COLUMN: The 55 Days of Christmas

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to CacheValleyDaily.com. His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees.

<em>“Harry Caines is terrible for KVNU and for your website Cache Valley Daily. Every column he writes degrades Utah and people who have religious views. Why you employ him is the most confusing thing to me.”</em>

— Anonymous comment from a survey taken by the Cache Valley Media Group.

November, I love you. The three best months end in -er, but November is far and away my favorite. And so it is that I offer some random thoughts this week about a multitude of no particular importance.

— Two years ago I wrote <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/opinion/columnists/article_e7320848-4cb4-11e3-982e-0019bb30f31a.html” target=”_blank”>a column</a> about how November has pretty much turned into pre-season for Christmas. The “Christmas Creep” has made Thanksgiving an impediment for the true mission of corporations that we submit our lives to with little resistance, that being, complete and unwavering forfeiture of our money.

How else could any of us explain or justify retailers calling in their employees midway through Thanksgiving Day to set up their stores for Black Friday shopping; or, that so many pathetic souls sit on lawn chairs in a parking lot on this great holiday waiting to get into these stores?

November was a time when we enjoyed crisp autumn air and the beautiful traditions of Thanksgiving. Oh, those who love Christmas would rummage through the garage about this time to have those Christmas lights ready to go on the fourth Friday of the month—but few broke the unwritten rule that nothing Christmas-y was to be done before Turkey Day.

We need to get back to that standard. Christmas loses its meaning when it is a 55 day event. From now on, we need to be resolved to not listen to a single song, hang any decorations or partake in anything related to Christmas until after we eat dessert on Thanksgiving Day.

And please, do not shop on Thanksgiving night. Let us take back our dignity from those who plague us with incessant commercialism.

— One year ago at this time I was telling everyone that Jeb Bush was going to rout the GOP field in the Republican primaries. You can hang a big L on me for that prediction.

The Donald Trump circus and other factors have made this election process almost unbelievable to campaign junkies like me. But really, this is about how totally and embarrassingly awful Jeb Bush is at campaigning.

He just does not resonate with voters. He comes off like a wet blanket doused in vinegar. It is to the point where I believe he is reluctantly running because he thinks it is his family’s destiny to continuously seek the highest offices.

I would prefer not to write off any candidates until the voters start to have their say—however, the enthusiasm I once had for the former governor of Florida who has a fairly well-respected resume has waned considerably. I am looking elsewhere to cast my vote for a GOP candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton next year.

— As I stated <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/opinion/article_c6e5c812-7dff-11e5-ade0-1f83d8c5951b.html” target=”_blank”>last week</a> I did indeed exercise the option to go down to Logan City Hall on Tuesday and vote in person. My daughter and her friend—both voting in their first elections—were with me. As her friend said on the way to lunch afterward, “I feel like a real American right now!”

Yeah, voting is a special thing all Americans should feel great pride doing.

The officials for Logan City informed me that there would be no polling place available for the presidential primaries in 2016. It will be vote-by-mail only. Sad. There is a magic that will be lost to many young people who will vote in the future. It just means more to vote at a polling place on Election Day.

— CBS announced that by 2017, a new “Star Trek” television show will be available. Yay!

CBS also announced that this show will only be available on its online streaming service. Boo!

There have been a multitude of changes to how people watch television since the proliferation of the Internet. In recent years, entertainment companies have put their shows on streaming services with more frequent regularity. Certainly Netflix showed that this could be viable when its version of the BBC show “House of Cards”, starring Kevin Spacey, became a mega-hit a few years back.

The problem is that many of us do not wish to pay multiple websites a monthly fee to watch original and exclusive programming. Netflix, Hulu, HBO and CBS are just a sampling of streaming services that are available to all of us.

That is why TV is still great. I can turn on my DirecTV and have a multitude of fantastic programming options at my disposal on one remote control.

Streaming is not going to die off like 3D TV’s were destined to do. With that said, if entertainment companies saturate the streaming market with too many shows that cost too much in monthly fees, “Television Darwinism” dictates that many of these services will simply wither and die.

Regarding the new show, it is amazing irony that a previous entry in the brand, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was a profound force in the boom of syndicated episodic television shows that would dominate pop culture in the early 1990’s. But, syndicate shows were available on nearly every cable provider. One monthly bill and it was all in one place.

CBS should reconsider their decision. Trekkies—and I use that moniker with pride—are an older demographic. We like television sets. That is where the new show should be.

— Two years ago, a close friend who is from Kansas sent me a Kansas City Royals t-shirt. The Royals were in the middle of a succession of losing seasons at the time. I loved that shirt and wore it frequently. Now, the Royals are World Series Champions. I can’t wear the shirt anymore because I will look like a front runner. I hate front runners.

I curse my warped sense of morality.

— While I was attending the Utah State-Wyoming football game this past week, the PA announcer read a promo for the USU women’s basketball exhibition game to be played the next day against the South Dakota School of Mines.

Waaaaaa?

At first, I thought he said mimes. Before making it on the mean streets of Paris, do mimes have to make the arduous journey to the Black Hills? There is a small amount of logic in having a mime school in South Dakota…as there is no one around to converse with.

No. It was indeed mines. Here is pertinent information you need to know:

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology was founded in 1885 and is located in Rapid City—which based solely on its geographic location is equivalent to a living death. In short, it is Wyoming with less sheep.

The university has approximately 2,400 students who enter one of 16 disciplines in engineering and science. The sports teams go by the name of the Hardrockers.

Well, that should do it for this week. I hope all of you enjoy this invigorating and therapeutic time of year. November is extraordinary. Savor every day of it.

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