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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

S4 E9 - Turkeys and Stuff

Outro S4 E9

Welcome back survivors! Can you believe we are 9 episodes into season 4? Holy cow. And we are almost at

the end of 2023?

Here in the states, we have just had our Thanksgiving holiday.

Our Thanksgiving is peculiarly American holiday, but, of course, has its roots the traditional harvest festivals humans have been doing for 10,000 years or more, ever since they made the transition to farming from hunting and gathering and snoozing in the sun.

Thanking whatever gods or god for all the extra produce that wasn’t eaten by the vermin.

Thanksgiving is part of the American foundation mythos. It is specifically associated with New England, where I live. The Pilgrims showed up in Plymouth in December of 1620, about 40-50 miles southeast of where I live.

The Pilgrims were a bunch of ultra-religious outcasts from England. I think their faith may have overridden common sense, because December is not a great time to land in Massachusetts.

But, to their credit, they were aiming for Virginia and missed by a few hundred miles. They must have forgotten to update Google Maps before they left. Probably bad cell phone coverage back then.

It’s not too much of a stretch to see an apocalypse story in this. 102 of them set out from England. 52 survived the first year. Which was better than the earlier colony of Jamestown Virginia, that started in 1609, who lost 90% of their number to disease.

Let that be a lesson to all of you considering following radical religious beliefs to a foreign land. It just might get you a shallow grave in a strange land far from home.

It turns out there were already people living in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag. But things weren’t going so great for them either. A series of European plagues had wiped out a large chunk of the population. In fact, the place the Pilgrims chose to set up their town was on top of an abandoned Wampanoag village.

It was abandoned because everyone died.

Getting back to Thanksgiving…

The first fall in 1621, the 50 or so surviving Pilgrims were setting up their harvest celebration, thanking their strict god.

Anyhow, as they are about to tuck into some yummies, the local Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, shows up with 90 people, and says, “Hey, we’re here for the party!”

Talk about awkward.

The Pilgrims invited them in, and they all drank beer and watched football on TV.

Thanksgiving remained a local New England holiday until the Civil war. The southern states pushed back against any effort to nationalize it.

Then there was the American civil war and Abraham Lincold declared it a National Day of Thanks.

Then FDR moved it to November to give people more time to shop. Which is peculiarly American. Let’s make sure all our holidays are commercial.

And that’s where we are today.

The only notable new tradition happened with Kennedy.

Traditionally the turkey industry had been giving a free bird to the President to cook and eat on Thanksgiving. JFK didn’t like the look of murdering turkeys, especially when confronting nuclear Armageddon with the soviets – so he started the cute tradition of pardoning the presidential turkeys.

By the way – the pardoned turkeys get sent to live out their lives in Minnesota. Which, if you think New England winter weather is bad, you’ve never been to Minnesota.

But, I would be missing an opportunity if I did not express my thanks to all of you apocalypse survivors who have deigned to spend your time with us here. Thank you.

You can thank me by contributing directly to the show there are lots of ways to do this – just look at the links in the show notes or visit my website at

At the very least you can use the mysterious pwer of the internet by liking, rating, sharing or mentioning the show in your posts.

We are a word-of-mouth enterprise so we need your mouth and the words that come out of it to spread the word…by mouth.

What is Chris watching?

I have been sampling a zombie show on Prime called In the Fleshfrom the BBC. It’s got a different take on the zombie apocalypse. The reanimated are treated and returned to society. But society doesn’t necessarily want them returning.

It’s very British, heavy on the drama and character, light on action. It may be your cup of tea. (see what I did there?)

But, it’s very heavy handed with the metaphors. And it’s depressing.

I also watched the latest season of Upload, which, I guess you could call dystopian comedy. It was a bit interesting in the first season, but after the novelty of the device wears off neither the characters nor the story have enough depth to carry it forward.

What is Chris reading?

I’ve been reading several books at the same time, which is something I do.

I was reminded of a great book this week while wasting time scrolling Facebook. It is The Forever War, by Joe Halderman from 1974. It plays with the science of time dilation in space travel quite well. Meaning the soldiers traveling and fighting in space at relativistic speed experience only a fraction of the time that passes on Earth while they are gone.

So every time they come back from a mission Earth has jumped into the future for them.

Really well written and interesting military space fiction.

If you like that genre, give it a read. Ther are also two sequel books in the same universe.

I will say that if you are a person who buys holiday gifts find a local used bookstore and buy everyone a box of books.

I want to live in a world with local used bookstores – so patronize them.

Books are a great gift. If the apocalypse comes you can build a protective wall with them, burn them for heat, or, just, you know, have something to read while you wait out the end of the world in your backyard bunker.

I haven’t been making any progress on my book publishing project. No excuses. Just distracted.

For those of you binge listening through, take a moment and connect with us. Tell us your thoughts and progress.

We’ve got 433 members over in our Facebook group. It would be 434 but Jason didn’t answer the challenge questions, so I have to send him a message and see if he’s a real person or a bot.

Don’t be like Jason, answer the challenge questions.

You can shoot me an email or leave a comment on our website.

All the links are in the show notes.

Let’s all remember to give thanks for the wonderful community we have here and while your hiding in your bunker eating the last scraps of turkey from an expired can, hoping you don’t die of botulism, remember, it could be worse – so keep surviving.

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