Archive for December, 2007

New Year’s Celebration

So, 2008 is almost upon us. With Dec. 31 falling on a Monday rather than a weekend, will people still be celebrating? With some heading into work first thing Tuesday morning, does that discourage the festivities? If you are celebrating, what will you be doing? Are you going out or staying in? Throwing a party? Having a few friends over? Or sipping a bottle of champagne solo?

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year end honors

Top ten lists are all the rage this time of year. Pick up a magazine – any magazine — and it’s rife with rankings on the best (and sometimes worst) movies, albums, books, people or stories of 2007. It’s a bit of overkill, but from the lists I always discover something enjoyable that fell through the cracks. It even inspires some top five lists of my own.What are some of the best entertainment options that flew under the radar this year?

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Gas(p) pricing

So Wednesday morning I had a meeting in Elkin and couldn’t help but notice that gas prices there were seven cents lower a gallon than the lowest prices here, $2.87.9 vs. $2,94.9. What gives? There’s no tax differential like we have between here and Cana, Va. Is it simply supply and demand?

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When gifts go bad

Years ago I learned my lesson about Christmas gifts. At least I hope I did.

My wife Evie and I were newly married, and under the tree on Christmas morning she found a huge wrapped package from me.

She eagerly ripped off the paper and found . . . a brand new, just-for-you . . . green plastic laundry basket.

I mean, she needed one. The old one was falling apart.

The look on her face was not one of joy and love, not a reflection of my thoughtfulness in finding the perfect most personal gift.

Of course it was a joke. Inside the laundry basket were several other gifts for her. Things like a fresh set of vacuum cleaner bags, a leather leash for the dog and a Jane Fonda workout tape.

What went wrong? Each item had been selected with loving care. As I recall, it took until about Valentine’s Day for the thaw to set in.That’s when I gave Evie the vacuum cleaner to go with the Christmas bags.

OK, so maybe I was just a tad dense, but sometimes gifts can be wrong for reasons the giver isn’t aware of.

There was one Christmas when I was a child when my mother opened a gift from her brother Herb. Inside a beautiful wooden box was a set of fine steak knives.

My mother dropped the box and recoiled in horror. I had never seen that look on her face before, and never after.

Eventually the story came out. I’m not sure if was my mother’s Dutch upbringing, but somewhere along the line she had adopted a superstition that the giving of knives, particularly  by a loved one, indicated that that person wanted to sever the relationship.

I’m sure we never, ever, used those knives.

So what’s the worst gift you ever received for Christmas?

Or that you gave?

We’ll get to the best gifts later. 


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So it looks like there will soon be serious consideration of proposals to revamp the rest area in downtown Mount Airy, with the goal of making it blend in better with the surrounding architecture. I always thought that gap in Main Street looked odd, but never gave it any serious thought. What would make the most sense for that property?
Keep in mind, the money that’s being earmarked for this project comes from an additional tax levied on downtown properties. It’s reserved for projects that will boost that business district. So doing nothing to the rest area won’t provide more money for public safety or other city departments.
But will fixing it up even improve downtown business?

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The Shopping Frenzy

Two weeks until Christmas. The craze for the latest, greatest and hottest Christmas present is in full swing. It seems that once more the Nintendo Wii is impossible to find and that the insanity has ensued. I worked video game retail last year and we were harassed endlessly for Wiis. We were cussed, insulted and threatened all because some children demanded that they receive a Wii for Christmas. So, at Christmas, a holiday of love and peace and giving, what drives some to become angry and violent? There are many people who feel they MUST get a certain present for their kids. Why do parents (and grandparents) fight and bicker to get a particular item? Why do they feel that they deserve something when there are hundreds of others who want the same item? Each year there’s one thing that everyone goes nuts for and cannot find. Is this year’s item just the Wii (again?) or is it something else? Is there an item you’re trying to buy that you can’t find or that you’d fight for?

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School Calendars

School boards are in the process of finalizing the next school calendars. Since the General Assembly succumbed to pressure and mandated a later start to schools, how do you think that’s working? A lot of folks liked the idea of finishing the semester’s exams before Christmas holidays. That’s no longer possible. But the trade off is that summer vacation is longer. Any thoughts on whtehr the deal was worth it?

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