Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Helium Gas Shootout

Nothing like Thanksgiving and the advent of the holiday shopping season to put troubled times behind us.  A few citizens tried to stage protests at shopping malls around the country, in response to the grand jury decision in St. Louis, but for the most part it was business as usual, as crowds thronged to take advantage of "Black Friday" deals.

Despite its retail struggles, Macy's still stages its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it looks more and more like a dinosaur.  The era of the big department store seems all but over as most persons shop by Internet these days.  Count me as one of those.  I have no desire to fight crowds at shopping outlets, no matter how good the deals.  But, Americans still like their consumerist traditions.

I thought one of the funniest moments was Seattle enjoying the turkey repast at the 50-yard line of the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, after whipping the San Francisco 49'ers.  The turkey dinner was a new wrinkle in interviews with the stars of the game afterward, but former 49'er great, Jerry Rice, was none too pleased, as were the owner and managers of the team after their poor showing.  They felt it was adding insult to injury.

Football is an indelible part of the four-day weekend with big games at the college and professional level scattered over all four days.  This tradition goes back to the advent of the National Football League in 1920, but the concept stretches back even further to 1876 when Princeton and Yale took to the field in the inaugural Turkey Day gridiron match.

Princeton, 1876

It used to be that Texas and Texas A&M squared off during the weekend, with the winner earning a trip to The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, but since the Aggies jumped to the SEC, this long-standing rivalry has been lost, with Texas suffering a humiliating loss to the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian.

Just to remind us once again, five St. Louis Rams players came onto the field holding their hands up in tribute to Michael Brown.  There were protests outside the stadium as well.  The St. Louis police were not happy with this gesture of solidarity.  If there is any consolation for the SLPOA, there probably weren't too many persons watching this game, as the Rams pummeled the lowly Raiders.   It will be interesting to see if the NFL takes any action.  After all, it has an "image" to protect.

The world is changing right before our eyes.  There isn't much we can do about it, but we still cling to our traditions as silly as they may seem to the outside world.  One of my favorite movie scenes is in Broadway Danny Rose, when Danny gets stuck with the gangster's moll in the hanger of the Macy's floats outside New York, better known as the Helium Gas Shootout.


  1. The semantic battle over an "apology,"

    Meanwhile, Pres. Obama wants Congress to fund 250,000 cop cameras, which sounds like a much better alternative to surplus military equipment,

  2. For years I used to watch the annual Thanksgiving Day football match between New Rochelle & Iona Prep. Great tradition. I wonder if they still play it.

  3. It used to be sports networks would follow classic rivalries. Remember Lafayette v. Lehigh? It goes back 150 years and is played around Thanksgiving time,