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Fun with Fluff
dramatic spider, retail panic, minute by minute life,
grape prices, Attorney General fired, voting, and adorable little suckers

Hopes and Dreams

Retail Panic
Big Bear and Big Spider
November 28, 2018

Last weekend, I was in one of those big box stores, you know, the sort of stores that have been fighting county property taxes across the country, claiming that successful stores are just failed stores that haven't failed yet.  I won't mention the name of the store but it rhymes with Hill's Heat Harm. In this big box store was a big box. In the big box was a big bear. I wrestled the big bear out of the big box, carried him around, and made him nod to people. When I was nearly done having fun with the big bear, I set him on a waist-high industrial shelf above the big box. I noticed the price on the side of the box. It said:

$. 99. 99

Years ago in math class, I learned that a decimal point is like a huge wall separating whole numbers from lesser, fractional numbers. The point of the decimal is that it prevents lesser numbers from invading the whole numbers and stealing their jobs or some irrational fear. I don't get it. Clearly the double-decimal price was beyond my arithmetic.

I told the bear I had to let him go, and I let him go.

The big bear immediately tackled me in a hug.

I put him back on the shelf, told him he had to stay there, and I let him go. He fell for me again.

We repeated this about two more times past the number of times it was funny. Then I put him back into his box, only this time sticking his head and paw out to see customers down the aisle of the big box store that rhymes with Will's Wheat Warm.

The bear was too big for my house, which already has a dramatically big spider.

The dramatically big spider has a web below a night light. In the darkness, the spider creeps slowly by the night light -- its spotlight, dramatically casting a huge shadow over the floor below, twitching its legs for effect in a needlessly creepy-crawly way.

Music Associations: Elvis - Teddy Bear & Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song
Business StartUp: Stuffed Animal Petting Zoo

big teddy bear, irrationally priced

Hopes and Dreams

Retail Panic
Before Black Friday
November 22, 2018

A friend of mine who happens to be Jewish brought up the earlier and earlier Christmas merchandise at stores, as if I would defend it.

I replied, “Retail panic.

No one needs the twelve months of Christmas.

Almost nothing about Christmas has to do with Christ. Panicked shoppers buying things without reading legitimate reviews, filling carts with garbage, has nothing to do with Christmas.

Retail has two rules:
1. Do what has always been done.
2. Know that it won't be enough.

The black friday sales ads have many of the same items year after year at the same prices. Last year the Washington Post pointed out that “Macy’s has been selling $39.99 cashmere sweaters for five years running, while Best Buy has marked down the same 6-foot HDMI cable to $9.99 each Black Friday since 2013. At Kohl’s, [regular black friday sales items] include $9.99 sweaters (every year since 2012) and $199 KitchenAid mixers (since 2013).”

Most retailers lose money for most of the year only becoming profitable in December. It's the shopping season, and black friday is meant to draw shoppers to the stores the day after Thanksgiving to bring profit in early. Some stores do well, and some don't. This will be the first year without K-Mart, Sears, or Toys-R-Us in decades. This will be the last year for Bibelot, four outstanding gift stores in the Twin Cities.

The Macy's parade should feature balloon ghosts from retail's past: Geoffrey the giraffe, Rudolph from Montgomery Ward, the 50 foot Sears catalog...

Honey, our K-Mart is gone! Where oh where will we find a giant jar of cheese balls in time?

Big box stores know if they go away, no store will take their place. They have been arguing with county assessors across the country that their property values for property taxes should be the same as vacant (failed) big box stores. Linda Bliss from City Labs reported last week that lawyers representing Target, Best Buy, Menards, Walmart, and Sam's Club have been slashing their property taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, using the fear of retail abandonment. Ignoring functional property values, profitable stores are being devalued under the “dark store theory for property taxes. The concept started with Detroit-based tax attorney Michael Shapiro. In Wisconsin the bulk of the appeals and lawsuits have been filed by Minnesota-based tax attorney, Robert Hill, who told Bliss, “I don’t know if these assessors give a rat’s patootie about functional obsolescence.

Target and Walmart stores in the Twin Cities have undergone expensive remodeling and are ramping up their online presence (presents), hardly proving functional obsolescence. Functional obsolescense is the year-old iPhone with crappy connectors that was purposely slowed down by Apple to encourage seasonal re-purchasing. It's a wonder consumers woke up to Apple's functional obsolescence scheme, after all these years.

If Christmas really related to Christ, there would be only three acceptable gifts: gold, frankincence, and myrrh.

Music Association: Burl Ives - Silver and Gold
Twin Cities Calendar for November 23, 2018

Before Thanksgiving
November 21, 2018

uplifting elevator music

I asked someone, let's call her Eve, how she was doing, and that got into a discussion about all things great and not so great.

She said she was living life a minute at a time.

I said I couldn't think of any other way to do it.

This Thanksgiving, temporarily push things aside and give yourself an extra moment to laugh. Then see if you can cause someone else to laugh. It's the most and the least you can do.

If you hear someone order a turkey burger with romaine lettuce, please intervene.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve.

Music Association: Alanis Morrisette - Thank You

Grape Prices
November 15, 2018

49 cent grapes

I was following an older man and woman out of a Shop 'N Save store. The woman said, “Grapes are 49 cents.” No reply from the man. She said, “There must be something wrong with them.” No reply from the man.

So I said, “Each.”

Music Association: Genesis - No Reply

Hopes and Dreams

Attorney General Sessions fired on November 7, 2018
Investigation Obstruction
November 8, 2018

President Trump fired U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday, making Matt Whitaker the acting U.S. Attorney General and in charge of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle Mueller's investigation.

This constitutional crisis will be protested today at 5am (local time) at the Minnesota State Capitol and at locations across the country.

Music Association: Pointer Sisters - Fired
Twin Cities Calendar for November 8, 2018

Hopes and Dreams

The Dust and Snow Settle
November 7, 2018

The results of Tuesday night's election are in, and the divided country is still divided.

The Republicans gained two U.S. Senate seats. The Democrats gained 27 seats in the U.S. House and seven Governors' chairs.

The clear winners of the election were the printing companies with all the over-sized postcard business. Several forests of trees sacrificed themselves for the divided electorate. The TV stations airing all the commercials won too. During the news, there were back-to-back-to-back commercials about the same candidate: they are bad, they are good, they are bad... make up your mind! (To be read in the voice of Lewis Black with fingers pointing everywhere and nowhere.)

About 1.5 million more people can vote due to the Florida felon ballot initiative. That's a positive against voter suppression. But please don't think they will all vote the same way. There isn't a demographic in the United States that all votes the same way. Votes may tilt one way or another, but it's like the stock market -- past results are no prediction of future behavior. Call in all the experts, question their expertise, and toss them out.

The ABC News big round room of analysts sitting around an empty floor superimposed with red and blue graphics was either funny or silly... for solid minutes. TV is rarely the go to place for information but still better than Facebook. The Minnesota Secretary Of State website was the fastest, most reliable source of local election counts.

Minnesota's voter turnout was somewhere around 63.8% or 64.3%, not as high as I thought but still higher than any other state.

Now that the dust and snow and confetti and wild dreams have settled to the ground of reality, it would be wonderful if Congress and the state legislatures could come together on obvious issues.

I am deluded with hope.

Music Association: Al Green - Let's Stay Together

ABC News election coverage round room

Hopes and Dreams

But Be Mindful Of The Riggings

November 6, 2018

Look out for voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement this election -- the riggings.

The documentary Rigged - The Voter Suppression Playbook is currently available for free viewing on YouTube.Go Vote (Google logo for 11-6-2018)

Music Association: Blondie - One Way Or Another

Hopes and Dreams

Another Reason To Vote
November 3, 2018

I Voted
A plane went over with a banner. Know what it said? Neither do I. Except I know it said there is way too much money in political advertising.

I voted early recently. Usually they give out a sticker saying, "I Voted."

Not this time. This time it was a button.


Music Association: 10000 Maniacs - These Are The Days

Hopes and Dreams

Adorable Little Suckers
November 2, 2018

My cat was watching a tiny spider trip-trip-tripping its way up the wall and then down the wall with a remarkable lack of coordination.

You'd think with eight legs they would get at least some of them going in a coordinated effort.

It reminded me. Last week, a trail of balled light purple octopuses led the submersible Nautilus to the largest cluster of deep sea octopuses. The nursery of brooding females were tucked into nooks and cracks off the coast from Monterey, California. With their eight legs outwardly wrapped around them, the lavender ladies were each hugging dozens of white incubating eggs. They were in the dark until the Nautilus submersible parked in front of them with their brights on.

Nautilus shines its lights on a nursery of octopuses

Music Association: The Beatles - Octopuses Garden

music videos
Music Videos
October 2018 Twin Cities Calendar
Landmine Hopscotch


Impact Investing
Impact Investing

Gifs of Kittens (part 1)
Holiday Gifs of Cats and Kittens Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5  

Climate Solutions

Hennepin County Library at Southdale (Edina, MN)
Southdale Hennepin Library

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman

food fraud
Food Fraud

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