Tonawanda News

November 27, 2013

DUVALL: The annual un-Thanksgiving list

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — As always, there are lots of places to go for lists of things people are thankful about this time of year. No doubt, those of you with school-aged children will be greeted with an adorable list of things your precious little ones love. Keep those lists. They make for great amusement come dating time.

As for my purpose, there’s nothing of the sort planned here! And so I give you my annual abridged list of things for which I am in no way thankful. 

• Snow forecasts. Perhaps the intervening hours between this writing and your reading will prove the weather guys and gals correct. Maybe we really will get socked with a big overnight snow that will snarl traffic, ruin turkey consumption plans and make all those happy people in line outside Walmart at midnight (more on them later, I promise) remorseful for their commercialist ways.

Do weather guys around here ever get it right? Probably about 50 percent of the time, which is generally the chance they predict of snow on a given day. Really? There’s a 50/50 shot of snow? You don’t say.

• Suffering. Particularly of the now-unemployed Darcy Regier variety.

Though you have to admit the guy is a better prognosticator than, say, your average weatherman, this was one correct prediction I could have done without.

I share season tickets. I was at the arena last week when we played the St. Louis Blues. I’m fairly certain the 15,000-odd people who were there with me could file a class-action lawsuit. We were promised a hockey game would be played and paid money — actual dollars we earn at our jobs — to watch it take place. Poll the crowd, I’m absolutely certain we would all agree nothing of the sort took place.

If there’s one point of agreement with Regier’s replacement, Pat LaFontaine, it’s when Patty said, “it’s not going to happen overnight.”

No, it isn’t.

• Congress! Yes, I — and nearly all of you — am in no way thankful for Congress. They shut down the federal government because they couldn’t agree on the way they agreed to not shut down the federal government the last time they almost shut down the federal government. And they got paid to do it.

God bless America!

My favorite congressional discontent fun fact: I read a recent poll that showed only 3 percent of Americans approved of the job Congress is doing. The margin of error was 3.4 percent. So it’s statistically plausible literally no one likes these people.

• Thanksgiving shopping. Only in America can we not stuff our faces fast enough in the meal meant to offer thanks for all the stuff we have in order to run out and get more stuff.

Black Friday is now starting a week early. I wonder how long until retailers realize the natural marketing tie-in between “Black” Friday and Halloween? Maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud. 

The reality is the longer the holidays last, the more we spend our money with all the discipline of a sailor on shore leave. Fifty percent off?! And all I have to do is stand outside in a blinding snowstorm in the middle of the night in a parking lot with a bunch of people ready to trample me because I’m first in line? Sign me up!

Never mind the 50 percent off is more like 20 percent off when you factor in how much more expensive everything is in the third quarter of the year. And items that actually are a bargain are in such short stock you’ve got a better chance of getting run over in the parking lot than landing your must-have thingamajigger. 

Have fun out there. And bring a thermos. Makes a handy club when the last Tickle-Me-Elmo is up for grabs.

• The Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. Really, I never liked that parade. It’s cheesy as all get-out. Those gigantic balloons are terrifying and that’s when they’re not getting wrapped around lamp posts and deflating, making for a limp muppet that now looks like a deranged floating gargoyle.

This year, the parade, perhaps the last bastion of politics-free political correctness, was marred — marred, they say! — by politics. The cattle farmers in South Dakota disliked Joan Jett because she’s a vegetarian and animal activist — which wouldn’t be a problem but for the state tourism board’s selection of same Jett to perform on their float.

Let’s start here: Who knew South Dakota had a tourism board? What could they possibly do to earn a paycheck? “If mountains carved to look like people and vast tracts of barren wilderness are your thing, HAVE WE GOT A STATE FOR YOU!”

Second, Joan Jett has one song everybody knows (and it’s a cover): “I Love Rock and Roll.”

It’s about time someone asked the real question: Why do South Dakota cattle farmers hate rock and roll??

OK. There’s your 2013 un-Thanksgiving list. You’re welcome. Enjoy the holiday, everyone. And, as always, try not to run anyone over at Walmart.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter, @EricRDuVall.