Giving thanks for Groupons, purged memories and hissing cockroaches

November 25, 2010

Ah, Thanksgiving. Has there ever been a year when we truly needed a break from the constant carping that has become our national sport? Just for today, let's leave it to the cable TV barkers and the online posters to make sure that everything that's wrong with the world gets duly noted. You can even re-join them on Friday. But for today, let's give credit where it's due. I'll even start.

Here are 23 things I'm thankful for:

•The prospect of seeing all those plastic bags that currently get tangled in trees instead impaled on the spikes of the scary sculpture Pat Turner wants to erect in Westport.

•The emergence of the best calling-out line of the year, suitable everywhere from ESPN to Maryland gubernatorial debates: "C'mon, man!"

•Groupons. Because they've somehow convinced me that by spending money, I'm saving it.

•Public schoolteachers who put themselves on the line in the cause of educational reform, voting in a new contract that will link their pay to their performance and not just seniority. Next up, the principals and administrators. C'mon, people, be the supermen and (women) we're waiting for.

•Rolling in first class or serving a time-out sentence in his crib, the totally 'dorable eTrade baby.

•Joe Flacco: increasingly hitting his marks, ix-naying the interceptions and even showing some fire in a heated nose-to-nose on the sidelines with Derrick Mason. Joe Cool gets hot.

•The pie, pushing aside the cupcake and getting a moment, according to The New York Times. A rejection of the selfish cake-for-one in favor of the communal slice-and-share dessert? Or simply a rejection of what usually is a dry and overpriced platform for excessive frosting? Discuss.

•The GM IPO and the promise of taxpayer bailout money being paid back.

•April 29: A royal wedding. Will and Katie tea towels and mouse pads and thimbles, oh my!

•The spectacle of the various party chair battles: Every senator caller-ID'ing Harry Reid and letting him go to voicemail as he searches for a sacrificial lamb — I mean, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Everybody but Michael Steele looking for anybody but Michael Steele to chair the GOP National Committee. And newly minted Baltimore County Central Committee Chairman Tony Campbell already daring detracting members to try to impeach him. Partisanship: the new bipartisanship.

•Nordstrom's deciding, as a sign outside the store explained, to celebrate one holiday one at a time and holding off on the tinsel and "fa la las" until Friday.

•We're number 11! CQ Press rates Baltimore only the 11th most dangerous U.S. city.

•The safe return of the pilfered Madagascar hissing cockroach and all his (her?) creepy, crawly friends, without which we surely would have cracked the top 10.

•The news that corporate profits were the highest ever recorded last quarter. C'mon, suits! Share the wealth and start hiring!

•The ongoing redemption of Michael Vick.

•The second chance for most of Vick's "Lost Dogs."

•The return of the original — and still the best — six-pack: Marky Mark Wahlberg in "The Fighter."

•The anticipation of a whole season for Buck Showalter to work his magic — and now with Willie Randolph at his side.

•The Hopkins researchers who someday might be able to do a memory-wipe on our traumas — like the Orioles' past 13 losing seasons.

•Southwest Airlines, for holding fast against the trend of charging fees — increasingly exorbitant ones, I might add — to check in your bags. Which of course has had the entirely predictable effect of turning cabins into flying versions of the Joads' car.

•The great Alan Cummings as a Rahm-ish political operative on "The Good Wife."

•The chance that the real Rahm Emanuel now will turn up as a guest star.

•And finally, the finding that gratitude is actually healthy for you. Really. As story in The Wall Street Journal noted this week, researchers have found that people who are thankful tend to have more energy, fatter paychecks and fewer viral infections. And make sure you don't raise a bunch of ungrateful wretches; thankful children get better grades and complain of fewer stomachaches.

Happy Thanksgiving — and no need to thank me. Well, as you can see, it wouldn't hurt.

Jean Marbella is a columnist for The Sun. Her e-mail is jean.marbella@baltsun.com.

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