Blog Archives

Too many Monday holidays and not enough money

It’s back to work for state and federal employees after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday yesterday. The civil rights icon, who was tragically assassinated in 1968 by white supremacist James Earl Ray or by Ray as part of a larger conspiracy, has been honored on the third Monday of January since 1986.

I don’t get why the day honoring Dr. King isn’t celebrated every year on January 15, his actual date of birth in 1929. If January 15 happens to fall on a Wednesday like it did this year, then so be it. If it falls on a Saturday, have the holiday on Friday the 14th, or if it’s on a Sunday, have the holiday on Monday the 16th.

It’s the same as Columbus Day being celebrated on the second Monday of October instead of October 12, the actual date of Columbus’ arrival in America. It used to be that way for Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday until the law changed in 1971 to observe most federal holidays on a Monday, and then it was just condensed into President’s Day, which means Washington and Lincoln are given the same honor as William Henry Harrison, Rutherford Hayes and Warren Harding.

Veterans Day (Armistice Day until the American Legion in Emporia suggested it honor all veterans, not just those who fought in World War I) was moved from November 11 to the last Monday of October in 1971 (the law was signed by LBJ in 1968). The Legion and VFW raised hell, so President Carter signed a bill in 1977 which moved it back to the fixed November 11 date in 1978.

I find it insulting to those who gave their lives for this country that Memorial Day is not celebrated every year on May 30 as it was until 1971. Why do all veterans get their own day every year, yet those who made the ultimate sacrifice are honored with the last day of a long weekend?

Two U.S. Senators who served in World War II, Daniel Inyoue (D-Hawaii) and Russell’s own Bob Dole (R-Kansas), introduced legislation on several occasions to move Memorial Day permanently back to May 30. It got nowhere. Apparently those who gave their lives for our freedom are less important than getting post offices named after some random citizen.

I’m surprised Independence Day hasn’t gone to a first Monday in July observance. I heard so much bitching and moaning in 2018 when July 4 fell on a Wednesday. Not so much last year when it was on Thursday, because many employees got the 5th off as well.

With July 4 on Saturday this year, governmental offices (except the U.S. Postal Service) will observe it on the 3rd.

I’m betting Barack Obama will have a holiday in August after he passes, if not sooner. His birth date was August 4, 1961, so I’m guessing it would be the first Monday of August. Besides, August doesn’t have any federal holidays.

Perry County, Alabama, a poor rural county in the Alabama Black Belt not too far from Selma, where the 1965 Civil Rights Marches began, has observed the second Monday of November as “Obama Day” since 2009, the year after his election as POTUS.

From 1936 through 1971, August 30 was a state holiday in Louisiana. Why? It was the birth date of Huey Pierce Long, who was shot to death in the state capitol at age 42 in 1935. The Long family and his rabid supporters believe Dr. Carl Austin Weiss fired the fatal shot, but evidence has come to light through the years that the bullet came from one of Long’s gun-toting thugs.

Louisana’s governor at the time, O.K. Allen, was simply a stooge who did whatever the hell Huey told him to do. If Huey told O.K. to take a dump on the House floor, O.K. did it. So of course O.K. made sure nobody forgot the Kingfish by making his birthday a holiday.

Allen died in 1936 after winning nomination to Long’s U.S. Senate seat (thank God). His successors–Huey’s brother Earl, Richard Leche, James Noe, Sam Jones, Jimmie Davis, Robert Kennon, Earl again, Davis again, and John McKeithen–never saw fit to repeal this joke of a holiday.

Fortunately, Edwin Edwards said enough was enough and told state workers to get their butts in their offices on August 30, 1972.

I just received a message from Dawn. She’s excited the Chiefs will be playing in the Super Bowl in Miami Gardens. Dawn lives in Boynton Beach, about 48 miles north of Hard Rock Stadium along Florida’s Turnpike. She told me she has a small chance to go to the game.

I hope she gets that chance, but if she does, it doesn’t cost her a small fortune.

Current ticket prices on reseller sites (StubHub, Vivid Seats, Tickets for Less, etc.) are running anywhere from $4,800 for a nosebleed seat in the end zone to over $70,000 for prime seats along the 50-yard line. Those prices do not include fees, which will easily push the price of the cheapest ticket well over $5,000.

As much as I love sports, I am not paying that much money to go to a football game. If I had two Super Bowl tickets, I’d sell them and use the profit for something worthwhile, like a nice TV and recliner so I can enjoy the game without any distractions.

My parents went to Super Bowl IX 45 years ago, the last NFL game at Tulane Stadium. The tickets were provided free of charge by my father’s company, Air Products and Chemicals. They carried a face value of $20. That was the face value for all 81,000 seats in Tulane Stadium, whether they be high in the end zone or low on the 50-yard line.

Adjusted for inflation, those tickets would cost $99 today. A bargain. For Super Bowl LIV, you will be fortunate to park for $99 if you drive your own car, or find a cab, Uber or Lyft cheaper than $99. Considering Hard Rock Stadium is in the middle of nothing between downtown Miami and Fort Lauderdale, those rides will run well into triple digits.

Tickets for Super Bowl IV, when the Chiefs defeated the Vikings in New Orleans, were $15 at face value. That equates to $102.24 today. Very reasonable.

Air Products and Chemicals had four Saints season tickets in the most expensive section of seats (not including suites) in the Superdome prior to Hurricane Katrina. In 2004, those tickets were an average of $180 when club fees were added in. In 2019, those tickets are $380 per game, and $180 will only get you end zone seats.

For those fans from Kansas City hoping to attend the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl since the good old days of “65 Toss Power Trap”, you have to also add on flights which will cost at least $1,600 round-trip, plus three nights in a hotel for at least $500 per night, probably more.

I cringe when I see hotels in downtown Kansas City going for $329 a night Miami is one of the most expensive places to stay in the United States during slow tourist periods. During the Super Bowl? Heaven help you.

Let’s see: $5,500 for a cheap ticket+$1,800 flight+$1,800 hotel+$600 for transportation+$450 for food+$300 for concessions at the game+$150 in tips. That comes out to at least $10,600.

No thank you. I’ll be fine staying home. Besides, with the Secret Service now in charge of security at the Super Bowl–a sad fact of life after 11 September 2001–getting into the stadium is a gigantic pain.

To those attending Super Bowl LIV, good for you. Glad you can afford. Glad you want to put up with all the problems that come with attending such an event.