Saturday, December 7, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
1884: The Washington Monument in Washington D.C. is completed. Today it remains the tallest stone structure ever built, as well as the tallest obelisk. It took over 36 years to complete, and 106 years to crack in a Virginia earthquake. Uncle Sam denies any symbolism in the damaged symbol.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
1929: U.S. Admiral Richard Byrd becomes the first person to fly over the South Pole. Say, if Santa Claus lives in the North Pole, then who lives in the South Pole? Could it be…
Thursday, November 28, 2013
1895: The first American automobile race takes place along a 54 mile stretch between Chicago’s Jackson Park and Evanston, Illinois. In a little over 10 hours, Frank Duryea wins by a two hour nose. Here we see the thrill of their victory…
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
1922: Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon become the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (“King Tut”) in over 3000 years, giving the King ample time to perfect his moment in the spotlight…
Monday, November 25, 2013
1984: In a Band-Aid charity event, 36 top musicians gather in a Notting Hill studio and pretend to enjoy singing Do They Know It’s Christmas to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. While it was certainly a great cause for Ethiopia, the only thing it caused elsewhere was severe auditory hemorrhaging.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
1859: Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species, introducing the scientific theory of natural selection, which suggests, among many things, that humans evolved from apes. Many tempers flare, while other imaginations run wild!
…Okay, that’s too wild.
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, November 23, 2013
1889: The first jukebox goes into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. Originally named the “nickel-in-the-slot-player”, the machine caused a such a sensation that people didn’t even mind exchanging earwax…