I don't know about you, but I'm glad Christmas is here. I'm ready for a break from the fiasco we call political news out of Washington, D.C., and the nitpicking arguments over saying Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays.
I enjoyed the shopping, the Christmas carols, the "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" greetings and the visits with friends.
I even enjoyed the excessive snacking - then, not now.
I haven't completely forgotten exercising. Recent snows have provided forced exercising. And I can't honestly say I enjoyed it. Let's just say the scales say I need to do more exercising - but I'll bet I'll be in good company.
I'm going to take a few days off and hit the basketball trail before hitting the treadmill - and taking down the Christmas tree and storing all of the ornaments for another year.
For basketball nuts, this is the perfect time of year. You can watch dozens of games within a few days. Not convinced? How about 128 high school games in four days in a single spectacular! And all right here in Bloomington-Normal. It's the State Farm Holiday Classic, which will bring in 64 Class A and Class AA girls and boys teams Tuesday through Friday.
If tradition means anything to you, wander on over to Pontiac Wednesday through Friday and see what is billed as the country's oldest "original" holiday tournament - the tourney was suspended a few years during World War II. A few of the top-ranked teams in the state will be vying to succeed Bloomington High School as champion of the Pontiac tournament.
If those two tournaments don't suit your fancy, just check our sports pages. High school teams throughout our area are involved in tournaments somewhere.
And if you're a glutton for punishment, there are always pro basketball and college football bowl games on television.
And in between the basketball and football games, there are bound to be plenty of after-Christmas bargains in area stores.
Hectic? Not in my book.
I'd rather run from basketball game to basketball game than to stay tuned in to the ugliness in politics that seems to be a daily feature in the news. Every Sunday, the talking heads from our nation's capital hit the circuit of TV talk shows.
Ever notice how the ones doing the talking are never wrong?
It's always the "other guy" who's causing the problems.
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Maybe Christmas is the one thing that will keep them off the tube this weekend.
If so, it will be a Merry Christmas.
No more printed election letters
Now, it's time for me to be the Grinch!
Both the way in which we present candidate endorsement letters and the length of those letters will be changed.
Beginning with the Jan. 6 issue, we will no longer run those as letters to the editor in the printed newspaper. Those letters will be printed on our Web site at pantagraph .
And the limit will be 100 words.
Longer election-related letters that we're unable to get into print before Jan. 6 also will be on the Web site.
Capitol View discontinued
This is the final week for the Capitol View column appearing each week in this Viewpoint Section - at least for most of 2006.
The column began six years ago with U.S. and state lawmakers writing their personal views on legislative issues in Washington, D.C., and Springfield on a rotating basis.
During election years in particular, we have heard concerns from some readers who think incumbents get special treatment because of the space we have provided for their thoughts. We want to avoid that perception, and the lawmakers probably do, too.
So, because of the wrong impression the column could create and the fact that we intend to vigorously support election reform in the coming months, we talked about removing from the rotation lawmakers running for re-election or for another office. But when we realized that 11 of our 15 lawmakers would be affected, it seemed obvious that discontinuing the column - at least until after next November's general election - would be best.
Bill Wills is editorial page editor of The Pantagraph. He can be reached at (309) 829-9000, Ext. 220, or via e-mail at bwillsyayaypantagraph