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It's almost Thanksgiving!

Heading out in a little less than five hours to hop on a jet plane to go see rain_herself for Thanksgiving.

Actually, I take that back. I'm not hopping on a jet plane, I'm hopping in a jet plane. Screw riding on the plane; it's too cold for that.

I'm told it's rather cold in New Jersey at the moment as well, so apparently a good part of the vacation will be spent watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In my entire life, I've seen one episode all the way through, and parts of another two or maybe three episodes; this is apparently a horrifying and appalling state of affairs which rain_herself intends to set to rights.

In the past, I've tended to be a little cynical about Thanksgiving--that national holiday where we celebrate the arrogance and poor planning of the early Pilgrims, who came to this land in search of freedom from religious tyranny so that they could impose their own, even more brutal brand of religious tyranny, and whose spectacular failures to make any sort of reasonable preparation for the winter meant that their sorry asses needed to be saved by the generosity and good will of their local neighbors, whom they would one day repay in kind by exterminating. This early experiment with socialism is mirrored today in a government that's hanging out $1.5 trillion dollars, or nearly $5,000 for every American man, woman, and child, to financial institutions in order to reward them for a decade of corruption, greed, and recklessness on a scale that would make Ken Lay blush.

So, yeah. Down on Thanksgiving.

But really, the fact is there's a great deal in my life that I am thankful for, and I don't always acknowledge those things. So maybe a day of thanksgiving isn't necessarily such a bad idea, religious persecution and extermination of entire classes of indigenous people aside.

In no particular order, the things I am thankful for include:

- My sweeties, each of whom enriches my life and each of whom I am privileged and honored to be able to share some part of my life with. rain_herself, for her constant reality checks that help keep me intellectually and emotionally honest. zaiah, for opening doors that I never even knew existed and for teaching me things about myself even as she has allowed me to explore her. Shelly, one of my own personal heros, simply for being who she is, and for acting as a shining light of courage, dedication, and resolve that helps to show us some of the best of the human condition. joreth, for an unswerving dedication to intellectual rigor in a society awash with anti-intellectualism. Gina, for being an unexpected treasure in my life who's helped show me whole new interests. dayo, for exploring with me, dancing with me, traveling with me, and just generally being one hell of a sexy woman.

- The small handful of IT abuse people who actually care about their networks and their servers, and who restore my faith in humanity so badly battered by the likes of iPower and ESTdomains.

- The fact that I live in a time, in a society, and in a position where I need not fear going hungry, and have enough leisure time to pursue those things that interest me. This is something that the overwhelming majority of human beings who have ever lived can not say, and even today the bulk of the people on the planet can not say.

- The fact that I have not (yet) been imprisoned for my religious, political, or sexual views, which is something that even today many people can't say. (Though it would seem that, particularly for sexual views, that's something that is best not taken for granted; apparently, cartoon drawings of sex can sometimes get one prosecuted in this country.)

- My circle of friends, even though most of you are long-distance now; I have surrounded myself with smart, independent people of the highest integrity and character imaginable, and I'm grateful for it.

-The existence of an instantaneous, always-on global communication network that allows me to disseminate ideas and connect with like-minded people in a way that has for almost all of human history been impossible.

- The existence of the James Randi Educational Foundation and other efforts to free society of flim-flam, superstition, and anti-intellectual gobbledygook in all its many guises.

- Bacon. Mmm, bacon.

- Infrastructure. We spend far too little time acknowledging the efforts of the people who make our toilets flush and our garbage go away, even though, in a direct and literal sense, our lives depend on what they do.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
the early Pilgrims, who came to this land in search of freedom from religious tyranny
No, that's why they left England for Amsterdam. The Puritans came to America to escape the tyranny of having to live with people they didn't approve of, and because the Dutch were getting tired of what pains-in-the-ass they were being.

The Quakers are a much better case, but Thanksgiving isn't really about them. And they usually got along pretty well with the natives.
Nov. 26th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
Right you are; I was thinking of the Puritans, not the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were a remarkably tolerant lot, for the time, and managed to wait more than five decades before declaring war on, and subsequently crushing, the local natives.
Nov. 27th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
I actually didn't realize there was a distinction (other than the Pilgrims who weren't Puritans, but I don't think they were really in charge). Maybe the Dutch really did rub off on them some.
Nov. 26th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
did someone say Buffy? *perk*
My roomie got me hooked on Buffy this past year, and I enjoyed every minute of it! Hope you like it too : )
Nov. 26th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
I miss Shelly. :(
Nov. 26th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)

Have a safe flight and a Happy Thanksgiving. :) ...and Bacon. Particularly good on a nicely toasted grilled cheese sandwich.

..and kudos on a nicely written post. ^_^
Nov. 26th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
Gratitude is an awesome thing; it's so easy (particularly for those of us with a critical/analytical turn of mind) to spend time looking for problems to solve, but I don't think that we can experience sustained happiness and well-being without turning some of that attention toward gratitude for what we already have.

Thank you for sharing your Thankful List!
Nov. 27th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC)
My condolences on your upcoming immersion of Buffy ;-)

I was forced to sit through the entire series when I dated a guy who watched it in reruns, and they aired every episode, in order, twice a night. I gave it more than a fair shot. And I hated every minute of it.

Fortunately, I have managed to wipe out most of my memories of it, so now I'm only left with a vague sense of loathing, much like my reading of Heinlein.

P.S. - I'm very grateful to have you in my life. You've opened my eyes to a great many ideas and encouraged my sense of curiosity, my need to always get to the bottom of things, to understand. That has been a very rare quality for the majority of people in my life. And I think I'm a better person for having known you.
Nov. 27th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
Was it mainly the dialogue style you didn't like? I love it, but I hear from a lot of people who just detest it.
Nov. 27th, 2008 08:04 am (UTC)
My last flight attendant: "Anyone found tampering with lavatory smoke detectors will be asked to step outside and enjoy our feature film, 'Gone With the Wind'"
Nov. 28th, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you are having such a pleasant holiday! ..I rather LIKE Buffy, but I consider it a guilty pleasure and completely understand that some people aren't able to set their 'suspension of disbelief' bar high enough to try to begin enjoying the story.

..and bacon salt!
Dec. 19th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
I just saw this. I love you. You're pretty damn awesome yourself, you know.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )