Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Around the World

Turkey, Cook, Pie, Hat, Cook Hat Officially, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November while Canada designated the second Monday of October  as theirs.

It is said that Canadians petitioned to get their own Thanksgiving to celebrate not being American.  Canada does have a long history of Thanksgiving beginning in the 1850's when it was used to give thanks to God but it was scheduled in the middle of the week.

By 1908, it was moved to a Monday in October after the railroads lobbied the government so people could travel to visit home over a three day weekend.

In 1957, the government proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the second Monday of October from then on so they didn't have to keep re-proclaiming it yearly.  Its been that date since.

There are other countries who celebrate their own version of Thanksgiving.

1. Germany celebrates Erntedankfest, a harvest festival, the first Sunday of October where they give thanks for a good year and good fortune.  Celebrations could include a parade, or food including fattened roosters, chickens, geese, and hens, although turkeys are starting to become more popular.

2. On Novemeber 23, Japan has Kinrō Kansha no Hi which celebrates hard work and community involvement.  Its been an official holiday since 1948 when it was set up to celebrate the rights of workers, hence the name Labor Thanksgiving Day.  There are all sorts of organized festivities including having children make gifts and crafts for the local police department.

3. Grenada celebrates Thanksgiving on October 25th to remember the United States help in restoring order after their leader died in 1983.  At the time, soldiers told the locals about their upcoming Thanksgiving so they put together a celebration in secret complete with turkey and the trimmings to surprise them.   Every year, they have a celebration to remember the time.

4. Liberia began as a country set up by freed slaves who returned to Africa from America and they have their own version of Thanksgiving by filling churches with cornucopias filled with local fruits such as bananas, mangoes, etc.  These are auctioned off and then people return home to celebrate the holiday.  In addition, there are concerts and dancing which have become part of the holiday.

5. In Netherlands, specifically Leiden, they celebrate the people who left to settle in America.  They have a church service to remember them before ending with cookies and coffee.

6. Norfolk Island, a small island sitting between Australia and New Zealand, celebrates Thanksgiving due to the whalers who used to stop by.  Back in the 1890's a whaler suggested they decorate the local church with palm leaves and lemons to attract other sailors to celebrate the holiday. Since then, people decorated the church with cornstalks and fresh flowers, and have brought fruits and vegetables in celebration.

Just a peak into the world around us.  Have a great day and let me know what you think.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Weird Thanksgiving Traditions

Turkeys, Birds, Poultry, Feather, Bird  Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Most of us will cook a turkey, make mashed potatoes, have candied yams, cranberries, bread, and all the trimmings.  I'll probably be celebrating Thanksgiving with a coworker who has opened up her house to those who do not have a family near by.

Some communities have added a little bit extra to improve the festivities of the day.  Activities beyond the traditional enjoyment of parades and football games.

I'll begin with the tradition most people partake in, breaking the wishbone to be granted your hearts desire if you get the larger half.  This tradition has been around a very long time, originating in ancient Rome when Romans broke a chicken's wishbone.

Then there is the presidential turkey pardon.  The president pardons one turkey out of millions to survive another year rather than eating it.  Of course, he is the only one who does it and I don't think its actually one of his powers so its more of a symbolic act.

Many cities schedule a 3 mile run after the meal so people can dress up as turkeys, work off the meal and its associated calories.  I used to live in a place where the local YMCA offered a nice long workout first thing Thanksgiving morning so people could work off calories in advance and charged a can of food to be given to the local food bank later.

Of course, we can't forget the turkey toss where people see how far they can throw a frozen turkey.  In Indianapolis, Indiana, people go a step further by lighting them on fire before throwing them.  I remember a WKRP episode from reruns where Les the newsman arranged to drop the turkeys out of a helicopter.  I think they were alive when he did that and they created a huge mess.

In 1988, someone began the tradition of turkey bowling where they use a frozen turkey instead of a bowling ball and half empty bottles of soda pop for the pins.  It's usually held in the frozen foods section of the grocery store but could really happen anywhere.

Of course there are food traditions such as jello dishes with pineapple, walnuts, etc.  My grandmother always contributed a vegetable jello dish made out of celery jello, a can of mixed vegetables and she'd put in a fancy ring so it looked pretty.  Another aunt provided her candied yams with brown sugar, marshmallows, and walnuts.  It was such a treat for us.

Look for how other countries give thanks through their celebrations.  Let me know what you think.

Friday, November 17, 2017

HIstory of Women's Magazines

Girl, Read, Reading, Newspaper, Magazine  You know there are always magazines splashed around the checkout stands at the supermarket but I've never been one to buy and read them.  I tend to prefer do it yourself magazines or farming on 1/4th acre.

Have you ever wondered how long woman's magazines have been around?  I thought they were a recent as in the past 100 years or so but the first women's magazine showed up in London in 1693.

The Ladies Mercury, a weekly publication, stated it was all about answering questions about love, marriage, behavior, and other feminine concerns.  Unfortunately it only lasted a month before going out of business.  The next attempt in 1770 was the Ladies Magazine, a monthly British fashion magazine filled with embroidery patterns, sheet music, literary pieces, and fashion notes. This was one of the magazines which published its readerships contributions.  By the end of the 18th century, about a third of its content came from unpaid contributors.  It lasted till 1847 before it ceased publication.

Up until 1852, magazines were an elite item read by and contributed to by women who had lots of time on their hands but the Englishwoman's Domestic magazine changed that when they focused on middle class  women who did most of the cleaning and washing themselves.  This publication columns on pets and cooking with a special focus on crafts and began looking at fashion.  By 1860, the magazine featured a colored plate of the latest Paris Fashion. The magazine contained the pattern and instructions for making the clothing by any woman.

In 1830's America's  Godey's Ladies Magazine premiered in Philadelphia filled with poems, essays, and art work. It was the most widely circulated magazine prior to the Civil War with just over 150,000 subscribers. About half a century later, in 1883 The Ladies Home Journal made its appearance as a supplement to Tribune and Farmer but became independent in 1884  and in the process revolutionized the genre.  It offered recipes, cleaning tips, and stories.  Within a decade, it had a subscription base of 1 million, more than any other magazine of its time.  However it went out of print in 2014 after 131 years of existence.

At about the same time, a group of magazines began publication but they were specifically designed to provide the latest fashion information to women.  The first, Harper's Bazaar commenced publication in 1867, just after the end of the civil war.  It provided information on current fashion and culture each week. It appealed to upper and middle class women.  This was also the time of specialized magazine promoting patterns such as Butterick and McCalls. 

Through the mid 1800's magazine came and gone and most have disappeared into the mists of time. Only a few survived into the 21st century but with the internet who knows how long the print copies will remain.

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from my readers.  Have a nice day.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Air Service To Australia?

Outback Australia, Flinders Ranges

Over the weekend, I watched the finale of the third season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  I enjoyed it tremendously as I love watching period shows.  If you haven't seen it, Miss Fisher helps the police solve mysteries in Australia back in the late 1920's.  Her wardrobe is absolutely delicious.

In the final episode, her father has missed the ship to Southampton and if he does not get off the boat, his wife will ask for a permanent separation.  So after determining her father really loves her mother, she tells him, they'll fly back to the UK.

At that statement, my mind immediately questioned the ability of them to fly to the United Kingdom in 1929.  At the end, they were shown getting into those old two seater planes as if they'd fly all the way across Asia and the Middle East.  I don't think those planes could go that far without a bunch of gas stations along the way.

The first air flight took place in 1910 with none other than Harry Houdini the famous magician as its pilot. He flew a biplane near Sydney.  Two years later the Australian Flying Corps made its appearance and the military now had its flying service. The squadrons flew various missions during World War I in both local areas and in Europe.  By 1921, Australia had its own Royal Australian Air Force but it was like a step child because neither the Army or Navy felt there should be an independent Air Force.

In the mean time, the Government offered a prize to the first aviators who successfully made it from Australia to England in under 30 days.  Two pilots succeeded in 1919 but one died shortly there after in an air crash, never getting a chance to enjoy the money.  Just 9 years later a pilot made it from England to Australia in 15 days and was given 2000 pounds for his effort.

At this same time, Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory air service) began local service in 1920.  Over the next few years, routes expanded both in and out of Australia until they established service all the way to the UK via Singapore.  For this particular route, they used Short Class C flying boats and changed out crews in Singapore.

As time progressed, air service soon covered all of Australia.  Based on the bit I read about small planes flying to the UK in the late teens and early twenties, it was possible for Miss Fisher and her father to fly the distance but it would have taken about 15 days to do it and it was definitely faster than a ship.

I hope you enjoyed the short history lesson. I love researching things so I can find out if certain plot points in television shows is true or just a figment of some scriptwriters imagination.  Let me know what you think.  I hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tis The Season of Jetlag

Aircraft, Jumbo Jet, Airliner, Sky  We are heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas.  A time when families travel across the country to be home with family.  For some, its only an hour or two away but for others it may require several hours of jet travel from one coast to the other.

It is easier to travel west due to longer days than to head east.  Since I live in Alaska, I often leave on a flight just after midnight or arrive at midnight.

There are ways to minimize jet lag including prepare some ahead of time. 

1.  Take a few days off prior to the trip to relax.  The more relaxed you are, the less jet lag. If you work up to the day before you leave, you are going to be a bit more stressed.

2. Try to get a good nights sleep the night before leaving so you are able to cope with jet lag better.  I"m one of those people who seldom sleep well the night before because my mind insists on going over lists to make sure I have everything packed.

3. Try to arrive during the daylight hours because its easier to stay awake.  Even when I arrive during day light hours, I end up taking a short nap to readjust.  I have never been able to arrive and stay awake for several more hours.

4. The plane can make a difference too.  Look for A350 and A380's because they have hi tech humidification systems designed to keep moisture in the air and have great LED lighting.

5.  If at all possible, break the trip up with at least one stop over to help your body have an easier time of adjusting.  The last time I went to Europe, I stopped off in Iceland for three days before continuing to Finland.  The break would have helped except my scheduled flight was cancelled and I ended up on one which got me there around 4AM.

6. Try to avoid alcohol due to its dehydrating effects and it increases tiredness.

7.  Do not use sleeping pills with the idea you will sleep through the flight so you arrive in better shape.  All they do is make you wake up fuzzy and do not help with jet lag.

8. It is much better to drink water rather than coffee, soda, or energy drinks because they usually have high levels of caffeine which affects your ability to sleep and increases your jet lag.

9.  When you board the flight, change your watch to the new time zone so you have a chance to psychologically adjust.

10. Exercise during the flight to boost endorphins and stretch out.  A quick search will yield exercises you can do in your seat.

If all else fails, take a nap when you get there and do not plan to do any site seeing during the first 24 hours so you have time to catch up on sleep and adjust. Let me know what you think.  Have a great day.