Monday, October 09, 2006

Thanksgiving

This it is to testify, to speak out what the heart holds true. If the tongue and the heart are at odds, you are reciting, not testifying. Augustine, Childhood.

Canadians are eating the bird, today. For those of us who believe in an interested Deity, and make timid attempts to work out our faith in fear and trembling, Giving Thanks is one of the big priorities. It isn't just a matter of saying what you're thankful for before you grab your fork and knife -- you're required to do something, to serve and be gracious. And despite Augustine's assertion, it isn't even a matter of feeling grateful -- and thank God for that, because I sure don't "feel" thankful.

The human capacity to fuck things up on a monstrous scale cannot be denied -- not in 1945, and certainly not this morning when we woke up to the news. The people of Darfur know it. The people of North Korea know it. The people of New Orleans and one or two of our nation's finest "Reservations" know it, too. We live between the headlines, hoping for some transcendant gift while wondering if, in fact, we aren't still captive to the bloodthirsty gods of old.

And who, I ask again, really needs the headlines to aid our daily lamentation? Do we not have enough to lament in our own small circles? One friend from my past has died, two are in marriages that are foundering (or "transitioning", on their better days), one is experiencing a volatile career-shift, another is waiting for news of his second down-sizing.

There is no conclusion, here -- just a droning recital that hopes for a bit of life to blow through it, to lift the bones in some strange testifying dance.

15 comments:

ジョエル said...

I'm not going to deny that any nuclear proliferation is bad news for the human race, but I'm a lot more worried about GW's hand on the button than North Korea. It was only a couple of years ago that the white house was re-asserting its right to nuclear pre-emptive strike.
Besides which this isn't the first time we've threatened North Korea with nuclear weapons. All throughout the Vietnam war, the airplanes in South Korea were armed ONLY with nuclear warheads, so that North Korea would know exactly what kind of trouble it was heading for if it tried to re-start the war with the US distracted in Vietnam. Is it any wonder the North Koreans think they need this weapon for their security?

DarkoV said...

Look ????, I'm no fan of Dubya's; the sooner his term runs out, the sooner we can start the recovery process from the deepsix-six-sixing his born-again delusional leadership has left us foundering.
But, come on! Is it any wonder the North Koreans think they need this weapon for their security?

I don't think for a moment that the North Koreans have been doing any thinking for a considerable length of time thanks to their "estimable" ruler, Kim Jong II and his procreator, "Eternal Leader" and first ruler, Kim Il Sung.

We're talking about a man without a soul and with an incredible need to be a general pain in the backside of the, and I use this loosely, general civilized world. What century has this guy come from? And can we send him back?

China should be allowed to run N. Korea over at this point. Let's all start again.

Oh, and WP, Happy Thanksgiving. I'm sure your turkey will be moster than ours; we're eating the scraps off of Canada's table.

paul bowman said...

In the U.S. today it's Columbus Day, or rather the day Columbus Day is officially observed. Only seems to matter to employees of Federal gov't., agencies, & contractors — who either get the day off (e.g., my dad) or have to work disconnected from client offices for a day (e.g., my younger brother).

I suppose it's more likely, if there's comparison to be made, that people on Canadian reserves are receptive to an observation of Thanksgiving Day than are people on U.S. reservations to an observation of Columbus Day.

Anyway, I appreciate the thoughtful dwelling, here, both on the sober reality that we wake up every day with cause — & perhaps to fresh new causes — for lament, and also on the weightiness of the idea that at least one day might be set soberly aside for a societal offering of thanks. Have to confess that I don't usually give much thought to national holidays, whatever the relative worths of their originating ideas; but this post may turn out to have 'blown a bit of life', come mid-late November, into my expectation of observing the national day down south here.

Which leads me to add, lastly, without irony: without intending any conclusion to be inferred as to whether ultimately the Internet should be understood to be another monstrous human-civilizational fuck-up or not, can't resist saying here that I'm thankful for access to (among others) this excellent blog.  : )

dan h. said...

Darrell,
Thanks for 'serving' up this post for us. I agree with Paul... we have every day for lament, and you've given me reason to look at Thanksgiving with new eyes. Can there be one day of the year that I can really appreciate whatever meager blessings I may have... and just be thankful.
peace,
dh

Cowtown Pattie said...

Wishing you a good, thankful day!

You should have spoke up sooner, and I would have sent some pie!

I guess I never knew Canada had a similar holiday - those pesky pilgrims sure did get around! *grin*

Whisky Prajer said...

ジョエル - I don't feel good about anyone's hand being within reach of a green button. Nor am I inclined to employ "we pushed them to it" rhetoric. I'd like to think there is some free will involved when it comes to choices like this, but DV's point is also fairly sound: the N. Koreans don't get to exercise as much of it as we do (and look where it's got us). Hey, is that my tail I'm chasing?

pb - hey, I'm thankful for the access to my blog - and others, including your own - too!

dan - an hour after I posted, I thought better of it, and was all set to replace this with: "whine whine, bitch bitch, boo-hoo-hoo!!" Alas, JS and DV had already commented, so the prudent thing seemed to be to let it lie. I've been trying to be more thankful today.

cp - I'm guessing Texans are as crazily traditional about pumpkin pie as the rest of us. Secretly, though, I'm hoping your people prefer to serve a good pecan pie, instead.

Trent Reimer said...

Funny, I was just thinking we should start including educational curriculum starting at the primary school level to teach our children some basic post-economic survival skills. Skills they would learn include:

- how to keep warm
   - fashioning shelters from materials at hand
   - insulating using common materials and plants
   - building fires for warming and cooking
- how to make string from natural materials. This is useful for making clothing, fish traps, shelters, etc.
- how to gather or trap common edibles
- how to plant a garden
- how to cooperate :)

Perhaps such a curriculum might accomplish a few things:

1. In a disaster or economic collapse it may be the difference between life and death to ensure the survival of at least a few.
2. It may begin to remind us that we are biological animals and that our economic model needs to account for that if our race is to survive. Perhaps our children would develop more sustainable models?
3. It may reinforce our collective will to avoid a situation that would render such training necessary!

paul bowman said...

Don't forget Lesson One: Duck and cover!

Colin Lamm said...

Isn't what you wrote here a somewhat contemporary example of the Psalms of Lament in the Bible? People of faith will get much further in this world when they come to realize that God is not honoured by our typically anal-retentive piety.

Whisky Prajer said...

tr and pb - how about a curriculum that majors in geek skills and minors in the luddite? That would certainly bring me back to academia.

cl - hmm. You seem to propose a (dare I say) more holistic piety than our "stiff upper lip" (or, for the post-Ren & Stimpy gen, "happy happy joy joy") piety. Careful, dude - someone might start calling you "emergent"! ; )

DarkoV said...

WPAh, Pecan Pie! Just the first syllable "Pec" is enough for me to start salivating. I find pumpkin pie too frightening. Visions of ghouls, that unnatural buttery orange brown color and the odd consistency that the first bite encounters. Too much give. I need some substance in my pies. Yes, I'm not a lemon merangue pie fan either.

But, pecans!??!? Can't wait to stap on some poundage shortly.

Scott said...

"And who, I ask again, really needs the headlines to aid our daily lamentation?"

Guilty as charged, your honour! ;)

The Sun headline screamed "THE WORLD JUST GOT SCARIER" which actually made me laugh since, unlike the Sun, I'd been paying attention these last couple years.

I spent my Thanksgiving with the things I'm truly thankful for -- lunchtime with friends, playtime with the Little Terrorist and couchtime with a really fine book ("Drina Bridge" by Jim Bartley).

The book, mind you, is about the Serbo-Croat-Muslim war in Bosnia, the sheer tsunami of human evil forcing me to take drastic measures and put British porn on my website -- oh the price of happiness! :D

Scott said...

PS: Mr. Darkov, please -- no more discussions of pecan pie.
It is my heroin.



I need a fix.

Whisky Prajer said...

From pies to porn, and back again ... this ain't goin' anywhere good!

DarkoV said...

Scott, swinging the topic back to family hour topics...

The pecan pie recipe that I tend to crave contains the following ingredients. These, obviously are not all of them.
1) Pecans: Finely ground. USe a coffee grinder until it's "espresso" fine.
2) Pecans: Crushed. Use a (clean) dish towel and a mallet/hammer/enemy's head.
3) Pecans: Meat of the nut is quartered.

#1 through #3 is put into the "brew" of eggs, brown sugar, Kero Dark Syrup, and dark rum (I like Myer's).
4) Pecans: Whole. Tile them on the top of the "brew" tightly. Very tightly. If the finished pie does not look as if it has the skin of an armadillo, you've chintzed out on the topping! 50 lashes for you!

A finsihed pecanpie can be accompanied by freshly whipped cream. But, that's overdoing it and one needs a de-friblillator within hand's reach for that extra touch.

One generous slice should leave the gourmand tilting toward the left, an impossibly large smile on his/her face, and a n intense need to hibernate.