Christmas Holiday Season 2017 On The Train!

With another successful Great American Teach-In behind us and the Thanksgiving holidays fast approaching, the Christmas holiday season is upon us!  Just recently I gave my annual presentation on web design to students throughout the school day over at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg, which was very well received by both students and teachers!
Haven’t you been by the website portal for the websites of the Edward Ringwald Websites Network lately?  I recently did a major overhaul of the website portal and gave the page design and layout a more uniform look all across my websites.  If you haven’t checked it out lately, head on over to my websites portal at EdwardRingwaldWebsites.com – it provides convenient access to the three websites of the Edward Ringwald Websites Network, which are Interstate275Florida.com, DrawBridgeAhead.com and of course EdwardRingwald.com!
OK.  Let’s change gears a little bit and set the mood for the 2017 Christmas holiday season, which traditionally begins the Day After Thanksgiving.  A lot of you out there will partake in Black Friday and the shopping crowds, but more than likely you may incorporate a themed train ride at one of Florida’s two official state railroad museums, the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish as well as the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami as part of your Christmas holiday season activities.
First, the Florida Railroad Museum will be kicking off its North Pole Express event beginning Thursday, 30 November 2017 and on these dates in December 2017:  1 to 3 December 2017, 7 to 10 December 2017 and 14 to 18 December 2017, which are on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays  (with the final run on Monday, 18 December 2017).  North Pole Express sells out rather quickly once tickets go on sale on Labor Day in September; a check of the Florida Railroad Museum website is advised for remaining ticket availability.
Second, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum will be kicking off its Polar Express event beginning Friday, 24 November 2017 as well as the remainder of Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday, 25 November 2017 and Sunday, 26 November 2017.  The Polar Express will also be held on these dates in December 2017:  1-3 December 2017, 8-10 December 2017 and 15-24 December 2017 (the final run is on Sunday, 24 December 2017 which is Christmas Eve).  Some dates for The Polar Express at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum are already sold out; you can check ticket availability for the remaining dates over at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum website.
As with any train themed Christmas event, arrival at either venue at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to train departure is highly recommended.  This will give you time to park, pick up your tickets and be in line for boarding.  In addition, hotel accommodations are a plus especially if you are traveling a considerable distance to either Miami or Parrish as the events take place in the evening hours.
The Florida Railroad Museum is located in Parrish just off of US 301 at 12210 83 St E and is 35 miles south of Tampa as well as 25 miles north of Sarasota on Interstate 75.  Easy access to the Florida Railroad Museum via Interstate 75’s Exit 229, also known as Moccasin Wallow Road.  From Interstate 75 follow Moccasin Wallow Road east for about five miles to US 301, then south on US 301 for 1/4 mile to the museum entrance.
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is located in Miami on the grounds of Zoo Miami at 12450 SW 152nd Street, which is a mile and a half west of the Florida Turnpike at Exit 16.  It’s easy to get to from anywhere in South Florida as well as the Florida Keys and from the Tampa Bay region it’s a 4.5 hour drive via Interstate 75 and the Alligator Alley to the Florida Turnpike exit at Exit 5; south on the Florida Turnpike to Exit 16 and SW 152nd Street and you’ll be there in no time.
You ought to go on a Christmas themed train ride at one or (if you can) both railroad museums.  Believe me, a Christmas themed train ride will be a memorable Christmas holiday season for you and your family.
ALL ABOARD!!!
 

Is Thanksgiving Really Extinct?

Thanksgiving – and the start of the Christmas holiday season – is just around the corner.  As I reported about this same time last year, Thanksgiving is a time to be with friends and family, a time for big dinners and all the rites and rituals of Thanksgiving (being the grand entry way into the holiday season) including the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade shown on your local NBC affiliate (here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, that would be WFLA-TV Channel 8) and the constant stream of holiday music that kicks off the season.
I got to agree, the holiday season is my favorite time of year.  It truly is.  Except to Corporate America, who wants to throw Thanksgiving in the trash by opening retail stores for the sole purpose of making a quick buck when in fact Thanksgiving is a day of rest.  Back in my younger days, I remember when practically everyone was closed on Thanksgiving Day as well as Christmas Day, save for the neighborhood convenience store around the corner for those last minute items you need.
This article I found at TruthOut.org really has me tiffed.  I cannot understand why more and more retailers are breaking tradition and opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  What these retailers that want to open on Thanksgiving Day are trying to do is to make that quick buck at the expense of their employees having to work on Thanksgiving Day instead of being with their families.  After all, being open for business on Thanksgiving Day is not right.

Here in St. Petersburg, we have one grocery retailer that has a long standing tradition of not being open on Thanksgiving:  Publix Super Markets.  That’s the way it should be:  Thanksgiving is a time for family, not for making a profit.  For that reason, this is why I do my grocery shopping at Publix.  (And more friendlier staff!)

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry on Thanksgiving, if the founder of Publix, George Jenkins, ever found out that his stores were open on Thanksgiving Day, he would be very sad to see what Corporate America is doing to Thanksgiving.
But two other supermarket chains here in St. Petersburg prefer to be open, all in the name of customer convenience:  Sweetbay and Winn-Dixie.  Sweetbay from what I understand is in the process of being bought out by Bi-Lo Holdings of Jacksonville, the same company that owns Winn-Dixie.  Even when Sweetbay is finally bought out and the Sweetbay name disappears from the St. Petersburg grocery landscape, Winn-Dixie – and their open on Thanksgiving Day policy – will still be around.
So, who is planning to be open to a degree on Thanksgiving Day?  According to an article in USA Today as mentioned in the TruthOut.org article, you’ll be surprised:
Target:  8 PM
Best Buy:  6 PM
Macy’s:  8 PM
Kohl’s:  8 PM
KMart:  6 AM Thanksgiving morning – just what is going on here?
And one more place we can’t forget:  McDonald’s, which used to have a closed on Thanksgiving Day policy until recently.  It used to start by being only open during breakfast hours; now it includes lunch and dinner like any other day.
Just what is going on here with Thanksgiving Day being thrown on the back burner by Corporate America wanting to make a quick buck?
Like I mentioned last year, here’s my take on Corporate America being open on Thanksgiving Day for the sole purpose of making a quick buck, and it’s well worth repeating here (in other words, I am going to say it again): 
1. Being a native born American citizen, I firmly and strongly believe in all the holidays that America celebrates, including Thanksgiving as well as Christmas. 
2. If Corporate America does not want to have anything to do with Thanksgiving, then have your corporate eons lobby Congress to repeal Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Believe me – it won’t happen; Thanksgiving is deeply rooted in tradition as an American national holiday to begin with, going back to the days when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and earlier when Juan Ponce De Leon landed on the Florida east coast near St. Augustine in 1513.
  
3. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays to be with family and friends. As such, I do not conduct any business on Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.  Besides, I was born and raised in an era where retailers were closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas (and we knew better to stock up on things before the holidays); unfortunately, today we live in an “I gotta have it right now” era – an era of instant gratification.
 
4. Finally, if the spirit of the American holidays – especially the fall holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas – offend you in any way, please consider leaving the United States of America and find another country where our American holidays are not celebrated, especially a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

We cannot let Thanksgiving as well as Christmas become extinct, thanks to Corporate America that think these holidays are a nuisance. Thanksgiving and Christmas – along with America’s other major holidays – are not a nuisance; instead our nation’s holidays are part of our heritage.  Besides, you have a right to express your disapproval by not spending your hard earned money at retailers who intend to be open on Thanksgiving Day.
In short:  Let’s take back Thanksgiving and what it really means to America.  The same thing with Christmas.

Onward with the holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

In a couple of days Christmas will be here!
Unfortunately, as we approach Christmas 2012 we approach it on a much somber note, especially the recent tragedy involving Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where 26 lives were unfortunately lost.  It is a very tragic event, especially for the parents of the children whose lives were lost in the tragic events that took place.  For those parents, it is very sad and sorrowful that instead of celebrating the joys of Christmas with their children, the parents are having to plan and attend the funeral of their children.
With the coverage of recent school related events such as the suicide of a 15-year-old teenager from Hudson, Florida due to negative comments posted on a social networking website and now the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School here on The Edward Ringwald Blog, I was pondering whether to put up the annual Christmas page here at EdwardRingwald.com as Christmas was just a few days away.  I was asking myself, should I put up the annual Christmas page like I always do or not?
Believe me, putting up the annual Christmas page here at EdwardRingwald.com is like putting up the Christmas tree where I live.  But reslilence in the face of recent events – both local and national – kept me going.
As such, I present to you my annual Christmas page over at EdwardRingwald.com, of which you can go to just by clicking your mouse on this link.  There you will see pictures of Christmas lights from downtown St. Petersburg as well as a couple of pictures from Pinellas Park, Tampa as well as a section on downtown Plant City’s Christmas lights.  And no Christmas page is complete without a visit to the grandaddy of all Christmas displays in St. Petersburg located at 2719 Oakdale St S, situated southeast of 4 St S and 22 Av S.
While you’re there at my Christmas 2012 page, you can also view my Christmas greeting cards.  This year, I offer my greeting card not only in English but in Spanish, German and Slovenian as well thanks to the magic of Google Translate.  After all, EdwardRingwald.com – as well as Interstate275Florida.com and DrawBridgeAhead.com – reaches out not only to an American audience, but to a worldwide audience as well.
I usually have the Christmas page up at EdwardRingwald.com about a week or so before Christmas.  However, with the recent tragic events that have taken place I felt it was necessary to devote the time and energy to cover those events for you right here on The Edward Ringwald Blog.
But resilience has to prevail.  With that in mind, enjoy my Christmas page at EdwardRingwald.com.
And to the students, faculty and administration of Sandy Hook Elementary School who lost their lives in the recent tragedy, may they rest in peace.

Is Thanksgiving in Danger of becoming Extinct?


The holidays are almost upon us.  We will be traditionally kicking off the holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving Day and the Day After Thanksgiving, commonly known as Black Friday.  By the way, not to mention the constant stream of holiday music we’ll hear.
 
The holiday season is my favorite time of year.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are not just holidays; these holidays are time to be with friends and family.  You know what Thanksgiving is all about:  Big turkey dinners and the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, televised on your local NBC affiliate (here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, that would be WFLA-TV NewsChannel 8).
 
Recently, I have been noticing a lot of things going on that Thanksgiving as we know it in America may end up becoming extinct, thanks to Corporate America.  About this same time last year I wrote a blog entry on Thanksgiving, Christmas and the ever-growing Anti-American holiday sentiment in which public schools and Corporate America are increasingly shunning the holiday season in one form or another.
 
I recently came across a petition on Change.org started by C. Renee of Corona, California regarding Target’s plans to open its doors at 9 PM on Thanksgiving Day in order to get a jump start on the Black Friday madness.  Apparently, what Target is doing is in response to Wal-Mart (Florida’s trespass and ban for life happy retailer) opening on Thanksgiving Day an hour earlier than Target at 8 PM.
 
What is going on here?
 
This is Corporate America at its finest:  Shunning one of America’s major holidays, Thanksgiving Day, by being open for business just to make a quick buck.  Last year Target opened their doors at 12:01 AM on Black Friday, as was reported in my blog entry from last year.
 
Being open on Thanksgiving Day may be convenient, but if you as a retailer decide to open on Thanksgiving Day, your associates cannot enjoy any quality time with their families on Thanksgiving Day.  Being open on Thanksgiving Day is not right.
 
First, I can understand that our police officers, firefighters and public safety personnel do have to work not only on Thanksgiving Day, but any holiday of the year for that matter. After all, we rely on these fine personnel to keep us safe.

However, I am miffed when I find out that a retailer – especially a retailer known for traditionally closing on Thanksgiving so that their employees can be with their families – decides to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day all in the name of making a quick buck.

Does Corporate America care anymore about America’s traditional holidays?
 
Here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, we have businesses that are traditionally closed on Thanksgiving Day so that their employees can be with their families. A great example is Publix Super Markets, which has had a closed on Thanksgiving Day policy from the day George Jenkins founded Publix a long time ago.

If George Jenkins ever found out his Publix stores were open on Thanksgiving, I imagine he would be very sad to see this.  This is one of many reasons I prefer to shop at Publix whenever I need groceries.

Unfortunately, two other supermarket chains have decided to practically do away with Thanksgiving and be open on Thanksgiving Day, citing customer convenience:  Sweetbay Supermarket and Winn-Dixie.  Sweetbay claims that they are open on Thanksgiving for customer convenience, but Sweetbay’s Belgian owners – Delhaize Group – apparently believes that Thanksgiving is an interruption to their business. While Sweetbay may be open as a customer convenience, in reality their associates cannot enjoy quality time with their families on Thanksgiving.
 
After all, Thanksgiving is not a legal holiday in Belgium, nor in the rest of Europe for that matter.  One minor exception, according to Wikipedia, is in the Dutch town of Leiden, where a non-denominational church service is held on the morning of American Thanksgiving Day, commemerating the hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden prior to setting out across the Atlantic in search of the New World.
 
Sweetbay used to be known as Kash ‘n Karry, which was locally owned here in Tampa for many years. Then Belgian based Delhaize Group came into town in 1996 and bought up the Kash ‘n Karry chain, remodeled the stores, and rebranded them as Sweetbay as we know today.
 
Practically the same thing is over at Winn-Dixie. Besides being open for Thanksgiving in the name of customer convenience, Winn-Dixie is notorious for poor customer service: Rude and belligerent checkout staff as well as forcing you to surrender your personal information if you want lower prices or you are subjected to substandard treatment as a customer. In other words, the person ahead of you with a Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card gets better treatment while you, with no card (being your choice), are subjected to more harsh and belligerent treatment.   Like Sweetbay, Winn-Dixie’s associates end up paying for being open on Thanksgiving Day in that they cannot enjoy quality time with their families on Thanksgiving.
 
And we can’t forget McDonald’s, which traditionally used to rest on Thanksgiving as well as Christmas according to signage posted at the store entrance.  Today, it seems like McDonald’s is slowly trying to do away with Thanksgiving by being open more and more on Thanksgiving Day; it used to start by being open for breakfast hours.
 
Now here’s my take on Corporate America being open on Thanksgiving Day for the sole purpose of making a quick buck before Black Friday:
 
1. Being a native born American citizen, I firmly and strongly believe in all the holidays that America celebrates, including Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.
 
2. If Corporate America does not want to have anything to do with Thanksgiving, then have your corporate eons lobby Congress to repeal Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Believe me – it won’t happen; Thanksgiving is deeply rooted in tradition as an American national holiday to begin with, going back to the days when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and earlier when Juan Ponce De Leon landed on the Florida east coast near St. Augustine in 1513.
 
3. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays to be with family and friends. As such, I do not conduct any business on Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.  Besides, I was born and raised in an era where retailers were closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas (and we knew better to stock up on things before the holidays); unfortunately, today we live in an “I gotta have it right now” era – an era of instant gratification.

4. Finally, if the spirit of the American holidays – especially the fall holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas – offend you in any way, please consider leaving the United States of America and find another country where our American holidays are not celebrated, especially a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

We cannot let Thanksgiving as well as Christmas become extinct, thanks to Corporate America that think these holidays are a nuisance. Thanksgiving and Christmas – along with America’s other major holidays – are not a nuisance; instead our nation’s holidays are part of our heritage.  Besides, you have a right to express your disapproval of retailers being open on Thanksgiving Day by not spending your hard earned money at these places.

As I said last year, onward with the holiday season!
 


Christmas has arrived at EdwardRingwald.com!

Christmas time has arrived here at EdwardRingwald.com! I know, it’s getting very close to Christmas but I had plenty of other stuff going on.

However, the hard work I did this past week alone in getting the elements of my Christmas 2011 page I feel paid off. This year I am featuring two locations in St. Petersburg and one location in Plant City. The two locations in St. Petersburg are over at North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg as well as the mega-Christmas display located at 2719 Oakdale Street South and the one location in Plant City – a town 20 miles east of Tampa on Interstate 4 and is well known for being the home of the annual Strawberry Festival – is in McCall Park in downtown Plant City.

What makes Plant City so special besides the Strawberry Festival is that it is the intersection of two important CSX Railroad lines, the A Line which runs from Tampa eastward towards Lakeland, Orlando, Jacksonville and points north and the S Line which runs from Tampa northward towards Dade City, Wildwood, Ocala and turning northeast towards the town of Callahan located northwest of Jacksonville where it joins up with the A Line.

Do you know why these railroad lines are identified as the A and S lines? There’s a lot of history to it: The A Line used to belong to the Atlantic Coast Line while the S Line used to belong to the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. Both lines merged in 1967 to become the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad which evolved into today’s CSX in the 1980’s after a series of railroad acquisitions.

So, I am dedicating my Plant City section of my Christmas 2011 page to all the railfans out there, especially those railfans that I either subscribe to or subscribe to my channel out there on YouTube!

What are you waiting for? Head on over to my Christmas 2011 page today!

Breaking News from the Anti-Christmas and Anti-Holiday Season front

A few blog entries ago I reported on the ever increasing Anti-American holiday sentiment, especially around the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays. More and more school principals – and school districts – are alarmingly shunning Christmas in one way or another. Sound scary, isn’t it?

Just a few days before Christmas, the Anti-American holiday spirit has struck again – this time, right here in our back yard. As this St. Petersburg Times article from staff writer Tony Marrero indicates, the superintendent of the Hernando County School District, Bryan Blavatt, banned all instances of Christmas from all Hernando County public schools. The reason, according to the article? “To preserve precious teaching time”. Bay News 9 also has a similar article as well.

Yeah, right. It is to preserve precious teaching time all right – after all, teachers cannot teach an effective class and are instead ordered to do nothing more than drill and practice for the all important FCAT test; nothing more than teach the FCAT test here. No matter why your children in Florida do not get an education in our public schools!

Further on in the St. Petersburg Times article, there is one principal in the Hernando County School District that Bryan Blavatt does not have to worry about when he issued his no-Christmas edict: Susan Duval, who happens to be the principal of Springstead High School in Spring Hill. After all, Ms. Duval discourages all forms of Christmas at her school by discouraging anything having to do with Christmas including Christmas parties and the like.

After all, Susan Duval is no stranger to controversy surrounding the operation of her school as principal of Springstead High. In 2005, she gave a commencement speech to the graduating class of that year utilizing words taken from other sources and passing them off as if they were her own. The punishment? A letter of reprimand and a one day suspension courtesy of the Hernando County School District, a slap on the wrist so to speak. Despite that punishment, wouldn’t you think that Susan Duval is still doing this to every graduation commencement ceremony? That unfortunately I do not know the answer to. I wrote a blurb on Susan Duval and her involvement in the 2005 graduation commencement controversy which you can find over at my copyright topic.

With Hernando County Schools Superintendent Bryan Blavatt and Springstead High’s Susan Duval apparently taking on an anti-Christmas stance, perhaps a study abroad program in the summer in a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated as well as where the celebration of Christmas is illegal would be appropriate. After all, as long as there is an United States of America in existence Christmas as well as the other American traditional holidays will be around, so get used to it.

End of Breaking News from the Anti-Christmas and Anti-Holiday Season front

In closing, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! In Spanish, ¡Feliz Navidad! In Slovenian, Vesel božič! And in German, Frohe Weihnachten!

Thanksgiving, Christmas and the ever-growing Anti-American Holiday Sentiment

The holiday season has begun – and earlier than usual!

Here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area you can tell that the holiday season has begun when WWRM-FM 94.9 switches their format from their regular easy listening music to all Christmas music, claiming to “get you into the holiday spirit”. Ironically, WWRM – dubbed as The New Magic 94.9 – is on the same FM frequency as Radio Veseljak in Ljubljana, Slovenia: Although Tampa and Ljubljana are at least 6,000 miles and an ocean apart, the difference is that Radio Veseljak is only 1 kW while WWRM has a power level (97.3 kW) almost 100 times more than Radio Veseljak.

Sure, The New Magic 94.9 FM wants to get you, the Tampa/St. Petersburg area radio listener, into the Christmas spirit – just a few days after the national test of the Emergency Alert System, which turned out to be way far from perfect. Besides, WWRM – along with WMTX 100.7 FM, known as Tampa Bay’s Best Music Variety – are what are called Local Primary stations for the Emergency Alert System in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. In a national alert, these two stations pick up the alert message from either WFLF 540 AM in Orlando (which is one of many Primary Entry Point stations around the country and one of three in Florida) or from National Public Radio via satellite (using their “squawk” sub-channel) and redistribute the message to the rest of Tampa’s radio and TV outlets as well as cable systems such as Bright House Networks.

Hey, I got to admit it, this is my favorite time of the year. Even after losing my mother 11 years ago, it still is. However, I have seen a disturbing trend of anti-American holiday sentiment going around; Andrew Dart has a great page about the Anti-Christmas and Anti-Anti-Christmas Sentiment in American Society over at his web site.

Psst! In fact, why don’t you read Andrew Dart’s Anti-Christmas page by opening the link to the article as shown above as a new tab (simply right click on the link and select Open In New Tab); that way you can read Andrew Dart’s well written page and my blog entry (the blog entry you’re reading now) side by side.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a growing anti-American holiday sentiment going around. Last Christmas season we had numerous reports of anti-American holiday sentiment from the education front as I discussed in an earlier blog entry, which I will summarize here:

1. Heathrow Elementary School in Heathrow, Florida (a small town just outside Orlando, not the airport in London) banished everything Christmas, including Christmas colors, from the school on the orders of its principal. The reason was that people may be offended.

2. Battlefield High School in Manassas, Virginia also banished everything Christmas on the orders of its principal, Amy Etheridge-Conti. Several students were disciplined for being members of the “Christmas Sweater Club”; the reason for the discipline was that students did not want Christmas cheer.

Apparently, Ms. Etheridge-Conti did not want anything to do with Christmas and she wanted to shove her anti-American holiday season beliefs on Battlefield High’s student body. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, if you are reading this, Ms. Etheridge-Conti, if Christmas or the holiday season offends you in any way please consider buying an one-way airline ticket out of the country, especially to a country where the celebration of Christmas (or any American holiday for that matter) is illegal such as North Korea, China or Saudi Arabia.

As the holiday season draws nearer, another school has adopted its stance of anti-American holiday spirit and this time it involves more than Christmas – and I mean much more than Christmas. This article from FOX 25 in Boston caught my attention before I hopped in my car for the brief trek on Interstate 275 to my office in downtown St. Petersburg: Somerville Principal: Fall Holidays are Insensitive.

What? Fall (and Winter) holidays – Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – are insensitive? What is going on here?

According to the FOX 25 article, the principal of Kennedy School, Anne Foley, sent a letter to faculty reminding them that they need to be careful about celebrating the fall holidays such as Thanksgiving. In essence, the fall holidays – Columbus Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving plus Veterans Day and Christmas as they are fall holidays too – were banished on the orders of Ms. Foley and these holidays were not to be celebrated in school.

Although Christmas is a winter holiday, I lumped it in along with the rest of the preceding holidays as the fall holidays for the sake of simplicity. At a most recent check of the Kennedy School’s website as I am writing this blog entry, it appears that school was held on Thanksgiving week until 12 Noon on Wednesday, 23 November 2011. By comparison, the Pinellas County School District is closed for Thanksgiving week, giving students, faculty and staff a well deserved week off for a major holiday such as Thanksgiving.

Similarly, The Boston Herald has a great article on what is going on at the Kennedy School too.

By the way, Kennedy School is a K-8 school (which incorporates both elementary and middle schools) located in Somerville, Massachusetts. Somerville is a suburb of Boston located just west of Interstate 93. If you are wondering why Interstate 95 does not serve Boston proper, it is because of a freeway revolt which caused Interstate 95 to be routed onto the MA 128 loop that skirts the Boston metro area, much like how Interstate 75 is routed around but not through Tampa.

OK. Permit me to give you descriptions of the fall holidays in America from Columbus Day to Christmas, if I may:

Columbus Day is a federal holiday in which the federal government (including the US Postal Service) and banks are closed. Observances of Columbus Day by state depends on the state involved; I am not sure if Columbus Day in Massachusetts is a legal holiday but here in the great State of Florida, Columbus Day is an unofficial holiday in that state, county and city offices are open for business.

Halloween is an unofficial holiday, celebrated by children trick or treating in the neighborhood and Halloween costumes. The only entities I believe that do not observe or celebrate Halloween are religious sects that believe that Halloween is a holiday associated with witchcraft among other things.

Thanksgiving Day is an official holiday all across America. We celebrate Thanksgiving by going to relatives for Thanksgiving dinner among other things, not to mention the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, televised across the country on your local NBC affiliate.

The Day After Thanksgiving is considered a holiday depending on who you work for (for instance, if you work for a local government such as the City of St. Petersburg, the Day After Thanksgiving is one of 10 city holidays observed throughout the year as all city offices are closed); it is also known as Black Friday and the start of the Christmas holiday season. Thanksgiving Day, along with Christmas Day, is supposed to be a day of rest for most of us.

Finally, Christmas Day needs no introduction. We know what Christmas day is: Christmas lights, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer … and the Christmas traditions go on. Christmas is not only just an American holiday; Christmas is celebrated worldwide save for a few countries where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

What I can say is this: The fall and winter holidays of Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as Halloween – plus the other holidays of the year such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day and New Years Day – are a part of the American way of life. As such, these holidays and traditions will continue to be around, as long as the United States of America is in existence, so get used to it.

As for Anne Foley, Principal of Kennedy School in Somerville, MA, may I offer you some words of suggestion for the anti-Americanism you have forced on your faculty and students?

1. Take down the flags of both the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that fly in front of your school. Next, hoist the flag of a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, preferably a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

2. Next, ban any recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag. While you’re at it, ban any singing of The Star Spangled Banner on your school campus. Instead, play the national anthem of the country you have chosen that is represented by the flag you have hoisted on the flagpole in front of your school on your school’s closed circuit TV system every morning as a part of your school’s morning announcements. Have your students learn the words to the national anthem of the country you have chosen too.

If that does not work for you, and if American fall/winter holidays including Thanksgiving and Christmas continue to offend you in any way, then I have another suggestion for you: Purchase a one way airline ticket from Logan International Airport in Boston to a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated, such as Belarus, Cuba, China, North Korea or even Saudi Arabia. Besides, celebrating any American holiday in Saudi Arabia is illegal!

As I mentioned in another previous blog entry, there are school principals unfortunately that control their schools much like the governments of Belarus (think Alexander Lukashenko), Cuba (think Raul Castro) or the closed world of North Korea run by Kim Jong-Il. Why? Your parental rights are trumped and usurped while your children are in school; try to “interfere” with your child’s education and you can get arrested and your child taken into the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families (the Florida DCF, also called the Florida Department of Complete Failure) or, at the least, turned into a second class citizen and trespassed which banishes you from school property, perhaps forever.

OK. Let’s change gears a little bit while we’re on the subject of anti-American holiday sentiment.

Now for another alarming trend of anti-American holiday sentiment, this time on the Corporate America front: Businesses that used to be traditionally closed for Thanksgiving are opening their doors, all in the name of profit.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two very important holidays in which people rest and be with their families, celebrating the spirit of the season. Unfortunately, Corporate America wants to cash in on greed, especially with the Day After Thanksgiving (more commonly known as Black Friday), and open businesses either at 12:01 AM on the Day After Thanksgiving or, worse, open on Thanksgiving Day.

The newest offender on the block as far as being open the Day After Thanksgiving is Target. In order to get a jump start on the holiday shopping season, Target decided to open its stores at 12:01 AM on the Day After Thanksgiving. While Target may be closed on Thanksgiving Day to the public, unfortunately their associates have to work on Thanksgiving in order to prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year. The result: Target’s associates cannot be with their families for Thanksgiving Day.

Whoa! Work on Thanksgiving Day?

First, I can understand that our police officers, firefighters and public safety personnel do have to work not only on Thanksgiving Day, but any holiday of the year for that matter. After all, we rely on these fine personnel to keep us safe.

However, I am miffed when I find out that a retailer – especially a retailer known for traditionally closing on Thanksgiving so that their employees can be with their families – decides to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day all in the name of making a quick buck. Does Corporate America care anymore about America’s traditional holidays?

Being open on Thanksgiving Day is fairly new. Here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, we have businesses that are traditionally closed on Thanksgiving Day so that their employees can be with their families. A great example is Publix Super Markets, which has had a closed on Thanksgiving Day policy from the day George Jenkins founded Publix a long time ago.

Unfortunately, two other supermarkets in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area – Sweetbay Supermarket and Winn-Dixie – are open on Thanksgiving Day. Sweetbay claims that they are open on Thanksgiving for customer convenience, but Sweetbay’s Belgian owners – Delhaize Group – apparently believes that Thanksgiving is an interruption to their business. While Sweetbay may be open as a customer convenience, in reality their associates cannot enjoy quality time with their families on Thanksgiving.

Besides, Belgium does not celebrate Thanksgiving as it is not one of their legal holidays, period. Thanksgiving, being mainly an American holiday, is celebrated in a few other countries around the world, but with different traditions and on different dates.

Sweetbay used to be known as Kash ‘n Karry, which was locally owned here in Tampa for many years. Then Belgian based Delhaize Group came into town in 1996 and bought up the Kash ‘n Karry chain, remodeled the stores, and rebranded them as Sweetbay as we know today.

Practically the same thing is over at Winn-Dixie. Besides being open for Thanksgiving in the name of customer convenience, Winn-Dixie is notorious for poor customer service: Rude and belligerent checkout staff as well as forcing you to surrender your personal information if you want lower prices or you are subjected to substandard treatment as a customer. In other words, the person ahead of you with a Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card gets better treatment while you, with no card (being your choice), are subjected to more harsh and belligerent treatment. (In fact, Winn-Dixie’s way of dabbling into your personal business has gotten more severe: When you go to pay for your items at the register with your debit card, the cashier belligerently and brashly asks you “debit or credit?” Until recently, Winn-Dixie never asked that when you pay for your groceries with your debit card. To me, Winn-Dixie’s way of asking you how you want to pay is none of their business – Publix doesn’t even do a thing like that). Like Sweetbay, Winn-Dixie’s associates end up paying for being open on Thanksgiving Day in that they cannot enjoy quality time with their families on Thanksgiving.

Let’s head over to McDonald’s, also notorious for poor customer service (especially the McDonald’s restaurants in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area that are owned by the Caspers Company). Traditionally McDonald’s says on their hours of operation when you walk into the restaurant: “We rest on Thanksgiving and Christmas”. Not so. I have seen McDonald’s open on Thanksgiving morning only for breakfast, but I am seeing that being extended into a full day. Seems like Thanksgiving is more and more being placed on the backburner nowadays. What is going on here?

Now here’s my take on the fall holidays in America, as far as public school and Corporate America are concerned:

1. Being a native born American citizen, I firmly and strongly believe in all the holidays that America celebrates, including the major fall holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

2. If schools do not want to celebrate any of the holidays, then consider holding school on these holidays such as Thanksgiving.

3. If Corporate America does not want to have anything to do with Thanksgiving, then have your corporate eons lobby Congress to repeal Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Believe me – it won’t happen; Thanksgiving is deeply rooted in tradition as an American national holiday to begin with, going back to the days when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and earlier when Juan Ponce De Leon landed on the Florida east coast near St. Augustine in 1513.

4. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays to be with family and friends. As such, I do not conduct any business on Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.

5. Finally, if the spirit of the American holidays – especially the fall holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas – offend you in any way, please consider leaving the United States of America and find another country where our American holidays are not celebrated, especially a country where human rights and civil liberties are grossly violated.

We cannot let the fall holidays including the major holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas become endangered, thanks to public schools and Corporate America that think these holidays are a nuisance. Thanksgiving and Christmas – along with America’s other major holidays – are not a nuisance; instead our nation’s holidays are part of our heritage.

So, onward with Thanksgiving, Christmas and the holiday season!

The Ever-Increasing Anti-Thanksgiving and Anti-Christmas Sentiment in American Society

In a few days, Christmas will be here.

My Christmas gift to you is on my website! Simply click here to go to my Christmas 2010 page; there you will find pictures of familiar St. Petersburg landmarks decked out for the holidays including the popular display at 2719 Oakdale St S. Also there you will find my greeting card to you.

The Christmas holiday season is in full swing, which started on Thanksgiving Day and it continues for a few weeks in December to Christmas Day. A week later, we celebrate the beginning of the new year – Saturday, 1 January 2011. As Christmas approaches, we see the Christmas holiday spirit everywhere we go: Christmas lights, Christmas music, the shopping malls being packed with people who are picking out gifts – you name it, Christmas is everywhere.

If you’re out and about, flip on your car radio. You’ll more than likely run into one radio station broadcasting nothing but all Christmas music. If you’re in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, as one station says, “guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit”. It’s the holiday season: Christmas is everywhere.

However, this year I have been getting more and more concerned as to the celebration of these two important holidays which are a part of the American (and Floridian) way of life. I have been seeing more and more instances of anti-Thanksgiving and anti-Christmas sentiment mainly being played out by Corporate America as well as other entities these days.

After all, Thanksgiving and Christmas is not just a holiday like any other American holiday. Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time to be together with family and friends. On Thanksgiving day we gather around the dinner table and feast ourselves on a Thanksgiving turkey while on Christmas we gather around the Christmas tree and open our presents.

To Corporate America, Thanksgiving and Christmas are increasingly becoming a nuisance. Let’s start with Thanksgiving.

One of the many traditions with Thanksgiving is for nearly all businesses to be closed for Thanksgiving day. Being closed on Thanksgiving allows employees of a business such as a retail store to be at home with their families. To me, I am very used to that fact.

Then things changed radically. One retailer – Sears – made a major change in corporate policy by being open on Thanksgiving Day, particularly to get a jump start on sales before Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Since when retailers can start being open on Thanksgiving Day? I thought Thanksgiving was a day to be with friends and family. The idea behind being open on Thanksgiving Day is just for the purpose of making a quick Dollar before the biggest shopping day of the year.

This open on Thanksgiving Day craze is fairly new. Not only the retailers were making themselves open on Thanksgiving, even the grocery stores are making themselves open on Thanksgiving as well.

Here in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, there are two supermarket chains that are open on Thanksgiving Day: Winn Dixie and Sweetbay. Are they being open for customer convenience or just for the purpose of making a quick profit on a major holiday?

At least there is one supermarket chain that has a long standing tradition of not being open on Thanksgiving Day: Publix. Every year when I go by a Publix store to pick up a few things that I need I see signage stating that Publix is closed on Thanksgiving Day, which I believe it should be. Besides, George Jenkins – the founder of Publix – I believe would not even like the idea of his stores being open on a major holiday like Thanksgiving.

Winn-Dixie’s customer service from what I have seen has been getting poorer and poorer: Rude and belligerent cashiers who treat you as a second class citizen if you don’t fall for their Reward Club Card where you have to surrender your personal information in exchange for lower prices. The way Winn-Dixie continues to treat their customers, I feel they are on their way to becoming the next Circuit City, grocery store style. On the other hand, Sweetbay Supermarket is not owned locally – instead, Sweetbay is a division of Delhaize America, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Belgian supermarket firm Delhaize Group. Remember back when we had Kash ‘n Karry, which was locally owned here in the Tampa Bay area? Delhaize came into town, bought up the local supermarket chain, and took down the Kash ‘n Karry name and rebranded them as Sweetbay as we know today. On another note, Sweetbay is known for turning people into second class citizens if they want to by exercising their God-given private property rights, guaranteed by Section 810.09 of the Florida Statutes: Give them trespass warnings for no reason.

Here’s a question: Does Belgium celebrate Thanksgiving? No, according to this Wikipedia article on Thanksgiving; besides, Thanksgiving is a legal holiday not only in America but in Canada, Liberia and the Australian territory of Norfolk Island, celebrated on different dates.

OK. Let’s move on to Christmas and the few weeks before 25 December. Not only Corporate America thinks Christmas is a nuisance, even some government agencies – including public schools – find that the celebration of Christmas is a nuisance.

Let’s start with Corporate America as far as Christmas is concerned.

Retailers have been increasingly substituting the word “Christmas” for the word “holiday”. What used to be a Christmas tree is now being marketed as a Holiday Tree. Talk about censorship by Corporate America here?

Like Thanksgiving, most businesses are closed on Christmas Day so that their employees can be with their family. Christmas is a time to be together with family and friends, not for Corporate America to make a quick Dollar by being open on Christmas Day – at least not yet.

Next, let’s get into the employer and employee relationship. Around the Christmas holidays, offices everywhere get into the Christmas spirit by hanging Christmas decorations in the office as well as having their office staff say “Merry Christmas” when answering the telephone. Unfortunately, the morale in the office begins to dwindle (if not deteriorate) around the holidays at the direction of corporate management.

It all starts when corporate management sends down a memo to everyone right at the start of the holiday season reminding employees that the expression of the Christmas season is prohibited on company time. Next, anything that is Christmas in nature is ordered taken down under the threat of termination for insubordination. Finally, any employee found to say “Merry Christmas” either on the phone, in person or through the corporate email network is immediately terminated and law enforcement is called to remove the person from the premises.

It has happened to one woman in Panama City Beach back in 2008. The woman was working as a receptionist at a property management office and she was using “Merry Christmas” as part of the standard greeting when answering the telephone around the holiday season. Unfortunately, management did not like this practice and ended up not only terminating the woman; the woman was also intimidated when management called law enforcement to have her escorted from the premises and trespassed.

Did I say terminated for no reason and trespassed? In Florida, it is very easy to do both. Not only Florida’s draconian trespassing laws allow for someone in authority to have anyone banned for life for no reason whatsoever, Florida is also an at-will employment state where you can be terminated for no reason whatsoever as well. This is management of Corporate America enforcing their God-given right of private property at its finest.

I see life in the State of Florida under the leadership of its 45th governor who was not just elected – instead, our state’s 45th governor, Rick Scott, bought the Governor’s Mansion for a big sum thanks to Corporate America and Corporate Florida.

Another great example of how Corporate America is shunning Christmas: Open up your local newspaper (like the St. Petersburg Times, for example) and turn to your newspaper’s comics page. There is a comic strip called Blondie (which is drawn by two people who I believe reside in Clearwater Beach) and when I picked up the St. Petersburg Times on Monday, 20 December 2010 this Blondie comic strip sums up this topic: The authoritarian boss, whose name is Dithers, tells Blondie angrily to stop spreading the Christmas cheer and get back to work for no reason.

Ask yourself: Is Corporate America increasingly turning its back on Christmas? I’ll let you answer that.

Now let’s turn to the public school system. You got that right, the public schools that you and I pay for with our property taxes every year.

If you have your children attending a private school where the true meaning of Christmas does exist, consider yourself lucky. In the public schools, I have seen in the media many instances of where students have been failed for completing assignments that have any kind of a Christmas theme to where students have been disciplined for anything that had to do with the Christmas season.

Just recently, an elementary school in Heathrow, Florida (not the airport in London, but a town outside of Orlando) went to the ultimate extreme and banned not only Christmas, but Christmas colors as well. I’m not a fan of Fox News Channel, but they report that teachers at Heathrow Elementary School have been ordered by their principal to remove anything that has to do with Christmas – from Santa Claus all the way down to the colors of red and green. The rationale? According to this Gateway Pundit article, “because someone might be offended”.

Is Heathrow Elementary School still part of the United States? Or did the school become a part of another country where Christmas is not celebrated? Well, the principal of Heathrow Elementary School ought to consider what he did for his unpatriotic act of banning Christmas in America by taking down the flags of both the United States and the State of Florida that fly in front of his school for good and hoisting the flag of a nation that does not celebrate Christmas. And by the way, when you hoist the flag that you have chosen, during morning announcements over the intercom play the national anthem of the nation you have chosen at full blast. One more thing: Have your music teacher teach the words of the national anthem of the nation you have chosen to your students as well.

Speaking of flags, who has red and green? Let’s see: Mexico has their vertical tricolor flag of green, white and red with the Mexican coat of arms in the center. Bulgaria has their horizontal flag of white, green and red. Hungary has their horizontal flag of red, white and green. Italy has the exact tricolor flag like Mexico minus the coat of arms. I hear these national anthems come to mind: Himno Nacional Mexicano (Mexico), Mila Rodino (Bulgaria), Himnusz (Hungary), or Il Canto degli Italani (Italy). And by the way, these countries do celebrate Christmas.

Here’s a list of countries (thanks to Wikipedia) that do not celebrate Christmas: The People’s Republic of China, Cuba, North Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

How about another example of how school principals increasingly shun Christmas? Well, this incident did not even happen in Florida – instead, it took place at a high school in Manassas, Virginia. According to this 10 News (WTSP-TV) article, a small group of students at Battlefield High School, calling themselves the “Christmas Sweater Club”, was spreading the spirit of the season in a dignified and orderly manner. However, that did not sit very well with Battlefield High’s principal, Amy Etheridge-Conti, and the students were disciplined.

Discipline is when a student breaks school rules, not when a student is enjoying the spirit of the Christmas season and it is being done in an orderly manner. The response to the mother of one of the students from the school administration: Students don’t want Christmas cheer.

Students do not want Christmas cheer? Come on. That statement was more than likely coached.

As for Amy Etheridge-Conti, the Principal of Battlefield High School in Manassas, VA, may I offer a few words of suggestion for your anti-Christmas stance that you have taken and forced on your students?

Take down the flags of both the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia that fly in front of your school, and replace them with a flag of a country that does not celebrate Christmas. Then during morning announcements, play the national anthem of the country you chose that does not celebrate Christmas.

If that does not work for you, and if Christmas still offends you in any way, purchase a one way airline ticket out of the United States and to another country where Christmas is not celebrated.

After all, principals sometimes control their schools much like the governments of Belarus (think Alexander Lukashenko, who did everything lately to rig his country’s presidential elections and in the process prevent the right of Belarusians of exercising their freedom of choice by turning their national police force on their people by beating and imprisoning them), Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, North Korea, or even the People’s Republic of China. Parents practically have no say in the education their children are getting, and parents are not even allowed on school property unless there is an exceptional reason. More increasingly, children are becoming the property of the local school district, usurping the authority of the parents to provide whatever is right for their children including proper discipline among other things.

Although children are out of school for around two weeks during Christmas and New Years, holiday concerts put on by public schools have to be severely curtailed so that no legal issues arise from the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Yeah right. Government offices have to do everything that does not violate the First Amendment. However, there is no reason why Christmas can be celebrated from a secular perspective.

Finally, let’s turn to government offices that you and I pay for thanks to our property taxes.

One recent instance, according to 10 News (WTSP-TV), was the banning of any display of Christmas on the Florida Turnpike, especially at the toll plazas. Apparently someone complained to the Florida DOT and the Florida Turnpike Enterprise – the Florida DOT proprietor of the Florida Turnpike system – ended up enacting a ban on holiday related items in offices, including toll booths and toll plazas.

Now here’s my take regarding the anti-Thanksgiving and anti-Christmas sentiment that is increasingly going on in America today:

1. Being a native born American citizen, I firmly and strongly believe in all the holidays that our country celebrates, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

2. I believe in the tradition that most businesses should be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The sign on a McDonald’s Restaurant door says it all: “We rest on Thanksgiving and Christmas”. That’s the way it should be.

3. If Corporate America wants to open on Thanksgiving and Christmas, you might as well consider doing away with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Public schools might as well consider holding school on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

4. If I want something and it’s on Thanksgiving Day, I will wait until the Day After Thanksgiving and get what I need. Same thing with Christmas.

5. Finally, if the spirit of the American Christmas holiday season offends you in any way, please consider leaving the United States of America and find another country where Christmas is not celebrated and/or observed.

I could go on forever, but I can point you in the direction of a web page written by none other than Andrew Dart (akdart.com) which has plenty of links to more articles that deal with the ever increasing anti-Christmas sentiment in American life.

In closing, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! In Spanish, ¡Feliz Navidad! In Slovenian, Vesel božič! And in German, Frohe Weihnachten!

The Holidays are Upon Us

I know, the Christmas and New Years holiday season is already upon us. It’s always the same ritual year after year: Crowded shopping malls, the constant sounds of Christmas music on the radio all the way up to Christmas Day, the countless Christmas parties both at home and at work, and – what you get in the mail from family and friends – Christmas cards.

You got that right. Christmas cards.

Back in the old days (even 10 years ago) we went to the gift shop and picked out a series of Christmas cards. You decided who got what and that was about it. Then came the most tedious task as far as Christmas cards are concerned, especially if you have so many: Addressing them by hand, sticking postage stamps on each card, and getting them to the Post Office as early as possible. After all, it’s the holiday season and the US Postal Service is feverishly moving all that important holiday mail.

Well, we now got this revolutionary technological marvel which is the personal computer. We now have stuff like Windows, Word, Office, and Adobe PDF among other things, and we can’t leave out a very important technological marvel which has shrunk our world even further: The Internet.

Which leads us to Christmas cards taken to a new level: The E-card. You got that right, the e-card.

The best thing about sending a Christmas e-card is that you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on postage and worry whether the card will make it on time before Christmas. Besides, a Christmas e-card uses the Internet as its distribution medium rather than the traditional postal mail medium.

Additionally, sending a Christmas e-card saves on paper. That’s good for the environment, especially in the going green era we live in.

While we’re on the subject of Christmas, let’s turn to another Christmas related topic if I can have your attention for just a few more minutes of your time. It is a topic which disturbs me, and that is the anti-Christmas sentiment that keeps growing in America year after year.

Andrew Dart (akdart.com) has a well done page on the anti-Christmas sentiment that is growing in America along with links to related articles on the Internet. To go to that page, simply click on this link.

However, there are other areas of increasing anti-Christmas sentiment which we hear about year after year. In December 2008 10 Connects (WTSP-TV, the CBS affiliate here in St. Petersburg) had a story on a woman in Panama City Beach (the Florida panhandle town, that is) who was fired for saying “Merry Christmas”; to add to the humiliation the employer called law enforcement and had the woman declared a second class citizen by having her trespassed from the premises.

(Did I mention trespassed? Sad but true: Florida’s trespassing laws allow a person in authority such as a store manager or a security guard to ban a law abiding person from a place for life, no reason or rationale is needed. After all, trespass warnings in Florida are convictions for trespassing without the benefit of due process and trial. For more information on this please feel free to read my Florida Trespassing Laws White Paper, available at EdwardRingwald.com.)

Now here’s another area which I would call anti-Christmas sentiment in the workplace. How many of you out there read the comics in the St. Petersburg Times? There was one comic strip that caught my attention which is Blondie and it consisted of two panels which is the norm for a weekday comic strip. In the 23 December 2004 Blondie comic strip one panel had a group of office workers celebrating an office Christmas party, while the next panel had the boss (who I believe was in an anti-Christmas mood) angrily yelled at the workers to “get back to work” in an intimidating manner.

After I saw this comic strip, I felt that the anti-Christmas sentiment was well represented. Add to that how the boss yelled at and intimidated his subordinates as seen in the strip. To most people, it might be humor as is the case with comic strips out there but to me, I feel this is bullying by the boss.

Now may I digress for just a moment? In my opinion, I feel the phrase “get back to work” is nothing more than a way for a boss to demoralize and treat his employees like if they were not important. Moreover, a boss who resorts to micromanagement as a way to motivate his employees and uses demeaning and abusive phrases in the workplace contributes to low employee morale and high turnover. In a nutshell, I feel the phrase “get back to work” is nothing more than a threat and it accomplishes no purpose other than to create a hostile work environment.

Back in 1986 and 1987 while I was going for my first Associates degree at St. Petersburg College (which was St. Petersburg Junior College back then), I took two management related classes, which were Human Factors in Supervision and Principles of Management. Believe me, it gave me an introduction to the world of management and the terminology that goes with it.

I just wanted to give you an example of the disturbing anti-Christmas trend that is increasingly going on year after year. Now that I had your attention I feel that it is more appropriate for the season to give you a Christmas card – this time, an e-card that I created myself rather than spend money on one. (After all, you have to spend money on Christmas cards whether it’s a traditional card or an e-card).

To see my Christmas card, just click on this link! I hope you enjoy it!

And as they say in:

English: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Spanish (Espanol): Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!

Slovenian (Slovenscina): Vesel božič in srečno novo leto!

And I will say this once again: Merry Christmas!