Our teachers said the Indians (my school hadn’t caught up to terms like Native American or indigenous people yet) saved the Pilgrims that winter by feeding them. Well, if you consider theft to be a form of giving, then yes, I suppose the Wampanoag indirectly fed the Pilgrims. Truth is, they were hanging back through the winter, watching the white folks who’d moved into one of their abandoned villages. They’d already been hard hit by Europeans, who just a few years before had been busily enslaving them and giving them diseases that wiped out alarming numbers of them. They knew that white folks could be dangerous. But this batch had women and children with them, which made the Wampanoag think they were peaceful. Continue reading “The Real Story of Thanksgiving”→
Thanksgiving has often been a day filled with family and friends for me, but it’s also frequently a holiday where Misha and I take the opportunity to celebrate alone. This year, we were going to entertain a friend who’s just had surgery, but her caretaker decided to stay in town and they had a quiet feast of their own. I didn’t know for sure until the last minute, so I declined plans with another friend, and by the time the day rolled around, I was feeling like having an introvert’s Thanksgiving, so I turned down an offer from my housemate to tag along to another gathering. I had everything I needed for a feast. I had a ton of editing to do. I was happy staying home alone! All of this to say: don’t worry a bit that it was just me and my kitty and Facebook. We love our solitary holidays.
It’s that time in America where many of us stuff ourselves full of deceased birds and other foodstuffs. Not everyone is carnivorous, but these plants are.
That, my darlings, is our old friend Darlingtonia californica, the lovely cobra lily. You can also call it the California pitcher plant if you’re feeling boring. Totally understandable if you are. You’re probably completely lethargic. It’s not the tryptophan, mind – it’s the carbs.
So it’s that day again in America where we give thanks and stuff ourselves into a coma.
Sometimes, Christians ask us what we have Thanksgiving for if we don’t believe in a god we can give those thanks to, which displays an appalling lack of imagination, not to mention no appreciation for the people around us.
I’ve got plenty of people and things to be thankful to and for. There’s B’s brother B, who’s cooking the turkey so I don’t have to. There’s B, who made this dinner happen (and yes, we’re good again – I’ll tell that story when I’ve regained consciousness). There’s the fine folks who raised all the food and came up with the genius spice combos. There’s all the people everywhere who made the roads I will drive, and made the car I will drive, possible and safe. There’s my company, which irritates the crap out of me but pays a good wage, and the customers who make it possible for them to pay it. There’s all the people without whom this day wouldn’t happen, whose contributions are so invisible I don’t see them, but they’re there.
There’s my parents, and my kitty, and my friends, who all make my life happier, and make me happy when I can do things for them that make them happy.
And then there’s you, my readers, my colleagues and friends in this wonderful world of cyberspace, where my life has been changed and enriched over and over and over again, and where I like to think I give a little something back. I love you all!
Now, even if you’re not in America, go do something nice and fun today. May it include the things you love best. Because, damn it, you deserve only the best!
It’s here again, that time o’ year when the hue and cry from the churches is “Oh, teh poor atheists, they have no one to thank! Horrors! Don’t ever become an atheist because your thanksgiving will vanish in a puff of smoke! And you will burn in the flames forever!!”
So, Thanksgiving in America. I’m finding myself thankful for a lot of things today. I’m thankful that once I finish today’s shift, I’m free for four days. So, thank you, Sarah Josepha Hale. Thank you for not giving up until we had ourselves a holiday, and for so much else besides.
Thank you, Tree Lobsters, for combining two outrages into something that pokes a sharp bit of fun at the offending idiots:
Thank you, my amazing, incredible, and deeply appreciated readers, for being the best damned group of readers on the internet. Thank you for making all this worthwhile.
Thank you, my fellow Freethought Bloggers, for bringing me on board, and making me a part of the best damned atheist and freethought collective anywhere.
Thank you, all you writers who taught me how to string a useful sentence together, and ignited me.
Thank you, my dear friends, for joining me in adventure and pulling my irons out of the fire when such becomes necessary. There are far too many of you to call out by name in this short little post, but there will be a roll call in my first book.
Thank you, denizens and creators of the internet, for all the info, without which I couldn’t find things like tasty restaurants and reliable mechanics and science blogs and those weird factoids that suddenly become essential to a scene in the wee hours of the morning when the poor research librarians are trying to sleep.
Thank you, bloggers, for pouring out your passion in prose and podcasts and pictures and video.
Thank you, OWS folks, for taking a stand.
Thank you, scientists, for figuring out how life, the universe and everything works: a journey of discovery that will probably never finish, and which has been one hell of a fun ride.
Thank you, teachers, for giving me the foundation necessary to understand what the scientists are saying, and introducing me to so very many worlds.
Thank you, Mom, Mom and Dad, for giving me this life and then helping me navigate the sometimes wickedly complicated and frequently surprising thing.
Thank you, parents and people and places and pets and all the things in this wide, wild and wonderful universe, for everything that makes this life both possible and worth the living.
I’m about to dive head-first into a marathon of Harry Potter movies, after a nice leisurely bath. I guarantee you, I’m thankful for both of those things. Some may think I’m crazy for being thankful for Harry Potter, o’ course, but that’s their loss. Quidditch rules!
This is a day of giving thanks. First and foremost, I’m thankful to you, my darlings. This blog has brought me great friends and readers, forced me to expand my interests and oftentimes question my assumptions, and all of you have had a huge part in that. You bloggers, you commenters, you outstanding human beings – you give me hope for this crazy ol’ world. So, thank you for being here, being you, and being awesome!
Thanks to science, and scientists, and people curious enough to invent science and keep becoming scientists. Without science, a great many of us likely wouldn’t have been born at all. Of those who were, a great many would’ve died young. Science has given us food, medicine, and incredible technology. And it’s given us a far greater understanding of the world, which makes the world a damned sight more interesting.
Thanks to writers, who suffer for our enjoyment. Putting words on a page is far more difficult than it sounds. Thank you for pushing through the pain, creating wonderful new worlds and putting new spins on old words, for having not just the imagination, but the skill and determination, to weave tales that keep us enthralled, entertained, and help us realize things about our universe and our humanity that we never would’ve thought of otherwise. Thank you, crafters of both fiction and non-fiction, for the words you’ve smithed!
Thanks to family, friends, and those occasional strangers who are there to share the adventure.
Thanks to all of those who, in a variety of ways, make life livable.
I need to see about collaborating with this delightful progressive on future projects:
Oh, Lordy. It is that time again. Thursday is Thanksgiving— the official kickoff event of the 2008 holiday season. For a lot of progressives, these festivities also mean that we’re about to spend more quality time with our conservative relatives over the next six weeks than is strictly good for our blood pressure, stress levels, or continued sanity.
These family gatherings were hard enough to stomach through the appalling years of the Bush Adoration—but this year, it’s likely to be even worse. Our beloved family wingnuts were insufferable, in a grotesque Mayberry-on-acid surreal kind of way, while crowing into their succotash about the manly Godliness (or was it Godly manliness?) of Our Divinely Ordained Commander-in-Chief. But this year’s different. This year, they’re on the way out of power—and they’re scared witless about it. Which means big steaming heapin’ helpings of liberal-bashing are likely to be featured prominently on the menu next to the mashed potatoes, as they put fresh vigor into every paranoid anti-liberal fantasy ever spouted by Rush, Reverend Pat, or their new darling, Sarah Palin.
The black guy won. Armageddon—or, at the very least, socialism, atheism, gun control, and a national epidemic of erectile dysfunction—must certainly be at hand.
As you prepare to head once again into the family fray, it might be useful to note that most of the right wing’s favorite anti-liberal slanders are rooted in some deeply-held—and deeply wrong—assumptions about who liberals are, and what we believe. If your relatives, God bless ’em all, insist on going down that road, your best defense this year might be to listen closely for these underlying myths and fables at work—and be prepared to challenge them head-on when they surface in the discussion.
Here’s a basic set to get you started. Tuck it away in your bag with your Xanax and Maalox, and apply (liberally, of course) as needed.
#8, “Liberals are Godless—and therefore, amoral,” is my especial favorite, in light of the book I’m writing. But they’re all wonderful, and should come in useful once it comes time to once again be subjected to ye olde “Libruls are whut’s wrong with Amurka” lecture.
This is one of many things I’m thankful for – I do not have to go through this agonizing torture. For those of you who do, good luck and my sympathies, my darlings.