December Potpourri

Dec. 1 - I survived my first expat Thanksgiving. More importantly, since I was the chef, all of my guests survived my first expat Thanksgiving.

I never did find a big turkey and had to make to with a Danish eight-pounder. It was like stuffing and roasting a canary. I tried to compensate by making mountains of stuffing, relish, and potatoes. I thought this would distract from the paucity of turkey meat, and it almost did—until someone bumped the serving-tray and the uncarved bird fell into the gravy boat.

We never did fish it out—presumably it was poured onto someone's potatoes and swallowed whole.

The rest of the meal was successful enough, however, and it was a pleasure to be able to retire from the table, turn on the television, and watch American football the rest of the night.

* * *

The days, by the way, are shrinking into insignificance. I've been sleeping in this weekend, so I'm not sure when the sun has been rising, but it's 3:30 pm Sunday afternoon as I write this and we seem to be on the brink of darkness already. Hell, we were on the brink of darkness when I woke up. Even when the sun is "up," it hangs low on the horizon and is usually concealed behind thick gray clouds that only seem to recede late at night, when the stars come out to taunt us.

Yes, I said taunt. Seeing an ocean of stars in the sky each night when you haven't seen the sun in a couple of weeks is like flipping through Playboy in a monastery.

* * *

I've been trying to follow local news on my own lately because I think it's embarassing that I don't know more about the Danish government or current events. Browsing local news on Friday, I stumbled across an interesting teaser on the front page of the Copenhagen Post website. It was headed "Bad Rap for Greenlanders."

Had Vanilla Ice come to the Arctic?

No, the article was actually about a "myth" about criminal behavior in Greenland that apparently holds some sway here in the mother country (Greenland is a Danish territory that's had limited home rule since 1979).

"A new report dispels the prevalent Danish myth that Greenlanders are more inclined to criminal activity," the article begins.

It's a credible enough summary, but the article makes the unforgivable mistake of reporting the actual findings.

According to the report, issued by Greenland's Justice Commission, "Greenlanders are more law abiding than Danes, committing just three-quarters the number of offences."

Not only that, but on a per capita basis, "offences relating to customs & excise, environment and illegal weapons possession are half that of Denmark."

But don't book your flight to this snowy paradise just yet.

The same report—the one the dispels all those myths about crime in Greenland?—acknowledges a few shortcomings, summarized breezily in the last paragraphs of the Post article: "While crime rates have been in a general decline in Greenland since the 1990s, instances of sexual offences have soared, with rape 26 times more frequent in Greenland than in Denmark, proportionate to population size. Incest and paedophile crime is seven times more frequent in Greenland than in Denmark, with murder and violence 11 and six times worse respectively."

Let's summarize:

Compared to Denmark, on a per capita basis, Greenland has:

2600% more rape
1100% more murder
700% more incest- and pedophilia-related crime
600% more violence
50% less tax fraud
50% less environmental crime
50% less illegal weapons possession

Good thing we've dispelled that nasty old myth about crime in Greenland!

* * *

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to sit on the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in violation of the democratic and egalitarian laws that so many Americans had fought so hard to preserve. This resulted in a period of national reflection upon the meaning of the phrase "all men are created equal," which no longer appeared so self-evident. After considerable debate, the U.S. judicial system eventually made the novel decision that "all men" might be interpreted to mean "all men," and America has been a paragon of peaceful coexistence ever since.

* * *

December 1 is the birthday of Bette Midler (1945), Richard Pryor (1940), Lee Trevino (1939), Lou Rawls (1936), Woody Allen (1935), Mary Martin (1913), and Madame Tussaud (1761).

December 1 is World AIDS Day, Self Governing Republic Day in the Central African Republic, and National Day in Romania.

Happy Monday!

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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