They say this is going to be a skimpy Christmas for lots of Americans. Just in case "they" are right, I want to get my wish list out there as quickly as possible. Not that I'm greedy — my wishes here are for other folks — but I figure it pays to strike early before the serious penny-pinching sets in, later in the month.
This is the time of year when we turn away from our material wants, recharge our spiritual batteries, and wish the best for those around us. But, of course, that's only after we've shopped to the point of exhaustion, flipped off drivers who blow their horns because we took their parking spot, and eaten and drunk ourselves into a stupor. With those fond sentiments of the season in mind, here is a list of holiday wishes. Not many of these wishes may come true, but hey, it's also the season for believing in miracles, right?
• For Crisis Assistance Ministry, Loaves & Fishes, the Urban Ministry Center, and all the other groups dedicated to helping those in dire need, we wish enough funds to handle the double-whammy of the holidays and the Great Recession.
• For County Manager Harry Jones, City Manager Curt Walton, and City Attorney Mac McCarley, we wish enough civic spirit and political survival skills to donate a substantial portion of their recent, controversial bonuses to some of the groups named above.
• For new Mayor Anthony Foxx, who faces the task of pleasing a slew of conflicting interests while trying to improve the city's infrastructure, strengthen neglected parts of town, and find new businesses for Charlotte during a deep recession, we offer our support, and wish him good freakin' luck.
• For Ken Lewis, former Bank of America CEO, we wish ... arrgggh, don't get us started.
• For Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, we wish the tenacity and courage to match his "green talk" with a much more vigorous plan of "green action."
• For parents of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, we wish a safe return of their kids as soon as possible.
• For Pat McCrory, soon to be Charlotte's former mayor, we wish a new sense of purpose in life and the ability to find something else to do with himself besides being a corporate shill.
• For the new South Tryon Arts Zone, including the Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Knight Theater, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the new Mint, we wish public acclaim, critical raves, and sliding scale admissions policies that will open up the arts to those who normally can't afford it.
• For City Council members, who in the past few years have seemed overwhelmed by their load, and at the mercy of city staff, we wish a change from part-time to full-time status, so they can better keep track of all the city's needs.
• For Rep. Sue Myrick, who recently expanded the scope of her paranoid worldview by adding Muslims to her rant list, matching her venomous anti-immigrant activism, we wish the gift of healthy exercise as she's run out of town by a mob of angry Latinos and Muslims.
• For the NASCAR Hall of Fame & Museum, we wish a revival of stock car racing's former edge and excitement, in order to lure back the race fans who've been turned off by the sport's boring trend toward resembling slot car competitions.
• For my fellow Baby Boomers, we wish the entire collection of newly re-mastered Beatles albums, in a new home entertainment center, next to the new treadmill, across from the cholesterol-free cookbook. Oh, and peace on earth.
• For the Carolina Panthers, stuck in yet another season of mediocrity, we wish a new coach and a change in quarterbacks in the off-season. Any chance of getting Vince Young away from the Tennessee Titans?
• For the Charlotte Bobcats, who, under coach Larry Brown, are doing all they can to improve and win more games, we wish the gift of more Charlotteans who actually give a rip whether the team is here or not.
• For CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman, we wish a closer shave, a smaller, less bureaucratic organization, and the ability to deal with imbalances in schools without destroying successful programs and pissing off everyone involved.
• And finally, for President Obama, we wish success at pushing through a strong health care reform bill, and the courage and insight to get rid of some of the advisers who have given him terrible advice (Tim Geithner, anyone?).
And on that note, happy holidays!
John Grooms will discuss media issues as well as his new book, Deliver Us From Weasels, on Charlotte Talks With Mike Collins, on WFAE 90.7, Friday, Dec. 4, 9 a.m.-10 a.m.