Holidays

Christmas Music Can Harm Your Mental Health, Psychologist Says

Are you one of those people that can’t stand hearing Christmas songs months before the holiday actually arrives? Does hearing festive carols weeks before Thanksgiving only make you upset that you haven’t eaten your turkey yet? A psychologist in Great Britain says your reactions don’t make you a Grinch because too much Christmas music is actually bad for your mental health. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair claims the constant barrage of Christmas tunes too early in the season forces people to remember all the things they have to do before the holiday. Blair says the songs are a reminder to buy presents, cater parties, organize travel, and all the more stressful chores during Christmas. “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing,” Blair tells Sky News. The psychologist added that store workers are most at risk for being worn down by the catchy beats. She states that hearing the same songs over and over each day make workers struggle to “tune it out” and they become “unable to focus on anything else.” “Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it’s played too loudly and too early,” Blair explained to reporters. In the U.S., the mad dash by retailers to get consumers in the holiday spirit continues to eat up more of the calendar. The seller’s push, also known as the Christmas Creep, has made some major stores decide to break out the Christmas playlist in the middle of October. According to a survey of top retailers by the Tampa Bay Times, Best Buy outpaced all other stores by starting their holiday music on Oct. 22. Danny Turner, a programming executive with Mood Media, told the Times he advises stores avoid playing novelty or repetitive songs that tend to be more annoying than cheerful. “The one I have in mind is The 12 Days of Christmas… Once I’m at the third day, I’m counting how many days are left. You don’t want any songs that feel like they last for 12 days.”

No kidding!  Ms. Blair is spot on.  The early playing of Christmas music has gotten out of control.  It’s about time someone said this…

Opinion: The Nuclear Option: Why Columbus Deserves His Day

Happy Columbus Day! In this era of Making America Great Again, it is true and wonderful to celebrate this great and glorious holiday and sing high praises for the good and daring adventurer who discovered America. In fourteen-hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. The story of Christopher Columbus inspires American pride for his unquenchable curiosity, his desire to see new lands and meet new people, and his relentless drive for industry. He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain. He sailed by night; he sailed by day; he used the stars to find his way. One person who appreciates Spain’s great explorer is President Donald Trump. “Five hundred and twenty-five years ago, Christopher Columbus completed an ambitious and daring voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas,” said Mr. Trump, sounding like a man who appreciates risk and accomplishment. Kind of like building great skyscrapers in great cities of the world. “The voyage was a remarkable and then-unparallelled feat that helped launch the age of exploration and discovery,” Mr. Trump proclaimed from the White House. “The permanent arrival of Europeans to the Americas was the transformative event that undeniably and fundamentally changed the course of human history and set the stage for the development of our great nation.” This, of course, would ultimately spark the greatest revolution in human history. Imagine just how radical was the notion that man’s rights derive from God and not a king or government. This fierce and bloody demand for self-governance would give birth to the greatest country on earth and became the blueprint for ending the savage global institution of slavery. Mr. Trump also honors Columbus as a “skilled navigator and man of faith.” He thanked both Spain and Italy for their contributions to discovering America. As thrilling as it is to dance back and forth across the lines of Mr. Trump’s simple Columbus Day proclamation, this is also a time of sober reflection over the past eight years with a president who viewed Columbus in a drastically different light. Americans must, President Barack Obama lectured a year ago, “acknowledge the pain and suffering reflected in the stories of Native Americans who had long resided on this land prior to the arrival of European newcomers.” Just as Mr. Trump’s statement sounds like that of a master builder who creates what he dreams, Mr. Obama’s statement sounds like a dreamless street organizer hell bent on whipping up discontent and sewing racial discord. Anyway, isn’t it incredibly xenophobic and — according to Democrats — outright racist to say that Native Americans should be protected from outside invaders just because they had “long resided on this land prior to the arrival” of others? In other words, it’s just fine for Mr. Obama to refer to Columbus as an illegal alien. But it is completely racist for Mr. Trump to talk about illegal aliens who come into our country and rape or murder our citizens. “America First” is racist. But “Native America First” is totally fine. And you wonder why the barbarians in Iran, theocratic thugs in Syria and crazy little Rocket Man in North Korea have been laughing contemptuously at us for the past eight years as they plotted the annihilation of civilized people? The only statue that should be torn down today is the one in the fictitious town of Springfield on “The Simpsons.” It is a statue of former failed President Jimmy Carter. When it was unveiled, the townspeople shrieked and declared the preachy huckster “History’s Monster!” In Springfield, the statue of Jimmy Carter should be torn down and replaced with a statue of Barack Obama, “History’s True Monster.”

Agreed!!  And well said, Charlie.  Columnist Charles Hurt is the author of that outstanding, and timely, op/ed.  Happy Columbus Day!!

Canned pumpkin shortage threatens to ruin Thanksgiving

Pumpkin may be the signature flavor of fall, but a below-average sugar pumpkin harvest could have pie makers across the country scrambling for cans of the prized orange mash during the holiday. This year’s yield of carving pumpkins, the large, rounded, type you typically find at pumpkin patches, should be enough to satisfy all the Jack-O-Lantern artisans through Halloween, but that might not be the case for the canned pumpkin used in pies come Thanksgiving, according to crop experts in Illinois, the country’s top pumpkin-producing state. “I would not wait until Nov. 20,” University of Illinois professor Mohammad Babadoost said, referencing the Nov. 26 Thanksgiving holiday. “I’d buy it whenever it comes to the store.” Sugar, or pie pumpkins, the type used in cans of Libby’s, are smaller in shape and have more flesh than their larger counterparts. The pulp also has a less grainy texture that is sweeter. Farmers throughout the state are blaming record rainfall in June for washing out their sugar pumpkin crop. Jane Moran, who owns Moran’s Orchard in Neoga, said they replanted washed out pumpkin crops and then it rained more so they’re buying pumpkins at auction twice a week. “When you deal with Mother Nature, you just have to take it and go on,” Moran said. Libby, one of the nation’s largest manufactures of canned pumpkin, says yields could be off by as much as a third this year in Illinois, where about 90 percent of the pumpkins grown in the U.S. come from within a 90-mile radius of Peoria. But Libby’s corporate and brand affairs director Roz O’Hearn said the company, which has had a central Illinois pumpkin processing plant since 1929, is confident it will have enough pumpkin for autumn holidays. However she added that there will be little, if any left after the holiday season, saying that “once we ship the remainder of the 2015 harvest, we’ll have no more Libby’s pumpkin to sell until harvest 2016.” Earlier this year, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation making pumpkin pie the official state pie of Illinois.

Better stock up!!

Veteran’s Day food freebies and deals

Businesses and restaurants are honoring veterans on Tuesday, Nov. 11 with specials and freebies for active duty and retired military personnel.

Here are a few of the many freebies out there tomorrow for vets.  As a vet myself, I always look forward to taking advantage of some of these fun deals.  In addition, I usually take advantage of getting my Mustang washed for free.  But, seeing as its snowing and 14 degrees outside, I’ll probably have to skip that this year.  Oh well..  To all you fellow vets out there, a very Happy Veteran’s Day!  Hope you find some of these deals beneficial!   🙂