Happy ThanksgivingAt this time of the year we are granted a brief 24-hour respite between a month-long bombardment of carvable rigid foam pumpkins and gratuitously gory plastic arms and decapitated heads, and the awesome onrushing juggernaut of the approaching Christmas holiday season. And what a juggernaut it is— it even comes complete with its own legions of blindly-loyal devotees gleefully throwing themselves beneath its crushing weight, every Black Friday.

Granted, stores have now begun rolling out cartons of holiday goodies and setting up walls of blinking lights and dazzling cardboard displays from mid-September on. Why wouldn’t they? According to the strange logic of retail marketing, if the holiday season induces consumers to buy more, then why not lengthen that season until it swallows up the whole year? Which completely ignores the argument that just because people buy a lot during the holidays doesn’t mean they will SPEND MORE if the holidays are longer… they’ll probably just spread out their purchasing across the extended timeframe while actually spending the same amount as they did on the shorter schedule. But what the heck…. Christmas is about dreams of sugarplums and the tinkling of silver bells, right? Or maybe the ka-CHING! of cash register bells, depending on who you ask.

Tradition holds that on this holiday we give thanks in emulation of the nascent Plymouth pilgrim colony* who cleverly conned the local indigenous natives into contributing toward the first decent meal they’d had in weeks, for which all were thankful. Despite the ironic fact that almost all of those indigenous Samaritans would later die from diseases given them by the colonists, become raging alcoholics, get forcibly converted to Christianity, and finally be wiped out in a big race war a few decades later. Isn’t history fun, kids?

Some bloggers celebrate this date by writing a “why I’m thankful” essay full of personal spiritual proclamations and laundry lists of their annual family highlights. But if I am going to climb aboard that bandwagon, I will try to be a bit less personal and a lot more pertinent.

Reasons to be Thankful:

The failing economies of Greece and Italy have NOT crashed the European Union and set off a falling-domino-sequence of national bankruptcies, annihilating the world financial system. Yet.

Sarah Palin did NOT run for the 2012 Presidency, sparing both political parties THAT indignity and the ongoing embarrassment of the resulting (utterly-ridiculous) two year media feeding frenzy… gah.

That big asteroid (2005 YU55) that missed hitting the Earth a few weeks ago MISSED HITTING THE EARTH. And didn’t hit our planet with the kinetic force of several thousand H-bombs. Because that would have been a bad day for pretty much everyone.

The OWS movement hasn’t turned violent yet. As of this writing, no one is known to have been shot or beaten to death in defense of that cause. Hopefully those with cooler heads will remain on top and rationality will ultimately prevail in that situation.

Unemployment is down, overall. The United States economy— though still unhealthy and plagued by vampiric corporate influences and legions of swarming jackal bankers eager to pluck the last shreds of flesh from the bail-out smorgasbord— seems to be stabilizing.

North Korea hasn’t nuked South Korea yet.

The 30 year old worldwide AIDS epidemic seems to be slowing and with conscientious treatment there is a good chance that the disease could be wiped out in the next decade. That’s definitely something to be thankful for… though at the very moment it was being announced, national and international anti-AIDS coalitions were under iminent threat of severely-reduced funding by cash-strapped world governments.

So as usual, there is a lot for which we can collectively be thankful. Let’s not forget the 46 million brave turkeys who gave their lives in support of this holiday as yummy food-products (but NOT the kind of “food product” used by riot police to chemically scald the faces of rioters. Thanks for that timely gem of idiotic spin-garbage, Fox News)!

*Newfoundland, according to the Canadian version. People with big hats and buckles on their shoes, in any case.