I trust that below the 49th parallel there are scads of folks sleeping in, waking up late and being grateful they only have to see their family through Zoom or Facetime today. Turkey sales are probably slumping this year, which doesn’t so much mean there are fields of jubilant turkeys, frolicking and celebrating that they get to live at least until Christmas. It probably only means that the Butterball corporation is going to be tossing a lot of product into the dumpster. Or the recycle bin. What do they do with unsold turkeys? Maybe that will be the basis for my next project. For now, let’s tackle all of this:
National Cake Day
To those of us who spend a chunk of our down-time on Reddit, our ‘cake day’ is the anniversary of the creation of our account. There’s no real celebration, just a little icon of a cake slice beside your comments for the duration of that day. But this is the real thing: the one day of the year meant to celebrate cake. I mean, except for those other days that specify black forest cake or bundt cake or what have you. But this is the big one.
The word ‘cake’ comes to us from the Viking word ‘kaka’, which has induced such a chuckle in my inside parts, I don’t know if I even want to do any more research after that. The Ancient Greeks had cake. So did the Romans, but they called it placenta, which makes me really want to look into the etymology of that word. But that would get me off track. We’re here to celebrate cake.
The cake vs. pie debate is one that should absolutely be brought up over Thanksgiving dinner, if only to replace politics and amateur virology as divisive issues. While I feel the winner of that particular battle royale should be obvious (pie, 100%), a great cake is a wonderful thing. It’s cake that signifies birthdays, graduations, weddings and other successes. It’s cake that Marie Antoinette said they could eat. Something may be “easy as pie”, but it can be both a “piece of cake” and if it’s good, it can even “take the cake”.
Last week Jodie whipped up a magnificent cherry cake, which I adorned with cherries because I’m a grownup and get to make fun snacks like that. What we didn’t do was save any of the cake for National Cake Day, because when a cake is made you eat it. You don’t save it. That’s how I’ve lived my life all these years and I’m not about to change now.
Forget the pumpkin pie. Let them all eat cake today.
In 1969, a group of Native Americans occupied Alcatraz Island. This lasted from November 20 that year until June of 1971. The Civil Rights movement was making headlines as black people, LGBTQ people and women marched and protested for their rights, but these folks didn’t get quite the same lasting legacy. I’d be willing to wager that most folks I know haven’t even heard of this lengthy occupation. It was, in case you were curious, terminated with force by the US government, because why wouldn’t it be?
Every year on Thanksgiving (and as always, we’re not sure if Covid is derailing it this year), a group of indigenous Americans trek out to Alcatraz to commemorate the protest. Indigenous folks were, for the most part, slaughtered in the European takeover of America. We slaughtered our share up here too, but we weren’t quite as dedicated to that practice. Instead we found other ways of mucking up their culture and their lives, like Residential Schools.
The point is, while Thanksgiving is a great time for folks to look back and celebrate America, it also acts as a marker for the end of autonomous existence for the indigenous folks. If nothing else, this celebration is meant for us to think of them, to think of what happened to them, and to contemplate how we can do better. Jodie, whose own schooling has her addressing this notion every day she picks up a book, is handling this celebration for us.
Good Grief Day
A big ol’ happy 98th birthday to Mr. Charles M. Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comics and popularizer of the phrase ‘good grief’. Did he invent the phrase? I have no idea, nor do I have the time and energy to look it up. Let’s just say he did because who’s going to argue with a guy who has celebrated… <checks the numbers> 1,999 celebrations so far in 2020?
Schultz’s childhood puppy was not named Snoopy, but Spike. Astute Peanut-heads will note that this is also the name of Snoopy’s brother, who makes the occasional appearance. He (Charles, not his dog) was drafted to serve in WWII, and was assigned to one of those big .50 caliber machine guns. It was toward the end of the conflict, and he only had the opportunity to fire his gun once. That’s when he noticed he’d forgotten to load it. No worries, the guy he was going to shoot surrendered. Charlie made it through with zero kills.
The Peanuts strip was, for whatever reason, a big part of my childhood. I somehow inherited a big pile of books that I read and re-read a lot. It was my favourite comic until the likes of The Far Side, Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes showed up and delivered bigger, more cerebral laughs. But I never lost my love for Charlie and his buddies, even if I wasn’t a big fan of the TV specials.
But I was happy to spend a few minutes reading some classic Peanuts yesterday, because the legacy of Mr. Schultz is something we should be celebrating forever.
What’s to say? I love American Thanksgiving. For all 14 of my Thanksgivings I’ve spent with the government, I have found a way to stream the football games at my work. For the first several years I had to track down an illegal stream, usually hosted by a weird contingent of British blokes who seem just a little miffed that they’re relegated to covering this fake “football” sport. For the last few years I’ve had DAZN, a weirdly-named fully legal service that allows me to watch the games in my browser.
I find I get at least as much work done on these Thanksgivings as I do on any other day of the year. Just how much that is, I may or may not say.
We also took some time to give thanks for the good stuff in our lives right now: our family, our dogs, our good health, and our ability to work from home during this crisis. But mostly football. Mostly I was thankful for football. I was also thankful that, with this celebration we can state with pride (and a little bit of shock) that we are at 2,000 celebrations throughout 2020. Two grand. Damn. Happy super-long weekend to everybody who gets one.
The point of this is, of course, for vegetarians to make a point of not eating turkey on this traditional turkey day. Well, we did not stick to a veggie-only diet. We also did not eat turkey yesterday at all, so I’d say we absolutely celebrated the true nature of this day. Is this a loophole? Or just careful understanding of what is expected of us? Whatever – we’re past 2k now, so we’re just having fun at this point.
And what could be more fun than another day of celebrations? Here’s what’s on tap for anyone who wants to play along4:
- National Day of Listening. This is a day to hear people’s stories. So, for a change, I’ll listen to people.
- Black Friday. We will not be contributing to the shopping mayhem, except for online today.
- Buy Nothing Day. Not sure how to celebrate this as well as Black Friday, but if anyone can figure it out, we can.
- Flossing Day. I guess this is the one day of the year when we are all supposed to floss.
- Maize Day. Will we eat corn today? Tune in for the exciting answer to this question.
- National Craft Jerky Day. We have some craft jerky on its way to us, but I doubt it will arrive today. But we won’t forget this one.
- You’re Welcome Day. The day after Thanksgiving. Ha. Get it?
- National Bavarian Cream Pie Day. Not so easy to track down, especially when you don’t leave the house. We’ll probably skip this one.
- Dine Over Your Kitchen Sink Day. I guess some people actually do this?
- Fur-Free Friday. We will not wear fur. I’m not likely to leave the house, nor do I own any fur products, so this is an easy one.
- National Electric Guitar Day. I promise to enjoy this one a lot more than National Kazoo Day or National Bagpipes Day.
- Pie In The Face Day. We already had a pie fight earlier this year. Should we have another one?
- Turtle Adoption Day. Looks like our dogs are getting a new sibling.