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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday: 'Tis The Season To Lose Your Mind

I have never quite understood the mindset of venturing out in the wee early morning hours on the day after Thanksgiving to join the multitude of people shopping for Christmas gifts. The New York Times describes a scene that is likely to be occurring all over the nation today:

At 6 a.m. this morning in Times Square, a line of shoppers several hundred deep burst through the doors of Toys “R” Us and promptly formed a second, equally long line to buy the season’s must-have product: T.M.X. Elmo.

The standard, morning-after-Thanksgiving retail behavior ensued — pushing, shouting, grabbing — until the dolls sold out and a frustrated crowd of Elmo-less consumers fanned out across the store in search of a substitute.

“Complete madness” was how 16-year-old Ray Robinson, who snatched one of the last Elmos, described the scene.

Across the country today, millions of Americans mobbed malls, swarmed discount stores and filled downtown shopping districts in an annual retail ritual that marks the start of holiday shopping season.

Eager to attract large crowds, merchants opened their doors even earlier than last year, testing the limits of sleep deprivation.

CompUSA let customers in at 9 p.m. last night. A dozen malls, from Utah to Maine, experimented with a midnight start. And Wal-Mart, Best Buy and J.C. Penney began ringing up sales at 5 a.m. (A 6 a.m. opening at Target seemed downright quaint.)

And come they did. At 6 a.m., the lines outside Macy’s Herald Square store in Manhattan spanned several blocks. “I have not seen a crowd this size in years,” said Terry J. Lundgren, the chief executive of Macy’s parent company, Federated Department Stores. “It is off to a brisk start.”

After months of hand-wringing over whether higher gas prices and a weak housing market would restrain consumer spending in the crucial November-to-December period, merchants are now predicting an above-average holiday season.

In short, insanity reigns. Of course we are happy for the retailers. Not only does this appear to be a better hooliday season than last year, but this is simply helping an already record-breaking economy. Early numbers are definitely showing a high-than-average season for retailers, no matter which ones. From the large mall stores to individual retail outlets like Target and Wal-Mart, they are raking in the money.

Our editor, Thomas Lindaman ( a recent inductee to the blogosphere) notes in his post this morning that the search for "the perfect gift" is not what the holiday season is about. It is about 'They're about reconnecting with those things that mean the most to you: family, friends, your faith. And if you believe material goods are more important than those things, you have more serious problems than finding "the perfect gift."'

This is a true statement. It is all weel and good that we go out in search of that one, perfect gift. Thomas is notorious for it. He seems to know the right gift for the right people, but in the end, even he admits that the season is not about receiving a gift, or even giving one. It is about us. It is about us being with family and friends,a nd enjoying the holiday season. For my "friendly, neighborhood curmudgeon" known as my husband--a man who abhorrantly detests this time of year--even I canb get him to melt that heart of ice, and enjoy it. (Granted, I have yet to begin playing Christmas music around the house, and mostly due to the fact that stores and radio stations here have already beaten me to the punch; that is already driving him batty.)

And, of course, this is the time of year to remember why this holiday is important. It is not for the Tickle-me Elmo's, or the newest gadgets. It is not for that exclusive toy or bargain at whichever store you lined up outside of today. It is all about you, your family, and your fellow man. Yes, you can please many people during the Christmas season with gifts, but we would be remiss in forgetting the greatest gift bestowed to mankind from one man's birth.

Christmas, after all, is here to remind us of the birth of Christ. And without him, this world would have no hope. (WARNING: We are Catholic here.) His birth signalled that man would be cleanseed of his sins by His blood. We remember this every Christmas at Midnight Mass,a nd this year will be no different. So when you are rushing through the malls trying to find the perfect gift, remember that the perfect gift has already been delivered. All others are simply materials in a world that will give us moments of happiness and joy, but they will never change our world.

As far as we are concerned, we could avoid giving each other anything, and we would be happy. We would be happy because we are together. We would be happy because we would not be alone. We have each other, a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, and clothes on our back. There are plenty of people who do not have even that, and these people tend to be forgotten by all but those who strive to give nothing but honest charity in their lives.

Instead of getting your kid that Elmo (which this year is slated to be the toughest find of all), get them something else, and put the rest of your money where it counts. Give to the Salvation Army (and boycott the bastards at Target who banned them from the front doors), or give to your local St. Vincent de Paul affiliate, or whatever charity in your area you think will help those in need this season the most.

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his brother." We are not asking that people lay down their lives. We are asking some people to put aside the notion that this season is all about the gifts. Gifts are nice, but they pale in comparison to helping out those that need it this year.

And when it comes to Black Friday insanity, remember that it is your fellow man standing next to you, getting ready to launch into the store with the reflexes of a distance runner at the sound of the starter's pistol. We have already seen the mob mentality this year with the release of the PS-3, and the stories of people doing unspeakable things for a lousy game system that does not seem to work right at all.

Which brings me to another indictment I have on society, in general. Why, when you know that something is not going to work right, do we go out and spend hundreds of dollars on it? The PS-3 initial reports state a severe over-heating problem, and we have even seen reports from game players that their games are being ruined by the new systems. Sony deliberately held back the release of their new game system for a year because of bugs in the system, and yet they release it anyway with many of the bugs still prevalent. It is absolute madness to pay as much as $660 to $700 for a game system that is a piece of junk, and is likely to be nothing more than a paperweight in your home.

Yes, Thomas and I will be getting each other, and our friends and family, a few gifts this year, but we have no intention of going "overboard." I am content to have my husband with me on Christmas, and that is that. Gifts do not make the Christmas season. The people we share it with do.



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