Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Or are you one of those ultra-organized persons who did the majority of it in the days after Christmas in 2018?

Whatever the case, breathe a sign of relief because retailers are so concerned about giving you enough days to do it this year that one of them even began offering Christmas deals a week before Halloween. 

Offered as a reason by Walmart was that there are six fewer shopping days this year because of the day on which Thanksgiving falls. "We plan for them (customers)," said a Walmart spokesman who shall remain nameless here in the interest of giving too much positive publicity. The guy is worried that shoppers will not realize until it's too late that there are fewer shopping days this year.

Is that a good reason to offer holiday deals online two months ahead of Christmas? You be the judge. That's ridiculous, promoting deals in October, before Halloween, another observance that's gotten out of hand.

And today (Thursday) Target announced it is holding its Black Friday preview sale on Friday and Saturday of this week. That sale has been expanded to two days with — are you ready for this? — four times the number of deals as last year. So, if you want a hoverboard or an Instant Pot (I don't know what that is either), have at it. Best Buy is getting into the act also with Black Friday deals from today through Sunday. You can save $300 on a certain Apple watch if you simply must have one of those. You can be part of what is now known as Black Friday creep.

"This is going to be a very compressed holiday season," the Target CEO said. "Every single day counts, from Black Friday to Christmas Eve." I don't know about you but I find it comforting that the CEO is so concerned about all of us.

I'm sure, if you're a good shopper, you know all this silliness is needed because Thanksgiving falls on the latest possible date this year (Nov. 28) and thus there are six fewer days between Turkey Day and Christmas. I mean, what's a person to do? How can you possibly get things done?

Things wouldn't be so bad if we were at the end of the Depression in the 1930s when President Franklin Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving from the fourth Thursday to the third.  (Don't ask me why.) But U.S. residents continued to celebrate on the fourth Thursday, as they had forever, and FDR changed it back to the fourth Thursday. Little did he know that Black Friday was just a few decades around the corner.

The real reason for all of this, of course, is the bottom line, not the worry that shoppers won't have enough time. Adobe Analytics predicts a loss of $1 billion in revenue because of the missing six days. Do you really think that's an accurate figure? Of course, if you shop online (never have, probably never will) you can overcome the missing days. Adobe forecasts that online sales will reach $14.7 billion this time around, up about 14% from 2018.

Talk about Black Friday creep, Thanksgiving creep is also inching up on us. Target will open at 5 p.m. on Turkey Day, the same as last year, and Kohl's will open at the same time. J.C. Penney — yes, there are some left in Minnesota, with eight closing — will again open at 2 p.m. for the non-football crowd and, for the first time, Bed, Bath & Beyond will be open on Thanksgiving, starting also at 5 p.m. And, if you're a member of theTarget loyalty program you can stay home on Thanksgiving Eve and shop online that night for deals not available to others. Even better, if you're a Red Card holder for Tarjay, as Steve Cannon used to call it on WCCO Radio, there is early access again this year for those lucky people.

I don't understand — it's easy to buy a gift card, sign your name, and throw it in an envelope. That can be done during the late afternoon of Dec. 24 when last-minute shoppers are running all over you know where looking for gifts, while we gift-card specialists are relaxing at home.

Cousins wasn't the problem last Sunday

Your quarterback throws for three touchdowns (all on third down, by the way, a feat in itself), has no interceptions and doesn't have the luxury of a strong running game that he's used to having.  Also, two fairly long completions that went for first downs, one on a potentially important drive, were nullified by holding penalties. He also engineered a fourth-quarter drive that gave the team the lead, a lead the defense failed to hold.

The team loses on a field goal that came as time ran out and many in the radio call-in shows after the game were blaming the quarterback. They fail to mention that  the vaunted defense gives up a 9-minute drive for a 10-7 lead, 125 yards rushing and a 91-yard touchdown run to a player who previously had only 100 yards in 48 carries this season (2.1 average), and allows a receiver to catch 6 passes for 140 yards, while giving up nearly 400 yards, again, to a team with a back-up quarterback playing. Two other receivers had 6 receptions each.

Also not mentioned by the callers was the 27-yard shanked punt to the Minnesota 45 that set up the game-winning field goal. And Dalvin Cook, as good a running back as there is in the league, had only 71 yards in 21 carries (3.4 average) on a day during which ancient 32-year-old Adrian Peterson ran for 108 in 18 carries (6.0 average) while playing with a bad team against a good team.

The point is, Kirk Cousins was the focal point for many callers' wrath after the 26-23 loss to Kansas City last Sunday. While he didn't have his best day, he did throw three touchdown passes, didn't have an interception, and led the drive for a go-ahead touchdown in the final quarter. Cousins was not the reason the team lost.

In case you think that's an erroneous statement, Star Tribune columnist Pat Reusse, usually one to quickly berate a player for not doing well, said on a Monday radio show that Cousins was not the problem.

There were 12 NFL games Sunday, which translates to 24 quarterbacks. So I thought I'd check out other quarterback performances Sunday. You might be surprised.

The great Aaron Rodgers, as his team scored only 11 points in a loss to the 3-5 Chargers, threw for only 161 yards and one touchdown. I guess he was the reason the Packers lost.

The great Tom Brady threw for only one touchdown, that coming in the first half, and threw an interception as the Patriots lost to the Ravens. Brady must have been the problem.

Cousins threw for only 220 yards, fewer than usual, but nine of Sunday's other 23 quarterbacks threw for less, eight of them in the 100s. Those nine averaged 1.2 touchdowns per game. The 14 quarterbacks with higher yardage totals than Cousins averaged 1.6 touchdowns per game, despite getting 5 from Russell Wilson of Seattle and 3 from Matthew Stafford of Detroit in a loss to 3-4 Oakland. That means the other 12 quarterbacks with more yardage than Cousins threw for a paltry 15 touchdowns (1.2 average).

True, that's only one Sunday. But it does offer a different perspective on Cousins' performance against Kansas City. If he was bad, Brady and Rodgers were absolutely horrible.

PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES

Nov. 13, 1959 - Larry Gerdin was all-conference in football . . . Coach Howard Solheim, in his fifth year, had 38 out for basketball. Ken Johnson was in his fifth year as B team coach. 

Nov. 12, 1964 - Bob Nienaber and Richard Olson were all-conference in football . . . Pete Finelli, with a record of 33-22-1, retired as the PHS football coach after seven years during which his teams won two conference titles . . . Rum River Conference football teams were 18-0 in non-league games.

Nov. 12, 1969 - All-conference in football were Chet Stevenson, Mark Blaske, Duane Stay, Bruce Kelley, Mark Jacobs and Jerry Bergeron. Stevenson was a repeat selection. Running back Blaske averaged 6.2 yards a carry.

Nov. 14, 1974 - The PHS girls basketball team beat Onamia 49-38 in district quarterfinals, beat Ogilvie 52-44 in the semifinals, and then was beaten 46-45 in the title game by Braham. a team it lost to by 25 points early in the season. The Tigers, who led 26-16 at one point, missed two free throws with three seconds left. Laurie Peterson had 15 points and Janet Rogde and Bertie Kuntz 13 apiece . . . Jim Cartwright scored 72 points in Rum River Conference games, second-best in the league, and had 90 for the season on 15 touchdowns.

Nov. 16, 1979 -  Credit Union beat Legion 50-28 in a city basketball league game as Buzz Johnson and Bob Koelman each had 12 points for the winners, and Bernie Sanborn 16 for the losers . . . The first practice for the first-ever boys hockey team at PHS was to be held the following week..

Nov. 15, 1984 - Dale Stay, Tom Blomberg, Dan Miller and Ron Kofoed were all-conference in football. Stay and Steve Libby were chosen captains for the following season.

Nov. 16, 1989 - Jason Dierks and Chad Harshman were all-conference in football . . . The girls swim team placed 11th in the section meet. The medley relay team of Michelle Sanford, Erin Williams, Anne Oliver and Kelly Rymer placed fourth. 

Nov. 17, 1994 - Princeton led Totino Grace 14-7 at halftime before losing 20-14 in the first round of state playoffs. J. Thiel, with 121 yards rushing, and Gordy Schwartz (93 yards) scored the touchdowns. The team finished 8-4 after starting the season 0-2 . . . Heather Carlson was all-conference in volleyball.

Nov. 12, 1999 - Returning letterwinners for the girls hockey team, in its second season ever and the first PHS team to begin play in the 1999-2000 winter season, were Jenny Hanson, Rachael Martin, Stefanie Beck, Ryane Miller, Sam Havelka, Shannon Miller, Katy Finstrom, Cara Verkinnes, Melissa Freese and Becky Schwab.

Nov. 11, 2004 - The football team (11-0) earned a third straight Section 7AAAA title with a 20-0 win over Duluth Denfeld at John Harvey Field. Alex Geithman scored twice and the Tigers had a 336-201 edge in yards as they advanced to the state playoffs against Sartell . . . Sara Scheef was all-conference in volleyball.

Nov. 12, 2009 -  There were 15 PHS swimmers headed for the section meet at Elk River after meeting qualifying times during the season.

Nov. 13, 2014 - Montana Lawrence (500 freestyle) and Megan Gourley (diving) advanced to the state swim meet as third-place finishers in the section. Lawrence was also third in the 200 freestyle.

Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has covered sports in the Princeton area for 52 years.

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