Saturday, November 26, 2011

America's Annual Shopping Frenzy Settles...

One thing I admire Americans for... their ability to amass... from household items to clothes to credit card debt to educational qualifications, pets, etc everything that can be hoarded they will do it. Both people as well as institutions - commercial and non-profit - have perfected the art of sales. If corporations offer deals and appeal to the consumers ego, non-profit groups dangle the carrot of self-actualization and make people part with their money.
Americans are in a shopping mood throughout the year as evidenced by the bustling malls that are always full of people buying stuff. The past few years this has been down due to the economic distress and job losses millions of Americans have faced. Otherwise it is business as usual in most shopping malls. The shopping reaches dizzying heights during the festival holiday season just after Halloween and continues until Christmas.
Since the economy has not turned around yet American corporations were impatient to rake in profits of the Thanksgiving shopping. So they decided to forget about the prayer and holy aspect of the holiday and just focus on the shopping aspect. The end result stores opened several hours earlier than before for the traditional black friday shopping. Of course there was some outcry but consumers nevertheless thronged to the stores looking for deals.
I wonder what it will be next year... maybe the stores will open a week in advance for shoppers of black friday. If that happens then consumerism would have successfully prevailed over tradition. I guess in the land of consumption and corporation few would rue this happening.
Now that the initial frenzy of holiday shopping has settled down we will have to wait and watch out to see how much money changed hands over the weekend and how much profit corporations raked in...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving... or is it??

Today is the national holiday of Thanksgiving in America. Today is the day when people travel hundreds of miles to get together with families and loved ones. It is a day when people thank the lord for giving them everything that they need and pray for more next year. Of course like all other national events everywhere in the world there is a legend or story associated with this holiday too, but that is not the point of this post. 

Ever since I landed in America I have wondered about this festival where hundreds of thousands of birds are killed to satiate the hunger of humans. So whenever I hear someone say "Happy Thanksgiving" my mind travels to the plight of the innocent Turkey which was raised, fed, and fattened only to be killed today or perhaps a few days ago so that it's carcass may be cleaned, processed and packaged to be sold in the big box retailers across the country. It is not such a "Happy Thanksgiving" for these hundreds of thousands of birds afterall. They lose everything they had including their life.

The simple justification I have heard from lots of people here is that: "Animals don't have a soul, so they are born to be killed and eaten by humans. That is how god created the world." Really! you want me to believe that? If that is true why is that when animals become even remotely dangerous to humans they are instantaneously killed or quarantines or sometimes whole speicies decimated? It is this insatiable human greed that has become a danger for the planet that has given us so much and continues to sustain our lives. Do we ever stop and say thanks to this planet?

I wonder when that will happen... or should I say that if it will ever happen?

Native American Beading Patterns

I wanted to take a break between studies for the upcoming exam on Monday, so I decided to get creative and here is the result. This is a pattern to make a beaded bracelet leaning toward the Native American style. Once my exams are over I will try to create it in beads and post some pictures. For now let me know if the designs are worth anything at all...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Possum Sighting in McKinney

North American Opossum with winter coat.
Image via Wikipedia
This evening there was a small incident of wildlife sighting in our apartment complex. I went to the apartment office to collect mail and as I stepped out of the door my eyes traveled upwards towards the entrance arch and there it was a large white and black coated animal. It looked like a huge rat but only difference was that it was bigger. The animal sat there frozen, motionless and for a moment I wondered if it was a decorative doll that the management of the apartment had placed for the recent Halloween festival. I stood still and watched it for sometime and sure enough it moved its head and stared at me. I retraced my steps and called the apartment staff and asked them if they had noticed anything outside their door.

One of the girls there looked me incredulously and stepped out with me and the moment her gaze fell on the strange looking creature a scream escaped her lips: "Oh! My God. It is a Possum." Then the frenzy of activity started, she called a colleague of hers who came, saw and went back to get her phone so she could take pictures of the creature.

As for me I was fascinated by this sighting. Having been in Texas for the past four years I hadn't seen any wildlife except dead armadillos, turtles, rabbits, and snakes during my drives in the countryside. This is the first instance when I came face to face with a Opossum or Possum. The animal looks like a huge rat with a mixed black and white coat. McKinney is indeed close to nature if these kind of critters can be seen in our apartment which is surrounded by retail stores and showrooms.
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