At last, it’s Christmastime.

I was having a sluggish day at work this past Tuesday. Not because anything was going wrong, but I just felt tired and lethargic. Basically, I felt how we all feel on a Tuesday afternoon.

So I decided to head to a nearby mall for pick-me-up beverage at Starbucks. Within minutes of being inside the mall, my mood instantly changed. Christmas reefs were hung all over the walls. Holiday music was playing. Santa was probably lurking somewhere. It was a very festive environment. And to top it off, I purchased a Gingerbread latte.

But I probably could’ve made it through the rest of the day without caffeine; Christmas spirit was the boost I needed to raise my energy level.

Even today, at work, while exiting my office I broke into an ear-to-ear grin when I saw our building super setting up the annual Christmas tree in our main lobby.

There’s just something about Christmas that makes me so happy. Because for one full month, we get to at least pretend that the world is one big happy place. That the snow globes you see, of glittering snow falling upon quaint little villages full of log cabins, is an actual reflection of what the world really is.


If there is ever going to be a real-life miracle that brings everyone together for the sake of hope and happiness, it will be during this month. And just sensing others share that same naive mindset is enough to make me a jolly man.

And mind you, I Identify myself as Jewish, but I stopped pretending years ago that Hanukkah even comes close to competing with Christmas.

Especially after this year’s election, Christmas offers us a time to finally take a deep breath and return to normalcy. Yes, Trump won, and there is a lot of uncertainty in our nation right now, but with Christmas comes a feeling of familiarity that we all crave.

And this holiday season, let’s challenge ourselves to retain these feelings of hope and optimism even after the calendar turns to 2017. And even after President Trump (it’s going to take a little bit of time to type that without gagging) is sworn in on Jan. 20.

Because after all, even though many of us share different ideologies and worldviews, we all have more similarities than we think, and what better time than Christmas to realize that? We all like having snowball fights. We all like the song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” and we all like candy canes and Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks.

Let’s start there.

After Christmas is over, we don’t have to necessarily be best friends. But we could all coexist and be happy.


If you are still skeptical, then take the time to watch a video that has been widely shared on social media today — an interview of Tomi Lahren, an ultra-conservative 24-year-old Hayden Panettiere lookalike who has gained a large following on the right-wing website The Blaze, and Trevor Noah, the liberal South African host of the Daily Show.

It’s easy to watch it and say Noah was by the far the most sensible person (which, he clearly was), but let’s also keep in mind that, as the interviewer, he was able to steer the conversation while being reaffirmed by his own audience.

But it really is a great and fascinating conversation between two people of completely different mindsets. And it should teach us that we all really need to get out of our own ideological bubbles and talk to people who think differently than us.

And as was the case with Noah and Lahren, you might still end up maintaining a cordial relationship with the person that you were just disagreeing with.

Just some food for thought.

Have a holly jolly Christmas everyone.

What to do when your president is an Internet troll

Most of us like to freely express ourselves through Twitter, mainly because it comes with little consequence.

There have been plenty of historical examples of people taking their anonymity for granted, only to see it backfire in their face. But for us average joes, whose followers consist of our close friends and Internet bots, we can pretty much tweet on — as long as we don’t say anything really stupid — and not worry about too much.

It’s only when you become famous when you immediately go back and delete all of your insensitive tweets.

Our tweets are there to offer a little bit of humor, maybe some political commentary or just some unmitigated expression of emotion based on recent developments in our life. But they really carry no weight. Our tweets aren’t going to change anything.

But what happens when the person who possesses the most powerful job in the world is a reckless tweeter?

That is currently what we are dealing with. A man whose Twitter account was actually taken away from him at one point by his own campaign, and now, whose tweets can actually be viewed as potential policy shifts for the country that we live in.

What a time to be alive, folks. What a time.


This is the quandary that we find ourselves in now. How seriously do we take Donald Trump’s tweets? After all, while they sound just like any generic rant from your commonplace Twitter troll, the reality is that they still serve as a declarative statement by our nation’s leader.

It’s especially problematic for journalists, who are currently tackling the question of whether they should even bother spending time and resources reporting on Donald Trump’s tweets.

When Donald Trump tweets that flag burning should be illegal, do we take it seriously that he may actually infringe upon our First Amendment rights?

There’s been a couple of interesting schools of thought on this topic. In a New York Times article about this, the editor of Politico said they must report on each one, but at the same time it is their responsibility to inform the public how realistic Trump’s tweet really is to potentially be put into action.

Trevor Noah tackled a similar subject on the Daily Show, insisting that when Donald Trump says something outrageous, whether in person or through social media — like that “millions voted illegally” in this year’s election — that instead of fact-checking it, they need to push Donald Trump harder to prove it with evidence, which he inevitably won’t.

And that’s not even getting into the fact that, by making this statement, Donald Trump is actually questioning the validity of an election that he won.

Again, can’t make this stuff up.

Others think Trump is just doing what he does best: saying ridiculous things in order to distract us from the obvious truth, like the fact that his immense conflicts of interest involving his business make it nearly impossible for him to make a domestic or foreign policy decision without him having a personal stake in it.

But don’t worry, he’s putting the smartest people around him to make those decisions. Like an attorney general who was once blocked from becoming a federal judge for making racist comments; a national security adviser who once said Islam is not a religion; an education secretary whose advocacy for more charter schools in Detroit has resulted in the city having the worst school systems in the nation; and a secretary of health and human services who, if he had it his way, would prevent millions from having affordable healthcare and women’s health resources.

Maybe his next appointee will be better though.

Like … Sarah Palin?

God help us.

You are now free to move about the country — if you dare

There’s a few professions in life in which you prefer to never think about the actual human being whose doing the work.

The person who’s operating on you, for instance. If I was having a procedure done tomorrow, I wouldn’t want to meet my surgeon out of the fear that he’d look like Zach Galifianakis’s character in The Hangover. Instead, I choose to imagine a clean-cut, supremely competent, by-the-book doctor whose never had an alcoholic beverage in his or her life.

Or my chef at dinner. I don’t even picture a human being cooking my food when I’m out to eat. I envision a cartoon version of an Italian man with a handlebar mustache. The last thing I want to think about is an actual person sweating and breathing while hovering over my chicken rollatini.

AFeatured imagenother job in which we fail to comprehend the human element? Pilot.

When during the course of a flight do you even see the person steering your plane? At the very end? And at that point — you’ve already landed safely, so who cares who flew it? It could have been Spongebob Squarepants in the cockpit and it wouldn’t make any difference.

Again, it’s something you don’t want to think about. You’re putting your life in their hands, so you’re envisioning a pilot who has the aviation abilities of Captain Sully and Maverick from Top Gun combined.

Well, that’s all going to change now after the bombshell revelation that Andreas Lubitz, the 27-year-old German who flew Germanwings Flight 9525 into a mountain, was suicidal, mentally ill and possibly vision impaired. And yet, he was still deemed fit to fly because he had not disclosed all of his private medical information with airline officials.

Not only will this severely affect how airlines go about evaluating their pilots, but I think it’s going to open a whole new feeling of consciousness among travelers. We want to know more about the person who is flying us. I wouldn’t be surprised if people started calling for a public database of pilots, where we could actually pick and choose flights based on its aviator. Which, in theory, could also provide a convenient way for pilots to hook up with each other. Everybody wins.

Will this tragedy stop people from flying? Highly doubtful. But it certainly won’t help alleviate the fears of the many people who already have a fear of flying. And even though this is an isolated incident, you can argue that it’s up to airlines to win back our confidence.

Somebody who won’t have to be traveling anytime soon is Amanda Knox. Yeah, that segway was a stretch.Amanda Knox4

The hottest would-be-killer America has ever known has been living in Seattle the past four years, and she could stay there as long as she wants, because her eight-year courtroom drama was finally put to an end this weekend when she was acquitted by Italy’s highest court for her alleged role in the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher.

Those who think America’s legal system is inferior to those of other countries need look no further than Knox’s case history. In 2009, she was found guilty and sentenced to 26 years in prison. In 2011, she was acquitted. In 2013, the acquittal was overturned and she was sentenced to 28 years. On March 27, she was exonerated for good.

That sequence of events is even more far fetched than the plot of Gone Girl.

It’s only a matter of time before HBO, capitalizing on the success of The Jinx, contacts Knox for a documentary-style miniseries. Or for a late night softcore porno. I’d watch either.

And speaking of watching things — yeah, I’m not even trying with these segways anymore — the Daily Show found a Trevor Noahreplacement for Jon Stewart, and his name is Trevor Noah, a biracial South African.

You may not believe me, but somewhere, deep in the fiber of my being, I was hoping that Comedy Central would choose him. He made his debut on the show in December in a short bit satirizing the average American perception of Africa, and he won me over.

Most Daily Show correspondents always struck me as trying too hard to be funny. But Noah, in that one bit, seemed natural. And I feel like he’ll excel in combining humor and sincerity, which is the dynamic skillset that made Stewart such an authoritative and influential host, while also making us laugh our asses off.

Just wait and see. I think Noah can continue Stewart’s legacy.

And speaking of continuing legacies…

I’m just kidding. I’m done.