Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ode to Thanksgiving

Today is the day that all bloggers traditionally post lists of things to be thankful for. To me, this sounds empty and hollow. I find it much more meaningful to contemplate things that we, the more fortunate people on our earth, have left to do to give the rest of the world things to be thankful for.

Much of the world lives in abject poverty and misery.

In some countries running water, where it exists at all, is implemented by paying people two cents an hour to run down to the polluted river and dip buckets full of filthy water and carry them up to the attic to fill a tank, from which water is siphoned to the rooms.

Roads, where they exist at all, consist of places the local gentry permit you to drive your car, if you've got a car at all, but it's up to you to figure out how to get your car through.

Police protection, where it exists at all, consists of heavily armed trigger-happy goons whose primary interest is protecting their own hides. It seems as though we've got some of that here in America, too.

Low-cost housing, where it exists at all, consists of cardboard boxes in the woods, on somebody else's property, where the dwellers therein run a risk of being discovered by the property owner and run off, if not indeed shot outright.

Medical care, where it exists at all, consists of volunteer nurses smuggled in by welfare agencies in wealthy countries, and these nurses run a risk of being deported or possibly executed by the local authorities.

Shoes, for the few people who have shoes at all, are made of rags and old tires.

Agriculture is often done with no tools but hoeing mattocks, and often a whole village owns only one of them and they've got to share it, and they have to hide it when the tax assessor comes around.

Meanwhile back in the U.S.A., today's Washington Post came with an enormous plastic-wrapped bundle of advertising hogwash that more than quadruples the total weight of the newspaper. Every bit of it advertises stuff I don't need. None of it is going to get read. All of it is going straight into our paper recycling cannister to be loaded into Nelson the Nissan for my next trip to the recycling center.

Many countries don't even have recycling centers. They have dumps. With people living in them. People who eat, wear, and live in trash that rich people throw away.

And our stores are so eager to sell us junk we'll just throw away next year if not sooner, that they're opening at midnight tonight, thus requiring at least a few of their employees to curtail their thanksgiving holiday and bunk down early just to open the store so late revelers, often drunk, can rush out and buy luxuries nobody needs. Target, Macy's, and Kohl's, just to name a few I happened to notice, are among the offenders.

But anyhow, enjoy your turkey. Or whatever you're having. Oh by the way, I've known vegetarians who are in better health than I am, having found perfectly satisfying substitutes for America's traditional gluttonous carnivorous fare.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Halal Turkey

This almost has to be a joke. Halal turkey is evil somehow? Oh well, it comes from Weird Nut Daily, which is about the same as The Onion except that The Onion at least admits it's a satire.

So what if something has been blessed in honor of Allah instead of God? Allah is an Arabic word, cognate with the Hebrew word in the Old Testament that's translated into English as God. So, Allah is simply the Arabic name for the same make-believe sky fairy that we call God. In fact, some Muslim friends of mine actually use the word God instead of the word Allah when they're speaking English instead of Arabic.

To the best of my knowledge, (correct me if I'm wrong, those of you who know better) Halal slaughter is essentially similar to Kosher slaughter except for the exact pronunciation of the mystic incantation involved. And I challenge anybody to come up with a scientific laboratory test to identify which, if any, mystic incantation was used in the turkey's presence during slaughter.

My wife has already bought our turkey, and I'm not sure it occurred to her to check on which religion's canonically valid procedure was used for the slaughter. Personally, I'd rather have pork roast for Thanksgiving anyhow. From what I've heard, there supposedly isn't any Halal method of slaughtering pigs. The inventors of the Halal ritual allegedly consider them unclean.

So if you like turkey, don't ask, don't tell, just enjoy it.