Happy Turkey Day!

In keeping with a national tradition going back to–depending on what legend you care to believe–1989, 1963, 1947, or 1865, President Obama has pardoned a turkey. Or maybe two. The official pardon was given to a nearly fifty pound bird by the name of “Cheese”. However, it appears that his “alternate,” a bird named “Mac” has also been pardoned.

Clearly, this is some strange new use of the word “alternate” I haven’t previously encountered. I would have expected it to refer to the bird that would take Cheese’s place on somebody’s dinner table.

Obama is puzzled by the concept of pardoning a turkey. Back in 2009, the first time he perpetuated the tradition, he said “There are certain days when I remember why I ran for this office. And then there are moments like this.” He still hasn’t figured it out; saying yesterday “It’s a little puzzling that I do this every year.”

As Gawker reported, the first and second teenagers participated in a tradition that goes back to the first time a parent said anything in public. Sasha and Malia clearly felt they had far better things to do with their Wednesday than hang out with a turkey. Even if said turkey is president of the United States and their father.

Seriously, though, I do President Obama an injustice. He may not know why he’s pardoning a turkey, and his daughters may not respect him for being a tool of the Poultry and Egg Board, but at least he’s clear on the concepts of “turkey” and “pardon”.

Unlike President Obama, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray missed those lessons. Last week, he issue a mayoral pardon to a Tofurky. Yes, you read that correctly. He “pardoned” a box of soybeans. It was one of the shortest reprieves on record: the AP reports that after the ceremony, the relieved hunk of plant life was sent to the Rainier Valley Food Bank.

Mac and Cheese will live out a full turkey lifespan, but poor Tom Tofurky isn’t even going to make it to his “Best Before” date.

Meanwhile, our turkey–not one of the local wild birds–is in the oven. No pardons here, though we did make a donation to the needy: the turkey’s liver has been distributed to the Backyard Bunch.

Whether you’re eating turkey today or not, happy Turkey Day to you all.