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Take A Bow
December 11, 2018



A bow is used to play a violin. What things are used to play more than one violin?

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Fiddle-sticks!


Music Association: Blythe Danner - He Plays The Violin (from '1776')








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


Vote
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.

Cool.


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













Hopes and Dreams


Don't Be Afraid... Don't Be Very Afraid
October 31, 2018



A pirate hobbled in this morning with some sort of orange gourd strapped over one of his eyes.

I asked him, “What's that on your face?

Arrgh, yes,” he replied, “it's me pumpkin patch!


Start a list of all the things you hate about yourself, you know, the way you drive, the way you talk before thinking, wait this should really be in list form because it will get kind of long, so it was...
the way you drive (sometimes)
that you don't have enough money
the way you talk before thinking (sometimes)
that look you're giving me right now

Now do a list of all the things you hate about others, you know...
the way they drive (sometimes)
that they have too much money
what they say (sometimes)
that look they give you

Take the list about you and make it about them and take the list about them and make it about you.

You and them. Them and you.

When I was a kid, I used to say “I hate...” (something) and my mom would say, “Don't waste your hate.

She implied that hate was valuable, but I don't think that's what she meant.

None of those things you listed about you or them is worth the hate. Imagine you are on your deathbed...

Wait a second, spellcheck recognizes “deathbed” as a thing but not Arrgh? Deathbed? Can you go into a Bed Bath & Beyond store and buy a deathbed?!? Certainly a deathbed would satisfy two of the three conditions of Bed Bath & Beyond as both a bed and the launchpad to the beyond. Somebody famous recently died in the bath. Does that make it a deathbath? Spellcheck says no.

So imagine you're on your deathbed or in your deathbath. Do you think you will really care how much money you had compared to somebody else? Or how you rated as a driver?

Researchers interviewed people on their brand new deathbeds about life regrets, and most people had regrets relating to love and relationships and connections.

People were dying for more love, not for more hate.

When you are dying, you will no longer be afraid. Fear drives hate. Stop being afraid now. Stop hating.

no hate

Music Associations: Pink Floyd - Us and Them
& Blue Öyster Cult - Don't Fear The Reaper



Happy Halloween








Hopes and Dreams


Significant Others
October 25, 2018


... Too Late

Late at night when deliriousness meets the mattress, my better half and I get silly.

It's never the same, almost never planned, usually something started by me but the best stuff starts without me and I just twist it into some origami of ridiculousness. I have no improv training and hardly any theater experience except for all these years of goofiness. I play things straight, and she couldn't be straighter. I practically only laugh when she does, and last night I couldn't stop laughing.

What it was about doesn't matter. It really doesn't. It's about the quick back and forth more than anything. It's a special language.

The best health care, mental health care, and life care is a great loving, understanding, and over-the-top comedic relationship.

I just wish more people had someone to get goofy with and laugh until it almost hurts.


Music Association: The Spaniels - Goodnight Sweetheart











Hopes and Dreams



By The Numbers
Florida Wind Map
October 14, 2018



With the devastation of Hurricane Michael, it is interesting to learn that the Florida Building Codes say Michael took a wrong turn.

The Florida Building Code says different parts of Florida have different wind speed requirements. The Florida Keys might have to withstand 180 mph wind gusts. Miami only has to withstand 160 mph wind gusts. And Mexico Beach only has to withstand 130 mph winds. Michael got up to 155 mph. Still, most of the damage occurred to older structures.

Florida building code - wind gusts

Hurricane Michael may have “damaged” the statue of Nathaniel Greene in Savannah, Georgia by putting googly eyes on it. Savannah police are looking for whoever vandal-eyed the statue or any eye-witnesses.
googly eyes

Music Association: Madness - Our House (In The Middle Of The Street)











Hopes and Dreams


Everyday Rain
October 8, 2018



We've had rain, misty rain, all-out downpours, and drizzle.

A week ago I heard Minnesota soybean and corn farmers needed a clear day to harvest the crops.

They have not had it. It hasn't rained all the time, but there also hasn't been a clear day to dry up muddy fields.

Climate change maps show a wetter Minnesota -- a crop damaging, business and home damaging wet.


Music Associations: Carpenters - Rainy Days And Mondays
                                Prince - Purple Rain
                                Cascades - Rhythm Of The Rain
                                John Fogerty - Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
                                John Fogerty - Who'll Stop The Rain?
                                Beatles - Rain
                                Creed - Rain
                               







Hopes and Dreams




I'm rubber, you're glue...
Trump Paper
October 5, 2018




President Donald Trump with toilet paper on his left shoe.
Yesterday, on his way to Minnesota of all places, this happened. Toilet paper was stuck to President Trump's shoe on his way up the stairs to Air Force One.

Yet the Internet thinks it was the Constitution that was stuck to his shoe. Or his tax return. Or the New York Times investigation into the half billion dollars Fred Trump put in his son Donald's name to avoid taxes. Or else TP stands for trade partnerships.Trump Paper

The next president will have a tough act to follow.


Music Association:  Koethe - What You Left Behind
Movie Association: Wag The Dog











Hopes and Dreams


In Indonesia
Quake, Tsunami, & Rubble Claim 1349 Lives
October 3, 2018



At least 1,349 people in Palu have been killed by the combination of a ground-liquifying 7.5 magnitude earthquake, a huge tsunami funnelled into a bay, and raining rubble.

Palu is a city on the island of Sulawesi, the world's 11th largest island.

About 200,000 people are without food and shelter.


Music Association: Alabama Shakes - Hold On








voter suppression
Voter Suppression

music videos
Music Videos
October 2018 Twin Cities Calendar
Landmine Hopscotch

Superman
Superman

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
Climate Change Solutions

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

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman

food fraud
Food Fraud


prior posts


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Hopes and Dreams: Stuck on AutoDrive is a novel that's about inventing the self-driving car. It has:

adventure

comedy
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