Black Friday Craziness

I've said it before on this blog. I'm about to say it again. I don't understand Black Friday and the insanity that goes with it. Ok, there are deals to be made on this day. I get that. In some cases there are 50-70% off on electronics, furniture, etc. People stand outside department stores for hours, in some cases they have camped out ala Occupy Wall St. But, I put in my head all the positives to be gained by waiting in line vs the negatives. The negatives come out front all the time. Of course, this is just me. I recall about five years ago people coming to Walmart on Black Friday with a U-Haul truck. That...is insane. They made some changes this year. They started Black Friday earlier, shrived to make things more orderly. Unfortunately, this has only met with limited success.

Case in point; at our local Best Buy fights broke out about 4AM when someone cut in line. Police had to be called in to break it up. But, not before someone got robbed in all the confusion. At least no one was killed as has happened before at Walmarts around the nation. But, in the rush to "save money," people have lost their common sense. A man in Charleston, West Virginia collapsed and died. Did anyone render assistance? Sadly, they were walking past him and, in some cases, over him. No, he didn't die as a result of people knocking him down in the rush to save money. It was cardiac arrest. Off-duty nurse and paramedic assisted the man. But, it was too late. If this were the exception and not the rule during Black Friday Craziness, I could look over it. I remember last year a security guard at a Walmart in New York was crushed to death. It has gone on for too long. Nothing the merchants do is working. People are still going nuts.

I don't have the answers to stop the craziness of black Friday. I don't think merchants will ever stop. Black Friday has become too richly ingrained in the fabric of Americana now. I just feel an orderly process could be done. If people start running in the store, they are stopped and escorted out. Make it known beforehand this will be done. I also think Black Friday could be spread out over the Thanksgiving Day week. Just do away with Black Friday day and make it a week. You can spread out the sales over the course of a week. I just believe when there is a risk of people getting injured or killed, something reasonable can be done to prevent a tragedy. But, it's doubtful any measures I mentioned will ever be implemented. That would take all merchants coming together to make a change. In the cutthroat business of retail, that will never happen.

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Lee Corso F Bomb

College Gameday is a Saturday morning ritual for me during the college football season. Chris Fowler (who has always seemed out of place on the show), Kirk Herbstreit, and, of course, Lee Corso. People have poked fun at Lee Corso for his inane predictions, his comical dialogue and his "putting on the mascot headgear" in the last 30 seconds of the two hour broadcast. You either love Corso or you hate him. Few people actually hate him. If you do hate him, it is you that has the problem and not Corso. Lee Corso is a lovable guy that really enjoys college football. He has made remarkable progress from a stroke he had about two or three years ago. I applaud him. He has come back with a vengeance this year. He is the Lee Corso of old now. Unfortunately, Lee was a bit too much Lee Corso at the traditional wearing of the mascot headgear at the end of the show this past Saturday morning.

In that last thirty seconds of the show, Lee likes to tease the crowd sometimes. He will put on a mascot headgear, throw it away and wear the mascot that he thinks will win the big game. Saturday morning he did this same thing with the mascot prediction for the SMU-Houston game. He took on the SMU pony hat, threw it away with an "Aaaah, "F" it!!!!" and put on the Houston mascot. Herbstreit, and Fowler were near hysterical. Lee Corso quickly apologized during the Nebraska-Michigan game. I felt that it was a necessary apology. But, I hope he doesn't get into hot water over it. I thought what he said the previous week during the Gameday segment ("What happened to that little kid" as Penn. St. and Nebraska met at midfield to pray) was far worse. The "F" bomb was inadvertent. Lee Corso apologized. That should be the end of it. But, and this is just personal opinion, I think ESPN will use these last two incidents to force Lee Corso into either retirement or to have a smaller role on the College Gameday broadcast. I hope not. He is funny and brings humorous insight to the somewhat staid Gameday broadcast.

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Mike McQueary Witness

I have carefully stayed away from the Penn. St. scandal that has been talked about so much on the TV, radio and newspapers. I have avoided it because it is so disgusting to me personally. But, I feel like I can make my opinion known on this subject now. First time I heard about it, I did not think it was possible. How could a middle-age man (I know these are allegations at this time) do what has been purported to have happened to these children? What kind of human being would rape children, the most vulnerable in society? My immediate answer to that question is that no real human being would ever do such a thing. I will not even say an animal would ever do such a thing. So, what do you call this man (and I omit his name purposely)? The only description I can come up with to convey my feelings is that this man is a Monster with a capital M. He will get his day in court. Despite all the evidence against him now, he still has a right to a fair trial by an impartial jury (although that will be difficult to do now).

As disgusting as this former assistant coach at Penn. St. is to me, I find Mr. McQueary almost as disgusting. I know that currently there is an email circulating that states he did intervene to stop the rape of the 10 year old boy. Unfortunately for Mike McQueary, State College police and University police have stated they have no record of McQueary filing a report of a report against the middle-aged pedophile. So, in essence, I find McQueary's email stating he did stop the rape to be self-serving at best. He is coming under tremendous criticism for not stopping the rape of a 10 year old boy. This email, in my opinion, was just his way of trying to deflect criticism. Head football coach, Joe Paterno, and at least three administration officials were dismissed from Penn. St. The only reason I can see or understand why McQueary has not been fired is due to the whistelblower laws. That is the only thing I can fathom.

The official version is that of the Mike McQueary grand jury testimony. He ran from the scene in the shower, went home to his dad and reported it and then told Joe Paterno the next morning. The fact that Paterno never followed up on it is the main reason he was fired after 409 career victories. A lot of people say, "You don't know what you would do if you had been in Mike McQueary's shoes at this horrible scene." I would be remiss if I didn't say there is an element of truth to that statement. But, I like to think that I would have done something to stop this man from raping this child. Every fiber in my body would have been screaming for some sort of action. I have never been what one could call brave or a hero. But, I believe, with every ounce of what I am as a man, that I would have physically intervened by picking up something to knock out the pedophile raping this little boy. That is what most people would have done. Apparently, Mike McQueary isn't in that group of people. When he had a chance to stop a pedophile, he ran. And, basically, he has ran from that scene ever since it took place nearly a decade ago. How do you live with yourself after you run away from something like that? If you are Mike McQueary, you accept a promotion as an assistant coach and remain quiet.

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Homeowner Almost Helps Burglar Carry His TV

This is a story that is so unbelievable until it has to be true. A good Samaritan offered to help a man carry an over-sized flat screen TV. Obviously the man was having trouble carrying the flat screen TV by himself in the Philadelphia suburb of Wilmington. The Wilmington homeowner had just come home around noon for lunch, I suppose. So, nice guy that the homeowner is, he offered to help the man. Funny thing, the homeowner looked at the TV and found it to be quite familiar. So, familiar in fact, it looked like his own flat screen TV. The homeowner looked at his house and noticed his door was open. Then things changed rapidly. The homeowner started giving chase to the burglar who quickly threw the TV into a waiting car driven by another burglar. Homeowner calls 911 and then the police get involved.

The police quickly apprehended the duo who couldn't walk straight. The burglar carrying the TV already had several warrants for his arrest on other burglary charges. I guess the person who was most glad these two were caught was the kindly homeowner who almost helped a burglar steal his own TV. The report did not give the homeowner's name. To be honest, I don't blame him. I'd be too damn embarrassed.

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War Dead Remains Dumped

Body parts of troops that were probably shattered and unrecognizable were cremated and dumped in a landfill. That is the story coming out of Dover Air Force Base mortuary. The mortuary in Dover, Delaware is where all remains of U.S. troops come to from overseas. According to the story, this dumping of troops remains in a landfill went on from 2003 to 2008. Air Force officials finally acknowledged this happening from queries sent from the Washington Post. Military officials stated it was similar to disposing of "medical waste." On top of this news, Dover stated it had lost a soldier's ankle recovered from an air crash and, even worse, they sawed off a Marine's arm so he would fit into a casket.

The callousness of this report is mind boggling. A soldier's remains have always been thought to have been handled with the utmost respect and care. That idea is completely gone now. This is how we treat our dead warriors? Dumping their remains in a landfill? At one time unrecognized body parts of soliders were placed in the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. Whatever happened to that idea? I realize you couldn't place all the body parts there. Still...it is disgusting to contemplate. It has been a bad week for this country...the sordid news out of Penn. St. and now this report about the dumping of remains of dead soldiers. You get the feeling that things in this country are spiraling completely out of control.

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America's Curmudgeon - Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney died Friday night. That doesn't seem possible. It was just slightly over a month ago that he announced he was retiring from his weekly segment on the popular CBS program "60 Minutes." Andy complained and mocked the nonsense of the world in which we lived. One time I remember him complaining about the warning label on mattresses which proclaimed it was a violation of federal law to pull it out. Andy did just that on network TV. He stated he would report from federal prison if he was arrested. Andy Rooney reported on the nonsense, the aggravation we all shared in everyday life. I laughed at him when he asked what good is a paperweight in offices where the windows don't open to blow paper off your desk. I chucked at his railing about the frustrations of going to the local DMV to wait and wait...and wait. Andy Rooney made a living on saying things that ordinary Americans are irritated about. True enough, he was a best selling author. But, those three minutes at the end of every 60 Minutes episode is what endeared him to so many people.

Andy Rooney was truly America's old crotchety curmudgeon. He would be rude and crude at times. One of the things that irked him most is if he were eating dinner at some restaurant, people would interrupt him for his autograph. Andy said once, "Why in the hell would anyone want my autograph? For what reason?" How can you help but not like someone like that? He is among the last of the "Greatest Generation" who are quickly dying out. Andy Rooney was a reporter for the military newspaper, "Stars and Stripes" during WWII. Andy Rooney was 92 years young. God Bless him.

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The Bully - The Coward

A report this week came out that Asian Americans are the most bullied of any ethnic group in the United States. Some reasons given in the report are that Asian Americans suffer through the language barrier (which is puzzling since many ethnic groups suffer this malady), and the view that many Asians are mistakenly thought of as Muslim. Amazingly, 54% of the Asian Americans are bullied right in the classroom. This bullying does not limit itself to the schools. There is also cyber bullying. I'm not smart enough to understand how one gets bullied sitting behind a computer monitor. But, then again, I'm not a teenager.

I find this to be very sad news. I know what it is like to be bullied. So, my heart goes out to these kids. When I was in school bullying was not usually because of your ethnic background (or I didn't notice it). Bullying was usually toward the overweight kid, the kid that is shy or, in my case, someone who was smaller than average. I suffered in silence from the 6th grade all the way to the 10th grade. I was pushed, punched and mocked. There was always one guy that did most of the bullying. I'll just call him Thomas. Thomas was a bit bigger, he was known to come from the wrong side of the tracks and enjoyed bullying kids smaller than himself. Nothing was ever said to Thomas about the way he bullied kids back in the day. I was not a snitch. That is a bad reputation in school just as it is in prison. So, I endured the taunts, the pushing and the threats from Thomas and others over the years. A couple of the reasons for my being reluctant to fight back was because I was shy and small for my age.

Things starting changing toward the end of the 10th grade. I started getting bigger, stronger and became more self-confident. Thomas noticed this change in me also. He still taunted me. But, I noticed he had stopped pushing me and shoving me in the gym. One day, we were playing softball during the PE hour early one Monday morning. Thomas was starting his crap as usual. This time it was other kids he was bullying. I got enough of it. I told him to leave the kids alone. You could have heard a pin drop on the softball diamond. He dropped the bat and walked over to me. He got right up in my face and yelled "What the f*** are you going to do about it, piss-ant?" I snapped. I punched him in the stomach. Down goes Thomas! I was prepared for the fight of my life. While I had gotten bigger, so had Thomas over the past year. But, you know what? Thomas got up, looked at me and walked back to the batters box to continue playing. I realized something at that time that has stuck with me forever. I realized bullies, for the most part, are cowards. They don't like to be challenged. They don't like for you to stand up to them. Most, certainly not all, are just plain, to the core cowards. Thomas never even spoke to me again after that confrontation.

Bullying is something that I personally abhor for reasons stated. You have to walk a mile in someone's shoes before you know what they are enduring. If you ever see some kid bullying another, don't just sit still and let it happen. Make yourself known to the bully immediately. An adult is a bit intimidating to most bullies. Contact parents, teachers or school administrators about it. I hate that I had to suffer in silence for so many years as a child. There is no reason for kids today to suffer the same pain I did as a child.

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