Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Infamous Black Friday Shopping Day

What in the world has happened to our sacred Black Friday shopping day?  To the tradition that signaled the beginning of the Christmas shopping season?

Thanksgiving has come and gone and so has the infamous Black Friday shopping day—the day THEY say marks the moment retailers have covered their expenses for the balance of the year and are operating totally in the black with everything being profit.  Or at least that's what it originally meant…in days gone by.

Since U.S. Thanksgiving is always on Thursday, for the majority of people that equates to a Thursday through Sunday four day holiday weekend.  In the past, the long holiday weekend has marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, commencing Friday morning.  It also signaled the time to drag out the holiday decorations, gift wrapping paper, and turn our thinking to the jolly ho-ho-ho mode.

But it seems that everything is different now.  Somewhere along the line Black Friday has become an almost bizarre ritual with all the trappings of an event type of display.

Rather than stores opening a couple of hours earlier than normal as it used to be, each year for the last few years they are opening earlier and earlier.  People waiting in line outside for hours in the cold so they could be the first ones to rush inside the moment the doors were unlocked at 3:00AM.  Television news crews would do live reports from some of the larger stores showing hundreds of people with their lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and some even had tents.  Earlier in the evening it's a party type of atmosphere.  By the time the store unlocks the doors, it's a lot of very cold and tired people all trying to crowd through the door at the same time.  I suspect they want inside from the cold as much as to make that race to their desired bargain.

Where I live, the temperatures were much warmer than this time last year.  However, those warmer temperatures were accompanied by strong winds.  If someone didn't have their lawn chair anchored down, it would blow away.  Several stores opened their doors at midnight this year.  Then there were a couple of them that opened Thanksgiving morning and never closed.

Black Friday sales have now evolved to include shopping on the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday.  And you know how that goes…once it happens, it becomes tradition.

I think the biggest boost to the concept of Black Friday bargains has been the internet.  Shopping via the internet rather than actually getting in the car and driving to the mall has been growing by leaps and bounds.  And so many internet shopping sites offer the same Black Friday sale prices as their brick and mortar stores and as their competitors including additional incentives such as free shipping or being able to pick up your order at the local store.  No standing in line for hours in the cold in the middle of the night.  Now those bargains are only a mouse click away.  You get a good night's sleep and Black Friday is available for pursuits other than elbowing your way through throngs of holiday shoppers.  Personally, I find that a preferable alternative.  :)

So, who braved the weather, lost sleep, and jostled your way through crowds to snag those bargain prices this year?  And how many of you have now completed your holiday shopping?

And speaking of holiday shopping…how many of you noticed how early all things Christmas were out and on display this year?  I encountered Christmas items prominently displayed and Christmas promotions before Halloween.  Some as early as in September.  And I'm already hearing Christmas music on the radio.

How many of you preferred to stay home, click the mouse, and enjoy all those Thanksgiving dinner leftovers while watching football?

And now I have a confession.  I did venture out to a store on Black Friday morning about 7:30AM, but not for holiday shopping.  I had to go to the office supply store because I was out of printer ink.  There were a few people there, but not many.  However, 4 doors north of the office supply store Kohl's had a very full parking lot.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkey Trivia…Just In Time For Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again…the fourth Thursday in November.  This week we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S.  Americans cook approximately 45 million turkeys each year for Thanksgiving.  So, in honor of the holiday, here are a dozen known and not so well known bits of trivia about turkeys.

1)  All turkeys do not taste the same.  The taste has to do with their age.  An older male is preferable to a younger male (the younger tom is stringy).  And the younger female hens are preferable to the older ones.  Hmmm…that older man and younger woman thing again.  :)

2)  A turkey less than 16 weeks old is called a fryer and a turkey 5 to 7 months of age is known as a roaster.

3)  Turkeys are a type of pheasant and are the only breed of poultry native to the Western Hemisphere.

4)  Wild turkeys are able to fly for short durations attaining speeds up to 55mph.  Domesticated turkeys raised on farms for food are too fat and meaty to achieve flight.

5)  We've all heard that Benjamin Franklin argued in favor of the turkey as the national symbol of America rather than the Bald Eagle.

6)  The first turkeys to be domesticated were in Mexico and Central America.

7)  The male turkey makes the gobble sound and the female clucks.

8)  A mature turkey has about 3,500 feathers, which is a lot of plucking before it can be cooked.

9)  The most turkeys produced annually come from Minnesota and North Carolina.

10)  The skin that hangs from a turkey's neck is called a wattle.  The fleshy growth on the base of the beak is the snood.

11)  Each year 90 percent of Americans have turkey for thanksgiving compared to 50 percent on Christmas.

12)  The most turkey consumed per capita is not eaten by Americans.  Israel holds that honor.

One thing that's marvelous about the Thanksgiving turkey dinner is all the terrific leftovers!  Anyone out there having something other than the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving dinner?

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Each date on the calendar has at least one notable or important (or maybe only humorous) event in history.  Here's a selection of November's memorable dates in history.

November 1         The bra was patented (1914)

November 2         Peter The Great became Emperor of Russia (1721)

November 3         First Opium War between China and Britain (1839)

November 6         Abraham Lincoln elected President of U.S. (1860)

November 8         Montana became 41st state (1889)

November 9         Giant Pandas were discovered in China (1927)

November 10       Sesame Street premiered on PBS television (1969)

November 13       Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River opened to the public, connecting New York and New Jersey (1927)

November 14       First streetcar went into operation (1832)

November 15       The Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation, the forerunner of U.S. Constitution (1777)

November 19       Abraham Lincoln gave Gettysburg Address (1863)

November 22       President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas, (1963)

November 23       A patent was issued for a horseshoe manufacturing machine (1835)

November 24       Charles Darwin published his theories on evolution, "On The Origin Of The Species" to great controversy (1859)

November 26       First lion exhibited in America (1716)

November 28       "Grande Ole Opry" debuted on radio (1925)

November 30       United States and Great Britain signed peace treaty in Paris formally ending the Revolutionary War (1782)

These certainly aren't the only notable historical events to happen in November, but it's a fair cross-section.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November's Bizarre and Weird Holidays

November certainly offers some traditional holidays.  November 1st is All Saint's Day, and here in the U.S. the first Sunday (November 4th) we go off Daylight Saving Time, November 11 is Veteran's Day, the fourth Thursday (November 22nd) is Thanksgiving Day, and this year the first Tuesday (November 6th) is Presidential Election Day.

But there's more!

November has its share of the bizarre and weird when it comes to holidays and celebrations.  In addition to specific days dedicated to a celebration, there are also week long and month long celebrations.

The entire month of November celebrates the following: Aviation History, Child Safety Protection, International Drum, National Adoption Awareness, National Epilepsy, National Model Railroad, National Novel Writing, Native American Heritage, Peanut Butter Lovers, Real Jewelry, and National Sleep Comfort.

Week 1 of November is Chemistry Week and Week 3 is Game and Puzzle Week.

And now for the daily bizarre and weird.

November 2         Look For Circles Day
November 2         Deviled Egg Day

November 3         Book Lover's Day (first Saturday of the month)
November 3         Housewife's Day
November 3         Sandwich Day

November 4         King Tut Day: celebrates the day of the discovery of King Tutankhamen's Tomb in 1922

November 5         Gunpowder Day (which seems to go hand-in-hand with…)
November 5         Guy Fawkes Day

November 6         Marooned Without A Compass Day
November 6         Saxophone Day

November 7         Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

November 8         Cook Something Bold Day
November 8         Dunce Day:  celebrates the term dunce and dunce caps. November 8 marks the death in 1308 of medieval scholar Duns Scotus of Duns, Scotland. Dunce Day is all about learning.

November 9         Chaos Never Dies Day:  recognizes the turmoil in modern, everyday life. You can best celebrate this day by recognizing that chaos never dies.

November 10       Forget-Me-Not Day
November 10       USMC Day

November 12       Chicken Soup For The Soul Day

November 13       National Indian Pudding Day
November 13       Sadie Hawkins Day:  originated from a cartoon, Al Capp's Lil Abner in the 1930s. On this day, a race is held and all the single men were given a short head start. If a woman catches her man, he has to marry her.
November 13       World Kindness Day
November 13       Young Readers Day (second Tuesday of the month)

November 14       Operating Room Nurse Day

November 15       Clean Your Refrigerator Day
November 15       America Recycles Day
November 15       Great American Smokeout (third Thursday in November)
November 15       National Philanthropy Day

November 16       Button Day
November 16       Have A Party With Your Bear Day

November 17       Electronic Greeting Card Day
November 17       Homemade Bread Day
November 17       National Adoption Day (Saturday before Thanksgiving)
November 17       Take A Hike Day
November 17       World Peace Day

November 18       Occult Day:  in true keeping with what Occult is, the origins of this day remains a mystery.

November 19       Have a Bad Day Day

November 20       Absurdity Day:  some days are truly illogical and senseless, exactly the definition of Absurdity Day.
November 20       Beautiful Day
November 20       Universal Children's Day

November 21       False Confession Day:  while this day sounds like a lot of fun, use caution while participating. A false confession can get you in a heap of trouble in a hurry. Don't make any false confession that will cause injury or harm to you or others.
November 21       World Hello Day

November 22       Go For A Ride Day

November 23       Black Friday
November 23       Buy Nothing Day
November 23       Eat a Cranberry Day
November 23       National Cashew Day
November 23       You're Welcome Day

November 25       National Parfait Day

November 26       Shopping Reminder Day

November 27       Pins and Needles Day

November 28       Make Your Own Head Day
November 28       Red Planet Day:  commemorates the launch of the Mariner 4 on November 28, 1964. The 228 day mission brought the spacecraft within 6,118 miles of Mars on July 14, 1965.

November 29       Square Dance Day

November 30       Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day

Amazingly of the bizarre holidays mentioned, 11 of them have a connection to food. I'm sure there are other bizarre and weird holidays in November celebrated by some of you.  Any I missed?