Here is a brief history of the holiday you may wish to share with your loved ones:
In the winter of 1620-1621, a group of immigrants in Massachusetts experienced a devastating winter. The weather was fierce. Food was scarce. Many died. At last spring came, then summer, and by the time of the autumn harvest things were looking about as rosy as they ever look in Massachusetts.
At a fundraising dinner that fall, Governer Bradford stood up and gave a speech.
"Thank God we survived last winter," he said. "Thank God this harvest gives us a fighting chance to survive the coming winter. And thank you for your support in the last election, please make checks payable to the Committee to Re-Elect the Governor, God bless America, amen. Let's eat."
The ensuing winter didn't turn out too badly, so the superstitious immigrants concluded that Governor Bradford's magic spell of "Thanksgiving" had done the trick.
The holiday was intermittently celebrated for years, with an enthusiasm scaled to the previous winter's weather, until November 26, 1789, when President Washington issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide day of thanksgiving for the establishment of the Constitution.
Washington's proclamation wasn't much different from Bradford's.
"Thank God we survived last winter," he said. "Thank God we've got a fighting chance to survive the coming winter. Thank God we've got our own damn country now and don't have to put up with a bunch of meddling European bastards. And thank you for your support in the last election, please make checks payable to Federalists for Washington, God bless America, amen. Let's eat."
Washington, the Constitution, and many of the immigrants (who were now Americans) survived the winter, so this new spell was also deemed effective.
President Lincoln later proclaimed the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day in 1863, but President Roosevelt moved it back to the fourth Thursday of the month in 1939 to extend the time available for holiday shopping.
President Ford proposed making it the third Wednesday in September, in order to really extend the time available for holiday shopping, but he only made the proposal to his golden retriever, Liberty, so the suggestion never reached congress.
And so we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year, in honor of having survived last winter, having got rid of those meddling European bastards, having invented our own rules, having bitch-slapped the Confederacy, and having plenty of time to shop before the holidays.
Today in History: 11/25 -
According to Biblical scholars, a powerful rain storm began on this date in BC 2348. It rained an inch every ten seconds. Imagine that. An inch every ten seconds. The sheer volume and velocity of the deluge, comparable to rapid-fire artillery, ought to have been enough to kill every living thing on the planet in seconds, and yet it reportedly continued at this rate for a full 960 hours.
The only human survivors were a crotchety six-hundred-year-old man and his family. Fortunately, these sturdy souls had had the foresight to gather up two to seven specimens of every species on the planet (excepting, one assumes, the undaunted creatures of the sea) and load them onto a wooden boat before the storm began.
It may not sound like much, put like that, but considering the far-flung distribution of all the various creatures of the earth, and the difficulty of tracking down, say, all the varieties of paramecium without the benefit of a microscope, or sustaining desert flora on a water-logged ship, it was a considerable accomplishment.
I applaud the foresight, initiative, and ambition displayed by Noah and his family, but remain a little wary of the person or persons behind all that rain.
November 25, 1867 -
Patent granted to Alfred Nobel for dynamite. To quote Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok , "May the Lord take a liking to you and blow you up real good!!!"
I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize - George Bernard Shaw
On November 25, 1914, Joe DiMaggio was born. In addition to leading the New York Yankee to ten World Series championships, Joe DiMaggio also got to marry Marilyn Monroe.
Be grateful for role models.
November 25, 1940 -
Walter Lantz's introduced Woody Woodpecker with the release of Knock Knock on this date.
November 25, 1970 -
Japanese playwright, poet, novelist, nationalism and patron of transvestite bars, Yukio Mishima commits seppuku (self disembowelment) after an aborted coup attempt in Japan.
He had authored over 100 works and was deemed by Life magazine the "Japanese Hemmingway".
One has to ask themselves - what is it that requires "true manhood" to face one's own death willingly.
On November 25, 1977, Greece announced the discovery of the tomb of King Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great.
On November 26, 1922, archeologists Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter opened the tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen.
Be grateful that the high point of your job isn’t digging up people who’ve been dead for thousands of years.
November 25, 1987 -
Fawn Hall, Oliver North's assistant, removes documents from sealed National Security Council offices inside the White House by hiding them inside her skirt, causing President Ronald Reagan to form a task force which eventually put both North and Hall on trial.
Another true American Patriot
30 more shopping days until Christmas, 6 more shopping days until Hanukkah. (Black Friday is tomorrow.)
And so it goes