The Things We Choose to Care about

Wow, the world would be better if, if we weren’t so full of crap.

Is the decor of your $5 coffee cup really a problem and not for nothing, who is telling you you can’t say Merry Christmas? “Happy Holidays” isn’t anything new and I think most folks say it because there is more than one holiday going on and perhaps there isn’t a need to spend foreever checking off a never ending list of platitudes when your biggest goal is to escape the conversation. It seems to me that we are for freedom of religion until somebody actually exercises that. War on Christmas – an invented sentiment by those who aren’t paying attention to the problem of the real casualty – Thanksgiving. Donald Trump says that if he gets elected we can say Merry Christmas once more. I am sort of at a loss as to what might prevent me from saying it now…..oh, right, nothing.

I wonder at what point retailers will realize that they aren’t making any more money, it’s just coming in at different times, that midnight madness allure of shopping on Thanksgiving isn’t doing much for bottom lines and that folks see that the deals aren’t the greatest.

The things we choose to care about….


With events unfolding in Paris, the world turns into the “forums” of every news paper page. U2 had a concert set for Saturday night to be broadcast on HBO. This was understandably cancelled as security personnel have more pressing concerns, but that didn’t stop people from posting on Facebook and Twitter griping about Bono should go on and not “ask us to give while he sits on billions.” I can understand Bono rubbing you the wrong way and all, but that is complaining for the sake of complaining. Whether you like the band or not, they are prominent enough that their picture will get taken when they lay flowers at one of the memorials, but I suppose if they hadn’t gone to do that, that would inspire digital grousing as well.


The other thing I saw was a number of folks appointing themselves to be “social media” coaches, telling scrollers that they aren’t achieving anything by changing their profile picture with the french colors. I disagree. There is a bit of “everybody’s doing it” that goes into movements like that and I don’t believe that is necessarily a bad thing. If nothing else, it does get folks more involved. Perhaps it is in a purely passive way, but that is something. And anything that gets folks to lift a finger to being more informed even by a little is a good thing.

Anybody notice Beirut was attacked too?


Nope, we were too concerned that Friday, the President said ISIS is contained and by Saturday morning, that wasn’t the case. Okay, he missed that putt, but what does it matter? The sound bite or lack of wouldn’t change a thing, just like nothing the candidates had to say since would raised the level of debate.

The digital age has presented us with many tools. We just shouldn’t be among them








Holiday Road


A bunch of years ago, as a young p.r./marketing huckster, I was involved in the promotion of a great book called “The Trouble with Christmas.” The author thoughtfully and respectfully pointed out some issues with the holiday and how and why he came to the point of not being a celebrant. I’m not quite of that ilk as I celebrate that day, but he had very valid point.

While it can be great, there are some pitfalls. For me, the way Christmas decor starts to snake on to the shelves prior to Halloween to this morning’s “Share and Repost” of making sure you say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, since the latter was politicially correct. It’s not, it’s been around for generations too. Nobody is assaulting the holiday. Aside from my own nurseable grudges against the tone of most “Share and Repost” things on Facebook, stuff like that imagines controversy where there really isn’t one.

I confessed a little dismay that some stores are opening at whatever o’clock on Thanksgiving Day and was told well, “people will buy.” I guess, I’m of a mind that people can and will buy when things are open, that nobody demanded more time, more excess, to the point where Thanksgiving gets reduced to a carboload for Christmas shopping that could wait until….the next morning.


We are in such an unnecessary hurry and there is no reason for it. Stop and smell the mashed potatoes as you get a second helping. I know I will. All that pushing of the envelope I think helps foster depression as well. I used to fight a sense of have I done enough for my kids, only to realize what a stupid question that was to be torturing myself with.  So, for a few days, it’s all good. I can bypass people acting a certain way for a month, treating their fellow man the way they should the other 11 months, but is midnight on October 31st the time to crank out the carols 24/7 like two radio stations are doing, and to only play a handful of 1000s of Christmas tunes.

It can be a fun time of the year in DECEMBER, but the sprint to get there is a dizzying one.

I know some fool in pursuit of the flat screen he HAD to have will trip in a Black Friday crowd to GET that TV and will wind up part of the flooring for his troubles. Psst, the deals on those are better in January, closer to the big professional football contest.

It’s a nice season in DECEMBER, but the head start has some flaws.

A little less conversation

Back in the early portion of this decade, I spent some time as a reboot monkey, aiding patrons with their new “Hi-Speed Internet” Issues. It was a little like running a call in talk show for people complaining about things they didn’t fully understand. After a Florida hurricane, people would call after just getting electricity back wondering where the hell the internet was, and this was 2003. It always struck me as funny because almost nightly you’d get that guy to call in, that guy so empowered that he was just on the phone (and it was always a guy) that he would weave an impressive tapestry of obscenities and threats over what might or might not be happening on his computer. Basically, the dude personified Louie C.K.’s monologue about how everything is amazing, but nobody’s happy.

Almost ten years later and not only is high speed internet a standard home appliance, but it follows us around now. This all came back to me after the column in the link below. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News is (like myself) a twitter user and being a prominent guy, he gets a wide cross section of folks interacting with him.

The column struck me because it addresses one guy who closed his twitter account because folks were talking at him, about some failures. It was kind of ironic, because I think those of who jump onto all these social media connections do it to learn new mediums, understand more, but ultimately to make connections. And I’m that a byproduct of all the jocks and celebrities on twitter. You want to connect, celebrate the good stuff and all.

Well, can’t really do that without expecting to hear flack about the bad stuff either. Get shelled at home and the open door that is twitter (and the rest of social media) will let you know all about that, just as much as they will for the complete game win. Whoever said “opinions are like assholes, everybody has one,” was spot on, we just have more mediums now

Poetry and Pork Roast

I accidentally spotted two to three minutes of the NBA All-Star Game, good thing I was sitting down. One of my fellow wags on Twitter mused if we just couldn’t get rid of them (all star games) in every sport altogether. I wanted to protest that Hockey has had a few good ones and Baseball lends itself to a glorified pick up game, but I remembered the only Hockey game I could really cite was the All Star game in Buffalo and that was 35 years ago. So, I did the untwitter like thing and just shut up.

Got the call to work the Sabres and Penguins game today, and got the fuzzy end of the usher lollypop; checking tickets at the 200 level. To do this, you are closer to the door of a stairwell and bathroom than any tv or ice rink. So I spent the bulk of the game listening to the crowd as it sounded like something interesting might have transpired twenty feet away, but I was a glorified hall monitor. I chalk it up to a little dues paying. The upside is that you get to skate out early.  That allowed me to ride out with a friend to catch Poetry Night at the Woodlawn Diner. Not being one to suffer fools or pretention gladly, I was excited for this jaunt. Comfort food done with some care is an underrated commodity and the verse was a nice and different addition. A number of voices that spurred something in the imagination. It’s a small little place that makes you make some new friends as everybody just takes a seat whereever. Fun experience, especially to hear how others are having fun with words. Makes me forget the pronoun trouble I sometimes run into during my workaday wordsmithing.

Speaking of new voices and wordplay, I’m liking these folks a lot.

People Have the Power

They really do.

“Never doubt that a small group of people can affect great change, because they are the only ones who ever have.” — President Josiah Bartlett

Hope to you voted, hope if somebody needed help, you gave it. If you had a question, hope you got a non-partisan answer.

Was number #57 at my spot.

Six Degrees

Alright, I need a word with you, yeah, you, the yahoo who posted on his Facebook or Twitter feed to “Bring it On!” with the forecasts of cold and snow.  You, dear sir, are a schmuck! You complacent, commuter cup swilling, jug head. I thought of you while waiting for AAA this morning. I enjoy the seasons to be sure, but those who somehow measure their manhood by snow piles I think need to be smacked back to consciousness, preferably with something frosty. Yes, we have handled snow just fine, but 6 degrees is cold, too cold to enjoy the snow for very long.

It’s cold, especially if you develop a car issue, as mine did, on the way to work, for the first time in almost a week, on a busy street, during rush hour, with a grumpy teen in the car.

While waiting the admirably fast AAA folks, (helpful dude showed in 30 minutes) all I can think about were the yahoos who filled social media spots with “Finally” “Bring it On” “Bout Time.” There will be time for all the fun stuff as we enjoy Winter until May, then have near winter, not winter, then near winter again. So, settle down as the tire that might need changed tomorrow morning might be yours. Don’t go tempting Karma like that, she’s burn out a headlight in temps like this and make you drop the most important screw into a dark corner that you can’t see into and your fingers will be too big too reach.

It snowed in real numbers in the southtowns. Go there, but settle down, we’ll get ours.

Crossed Swords

If I need somebody to wear a yellow tuque on a regular basis, I’m calling Patrick Lalime. He does it well, but apparently that ain’t enough. So, either make Enroth the permanent backup and either cut LaLime loose, ship to Portland or do something crazy like play him every third or fourth game to keep Ryan Miller‘s prime from going up in smoke. Yeah, he’s made a couple of interesting choices on the giveway front, but everybody does. Perhaps had he played more, the Sabres as a whole might not completely lose their sense of self when he does start.

Other Icy thoughts:

Why, oh why, are semi-normal adults following the daughters of owner in waiting Terry Pegula on Twitter? That just smacks of too desperate for a brush with greatness or fame. Love all the perks of social media and so forth but there is a line there too and for many they have to look behind them to see it.

I’m not hating the rumored first hire of the Pegula adminstration. Ted Black helped right the ship in Pittsburgh. Hopefully he is your team president and a clean slate of GM relieves Darcy. I think Lindy, if for no other reason than he didn’t want to slip a Jauron like extension past people, should be retained.

I kind of want to see the rumored list of who could be dealt and who shouldn’t be.

With each succeeding hat trick, I’d wager Drew Stafford‘s price at the end of the year is getting higher. Um, Darcy, this would be a good time to step up.

What is it about this year’s New York Islanders that the Sabres keep confusing with the late 70s Montreal Canadiens? It happens every season or so, that there is one team that seems to have their number, but the Islanders?? That ain’t right.

“Hit em in the hands”

As this picture from the Buffalo News shows, that was close. It wasn’t the only chance for the Bills to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it would have been the most memorable. God, Twitter or anything other cosmic force had little to do with the result. Shake it off, Stevie. As the prophet Andre Reed mentions, “Everybody drops one.”

There really wasn’t anything riding on the outcome for us, but man, that would have been cool.

Heck with it, bring on the Vikings