Friday, June 23, 2017

"Food For Thought"

                                                                   

Last Friday morning, when it was announced that Amazon is buying Whole Foods, all the other grocery chains stock prices crashed.  And for good reason.  Amazon, with founder Jess Bezos spurring them on, has transformed retail.  We see it in the declining prosperity of shopping malls and, for the good, surviving retailers working hard to no longer ignore us.

I've been a fan of Amazon for more than 20 years now.  Have bought books, video, Kindle reading devices and a whole plethora of other things.  And, in those 20 years, I've never walked away from a consumer purchase dissatisfied.  Yes, I've bought some "duds" from Amazon, but in every instance they've gone out of their way to make it right....either through a credit, a return, sometimes even giving me something extra to soothe my concerns.   

I just happen to love Jeff Bezos' favorite saying; "the customer will, in all instances, expect more than they deserve, and it's up to us to make sure they get it!"  

Now, with Whole Foods, Amazon gets a slightly snooty grocery with good organics, and stores stocked with stuff likely good for you.  The problem is that their prices are too damned high.  Bezos will fix that.  Using Amazon's gigantic supply chain and massive buying power, they'll have those prices lower than Trump's poll ratings in a couple of years.  

And, within that two years, you'll find that you will have several options for shopping at Whole Foods.  Using Amazon's proprietary purchasing technology you'll be able to order online, or if you want to drive to the store and pick it up, already bagged and waiting, you'll have that option.   Or Amazon will deliver your goods right to your door if that's your want.

Amazon, since its founding, has bought more than a hundred companies....to either enhance their retail technology, or to expand into other retail and service lines.  So, yes, Walmart and Target and Sprouts and Albertsons LLC, and all the other grocery chains should be worried.  

There are those who say "when a company gets too big they eventually begin crumbling from within, unable to manage an entity too large."  That will certainly prove true for Amazon too...their very name perhaps predictive of that inevitable decline.  But they're not there yet.  And they can stave off failure as long as they keep giving the customer what he wants and doing it at a competitive price and with a pleasing means of delivery.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Glory To Those With Their Hands Up

                                                                         

One of those beautiful "light bulb over the head" moments came to me as I read my Saturday morning paper this weekend.  Three little news tidbits provided lots of thoughts about our modest roles in society.  

The first bit of revelation came in the form of a little block on the business page.  Seems some survey wonks took a poll of recent college graduates and found that 54% of last year's college graduates cannot find a job that matches their university degree.  Being kind today, I won't editorialize on that particular fact.  Suffice to say that a Philosophy degree will not get you into the door at Qualcomm.

The second newspaper item came in the form of a letter to the editor.  The author, a retired gent, now serving as a volunteer for the Salvation Army, was decrying the cruelty and snark that exists in social media these days.  Seems the gent was on Facebook, offering his personal opinion about a community issue.  Within minutes someone had scanned the gent's profile and wrote:  "oh yeah, brilliant wisdom from someone who works at Salvation Army".  

The third newspaper article involved a two page spread, alerting the community to the impending high three digit temperatures arriving in Phoenix this week.  The article warned newcomers to limit their exercise to early morning and advised everyone to stay hydrated.  The article then went on to talk about how difficult it is for the homeless to avoid the heat and find enough water to do so.

Well, my aging brain began to collate all of that information.....the disparity between Philosophy degrees and engineering jobs, that harsh criticism of one who does volunteer work, and then the seemingly unconnected stuff on worrying about "watering the poor".

And, the results of that collating was this.  That Salvation Army volunteer is going to be busy this week.    Seems the Salvation Army is collecting huge truckloads of donated bottled water and have set up more than a dozen "watering stations" around the county for the next week.  They'll be passing out water from morning to night to those who own no personal source to keep cool and avoid heatstroke.

So I wondered just whose fulfilling a more valuable role among the players in this little scenario.  The "Philosophy graduate" flipping burgers and living in Mom and Dad's basement?  How about the snarky fellow who looks down at Salvation Army volunteer work....will he be occupied bettering the lives of his fellow men...or too busy keyboarding social media snark to get involved?  I'm betting the gratitude is going to go to that Salvation Army volunteers that's passing out water this coming week.

Just a few musings on Father's Day weekend..........to honor men who strived to do good...whether it be CEO...or Salvation Army volunteer. 

Added note:  I have a friend who reports to the local animal shelter each morning...to walk pound dogs and pick up dog shit.  I admire him more than almost anyone I know.




Monday, June 19, 2017

On Choosing The Kind Of Day To Die

                                                                     

This may sound a bit maudlin but, given a choice of what kind of day I'd choose to die, it would have been yesterday...not because of Father's Day, but because of the sense of peace I enjoyed.

I awoke at my usual 5AM, put on the coffee, checked my email and Facebook postings, posted a comment or two of my own,  then went out and retrieved the Sunday paper.

So I sat down to read my paper, coffee mug close at hand, and just decided I'd skip over the Trump stuff, ignored the liberal editorials, and, instead just stuck to the sports, the Arts page, and the human interest stories.

And the pickings were golden.  Over on the Sports page my Diamondbacks were racking up more victories on the road, nose to butt, one game behind the Rockies and those dastardly Dodgers.  The U.S. Open was prominent, one of those sport-shirted young men having shot a historically low 63 in Saturdays round and the paper even featured a nice little spread about father-son athletes.

What brought the most joy on this morning were the human interest stories, the most delightful being a recount of two middle aged women who had been corresponding with each other for 37 years but had never met.  They finally did, over in Scottsdale on a fine, recent June morning and it seems that 37 years of correspondence had served well as the foundation for friendship that had the two ladies thick as thieves at first meeting.  It was superbly delightful to read how, as children, they had shared secrets, seemingly made safe in knowing that, in living so far apart, there was no risk of being judged.

After finishing up the morning paper, and making a second cup of coffee, I re-visited Facebook and found that my daughter, Crystal, had written such a lovely tribute to me, accompanied by an old pic, that I found myself reaching for the Kleenex.  

So, dear reader, as I sat there on Sunday morning, totally immersed with a sense of peace, and a sense of being loved, and owning a kinder, gentler sentiment regarding the state of the human race, I would have been more than happy to drift off to the afterlife.  Rest assured, I'm not advocating for an early demise, nor even "booking passage", but if I had my druthers my last day on Earth would be a day just like yesterday.

A belated Happy Father's Day to all those men who understand that fatherhood is far more than getting your name put on a birth certificate.


Friday, June 16, 2017

On TV; The Great Wasteland

                                                                   
Dear Blog Readers,

Don't know about you guys but my TV viewing in the last couple of decades is somewhat eclectic.  I find myself somewhat like a junk yard dog, picking through a huge mound of garbage to see if I might find something digestible.  That problem is compounded because, having lived for a decade in Saudi Arabia, I pretty much missed the TV of the 90's.

While missing an entire decade of TV brilliance, I have to admit to having discovered little pockets of brilliance long after they entered "re-run land".  For instance, my wife and I, for two solid years, ate our dinners on TV trays while watching re-runs of "Everybody Loves Raymond".  Between Raymond and Seinfeld we pretty much did the 90's in the first decade of the new century.

Then, a few months ago, I was channel flipping and came across a charming little show called "Picket Fences".  I fell in love with that wild and wacky show and had to order previous seasons on Amazon to get my full fix.  And it was only last year that I discovered that Tim Allen has grown up, become conservative, abandoned those three boys for three luscious, sexy daughters and a sassy wife, and is even funnier as Outdoor Man than Tim The Tool Man.  Alas, Tim Allen was hitting liberals where they hurt on his nightly "Vlog", and the liberal masters at ABC cancelled his ass, even as he rode the top of the Friday night ratings.  I'm now relegated to watching the 97th viewing of each episode over on the Hallmark Channel each evening.

Other than an occasional Andy Griffith, or Perry Mason over on the retro channels, I pretty much stay with C-Span Book TV, baseball games and "Film Noir" festivals over on Turner Classic Movies. But I do keep finding little nuggets of brilliance while channel flipping.  Just last month I discovered a quirky little fellow named "Monk"...a man who suffers more OCD symptoms than seemingly possible, whose escorted around San Francisco by a pretty nurse who fills out the seat of her Levis in spectacular fashion.

Any of you also suffering from enduring The Great Wasteland?  Anyone a bit saddened that 80% of today's programming is comprised of graphic autopsies, singing and dancing wannabes and Black mob bosses?

Anyone got some bootlegged "Amos and Andy" that they wanna share?

Sigh.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Time To Take Down The Lincoln Memorial

                                                                   

In an era where men, dead for two centuries, are now judged not by their own era, but this one, we need to reevaluate those we revere in marble.  

Thomas Jefferson?  Perhaps the most brilliant human that ever walked this continent has had his name dragged through the mud for two decades now.  George Washington?  The fellow whose every move as President was plotted out...his intent to to set a noble example for every President to follow...Washington...hero of Valley Forge and Yorktown...was a slave owner, ergo...a demon.  

Isn't it remarkable these days that America raises a small army of Black thugs to the highest pedestal, then denigrates our nation's founders.  Somehow it has become more noble to attack cops and burn town centers than it was to write the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or suffer through a bitter winter at Valley Forge.

By all rights, Abe Lincoln ought to be next to have his memorial removed.  After all it was Lincoln himself who said:  "I will say that I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of bringing about, in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races".

Lincoln also said on several occasions, most particularly in his letter to Horace Greeley, "If I could save the union without ending slavery I would do so."

That statement alone ought to warrant having Lincoln's memorial dragged into the Potomac muck...right along with Jefferson and Washington's monuments as well.

Perhaps we can scrap the statues and memorials of all these dead white men and erect statues of an angry black with looted boxes of Michael Jordan basketball shoes in their place?

Last month, when I saw the political lackeys down in New Orleans haul General Robert E. Lee's statue from the public square I was both saddened and angry.  I wish they knew General Lee as well as I do.  I wish they had read about how General Lee wept when he heard of Southern Secession, how he mourned for his country and why he resigned from the Union Army, his heart just not into turning a sword against his beloved Virginia.

Sadly, the brown shirt liberal savagery of the day precludes the study of history...both the bad and the good....or of the nobility of judging our forebears by the times in which they lived.  Someday these same ignorant thugs will be judged too....and I don't believe they'll be regarded very well when the history of these times are written.


Monday, June 12, 2017

A trillion here, a trillion there....

                                                                   

Try to imagine the biggest turd that ever dropped from your ass to the toilet bowl.  Now imagine someone taking that turd and hanging it from the top of your head, then forcing you to walk around with that scat hanging right in your face twenty-four hours a day.

That is exactly how Americans should feel about our $20 trillion dollar national debt.  The debt is now so massive, even the concept of $20 trillion dollars so vastly unimaginable, we simply ignore that huge turd hanging in our faces.

In order to grasp just an inkling of how our debt became such a mountain one need only look at our last two Presidents.  George Bush, on two major shopping sprees; the more than $3 trillion spent trying to democratize the Middle East, accompanied by his liberal-pleasing prescription drug bill, spent some $6 trillion dollars less than what the government took in revenue.  Barack Obama went Bush a bit better...spending $8 trillion more...on massive expansion of welfare, food stamps, and in making disability a virtue.  

So, let's give old George and Barry credit where it's due...more than two thirds of the entire national debt was rung up by those two in 12 short years...accomplishing what 40 plus previous Presidents were able to do in the previous two hundred plus years.

You might be interested to know that Silent Calvin Coolidge was the last President to preside over an America that was debt free.  The Great Depression of course ended that, and Franklin Roosevelt used that Great Depression to run up a government tab that first lit the fuse that would eventually lead to the massive explosion of federal debt ever since.

I find it interesting that liberals continue to revive the old charge that Ronald Reagan ran up the national debt.  And he did!  But Ronald Reagan at least got something for his spending....the build up of a military in disarray and the complete dismantling of the Soviet Union.  And let's face it; Reagan's $1 trillion dollar debt is chump change in comparison to the last two Presidents.  Ronnie's debt reminds me of the fellow who found out his wife's credit card was stolen and was glad about it...saying "the thief is spending less than my wife so I'm miles ahead!"



Retired Senator Tom Coburn, (R), Oklahoma, spent his entire Senatorial Career trying to curb spending; citing specific programs where the fraud, waste and abuse was rampant.  Colburn paints an even darker picture....the $120 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities (Social Security, Medicare, Military Pensions, etc).  No one listened.  No one's listening now....and we have that giant turd hanging in front of our nose...and we just keep ignoring it.  

We can't ignore it much longer.  The interest on that debt will soon force America to make hard decisions...decisions that will force our government masters to cut spending on social programs just to make the "minimum payments" on our debt burden.  Given that fewer Americans these days are willing to actually work for a living that's gonna result in social chaos such as you've never seen.

Sad.  Damned Sad.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Dear Facebook,

                                                                     

Dear Facebook,

I just read that your IT folks have something like a million algorithms designed to make my Facebook viewing a more enjoyable experience.  Might I suggest a few more?

1) Please don't show me posts by my friend Marsha's third cousin's neighbor.  I do not know him and have no interest in hearing about his gall bladder surgery.

2) After an animated cartoon, or cartoon joke has appeared on my timeline for the twelfth time, please do not allow it to be posted ever again.  

3) FB, please let me choose my own friends.....I do not need your suggestion that the 2,000 people who know Jenny's daughter, Cindi might be a good FB friend.  And you may automatically delete "Friend Requests" for me from Islamabad, Manila, Bangkok or any other distant archipelago in the wide, wide world.

4) Please DO allow posts to my timeline from my friends.  I am always astounded that I get posts about things and people whom I have zero interest in....posts that clutter my Facebook wall and crowds out those posts from some of my closest friends.  I should not have to go hunt on my friend's timeline to see how he/she is doing.

5) Regarding your "news feed", please use your brilliant algorithms to eliminate any news articles from "The Huffington Pissed", any news article that mentions the word "Progressive",  any article that expresses extreme joy about the Obamas' new $10 million dollar Washington estate...in fact any thing that is about Obama, Hillary or Bill Clinton, Nasty Pelosi or Kathy Griffin.  And while I'm at it, I don't care when George and Alma Clooney's baby is due.

6) Re your ad feeds, please limit any ads to dog food, Bacardi Rum, and high fiber nutrition.

7) Finally, when I post a photo of myself, please use your photographic filters to make me look more like Brad Pitt and less like Homer Simpson.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Machettes 55 - Innocents 0

                                                                   

Machetes 55-Open Carry 0

Seven people dead, 48 wounded over the weekend as Islamic terrorists crush fellow humans with their van, then get out and begin hacking to death late night revelers in London town.

None of the victims, or anyone nearby were openly carrying a persona firearm because firearms are not allowed. As helpless victims ran for their lives there was not one person available to lift their Glock and stop the madness.

London is not alone. Many of America's liberally managed cities have the same stringent gun laws, making themselves vulnerable to further mass massacres in the future.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan insists that all of his Muslim constituents are peaceful and should not be "marginalized" by having their personal lives intruded upon and insists the three attacks in three months should not stop Britain from importing more Syrian refugees.

Sadie says he'll look into banning knives and vans in an effort to quell the violence. As Sadiq spoke he was surrounded by a heavily armed security detail.......a privilege not available to the folks he was speaking to.

One person...one personal Glock might have prevented the slaughter.

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! I have no more tears, nor sympathy for those who tolerate Islamic terrorists in their midst and stand by like lemmings as their politically correct leaders lead them to slaughter.

Sigh.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Kathy Griffin's Impoverished Victimhood

                                                                     

The pics above are of "comedienne" Kathy Griffin's Belair, California $10 million dollar estate.  She has accrued a fortune criticizing, demeaning, and making fun of conservatives and conservative politicians.  She is a millionaire a hundred times over from the simple means of tearing down.

So, on Friday, when Kathy appeared before the cameras and began sobbing about Donald Trump destroying her, I was a bit taken aback.  Hmmm...did Trump force her to hold up a bloody Trump head for all the world to see, including the President's rather gentile wife and eleven year old son?  How in the world did Griffin turn from "aggressor" to "victim" in two short days?

Well, folks, we know the drill.  If you're a liberal, and you screw up, and if enough decent people turn on you...enough to affect your income, you immediately claim "victimhood".  That old 'victimhood' saw has always been the "free pass" that liberals give themselves whenever they act up.  And it doesn't much matter the act...whether it was Barry and Hillary's allowing Americans to die in Benghazi, or Michael Brown's convenience store robbery and follow on attack of a police officer, or the hundreds of Hollywood drug busts that get swept clean each year.

Conservatives, when they screw up, may as well make a will...cause their dead forever.  Liberals, on the other hand, need only plead any number of excuses, claim a newly discovered self-redemption, and can rake in more millions with next year's "redemption tour".  

Even as we speak, Kathy Griffin is lining up a team of high powered Beverly Hills lawyers and a small army of publicity agents who promise to have her reputation scrubbed clean within 12 months...or her money back.  And thanks to the vast decline in American morality, and the penchant for liberals to forgive their fellows, look for Kathy to sign a one year gig at Caesar's Palace by this time next year.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Cialis Laced Condoms?

                                                             

How many of you people know that television ratings rarely have anything to do with how many people are watching? Nope, it's not how many are watching but Who is watching. I learned that years ago when they cancelled Gunsmoke while it was still in the Top Ten in the ratings.
You see, the TV bigwigs have a little thing called "Demographics" that they most rely on. It seems that advertising big wigs studied the hell out of this and determined that the age group of 34 to 49 were the biggest "suckers" for buying a product advertised on TV. 
They also tailor particular programming to income group, but I'll get to that later. 
Back to the "age demographics". I found out about this age demographic thing when I was about 40 years old. And damn proud to be in that age group that ruled the roost on programming!
Then, when I turned 49, and was unceremoniously kicked out of that prime age group, I was angry as hell! What right did they have to kick me out...after all I was still falling for those rotisserie oven ads! "Set it and forget it"...hell I was as dumb as everyone else! Hell, I kept those "As seen on TV" gadget companies in business in my heyday! 
Alas, when I turned 50 I was relegated to the Hallmark Channel. I'd watch The Waltons, then suffer through three minutes of pharmaceutical ads that pimped catheters and meds for Metamucil and hearing aids. I looked longingly back at those ads over on "Glee" and "Big Bang Theory" that were promoting Trojan Condoms and Strawberry Greek Yogurt and Maidenform Bra commercials.
Thankfully, our TV masters also take into consideration income groups. While they are unbelievably wrong, they deduced that only rich people watch golf on television. So those golfing tournaments are rife with Cadillac and Viagra and Cialis commercials. They know their audience is older, and often need that Cialis, but they also know the average golfer has a higher income than those 34-49 upstarts!
Back to Gunsmoke. I can still flip over to ME TV and catch Matt and Miss Kitty and Festus, but, again, I'm inundated with ads for denture creams and penis pumps and catheters. By the way those catheter ads scare the hell out of me. I have no idea how they are used but I remember having a catheter put in my "special purpose" post surgery, then whined to the male nurse for days about taking it out. So I shudder at the idea that someone has to poke a catheter up their penis on a regular basis.
Alas, I long for the days when I was relevant to those TV advertisers. I wish I was as stupid as those 34-49ers who'll buy a product at the drop of a hat. 
There is hope though! Every marketing study is indicating we Baby Boomers are retiring and have more time to watch TV. Maybe that will spur those advertising big wigs to skew control back to us! Then again, they'd probably just be pimping more catheters and denture creams, two products that, thankfully, I still don't need.Who knows? Maybe they'll come up with Viagra laced Trojan condoms! Or catheters with injectable Cialis! ...."peeing strong with a big old "woody!"