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Our International Thanksgiving Dinner (Nov. 27th, 1901) by J.S. Pughe [Published in the satirical magazine Puck, it depicts Uncle Sam standing above a table of downtrodden world leaders, making a toast to “Competition” over a large turkey labeled “Commercial Supremacy.”]

You can imagine the sight: a golden Thanksgiving turkey, savory homemade stuffing, glazed ham, vibrant sweet potatoes, and perhaps some sort of traditional alcoholic beverage. The idyllic family chats in uproarious gaiety. But have you ever considered the more sinister undercurrent of this time-honored tradition?

Upon that table likely lies many pounds of animal meat — often more than anyone is likely to consume that evening. There is ground beef or sausage in the stuffing, ham basted in a sweet maple glaze, and of course the 10–15 pound turkey steeped in its mouth-watering juices. Some families may accent their feasts…


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Storefronts of the past. Euclid Avenue c. 1920 in Cleveland, Ohio. From Cleveland Public Library.

Social media is increasingly the new American storefront. As more and more of everyday human life occurs online rather than in person, an organization’s digital presence can easily be the difference between success and failure. And yet, for many small and mid-sized organizations, social media is a roadblock that appears to be insurmountable. If you listen to any of the “experts,” the world of social media is a brutal, data-driven dog-fight where one must run as fast as one can simply to keep from falling behind. A true Red Queen’s race. For the average person running an organization, this uphill…


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St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps on Duty During Influenza Epidemic (Oct. 1918) from the Library of Congress

It’s flu season once again. We stand in grocery stores and on public transit covertly covering our faces as a cacophony of sniffles, coughs, and wheezes erupt like popcorn around us. Coworkers show up after only a day of absence, barely concealing their frigid misery. The fellow making your sandwich in the cafeteria doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders. You just hope that the kid who puked behind you in the movie theater had a piece of bad fish to eat. While a slim majority of us bother to make the harrowing journey to our local pharmacy in…


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Immigrants Waiting to be Transferred, Ellis Island (October 30, 1912) by Underwood & Underwood from the Library of Congress

We hear endless bloviation from politicians and media heads about the injustices plaguing American life. However, there are few modern day injustices greater than those done to immigrants wishing to become productive members of the freest and most prosperous society in human history. And while every citizen has, in theory, the power of the vote to redress grievances, immigrants are largely voiceless. Their experiences are often trotted out only for political gain and only when convenient. In reality, the system that immigrants are forced to fight through every day is gravely broken. The sentimental image of immigrants passing through the…


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Sleeping Cat (1900s) by Jane Poupelet from the The Cleveland Museum of Art.

It’s not the end of the world. It’s not a parent, sibling, or fond relative. Its not like the loss of a friend or a close acquaintance. It’s sad, but it’s not a tragedy. The day goes on, the rent gets paid, and everyone is together at dinner. Nothing really changes. Old age always has its way eventually. It wasn’t even really a surprise.

Maybe it’s not a serious and earth shattering loss, but it is a loss. There will be no funeral. There will be no headstone. It’s a loss that passes without much notice, like the end of…


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Still Life with Asparagus (c. 1880) by Philippe Rousseau from the The Cleveland Museum of Art

The cold chill of mid December just begins to fade as you walk through the heated store towards the produce. Perhaps it’s a transient phase of health consciousness, perhaps it’s for a family meal, perhaps you were just feeling it. Regardless of why you decided to buy asparagus, it was there at the store, fresh, cleaned, bunched up neatly with purple rubber bands, and for sale for less than a few dollars. Now a days, that is unsurprising. In fact, it would be surprising for any given grocery store to not carry asparagus at any given time of year. …


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The Courtesan Ariwara of the Tsuruya Seated by a Smoking Chest (mid 1790s) by Chōbunsai Eishi from the Cleveland Museum of Art (Cropped for detail).

Cigarettes have directly caused the deaths of thousands and damaged the lives of countless more. A far safer alternative comes around in the form of vaping and is wildly successful. What is government’s response to a relatively minuscule number of reported health issues dubiously connected to this newly labeled “public health crisis?” Is it to invest money in research? Is it to enact legislation requiring a higher manufacturing standard? Is it to verify that these cases are in fact related and indicative of a larger pattern? Of course not. …


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For most native-born Americans, it wouldn’t be much more than a minor inconvenience. You’re traveling somewhere in Arizona on vacation and you hit a patch of slow-moving traffic. As you approach you see black and green clad officers leaning into the driver side windows of cars for a second and letting them pass. It’s your turn. You roll down the window. The officer leans in with his black sun glasses on and asks you whether or not you are an American citizen. “Absolutely!” you say in a panic. “Where do you live?” “Indiana.” “What brings you to Arizona?” “Just a…


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In 2013, my school held a blood drive. I had just become old enough to donate (with parental permission) and quickly signed up for the first available spot. With my parental consent form in hand, I excitedly turned up at the blood drive, ready to do good. My O- blood type meant that my donation would be especially valuable as it made me a universal donor. As I sat down at the confidential processing booth, I was asked if I would be willing to do a special kind of donation intended for infants whose blood type was not yet known…


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Jacques Luc Barbier-Valbonne (1796) by Jean-Baptiste Isabey from The Cleveland Museum of Art

It’s hard to get away from these days. What was once an alternative to smoking and an edgy fad has become a mainstream activity for many who are privy to the exhilarating effects of nicotine. The scourge of poisonous cigarettes seems finally to have a safer and cheaper alternative in the form of sleek little electronic devices. However, like all beneficial shifts in societal norms, this has been meet with disproportionate and undue hysteria.

T.S. Solomon

Perceiving the world forever from the Midwest. Always looking to learn something.

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