QUIBBLES & BITS
Today I’m focusing on BITS rather than Quibbles.
Thanksgiving is celebrated in Canada on the second Monday in October, while in the US, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
Why the difference?
Having researched the Pilgrims for the historical portions of my mystery, EYE OF NEWT, I know that the Pilgrims didn’t view their first harvest, held in 1621, as a thanksgiving act or feast. That custom began two years later as a religious observance of thanks, rather than a feast. The Pilgrims, as most everybody knows, were a group led by separatists from the Church of England, who arrived at Massachusetts rather than their intended destination: Virginia.
In truth, they sound like me, navigating a drive from one state [or province] to another. While traveling, you don’t want me reading a map. Trust me on that.
Anyway . . . While the Pilgrims were shucking corn, starching their white caps and aprons, hanging witches, and making those cute turkey place cards, a wee bit further north, settlers were already giving thanks. In 1578 explorer Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony that followed the traditions of European harvest festivals, in what is now known as the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Frobisher was thankful for surviving a daring voyage, risking his life and crew in a fruitless search for a gateway to the Orient.
Thus, Canadian Thanksgiving.
Sometimes, when I think too much about the book biz, I feel like Martin Frobisher. While I haven’t risked my life, or – god forbid – the life of others, I’ve survived a daring voyage to publication. I am, however, still searching for a gateway to bestsellerdom.
Genetic Savings and Clone of California shut down it’s pet-cloning operation because few humans were willing to pay $50,000 to have cats cloned.
While I deplore that rather unsympathetic attitude [are you listening DorothyL?], I have to admit that there are enough strays in the world already.
Speaking of strays, if you haven’t read Gordon Aalborg’s novel CAT TRACKS — a Story of Survival — you’re missing out on a gem of a book that addresses the issue of "dumping" cats into the Australian wild. The feral protagonist of CAT TRACKS is called "Cat," and he’s the narrator as well.
British inventor Simon Rhymes invented a device that "boils" an egg with lightbulbs and then cuts the top off.
I know I’ll be first in line to buy it [she said sarcastically].
Have you ever invented, or had an idea for an invention, in real life? Or written about one in a book?
FOURTH BIT [hey, I’m finding this fun, in a weird sort of way]:
Following Bouchercon, I spent a heavenly week in Granger, Indiana, with my daughter, Sandi, my grandchicklet, Marley, 5, and my grandkidlet, Will, 2 1/2. Yes, I know, I look too young to be a Granny — if you don’t say it, at least think it 🙂
Sandi is in the process of "potty training" Will, so we visited B&N and bought two Children’s books with that theme [Sandi had one book left over from Marley, but the illustrations showed a girl rather than a boy].
Since my daughter works part-time as a bartender at a sports bar/restaurant called "Between the Buns," I was, er, stuck reading the books to the kids before they went to sleep. The euphemisms were . . . interesting.
One book used the words pee-pee and poo-poo, but didn’t mention a penis [or vagina]. One book, specifically for boys, called the penis a "pee-pee" and — so it wouldn’t get too confusing, I guess — used wee wee and poo poo.
I tried to remember back to my youth, but all I could come up with was Number 1 and Number 2. In fact, my third grade teacher insisted we raise our hands with one finger or two . . . how embarrassing! This was the same teacher who gave me a failing grade on my short story – THE PENCIL WHO GREW UP TO BE A STUB – because I screwed up the assignment and broke the "rules" by writing 4 pages rather than one and using a pencil [the first-person narrator] rather than an "ink pen" . . . but I digress.
[Except I really must add that the above teacher looked exactly like Miss Grundy in the Archie comics!]
Until the day she died – in her 80s – my lovely, intelligent mother-in-law used the euphemism "tinkle." She’d think nothing of sitting amidst a dozen party guests and announcing, "Excuse me, I have to tinkle."
I used that for one of my characters in EYE OF NEWT.
Marley, Will and I also watched the DVD Curious George. Twice. To my mind, that was a terrific transition from book to screen, but I couldn’t help thinking about the last scene in Forest Gump.
And the feather. [Sniff.]
As you wish,
Deni, who has decided that, rather than spending 50k to clone a cat, she’ll re-read Stephen King’s Pet Semetery. And congrats to Mr. King, recipient of MWA’s Grand Master Award.