Saturday, 7 January 2012

When Dinosaurs Fade

I read alot of business news....and this week, there was this brief article over the spiraling Sears operation.  Some business folks are thinking that Sears just might go under this year....or possibly be bought out.  They haven't been able to get the market-share to survive.

I kind of grew up with Sears.  As a kid, it was the one of the only two major shops in the local town where I grew up....until around age eight, then K-Mart arrived.  The local Sears building wasn't that big.  You could walk the entire building in about three minutes (at a good pace).  I doubt that they had more than a hundred and fifty parking spots in the car-lot.  You typically went there strictly for tools, clothing and Christmas tools.  That was about it.

After K-Mart arrived....my folks tended tended to give them seventy-five percent of the business.  The local Sears operation survived until the big Mall came in the early 80's, and then Sears shifted over to it.  The old Sears store?  Well....the last time I went through town....it was still there.

In the two years I've been living in Arlington....I've been in the Sears shop once.  I wanted some men's pants, and what I found was reasonable dress pants for a fairly cheap price, but they weren't anywhere near the quality I was expecting.

I suspect that Sears will be bought off and turned strictly into a clothing and tool operation....no household appliances or such.  They might mess with the name a bit.  They might totally redesign the buildings to look different.

The sad thing here is that some smart business guys screwed up over the past decade, and made Sears into something that just didn't attract folks.  And they could have done better but they never understood the brand name.  We end up with an dinosaur of sorts.

Normal Living?

So by now, you've watched this news piece where last year.....some fourteen year old Texas girl was apprehend by the cops....told them in plain English that she was from Columbia....in the US illegally, and went to the immigration folks....to be deported.  She was flown down to Columbia, where she told them....in plain English....that she was twenty-something...from Columbia originally, and she was given all the necessary ID necessary to assimilate back into Columbia society.  She was for all practical purposes....a Colombian citizen.  The silly thing is that she didn't speak Spanish, and somehow, this all made sense even to the Columbia cops.  Somehow, her parents track her down, and yesterday....she gets flown back into the US.

Personally, there are some bits to this story which don't ring true.

The cops and immigration control in the US (our Home Security folks)....never sat and thought about the fact that the punk kid didn't speak any Spanish at all.  This kinda bothers me.  You'd think that some idiot would have stood there and asked her to say a few words in Spanish....just to feel secure that she was a foreigner.

The other part to this story is that it took a bit of detective work to make this discovery occur.  The gal could have spent the rest of her life in Columbia.

A nut case?  Well.....I can't think of too many folks who would dream up some escape like this.  Typically.....if you really wanted to escape from your folk's house.....you'd jump on a Trailways bus and run off to Vegas or Chicago.  The worst case scenario would have been to get some local truck driver to just dump you off in Idaho and get a job with some Boise Shoney's Big Boy by convincing them you were eighteen.  

At age sixteen, Kit Carson had decided that normal life just wasn't enough for him....and ended up with a group who headed out to Santa Fe, and just plain never went back to any sort of standardized lifestyle.  I can understand this desire.  But to pick Columbia?

So, here is my bet.  This gal stays six to twelve months with her family, and leaves again.  I don't think she will accept anything relating to normal living.  She might not wander off to Columbia again, but she probably won't be staying around too long.  Just my bet.

Our Occupy Folks

The Occupy folks in DC have gone into a new strategy of sorts.  You have to remember...there are two Occupys in DC.  Occupy One....the 1960's hippy generation group, which is made of more mature adults and a bit more tidy than Occupy Two (the 20-year old punk group)....has finally decided that winter is too much.

Occupy One is moving to a indoor situation for the winter.  Thanks to some local supporter with access to housing support....the folks are sleeping well at night, in a heated house.  They might still be in a sleeping bag situation, but they won't freeze to death.  Occupy One has also decided to go on public access TV and get their message out.  This means that the local cable guys are giving them an hour or two to publicize their message.

The Occupy Two folks?  Well....the young guns are going to make the best out of the winter situation and continue on with their rat friends.  Well....yeah, the city health folks are a bit worried now about the rats over in McPherson Square.  The locals are getting worried about the growth of the rat population and I suspect that something significant has to happen in the next month to fix the rat issue.  Letting loose sixty cats might help but then they'd mingle and suddenly you'd have two thousand cats roaming the President's neighborhood at night.

I sat and pondered over the mess.  Personally, you couldn't pay me enough to camp out in the midst of January for weeks and weeks at a time.  No easy toilet situation.  No heated area.  Food out of a can or just plain sandwiches.  All of this....just to look good on camera for some Japanese news crew or the Today Show?

What happens after early November and the election?  Well....I'm not sure that the folks will leave.  They might get used to sleeping outside and mingling with Washington DC folks on the street.  They might just become permanent street folks....like the other permanent homeless folks.  The truth is that nothing much changes with the election, and that might just confuse them enough to just make this a lifestyle thing....and doing it for the rest of their lives. Kinda sad, if you think about this possibility....wasted lives on the streets of DC.

My Neighborhood

Over the past couple of weeks here in DC....a number of folks have been noticing this rotten fish smell in the Metro stations.  It wasn't the typical subway smell that most folks were used to.  It was pretty bad, even for my nose.

So this week.....someone came out in the local area and discussed commentary that they had picked up via Metro employees.  Apparently, Metro had purchased some new and different kind of brake pads there in 2011.....organic brake pads.  Don't ask me how you make an organic pad....but it was different from the old fashioned type.

As they started using the new organic pads.....everyone started to pick up on this rotten fish smell....even the Metro employees.  Naturally, you'd think that they would have bought a small supply to test before bulking up, but that's not the Metro way.  They bought alot of these organic pads.  So after a while, they discovered that they'd have to go organic and then go back to the old pads, then reverse back to the organic pads.....hoping that the public didn't really get offensive with the awful smell.

How long will the rotten fish continue?  Well....no one is really certain.  Returning the vast supply purchased?  Well....no, the vendor didn't like that idea.  So this might be a long, long, long period to accept a dead fish smell in the bowels and tunnels of Washington DC.