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Wouldn’t it be great to simply leave behind in 2010 a few troublesome situations, challenges, and maybe even some people?

Of course, what and who I’d leave behind may not be what or who others would leave behind, so it’s possible I might end up on someone’s “Sayonara,” “Arrivederci,” “See You Later Alligator” list. But that’s the risk of it all and in the end it’s just “good clean fun.”

The one and only other time I made a list like this, to my recollection, was “Things I Wish I Could Leave Behind In 2006.” Back then, I longed to be liberated from, among other things, the Iraq War, World Poker Tour, E.D. commercials, and poor cell phone etiquette. Pretty esoteric list.

So here’s my list in no particular order of things I’d like to leave behind in 2010:

Home Foreclosures. Even if you’ve been spared others have not. Whatever their source wouldn’t it be great to leave home foreclosures behind forever? No more nightly news coverage of some poor family moving into the street.

Faulty Communications Systems—on jets and in drive-throughs. We can send people to the moon, but we can’t develop speaker systems that actually work. Either they squeak, don’t work, are way too high volume, are way too low volume, or in multiple other ways mangle the person’s speech on the other end of the line.

Poachers. Illegal greedy hunters who, despite global attempts to stop them, still deplete the population of some of the world’s most interesting endangered species, like rhinoceroses, elephants, crocodiles, gorillas, and more.

Politicians Who Cheat On Their Spouses (Wives). I’m tired of these stories.

$100+ Airline Ticket Change Fees. No way it costs airlines well over one hundred dollars to change a ticket. It’s price gouging. Same for exorbitant baggage fees.

“Wonderful Christmas Time.” Paul McCartney’s secular Christmas carol that mindlessly and unmusically repeats “Simply having a wonderful Christmas time” ranks as an all time worst Christmas song.

Postal Stamps With $Designations. The U.S. Postal Service has developed a wonderful innovation called a “Forever” stamp. It features no monetary value. Whatever you paid for it, whenever you use it, the U.S. Postal Service will honor the stamp. Why don’t we do this with all stamps? Or at least do this with all stamps at the primary letter mailing cost of the moment? Right now, $.44. This means that when stamp costs go up, a sign is posted and you pay the new rate for the new “Forever” stamp. But you get to use it when you get around to using it. No more 1, 2, 3, 4, cent stamps purchased for use with old stamps.

“Reality” Television like “Jersey Shore,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” and “Real Housewives of…” Mind-numbing junior high banter on sex, hooking up, clothes, sex, alcohol, sex, clubbing, sex, and more sex. Worst for me in all this is “Dad” Bruce Jenner, 1976 Olympic gold medalist decathlete, who married Kris Kardashian, became a father to this clan and now appears on the show as basically, a wimp. It’s a sad fall from Mount Olympus.

Facial Piercings and Tattoos. If people must decorate themselves would they consider doing it on some body part other than their face? I’ve yet to understand how facial markings improve a person’s appearance.

“Sexting.” Using text messages to send salacious pictures and content would be passé and past. Consequently, Bret Favre social media rumors would ride off into the sunset with him—assuming he actually retires from professional football.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Need I say more?

Advanced Imaging Technology. Airport scanners that turn travelers into naked images should be sent back to the lab from whence they came. Someday we’re going to hear how the radiation was bad for us after all, or we’re going to see a celebrity’s altogether on the Internet. I still maintain there are better ways to assure security in air travel.

Enhanced Body Pat Downs. These wondrous new methods for assuring traveling security are worse than AIT scanners. Don’t tell me safety requires we make an elderly lady stand up from a wheelchair so she can either be assisted into a machine that dehumanizes her or be subjected to an even more humiliating body rub by a stranger touching private places, and all this in front of God and everybody. Enhanced body pat downs are dumb, wrong, unnecessary, inconsistent, and ultimately, minimally effective.

America’s War in Afghanistan. It’s time to get out. Political leaders cannot articulate consistently why we’re there or what we’re trying to accomplish. And Osama bin Laden has long since left that particular building, or cave, or countryside.

Teen Paranormal Romance. The Twilight Series is tame, I know, by the rest of today’s tween and teen romance standards and certainly the standards of so-called adult literature. But we’d be better off without any of it, including HBO’s “True Blood,” blood and gore “romance,” erotic horror, and similar twisted stories about forbidden love with violent creatures.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

I enjoy making a few New Year's resolutions, though in 34 years in higher education I tended to set more goals at the beginning of academic years in the late summer. But resolutions or new goals either one are a good thing, I think, because they’re forward looking.

New Year’s resolutions, like the New Year in general, are a sign one is hopeful and open to a future different from the present. You know, “Hope springs eternal.”

A year ago in January I wrote about New Year’s resolutions. It’s interesting to later read what one has written to see if it’s stood the test of time, or to see if you even still agree with yourself.

In any event, Happy New Year, and may your resolutions be good ones soon realized in 2011.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

New Year’s Resolutions are fun if not always fruitful. Here are a few resolutions better left unmade:

--I resolve to eat with wild abandon.

--I plan to pay more taxes cheerfully.

--I’ll watch every episode of each new “reality” TV program in 2011.

--I’ll invest all my savings with Bernie Madoff.

--I hereby give up Starbucks in favor of McDonald’s coffee.

--I resolve to fund my retirement plan buying lottery tickets.

--I’ll hold my breath until Conan O’Brien is actually funny.

--I’ll ask Lindsay Lohan for advice.

--I will send money to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and MoveOn.org.

--I’ll read every “Teen Paranormal Romance” book in Barnes and Noble.

--I resolve to enroll in the Charlie Sheen school-for-how-to-live-responsibly.

--I’m going to write books about Amish celebrities.

--I’ll support ethanol subsidies.

--I resolve to believe everything Tiger Woods says.

--I’ll watch more bowling on TV.

--I resolve to eat more sugar, salt, and flour.

--I will join the ranks of those who never exercise.

--I expect to visit all the world’s toxic waste dumps.

--I will listen to all of Vice President Joe Biden’s speeches in one marathon weekend.

--I’ll believe in the Detroit Lions.

--I resolve to keep making resolutions.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Part of me has never liked what happens during the 52nd week of the year. It’s a great time, the holiday season, family and friends, time off, bowl games, special worship services, gift giving. What’s not to like? Nothing. I like and appreciate all of this.

What I don’t like is the huge transition in “tone,” especially on television, that takes place after Christmas leading to New Year’s Eve. Christmas carols disappear from radio stations, stores, and inexplicably, church services. People shift gears from the season of peace to the season of parties. Of a sudden, life is no longer about the spirit of giving, about peace on earth goodwill toward men. It’s about the spirit of hammering oneself into oblivion. It’s about partying all night, going gonzo, and living life to excess.

I don’t think I exaggerate. Simply watch the New Year’s Eve television programs. What are they about?

I get weary of the barrage of media content suggesting drinking is the greatest and grandest thing I can do with my time ringing in the New Year. I’m not against all drinking. I don’t attack the idea or people who take a drink. I do take umbrage with the idea that drinking to excess, drunkenness, or hard partying is somehow a good, wise, or even enjoyable activity.

Excessive drinking isn’t the only thing to which we’re treated in this week’s shift to a secular worldview. We also get even more let it loose sexuality than usual. That’s so obvious I’ll leave it at that.

Because others go secular, of course, doesn’t mean we have to do so. And we don’t. Our time, like many others, is spent with family and friends, enjoying them and all God has bestowed. It’s a good week…if you turn off the TV.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

For about 25 years now, maybe longer, I’ve used this week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to write long hand, yellow-pad notes to people who’ve made a particular impact upon my life in the past year. Not a lot of them, actually maybe just four or five, or on a big year as many as seven. These notes or short letters are my way of expressing thanks and touching people who’ve touched me.

I know other people do this because I’ve heard them mention it or seen their Christmas letters. But most of the ones I’ve seen are more generic, sent to one and all. Nothing wrong with this.

I’m talking about personalized notes to selected individuals who’ve done something, modeled something, been a listening ear, or simply “been there” in some way that made a difference in my life, family, and/or career.

Writing gratitude notes to people during New Year’s Week has been a good habit for a number of reasons.

First, it makes me take stock. The practice forces me to remember people and actions in detail and recall why they might have been important. It reminds me that I didn’t do as well or accomplish as much or live as well on my own as a quick glance might lead me to think.

Second, this practice requires me to put into words how the people or their actions affected me and to put into words my expression of gratitude. It makes me articulate what up till now may have gone unsaid.

Third, it allows me to see how God has worked in my life and family in the past year, using people to bless or direct us. It helps me see how God has corralled me or used others to remind me what’s really important.

Fourth, it’s a good reminder of which individuals built into my life and who, if I am wise, I’ll maintain contact with, listen to, and seek to return the blessing.

I share this habit as a recommendation. It’s a practice that’s probably blessed me more than it’s blessed anyone who received the snail-mail note.

I need to get out of this blog now. I’ve got gratitude notes to write.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

It seems our home is a breeding ground. Workrooms are apparently getting together late at night. Next day, voila, more workrooms.

It’s the season, I think. There’s something about Christmas that demands space for stuff, hidden and lounging about. Stuff to be wrapped. Stuff to wrap with. Stuff to “conspire, as they dream by the fire.”

The wife is in the middle of all this, managing the workrooms like different fronts on a battlefield. Right now, all’s quiet on the Western Front, but the Eastern one is aglow with frenzied activity. I can hear Christmas music and rattling paper, smell candles burning. Things are happening there that will delight grandchildren and bring smiles to daughters and daughters-in-law. The men involved will grin in a manly man sort of way. I know, I’ve been there, done that.

The wife, the Grandma, you see, is the conductor and soul of the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas symphony. She signs off on the right tree to cut, I erect it, and she decorates it. Actually, she bedecks two, one real, one artificial. Used to be three when the kids were home: one real—the big one, one artificial—the artistic one, and another real one—the smaller one adorned with kids’, traditional, and sentimental family ornaments. Whatever, she is seen in them all.

The wife is the one, too, who actually works in the workrooms. I make forays in and get out quickly, like a medic on a field of battle. She stays in the line of fire and directs the action. She wraps decoratively. I tape paper around purchased items. She is the one, of course, who envisioned, found, purchased, and carried home the stuff—gifts—in the first place. She’s the one who transforms the stuff into Christmas memories.

So multiplying workrooms are a symbol of love not labor. God give us more workrooms.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.