Thanksgiving Turkey Facts

Here in the States it’s Thanksgiving Day, which means Go Eagles and Lions! Here are a few interesting facts about Thanksgiving, courtesy of

1. There are three places in the US named Turkey. 
Three small towns in America are named after the nation’s favorite bird. There is Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Turkey Creek, Louisiana, according to the US Census Bureau. Turkey Creek, Louisiana is the most populated, with 441 residents.
There are also two townships in Pennsylvania called Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot.

2. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade used live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York took place in 1914 when Macy’s employees dressed in vibrant costumes and marched to the flagship store on 34th street.
The parade used floats instead of balloons, and it featured monkeys, bears, camels, and elephants all borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.
It was also originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, but was renamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927.

3. Jingle Bells was originally a Thanksgiving song. 
James Pierpoint composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating Thanksgiving. The title was “One Horse Open Sleigh,” and it was such a hit that it was sung again at Christmas. The song quickly became associated with the Christmas holiday season, and the title was officially changed in 1859, two years later.
4. The night before Thanksgiving is the best day for bar sales in the US.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is responsible for the most bar sales in America, more than New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, or even St. Patrick’s Day.
It makes sense, since nearly all Americans have Thanksgiving off and dealing with family members can be very stressful. (But at least stuffing your face with fatty Thanksgiving foods is a perfect hangover cure.)
5. Thanksgiving leftovers inspired the first-ever TV dinner. 
In 1953, the TV dinner company Swanson overestimated the demand for turkey by over 260 tons, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
The owners of the company had no idea what to do with all the leftovers, so they enlisted the help of company salesman Gerry Thomas.
Taking inspiration from airplane meals, Thomas ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, and loaded them with the turkey leftovers to create the first TV dinner.
6. Thomas Jefferson canceled Thanksgiving during his presidency. 
George Washington was the first to declare Thanksgiving as a holiday, but it was on a year-to-year basis, so presidents had to re-declare it every year, according to the Washington Post. Jefferson was so adamantly against Thanksgiving that he refused to declare it a holiday during his presidency, and many say that he called the holiday “the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.”
Most historians agree that Jefferson really refused to declare the holiday because he fervently believed in the separation of church and state, and thought that the day of “prayer” violated the First Amendment.
It wasn’t until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a federal holiday, that our beloved turkey day was officially scheduled to fall on the fourth Thursday of every month.

9. FDR tried to change the date of Thanksgiving — and it caused a lot of problems. 
In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the second-to-last, according to the US National Archives.
The change was made in an attempt to lift the economy during the Great Depression, the idea being that it would give people more time to shop for Christmas.
But it ended up making everybody confused. Most states held Thanksgiving on its original date, and three states — Colorado, Mississippi, and Texas — celebrated the holiday in both weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It caused such a public outcry that people began referring to it as “Franksgiving.” After two years, Congress ditched the new policy and set the fourth Thursday of November as the legal holiday.

two more from The Blaze site:

Many credit Harry S Truman for being the first president to pardon a turkey, but the Truman Presidential Library admits there’s no documentation to substantiate that claim.

Truman’s successor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, admitted he ate the two turkeys presented to him at the White House for Thanksgiving each year during his two terms in office.

When President John F. Kennedy was presented with a turkey wearing a sign reading, “Good Eatin’, Mr. President,” Kennedy simply responded, “Let’s just keep him.”

When President Ronald Reagan was asked about possible pardons for Lt. Col. Oliver North and national security advisor John Poindexter in the Iran-Contra affair in 1987, he joked about pardoning a turkey, but the practice of “officially” pardoning the bird wasn’t formalized until 1989. Since then, each president has “pardoned” a turkey each year, allowing it to be spared from the roaster to instead live out the rest of its natural life.

One of the most ardent advocates for an annual national day of Thanksgiving was Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Ladies Magazine and “Godey’s Lady’s Book.” Hale began lobbying for such a day in 1827 by printing articles in her magazines and writing to elected officials. After 36 years of persistence, Hale won her battle. Buoyed by the Union victory at Gettysburg, President Lincoln proclaimed that Nov. 26, 1863 would be a national Thanksgiving Day and that Thanksgiving would be observed each year on the fourth Thursday of November.

So there you have it. To all Americans, Happy Thanksgiving! And if you’re not American or you aren’t celebrating, Happy Thursday!

Vote today! Midterm election projections

Unless you’re coming back from Burning man or living in a cave with Crocodile Dundee you know it’s election day in the US of A. The question is, who wins and who loses? I offer a few brief thoughts of my own on key races across the country. Apologies in advance for spelling mistakes in this post. I’m multitasking right now.

Incumbent candidate or party listed first.

New Hampshire: Scott Brown vs. Jeanne Shaheen:

Alaska: Mark Begich vs. Dan Sullivan- As you will see today, the midterm election is being shaped as a referendum on President Obama, and a lot of Democrats are defending seats where Obama is not well-liked. Alaska is one of these. Begich has baggage for supporting ACA (“Obamacare”) and he will lose. Winner: SULLIVAN

Arkansas: Mark Pryor vs. Tom Cotton- Cotton is a US Army veteran, having served inboth Iraw and Afghanistan. This plays very well in the deeply conservative Arkansas. Pryor is not a bad candidate, but Cotton’s campaign has been very succesful at tying him to Obama. Close race but decided early in the night. Winner: COTTON

Louisiana: Mary Landrieu vs. Bill Cassidy: Landrieu is from a Lousiana political dynasty. She has tried to make herself appeal as a somewhat conservative Democrat in the conservative state. Unfortunately for her, see Arkansas and Alaska above. Winner: CASSIDY in a runoff against Landrieu.

North Carolina: Kay Hagan vs. Thom Tillis and Sean Haugh (libertarian)- third party candidates are often blamed for taking votes away from D’s or R’s, and Haugh will be no exception. But who loses more votes? My guess the winner will be just a shde under 50%. Hagan has run a very good campaign and Tillis is not the most liked guy around. Winner: HAGAN

Colorado: Mark Udall vs. Cory Gardner: Udall ran on ONE issue: women’s rights, meaning abortion/birth control, etc. This strategy was so bad even the Denver Post, no lover of Republicans, endorsed Garder just to spite Udall. Gardner is a strong candidate, Udall less so. Very close race, decision early morning hours. Winner: GARDNER

Iowa: Burce Braley vs. Joni Ernst: Neither is an incumbent, they are trying to win the seat beign vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin. Braley has been shooting himself in the foot, first disparaging Iowan farmers over the summer and then Harkin made a comment about Ernst’s looks no Republican could ever get away with without being called “sexist.” Add this to the fact that Ernst is a military mom (and grandmom!), and this is one of the big upsets of the year. Winner: ERNST.

Kansas: Patr Roberts vs. Greg Orman (Independent) and Randall Batson (libertarian)- Orman is the fill-in for the Democrats who did not run anyone against Roberts. He is a centrist businessman and a good candidate. Roberts, like the Kansas governor Sam Brownback, is not very popular. BUT- Kansas is a deeply conservative state. Expect multiple recounts over the coming weeks but I will stick with the incumbent by less than 0.5%. Winner: ROBERTS

Georgia: David Perdue vs. Michelle Nunn and Amanda Swafford (libertarian): For a while Democrats were excited about taking this seat from the GOP vacated by Saxby Chambliss. Despite two women running to become Georgia’s first-ever elected female senator, Obama is very unpopular here and Nunn has not run the best of campaigns. A chance to pick off a seat from a not-very-likeable corporate businessman seems to have gone by the wayside. Swafford won’t play a factor. Winner: PERDUE, no runoff

Delaware: Chris Coons vs. Kevin Wade A shout-out to my home state. Coons is up for re-election, having finished Joe Biden’s term when Biden left to become Vice President. Wade is an interesting candidate but he doesn’t really have a chance. He’ll be lucky to crack 40. Winner: COONS

Kentucky: Mitch McConnell vs. Alison Grimes- Democrats were dreaming they’d tae down the Senate Minority Leader, who is seen as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) but a lot of Kentuckians. But, a) Obama is despised because of the war on coal b)Grimes ran a terrible campaign and c) by old white guy standards, McConnell is actually well-liked. Winner: MCCONNELL

Michigan: Gary Peters vs. Terri Lynn Land and three third-party candidates with no shot: Land is the former Secretary of State for Michigan. She doesn’t appear to have much traction and has made some bizarre remarks (and lack of them-check her ‘War on Women’ ad on Youtube) and while Peters isn’t the most charismatic guy, he’s going to win. Big. Winner: PETERS

Mississippi: Thad Cochran vs. Travis Childers: There has been speculation that Cochran might have lost this race because of spiteful Republicans bitter about his campaign’s under-handed tactics to defeat Chris McDaniel. However, I think the prospect of Harry Reid staying on as Senate Majority Leader is too much even for the R’s who hate Cochran. A  very close race. Winner: COCHRAN

Montana: Amanda Curtis vs. Steve Daines and Roger Roots. This is an open seat vacated by Max Baucus. That’s the only reason I bothered to list this race: Because the Republicans are going to take it. Curtis is a bad candidate, filling in after the previous front-runner was caught in a plagiarism scandal. She has no chance unless aliens invade. Winner: DAINES

South Dakota: Rick Weiland vs. Mike Rounds, Larry Pressler (Ind) and Gordon Howie (Ind.), Seat vacated by Democrat Tim Johnson. Some think this might be close with the third-party candidates, but South Dakota is a conservative state and Weiland isn’t very good at convincing people he’s conservative enough. Also, Obama is not well like here. Winner: ROUNDS

Virginia: Mark Warner vs. Ed Gillespie: Gillespie is a former GOP Chairman. Warner is the incumbent. Warner was leading for a while, but a late surge by Gillespie has made this race close. Again, Obama is hurting Warner because of how close his voting record is to the President. But, with northern Virginia now more like San Francisco than Virginia, that won’t hurt Warner like it will other Dems. Winner: WARNER, but closer than expected.

West Virginia: Natalie Tennant vs. Shelly Moore Capito: we conclude our key Senate races with…two women! That’s right, West Virginia will decide which woman will represent them in the Senate. Ironically, there are three independent candidates, but they’re all men. So which woman will win the seat? West Virginia is actualyl a Democrat-party leaning state. But: Obama is viscerally hated in this state. As in, he’s about as popular as Ebola, mainly because of his war on coal. Winner: CAPITO

Key Governor’s races:

Colorado: John Hickenlooper vs. Bob Beauprez: this is one of the closest to call. Hickenlooper is a slight favorite but he might get dragged down by lack of enthusiasm for Udall. Beauprez, like Gardner, is done well courting the Hispanic vote. This is an absolute toss-up, but I’ll give it to the challenger for one reason: Hickenlooper’s support for gun control in a state where guns are more popular than you-know-you. Winner: BEAUPREZ

Connecticut: Dan Malloy vs. Tom Foley: Foley is a moderate Republican businessman. Malloy is a dishonest politician (surprise!) who raised taxes on the middle class after saying he wouldn’t do that. In a state so Democratic like Connecticut, the fact that Foley is within the margin of error in polling is an embarrassment. Still, this state is blue. Winner: MALLOY, with at least one recount.

Florida: Rick Scott vs. Charlie Crist. This is one of the suckiest races to vote for. Both are dislike able, Crist is a shapeshifer who “goes with the flow” while Scott comes across as insensitive and too business-like instead of diplomatic. I think, because Scott went back on his word after suring the Feds over Obamacare, the good-will vote goes to the former governor. Winner: CRIST.

Georgia: Nathan Deal vs. Jason Carter- Jimmy Carter’s 39 year old grandson wants to be governor. Some polls have this as a possible Democrat upset. I say: see Obama, above. Winner: DEAL

Illinois: Pat Quinn vs. Bruce Rauner. Quinn is, like Scott and PA governor Corbett, among the most disliked governors. He is an embarrassment to the state and even Democrats know this. Given Illinois’ blue advantage and the fact that Rauner is a super wealthy developer/stock market guy, he shouldn’t be well received here, except that under Quinn’s “leadership” Illinois’ bond and credit ratings have taken a hit. The dead vote in Chicago will decide the winner of this one. Winner: QUINN

Kansas: Sam Brownback vs. Paul Davis: Whereas most GOP governors maintained or managed to somewhat improve their state’s economic climate (at least enough for re-election), Brownback cost Kansas their top credit rating. Plus, he broke one too many pledges here.  This is one, like the Senate race, going to multiple recounts. Winner: DAVIS

Maine: Paul LePage vs. Mike Michaud and Eliot Cutler (Ind): Cutler and Michaud are solid liberals. LePage is actually Tea Party more than Republican. If Cutler wasn’t running the Democrats would have won this seat. But Cutler IS running, and he will take votes away from Michaud. LePage will win with less than 50%…just like he did in 2010. Winner: LEPAGE

Maryland: Anthony Brown vs. Larry Hogan: Brown is Martin O’Malley’s Lieutenant Governor, and this state at this point is solid Dem. Oabam got 62% here in 2012. So why is Hogan close? Brown is a weak candidate, O’Malleable imposed a “rain tax” (if it rains on your property and runs off into the street you pay a tax on that) and MD’s running of the Obamacare website totally stunk, and I think this might be the upset of the night. Winner: HOGAN by less than 1.5%.

Massachusetts: Martha Coakley vs. Charlie Baker: Coakley lost in solid D Mass 5 years ago to Scott Brown because she didn’t bother campaigning. She evidently hasn’t learned her lesson. Plus, she is a weak candidate with few views on anything of note. Baker has taken the lead and it looks like the Republicans are picking this race up, Winner: BAKER

Michigan: Rick Snyder vs Mark Schauer: Snyder isn’t super well liked either, and Land will probably hurt him. This is one of those races where Snyder benefits from being the incumbent and just competent enough, especially with the Detroit turnaround. Winner: SNYDER

New Hampshire: Maggie Hassan vs. Walt Havenstein- I think all the female governor candidates up for re-election are up this year. Hassan is up narrowly in the polls and New Hampshire seems to have turned somewhat blue. It may be that the Brown-Shaheen race decides this one. Winner: HASSAN

Texas: Wendy Davis vs. Greg Abbott: I only threw this one in because of all the noise made about Wendy Davis “Standing up for abortion rights”. This is going to be a Texas-sized massacre. Winner: ABBOTT

Wisconsin: Scott Walker vs. Mary Burke. Walker is running for the third time in four years, and Burke is a succesful businesswoman. Walker has the momentum and he’s looking at a presidential bid for 2016. Walker will hold Burke off by abour 4-5%. Winner: WALKER

Ballot initiatives:

Marijuana decriminalization is on the ballot in: Alaska, Florida, and Oregon. AK and OR will have weed, Florida will vote against it because of the large number of religious people in the state.

Minimum wage hike is on the ballot in: Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota. This is an issue D’s are hoping drives people to the polls. IL and AR will vote yes, the other states no.

Your thoughts? Who do you think will win tonight?

High, How are you? More Denver Photos

Since no one answered my post from Tuesday, I guess no one wins a cool Colorado prize :(. Oh well, I have a new little trinket for my apartment.

Here is the second half of photos from Denver:

“High…how are you doing?”

Colorado goes green

Bacon really does go on everything.

The bumper sticker says it all. Perfect for bikes too.

OK I admit it…I “borrowed” the slogan.

Eastern Colorado from the air.

Boulder Mountain park, looking north towards Fort Collins.

Now you know where your “cold as the mountain” beer comes from.

Finally, in honor of October. The Haunted Forest at Boulder Mountain Park. Do you dare….?

*Note: all photos are my property. If you choose to share the photos anywhere else you are free to do so but make sure you cite my blog as the original source. This provision also applies to all photos posted in the blogpost “New Vlog and photos” posted October 1, 2014; and also to any future blogposts on this site.

New Vlog and photos!

Thank you for spending a little bit of your life reading and watching my “product”.

Please click on the link to watch my new Vlog: the art of storytelling. In the first part of the storytelling trilogy, I talk about the concept of Self-awareness and provide some tips for writing your novel, script, or speech without having to blatantly and obviously state what is going on in a particular scene or setting you’re trying to write about. This is the power of nonverbal cues. The book I am referencing is Power Cues  by Nick Morgan.

Click to watch now!

Hopefully you watched my Vlog so you can boost the number of hits I have on Youtube (like it matters). Now, as promised, I am providing you with a few photos of my recent trip to Denver. If you see one you like, feel free to share it…and always always always (rule of self-awareness! repeating yourself is unnecessary in writing) comment on this blog or share my posts on your own page (with citation of course)

Both: Golden, CO, outside the Coors plant. This is what Coors Brewery employees see every day.

inside the Coors plant. The glow in E.T.’s hand just…looks perfect.

left: Downtown Denver from my hotel room at mid-day. Right: Downtown Denver from my hotel room at sunrise.

left: one more epic shot of downtown Denver at sunrise just because. Right: Dushanbe Teahouse, Boulder, CO. The restaurant was built by Tajik architects as part of a “sister cities” project.”

Dushanbe Teahouse ceiling.

Chicago and Lake Michigan from 39,000 feet.

This one might confuse you: I took this interesting photo from a location in the general Denver area. Can you guess where? If you get it before I post the remaining photos this week (sometime Thursday, October 2 in the P.M.), you win a prize. Seriously. A little Colorado gift from me. Hint: When you think of China you think of this.

***Spoiler alert: You may feel a little “elevated” after seeing the next batch of photos, if you get my drift.