While shopping at Wal-Mart on the day after Labor Day, I noticed workers putting together candy and costume displays for Halloween.
Yes, it will be time for trick-or-treating in just eight short weeks. Or something like that.
Speaking of retail holidays, readers of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel might have been surprised to wake up this morning and find a front-page centerpiece on ... Valentine's Day!?
It's not exactly the time of year when newspapers typically do Valentine's Day features. But this isn't a feature. It's a meaty free speech story involving a federal lawsuit filed this week. And yes, there's a strong religion angle:
All Polly Olsen wanted to do was carry on a family tradition of handing out homemade Valentines with Bible verses on Valentine's Day.
So, as she had done in previous years, the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College student went to campus in a red dress this past Valentine's Day and began delivering heart-shaped religious Valentines made out of construction paper to fellow students and college staffers.
This time, a security officer stopped her for "suspicious activity" and told her she was violating school policy by sharing unwanted, potentially offensive messages.
Among the messages: "You are special! 1 John 4:11," "God is love! 1 John 4:11," “Jesus Loves you! Romans 5:8;" and "You are loved and cared for! 1 Peter 5:7."
The 29-year-old Green Bay woman filed a federal lawsuit late Tuesday against the college where she is studying to become a paralegal, claiming campus security officials and others there violated her free speech rights by blocking a custom she described to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as "caring for others."
The Journal Sentinel — which I had forgotten was bought by Gannett two years ago — does an excellent job of simply presenting the facts of the story, relying on both the lawsuit petition and an interview with Olsen.