The name of my story is a play on the title of the 1959 movie “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon (it was recently re-run on public television). You are probably reading this story on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and after consuming enormous amounts of turkey on the previous night. Some enjoy eating cold turkey leftovers the following day, which has led to a number of expressions. For instance, “cold turkey” means a sudden withdrawal from drugs such as alcohol and opioids. There is also Norman Lears 1971 film by the same title, “Cold Turkey” and John Lennon’s song, “Cold Turkey” (1969) about giving up heroin. But why do we quit cold turkey? Here is what I found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Making cold leftover bits of bird into a meal requires very little preparation, which led to the introduction of the phrase “Talk Turkey”, which means to speak blankly with little preparation. There is also the question how the bird eaten on Thanksgiving got the same name as the country — Turkey? You can read online how this happened.
There are other confusing things connected with the Thanksgiving tradition of eating turkey. It became a federal holiday during the American Civil War, when in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our Beneficent Father who dwelth in the Heavens.” Actually, the first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated during the autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims of Plymouth, who probably did not have turkey in their meal, since Pilgrims came from England and their recipes called for the “wild fowl”, which was more likely meat of ducks and geese. Meanwhile, the holiday is no longer religious, and there are so many things in our lives to express our gratitude As far as food is concerned, online I found many websites that offered vegan and vegetarian alternatives for this holiday. One of them is called “Tofurkey”.
In the October/November 2017 issue of AARP Magazine, I found out that the punk pioneer John Joseph McGowan offers his own way of celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. He hasn’t eaten meat since 1981, and has competed in nine Ironman Triathlons. The article said that after he goes out with others in New York and feeds the homeless providing up to 1000 meals to those in need, he has his friends gather in his house where he makes citrus stir-fry along with sweet potatoes, broccoli, salad and bread. It’s a meal to celebrate the holidays in a healthy and compassionate way.
P.S. At the time I was writing this story I had only one image of the wild turkeys I photographed in The Sea Ranch to share with you. To get three more images, I had to go out “in the field”. Next to our office is “Sprouts Farmers Market”. There I found an advertising offering “Pick-up your bird” and the rest is gravy!” Do you see any resemblance between the bird called wild turkey and the packaged one (where are the wings)? When I was leaving the store, I picked up another advertisement for the deals of the month. There was an image of a “turkey” with the offer “Satisfaction GUARANTEED. If you don’t like it, bring it back”. It turns out, some might not like cold turkey. To get the missing fourth image I decided to visit Costco. There in a refrigerated container I found of huge white bags selling for 99 cents per pound. Next to them I encountered many new “Pilgrims” – immigrants from different countries who came to the stores of America to have a uniquely American experience – a slice of cold turkey.
I am using this opportunity to express my gratitude to you.
Enjoy Thanksgiving weekend with the turkey or without it. And share it with a friend.
Do Not Keep Me As A Secret!
Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!
November 18, 2018
To Our Clients, Colleagues, and Friends:
We do almost the same newsletter every Thanksgiving, and we’ve made only minor changes over the past 10-12 years. We call it Adam Smith and Karl Marx at Plymouth Colony.
When the pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock in 1620, they tried what they called “farming in common.” They farmed the land together and shared the food equally. This might sound good in theory, but it was a complete failure. Those people who worked hard resented those who didn’t. There was a lot of anger over this, and after three winters of under-production, more than half the original 101 pilgrims were dead, mostly from malnutrition. After three years of near-starvation and the loss of half the colony, a new experiment was tried.
The governor of the colony, William Bradford, had come to suspect that the problem was the absence of private property. In his now-famous passage on property rights in Of Plymouth Plantation (see page 162), Bradford wrote of how he “… assigned to every family a parcel of land… only for (their) present use…. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, and much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means….”
Bradford wrote that those who believed in communal property were deluding themselves into thinking they were “wiser than God.” (Doesn’t that sound like Hayek’s concept of the “fatal conceit”?) He drew up a map and gave each family a plot of land to call its own. Production increased by a factor of five the first year. As Bradford wrote, “Each family, attempting to better its standing in the community, increased the hours worked on each plot.”
Isn’t it perfect that the very foundation of America was a free market economy? And this, amazingly, was 150 years before Adam Smith wrote in 1776 about how markets work.
We publish the following pretty much every year for Thanksgiving. We got it from somewhere long forgotten, and over the years we’ve added bits and pieces:
How’s your health? Not so good? Give thanks you’ve lived this long. Are you hurting? Millions are hurting more. Visit a veterans’ hospital or a hospital for children to appreciate what you have.
When you woke up this morning, were you able to hear the birds sing, use your voice, walk to the breakfast table, read the paper? There are a lot of people today who are deaf, blind, paralyzed, or unable to speak.
How’s your financial situation? Not good? Most people on this planet have no welfare. No food stamps. No pensions. No health insurance or Social Security. In fact, one third of the people in the world go to bed hungry every night.
Are you lonely? The way to have a friend is to be a friend. If nobody calls, call someone. Get out and do something nice for someone. Are you unhappy? Go out of your way to smile at people you bump into during the day.
Be kind to everyone, for everyone you meet might be fighting a hard, lonely battle of some kind.
Are you unhappy with our government? Don’t despair. Our system has been saved over and over again by people who worried about our nation. And worry not. You can still worship at the place of your choice, cast a ballot in secret, and criticize your government. Hundreds of millions of people live where this is not the case, where criticizing the government leads to a midnight knock on the door.
Are you worried about shrinking revenue and non-existent margins? This is America where all things are possible. Your hard work and persistence got you this far, and they’ll allow you to survive these hard times.
And let us also be thankful for our troublemakers and agitators, people like Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, Tom Paine, John Brown, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King. Without them, we’d be a lesser country.
We should be thankful for the food before us and remember those who go without food.
We should be thankful for the friends we have and remember those who are friendless.
We should be thankful for our health and remember those with poor health.
We should be thankful for our families and remember those without families.
Let us be thankful for what we have, and not be unhappy with what we don’t have.
My trips to other countries are not only about visits to tourist attraction sites, but they are also about exploring the country and understanding its people and history. Visiting Oslo, the capital of Norway, was the last leg of our Scandinavian journey. The history of the city goes back to 1040. For almost one thousand years, Oslo was part of Denmark, and was called Christiania (or Kristiania). Then, it was a part of Sweden until 1905. Today, thanks partially to the oil riches, Oslo was ranked number one in quality of life among European large cities. It has a population of about 660,000 and according to some surveys; it is the second most expensive city in the world for living expenses after Tokyo. At the same time, in 2015 the EU report found that Oslo is a city that for many years has topped the heroin overdose ranking. Online I learned that statistically, Norway’s immigrant population makes up to 16.8% of the country’s total population and is growing faster than native Norwegians. The five largest immigrant groups in Norway are Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Somali and Pakistani. The rest are Iraqi, Sri Lankan, Moroccan and others. An American friend of mine who currently lives and works in Norway and whose skin is dark in color (his mother was from the Maasai tribe in Kenya), told me that Norwegians are polite but can be xenophobic. Having researched the origin of Norwegians, it turns out that like most of the Scandinavians, they are descendants of the Northern European people called Vikings, who were pirates. During the 8th and 11th centuries these Norse seafarers raided and traded from what is now Scandinavia, and established states and settlements in England, Scotland, Iceland, Wales, the Foral Islands, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Greenland, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Southern Italy and even Canada.
I suspect that a genetic test will show that we are all cousins and are somehow related to each other. We do not speak the Norse language, but today regardless of where we came from, many speak in English, which was a West German language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now a global lingua franca.
Throughout human history, people were constantly on the move. Settling in new lands, intermarrying with the local population, improving the genetic pool and creating new customs and beliefs.
P.S. One of the latest concerns in many European countries is the growth of the number of refugees from Muslim countries.
I believe that what today is perceived as an Islamic threat, will end after a few generations, and definitely after one thousand years; meanwhile, here are four images showing Muslim women I encountered in Oslo with head covering of different styles and colors.
Enjoy and share with a friend.
Do Not Keep Me As A Secret!
Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!
The last stop on our cruise along the Norwegian Fjords was to the second largest city in Norway – Bergen. We decided to stay there for three days, after the cruise. It is a picturesque city with a population of about 280,000 people. Our hotel, a converted stock exchange building, was located in the heart of the city. From one window we saw the harbor and the fish market, from another, was the square with a bronze statue of Ludwig Holberg wearing a wide hat (how many people today know who he was?), which serves as the resting place for the local seagulls (I think Bergen has more of them than pigeons).
Bergen is an old port town, where trading started as early as 1020. Today the main trade comes from tourists from all over the world, primarily from Germany and England. For the Americans to feel not too far from home, there is a 7-Eleven on the Main Square with a McDonald’s and Starbucks around the corner. I will not bore you with the details of Bergen’s 1000 years of history. Instead, I will share with you why we stayed here for three days. While in Norway every employee has five (5!) weeks of paid vacation, it is a luxury for many of Americans, who when traveling abroad, try to visit as many places as transportation will take them on a shorter trip. When I travel, I prefer to explore the area leisurely, connect with the locals, visit streets away from the tourist traps, to visit museums and book stores.
Bergen is surrounded by water, and there is also a beautiful lake and a huge park at the top of a mountain, which tourists can reach by walking or taking a funicular. From Bergen you can also take a boat to see the Fjords. We were lucky with the weather, it was similar to summer weather in San Francisco; while in June (before our arrival) it rained nonstop in Bergen for twenty days. It seemed that everyone there spoke English. We felt that a three-day stay was enough for us. The next and final destination of our trip was Stockholm. You will read about it next week.
P.S. After taking photos with my two cameras on our visit to Bergen, I had difficulty to choose four images to share with you. I decided to focus on some of the encounters we had along the way. While we strive to go abroad for “special” encounters, you can have many of them at home, here in San Francisco. You can see many of my encounters in my book,“42 Encounters in San Francisco”. This book can serve as an excellent gift for anyone you want to thank on this Thanksgiving holiday or even by sharing it during your family holiday gathering.
Enjoy and Share.
Do Not Keep Me As A Secret!
Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!
The question why people are willing to subject themselves to the rigors of foreign travel, came to me during a very brisk walk to see a famous cathedral in one of the cities we visited, whose name I do not even remember, on our journey through the Norwegian fjords. Our ship stopped in this town for two hours, during which we had to fulfill every tourist’s duty: to find a local attraction, to take an obligatory picture and to run to another “very important point of interest”. From there we would rush back, since my wife heard a story about a woman who was late and her ship sailed without her. Though I had very limited time to take yet another picture, I managed to photograph a column with a statue of some important dude on top of it. I snapped a closer photo of the statue, so I could later look back to see that the statue was of Olav Trygverson. In Wikipedia I learned that Mr. Trygvason (a slightly different spelling) was king of Norway from 995 to 1000, and according to later sagas, the great grandson of Harold Fairhair, the first king of Norway. In the image background you can see the spire of the famous cathedral, but what you do not see in the photo (but I have images as a proof), is a McDonald’s restaurant on the left, a Burger King on the right, and a 7-Eleven on the other corner.
Why do we travel so many miles, spend a lot of money, do not sleep on the plane, suffer from jet lag for days, sleep in a tiny cabin, suffer from muscle pain from a lot of walking, and eat too much food? Just to take too many photos of yet another sunset or someone’s statue? Of course each travel experience is different. My wife talked about taking another trip to Norway where we could explore the islands and drive leisurely using a ferry from one picturesque fishing village to another (Many Norwegians do not have to catch fish any more to make a living and have converted their cottages into B & B’s). On the board of our ship we met tourists from Poland, France, Sweden, Tasmania (Australia), Italy, Wales and many from Germany. Personally, I found it slightly ironic that Germans would visit and spend their money in Norway, after their parents and grandparents were occupying forces, which along with the Soviet Army created a huge amount of damage to this beautiful country. When I told my new friend from Wales that I am going to write a story about this and asked him rhetorically, “Why do people travel?” His response was, “To meet interesting people” and then immediately added; “I did not have you in mind.” Oh well. At least he agreed to be part of one of my next photo-story projects “42 Encounters with 50+ couples”.
P.S. I decided to include mixed images for this story. The statue of Olav is located in the center of Trondheim (I encourage you to read the fascinating story of his life and the interplay in geography and politics). Over one thousand years ago, Nidaros Cathedral, which was built over the burial site of Saint Olav from 1070 to 1300, and has a remarkable history. The man I met on the street of the same city called himself a pilgrim who walked to Trondheim from Oslo (somehow he had to cross water). And the last two images are of a nice fellow traveler. Perhaps there are good reasons to travel, after all; to meet interesting people, to photograph them and to share their images with you.