Turnkey Turkey

November 28, 2013

220px-PinocchioHigh haze in the air this way-early Thursday on California’s north coast, a misty-fingernail of a moon is imprinted in the east on a dark background with few stars seen twinkling in the sky.
Turkey Day it seems, or Thanksgiving to the historical clueless and dumb.

The older I get the more I loath holidays — some are stupid, like Valentine’s Day, or cruel, like Columbus Day, but all are celebrated as if it’s as natural as taking a dump in the morning. The great wad of Americans are oblivious to facts or reality — lottery players are the worse, of course.
And all US holidays are directly/indirectly linked to greed. Just ask Pizza Hut. Or Walmart and tomorrow’s Black Friday protests.

People for some reason think holidays are sacred.

(Illustration found here).

They’re full of dog shit, or for this particular holiday, full of turkey shit.
This my standard fare for Turkey Day — some of Mark Twain’s best words:

“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians.
Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.”

No one can touch that analysis.

This year, the crass-commercial core of Americana exposes itself full-blown as most of the biggest retailers will start Black Friday this evening, or afternoon, or in the Eastern Time Zone, right now. Some still work to appear pious:

Radio Shack told Think Progress that it will be closed “In honor of Thanksgiving and the time-honored tradition of gathering with family and friends.”
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook reportedly reversed some stores’ decisions to open because he felt that it’s important for workers to be with their families.

Most, however, cling to this capital gains (via USAToday):

In fact, investors tend to gobble up stocks and push prices higher from the end of Thanksgiving week through year’s end, according to data compiled by Bespoke Investment Group.
Going back to 1945, the broad Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has posted has average gains of 1.8 percent, with positive returns 71 percent of the time in the period from Thanksgiving to year’s end, Bespoke says.

That’s were the thanks is being given.
And as we proceed into this Thanksgiving, there’s a lot of shit being consumed, both for the stomach and the cracked-ass brain.
Crazy numbers for today — from US News and World Report:

— $59.1 billion: Roughly how much Americans spent shopping on Thanksgiving weekend 2012, according to calculations from the National Retail Federation. This is nearly equal to the country of Sri Lanka’s 2012 GDP ($59.4 billion), according to CIA figures.
— $578 billion: Total holiday season retail sales in 2012, according to data compiled by the NRF – just larger than the 2012 GDP of Iran ($548.9 billion, according to the CIA) and just smaller than Switzerland’s GDP for the same year ($632.4 billion).
— 28.7 million: The number of people who watched the Washington-Dallas NFL game last Thanksgiving, which made it the most-watched show of the fall TV season, according to Zap2it. This means that nearly one in 10 Americans watched the Washington team beat the Cowboys. The game was followed closely in viewership by the Texans-Lions Thanksgiving game, which 27.3 million people watched.

— $49.04: The cost for a “typical” Thanksgiving meal featuring turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pie and other side dishes, according to the Farm Bureau Federation. The cost for the meal has held steady over time – 25 years ago it cost $26.61, or $52.53 in today’s dollars.

And because of our charitable natures, there’s less hunger on this day — but shit on the rest of the year.
The day can be unpleasant, though:

For the first time that she can remember, Naquashia LeGrand’s household may go without Thanksgiving dinner. Her family is just too broke, living too close to the margin, to pull off a big turkey dinner, she said.
“Always having Thanksgiving, that’s something my family always made sure we had,” said the New York native.
“And just to hear that out of my grandmother’s mouth, it broke me.”
Welcome to the post-hunger cliff holiday season.
At the beginning of November, the federal food stamps program was cut by $5 billion, meaning smaller benefit checks for the 47 million Americans who rely on the program.
That cut has made this time of year more precarious than ever for millions of households.
Food pantries around the country are reporting a precipitous rise in the number of new visitors as people who were previously able to make do on food stamps get hit with cuts they can’t afford.
It will be a long time before the effect of the cuts can be accurately quantified, but the raw numbers currently being reported are suggestive.
Previously, many food stamp recipients were able to stretch their benefits until the third week of the month.
Since November 1, they have been visiting pantries earlier, and in greater numbers.

More from The Atlantic yesterday:

Tens of millions of Americans have at least a bit of trouble affording meals. In September, for instance, 20 percent of adults told Gallup that at some time in the past year, they didn’t have enough money to buy the food their family needed.
And, as you might suspect, that’s pretty sad by International standards. According to Pew, Americans are far more likely to say they have trouble affording food than citizens of most other rich nations. We’re more like Indonesia in that respect than Germany or Britain.

First, the big picture: hunger rates jumped after the recession, and have yet to come down. In 2012, 14.5 percent of households suffered from some form of food “insecurity,” which essentially means they had to worry about putting dinner on the table, might not have been able to afford a balanced diet, but weren’t necessarily skimping on meals. The upshot: almost 49 million adults and children couldn’t always count on where their next bite was coming from.

That said, the hungriest households do cope with these problems repeatedly throughout the year. As USDA notes: “Typically, households classified as having very low food security experienced the condition in 7 months of the year, for a few days each of those months.”

So, get your turkey on!
And pretend…

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