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..and a happy new year!

Let me be among the first to wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2014!

This is always an odd time of the year, to me, anyway.  We're now beyond the hustle and bustle of Christmas, which is wonderful because of the occasions we have to see people that we care about and that we may not see as frequently as we'd like.  Most non-retail businesses are in kind of a holding pattern, as no one wants to get into anything major until the new year.  And with Christmas and New Year's occurring on Wednesday this year, most business things will actually wait until next Monday, January 6, which starts the first FULL week of the new year.

So, did you have a nice holiday?  See folks you wanted (or even needed) to see?  Were you able to find that 'special' gift for each of those on your holiday shopping list?   I'm fortunate that I can say "yes" to all of those questions, so I hope that you are, too.

Not such a happy new year to all of the NFL coaches who were fired yesterday....one was even canned Sunday night.  I couldn't tell you whether those six men deserved to be relieved of their duties or not, and most of the official statements from the teams who parted ways with their coaches indicated the need for a change, new directions and so forth.  In other words, more of the kind of corporate-speak that so many of us get tired of hearing.  Personally, I'd like for one team owner or official to come out and say "He just didn't get the job done, and I fired him because of it." But in this era of hyper-political-correctness, that will simply not happen.

Speaking of things corporate, have you ever wondered what happens to someone like Bill Gates, the co-founder, former CEO and chairman of Microsoft, when he steps away from the company he started and ran for so long?  I saw a headline online last week that mentioned that he is involved somehow in an effort to develop batteries that are powered by human urine.  I swear I'm not making this up!  He also has devoted a considerable amount of time and effort (and presumably some of his fortune, as well) to developing a better and more efficient toilet.  I believe that both undertakings are ostensibly directed at or to the third world, as ways of giving people in less fortunate circumstances a leg up.  And I know that Gates and his wife Melissa have given generously to many worthwhile causes, so I can't completely dismiss his efforts or intentions.

And that makes me wonder what would happen if everyone who's so concerned about helping those with little or no means would then direct their efforts to helping people here in this country.  It occurs to me that we could end childhood hunger, homelessness and all kinds of other problems if we could just keep those resources within our own borders.

I just try to do my little bit, and hope that it makes a difference.  If we all did that, imagine how many more of us would indeed have a healthy and happy new year.

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