George Boardman: Need relief from the stress of the holiday season? I’m here to help |

George Boardman: Need relief from the stress of the holiday season? I’m here to help

People say the best thing about Christmas is the time they spend with their family, which is also the greatest source of stress during the holidays.

Every family has that one relative they see only at Christmas — and for good reason! That person is sure to be a source of stress and tension before he or she even arrives. America’s great political divide can also add to the stress — it only takes one person to show up in a MAGA cap or a T-shirt that proclaims “F**k Trump” to get things rolling down hill.

Add in illness (the flu season has peaked at Christmas time a couple of years), too much food and alcohol, and the stress of paying for that perfect gift, and you can turn the holidays into a bummer. You need to lighten up.

One way to do that is to spend a few minutes with something that’s light, non-caloric, and not likely to burden your brain, such as the annual roundup of observations from my column in The Union.

I first started observations as a way to get some mileage out of random thoughts that occur to me that aren’t really worth a column. The reaction of readers has been generally positive: Some say it’s the first thing they read (anything to get them in the tent) or the only thing they read (thanks, I guess).

So give them a try — they might even elicit a chuckle or two. That’s not a bad thing at this time of the year.


ARE ANY of those Republicans who criticized Barack Obama for executive overreach now cheering Donald Trump’s decision to declare a “national emergency” to build his wall? What do you think? … REP. ALEXANDRIA Ocasio-Cortez and others who opposed New York’s $3 billion subsidy to Amazon look a lot smarter since the company announced it earned $11.2 billion last year but paid no federal taxes … GOOD QUESTION: Conservatives are asking how Gov. Gavin Newsom can oppose the death penalty but support abortion … NANCY PELOSI, the new queen of shade, hit Donald Trump where it hurts — his ego — when she said, “He’s just not worth it” … HUMM: Trump tried to convince Forbes magazine he was worth $9 billion, but told the government he had $4.5 billion. I think it’s time to look at his tax returns … IS JOE Biden the Jeb Bush of the 2020 presidential campaign? … IT’S HARD to view Sen. Kamala Harris as a deprived little black girl when her mother was a medical researcher and her father was a professor at Stanford … WHATEVER HAPPENED to the Tea Party, the people who were supposed to bring fiscal discipline to the Republican Party? How did that work out? … WE ARE 2.5 years into the Trump administration and crooked Hillary STILL hasn’t been charged with any of the crimes she allegedly committed … BERNIE SANDERS and Elizabeth Warren seem to be stranded on their own Fantasy Island …

Local Yokels

I’M GUESSING Rep. Doug LaMalfa won’t be sponsoring a resolution praising the performance of Redding native Megan Rapinoe in the Women’s World Cup … ASSEMBLYMAN BRIAN Dahle, currently running for the vacant District 1 state Senate seat, lists bringing 110 legislators to the area as an accomplishment. Really? … WHY DOES the Nevada County Tea Party want to discourage people from voting in the special election? Are they afraid the wrong Republican will win? … WHERE’S THE love?: The San Francisco Chronicle published a list of 52 California wineries worth visiting. Not one of them is in the foothills … THE ANTI-vaxxers are pointing to an old “Brady Bunch” episode where all of the kids got the measles to promote their discredited position … THE SETTLEMENT Nevada County received from PG&E can be used to offset the cost of settling the county prisoner assault case …

Wee, the people

FOODIE ALERT: There’s now such a thing as small batch pork rinds … WHEN DID shortcuts become hacks? … I DON’T curate anything. I make selections … A NEW state law lets people eat road kill. Will that encourage motorists to try to hit more of the animals they encounter on the roads? … WHY DO country singers always wear their cowboy hats, even indoors? Is that a union rule? … I SUPPOSE it’s a good thing the FDA will be monitoring the production of laboratory meat, coming to a store near you. Meanwhile, the restrictions on genetically modified salmon have been lifted … WHAT? Rich people buying admission to top universities for their children! I’m shocked … WE ARE told to recycle less and less of the plastic garbage we accumulate, but the garbage bins aren’t getting any bigger … A NEW study claims beards have more bacteria than the average dog … WHAT DID we get out of landing a man on the moon besides Tang and Velcro? … THE HOLLYWOOD influence: We have our go bags; in southern California, they have apocalypse bags … YOU WILL probably dribble if you try to talk out of both sides of your mouth …

The Business of …

WHY NOW?: Banking bigwig Jamie Dimon and hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio expressing concern over income disparity doesn’t quite resonate … BANK CEOs assured Congress the banking system is sound because of regulations instituted by the Obama administration, the same regulations they’ve fought from day one … IF HUAWEI Technologies Co. is a threat to our national security, why are we selling them our technology? … RULE OF thumb: The longer the title, the less important the job … AFTER A data breach that exposed personal data of its customers, Capital One may want to change its ad slogan to “Who’s in your wallet?” … THE LOSS of foreign markets to U.S. farmers is benefiting food banks. Farmers have to do something with all that bounty they can’t sell … PG&E GENERATED a lot of heat with its actions during the recent blackout, but then it is a power company … I CAN’T decide if I want a Chevy Silverado with 15 camera views or a Dodge Ram with 19 speakers … THE TECHIES who used to say “information should be free” are now selling it to the highest bidder …


A MAN claims he forced a Bot to watch 1,000 hours of Hallmark Christmas movies and then write a script, but I’ll bet it wasn’t as good as that classic, “The Christmas Card” …

IF I’M to believe the news media, every federal worker who isn’t getting paid has no money in the bank and lives paycheck to paycheck … VICE PRESIDENT Mike Pence was ridiculed when he said he wouldn’t meet alone with a woman who isn’t his wife, but that’s not a bad policy in the era of #MeToo … IT’S DISCONCERTING to see Alex Trebek, who announced he has stage four pancreatic cancer, doing TV ads for funeral insurance … IT’S AMAZING how many delivery people don’t have GPS devices in their trucks … ONLY IN America can a gay, black, country singer turn a song like “Old Town Road” into a No. 1 hit…

Speaking of Sports

ESPN’s report on food safety violations at stadiums and arenas is another good reason to avoid the overpriced junk food most of them sell … I REFUSE to pay more for a beer at a stadium than I’d pay for a six-pack at Whole Foods … 49ERS HEAD coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t look like a leader on the sideline at games. He looks like a guy whose wife sent him to the store for a quart of milk … IN CASE you haven’t noticed (and why would you?), baseball’s Disabled List is now the Injured List. Advocates for the disabled thought the old DL created a negative image … CLIMBING Mt. Everest loses a lot of its panache when you have to wait in line to get to the summit … And in January I wrote: THE WINNER is: Patriots coach Bill Belichick will figure out a way to make life uncomfortable for Goff. Besides, New England is 3-1 in Super Bowls during the Belichick/Brady era when the Patriots wear their white uniforms …

George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at

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