A Christmas lesson from a little boy
It is sickening the way businesses commercialize the birth of Jesus by turning it into a profit-oriented, monthlong shopping extravaganza. What is worse is the way American consumerism and materialism play directly into their hands. We put a price tag on love and gift wrap joy, and deceive ourselves so much that we forget their true meaning.
Christmas becomes a rat race of pushing through crowds at the mall and waiting outside department stores in the cold on Black Friday morning. And for what? Expensive perfume or a nice leather jacket or the newest MP3 player?
I, too, have gritted my teeth, rubbed my hands together in a bitterly cold parking lot and waited for the store to open, but for an infinitely better reason. Last year, I was one of many volunteers who braved the freezing dawn to take a needy child on a $100 shopping spree. One hundred dollars is not much, and I watched as the multitudes of children clamored for bicycles and toys.
I asked the little boy I was shopping with what he wanted to pick out first, and he told me, "I want to get my dad a watch and my mom some earrings." His prevailing generosity in the face of disparity astounded me.
The boy's face lit up as he carefully placed a $10 watch and some $2 earrings into the cart, and my heart nearly broke, but I thought, here is a child who could teach the population a thing or two about what Christmas is really about.
I will remember that boy's altruism and gratitude for as long as I live, but the 32-inch, flat-panel LCD HDTV you waited to pay $449.99 for will be outdated in a matter of months. Happy birthday, Jesus.
Doesn't support more taxes on casinos
Our casino industry has been able to compete with Indian gaming due to the product they offer. They offer a more varied entertainment product with a fairer gamble than the California competition. The gaming industry is a large part of our tax and employment base in Nevada. I strongly object to initiatives put forth by unions or other special interests that target individual industry groups. By singularly asking for increased taxes on the gaming industry these special interests are taking away one of the areas where our gaming can better compete and actually endanger our tax and employment base.
Two initiatives are in the public-signing stage asking for different levels of increased taxes on gaming. I am against both and hope that we don't have the confusing situation caused by the smoking initiatives that discriminated against the small bars and slot routes in favor of the unlimited gaming casinos.
Education needs resources to improve performance but should not be able to dictate to the Legislature where those resources should be found. The case for increased education funding should be made to the Legislature, and the Legislature should decide if it is warranted and where the funds should be attained. Any tax increase or redistribution should be spread to all citizens and industry groups and not concentrated in any one area.
I am not connected to the gaming industry in any way.
Winnie Lane speeders a dangerous problem
My wife and I live on Winnie Lane, and every morning we have to cross this street with our dogs when we go on our walks. We literally have to risk our lives to do this. These people drive an average speed of approximately 45-60 mph. What's more there are two schoolbuses with children in them that drive over the speed limit.
This morning, my wife and her friend were returning home. Her friend attempted to cross ahead of a newer model Chevy pickup. When he saw her, he accelerated to the point that he had to hit his brakes to avoid hitting her, even though she had to run to avoid being hit. Both of them told him to slow down. He immediately stopped and got out of his truck to confront them The friend showed him her cell phone, he jumped back into his truck then flipped them off and sped away. Unfortunately, they were too frightened to get his license number.
I bring this to your attention because this is the norm every morning from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., and I have tried to get the NHP and the local sheriff to do something but to no avail. One says it's the NHP's responsibility; the other says it's local. In the meantime, a deer has been killed and I'm afraid it will be a human next.
Hopefully, this letter will prompt the authorities to bring this insanity to a halt.
Supports a monument to nonviolent activist
Gandhi? A Gandhi monument on the Capitol grounds of Nevada! You've got to be kidding me! What's even crazier is that taxpayers' dollars are being sought to put it there. Question, on the 25th of December, will we be able to have a monument to the world's greatest peacemaker, the One who promoted peace nonviolently with everlasting results? No, I think not. America, America, God shed His grace on thee? The question is, folks, which god? If taxpayers' dollars can put a monument up to foreign gods, we should be able to put a manger scene on that same property come the 25th of every December.
Would rather look at Jesus than Gandhi
I welcome Northern Nevada religious leaders' backing of the movement to place a statute of Gandhi in front of the Nevada State Capitol. Statue proponents claim that "... the purpose of this monument was to pass on the cherished values of Gandhi to the coming generations of Nevadans. ..." and that "... Gandhi was an inspiration to the world."
As a Catholic, however, I would like to suggest another historic figure. Jesus Christ's values are more prized than Gandhi's, more needed in Nevada, and will certainly be around a lot longer. Jesus was more inspirational to more of the world than Gandhi could ever hope to be. Why this did not occur to those leaders of the Gandhi Monument Council who have some degree of belief in Jesus as the son of God or a great prophetic figure surprises me.
In addition, Jesus' striking form would be much more pleasant to look at than Mr. Gandhi's wizened figure. With so many Jesus statues available, we could get His statue "off the rack," so to speak, as opposed to spending many thousands of dollars custom-making a Gandhi statue.
We could put those savings towards Nevada's budget crunch, or perhaps even purchase some food for the local food banks.
Wouldn't that make Gandhi smile more than a statue?
Watch out for the curb painters
A company from Sparks leaves a notice that they want to paint house numbers on my curb, and they would be back the next day, and if I didn't want them to do it, to tape their notice on the curb, which I did.
Now, after eight days; three of them bad weather (rain and fairly high winds), the notice was no longer on the curb, and they go ahead and paint the numbers that I didn't want.
Now he's going around trying to lay a guilt trip on me. I am not going to pay because he didn't return the next day, as the notice states.
And he wants $15 for a strip of white paint and four numbers. I can do this myself, if I felt it was necessary, for $5, and have the number stencils to keep for the years ahead.
And why is some company from Sparks telling me in Carson City that I need this?
Community made Thanksgiving dinner a success
The business world celebrates Black Friday with a huge effort at commercialism.
FISH celebrated the holidays with a huge effort at making sure that every needy family had an enjoyable Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Here is a short recap of what happened at FISH this Thanksgiving.
Cars, trucks and vans kept pulling into our parking lot up to the big day. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, FISH had:
• 200 turkeys, 1,000 pounds of potatoes and 240 cans of cranberry sauce from the Attorney General's Office;
• 10 turkeys plus a large donation of canned food from Harrah's;
• 100 plus turkeys from unknown donors;
• 25 turkeys from State Agent and Transfer Syndicate Inc., Jed Block;
• 150 turkeys from Mike's Pharmacy Turkey Drop , Salvation Army Capt. Erica;
• 10 precooked turkeys with fixings from Save Mart East;
• 134 $20 Food Baskets for $10 donation from Raley's;
• 200 $20 Food Baskets from Scolari's;
• A start-up program - $20 food baskets for $10 designated to FISH - Save Mart East;
• 25 turkeys from St. Anne's Catholic Church in Dayton;
• 175 pounds frozen mixed vegetables from Canned Food Warehouse;
• Kiwanis Club adopted 30 families for fully prepared turkey meals;
• Save Mart, Smiths, Raley's, Scolari's, Safeway, Grocery Outlet, Starbucks and Costco all contributed desserts, pies and sweets that supplemented the baskets;
• FISH purchased 250 turkeys, 1,500 pounds of potatoes, 500 gravies, 500 stuffing mixes, 400 chicken broths at discounted prices by Dave Cox at Canned Food Warehouse;
• 477 Thanksgiving family baskets went to about 1,900 persons;
Thirty young people from St. Teresa's Catholic Community, St. Paul's Lutheran Family and St. Peter's Episcopal churches joined together in prepacking nearly 500 family baskets on Saturday, Nov. 17th.
FISH estimates that about 700 families will be requesting help with their Christmas dinners. FISH still needs turkeys and all of the fixings for that need.
And a special thank you to a very nice lady who remains nameless but comes to FISH every Monday, year around, with a trunkload of boxed cereal for the needy.
In praise of teachers
Looking at teaching as a profession in today's society, one is struck by the fact that teachers are underpaid, overworked and very little appreciated.
Teaching is not what it used to be. Today's teacher must put up with the unruly students, whose only aim is to disrupt the class, and yet we hold teachers responsible for students' behavior.
Today's liberal society limits the teacher's right to enforce discipline, and the false impression exists that little happens in the classroom where some discipline is needed.
Teaching is probably the most stressful of any occupation. One of the reasons is "the No Child Left Behind policy," where the teacher is held responsible for the student's progress. The sad fact is some students do not have the ability to learn higher mathematics or science, yet progress is expected.
It takes dedication and self-sacrifice to enter and stay in the teaching profession. The rewards are small for all the dedication and self-sacrifice the teachers bring to the profession. Generally, the teacher must subsist on a small salary, hardly enough to be called compensation.
Teachers are the most important person in a child's life after the parents. Teachers are charged with the care and welfare of the child during school hours, at which time the teacher is expected to display limitless amounts of patience and perseverance.
Wake up, America, treasure your teachers and give them ample compensation in the way of a decent living wage.
Recommends pardoning more than just turkeys
What does this say for President Bush's priorities? He pardons the Thanksgiving Turkey, but just can't get it into his heart to pardon the two loyal border guards serving time for doing their job.