Frontier Former Editor

March 27, 2011

Space-clearing oddities . . .

Wal-Mart is still the top-grossing spectator sport in the South, far in excess of NASCAR. Especially when one wanders through the local Wal-Mart  to peek at what’s in the various, strategically-placed bargain bins. CD’s and DVD’s have been the latest and most popular fire-lane obstructions in the chain’s loss-leader marketing.

On Thursday, I think I might have made two significant cultural discoveries in a CD bin – possible the two shortest, commercially released music CD’s in U.S. history: Kenny G Super Hits and Vanilla Ice Greatest Hits.

Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars . . . .

February 2, 2010

More reasons why Walmart must be eliminated from the face of the earth

Conversation between me and a Walmart employee about two weeks ago, between snows . . .

Me to Walmart employee: “Do you have any snow shovels?”

Walmart employee: “We’re out.”

Me: “Are you geting any more in?”

Walmart employee: “No. They’re a seasonal item.”

Me: “But it’s still winter for a month and a half.”

Walmart employee: “There’s no demand for them after winter.”

At this point, there are two responses roiling in my mind . . .

Me, talking in my mind: “You f***ing moron, it’s still winter!”

Me, opening my mouth: “Never mind.”

September 16, 2009

Yup, Mike was the smart one . . .

Been busy developing a business writing course for a local college management seminar, but I stumbled across this on Facebook (thanks to Mark C. Still). What a blast, considering it’s been 28 years since I saw this . . . .

And they expect me to teach writing to managers . . . . .

Sorry, the embed’s not working . . . try here

March 17, 2009

Here’s another reason to major in history, or at least read it more than once every few years . . .

The Credit Mobilier scandal of 1872 – a good reason to hold big business’ s and elected government’s collective feet to the fire on a regular basis.

“Crédit Mobilier of America was formed by George Francis Train, the vice-president in charge of publicity for the Union Pacific Railroad. Crédit Mobilier of America was designed to limit the liability of stockholders and maximize profits from construction with the hefty fees being paid by federal subsidies. The company also gave cheap shares of stock to members of Congress who agreed to support additional funding  . . .

“It was claimed that the $72 million in contracts had been given to Crédit Mobilier for building a rail only worth $53 million. Union Pacific and other investors were left nearly bankrupt.”

Okay folks, and that was 57 years before the 1929 crash. Dubya, let’s go over the success of the “No Child Left Behind Act” again, shall we?

March 13, 2009

Where have you gone, Louis Rukeyser? Our nation holds its lonely eyes to you . .

If anyone ever questions or trivializes the role of satire and humor in society, they should remember this 10-minute segment.

Especially in a time where Citibank is hosting conference calls – on our tax dime – to encourage union-busting and who-knows-what-else.

What Stewart did is in the best tradition of Petroleum V. Nasby, Herblock, Samuel Clemens, Mort Sahl, George Carlin, Tom Lehrer and hosts of other humorists – ridicule, embarass, shame, humiliate and destroy anything that would prey upon society.

This society needs a huge sweep to remind ‘big business,’ ‘Wall Street,’ and every other over-dominant segment of the American business and political scene that acting like Charles Keating did in the  years leading up the the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s may not be child molestation but is just about as legally and morally defensible as being a child molester.

And while we’re at it on a bleak Friday afternoon, please allow Rush Limbaugh to continue broadcasting and expressing his opinion. Part of a free society is having the right to express one’s opinions and having the responsibility to defend the logic and rationality of those opinions.

And please allow Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele the right to express his political views for the same reason – even if he lacks the intellectual weight to generate rational policy and philosophical positions.

By the way – even Louis Rukeyser got caught violating federal trading rules, so be thankful, Jim Cramer. Be very, very thankful.

December 29, 2008

Object lesson for 2009

Rastenburg

Rastenburg

 

Never, ever, send a one-armed one-eyed man or Tom Cruise to do something that needs to be done right.

October 17, 2008

Guess what I got to do before work?

I miss living near air bases and I miss my old line of work. It gave me reasons to get out of the office and do this under the guise of reporting:

I could give you the pedantic planespottter spiel, but I’ll leave it to these folks . . .

It helps when the airport manager remembers what you’ve done before and gives you only one warning.

“Don’t walk near anything moving or sucking.”

Might have been good advice for Bill Clinton.

September 24, 2008

Wonder why Bush begged for public support on the bank bailout Wednesday night?

I knew there was something up when Bush’s deer-in-the-headlights look was more stunned than usual. Here’s a hint:

BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

 

The Hong Kong newspaper cited unidentified industry sources as saying the instruction from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) applied to interbank lending of all currencies to U.S. banks but not to banks from other countries.

 

“The decree appears to be Beijing’s first attempt to erect defences against the deepening U.S. financial meltdown after the mainland’s major lenders reported billions of U.S. dollars in exposure to the credit crisis,” the SCMP said.

 

A spokesman for the CBRC had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Alan Wheatley and Langi Chiang; editing by Ken Wills)

They didn’t sell us the rope. They merely bought the paper funding the rope. And now, let’s hear Sarah Palin tell us this one is a task from God . . .

September 23, 2008

Well, it does explain why I don’t get many dinner invitations . . .

Hard to believe its been almost 40 years . . .

Hard to believe it's been almost 40 years . . .

When I think of the Wall Street Journal and the word ‘health,’ I usually think of reports of stockbrokers leaping to their deaths after the closing bell, but the good folks at Rupert Murdoch’s new bitch seem to have something of moderate interest here.

“Certain regional stereotypes have long since become cliches: The stressed-out New Yorker. The laid-back Californian.

“But the conscientious Floridian? The neurotic Kentuckian?

“You bet — at least, according to new research on the geography of personality. Based on more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, the study maps regional clusters of personality traits, then overlays state-by-state data on crime, health and economic development in search of correlations.”

According to this little piece of enterprise reporting, the lower 48, the upper 1 and the offshore 1 were rated on a scale of 1-50 (1= most, 50 = least) on five basic qualities. The Old Dominion’s rating on those qualities?

  • Extraversion: 45
  • Agreeableness: 44
  • Conscientiousness: 39
  • Neuroticism: 21
  • Openess: 11

So, if the slogan is true that Virginia is for lovers, then it’s for that sullen, uptight, careless, annoying, in-your-face girlfriend or that Robert DeNiro ‘Taxi Driver’-like boyfriend. The first four categories, however,  do go some length to explain some of our more notorious recent products, like George Allen and James Gilmore.

But, if you like living in a state where every spinster has the potential to have a dead boyfriend in their bed and a large bill for quicklime, then Mississippi may be your kind of place:

“Or take a cue from Ted Ownby, who studies Southern culture at the University of Mississippi. His state came up highly neurotic — and he suspects his neighbors would be proud.

“”Here in the home of William Faulkner,” Mr. Ownby said, “we take intense, almost perverse neuroticism as a sign of emotional depth.””

Yep, and all Virginia did besides mother a few presidents was to run Stephen Austin and Sam Houston out of the Commonwealth and to speculate on some real estate just north of the Rio Grande . . .

August 24, 2008

Playing with Movie Maker and old Cold War literature

I’ve been thinking years about doing this, and finally got around to it . . .

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