Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This funny (some say provocative) found-object sculpture dates back to 1936 and was created by Swiss Surrealist artist and photographer Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985). I found it when I was looking for another of her works - to be featured in a future post on taxidermy - and saved it for today. I, for one, am looking forward to the feast! Apologies to the vegans out there, but I am not bothered by the fact that a turkey was slaughtered for this meal. As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving blog last year, I find the annual presidential turkey pardon a bit ridiculous, but here it is again, performed by President Obama. You'll want to revisit last year's photo and story of the incredible 72-lb. bird roasted by a Minnesota man. The link to the equally incredible video of Sarah Palin's interview with turkeys being slaughtered in the background is broken, but here is a new link.

Here are the top 10 not-all-that-strange facts about the Thanksgiving holiday:
  1. The "1st Thanksgiving" lasted 3 days!
  2. Today, Americans will eat 46 million turkeys in a total of 117 million households.
  3. At least 41 million of us will travel more than 50 miles to do so, although this holiday is not the most heavily traveled by airline passengers.
  4. The "first Thanksgiving" at the Plymouth Colony in 1621 was just one of many traditional harvest celebrations by people around the world grateful for continued sustenance.
  5. Native Americans had domesticated turkeys for centuries before the Europeans arrived.
  6. Thanksgiving Day was declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 and its date was set by Franklin Roosevelt in 1941.
  7. Inspired by Americans, Canadians began celebrating a Thanksgiving Day in 1849, with the date formalized in 1957.
  8. There are 12 towns in the U.S. named "Turkey."
  9. The 1st national Thanksgiving football game was broadcast in 1934 and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (begun in 1924) was 1st televised in 1947.
  10. Wild turkeys, of which there are roughly 7 million in the U.S., can run 10-12 miles per hour and fly in short bursts up to 55 miles an hour.
After I watched the turkey pardon, I wondered how long that stay of execution would give it, so I googled "turkey lifespan" and the first item on the list said 72 years - but that was the average lifespan of a person living in Turkey! The accurate answer is that a turkey in captivity lives an average of 2 years for males and 3 years for females, with a maximum recorded lifespan of 12 years. Turkeys bred for consumption live for 1 year. I want the wings!

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