Will We See The End Of The Desktop Computer Soon?

With all the speculation that’s out about the iPad 3 and the fact that iPad 2 sales have rocketed iOS devices and Mac computers beyond the number of Window’s based computer I started to think about whether or not the desktop PC as we know it may be disappearing in the near future. We have cloud computing which means that you don’t have to worry about storage space so for the average person who works in an office and only needs to do office like work such as typing memo’s, sending emails and perhaps a bit of database or invoicing, there are apps for that.

This first popped into my head when I was watching the TV show Revenge which is pretty much about rich people in the Hampton’s getting into cat fights, so you can see why I would like it. There is one person on the show called Nolan Ross who is a smug new money rich kid who as a desktop computer has an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard. When he’s out he just takes the iPad with him and leaved the computer at home. I saw this and started to think that maybe he’s onto something.

I looked through apps today to see if I could find an app to do all of what the average sales person I used to work with used. There’s an app for it. There are even invoicing apps and apps to run credit cards [Square anyone? Hell, I’ve got it on my iPhone.] as well as plenty of database apps and Salesforce apps for keeping track of your customers. Need to write a letter that you need to print out and send to a customer, there’s an app for that. Email and web browsing are always built in. There’s usually a built in calendar and contacts app so you’re covered. I’ve done my share of training elderly people on how to use a tablet computer [99.9% iPad] who have no need for a desktop computer and they are able to do everything they need with one.

Now people like me who do web and graphic design work it is currently a bit tougher since while you can hand code or using a CMS system for your website is easy, hands on graphic design software isn’t there yet, but I’m sure it will be soon. Programmers will still need at least a laptop [which most of my programmer friends have]. Game programmers will probably be the only ones for awhile that need the big mega towers with all the hyper-mega-uber graphics cards to pump up the graphics to times 1,000,000. I’m sure there are a few others who will need real desktop computers for the next couple of years, but they’re definitely needed less and less.

The Blogger’s Dilemma

Since it’s the weekend I’m going to go off course a bit for my wild weekend. I’ve met up with lots of local bloggers and talked about how they keep doing what they do. Yeah, they love doing it, but there’s always something in the back of their head telling them one day, they’ll be able to make money at it and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

Blogging is kind of like the Gold Rush was back in 1850 in California. Everyone’s doing expecting to make it big like they guys they heard about who made it big. I’ve listened to those podcasts where the guys tell you how they did it, but they always left out a couple of things. Let me fill you in on some of those now.

First off blogs and podcasts are very different than newspaper and news websites. When you take out a ad with a newspaper you get printed in maybe one to three editions and then your ad doesn’t exist anymore. If you’re advertising on an online site you probably get the sidebar for say a month and then get pulled.

When you get your ad posted at the end of a blog post that means that as long as the blog is up there people can still find the post. For me articles I’ve written on medical marijuana are still getting hits three years after I’ve written them. There are startups that aren’t still in business after three years, but their ads could still exist.

Second, if someone uses a mobile app or rss reader the ad is there in the post. Sidebars don’t show up in mobile apps or rss readers so they still get it pushed out to them if they search your blog. This makes a very different market for selling advertising on your blog.

Here is an idea I came up with. I used to do a podcast that was very popular and would get over a thousand hits a day. The show from six years ago are still getting hits and some of those shows have surpassed fifty thousand [50,000] downloads. That’s a significant number. I leave the site up because I still bring in between $200-$600/month from an affiliate advertiser even though the show is inactive.

If you want to solicit a business to advertise with you, you’ll need to point these facts out to them. I came up with a formula that should work for bloggers that will make you money and give the business more than it will get elsewhere. With your blog their ad is delivered right to their face, not buried in a newspaper that as you’re flipping pages they might see, but it’s right there in their face. This means you don’t have to have as large a readership since the readers will see the ad with every post.

I propose the following formula. First install a stat counter such as kStats or Statpress reloaded onto your WordPress blog [15% of the web is run off of WordPress]. Let it run for a few months and count up the visitors plus feeds that are read by the RSS readers. Ignore the spiders and page views. Now multiply that number for the month by 2¢ [.02]. This will be your monthly fee for advertising for a month. By my current readership of 15k visitors and feeds per month that would come out to around $300/month. Keep in mind that every article in that month will still hold the ad until you decide to take down the site so while their paying for a month they’ll still get people who see it later. Paying $300 to reach over 50,000 people directly not indirectly such as what happens with other print and online advertising is money better well spent for a company.

If you are a podcaster, because of the delivery system in place by iTunes [which made up for over 90% of the downloads of my old podcast and still does] the price per hit is 5¢ [.05] per hit. They have a pre made commercial at the beginning or end of your podcast that will be there forever. People tend to seek out old podcasts more so they blog posts so they’ll get more hits for their money with advertising on a podcast not a blog post. Not like a one time run during the Super Bowl for X millions of dollars. Sure they can run the ad again, but they’ll also have to pay for it again. I’m not saying that advertising on a podcast is better than advertising on the Super Bowl, but just show the ways you can go a bit further with your ad dollars if you’re a company.

One of the best parts about all of this is that you can always take a snapshot of your stats and email it to your client who’s advertising with you. If you’re podcasting it’s easier if you’re using a host such as libsyn since they can show you a month at a time with day by day read outs. If you’re site is growing in readership you can offer a potential client a lock in rate at the current month’s price and when your readership grows they still pay you the same amount.

I have tried affiliate programs and some of them work [oddly enough from conversations with other bloggers and podcasters sex toys affiliates seem to rake in the most], but you have to take their word for it that you’ve sold any of their products. I know of people who have told me and even shown me products they’ve purchased from affiliate links yet I have never seen a plus show up on my affiliate account.

This about what I’ve just written and talk about it then post comments because I want to hear from all my blogger friends out there as well. This seems like a good idea to me, now lets see what you think.

The Day I Bought A Burger

Looking back in time I thought I be a bit nostalgic today. There was a time many years ago when I finally got my first car. It was a 1979 Silver Anniversary TransAm. That was some car to have as a first. I was 28 when I was able to get it. A friend of mine worked on cars a lot and he fixed this one up and tricked it out in every way. I had just broken up with my girlfriend of six years so I kind of considered this a good consolation prize.

I hadn’t really driven before because it wasn’t really necessary in San Francisco and I just figured that anywhere I needed to get in the city would take me about an hour on Muni. Things were about to change for me. I could date outside my neighborhood for one. Hell, I could date outside the city even. It took me a while to realize that. Since I wasn’t used to driving even though I got my driver’s license at 21 I mostly just drove around the neighborhood. Then about a week after I had the car I drove and bought a burger.

It wasn’t really much of a trip and I wasn’t even really that hungry, but I drove the car across the park the Richmond to the Jack in the Box on 11th and Geary and bought a burger and fries. I sat in the car eating them and just realized that I had the ability to do something as stupid as hop in the car and drive 10 minutes to get a burger. Not an hour on Muni, but 10 minutes. The world suddenly got smaller. I kind of had a feeling like Mel Gibson in Braveheart where I wanted to stand and scream FREEDOM! [granted in the movie he had just been castrated and disemboweled, but I’ll leave that part aside.]

Soon I worked up the courage to drive on freeways and suddenly I was driving to friends houses in South Bay or Marin for parties. Why I actually got so good at driving that I was pulled over on Mission street at 4am and had a cop screaming at me for going 75mph. I didn’t get a ticket that night, but did realize that I was letting things go to my head a bit.

I dialed things down a notch and started getting better gas mileage. I remember being outraged at having to pay $1.39 a gallon for premium gas. Times were good back then. There was less to worry about we all had jobs and money and I could drive all over the city to buy stuff. I miss my TransAm, but I don’t miss having to wonder if it would start in the morning or having my head under the hood changing the spark plugs every couple of months [the car had 139,000 miles on it when I bought it.]

The car lasted me only about eight months before it became too much of a burden and I had to sell it after getting a toned down 1984 Firebird. It wasn’t turbo-charged like the TransAm, but it still had a lot of muscle. I still have fond memories of that first car and it’s huge ass tires and how I learned to drive it slow so I could get girls to stop and look at me. Those were good times, yep, good times.

I built an igloo and I liked it…

It’s the weekend so I’ll go off course for a bit.

When I was a young teenager I had a mentor, Mark who was working on a degree in Geochemistry. This meant he had to do a lot of field work and I was lucky enough to be asked to accompany him on a tree up north to Lassen Volcanic Park. He was studying hot springs and what better time to study them than in winter. You really haven’t lived until you’ve seen hot springs in winter.

We traveled up to the Lassen ski resort and had to snow shoe about a mile to the Sulphur Works. As we pulled into the parking lot I saw wall of freshly ploughed snow and I got an idea. While we were staying in a hotel we still had a lot of stuff you would need when hiking up to the outback wilderness areas of Lassen. I have an idea I said because this wasn’t going to be a work only trip and i pull a saw out of the trunk and started cutting blocks of snow and piling them up. I can’t find a picture of it, but it looks a bit like the picture I included with this article. Being from San Francisco and not being a skier snow is a fascinating thing to me because I don’t see it. I haven’t seen snow in over 15 years and people look at be funny when I pick it up in my hand.

It was cold and a bit windy out, but we proceeded on and soon had a 10’x10′ igloo built. We crawled inside and found that without the wind hitting you we suddenly felt warmer. A few passers by stopped to take a look and we invited them in. People were surprised at how nice it felt inside a hand built tent of snow. Granted it wasn’t as nice as the ski lodge, but still it was better than standing out in the cold winter air.

We left the igloo and traveled up to the Sulphur Works. The heat of the hot springs had melted the snow all around it and air was surprisingly warm and humid. The strange part of the humid sulphur filled air is that it would freeze on your hair and create little icicles. The water in these springs has an almost unbearable stench and we spent a few hours testing the pH and temperature of the waters there. The smell of rotting eggs was heavy in the air, but when we finished we made our trek back and stopped at the lodge for some hot chocolate. As we walked back to the car we noticed that our abandoned igloo had remained untouched and that there was a beer cooler sitting out side. When we poked our heads in there were a couple of squatters who had taken over my igloo. I told them that I had built it a few hours ago and they were welcome to it.

I built an igloo once, and I liked it.

iBooks Outrage!

So I have been reading some of the postings by techies about the fact that if you create a book with iBooks Author that you can only sell it through the iBookstore. Being a musician I figured I’d put my 2¢ worth in since I have an understanding of this.

If you want to distribute music that you’ve written and performed someone will want to take a cut of it unless you want to do it yourself and get a much smaller base. If you’re an author and write books the publisher will always take a cut. That’s just the way the world works. When you have something you want to distribute you can sell it on a street corner and hardly get much back, or you can have someone with the marketing backing behind them to put your work out there for the masses to find out about it and consume.

Why haven’t I heard these complaints previously from iOS app authors? If you want to write an app you first have to buy the tools so that you can get access to the system for writing the apps then when you release the app Apple will take a small percentage of your sales. Currently for iBooks, just as for music you sell through iTunes Apple takes 30% of the sales. Just to put this in perspective, Michael Jackson’s Thriller album gave 90% of the sales to the record company and only 10% to Michael himself.

This is a deal in comparison and I think people who haven’t had much contact with the media business need to understand this. Currently there are three formats you can release an eBook in, Apple’s iBook, PDF and Amazon’s [please correct me if I am wrong]. Now PDF’s are readable on any computer so you need no special device to read them on. You can read a PDF on an iOS device and I assume an Android just fine. You can even export from iBook Author to PDF, but the multimedia elements aren’t included.

Amazon’s format which is also used by the Barnes and Noble Nook is plain html and they take 50% of your selling price. There is no multimedia available in these eBooks as they are only words and pictures [black and white] on an ePage [I made that up, so can I have a trademark for being the first to use it?]. I just don’t think people realize that unless you’re going to cover all the marketing costs yourself and pound the pavement yourself, you’re not going to get the distribution you would through a company that will help you reach more people and will want a cut. Apple’s cut is pretty small compared to many others I’ve seen. I’ve had distribution offers for my music that the distributor has asked for a 40% cut. I go with iTunes because they only ask for 30%. That’s the cheapest distribution deal I’ve seen.

If you build it they will not come unless someone tells them that you’re there. Keep that in mind.

White Folk On Welfare

I was watching the Daily Show with John Stewart the other night and he had a guest who mentioned something that sounded kind of shocking: The majority of people receiving food stamps [EBT or CalFresh as they’re called now] are White. If you’re White and horrified by what you just read don’t be. We can be poor without having to be White trash.

Sure all of us have run into hard times before, but to run into hard times where you have to ask the government for a hand out is not something Caucasians ever really think about. Nowadays, it’s doesn’t matter what color you are, po’ folk is po’ folk. Sometimes you need a little help and you have to ask for it.

My family it currently on the San Francisco Health Plan because we can’t afford nor do I qualify for insurance because of pre-existing conditions [I could get us on the HIPAA plans, but that would cost us $2500/month]. I’m glad that it’s an available option for San Franciscans and if you don’t have insurance you should look into it.

Putting food on the table when you aren’t making any or enough money is another story. I’ve looked into this and a family of three can get up to $526/month to feed themselves. Sure you can include the food banks if you’re heavy eaters, but there are things you can buy that go a long way that are cheaper.

CalWorks is San Francisco’s version of welfare and while it helps out it doesn’t very much. I did a little research and again, for a family of three you can get $695/month, but that cuts into your CalFresh money and cuts it down to $377/month.  So if you are able to collect unemployment you can get a little over $1000/month to feed and house a family of three. I went to a meeting just to check it out and CalWorks has a program called Welfare to Work where at least one of the members of the family has to attend a 40 hour a week job training service for a month. If you haven’t found a job by then, then you have to do it again.

If you’re someone like me who has a college degree and a high level of skills this program won’t work for you. The jobs they are offering are low paying and short term. Even more so it doesn’t work because you have to spend time learning how to get a job which you already know when you could be spending time doing freelance work. Even when you get a job, if it’s a contract position they don’t count that as a job so they tell you that they’ll cut your benefits if you don’t show up for the job training which you don’t need. In short the system is broken. They don’t know how to deal with middle class people who have a college degree and more skills than the person who is your job counselor who doesn’t speak English very well.

As I heard one of the people working there say, you don’t want to be on welfare because it only leaves you pissed off and poor. I seriously think they need to work on adding additional resources for helping skilled people find work instead of offering temporary part time minimum wage jobs just so they can check you off the list. That doesn’t solve the unemployment problem it just regenerates it.

Facial Recognition For A Facebook Stalker

I ran across a program the other day called FaceLook that after thinking about it is really kind of creepy. It let’s you take a picture of someone’s face and then the program goes on to mine all the pictures of Facebook with tags to identify the person.

Think about that for a second. There are currently over 800 million users of Facebook and they’re predicted to hit one billion by August 2012. That’s an awful lot of people out there that a $1.99 app can look through. If you haven’t done so you might want to think about changing your privacy settings of your photos so that only friends can see them unless you want people to find out who you are and possibly start stalking you.

If you own a Mac and have iPhoto installed that has facial recognition built in that gets better the more you use it, but that’s different because you keep those photos to yourself [until the entrance of iCloud]. Now I don’t know this for sure, but [time for the tin foil hat] what if someone hacked into Apple’s iCloud or the government is allowed access to it?

iOS and Android devices just keep getting better and better as time goes on and the software people are writing for them is as well. We’ve got 8 megapixel cameras going into these little phones now and they shoot 720p video as well. I’ve been amazed at the quality of the video I’ve shot with my iPhone. Especially when I’m in a good position to hold it still enough.

They’ve already got an app called Action Movie that adds wickedly cool effects into movies shot on the iPhone or iPad that look very realistic [Car Smash and Missle Attack are my favorites]. So you never know what’s possible. Man was sent to the moon using a room full of computers that were slower and dumber than a smartphone. Now we throw birds at pigs. What will be possible in the future my scare you more than what’s out there to scare you today.

Autism vs. The iPad

As I’m sure you remember we were able to get an iPad for our daughter during a time when we didn’t have much money [which is a fate we still share today]. She loves the iPad a lot and I thank again all of my readers who help us get it for her. Then my wife came running into my workspace all white face with a look of horror and my daughter running behind quickly screaming and crying — I think we just lost the iPad.

WHAT!? She handed it to me and it looked fine until she peeled back the case and showed me the dent. The dent happened to come right where the volume up and down keys were and while it still worked we couldn’t get any volume out of it. I quickly got an appointment at the Genius Bar to have them take a look and then started doing some research.

I was seeing everything from a few people who got it replaced free to most people who had to pay $299 or buy a new one. My heart sunk. This is my daughter’s baby. She treats it like a puppy hugging it and petting it. She never throws it or drops it unlike many of her other toys. She knows this is something special for her.

For any parent of a child whether they have autism or not I would highly suggest an iPad. My daughter has improved so much since we got it for her. She couldn’t point at things before, but now points to things that she doesn’t know the name of. She’s learned how to say words she never said a year ago and now she can even write. Sure she has therapists that help her out, but a lot of this even the therapists say comes from the iPad. It has helped her immensely and I was pretty devastated to learn that this great tool we had for her might be gone and we don’t have the money or credit to afford to get it fixed or buy a new one.

I went into the Apple store thinking to myself well, maybe I could ask for donations again, but I don’t really like begging. If you like the blog and want to make a donation feel free to do so, but I refuse to sit out there on the internet with a cup in hand asking spare change from everyone who comes to my blog. I’ve been getting enough work from TaskRabbit to help us get by until I can get a real job again so I figured I could find a way to make it work out.

So my Genius is guy named Tony. I told him the story and how this is our autistic daughter’s best friend [yes, I played the autism card, but it was important because of what she’s got from it.] Tony took a look and said, well, it’s only a little dent and no screen damage so we’ll replace it for you right now.


So the crisis has been averted and we’re in the process right now of getting the back up reinstalled on the iPad. Tony suggested that we get an Otterbox case for it which my wife and I have been talking about for a while. Now it’s obviously a definite buy item. I think I’ll have to take on a few more tasks to get the money to cover this one, but it’ll be worth it in the long run if it’s something that is helping our daughter improve herself.

Tony, thanks for helping a brother out.


Having Clout is Better than Having Klout!

My wife tipped me off to an article after I read a newspaper article about how tech savvy businesses are asking people their Klout scores in job interviews. I have been asked my Klout score on at least two interviews and I believe their influence in social media is unfair as well as unjust and I’m going to get into that area now.

I heard about Klout [which wordpress keeps automatically changing to clout so it isn’t as influential as it may want you to think it is] through some of my friends on twitter, so I jumped off the bridge because they did and joined up with said website.I started out with a score in the high 40’s which slowly moved up to 67. I thought it was pretty good at the time and then they changed their algorithm and I dropped down to 50 overnight. As a matter of fact, I noticed that everyone I saw on Klout that I had influence with dropped overnight. This was kind of like devaluing the dollar and then having banks tell you that the $10,000 you had in savings is now only $5,000. The company is acting recklessly yet companies who value social media take it seriously.

I have clout. When I walked into a Mayoral debate, several of the candidates for mayor knew me on site and walked up and shook my hand. Some didn’t because I had spoken ill of them and had even had their campaign coordinators call me to speak with me. There are many restaurants and businesses in San Francisco that when I walk into them the owners know me by name and welcome me. Some even ask my opinion on new dishes they are thinking of selling. I’ve got clout. My Klout score on the the other hand speaks differently.

Klout says it takes it’s information from many different social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, etc. Recently it’s said that it’s new algorithm uses only the four previously mentioned sites, but I disagree. I have many posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and FourSquare, but have recently declined in my twitter posts to maybe once or twice a day and noticed my Klout score decreased daily until one day I posted four tweets and it suddenly jumped up a point. Some of my fellow twits decided to do a test one day and we started a conversation on twitter about Klout going back and forth and the next day I had jumped up 5 points.

Klout is highly weighted towards twitter usage. That has become obvious and I defy them to prove otherwise. This website has reached out to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I am known, yet there are people data farmed on Klout who are shown to have influence on topics that A: They know nothing about and B: are not on Klout. When I joined it took me over a month before Klout showed that I have influence on several topics. The topic that I have the most Klout on according to the website is Smartphones. The least amount of Klout I have is on San Francisco. While I love my iPhone I regularly write about San Francisco so I think it should be the other way around. They aren’t taking this blog into account. I am one of the few born and raised San Franciscans who writes about San Francisco. I would think Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods Project should have more Klout on San Francisco than me, but his score is only 21 and his topic of influence is Geneva. I don’t know if that’s the street or the city in Switzerland, but something is not right here.

Klout is currently in beta so nobody should be taking it too seriously, so it seems strange to me that there are companies looking for people with social media skills that ARE taking Klout seriously. If people are going to use Klout they should seriously consider it’s value with a large Siberian salt mine at the moment.


The History of Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving, the day when we eat way too much, drink way too much and we all fall into what has been referred to as the Turkey Coma after dinner. This is the biggest day of the year for feeding the rich and the poor so I decided to take a look into the history of this all American holiday.

Well first off, it’s not just celebrated by Americans. Maybe on this day it is, but there are many other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving as well. The fourth Thursday of November was declared to be the official celebration date of Thanksgiving by congress in 1941. The same year we entered into World War II. Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Grenada celebrates Thanksgiving on October 25th, but that has nothing to do with pilgrims, but is a giving of thanks for the 1983 US invasion. Liberia celebrates Thanksgiving on the first Thursday in November. The Netherlands celebrate Thanksgiving on whatever day we tell them we’re going to celebrate it in honor of the Dutch pilgrims who moved here because of the hospitality they received in Leiden on their way. The Australian territory of Norfolk Island celebrates Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday of November because American whaling ships dropped by and said, let’s eat!

Now the oddest thing about this holiday around the world is that except for Grenada, no one can pin it down to an exact date. Christmas or yule is always on the 25th of December. Valentine’s day is always February 14th. The Fourth of July is always on, well, you get my point. Easter always changes dates, but I guess that’s because people are confused about how our lord and savior pooped out multicolored hard boiled eggs while coming back to life and gave them to bunnies to hide for the little kids to find.

But getting back to the point…Thanksgiving was a end of the harvest celebration for years that finally got it’s name in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared November 26th a day for all to give thanks. What people refer to as the first Thanksgiving that the pilgrims celebrated was [and I lifted this from the font of all truths, Wikipedia]:

The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, providing enough food for 13 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The feast consisted of fish (codeels, and bass) and shellfish (clamslobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducksgeeseswans, and turkey), venisonberries and fruitvegetables (peaspumpkinbeetroot and possibly, wild or cultivated onion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and the Three Sistersbeans, dried Indian maize or corn, and squash. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings” — days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

Three days of eating and turkey was just a small part of it. Since the first pilgrims were near the coast, seafood was probably the biggest protein they consumed during this time. The holiday wasn’t as secular as it is today and I still haven’t been able to find out how the turkey became the center piece, but it seems that turkey day started in the 20th century.

I had never thought about it, but there is also some controversy associated with Thanksgiving and I quote [once again from wikipedia]:

Much like Columbus Day, Thanksgiving is seen by some as a celebration of the conquest and genocide of Native Americans by European colonists. Professor Dan Brook of UC Berkeley condemns the “cultural and political amnesia” of Americans that celebrate Thanksgiving, saying that “We do not have to feel guilty, but we do need to feel something.” Professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas at Austin is somewhat harsher, saying that “One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.”

Since 1970, the United American Indians of New England, a protest group led by Frank “Wamsutta” James that has accused the United States and European settlers of fabricating the Thanksgiving story and whitewashing a supposed genocide and injustice against Indians, has led a National Day of Mourning protest on Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts in the name of social equality and in honor of political prisoners.

Another notable example of anti-Thanksgiving sentiment was when hundreds of supporters traveled to Alcatraz on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the Occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of All Tribes. The American Indian Movement also holds a negative view of Thanksgiving and has used it as a platform of protest, most notably when they took over a Mayflower float in a Thanksgiving Day parade. Some Native Americans hold “Unthanksgiving Day” celebrations in which they mourn the deaths of their ancestors, fast, dance, and pray. This tradition has been taking place since 1975. 

However, the perception of Thanksgiving among Native Americans is not universally negative. Tim Giago, founder of the Native American Journalists Organization, seeks to reconcile Thanksgiving with Native American traditions. He compares Thanksgiving to “wopila,” a thanks-giving celebration practiced by Native Americans of the Great Plains. He writes in The Huffington Post that “the idea of a day of Thanksgiving has been a part of the Native American landscape for centuries. The fact that it is also a national holiday for all Americans blends in perfectly with Native American traditions.” He also shares personal anecdotes of Native American families coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Jacqueline Keeler of the Dineh Nation and the Yankton Dakota Sioux also celebrates Thanksgiving. She sees it as a celebration of Wampanoag generosity to starving, impoverished colonists while still lamenting the violence that followed. Members of the Oneida Indian Nation marched in the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a float called “The True Spirit of Thanksgiving.”

Well, I guess giving thanks for successfully invading another people’s lands could piss a few people off, but it wasn’t like they didn’t have a hand in it. The Indian tribes that the first pilgrims interacted with actually gave from their food stores to help them through the winter because they didn’t have enough when they arrived.

All in all, Thanksgiving to me is just a day to gorge yourself on food. Now we just have to figure out how to get our $5 Safeway turkey that’s been in the refrigerator for two days to defrost so we can cook it today.