What Wrath Hath Black Friday Wrought?
In the spirit of the Thanksgiving hoiliday -- and certainly, we all have something we should be thankful for -- we are taken to republishing a blog-post from Thanksgiving 2005 (or more aptly, the Monday after Thanksgiving, 2005).
If the names and norms seem familiar, maybe its because little has changed since, and that Tryptophan-induced coma carries us from one turkey to another, the unwitting -- yet most willing -- recipients of holiday jeer, from the folks who continue to bring us government by fear and repression (hold the giblets, and double-up on the overpriced cranberry sauce).
The elections of November 6th may be behind us, and the presidential primaries not until February 8th of next year, but fear not, purveyors of spiked cider and dry white meat, the opportunity to chime in, in a very public sense, on the most dysfunctional of all government [the special taxing districts] lies just ahead, on Tuesday, December 11, when you (yes, YOU) get the chance to work off all that good grub by trotting down to the local polling place to elect Water Commissioners and Fire Commissioners.
Polling places and times may vary (check with your local fire department or water district), and, unfortunately, not every Commissioner's seat is contested, but the opportunity remains (you can always write-in your own name, for you, too, can be a Commissioner) for every good citizen (or at least so many who are actually registered to vote) to stick in his/her two cents -- this before your "elected" Commissioners decide how to spend it, tax it, and turn it into dinner for twelve at Morton's or a junket to the Bahamas.
With approximately 340 special taxing districts operating under Town auspices on Long Island alone, each of us has a vested interest in the outcome of these off-year, off-Election Day ministerial matters, don't we?
So, as you gobble down the pumpkin pie, and gnaw away at the turkey leg, we'll grab hold of that wishbone, and, among our usual good wishes for universal health, global peace, and international prosperity that trickles down to each and every one, we will wish (perhaps against all wishes, or maybe in their favor) for greater participation of the masses -- from Pilgrims to Indian Chiefs -- in the all-important day-to-day of community.
From all of us to all (well, most; okay, some) of you, HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and, above all, safe shopping!
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Monday, November 28, 2005
Black And Blue Monday
They'll Come Out To Shop At 5 AM, But Will They Come Out To Vote?
As the level of Tryptophan slowly diminishes, the last cup of apple cider quaffed down days ago, we awaken to find that the world remains much as it was when we last left it for the Thanksgiving holiday -- only worse.
If the Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, then certainly, the first work day after must be Black and Blue Monday. The news over the weekend confirmed it. Stampede at Wal-Mart (did someone yell, "IMMIGRATION?"); a father and daughter skating on thin ice -- search and rescue turns to search and recovery; the Giants miss three (count 'em, 3) field goal attempts; the Jets lose -- AGAIN; and how many soldiers were killed in Iraq?
Who was the lucky one to get the long end of the wishbone? Surely, it wasn't this blogger. Pick up Sunday's Newsday and turn to the Our Town page of the Hempstead Life section (a misnomer, at best, as clearly this is not life in Hempstead, at least as we would like to know it) hoping to find some cheerful news. No such luck. Just another photo of smiling Kate, and much surmise as to her political future. Kate Murray For County Executive? [Denise (Bonilla), please don't put ideas into those big heads with the little minds.] "The sky's the limit," says Kate. More like, "the sky is falling."
It has been nearly three weeks (count 'em, 3) since Election Day, and not a single Murraygram has threatened to clog my mailbox. The postman is forlorn, and that pile of bathroom reading material is dwindling. Suddenly, the information so vital to the voter before November 8th that it had to be mailed, on an almost daily basis, in full-color brochure, to every household at taxpayer expense is no longer of any great moment. Apparently, our "need to know" dead-headed at the end of the campaign trail. Surprise.
Enough of this politics. Back to Wal-Mart for that $300 laptop and the not-quite-designer jeans for $6.99. All shopping is local -- even if the manufacturer of those inexpensive clothes sets up shop in Indonesia so that 9 year old girls can toil in filthy sweatshops for 12 cents a day. The retailers must be doing something right to drag millions out of bed at 5 AM. Reports of folks camping outside the store the night before just to be the first in the door. Now that's what I call a fun way to cap off Thanksgiving. "Hey honey. Could you put the turkey leg and a piece of pumpkin pie in aluminum foil? We're spending the night at Wal-Mart!"
Gee, we've never seen such enthusiasm as there is in fighting for a parking space at Roosevelt Field on Black Friday so you can pay half for items previously marked up 150%. If only we could muster such unmitigated excitement for the election of Fire Commissioners. Why, imagine them fighting over a parking space at Town Hall so they could break down the doors at the next meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals? Only if the new Mrs. D'Amato does a pole dance. Even then. . .
Could be a simple matter of marketing. Vote for One Sanitation Commissioner, Get the Second FREE! Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla could give out free gifts to the first 100 residents to walk through the door at a Town Board meeting. We hear the Tickle-Me-Kate doll is in great demand this year (not only does it smile, it wets itself on your wallet). Coupons for instant variances, perhaps. And that cooking demonstration at Angie Cullen's Culinary Kitchen always draws them in. "Today we'll prepare Turkey ala Santino, stuffed with all kinds of pork that you'll gladly pay twice as much for. Enjoy!"
Yes, you can lead shoppers to the mall in the hope of finding a bargain -- even at 5 AM -- but just try to yank 'em out of bed -- at any hour -- to vote, to attend a town meeting, or to participate in the day-to-day of their own government. To boldly stuff our stockings? Of course. To partake in the stuff that impacts directly upon our quality of life? Ahhhhh, we don't think so. Go figure. . .
You know, this blogger is getting kinda sleepy. Its time for a nap, and then, some more leftover turkey. "Heap on that Tryptophan, will ya Ma?" After a long, deep sleep, maybe I'll wake up and hear some good news for a change. Osama Bin Laden declares, "Can't we all just get along?" -- World peace erupts. -- There were no reported DWIs today. -- Father and daughter skate on thin ice and arrive home safely in time for Thanksgiving dinner with family. -- Voters turn out in record numbers to elect local canine catcher. Kate Murray concedes defeat to Deputy Dawg.
Well, if all else fails, we can always go shopping!