Observed in my daily travels: Up the street from FIF World Hindquarters (Chicago Branch), there's a corner lot that like just about every corner lot around this time of year is selling chopped down Douglas Firs for you to proudly display in your window. Out front, it has a sign that says, "Christmas Trees! Happy Holidays!" Some of you more astute readers can already understand why this is funny. However, for those of you who don't, I'll break it down.
I understand that people are afraid of saying "Christmas" because it might offend someone, just like all the British citizens in this country get offended by people wishing them a Happy Fourth of July, unemployed people get offended by people wishing them a Happy Labor Day, and all us Orthodox Christians get offended when everyone tells us Happy Easter, even though Easter is a week or three away. Imagine if one of your Jewish friends wished you a Happy Chanukkah. What a horrible thing for your friend to say to you! Anyway, back to the lecture at hand.
So, you're selling an icon of Christmas... appropriately enough named a Christmas tree. The people coming to shop at your corner lot are likely to be celebrating said Christmas holiday. But, you give the non-committal Happy Holidays because you'll offend... one of your customers?
This week's theme:
Year in review, 2006
Now into our second half of the year, we continue with our look back at 2006, FIF-style.
On July 2nd, Mexicans go to the polls, and in a close election amid multiple reports of voter irregularities (particularly in the Spanish-speaking areas of the country), controversey breaks out over who exactly won. It lasts for a month and a half and is finally resolved after lengthy recounts. I'm telling you, it can happen anywhere. Gotta love democracy!
July 4th, North Korea decides that it will show the world how technologically advanced it is by shooting off a missile called the Taepedong (giggle). The missile promptly fails.
On July 9th, a real international incident breaks out as Zinedine Zidane of France headbutts Marco Materazzi of Italy in the final match of the World Cup. France then loses on penalties 5-3.
July 15th, the UN decides that the best way to get North Korea to stop testing missiles is to do the only thing it knows how to do: pass a resolution. This apparently took 11 days to figure out. The UN also considers passing a resolution aimed at Zidane.
July 18th, outrage builds as Madonna performs a concert in which, as part of her stage act, she cruifies herself on stage. Ummm, after "Like a Prayer", you were perhaps expecting...
On July 20th, Congress gives itself cheap points by voting 98-0 to extend the Voting Rights Act another 25 years. The law makes it illegal to discriminate based on race in matters of voting. This makes me wonder: Why not just make it permanent? Will it ever be right to discriminate based on race in voting?
July 26th, we found out the Lance Bass of N*Sync is gay. I, for one, was shocked.
July 28th, Mel Gibson is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. He blames the Jews. Mel, if you're out there reading this, not only are you a disgrace to honest and decent people out here, but you're actually embarassing all the anti-Semites out there. Think about that for a couple minutes...
July 31st, it appears that Fidel Castro may be mortal. Following surgery, he turns over the official reins of the government to his brother. However, contrary to popular belief, he does not die. Dick Clark. The Queen of England. Fidel Castro. Cal Ripken. Does anyone remember any time that they weren't in their respective positions? What's that? Ripken retired?
August 8th, in Connecticut, former VP nominee Joe Lieberman is defeated in the Democratic Senatorial primary by Ned Lamont. Undaunted, he decides to run any way. Strangely enough, he wins. Again, the joys of democracy!
On August 14th, Dell Computers warned everyone that their laptop was about to catch fire. This includes the laptop that usually brings you FIF. Hey, my fingers are feeling kinda hot...
August 17th, a federal judge reported that tobacco companies have “their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success.” No freaking way!
August 18th, Snakes on a Plane finally premieres after months of buzz. Audiences are shocked to find out that the film really isn't all that good.
On August 24th, a day on which the FDA approved over-the-counter use of the "morning-after pill", which you think might generate a little more discussion, the entire world was in an uproar because Pluto was demoted from planet-hood. For weeks on end, no one seemed able to function and debates raged on in which people with no qualifications in astronomy argued with other people with no qualifications in astronomy. Apparently, this makes a difference.
September 12th brought us J-Ratz (aka Pope Bingo) and his widely-quoted remarks on Islam, in which, depending on whom you ask, he either condemned all Muslims as "evil and inhuman" or quoted an obscure 14th century work that he didn't even agree with. In an attempt to prove that they are not evil, vicious savages, a few very misguided Muslims decide to desecrate Christian holy places and start riots. That'll show 'em!
September 18th, a tape in which Hungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admits that he lied about the state of the Hungarian economy to win votes is released to the media. Riots break out. This is why America needs to export democracy. They would know that this was standard faire.
On September 20th, Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin of Thailand overthrows the government. He installs as his spokesperson a former Miss Asia. There's got to be a Tony Snow joke in there somewhere.
On to the news:
If you thought the barking dogs "Jingle Bells" was annoying...
(A farm animal Christmas album can't be that far away)
Shoppers rescue thief from police
(It was so much easier when the bad guys all wore black stetsons)
Texas looks to legalize blind hunting
(No Dick Cheney jokes, please...)
Bright, shiny objects:
A fellow blogspotter posts about his knitting adventures coming back to Chicago
(Thank you, wife, for the link)
Since we're doing funny blog posts today
(The infamous ghetto indoor pool)
Today's random "next blog":
British property traders/real estate folks living in Valencia, Spain
Today's strange anniversary:
Today also marks the 104th anniversary of the first Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but more importantly:
December 13, 1928 -- Clip-on tie designed. Now there's an invention that America couldn't live without.
Fun fact of the day:
Walt Disney's autograph bears no resemblance to the famous Disney logo.
I'm trying to think of something fun to do on my birthday this Saturday. My wife and I are going to spend the day together, but doing what? Anyone have any good suggestions?