A Time For Thanks Redux ’19

 It’s time to Break It Down! 

 Originally posted on November 24, 2010, and prior to today, subsequently on November 27, 2013, November 26, 2014November 25, 2015November 23, 2016, and November 22, 2017, November 21, 2018.

As in the past, since it is Thanksgiving Week, this post will deviate from the standard fare. I know that travel schedules (in some cases impeded by weather events this year), meal planning, family time, shopping, football, parades, and if there is any time remaining, relaxation, will be the dominant theme this week. However, it is Wednesday, so there shall be a blog and it will definitely be brief.

Those among us who have perfected humility, and ascended to a genuine Nirvana state, have no doubt also elevated giving thanks to an art form. The rest of us must fully invest our appreciation in the notion, “That’s why we have Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, which kicks off what we commonly refer to as the Holiday Season. Almost instinctively, Thanksgiving and Christmas come to mind. Yet, there is so much more than that to the Season.

Over the next 54 days, many of us will enjoy succulent feasting at Thanksgiving, exchange gifts and contribute to the needy during Hanukkah. We will buy, give, exchange, and/or receive gifts at Christmas, eat, drink, and celebrate the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, and party and toast the dawn of 2019 on New Year’s Day. We will honor the life and works of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on MLK Day. In addition, even in these tough (though improving) economic times, this weekend, millions of Americans will pay (literally) homage to our most celebrated of shoppers’ holiday weekends, Black FridaySmall Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, by rising early, and proceeding to scour the aisles for those perfect gifts…and if not perfect, at least cheap, relatively speaking. There are even some precociously enterprising businesses that will start the shopping clock Thursday. Sigh!

In past years, I have sometimes recounted my reasons for being thankful. This year I find that I have more reasons than ever to sit contemplatively in humble repose, and affirm boldly, that I know, without caveat, not only the goodness, no the greatness of God, but also of his inestimable and inexhaustible beneficence. I thank Him for deliverance, and for imbuing me with the sense and sensibility to discern the distinction between kairos and chronosGreek concepts for God’s time, and man’s time, respectively. In this the Year of our Lord and Savior, 2019, a.k.a. Year 3 A.D. (After Donald), I have again been reminded, God really does have a sense of humor. In accordance, I thank him dearly and daily for Stephen ColbertTrevor Noah, and SNLAmen!

Eons ago, when I was a college student, I pledged a fraternity. It is familiarly known as the Oldest, Boldest, and Coldest, but I digress. The point of this reference is that during the erstwhile pledge process, as prospective initiates, we were required to learn a number of poems. There were many, each selected to convey a specific life lesson. Some of them have stayed with me, but none more than Invictus, written by English poet, William Ernest Henley (1849-1903).

The Latin translation for Invictus is Undefeated. You may recall it, but just in case, see it below:

Invictus (Latin for Undefeated) By William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.


So, as you go about your way tomorrow, and all the tomorrows that follow, recognize that Thanksgiving, at its core, is not simply a day on the calendar. It is a spirit that dwells within each of us, an impulse that prompts us to thank God (for our being undefeated), and for the graciousness to share His blessings with our fellow men and women. Indeed, everyday is “A Time for Giving Thanks Redux ’19!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/. Find a new post each Wednesday.

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Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: It Will Happen

Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: It Will Happen

For some, it has been a long and laborious ride already, while others argue those who resist, in whatever form, protest too much. I don’t know which side of the deep and wide chasm you may fall, but I offer an admonition. It’s an ill wind that never changes; I’m beginning to sense change may very well be in the air. I’m not suggesting it will be quick, fast, or in a hurry; just that it will come.

A month ago, yesterday, Shepard Smith, a fixture at Fox News for more than two decades, since its 1996 inception, walked away. He did not utter a public reason for leaving, and he noted the Fox brass asked him to stay. But he didn’t. From afar, it appeared quite possible that he just couldn’t ‘t. He was in the unenviable position of speaking truth to power. Everyday! There are instances in which that may be tolerable, and certainly survivable. But when the power one is speaking to is the perceived most powerful man on the planet, and in exercising said power he frequently renders scathing tweets/rants at individuals who dare disagree with him, it is conceivable that one’s desire, and even capacity to simply accept it and soldier on dissipates. Just maybe Shep had enough, and said in effect, no mas.

This past weekend on Fox News Sunday, in an interview with Louisiana Congressman, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Chris Wallace held the Representative’s feet to the fire. Congressman Scalise, a stout defender of Mr. Trump, valiantly stuck to his Party’s talking points. Wallace, however, was undaunted, and fact checked him on numerous occasions. It was precisely the kind of exchange and/or command of fact patterns that Trump, and his phalanx of conservative supporters hated when executed by Shepard Smith. And indeed, Trump fired off a tweet aimed at Wallace, that expressed his deep level of displeasure, as well as a font of anger by his Twitter peeps, and other supporters, surrogates, and sycophants. An example of Trump’s Twitter screed follows:

Donald J. Trump


@SteveScalise blew the nasty & obnoxious Chris Wallace (will never be his father, Mike!) away on Chris’s lowest rated (unless I’m on) morning show. This kind of dumb and unfair interview would never have happened in the @FoxNews past. Great job Steve!


2:30 PM – Nov 17, 2019

One of Mr. Wallace’s fellow Fox News colleagues, Neil Cavuto, came to his defense, taking on Mr. Trump for his thin-skinned intolerance. Cavuto parsed both Scalise’s non-factual assertions, as well as Trump’s off-based claims. Suffice it to say, many Fox News viewers don’t frequent the network to hear journalists challenge or disagree with Trump, or with those who speak on his behalf.

But that’s really my point. Even at Fox News, more and more views are emerging that reflect the undeniable aroma of truth, unsullied by orange-tinted lenses. It’s not an avalanche of new-found converts, to be sure, but it is evidence that eventually, truth crushed to the ground will rise again. And if it can rise at longstanding Trump-leaning organizations such as Fox News, indeed, there is hope that it just might penetrate the consciousness of enough independents to make a difference come Tuesday, November 3, 2020. I believe, “Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: It Will Happen!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking on the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on the bottom right hand corner of my homepage at: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your email address in the designated space, and click on “Sign Me Up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month Redux ’19

It’s time to Break It Down!

A decade ago, I wrote a post in recognition of Veteran’s Day, and the service personnel we as a nation honor on that day. In 2009, and again in 2015 when I reprised this post, Veterans Day fell on Wednesday. In 2018, the day fell on Sunday. This year, Monday, day before yesterday, was Veterans Day. Again, I’ve decided to edit/re-post the Veteran’s Day 2009/2015/2018 Edition of “Break It Down!”

It’s worth noting that while our fighting forces officially exited Iraq in December 2011, we still have military personnel fighting ISIL/ISIS there, and in Syria. We also still maintain forces, roughly 13,000 troops in Afghanistan (the other hotspot referenced in the initial post). In addition, for the record, we have a variety of personnel in Iran, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Yemen…lest you think the world is one big blissful, peaceful place.

I hope you enjoyed your day, and that you took an opportunity to reach out and thank a Veteran. Moreover, for my part, to all of you who are Veterans, “Thank you for your service.”

Many of you may know, or at least faintly recall that I frequently alter the blog format to integrate holiday traditions into the discussion. Often holidays are expanded by days away from work, long weekends, travel, and a host of leisure activities. In those cases, I prefer to scale back in recognition that aside from road map directions, GPS instructions, and the like, very little reading will be taking place.

As most Americans know, last year marked the 100-year Anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I, AKA “The Great War,” and/or, “The War That Ended All Wars.” At first, it was known as Armistice Day. It later became known as Veterans Day. But what do we really know about this day that has been set aside to honor real American heroes and sheroes?

Well, first, Veterans Day is not Memorial Day, and vice-versa. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day is intended largely to honor Living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. Memorial Day honors those veterans who died in the service of their country, particularly those killed in combat, or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.

We also know that Veterans Day is a different kind of federal holiday. With the exception of Sundays, it falls on its actual date. In 1968Congress approved the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law, which took effect in 1971, amended the observance of certain federal holidays so that Washington’s BirthdayMemorial DayColumbus Day, and Veterans Day would be observed on Mondays instead of fixed dates.

Congress passed the Act to increase the number of three-day holiday weekend for federal employees. After a loud and persistent outcry from Veterans and Veterans’ groups, who argued the historical significance of November 11th was compromised by the change, Veterans Day observance was returned to November 11th in 1978.

So how did this affinity for November 11th come about? As with many historical facts, it evolved. Veterans Day began as Armistice Day. The significance of Armistice Day is that it was the day of the signing of the Armistice that terminated World War I (WW I). In effect, WW I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. That was when the Germans signed the document, ending hostilities that had begun in 1914President Woodrow Wilson subsequently proclaimed the first Armistice DayNovember 11, 1919. 

WW I was deemed The Great War, and was thought by many, at the time, to be “The War That Ended All Wars.” It was, as the numeric designation suggests, the First World War. Of course, more wars would ensue. There was World War II (WW II), later the Korean Conflict, and then Vietnam.

In 1953, a storeowner in Emporia, KansasAl King, launched an idea to honor all Veterans, not just those who served in WW I. The idea took root, sailed through Congress, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law May 26, 1954Congress amended the Act November 8, 1954, changing Armistice to Veterans, and thus it has been ever since.

So now, especially remember…“The 11th Hour of the Eleventh Day of the 11th Month Redux ’19!” To augment a popular bumper sticker, “If you can read this, thank a teacher”…and a veteran.

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

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Where So-called Information Misinforms: TrumpWorld

It’s time to Break It Down!

Sir Winston Churchill once spoke of “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Ironically, the line was intended to describe the intentions and interests of Russia in 1939. Eighty years later, the phraseology might be used to describe Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia.

But that’s something we know. That there is a functioning connectivity between the two, and that for all practical purposes, it indecipherable. Moreover, the reason for the unintelligible nature of the relationship is hidden in plain sight.

That is to say, the more evidence presented, the more the principals deny and or dissemble. Mr. Trump, America’s Popinjay-in Chief, routinely counsels us not to trust the FBI, the Justice Department, the Courts, and the entirety of our national intelligence apparatus, while simultaneously advising members and former members of his administration not to comply with congressional subpoenas. Given that backdrop, and his stated praise of dictators, including, Putin, Kim Jong Un, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Rodrigo Duterte, Erdogan, Xi Jinping, to name just a few, picking low hanging fruit. One is almost tempted to surmise he thinks he’s King Donald, or some other potentate label. But I digress.

Back to the point of the post. According to the Washington Post and MSNBC, by October 9, 2019 (993 days in office), Trump had uttered 13,435 false or misleading statements. Some would call them lies, but why quibble? Anyway, you choose to look at it or characterize it, over the course of just less than a thousand days, the person who wears the title President of the United States has fixed his mouth to say something untruthful more than 13 times…each and every day.

Fast forward to present day. An interesting development is unfolding. Twitter and Facebook are reviewing and taking down posts that spread disinformation about how and when to vote on Election Day. I’ve seen and heard Trump and a number of his supporters, surrogates, and sycophants complaining that social media outlets are trying to destroy Trump and steal his presidency. OK, now is the time to pay close attention to how this claim breaks down.

Social media takes steps to sift out and discard disinformation. The President and his peeps say that’s an effort to take out their guy. Keep in mind, this is a man who’s preeminent political strategy seems to be the reckless and frequent infusion of untruths into the retail political marketplace. Several things seem clear from this turn of events:

  • While flatly denying it, Trump and his team appear to be tacitly conceding they need to continue their wanton propensity to sling false and misleading claims into the political orbit in order to be able to compete; say nothing of succeed.
  • Facebook and Twitter, while downplaying the role their hands-off tact played on the 2016 Election outcome, appear to tacitly admit that the mass misinformation conveyed on their platforms affected election results.
  • Finally, the most important element in ensuring a fair and appropriately administered election is an informed and (with emphasis) vigilant electorate.

If you are happy with how your national government has been run for the past three years, all’s well; no worries. Do nothing other than what you’ve been doing. Conversely, if you think our leadership has lost its way, and we are in need of a course correction, you need to stand up, step out and commit to doing your part, as well as encouraging and assisting others to do theirs. Be informed, be engaged, and by all means, be knowledgeable. It’s imperative to understand our current location. “Where So-called Information Misinforms: TrumpWorld!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your inbox.

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