the other hand, had plenty of reason to celebrate (all three days worth according to the Edward Winslow account).  They had a new scam in “proclaiming” property ownership, lots of cheap labor to help them out, and an unspoilt landscape to the west.  How does it get better for religious zealots running from a King?

National Gluttony & Exploitation Day is, to my way of reckoning, a far more honest label to hang on the event.  And – what the hell – I’ll even admit that we’ve gone the Pilgrims one-better in that we now extend the holiday by an additional day.

Whereas they were done in three days, we’re now done in four:  Gluttony/Exploitation Day, the attendant Black Friday, and then two days which I’ve dubbed “Credit Card Burn days; so named for the frenzied pace of credit card use.

I have to wonder why more people aren’t honest about the event.  Like Halloween’s victimization of witches (and their allegorical “flying” drug use ), American Denial is all-pervasive.  We haven’t evolved very far from the Salem Witch Trials:  Puritanical drug laws and then throwing people in jails to rot, instead of burning at a stake directly. That’sa some progress…but we’ve had to build a prison industry so that we can publicly trade in shares of misery.  Aren’t we clever?

As we sit around on NGED, consuming too much of everything, I wonder if anyone besides Ures truly will see the parallel between the original Thanksgiving period and the present blow-off top?  Or, what’s more, the parallel between the Salem Witch Trials and the current operation of the modem security state apparatchik? How many police agencies are the new Cotton Mathers?  But I digress…

As America’s lifestyle is now in a huge cyclical downturn, starting with the Internet bubble collapse of $5-$7 trillion in personal fortunes, and then followed-on with the House bubble collapse, and how in a bubble blow-off because of QE’s, we need to recall another period of American history. One that’s ugly, hard, and undeniable, except to Exceptionalists.

That was called “The Starving Time” and it was when “…two desperate colonist were tied to posts and left to starve as punishment for raiding the colonies’ stores.” in early 1610.

A few of my friends wonder how it is that we manage to remain “preppers” for such a long period of time (since 2000 at least) and the answer is really quite simple and apparent.  We can read and reason.

As we entry the season of gluttony, exploitation and self-delusion, few will pause long enough to realize that despite 403 years of effort since Starving Times, we’re still living by John Smith’s warnings to Jamestown pilgrims from way back then:

Work hard of starve…”

Given that the concentration of wealth into the “hands of the few” is obvious at every turn, the rude, but sincere, question is simply this:  “What the hell are we really celebrating, here?”

Life Is Rigged

Had an interesting thought, since Oilman2 is on a rig with a bit down out in the Gulf:  I wonder what Thanksgiving dinner is like on an oil rig?

OM2 includes a picture from his “office” every so often, and this is is what a “nipple up” looks like.  A what?.

Lest you think that I’ve set off to turn Urban into a porn site (although that might help readership numbers) you can find the Schlumberger online Oilfield Glossary useful.

Near as I can figure his schedule, OM2 will be off rig just in time for the tail end of Black Friday.

Flying Notes

We can’t help but notice a couple of headlines that may have a bearing on our flying time.  One is this speculative report about Google having its eyes on flying cars.

But even more interesting is (since Ures truly has a 17 1/2 neck) word that the FAA may start having pilots who pack extra pounds looked at for sleep apnea…  You mean fat people may not be getting enough rest???

Around the Ranch/Home HandiBastards

While Peoplenomics will continue on it’s normal schedule next week, the columns will be shorter.  Entertaining, we hope. but the focus next week (and the week after) will be on getting our new room put together.  It made it as far as weather tight  yesterday, which was timely, since we are getting rain this morning…

While down with the pulled ankle, I learned great things about the fine art of patience as Panama and Elaine helped keep things moving.  The gaps in the sidewalls overhead will be sealed, of course.  And the new steel door was put in yesterday, as well.

More challenging, Elaine wants me to put in a number (10, or so) glass block panels as accent lighting and to brighten the room up on cloudy days like this one.

Meanwhile, I extended the roofline on the west side of the room in order to provide for a semi-veranda, which once we build a 6 x 8 sub-deck there, ought to provide a place out of the sun until about 2PM, or so, on sunny days, or a place to have coffee/tea on cloudy and rainies.

I’d like to have this whole project put to bed by the end of the month, and although there’s almost no way for that to happen, it’s not going to happen on its own, so time-on-task is the answer and over the holidays if a fine time to get a lot of focused/undisturbed work done.

Oh, and if you’re wondering:  Yes, the far wall in Picture #1 is showing studs on 4-foot centers.  I will be going back in today and dropping in the 24” studs and then nailing the siding up those.  That was just a quick “keep ahead of weather” move, which now that it’s done, we can work on at a more measured and less frenzied pace.

The most useful tool so far?  Out in my shop, I’ve got a couple of Irwin Industrial Tools 524QCN Next Generation 24-Inch Clamp and Spreaders which, when your trying to hold paneling in place to nail, proved worth their weight in gold.  Along with the IRWIN QUICK-GRIP 6 Clamp Set, you can really get a lot more (and better) work done.  Something of a hint if the handibastard on your list doesn’t have a good assortment of these one-hand clamps.

In addition to holding siding onto 2-by 4’s, they are also great for bending 2-bys into a line (using two slightly twisted boards with opposing twists to screw together and glue – if you don’t have good 4 by 4’s.

More tomorrow…write when you break even…


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George Ure
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