I’m not sure if the real holiday is Thanksgiving or Black Friday.   Thanksgiving has it’s roots in the Christian idea of having a special feast to give thanks to God.   Pilgrims are usually cited, although a possible prototype is the 1621 feast put on by the Native Americans for surviving English Dissenters.   It was not declared a federal holiday until 1863 by Lincoln.  He declared the last Thursday in November to be a national day of thanksgiving.   Franklin Roosevelt moved this to the fourth Thursday in 1940 to give an economic boost to the country (another example of his fuzzy thinking, perhaps he is the father of Black Friday).   It has become the official kickoff to the Christmas shopping season.   The Black in the name is not supposed to be ominous, it means that stores are out of the red ink and into the black.   So everybody has deeply discounted sales and there is a mad crush to scoop them up.   The sales used to start at midnight, but now they have crept into Thanksgiving Day itself.

Thanksgiving Day involves massive quantities of food usually eaten with family while watching American football.   Many years ago only two teams were willing to play on a holiday, so now they always get to play (and make the extra TV money).  My Thanksgivings are patterned after my paternal grandmother’s feasts.   She loved to cook but always complained about how much work it was.  When she had her house built, there was an “nice” main level with a formal dining room topped by a bowl of wax fruit (if you consider plastic runners on the carpeting and old towels that covered the furniture to protect it ‘nice”, ) and a finished basement with a kitchen.  So we were always relegated to the basement.  One thing that she said to me which sums her up is: “Gee you look fat, come in and have something to eat.”

Mr. Google said that the most requested recipe in the state is something called “frog eye salad”, which has round pasta, coconut, pineapple, mandarin oranges, miniature marshmallows and whipped topping, but no actual frog’s eyes.   It will not be on my menu.

Me and Miss Dog will have roasted turkey, mashed potato and gravy, Waldorf salad, my grandmothers salad, corn pie and pumpkin pie.  Her birthday is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so she’ll get an extra feast then and a new squeaky toy.

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Fly tippings

I started keeping little books of quotes I liked a couple of years ago.   They are interspersed with little drawings, grocery lists and phone numbers.   My friend the librarian told me that such things are called ‘commonplace books’.  The quotes are quite idiosyncratic, just whatever struck my fancy at the moment.  They are things that I read, and lines of dialogue from movies and tv that struck me as funny.  GA sent me a link on fly tipping and that started me on a new conceptual art project.

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Rita Mae Brown in some novel.

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This quote is either by Ian Rankin or a TV writer and was from an episode of Rebus.

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Neil Gaiman in “Sandman”.   These skeletons and roses were a present from the teacher in a sewing class.

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I don’t remember the source or why I wanted to use this, but here it is.

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

And this quote is for you GA, from Dennis Severs in “18 Folgate Street: A Tale of a House in Spitalfields.

I was at the store and some young clerk asked me what I had been up to today.   He was rather surprised when I said ” making art”.   I guess I don’t look the part.

I was excited about doing a new project, so thanks for push GA.   I expect that I will do more of these later.

Another favorite toy

My other favorite toy is the great Godzilla.   It’s hard to describe my exact relationship with Godzilla, but for starters we are the same age, so I guess we grew up together, separately.  There is an ambiguity about him:  he is sometimes bad, sometimes good, and a visit from him always involves a certain amount of mayhem and sadness.   In questioning why he doesn’t destroy them, a character in Godzilla 2000 says “there is a little bit of Godzilla in all of us”.

This is Rex.  While technically not a Godzilla, he does seem to be related, perhaps a grandfather of sorts.   I worked at a toy store when I first moved here.   I bought one of these for my friends’ dad as he loved mechanical toys.   It was so cool that I had to have one too.  Rex is about 30 years old and has gotten rather creaky in his joints.

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The first Godzilla I bought is Japanese.   He’s a tiny thing, but I love him.


This one is my favorite, the classic, original Godzilla.   I love the expression of his face.

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I also have the newer Millennial Godzillas.  I don’t think that they really capture the essence of his appeal.   CG is not nearly as interesting as a person in a monster suit.

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

The European premier of the latest incarnation of Godzilla took place when I was in London, so I went over and and saw some of the movie stars, but Godzilla was a no-show.   (After seeing the movie I understand this, after all he had hardly any screen time.)


There are lots of Godzilla blogs and I ran across two that I like.       and        who did an entire year of blogging  pictures from previous movies.  While I’m not completely obsessed, I do have a special place in my heart for the big lizard.



My father had a love of robots.  I’m not sure if it was driven by science fiction movies, or the idea that robots are invincible against us puny mortals.   Since it wasn’t very fashionable for adults to collect toys, he would buy robots for us, and these robots  were not particularly invincible against young children.


About 37 years ago, I bought a wind-up toy as a birthday present for a child of a friend.   It was so delightful and cleverly constructed that I had to have one for myself, and that was the start of my collection.  The toys have to be wind-up toys, although I have allowed a few of other sorts to slip in because they were so irresistible.  I go through spurts of buying, and manufacturers are always coming up with new designs as well as repeating older ones.   Here’s a some of the toys from this year.



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These are walkers, side movers, hoppers and spinners and were purchased locally.

new toys

I bought these in England, but they are from the same manufacturer as the others.  That’s globalization for you, and they were more expensive since I paid in pounds.  These are flippers, a walker, roller, and a swimmer.

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Halloween walkers purchased in Santa Fe.  I was there with a fellow toy collector and got inspired.

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More toys from Santa Fe.

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Hopping heads, purchased downtown.

I have hundreds of these little things, I’ll share more of them later.