Thoughts on Christmas shopping, Tiger Woods, politicians and more.


It’s funny. This year, my 53rd year on the planet, my wife and I prepared for Christmas shopping by depositing money to fund the debit card we will use to do almost all of our Christmas shopping on the internet. I remember, in maybe 1964, being taken into a small-town Woolworth’s by my mother, to buy my father a 75-cent tie tack. The first Christmas present I ever bought. Geez, I’m old and, yes, even though my father has been dead for 22 years, I still have the tie tack.

Did I mishear? Does the government have a plan to “shame” bankers. You might as well try to shame a stripper.

The fact that I love Christmas is a very badly kept secret. I whistle carols starting on Thanksgiving Day. I wear a Santa Claus hat to the office on Christmas Eve. In short, I am an embarrassment to myself and to others. That said, I really, really hope that a lot of people will go to Christmas parades in their towns. It’s one tradition I want to stick around. The Santa in the parade is the real one. How do I know? One of my fourth cousins is an elf. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

President Barrack Obama is STILL America’s first African-American president. That’s what he got elected to do, and by God, he’s doing it.

I live in an old New England mill town, full of 100-year-old three family houses we call “tenements.” I love the city in the winter, when everything is the color of granite, when the winds harp and whinny at the street corners, when the light from tenement windows is the color of melted butter and the best thing you can do is sit in a small restaurant and drink coffee.

By the way, any place with the words “old,” and “mill” in its description is going to sound better than it looks.

Lemme get this straight; they drug test forklift drivers but not elected officials?

The unemployment rate in some parts of the country is 14 to 15 percent, and, if the economy roars to life in the next year, cutting the unemployment rate by a third, those places will still have an unemployment rate of about 10 percent. A third is a lot, but 10 percent is not prosperity.

The trouble is, you want people to leave Tiger Woods alone because you think he deserves his privacy, but you don’t really care what happens to him because he’s a lot richer than you are. Trying to whip up sympathy for the rich is like trying to whip cream with a toothpick.

Unemployment rates are nearly useless anyway, since they were designed when most of the work in America was full time and they were not designed to deal with the variety of lousy employment opportunities available in America today. Run out of benefits? You’re no longer unemployed. Find an $8 an hour job to replace the $15 an hour job you lost? You’re no longer counted as unemployed. Take a part-time, no-benefits job to replace the full-time job you lost? You’re no longer unemployed. Graduated from high school last year and NEVER found a job? You’re not counted as unemployed either.

And, of course, no statistic captures the number of people spending a lifetime working for less money than they need, struggling and getting old and never being free from worry. I don’t even know what you’d call THAT statistic.

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