Sunday, November 24, 2013
So, I was sitting around thinking about Christmas and it occurred to me that Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened! What the? Well, hey, I am Italian after all. But there are a few things you Americans could do to dust off and spice up this uniquely American holiday. I should start by pointing out that the first Thanksgiving lasted 3 days!
Yes, when the Pilgrims celebrated their first corn harvest, they killed some fowl and invited the Indians over for some grub and revelry. An eyewitness account tells us that the celebration lasted for 3 days. For the pilgrims it was finally time to let loose and enjoy the fruits of immeasurable suffrage and labor. They were ready to party, and party they did. For 3 rollicking days of gorging and drinking and puking and dancing and singing and a whole list of other regrettable things.
These days, I know the leftovers last for 3 days, but what about the celebration? Why not extend the holiday through Saturday? Think of all the historically accurate things we could do! That being said, if you please, I offer an alternate Thanksgiving itinerary for your consideration:
Day 1: Thursday
Most of us have no idea of the hardships of a harvest in a world without industrial machinery, particularly after having survived a harrowing voyage where half of your colony succumbed to disease, and the rest fought through sickness and starvation to get through the winter alive. I’m not proposing you do all that. But maybe the least you could do is skip breakfast and do some pushups.
Feel free to insert your Thanksgiving Day feast here. But, you might consider replacing turkey with duck since water fowl were much more plentiful in the Plymouth area those days. Also, there is no mention of turkey on the first Thanksgiving. So there’s that. Oh, and you can say goodbye to cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes too. Sounding less appealing? Well then, you are devoid of any true Thanksgiving spirit and shouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the holiday at all. Get back to work!
-It is essential to end this day with pumpkin pie. And begin the next with more pumpkin pie. So, at the stroke of midnight, you will eat more pumpkin pie.
Day 2: Friday
Today it’s time to put on the other shoes, or moccasins, if you will. Sure it’s great to be a pilgrim on Thanksgiving, but what about the natives? The Indians didn’t waltz into the party empty handed. In fact they didn’t waltz into the party at all because they preferred rain dancing or the like. They actually went out into the wild and killed some deer to share with the pilgrims. So maybe a morning deer hunt would be in order? Then gather the family and watch Bambi so you can truly understand what you have done. You will then be certain not to allow a scrap of Bambi’s mom go to waste.
After lunch, you’re due for a walk. The good folks who were always quick to assist the ill-equipped and ill-advised colonial expedition on countless occasions didn’t just walk around the block to join them in their celebration. So it’s only fitting that you go for a 20 mile walk somewhere, maybe to a friends house, or perhaps to a shopping district to do your precious “Black Friday” shopping. But don’t take the main routes. Try walking in a straight line, Teddy Roosevelt style, taking on every obstacle in your unwavering path. The Indians made a grueling Winter trek just to hang out with their drunk obnoxious friends, your ancestors, so you should, at least in part, experience that hardship for yourself.
Don’t forget, when you need a break, munch on some more pumpkin pie.
Day 3: Saturday
OK. You made it. Time to relax. But not for too long. At some point you should go outside and build shelter for yourself. Those TP’s aren’t going to pitch themselves. Then it’s dress up time!! Here’s where you can either spend 3 hours putting on endlessly complicated pilgrim garb, or you can do what I do: Strap on a loin cloth, put some feathers on your head and go shoot some arrows at things in the woods. (Try not to hurt anyone.) Some other games could be in order. Blind Man’s Bluff was popular with the Pilgrims. Indians also enjoyed throwing rings at pins stuck in the ground. Though, when one has the bow-and-arrow option, I don’t know why that would be a preference. Or you can just play touch Football for all I care, the point is just try to have some fun already, it’s a celebration!
After an exhausting day of revelry, close things out with the most wonderfully bastardized traditional American creation; the Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich. If you haven’t tried it, shame on you. But no worries, just be creative, I’m sure you can figure it out.
Oh, and here’s where you have the rest of your pumpkin pie.
-So, there it is! Your brand new 3 day Thanksgiving experience! You’re welcome!
…Okay, fine, do whatever you want.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
One of the first successful Jewish American authors, Emma Lazarus was a poet and essayist who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, writing numerous powerful works against anti-semitism, supporting immigrants rights, and even arguing for the creation of a Jewish homeland before the Zionist movement came into being. But she is best known for her immortal American poem, “The New Colossus” which appears on a bronze plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. You know the one, ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ that one. Unfortunately, many politicians currently wish to have it removed, along with the torch… to be replaced with a stop sign
Friday, October 4, 2013
Once the most feared creature in the Nordic Seas, the Kraken was often described by bewildered fisherman as a disproportionately large squid, or octopus, or other ferocious tentacled sea monster. The stories were usually scoffed by landlovers until the Kraken was popularized by French science fiction author, Jules Verne, in his classic novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Eventually, in the late 19th century, the not quite so giant, giant squid were being discovered washed up on the shore, some at 40+ feet in length, confirming at least in part the nautical horror stories of the past. The giant squid remains an incredibly elusive creature, having only recently been documented alive, but the tall tales of the Kraken, a gargantuan ship-swallowing sea monster, have gradually been adapted into medium tales of a pretty darn big squid who dukes it out with whales.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Nina Paley created this awesome movie and is offering it to you for FREE. So give it a go already! Sita Sings the Blues is an ambitious, gorgeously animated telling of Marco’s favorite Indian Sanskrit epic, The Ramayana. Nina and her talented crew approach this fantastic story in a variety of ways, often with a much-needed, distinctly feminine point of view, cleverly embellished with the music of legendary jazz vocalist, Annette Hanshaw. Warm up some popcorn and spend some time with this one. You’ll be glad you did. Download high-resolution version here! …That’s all
Friday, September 27, 2013
Australia’s native Aborigines have plenty of tales involving a ferocious freshwater creature called the Bunyip, who comes out of the water at nightfall to hunt for their children. Descriptions vary greatly, from dog-faced to reptilian to starfish shaped. Since “Bunyip” actually translates to “evil spirit”, shape-shifting is probably not out of the question. But, it is more likely the Aborigines could never accurately describe it because they were busy running for their lives in the other direction. A solid survival technique in this case.
Art by Allen Douglas
Sunday, September 22, 2013
In the Jiundu swamps of western Zambia, a legendary pterodactyl-like creature known as Kongamato (“overwhelmer of boats”) had been terrifying the natives for generations. This elusive creature was known to capsize boats and deliberately pursue and destroy any poor soul who laid eyes on it. A few early 20th century explorers reported seeing and often being attacked by these crazy ugly flying monsters. Similar sightings were reported from as far away as Mount Kilimanjaro. Today, the real truth about the Kongamato remains a mystery…
You say Kongamayto, I say Kongamahto, let’s get the heck outta here!
Saturday, August 31, 2013
An inspiring demonstration of magic, technology and lies that make truth… Just watch it.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Ah, beautiful Florence Italy. Nestled in the hills of Tuscany, this one time medieval colossus thrives today as a mecca for tourists, students, and artists. Home to Renaissance superstars such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giotto, and Botticelli. Does the world’s next great artist walk these streets today, disguised as an unsuspecting tourist? Only posterity can know, next time on TALES OF TOURISTS WALKING AROUND AIMLESSLY!