Monday, December 02, 2013

How the Merchants Stole Thanksgiving

I had already beefed about how much I hate that Thanksgiving has been overshadowed by Christmas just last year. But this year something new set me off.

 I was in a grocery store, of all places, two weeks before Thanksgiving, and the store was full of Christmas decorations, with Christmas music playing continuously on the PA. I was expecting to see pilgrims and turkeys, Indian corn and cornucopias, but instead there were Christmas trees, snowmen, and candy canes. (while marked down Halloween items were still on display) A friend who came in with me said he wanted to get stuff for Thanksgiving, but the music and decor spoiled the mood, so he just got dog food and left.

 Now I can understand why most merchants would want to push Christmas on us as early as they can get away with, but a grocery store? I mean, they sell turkeys and sweet potatoes and pumpkin pies and all that good stuff. I kept wondering what prompted them to join with  the other merchants, wanting to jump from Halloween straight to Christmas.

I kept on wondering what happened to Thanksgiving while watching TV. It seems to have been replaced with Black Friday. That's what most of the commercials were about, and even the news. Not much mention of Thanksgiving this year on TV. What's up with that?

It has been explained to me that the term 'Black Friday' comes from the way accountants write up a company's expenses in red ink and the profits in black ink, expecting to gain more profits during the Holiday Season. But I have another theory. During older times, the term 'black' was used to refer to something evil or satanic, such as Black Sabbath, Black Sunday, or anything that was a travesty of something sacred.

Gee, how might this apply in this case? We have a holiday that is supposed to be about 'Giving Thanks,' and the next day is devoted to 'Gimmie Gimmie.'

Now before I get accused of being a religious fanatic, I ask you to think about this. Doesn't this sound like something the devil would do to profane a sacred holiday? What a better way of distracting us from thanking God for the good things we have than to incite us into wanting more, more, more?

Of course, there are those of us who, for various reasons, do not believe in God or the devil, but we do believe in what we see. And what we see is people fighting against each other to the point of getting dangerous over material things. Is this what the Holiday Season is about? No way, Jose!

 People have actually been killed during Black Friday shopping. I don't even feel safe being in a shopping center parking lot during that day, as people are driving through there without any regard to courtesy or safety.

Say it with me, Folks. The Holiday Season is supposed to be about Peace and Good Will. The word, 'holiday' comes from 'holy day.'  It is appropriate to start off the Holiday Season by remembering to be thankful for the all the good things we have. What a pity that we have lost our perspective on the Holiday Spirit so completely. Should we blame the merchants, or should we blame ourselves for letting them con us the way they have?

I suggest we ask ourselves what we can do to bring the Spirit back into the Season, rather than how much money we can spend.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

50 Years After JFK

I'm old enough to remember that fateful day in November of 1963, and how well I remember it. I was 8 years old. It was announced in school that the president has died, and we were all sent home for the day. On my way home I saw grown-ups in tears, which, for a little boy, carried quite an impact. That impact I still feel today whenever I think about Kennedy, and the tremendous influence he has had on our nation.

Billy Graham on TV was telling us not to vote for Kennedy because he's a Catholic, and America should always be run by Protestants of English descent. I have hated him ever since. Many great and wonderful people have died since then. Why is Graham still here?

I still have trouble believing that Kennedy won against Nixon by one of the narrowest margins in history. I always thought the choice was obvious.
I still have trouble believing Nixon was Eisenhower's VP.

In my eyes, there has never been a greater American president during the 20th Century, and I continue to think about what America would be like today had JFK lived out his second term. We can only speculate, of course, but I still wonder how much further we may have progressed in the direction he was leading us.

Five years later, his brother Bobby and Dr. King met the same fate, cut down by an assassin's bullet, which made me worry about the direction we had taken since then. I am very proud of the way my generation had responded to it.

We may never be able to prove the conspiracy theory about the assassination, but if you ask me, it's a whole lot more credible than the theory that Oswald acted alone.

"Don't let it be forgot
that once there was a spot
for one brief shining moment
known as Camelot."

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Putting Castro Away

It was back in May, just a few months ago, when the news reached us that three young women who were missing, had escaped from their captor.
This was big news indeed!
Three girls were abducted, all in the same neighborhood, and were missing for over ten years.
Now we all know that when they are missing for that long, the chances are very slim that they will ever be seen alive again.
But it happened!

I wanted to write this up, but so did all the websites about missing persons, (or almost all) and they had gotten a head start on me. What could I add to it? I would only be repeating what everyone else was saying. So I decided to wait and see what happens.

I didn't have to wait long!
While summer is still here, the monster had already been tried!
It's about time they quit messing around when it comes to taking care of business like this. Not only the same year, but the same season! When was the last time that happened in America?

I especially like what Marc Klaas had to say about it.

And I'm glad they did away with all that "Aw the poor little schmuck who never had enough opportunities while growing up " kind of crap. We can do without making excuses for crimes of this magnitude.

Need I remind my fellow Americans that it is the victims we should feel sorry for?
Well, if that be the case.,,20722181,00.html

Lets hope our state, and the rest of our nation, can take an example from Ohio.
(I never thought I'd be saying that!)
Less than a month into his sentence and the man hangs himself. It seems he couldn't take what he dished out.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tom Lehrer

It has come to my attention that there are those of the younger generation who have not heard of Tom Lehrer.
 I find this news very distressing.

I would not want my fellow Americans to miss out on the messages brought to us in song by this once popular troubador of the 1950s and 60s.
So I've decided to do something about it.

This here song, 'National Brotherhood Week,' has long been a favorite of mine, for I find it very meaningful as well as funny as hell. I could say the same for nearly all of his songs, which are as relevent to society today as they were back then.

I also like 'Vatican Rag,'
'Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,'
and 'Pollution.'

You will find all of these songs and more on YouTube.
So come on all you young whippersnappers, and see what you've been missing!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Whose Side is the Law On?

Those who have been following this blog may have noticed that I like to observe the holidays as they go by. I confess I sometimes use this as a distraction, something more pleasant to write about. Awhile back I had read a book that had disturbed me so much it took me a long time to decide how to respond to it. It's called "Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction that Changed America" by Les Standiford (w/ Det Sgt Joe Matthews)

If the authors of this book are to be believed at all, it appears that the lead investigator of this case has been making great efforts to prevent this case from being solved.
Hard to believe? Read the book and see for yourself!

You may already know the story of Adam Walsh, and how his father, John Walsh, came to become the host on "America's Most Wanted," perhaps the most popular true crime show on TV. This certainly helped get this case a lot of coverage. It seems John Walsh has done a lot more to fight crime than the police in Hollywood, Florida.

It took 25 years to solve this case, but it shouldn't have. There were those who knew it all along. There was plenty of evidence as to who the killer was, but that evidence was kept hidden. The lead investigator, instead of trying to solve the case, was busy keeping anyone else from doing so. It begs the question of why any law-enforcement officer would want to protect such a vicious killer.

Has this happened before? I'm sorry to say this, but Yes, I think so.
Back in the 1990s I had read a book called "The Sleeping Lady" by Robert Graysmith.

This author is best known for  his work on the Zodiac killer. I was told this made him very unpopular with the police in that area, who tried to discredit him. I say this to warn you about those who will tell you this story is not true. I can't prove that it is, I wasn't there, but I can tell you that I was utterly shocked and disturbed when I read this book. The Sleeping Lady tells about a serial killer who apparently did a poor job of covering his tracks, and left clues all over the place. What was so shocking is that so much evidence was completely ignored, and leads not followed up on. I was wondering if perhaps the killer actually wanted to get caught.

But it's not always the police who screw up getting a conviction. In the case of Debbie Key, it was the judge and the DA. There are things that I believe and things that I know. I know the Carrboro Police really wanted to solve this case. ('nuff said?)

Being from Washington, DC, (and having often played in Rock Creek Park as a boy) I have also been following closely the case of  Chandra Levy. Now let me tell you about another book I've read recently. It's called "Finding Chandra : A True Washington Murder Mystery." by Bob Woodward.

If a murder could ever be considered a comedy, (not really) this case reads like a true comedy of errors. The remains were found in an area the police have supposedly already searched. After collecting all the bones they could find, a tibia was found later in the same area, after the yellow tape was taken down. But worse than that, the killer had already been arrested and was in custody while they were still blaming a congressman for committing the crime. One of his victims, a woman jogger in the park, managed to escape his assault and go to the police, providing a description and, after they caught him, an identification. But somehow that piece of information didn't get connected to the info that Chandra was last known to be jogging in Rock Creek Park before she went missing. Everyone was too excited about the fact that she was having an affair with Congressman Condit, and sure it must have been him "who done it." It took 8 years to solve this case, again while all the info was readily available. (I have more to say about this later.)

How often does something like this happen? Ask Kim Rossmo!


To this day, the Surete Du Quebec, the police in Canada who were "investigating" the case of Theresa Allore, still refuse to admit it was a murder, in spite of overwhelming evidence. Is it stupidity? Are they protecting someone? Or just too lazy to care? (See "Who Killed Theresa?" on the links list.)

Now I don't want to advocate vigilantism. I'm against it, really. But I do want to say that perhaps we must be careful not to become too complacent, when it comes to depending on those whose job it is to protect us from dangerous killers.

Oh, and don't depend on newspapers to tell you everything you need to know about a crime case. Take a trip to your local library and find what books are available about it. (unless you prefer to buy them from Amazon.)

PS -- I hope you like my "book report." I've decided to do this for March this year, instead of something about St.Pat's Day and Easter. I figured I had already covered these holidays, but I'll still be celebrating them!

Thursday, February 07, 2013


I have always loved Juice Newton (isn't she beautiful?) and this video. (I'm sure she must have had fun making it.) Today, when I think about Valentine's Day, this is what comes to mind.

I'm sure every one us, at some time in our lives, has been wounded in love. Don't feel bad. Life wouldn't be complete if it never happens. We keep on trying because we must. If you even think about giving up, you send up a red flag.

At a party recently I was in a conversation about how hard it is to get a date when you're at a certain age, (say 45 or 50?) and still single. One of the reasons is we get more discerning as we get older. When we do manage to get a date it doesn't always work out. Sometimes it's a total disaster. But always, it was worth a try.

When an attempt at a relationship fails, we never regret having put so much effort into it. For in truth we gain a lot more than we lose. (Oh no! Not another learning experience!)  Love doesn't always (if ever!) meet our expectations, but pity the poor soul who tries to live without it.

When we are younger we never talk about past relationships while on a date. It's not a good way to make sure there will be another one. We talk about the one we are with, and the possibility of a relationship in the near future. But when we are older we are expected to have had some experience with relationships, and hopefully, something to show for it. In some ways, it actually gets a little easier, having expectations that are a little more realistic. (maybe more than a little!)

So this year, for Valentine's Day, I wish for everyone still single and forlorn to take heart. As long as we are still living, there is still hope. (and if you end up spending the day alone, you can still listen to Juice Newton!)