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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 08/09/12

Thursday, August 9, 2012

TOP 10 INDUSTRIES THAT THRIVE ON HOLIDAYS!

   Attach a notion of “specialness” to something, and people will find a way to throw money at it. This is a principal true of every consumer product with an advertising campaign (“If [such and such a celebrity] drinks it, then it must be pretty special”). But what’s bigger than anything any advertising agency could possibly dream up? A commercial holiday, “commercial” being a term used to discern from any possible religious significance. A commercial holiday is like an all-purpose ad campaign, wherein consumers are expected to buy and subscribe to a variety of pertinent rituals in order to fit in properly. Didn’t get Mom a card for Mother’s Day? Expect borderline excommunication. These beliefs are embedded deep in the fabric of our culture, to where tradition becomes more powerful than any fact or biblical preaching. There’s a lot of money to be made at the exact point where “personal” becomes strictly business; here are ten businesses and industries that are keenly aware of this fact.



10. Infomercials


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   Infomercials do a great service: they provide a last-minute option for procrastinating shoppers who can’t think of or hand-make anything thoughtful in time, and need something “gift-like”, stat. Many Christmases could end in tragic, empty-armed disappointment if it weren’t for the bombardment of suggestions that come on the tube after about 3 A.M. Christmas, birthday and graduation gifts can henceforth, and effortlessly, be any assortment of a Snuggy, ShakeWeight or underwater electric razor. Best gifts are the ones that lack gender-specificity; just get 8 of those and Christmas shopping is done. (Warning: people you actually care about won’t appreciate the obvious lack of thought that goes into any one of these gifts, but by all means indulge a coworker).



9. Professional Photography Studios


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   Every family is required to put out a Christmas card every year, or else the neighbors will be baited. A Christmas card captures just how “perfect” a family is, or at least the image of, whereafter they can go back to being terrible and volatile, on the way back from Sears. Only truly gifted artists could make such a fallacy an apparent truth, which is why they get paid the big bucks, and why families are so tickled by the notion of spreading this masterful concoction to everyone in their address book.



8. Fireworks


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   Not legal everywhere, these self-contained spectacles are the toast of every Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and patriotic other occasion. After all, nothing spells U.S.A. like Chinese imports. Every fair concludes with them, the mighty “Grand Finale,” and every drunken Summer night spent away from work deserves, and belligerently demands, their presence. Explosions in the sky never disappoint, feeding that animalistic desire for consequence-free fire and destruction, which is why border-runs are so frequent and unstoppable.



7. Airlines




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   The one industry that rarely shuts an eye, hence the red-eye, is the airline industry. More than any other means of travel, it is the most efficient and practical way to travel great distances in a timely, scheduled manner (in spite of how much waiting and security checkpoints must be endured). Every holiday season, seats get booked to maximum capacity, to where the cheapest seat last minute is usually in the thousands (even as sites like Expedia and Travelocity do their best to alleviate this fact). Seeing family and friends is a component of virtually every holiday or festive occasion, and to do so, transportation is a vital, if mundane, consideration in every case. A business built around the essential motions and functions of life will always do unspeakably well for itself, just ask the healthcare or fast food industry.




6. Video Games
 
 
 
 
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   Every holiday season, without fail, stores like Game Stop, Electronics Boutique and Best Buy sell out of every major console, especially right after the latest and greatest one has been released just in time for such a time of the year. Right around November, appeasing mothers cram into malls to snatch up that fancy “game-box” junior’s been talking about, just so the kid can rip it open Christmas morning without a scintilla of surprise or doubt. Wii’s, XBox 360′s, and PS3′s have sold out religiously in mostly every Christmas past, but as no kid seems to be without one these days, it seems right about time Wii 2, Xbox 720, and PS4 make their parking lot-congesting debuts.



5. Restaurants
 
 
 
 
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   The number one go-to or last resort gift is a visit, or gift card, to some classy-looking restaurant, but usually just the Olive Garden or T.G.I. Fridays. It’s a preferable escape from slaving over a hot stove, a dad-favorite on Mother’s Day, and an ideal date all at about twenty or thirty bucks a plate. It’s just the price that says “I’m not entirely cheap, but I’m not very original either.” Restaurants do very well on special occasions, seasonally that is, and given that there’s always some kind of commercial holiday every few weeks or so, it’s not a bad investment in any case. The food doesn’t have to be great, but dim lights and faint, vaguely romantic music overhead spells Valentine’s Day hot spot.



4. Hollywood




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   Tim Allen alone has lined his pockets with a lion’s share of Christmas tinsel, appearing in three progressively terrible Santa Claus movies, as well as a terribly over-acted Christmas with the Cranks (based on a novel?!). Every holiday seems to require a sludge pile of opportunistic films that ride a cheap gimmick with a plot centering around a holiday, and an unceasingly unfunny series of disasters (Four Christmases, Surviving Christmas, Deck the Halls, Fred Claus…you get it).
Christmas is the obvious cash-in, but even lesser holidays are finding distasteful exploitation: Valentine’s Day (the movie of the same name), Halloween (every 3D slasher movie that comes out conveniently on Halloween weekend, not to mention the movie of the same name and every time it is rebooted), Easter (Hop), etc. That’s not to say there’s no such thing as a good holiday movie (It’s a Wonderful Life, Nightmare Before Christmas, Christmas Vacation, Christmas Story, etc.), but Hollywood rarely seems concerned with generating memorable instant classics so much as greasing its own sprockets with transient rubbish and easy money.


3. Candy



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   How many times do we binge on marshmallow Peeps and swear to never touch them again, that is until they hit the shelves again in the shape of a Christmas tree or pumpkin rather than a bunny? And when we swear out candy for good, we can never resist that 80% off sale in the center aisle of the local pharmacy. Between candy corn, Peeps, boxes of chocolate, and various other fun-sized sugar-and-carnauba wax-covered sweets, our love for cloistering substances and suckered obligation to incorporate them into our every celebration means only big money for the Willy Wonkas of the world.




2. Greeting Cards




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   What a great enterprise: paying someone else to preconceive the ideal sentiment for any given occasion. What better way to tell someone you care about them than to pay four dollars to let someone say just how so. Somehow they’ve worked their way into every holiday/birthday/ form of congratulations and are somehow considered a “thoughtful” gesture. What would be thoughtful would be to type a personal letter, or get a BLANK card and write in something heartfelt and original. Nevertheless, a trip to the drug store counts just the same.



1. Liquor Stores and Bars




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    What’s a holiday without the booze. In fact there are holidays devoted exclusively to the substance (St. Paddy’s Day, with or without green beer), but all usually end in drunken foolishness. While kids look forward to cake, pie, and trick-or-treating, adults look forward to the swift elevation of their B.A.C. levels. Liquor stores and bars thrive more than anyone else on universally-designated “special” days, more so than the unsynchronized birthday or situational cause for celebration. When these big days approach, extra efforts are made to ensure a cornucopia surplus of cases and handles, or else dire consequences be wrought (in the form of bleeding cash registers).

HOW TO MAKE MARSHMALLOW FONDANT!

How to Make Marshmallow Fondant




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Marshmallow fondant is easy to make and pretty fun to use. You can cover cakes and cookies with it to give them a smooth professional-looking finish or you can cut out shapes and designs to decorate your icing with. Its cheaper to make your own fondant than it is to buy it pre-made plus the pre-made stuff tastes a bit like cardboard unless you are willing to pay for a very high end product.




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All you need is:
  1. Marshmallows - they can be big marshmallows or mini ones, either one works fine.
  2. Icing sugar - You'll be mixing the icing sugar into the marshmallows to make a dough so I usually make sure that I have an entire bag on hand.. but I rarely use the whole bag.
  3. Food colouring
  4. Flavoring oil - This is optional. If you don't add this your fondant will be sweet and flavorless which works well if your got all the flavors your want in your cake already



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    This time I decided to make it with those mini fruit flavored marshmallows. I had to sort them by colour first. I figured they would add a little bit of flavor to the fondant so I wouldn't have to add much flavoring oil.




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    I use gel colours to dye my fondant but regular food colouring will work too. You won't be able to get really dark colours without making your fondant sticky, but for lighter colours you can just even it out with more icing sugar.
    I also had lemon oil and coconut flavoring on hand.. oh la la the value brand (which still works fine).




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    Step One:
    Take a couple of handfuls of marshmallows and put them in a microwave safe bowl. Add a couple of drops of water and toss the marshmallows in it until they are all a bit damp. If you are going to just make one colour then put the whole bag of marshmallows in the bowl and add a couple of teaspoons of water. If you're going to put flavoring oil in, add it now and add less water
    I like to make smaller batches because its easier to add the colour to the melted marshmallow than it is to work the colour into the fondant later.
    Step Two:
    Stick the marshmallows in the microwave for ten seconds at a time until the are puffed up and easily stir into a goo with a wooden spoon. Tip: Grease your spoon with butter, things can get a bit sticky.
    Step Three:
    Add food colouring to the melted marshmallows until you get the colour you want. Remember that you're going to be adding icing sugar which will lighten the colour so make it a bit brighter than you need.





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    Step Four:
    Start folding icing sugar into the marshmallow goo until it becomes a soft and fluffy dough. Grease your hands with a bit of butter and turn the marshmallow out onto a table sprinkled with icing sugar. Continue to knead in icing sugar until the fondant is stiff enough to roll out.
    If you add too little icing sugar the fondant will be very sticky- Just add more icing sugar
    If you add too much icing sugar the fondant will be very stiff and hard to roll out - knead in a little bit of butter




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    Fondant with the icing sugar kneaded in.





    Finished fondant!
    For this batch of colours I made larger batches of lighter colours and then worked some extra gel colouring into the already made fondant to make smaller batches of darker colours. The dark purple and dark green were made from the a light pink and light green.
    All you need to do is knead the gel colour in.. it takes a while to get it all mixed in which is why I only do it for smaller batches.




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    To store your fondant wrap them in pieces of lightly greased plastic wrap and keep them either in a big ziplock bag or a tupperware container. The fondant is essentially a sugar paste (its just marshmallows and icing sugar) so it has a shelf life of three or four months. If it feels a bit stiff and hard to use after being stored for a long time you can soften it up by kneading a bit of butter in or putting in the microwave one-two seconds at a time.




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    Now its ready to roll out and use to decorate your cakes and cookies!

    THE GREEN RIVER RENDEZVOUS FROM PINEDALE, WYOMING!




        Each year on the second full weekend in July, Pinedale, Wyoming turns back the clock to the time when the Mountain Men would gather together with the native tribes and anyone else to trade their furs and tell their stories. Back in the 1830s, the Rendezvous could last for months.
        The Rendezvous events include the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal and Forum. Each year, the Mountain Man museum publishes a journal with writings from different authors. At the forum you can meet the authors, hear their presentations. The event is a reception on Friday evening.






         Members of The American Mountain Men Museum will give presentations about what it was like to be a Mountain Man in the early days of the 19th century. You will learn how the started fires, the tools they used in fur trapping, the firearms of the time, how to make rope and hear stories. There is a special program just for children as well.
    The Plains Indian Encampment is located right next to the museum and the village is made the way the Plains Indians lived, with tipis , wickiups, sweatlodges, brush arbors and meat drying racks. The Pageant at the rodeo grounds is a faith full representation of what a real Rendezvous was like. The performance lasts for about an hour and has about 70 participants.






        Trader's Row is where you can get authentic beadwork, pelts, period clothing and accessories and there will also be an Arts & Craft Fair
    The Rendezvous Rodeo at the Rodeo Grounds has very type of rodeo competition there is - Barrel Racing, Senior & Junior Peewee Barres, Breakaway, Calf Roping, Team Roping, Tie Down Roping, Bulls, Bareback and Saddle Bronc.






        There will also be a tour of the exact location of the old Rendezvous, the place where the Green River and Horse Creek meet and don't miss out on the Buffalo Burger Lunc, the annual pancake breakfast, the pie sale and a chance to learn Indian Sign Language.
    There is also a chance to help out a local charity by participating in the Rendezvous, Ramble 5-Mile Walk or Run, Registration is open right up to race time.






        Other events include the Rendezvous Parade, Women's Frying Pan Toss, Kids Fishing
    Derby, Horse Shoe Tournament, Block Party, Fireworks Show Sponsored by the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce. Fireworks and the Farmer's Market & Impromptu Jam Session All Musicians invited.






        There is no other event like the Green River Rendezvous because there is no other place like the Green River. It holds a special place in American history and it tells the special story of the people who are a big part of American folk lore and legend.