Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Shopping Bargain-Barrage...The Commercials Begin

Well, Thanksgiving is over, and according to my TV, it is time to IMMEDIATELY turn our attention to storming the malls in our flak jackets and helmets and getting THE BEST DEAL possible on EVERYTHING WE WANT.  Ugh.

WalMart, Target and Kohl's have adopting the advertising strategy of portraying women as over-caffeinated, dangerously wacko bargain-hunters who will knock you over in the aisles and stomp on your toddler to get to the latest cool "must-have," and finish  off their list.  Is this a mirror of how we really are, or a ploy to get us to become this way?

This year we need bargains, for sure.  The smart company would have an advertising roll-out beginning with a commercial of an average woman (c'mom, we do most of the shopping; it's true!!) explaining how she definitely needs a great deal on her items this year, and XYZ Company helps her to get this deal, with a price she can trust.  She could even, God forbid, tell us that she is looking forward to relaxing - instead of being an over-stimulated freak show - and enjoying the true gifts of the season, due to the ease of shopping thanks to XYZ Co.  Now that's a company that I would support.  I'm sick of the blatant commercialism and not so blatant female-stereotyping of this year's ads already - and it's not even December!  Yikes!

And... Heaven help you car companies that try to tell us that we should have a car with a bow on it sitting in the driveway to show our love to that special someone this Christmas; pease just run an ad that says, "Look, we sell cars, and when you have some money for a great lease or purchase, come on down and talk to us; we'll be here waiting to serve you.  But this year, we want to just wish you Merry Christmas, and alert you to the fact that a small portion of our annual earnings are going to help families of the military.  We've got that covered, and we'll look forward to seeing you in the showroom soon!"  That's a dream ad.  And that's a car company that I would consider - and isn't that the goal?

Commercialism at Christmas is a fact in America.  But it is up to you to turn on your filter, and be the person - and shopper - you want to be this holiday season.  I have a vow that I am shopping when I want and how I want, even if it is on December 24th.  Now go get 'em...at your own pace.  :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happiness is in Your Own Backyard

The picture to the left is my home's side yard, and two white rockers that we put out in the summer.  Doing the dishes a few minutes ago after work, I was looking out the window and was struck by how beautiful they looked in front of the foliage, with sun falling on them, so I thought I'd post.

Today the radio went off, the TV went off, and my mind went off - I can't take anymore bad news, and I'm a newsy person.  Its time to soak in some real life, and put things in a positive gear.

What I like about these rocking chairs is that they are very scarred; they are peeling all over, and are now more wood-and-white than white, their original color.  We've had them for years.  I think about painting them every once in awhile, but for some reason I never do; it's like I would be paiting over all the conversations we have had sitting in them - our sons, too, and friends, and us.  If they could talk...I would take an axe to them!!  But I thought they looked beautiful there in the yard, summer gone, fallen leaves surrounding them.

This picture is of our 3-season porch that I had to walk through to get the pic of the rockers - again, struck by the sun slanting in on our couch; peaceful and comforting.  The porch is big and unfinished, and so comfortable; we live in this room 3 seasons a year, due to it's size, and I change it to reflect each season. I don't post pics of my own home normally, but was thinking that we all can stumble on these times in our homes (whether it's an apartment, a mansion, or a mobile home) where we are struck by the feeling of  home, and whatever that means to us.

So, today I'll concentrate on the gifts that are free and good - sun slanting on chairs, a comfortable porch I'm lucky to have, our veterans that today we remember, the love of family and friends.  The news can wait; it's always there, and can bring you down and chip away at your spirit.  Soaring - whether quietly, with a book, or loudly, with some happy activity that leaves you winded and speechless - is an act, not a mistake.  Find the environment where you can make your thoughts, mind and life soar.

Happy Veteran's Day and have a wonderful week-end!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grave Errors in the Telling of the Killing of A Terrorist

It appears that what Americans were told about Osama bin Laden's killing was not accurate in the least, and all of Al Queda could have been shut down had the Administration not rushed to take credit.  During a term going downhill on every front, with poll numbers nose-diving, this military operation appeared like manna from heaven for Obama. This article (and book soon released) also outlines the deep divide between military understanding of events on the ground, and politicians' non-understanding of how these operations really go down.  Thank you Seals, for making us much safer!  We only wish that the Administration had allowed you to complete the routing out and exterminating of this terrorist organization.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Assist at Lake Placid Tourney



We just spent the week-end with our son James' hockey team in Lake Placid, New York, home of the 1980 Olympics, and scene of the Americans beating USSR in Olympics for the gold medal. Our team got to skate on the very same ice! This video shows James taking a shot and Nick getting rebound for goal, netting James an assist.  We also saw the original Olympic ski jumps (so high; much higher than they look on TV) and bobsled course (my son James and teammates went down it on an actual bobsled!)

Lake Placid is a pretty cool place to go if you want to revive your pride in America, relive the Olympics while walking through a real Olympic village, or just ride a bobsled or two. Our boys played four games and had a lot of fun bonding as a team, and so did the parents... it WAS nice, however, to get back to real coffee; no Dunkin' Donuts on Main Street near our hotel!! Is that even legal in America? I recommend the Marriott where our team stayed; very nice. The hill from the ice rink to the hotel almost killed us all, though - people who have been there, you know what I mean. :-)

The ride up was incredibly beautiful this time of year, even though it is past peak foliage time; who knew Vermont and upstate New York so close! I kept telling my husband that there was NO WAY Vermont and New York are connected. He distracted me by pointing out cows and getting me to play the license plate game.

Great job Coach Doherty, Coaches Miele and Margossian, and all PeeWee 1 players!!!