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Black Friday a dark day indeed

Posted on December 12, 2013 by Taber Times

Had a few days off to go see treasured family in Great Falls and with it comes the regular travel column of some important and some not-so important life observances.

RADIO WAVES: You know that great feeling when you start a road trip and a really good song is on the moment you turn on the ignition? That occurred for me with none other than Beastie Boys’ ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn.’ You could have chosen Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer (the early stuff), Our Lady Peace, various punk bands etc. for the same desired feeling.

Pretty much any music that does not involve how cool someone is at the club.

BORDER PATROL: As a seasoned travelLer across the Alberta/Montana border I’ve always found the rationale of border guards odd at times.

They have been friendly and professional I’d say 95 per cent of the time but some occurrences have been bizarre.

I have always wondered why they ask you what you do for a living. Do they have your previous answers on their data base?

Are you not allowed to switch jobs to cross the border? Are certain jobs red flagged where they will inspect your car or have the man with the latex glove be surprisingly gentle with you? Are they hoping you’ll mess up? ‘Why I’m a Colombian drug lo—……I mean I’m a Kindergarten teacher.’

FAMILY FIRST: I will admit I did some shopping on Black Friday in Great Falls, but I was not one of those lining up at Wal Mart at 8 p.m. on the Thursday or camping out overnight so that I could get 70 per cent off garden gnomes. I simply hit the malls mid morning after coffee and breakfast with my aunt and uncle. My first priority was to visit family in aunts, uncles and cousins etc. I’ve often found that I of the meager income, I either have to pick either objects or trips with my disposal income. I’ve traveled to places like Germany, France, Netherlands, New York, Mexico, Dallas, Vancouver Island, Phoenix, and the eastern Canadian seaboard, but it has always had a close family member, ex-girlfriend or close friend connotation attached to it. There is no doubt I wish I could afford a big plasma TV, an iPad or a Play Station 4 also, but I choose family and friend visits over objects every time in spending my disposable income. It was great catching up with Great Falls family and I will get a chance to check out Central Park in New York with my parents, sister, niece, nephew and brother-in-law this Christmas.

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: I’ve often been told I exaggerate on the shopping mayhem that occurs on the Thanksgiving weekend in the United States. I just chuckled when I watched the various news feeds of all these people who are thankful for what they have, yet it looks like some Star Trek death match or a scene out of the Lord of the Flies with how people treat their fellow human beings in chasing deals. Estimations are all over the place but I found it peculiar according to Time that ‘only’ one death occurred with 15 injuries.

I’ve seen YouTube footage of one woman Tasering another over a garment, hordes of people being trampled over the years and the swarm mentality that looks like it is a scene out of World War Z. At a California Wal-Mart a woman pepper sprayed fellow shoppers. The woman reportedly sprayed a crowd of people reaching for the Xbox video consoles. The woman was not apprehended but the bargain shopper was able to pay for her purchases and fled the scene before the police arrived. Two men in Virginia were both arrested. Ronnie Sharp, 61, and Christopher Jackson, 35, were fighting for a parking space at a Wal-Mart. Sharp pulled a rifle on Jackson and then cut his arm with a knife.

MONEY MATTERS: As much as I love my Great Aunt Ester and Great Uncle Dale, I must admit that I must bite my tongue at times when they have their TV with Fox News on for the sake of household harmony and this trip was no different.

Round-table discussions with American youth (18-25) were aired where to Fox’s credit, a variety of leftist to right wing youth were invited to the discussion. Give credit to Megyn Kelly who controlled the room and allowed all view points equal air time, unlike whoever the shlub was in the next segment who constantly cut off the people he didn’t agree with and had the audacity to complain how the bottom third of wage earners in America paid no taxes while the upper third had to shoulder the load. Ummmm…..if the bottom wage earners are struggling to make ends meet as is (and the stats show there are an alarmingly increasing number of them with the shrinking of the middle class) without any income tax being taken off, exactly how is a flat tax rate proposal of say 20 per cent supposed to help that? Using American examples because it’s Fox News although you find many examples being mirrored in Canada, America’s top one per cent controls 19.3 per cent of total household income in the nation, it’s reached  a higher point that even the roaring 20s (Global Post). The top 10 percent of US households controlled 50.4 per cent of total income in 2012, the highest figures seen since 1917. And you are complaining about paying taxes while the poor don’t? Here is a news flash, maybe if we stopped outsourcing mid-level jobs and replacing them with McJobs to automation and globalization just so stockholders can have higher dividends to spend outside the country on their exotic vacations, maybe you would have more people paying taxes then, and also buying goods and services locally apart from the low, low prices of Wal Mart to spurn on the economy.

WEATHER WOES: I got wind of weather reports that it may get ugly in Great Falls come Sunday so I decided to leave earlier than usual to beat Mother Nature and the Canadian shopper rush at the border. Little did I know Mother Nature would have the final laugh on me where the blizzard weather was reserved for the Monday in which I and a handful of friends missed the Pearl Jam concert because of the risky road conditions. Yes, I know that’s the world’s smallest violin playing, but upon hearing televised reports that Pearl Jam played for three hours and did two encores — yes I want a little whine with my cheese.

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