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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The More Things Change

In preparing this holiday article, I took a look back into the files. Here's some of what I found:

Wild About Harry, part II
I've seen it. In fact, I was one of the millions who saw it on Saturday, rocketing it to the highest one-day gross in history.

[The original "Wild About Harry" article, the previous week, anticipated the release of the first Harry Potter film. I didn't expect to see it until after the initial buzz died down, so my attendance on that Saturday was a surprise to me.]

King Harry
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" opened at multiplexes across the land last Friday. There were special midnight screenings at 12:01 am on Friday morning, for those kids who needed their Harry fix. Since the movie is over 2 1/2 hours long, these kids didn't make it to bed until after 3 in the morning. Thanks, Mom! Now off to school!

[I didn't send a Thanksgiving Reader in 2003 (nor, in fact, from September 2003 until March 2004!), and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" wasn't released until the summer of 2004. But last year's issue opened with a familiar theme:]

This week's issue is mostly reruns. I had my teeth cleaned today and it's 7:30 and I'm just not up for anything new.

[And also:]

As I write these words, I'm wearing the last of my Crest Whitestrips (TM). This Dental Whitening System is guaranteed to give you noticeably whiter teeth in just 14 days. Well, I've followed their regimen for the past two weeks and don't see any difference.

[It's hard to believe that just one short year ago, many of us were mourning the results of the presidential election. Here's a snippet:]

I can't write any more about politics without my head exploding, but I can't think of anything but politics. I'm like something out of Scanners. I need to take this break to wash that president right out of my hair. Come December, maybe I'll be funny again.

[Here are a few other appropriate blurbs from that prescient issue:]

If the message of the first four years was, "If you're a Democrat who disagrees with George Bush, you'd better watch out," the message of the next four years is already shaping up as, "If you're a Republican who disagrees with George Bush, you'd better watch out."

I was appalled to see Arlen Specter, a five term Senator and loyal foot soldier to the Republican Party, slapped down for suggesting anti-abortion judges might find confirmation a tough road. ... Oh, by the way, in the past four years, Democrats have blocked only 10 of Bush's judicial nominations, while passing 203. MORE THAN UNDER ANY PRESIDENT IN HISTORY. Yeah, Specter and the Dems are a real threat.

Meanwhile, House Republicans changed their rules so Tom DeLay could remain in place as House Majority Leader even if he is indicted for a felony and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to change Senate rules so that a judicial nomination could be brought to the floor for a vote by a simple majority rather than the three-fifths majority - 60 votes - now needed to end a filibuster. You are with us or you are with the terrorists.

[This all sounds very familiar to me. Back in 2001, we were a nation at war. In Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan?]

Nothing like a little war to make the holidays special. It's an American tradition. Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas night to take Trenton. The Battle of the Bulge took place during Christmas and New Year 1944/45. Remember the Tet offensive? Now that was holiday spirit!

American forces are going to have a tough time of it this Thanksgiving. With Bob Hope sinking fast, Wayne Newton, in his new position as USO chairman, is threatening to entertain the troops. He's already staged a Veterans Day benefit, "Las Vegas Salutes the Spirit of America," featuring Robert Goulet, Rick Springfield, Carrot Top and Rich Little. Nothing like rounding up a passel of has-beens and second stringers to raise both spirits and cash. Now he's on the road with Rob Schneider, country singer Neal McCoy, Bo Derek and The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. I guess Connie Stevens and Phyllis Diller are staying home.

So let's see ... a new Harry Potter movie, dental problems, controversy surrounding the War on Terror ... it must be Thanksgiving!


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