Excerpted from History.com’s “History of Thanksgiving:”
“In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. (Emphasis added.) Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.”
By Mike Cronin
Have you heard that scientists have found that our drinking water contains dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO)? Something needs to be done! No it doesn’t. Dihydrogen (DH or H2) monoxide (MO or O) IS water: DHMO = H2O. Dihydrogen monoxide sounds scary, because it’s a chemical term, and because it contains the word monoxide, which is also in carbon monoxide, the harmful gas that can be released in your house by a leaky furnace or into your car from a leaky exhaust system.
OK, dihydrogen monoxide is safe, but what about sodium chloride? Surely you’d be concerned if you were eating that? After all, it contains chlorine, the same stuff that’s in bleach! Well, too much of it can certainly be bad for your blood pressure, but you probably eat it every day. Sodium chloride (NaCL) is just table salt!
“Organic” food is better for you than inorganic food, right? Well, consider this: The diet & health industry has smuggled a new meaning onto the word “organic.” We’re supposed to think that “organic” food is better for us because it contains fewer chemicals than non-organic food. In some cases it may actually be true, but there’s a catch: In its truest sense, the word “organic” simply means “containing carbon.” By that definition, almost any food you care to name is technically organic (I’m not sure about Twinkies). Just as our “fossil” fuels, i.e. hydrocarbons, are organic, our body fuels, i.e. carbohydrates and proteins, are also organic. that means that if a food manufacturer labels an item “organic” that doesn’t pass the government’s criteria for “certified organic” food, the firm can get in trouble for mislabeling the package, when in fact if the item has carbs or protein it most certainly is literally and factually organic! About the only food items we put into our bodies that are truly not organic are salt (sodium chloride – no carbon!), trace minerals (iron, zinc, selenium, etc. – no carbon!) and WATER! (Dihydrogen monoxide – no carbon!)
So what’s the point of these scientific word tricks? Only this: Sometimes you can be lead to worry, or to panic, or to pay more by folks selling you snake oil – especially if it’s factually accurate but misleading (in the case of organic food) or when it’s packaged in double speak, as in “organic water.”
By Mike Cronin
One of the ways some businesses try to do your thinking for you is through misuse of the word “value.” Have you ever seen an advertisement that says something along the lines of “Item X, normally a $200.00 value, now just $149.99?” Well, the company is trying to tell you what the value of the item is, and that they are selling it at less than that. You’re supposed to think: “Wow, what a bargain! Let me run right out and get one!” The problem: Value is subjective, and it’s not determined by the business, it’s determined by you. If you don’t want that item, it has no value to you at all. If you want it so bad that you would pay twice as much as they are asking, it has great value to you. Advertising often tries to blur the line between “price” and value. Price is the amount the business charges for their product. In some cases, price is negotiable, such as when purchasing a car, a home, or a used item at a garage sale. Sometimes price is not negotiable, such as for most groceries or on-line purchases. Cost is the total amount of money, in design, labor, time, effort, parts, materials, energy, infrastructure, management, marketing, advertising, sales, transportation, etc. that the business had to spend in order to grow, obtain, or make the thing they are selling. In order for a business to make a profit, the amount of money they take in from sales has to exceed their total costs. In short:
Price – how much the business is charging
Cost – how much the business had to spend
Value – how much it’s worth to you