I’ve been getting an increasing amount of traffic on my blog lately from what is, to us over here in North America, an unusual set of countries we don’t hear much about. Places in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia especially–Lithuania, Montenegro, Sweden, Serbia.
I’m not sure why this is, but I’m delighted to have you, far-off readers. We hear so little about Eastern Europe in Canada and the U.S., and so many people here are fairly ignorant. I wonder if this has to do with my earlier blog post on Rob Stewart, Canadian actor and Serbian folk hero. Maybe it does. In any case, things are pretty embarrassing over here as far as our misgovernment goes. In Canada, Stephen Harper’s yet-again decision to prorogue Parliament every time a shadow spooks him has taught us that the only thing worse than having a Harper government is having a Harper government on habitual vacation. Meanwhile, just south of us in the Biggest Most Famous Country Ever, the U.S. government shutdown is looming and a handful of Republican teabaggers are playing a big immature game of chicken not just against Obama, but against the entire global economy.
Now, I’ve never cared much about the economy. To my limited understanding, it’s a good barometer of how rich rich people are. When the economy’s good, rich people are rich. When the economy’s bad, rich people suffer. The working poor and average Joes seem to be in pretty much the same bad state of things no matter how well things are going on the “national economy” scale. So on one hand I don’t think the U.S. Government defaulting on its debts is going to have a landmark effect on how much it costs me to buy a sandwich. Except that people will raise their prices for no reason, and blame it on the default, the same way that Oreo cookies got a little more expensive after 9/11, which was a huge tragedy, but shouldn’t have meaningfully affected the price of Oreos in the same way that flooding in Taiwan and Thailand affected the price of hard drives a couple years ago.
So in the face of all this embarrassing politicking and greed and other things I’d rather my part of the world not be famous for, I’m posting a free SECOND Luke’s Ukes episode in honour of Canadian Thanksgiving.
In both the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is basically a very old holiday to celebrate harvest season–which would explain, maybe, why we celebrate it weeks earlier up here in the cold North. We eat traditional seasonal foods (turkey, bread stuffing, pumpkin pie), and recognize all the things we have to be thankful for. Of course, this has relgious roots–thanking God in prayer, for instance. But just giving voice to the good things we have in our life is valuable in itself.
This year, I am thankful for the following:
- Loved ones far and near. You are my family, my village, and the best parts of me.
- Good food, good rest, fine drink, and good company to share it with.
- The best job in the entire world, doing advanced research in literature while teaching it to brilliant young adults. The “market” for academics is a deadly and unkind place; but the work itself, this calling, is the best thing I could do with my life, and I hope, hope, hope it continues.
- Good words and the power to use them. I like being able to write, even here, for free, to you.
- A place and time in history which, while not too great, is a far sight better than many other places and times in history. All those of us who are here on the Internet are lucky in this. We have it better than so many others had it, and still have it.
So in order to share my good fortune with everyone (and because one of my posts is too silly, really, to count as a legitimate “webisode”), I’ve posted not one but two clips to Luke’s Ukes this week. One is a Blind Arthur Blake song, in the style of Leon Redbone, a ragtime guitar number that was a huge technical challenge to work up on the uke; the second, just for fun, was the theme from Disney’s Gummi Bears. I ended up doing a huge trivia-filled writeup for both, which I guess is just part of the fun.
Anyways, I am also thankful to you, wherever you may be, for continuing to support my writing and my creativity just by following and reading me. It really does mean a lot when I check in and see that someone’s been reading here. Thank you.