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The Essential Thanksgiving


Turkey, despite all rumors to the contrary, is not essential to Thanksgiving, even in the US. Blasphemy, right? Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, and of course the fruits of harvest are important to the festival, but it is more than that. The essential Thanksgiving doesn’t require particular foods or table settings, but these ideals. 

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This little video has a catchy tune and an important message: Don’t do dumb stuff that will kill you.

For many years, an unofficial competition has raged, the Darwin Awards. At the link you will find over 400 documented cases of ‘What the f*ck was he/she thinking” for which we will never know the answer because the person died.

There’s a tendency to a great deal of schadenfreude in these cases, and to some extent, rightly so. When a person has spent his life fighting helmet laws and dies from a head injury after a car wreck it’s funny, right?

Except that it’s not. And deep down we know it, and that’s why we laugh. To err is human. “Man is the animal that laughs at himself” as Valentine Michael Smith said (via Robert Heinlein). And we laugh at ourselves because it hurts so bad. So yeah. Sometimes we abandon compassion, for a moment, because the ultimate human moment is to laugh at death, and the many, many ways we bring it on.

And then, we get back to shared joy and shared pain. We continue to try to improve our lives and the lives of others around us. We abandon judgment and embrace compassion. We seek knowledge. And still, we get it wrong. To err is human, remember?

As Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) said:

Easier To Fool

Mark Twain (from Facebook meme, originally from an image in public domain)

People believe a lot of untrue things, sometimes as many (to misquote the White Queen) as three before breakfast.

I’m sometimes guilty of that myself. But my challenge for myself, over the next several years, is to use my compassion and my ability to write to help people distinguish between useful knowledge and ‘knowledge’ that causes problems for people by preventing them from investigating further, which is perhaps one of the best definitions of truth.

The Darwin Awards (film)

The Darwin Awards (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back to the Darwin awards. There are lots of dumb ways to die. We invent more every day. It’s entirely possible that you or I might succumb to one of those. More importantly, however, there are a lot of dumb ways to live, ways that hurt us and the people around us, and we don’t have a nifty internet meme to identify them  and point and laugh.

Maybe instead we shoule be looking for ways to teach, to share, and to help people, rather than laughing and judging. So yeah, go ahead and laugh. The video, especially, is adorable. And then…

Maybe its time to start identifying ways to live better, and to keep on spreading joy until there’s no room for the sort of fear and hate that keep infecting the world. Or as Lennon said, ‘Give peace a chance’.

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Doctor Who TARDIS Mk VII

TARDIS Mk VII (Photo credit: >Rooners)

The Doctor in Doctor Who is the embodiment of quantum physics. His D&D alignment is Lawful Good, because he is the law (of time), which of course is chaos, which makes it all confusing. At least, that’s how I see it.

Is he another British metaphor for Jesus, like Aslan and Gandalf? Or is he something else entirely? If so, what? And what is the Tardis (or who)? Is it intentional that the Tardis makes me think of R2D2?

What is it that makes us love the Doctor through eleven (soon to be twelve) incarnations? Is it his compassion? His joie de vivre? His silliness? His completely mindful living in the present?

Please feel free to discuss. The best of science fiction always has a philosophical underpinning, which is what builds our suspension of disbelief. It explores our universe, our humanity, the meaning of life.

What does Doctor Who mean to you?

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Mr Migraine is visiting today, so in lieu of the post I intended to work on today, I’m going to introduce you to some writers of fine articles and poems I have found on the web. Curated links and editing old posts seem to be the extent of my intellectual capacity today. Enjoy!

Elizabethann, who also goes by Elsie (in my tree) has been writing beautiful and challenging poetry for many years on Livejournal. Sometimes it borders on doggerel in style, but in a really good way (much like Robert Service). It is the subject matter that can be challenging.

Elsie, as she tells it in her journal, has had a very difficult life, and her ambivalence about how it has affected her is a frequent topic of her poetry. It can be shocking and hard to read even as its beauty and lyricism is compelling. Here, go have a look at her latest, and then look back over others she has posted.

Cathain has written a scathing indictment of What is Wrong with Kansas? Cait is from Kansas, and I live a scant dozen miles (or less) from Kansas, with family and friends on the Jayhawks side of the border. I think Cait accurately lays the problems in the state at the feet of ideology. I would be interested in solutions that the readers of this post can come up with, because I suspect they will be more widely applicable after the next midterms.

From Daily Kos comes an article about veiled threats being bantered around about ‘making Joe Biden President’. My observation: Our contry (the US) is a representative democracy. Voting is a bloodless revolution every four years. If you don’t like the outcome of the revolution, rather than bring blood in it, seek to have the next bloodless revolution turn your way.

Lest you think I have nothing good to say about business owners and people in power, there’s this: The owner of Bob’s Red Mill is giving his company to his employees.

Finally, I have seen this video mentioned in Huffington Post several times from friends on Facebook. It gives me the giggles, partially, in fact, because my husband can compete with those handsome fellas in the video in every particular except in the whole being gay thing: Gay Men will Marry Your Girlfriends

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Fibonacci spiral with square sizes up to 34

Fibonacci spiral with square sizes up to 34 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image via WikipediaI have been spending the last several days planning knitted objects based on the Fibonacci sequenceand doing some swatching, and playing Lord of the Rings Online. I thought that was geeky enough until my husband pointed out that the purpose of building knitted objects based on the Fibonacci sequence was to show them off, explain what I was doing to a room full of math geeks, and preen (or alternately, mention it as a test to see if others knew what the heck I was talking about).  True that. I am possibly a HUGE geek.


That said, reading Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ column in The Atlantic often helps me normalize my geekiness. There are others just as geeky as I am. This column, for example, discusses old school CRPG and other RPG games and people are flying their geek flags big time.

I was feeling totally and completely normalized and less geeky than average until I came across this comment to the post (the whole comment thread is worth reading):

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The Heroes of Olympus

The Heroes of Olympus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero is the first book of his second series set in the Percy Jackson universe where kids with ADHD and dyslexia and one missing parent are all demigods.
This one begins with the hero, Jason, waking up on a bus to discover himself without a memory, but with a best friend and a girlfriend who insist he’s been their friend for ages and ages and ages.
It’s hard to write this review without being spoilerific, so I’m going to be pretty vague on the details. There’s a mechanical dragon, giants and monsters and gods and goddesses both helping and harming the heros (including one surprise) and a bunch of lonely teenagers get to do some seriously kick ass stuff. Even the girls. Sometimes especially the girls.
There is nothing deep about this series of books. It’s not a metaphor for anything, and nothing in them contains any significance for anything in our world – except perhaps that parents should do their jobs and actually parent.
That said, these books are well written adventures with a diverse cast and interesting twists on old myths. I look forward to each one and am satisfied when I have finished it.
But whatever you do, don’t go see the movie based on the first one. It sucked. Stick to the books.
(Oh, and the next one, The Son of Neptune, is up as well. I have it on hold at the library)
To Stay Connected and Spread the Merriment Please Like my Facebook Page or follow me at @odanu on Twitter.


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Not last night, but the night before, I woke up in the middle of the night (like I often do), obsessively checked my email on my phone (really, I’m that obsessive), and tried to drift back off to sleep.




I have a history of sleep disorders, such that I assumed I was hallucinating, and tried to go back to sleep.



I shook Husband’s shoulder.  “Do you hear that?”

“I was sleeping.  Go back to sleep.”

“There’s a cow out there.”

“Go back to sleep.  There’s nothing out there.”


“Honey, ‘Nothing’ just mooed again.”

(A side note here.  We live in Independence, MO, near the city center, but we have plenty of indigenous wildlife, including deer.)

He half opened one eye.  “It’s probably a doe calfing.”

I really, really wanted it to be true, because I couldn’t wrap my head around why there would be a cow wandering down the street.  It made more sense for it to be zombies, though, because that was an awfully deep voice for a doe.  (Hey, I told you I have a sleep disorder.  Zombies seem reasonable at two in the morning when something is mooing outside your semi-urban house).

Morning came, sunshiny and nice, and the whole issue slipped my mind until I happened to flip through and catch the evening news on KCTV-9.  Here’s a link to the story about the steer in my neighborhood.

A Black Angus Steer

To recap the story at the link:  Troy and Troi Hudson, who live more than ten miles from me, bought a new steer they named Bruno at about noon on Tuesday.  By 1:00 PM, Bruno had jumped the fence and was wandering down Truman Road (I live less than two miles from Truman’s family home and his Presidential museum.  There’s a lot of Truman around here).

Bruno went on his merry way for thirteen hours, with police and animal control and the Hudsons all trying desperately to capture him (although why you’d want to taser a distressed steer eludes me).

Finally, at 3:00 AM, shortly after he ran bellowing past my house, they cornered him and got him on the trailer.  The Hudsons sold him the next day and bought a (presumably) more docile heifer instead.

Poor Bruno.  I’m going to dedicate this tried and true video to him:

“Cows with Guns” by Dana Lyons, movie by Humans Are Teh Suk

Unfortunately, no one told Bruno that if he wanted to “run free with the buffalo”, he had to head south, to Lee’s Summit, rather than west. Poor steer. Where are the chickens in choppers when you need them?


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