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Dec 19 2010

My parents didn’t really like Christmas. Oh, they certainly claimed to, but when the season was done, its closure was met with an overwhelming sense of relief, as if a period of misery and suffering had come to a close. Over the years I encountered more and more people who feel that way.

I know a small handful who seem to genuinely enjoy the season, but they’re really quite astonishingly rare.

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Dec 13 2010

Dear Amazon,

Yes, I thought I’d divert some of the blog profits and get myself a Kindle for Christmas. Yes, I placed the order a few weeks ago, now.

Yes, I understand that the expected delivery time for this Kindle will be sometime in mid-January. Apparently about an 8 week wait – and like other things that I have ordered from you in the past, probably coming by surface-mail from France, on a ship, and packaged in a sack (no, not kidding – every one of my Amazon orders over the years has turned up in a sack tied up at the neck, and unaccountably shipped from France).

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“Black Friday” is the name given in America to the day after Thanksgiving, and the traditional commencement of the Christmas shopping period. The term came into use in Philadelphia in the 1960s to signify it as a dark day. A day of chaos and disruption, traffic jams and injuries; a day to be feared and shunned, echoing the original Black Friday of September 24, 1869 (the Fisk/Gould scandal that caused a catastrophe in the stock markets). [* According to newspapers and publications of the day, this was the primary usage in 1966]

In more recent years, as the term spread through North America, it has been rebranded as the day retailers start to turn a profit for the year – to go “into the black” – though this explanation is merely a superficial fiction in most cases [* According to the Philadelphia Enquirer, 1981]. Any retailer who remains in the red for nearly a full eleven months of the year, is likely already on the verge of collapse.

Nomenclature aside, Black Friday has co-evolved with the shopping habits of North Americans, and Black Friday as we see it today is indelibly stamped with the logistics of purely physical goods.

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Nov 13 2010

Given its commitment to shut down Teen Second Life at the end of the year – and to migrate the teen users before that – Linden Lab now has less than 48 days left to get the teen users onto the main Second Life grid.

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