Street artist KAWS at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

On CBS Sunday Morning, a video feature on the street artist KAWS, aka Brian Donnelly, 38, whose Companion character was a float in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The gray-and-white creature "who's a little too shy to show his face" floated in the parade right next to Mickey and Donald and other icons. In his native Jersey City, KAWS' faded tags "can still be seen on the sides of buildings."

Earlier this year, Carol Vogel wrote in the New York Times about the planned parade inclusion of Companion.

Read the rest

A Thanksgiving Prayer by William S. Burroughs

In keeping with our holiday tradition, we now bow our heads as Uncle Bill leads us in A Thanksgiving Prayer.

In Truman's day, this was tofurkey for a meatless Thanksgiving

Full view in larger size here. If by "glamorous" you mean "explosive diarrhea," then, sure. A vintage ad nightmare scanned and Flickr'd by bluwmongoose, during an era when meat was comparatively expensive, and rationed. As a photo commenter says:

Holiday", "vegetable" and "loaf" are three words that don't belong together - just like "pedophile", "kindergarten" and "nudist", or "mom", "masturbating" and "surprise."

Make a green bean matherole! (And other math-based Thanksgiving treats)

Vi Hart is Khan Academy's professional mathemusician. (Yeah, I KNOW, right?) And, this year, she's making the most delightfully nerdy Thanksgiving dinner ever.

It begins with green bean matherole, topped with fried Borromean onion rings. But, besides the fact that it's finished with crispy, delicious hyperbolic geometry, what makes the matherole a matherole?

Vectors. Like the rings, vectors are part of geometry. They've got a magnitude (think: size of the green bean) and they've got a direction (think: which way the green bean is pointing). Most importantly, a single vector can be part of a field of vectors. And that, my friends, is an excellent starting point for a 9 x 13 pan full of beans.

Photo biz ad, 1926: Take Thanksgiving snapshots, before everyone you love dies

Get a load of this print ad from the Master Photo Finishers of America, 1926.

Text: "Save the day with snap shots. Thanksgiving, the day of the year which brings most families together, is a splendid opportunity to take snap-shots of the entire family, both singly and as a group. Next year may be too late. Have your camera and a few extra film ready."

Scanned and Flickr'd by Alan Mays, whose photo stream is full of wonderful vintage weirdness.

Camel cigarettes help with Thanksgiving digestion

A vintage ad for Camel brand cancer-sticks, scanned and Flickr'd by SA_Steve. Remember, folks, "Camel Cigarettes aid with your Thanksgiving Digestion!"

Tired? You're not filled with tryptophan, but with food

Somewhere around the late 1990s, blaming tryptophan consumption for post-Thanksgiving lethargy became as much of a holiday tradition as the food itself. This amino acid — present in turkey meat — is supposed to accumulate in your brain, prompting your body to use it to make extra serotonin, a chemical that can make you feel sleepy.

But, as this RiskBites video and a very excellent article by Matt Shipman both explain, there's actually a simpler explanation for the sleepiness you feel after eating two helpings of turkey, trimmings, and pie. Simply put: You ate too damn much.

Many people gorge themselves at the Thanksgiving table. During the resultant digestive process, the body diverts as much as 50 percent of its blood to the small intestine, to maximize absorption of calories and nutrients. That means there is less blood available for physical activity. Furthermore, most traditional Thanksgiving meals are high in fat and protein content, which actually slows down the digestive process. So your body is going to be diverting blood to the small intestine for a longer period of time.

Unfortunately, pointing this out to the family members sprawled on your living room furniture will not make you sound nearly as clever as the tryptophan myth does. And the bit about the blood flow to the intestine might get you (slowly, sluggishly) lynched. Maybe, instead, you can just recommend a nice walk.

Read the rest of Matt Shipman's piece on tryptophan, including an interaction between mashed potatoes and turkey that could, conceivably, cause tryptophan-induced sleepiness.

Thanksgiving: time to revisit classic Sarah Palin turkey-death video

It's the most wonderful time of the year. A turkey classic: a 2008 news story on Anchorage TV news KTUU channel 2, in which then-governor Sarah Palin is interviewed at a turkey farm while turkeys are slaughtered behind her. (via Greg Mitchell)

Evidence suggests: Don't bother brining your turkey

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the chief creative officer at the Serious Eats Blog, is a mad kitchen-science genius. Here at BoingBoing, we've posted about his past experiments demonstrating that there's no reason to waste money on expensive cleavers; that foie gras isn't necessarily evil; and that McDonald's hamburgers will, in fact, rot (under the right conditions).

Now, just in time for your Thanksgiving planning, Lopez-Alt puts turkey brining to the test, running a series of trials comparing the meat-moistening results of various brining solutions, dry salt rub, tap water, and a plain control turkey breast. His conclusion: Don't bother with the brine. Not because it doesn't work — brined turkey does produce nice, moist meat. But because it also produces meat that's kind of soggy. You'll get nearly as good results, without the texture problems, out of dry salt.

I particularly enjoyed this part, where Lopez-Alt explains why the results of brining with water aren't any different from the results of brining with broth.

There are two principles at work here. The first is that to the naked eye, broth is a pure liquid, in reality, broth consists of water with a vast array of dissolved solids in it that contribute to its flavor. Most of these flavorful molecules are organic compounds that are relatively large in size—on a molecular scale, that is—while salt molecules are quite small. So while salt can easily pass across the semi-permeable membranes that make up the cells in animal tissue, larger molecules cannot.

Additionally, there's an effect called salting out, which occurs in water-based solutions containing both proteins and salt. Think of a cup of broth as a college dance party populated with cheerleaders (the water, let's call them the Pi Delta Pis), nerds (the proteins, we'll refer to them as the Lamba Lambda Lambdas), and jocks (the salt, obviously the Alpha Betas). Now, at a completely jock-free party, the nerds actually have a shot at the cheerleaders, and end up co-mingling, forming a homogenous mix. Open up the gymnasium doors, and a few of those cheerleaders will leave the party, taking a few nerds along for the ride. Unfortunately, those gymnasium doors are locked shut, and the only folks strong enough to open them are the jocks. So what happens when you let some jocks into that party?

Learn the answer by reading Lopez-Alt's full article at SeriousEats

WKRP's Turkey Drop, short attention span theater edition

Condensed for your abbreviated pleasure, WKRP in Cincinnati's classic turkey drop episode, shrunk down to a brisk 30 seconds. AS GOD IS MY WITNESS I SWEAR I THOUGHT TURKEYS COULD FLY.

WKRP Turkey Drop in 30 Seconds (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

A very Twinkie Thanksgiving

This is what a turkey looks like after it has been stuffed with cubed, toasted Twinkie cake and glazed with a mixture of Twinkie filling and honey. Chow's Joyce Slayton did this, following a recipe in a 2006 Twinkie cookbook. She describes the smell as "like a turkey being roasted in a cupcake-scented Yankee Candle." *shudder*

Two turkey-related videos

Watch My Life as a Turkey on PBS. See more from NATURE.

Video Link 2.

(thanks, Andrea James!)