I completed most of my Christmas shopping on December 23rd and 24th. But I must also confess — I didn’t start Christmas shopping until December 23rd.
Call me a “late bloomer.” I’m a “closer.”
Foolishly, I figured that just about everyone would have finished buying their holiday gifts by that time and most of the department stores would be nearly empty except, except for a few desperate souls. Boy, was I wrong! Little did I know, most people piddle and patter around until the last minute to shop for presents. Idiots.
Maybe it was watching “The Big Short” here in Las Vegas, where the housing crash hit so hard and caused so much pain, which not only made the movie pertinent, but intensely personal.
An evening showing of the film last night in Downtown Summerlin drew nervous laughter, moments of spontaneous clapping, audible gasps, and above all else — visible anger from the packed audience riveted by a cinematic re-creation of the most grotesque national scandal of our lifetimes, the events leading up to the global financial crisis of 2008.
Yours truly with Romanian Army officers, Spring 1990
Writer’s Note: Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Romanian Revolution. Continuing with a series of articles from my time spent stationed at the United States Embassy in Bucharest, Romania from 1989-1900, what follows is a post-revolution story which occurred a few months after the fall of dictator Nicolea Ceausescu and the end of Communism in Eastern Europe. READ PREVIOUS EXCERPTS HERE
Capitalism has kidnapped Christmas, blindfolded it, and stuck a sock in its mouth.
Indeed, we’ve become hostages to crass materialism, wild shopping and spending sprees, and ultimately end up as slaves to crushing consumer debt.
So, how did we stray so far adrift from the intended spirit of the holiday tradition of earlier and much simpler times? What happened to sharing and caring? Whatever became of goodwill towards all? Those noblest of virtues were trampled weeks ago, the moment all the stores opened up on Black Friday.
The single constant reminder of the true meaning of the holidays remains the enduring spirit of our most beloved Christmas carols. Music fills our hearts with joy. Songs bring us good cheer. But hidden in between the Yule festivities, might there be something far more profound the songwriters and lyricists intended?
Consider some of our favorite holiday songs. Might these lyrics have have messages that were inspired by none other than Karl Marx? This isn’t as crazy as it sounds:
“Away in a Manger”
Away in a manger,
No crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens
Looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay.
— What these lyrics really mean: Bethlehem’s lack of affordable housing creates homeless children, including impoverished infants.
“All I Want for Christmas is You”
I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There’s just one thing I need.
I don’t care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree.
— What these lyrics really mean: The proletariat is starting to revolt and is rejecting boorish materialism.
“Do You Hear What I Hear?”
Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
Do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know
A child, a child shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold.
— What these lyrics really mean: Capitalism demands that we turn over our wealth to the ruling class.
“Frosty the Snowman”
Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose,
And two eyes made out of coal.
— What these lyrics really mean: Frosty desperately needs a single-payer health care system since he can’t afford a normal nose and eyes. Big tobacco has also turned him into a helpless drug addict (the crack pipe is unspecified).
“God Rest ‘Ye Merry Gentlemen”
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ, our savior,
Was born on Christmas day.
— What these lyrics really mean: There’s no mention of women “resting.” Only gentlemen get to loaf around the house. Women are required to do all the work around the holidays and even work overtime. Gender discrimination is rampant.
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night.
She didn’t see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peep;
She thought that I was tucked
Up in my bedroom fast asleep.
— What these lyrics really mean: Lack of community services and proper government oversight creates a voyeuristic child destined for adulthood perversion.
“I’ll be home for Christmas”
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.
— What these lyrics really mean: Poor public transportation systems and lack of infrastructure create heartache around the holidays caused by the separation of family members.
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way!
O what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.
— What these lyrics really mean: The evils of capitalism lead to a terrible situation — an overworked horse pulling a heavy sled in freezing temperatures — in other words, animal abuse.
“Little Drummer Boy”
The ox and lamb kept time
I played my drum for him
I played my best for him
Pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Then he smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.
— What these lyrics really mean: Child labor practices are encouraged during the holidays. Stressed-out child musician receives no compensation, other than a smile.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph,
Play in any reindeer games….
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say.
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?
— What these lyrics really mean: Within free-market economies, minorities face institutionalized mass discrimination and are often exploited for their unique talents and characteristics.
Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me
I’ve been an awful good girl….
Santa baby, an out-of-space convertible too, light blue….
Santa honey, I wanna yacht and really that’s
Not a lot.
I’ve been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight.
— What these lyrics really mean: Here’s selfish consumerism at its absolute worst. A young girl is taught to covet a sable coat, a yacht, and blue convertible. Moreover, she demands he bring all the gifts down the chimney, not tomorrow, but tonight!
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
He sees you when you’re sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!
— What these lyrics really mean: Constitutional protections and individual civil liberties have been annihilated under capitalism.
“The 12 Days of Christmas”
On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French Hens,
Two turtle doves
And a Partridge in a pear tree.
— What these lyrics really mean: “On the 13th day of Christmas, my true love’s credit cards were all maxed out and she declared bankruptcy.”
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.
— What these lyrics really mean: Racism, plain and simple.
In case you missed one of the greatest gaffes of all time on live television last night, game show host Steve Harvey blundered in the closing moments of the Miss Universe Pageant by announcing the wrong winner.
Global warming and man-made climate change is real.
Just look at temperatures around the NFL for today’s games. For the second straight week, not a single game will be played in freezing temperatures — despite cold-weather cities Minneapolis, Baltimore, Foxborough, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Pittsburgh all hosting games this Sunday.
Last weekend, the coldest temperature at any NFL stadium was in Green Bay. That’s certainly no surprise. What was a shock was the game time temperature — a bone-chilling 52 degrees. Hardly the “Ice Bowl.”
Would someone please check the calendar? Is it really December 20th?
President Obama has failed again.
Born in Kenya to radicalized parents, Barack Obama was cultivated as the perfect sleeper cell for Muslim extremism. Sent clandestinely by hard-line Islamic conspirators to Hawaii, and then Chicago, his orders were to infiltrate the democratic system, fool the populace, get elected to high office, and implement policies that would ultimately destroy America. Given the expectations, President Obama has been failure of historic proportions.
Since President Obama assumed office seven years ago in a rigged national election tainted by voter fraud — a global financial meltdown was averted, unemployment has been cut nearly in half, the stock market rocketed up 192 percent, 32 million Americans enjoyed health coverage for the first time, gas prices fell by 35 percent, inflation is non-existent, the U.S. automotive industry was saved, and Democrats appear to be all but assured of controlling the executive branch for at least another four-year term. None of this was supposed to happen. President Obama can’t seem to do anything right.
Many of you have seen the hideously kitsch portrait of poker playing presidents.
There are two versions — one with Republicans (above), the other with Democrats (at end of column). I’ll assess them in bi-partisan fashion. Both are atrocious. They make the poker playing dogs look like The Last Supper.
The Republican poker game includes Abraham Lincoln hosting his pals — George Bush, Sr., Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Jr., Dwight D. Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. Some psychopath even painted Sarah Palin into the most current version. If I had the opportunity to stake someone in that lineup, I’d bankroll Nixon in a Watergate minute. My reasoning is simple: He’d be willing to cheat to win. That makes him an easy favorite in Republican Party politics.
The Democratic poker game is equally preposterous. Thomas Jefferson is the table captain, joined by his chums — Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Lyndon B. Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, and Harry Truman. In this field, I’d make Johnson the clear favorite, that is, unless the game was played in Vietnam. Jimmy Carter might as well be drawing dead.
It’s become impossible to ignore.
“Star Wars” comes out tomorrow. Everywhere you look, it’s “Star Wars” this and “Star Wars” that. The movie isn’t even out yet, and I’m already sick of fucking “Star Wars.” I think most other people are sick of it, too.
So, let’s do something. Let’s all band together and boycott “Star Wars.” Let refuse to buy tickets to “Star Wars,” then the movie theaters will end up with a shitload of empty seats and lose a ton of money. That will teach Hollywood a lesson that we need more foreign-language documentaries, instead of space ship movies. What a statement that would make! So, who’s with me on this?