Friday, November 26, 2010
Yesterday morning, after eating breakfast and commandeering the TV remote back from my children, I switched over to NBC to watch what I thought was supposed to be the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I had fond memories of watching this parade as a child and seeing the giant floats and balloons move down the streets of New York City. Once the commercials were over and the program returned, I saw Matt Lauer with Meredith Vieira sitting in the middle of what appeared to be a hundred or so pots of mums. They were announcing the next segment which was some Broadway production number of some kind. Where's the parade I thought to myself? I noticed a timer in the upper right hand corner of the screen indicating the parade's arrival at some square. So the parade was happening somewhere, they just weren't showing it. After the Broadway number was over, there was a brief glimpse of the parade before they went to commercial. After the next set of commercials were over, I was greeted by Al Roker, who was somewhere by the parade (I could see a marching band over his shoulder), interviewing someone about their upcoming Broadway Show performances. Why can't they just show the parade, I thought again? After the interview, we went back to Matt and Meredith who were previewing the next Broadway number. Who cares about these song and dance numbers? Where is the parade already? To my amazement and chagrin, the parade was not actually shown (other than behind Al Roker or on a cut to commercial) until 9:54 AM! Virtually a whole hour went by of what was billed as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, without actually showing the parade at all! How could this be? I guess that in order to see the Macy's Parade anymore, you have to actually go to New York and watch it in person!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Now that Veterans Day has past, the next big holiday of the year is Christmas. What, you ask? What about Thanksgiving? Oh sure, there will be a Thanksgiving holiday. Most Americans will take that Thursday and possibly the following Friday off to be with their family and eat turkey and watch the Detroit Lions lose to whoever they will be playing that day. But Thanksgiving is a holiday that is going by the wayside. I have already seen houses and businesses with Christmas decorations up. Bell ringers are already stationed at the local grocery stores to beg for your loose change. I even flipped through the radio dial last night and heard a station playing Christmas music already! Now I'm no Scrooge. I love Christmas and what it means to Christians around the world. I love seeing my kids get excited about what they hope Santa will bring them this year. But I think Thanksgiving deserves a little more recognition than just a day to get off work and eat some turkey and pie with your friends and family. We should reflect on what we as a nation are thankful for. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Freedom to vote for whomever we choose to represent us in government. Let's wait until after Thanksgiving to hang the decorations and do our Christmas shopping. Christmas will be here before we know it anyway.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
As autumn unfolds and the temperatures fall along with the leaves, another annual event happens which causes some even more distress: the end of daylight savings time! Yes, although it is nice that the sun is up for most when you awake or at least go to work in the morning, now the sun sets before 5 o'clock in the afternoon! In fact, today's sunset is at 4:47 PM. So what's the problem? Well, for commuters, it means that the drive home is going to happen in the dark. Very depressing, and dangerous. It's a fact that more accidents happen at night versus the daylight. The statistics are even worse for motorcycles. Motorcycles aren't seen as easily by motorists due to their lower profile. You probably won't miss that Mack truck or semi tractor trailer chugging past you, but how many times have you not seen a motorcycle in the lane you were about to change in to? Motorcyclists must be even more cautious and defensive when driving in the dark than they are in the daylight hours. In addition to watching out for inattentive drivers, motorcyclists must carefully watch the road for potholes and debris not easily seen in the dark as in the daytime. Hitting an object or a big hole in the road could mean dumping your bike and possibly being struck by oncoming vehicles following you. Even with lights on, it's not as easy to pick up bumps in the road, so be careful. If you are in a car or truck and see a motorcycle, give him some room and pay attention to the road. Everyone wants to get home and eat dinner. Don't ruin some one's day by not paying attention when you're driving. Be careful out there!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Today is Veteran's Day, a national holiday that has been observed since 1954 (before that it was called Armistice Day). It is a day set aside to honor the country's living veterans who served in wartime or peacetime. Some people confuse this holiday with Memorial Day, which also honors veterans, but is actually to honor those that have died serving our country. Still others confuse both holidays as a day to have a sale! Usually it's the furniture stores, car dealerships, and most any other retail store that chooses to do so. Why? What does honoring a veteran of war have to do with getting 50% off a new couch or end table? If they really wanted to honor veterans, they would close their store like most banks do, and go to a parade or museum with their family. Better yet, call a veteran or go by a local VFW hall, and thank him (or her) in person! I have uncles and cousins who served our country in the military. My nephew is a paralegal in the Army and has recently been accepted to join the Army Rangers. The closest I got to serving was when I was in the Air Force ROTC while in college. I had a pilot slot but dropped out after I failed my vision exam before my junior year. Nevertheless, I honor the many living veterans today who served our country with honor, to give us the freedom that we enjoy today! Thank you for your service to our Nation. May God bless you all the rest of your days!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
While there are not too many things more exhilarating than riding a motorcycle, riding in a large group of motorcycles is one of them. I usually ride alone because I tend to make last minute decisions to go out based on weather conditions and family activities, but occasionally I will plan a ride with a friend or two. Recently I was part of a group of 20 or so bikers riding through the winding roads of the Missouri wine country near Defiance, MO. Riding in a larger group brings some additional challenges, but the experience of riding in a large pack can't be beat. While one must be cautious of the riders in front and behind you, the roar of the engines and the looks and gazes of people you pass by makes you proud to be one of the pack. When riding in a larger group, motorcycles usually form a staggered formation to give room in front and back for stopping, but allowing for a tighter grouping of bikes. If the roads become too narrow or have many sharp turns, a single file formation may become necessary. Many motorcycle dealerships organize group rides on a regular basis. The Veteran's Day parade is a time when dealerships, clubs and riding chapters come together for a bigger than life experience downtown. Hundreds, if not thousands of motorcycles will descend upon downtown St. Louis this coming weekend to take part in the annual parade. Motorcycles of all types, sizes, and colors, will bring up the rear of the parade to the delight of children and onlookers alike. I took part in the parade last year and it was definitely a highlight of my year. So if you're a biker, find a group to ride with soon. It sure beats riding alone. And if you just like to see motorcycles, come down to the parade and witness a multitude of bikers like you've never seen before...all in support of those brave soldiers who have fought for our freedom as Americans!