Saturday, November 5, 2011

This Holiday Season, Support Your Small, Locally-Owned Businesses!

I don't often re-post other people's work, but I believe that the message I've published below is worth repeating. I am not certain who the original author is, as I have seen this same message on a couple of other websites. And I would have probably written it a bit differently. However, the basic idea remains reasonable and sound. 

It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, whether you live in a big city or a small town, whether you have a lot of money or if you are struggling to make ends meet. We all stand to benefit if you please support the small, locally-owned businesses in your community this holiday season. The gifts are likely to have more meaning to the recipients, and our society is certain to benefit from the economic stimulus.

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Oh.... Yes there is! 

It is time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? 

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber? 

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. 

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates. 

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese-made flat-screen TV? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course. 

There are a gazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. 

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy? 

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. 

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running. 

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. 

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre. 

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands and purchase their CD's. Honestly people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip. 

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Part of Christmas is now about encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we could not imagine. 

THIS is the new American Christmas tradition!! Forward this to everyone on your mailing list 
-- post it to discussion groups. 
-- throw up a post on Craig's List in the Rants and Raves section in your city. 
-- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments.

This is a revolution of caring about each other, and our country.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We're Living on a Ball of Confusion

One of the perks of my job is rather frequent business travel. I call it a perk because a portion of the travel is regional and it allows me to drive my own car. Unlike some people, I enjoy driving about the countryside, and I have often said that my vehicle's windshield is the very best window in the office!

I often listen to satellite radio while I drive. Sometimes it's news programming or talk radio, but I mostly listen to my favorite music from the 1970s and 80s. Hearing these songs again after thirty or more years can be an experience. Certainly I recall the popular melodies and the majority of the lyrics. However, now that I am older, I tend to pay more attention to the song's message.

One song that has really (re)captured my attention is "Ball of Confusion," performed and recorded by the Temptations in 1970. I recall listening to this song when it first came out and considering the state of the world at that time, I believe that their song had great meaning. The beauty is, the song is still very much relevant today. For me, that staying power is the sign of a true work of art. It's quite possible that this song will remain quite relevant for years to come. Let's hope that humanity can prove me wrong.

If you haven't heard the song lately, here are the lyrics. Read them carefully and enjoy.

People movin' out
People movin' in
Why, because of the color of their skin
Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide
An eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
Vote for me, and I'll set you free
Rap on brother, rap on
Well, the only person talkin'
'Bout love thy brother is the preacher
And it seems,
Nobody is interested in learnin'
But the teacher
Segregation, determination, demonstration,
Integration, aggravation,
Humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball of Confusion
That's what the world is today 

The sale of pills are at an all time high
Young folks walk around with
Their heads in the sky
Cities aflame in the summer time
And, the beat goes on

Air pollution, revolution, gun control,
Sound of soul
Shootin' rockets to the moon
Kids growin' up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will
Solve everything
And the band played on
So round 'n' round 'n' round we go
Where the world's headed, nobody knows
Just a Ball of Confusion
Oh yea, that's what the world is today

Fear in the air, tension everywhere
Unemployment rising fast,
The Beatles' new record's a gas
And the only safe place to live is
On an indian reservation
And the band played on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction
City inspectors, bill collectors
Mod clothes in demand,
Population out of hand
Suicide, too many bills, hippies movin'
To the hills
People all over the world, are shoutin'
End the war
And the band played on.

Copyright 1970 Jobete Music Company, Inc.