The blanket arrives.

Big snowstorm this weekend, the first biggie of the season. I was out in it, experiencing all the hassles it brought, because lo, Saturday is errand day, and if I get off my schedule, the household will grind to a halt. It’s nearly impossible to push a grocery cart through three inches of unplowed snow — did you know this? The freeways were covered and snot-slick. Parking everywhere was a hassle. And yet, I cannot help but sing a merry tune in my heart. Winter is supposed to look like this, and now it does.

Wendy’s not so sold, however. She can’t seem to find the right pooping spot, as virtually anywhere she goes, the snow touches her bottom. Sunday morning she was reduced to using the sidewalk, anathema to every dog I’ve known. Why is that? I’d think, given the communicative value of excrement in dog language, that dropping a load in the middle of a known thoroughfare would be like buying a Super Bowl spot, but not for Wendy. She’s a curb girl, and has been since early on. Riiiight at the curb. I know not why.

After the errands, there was time for a three-beer lunch with a friend, and that was nice, too. This past summer was a pretty terrific one — other than the half-blindness thing — but there’s something to be said for the enforced idleness of a snowy winter afternoon.

This week is the last I’ll work before we go on our holiday break and get some R&R. My goal is to make serious progress in my end-of-year plan to strip as much stuff as possible out of my house, whether through sale, gift or donation. Anything we sell goes into our discretionary fund for an upcoming vacation (New Orleans, February), and anything we give away is karma points.

All of which may be complicated by Wednesday’s cataract surgery. I was asked by the prep team at the hospital if I have an advance directive. I do. I was asked to bring it along.

“Seriously?” I asked. Yes, seriously. I asked the doctor what the worst thing that could happen and he said, “I could drop dead in the middle of your surgery.” I suppose that could happen. The laser would go swinging wildly around the room, slicing off the top of my head or maybe setting something on fire. Won’t Alan be surprised when a grim-faced nurse emerges with the bad news.

Let’s not go there.

So, some bloggage? Not much, but some:

The ADHD racket. I know you will be as shocked as I am to learn that the explosion in ADHD diagnoses followed a concerted effort by two pharmaceutical companies to sell ADHD drugs make sure every child is properly diagnosed. The story about how Adderall got its name is worth the price of admission. Via NYT.

Would you spend $300 for a Bluetooth speaker that looked like a gramophone horn?

Alternet is generally full of crap, but if you’ve been in a Sears store lately — a once-great American retail institution laid low — it’s hard not to think this story about how the current CEO drove it into the ground doesn’t have at least a germ of truth to it. Yes, Sears’ problems started well before this CEO. But I went there the other day and was shocked by how dingy the place was. If nothing else, the tool department should be spun off and cash-infused. I can live without the slippers and polyester clothes, but not the tools.

Monday! It is here! Let’s embrace it.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' |

59 responses to “The blanket arrives.”

  1. Dexter said on December 16, 2013 at 3:07 am

    I awoke Sunday, turned on the little bedside TV, spun the dial, and it landed on the H2 Network, and I was treated to a pirate show. I got to see Edward Teach’s head lopped off and hung from the bowsprit the day Blackbeard met his match.
    The day ended with seeing the star of a popular premium cable TV show hanged by the neck until dead, lifted into the air by a crane with a noose attached. A woman spat on our hero, slid his coconut into the loop, and goodbye hero.
    I wonder which end Dallas Cowboys fans are planning and dreaming of for their coach Jason Garrett? Dallas led 26-3 at halftime and lost 37-36 in the worst home loss by the ‘Boys in years. This was the cause of much joy around America. Everybody hates the Dallas Cowboys. 🙂

    Don Corleone told Michael “I like to drink wine more than I useta.” I’ll spin that theme and say I hate to shovel snow more than I useta. Due to a family death last summer , we now have an extra minivan. The first one that breaks bad dies a permanent death, but since both are running well…I find myself with two. One was easily dug out, one’s exit path buried by an evil snowplow driver. I was just going to let it stay parked, but no… I had to dig it out. I was working at it, so I didn’t need a heavy coat, and when I got it out of it’s snowy lair, I decided to run to the grocery for salted-in-the-shell peanuts and some Co’Coal to enhance my football viewing. As I was trudging through the parking lot snow towards the store doors, an elderly lady began chastising me…”WHERE’S your coat? It’s TOO COLD to be out here with no coat! What’s the MATTER with you!?” I looked at her and sheepishly nodded in general agreement. It was too cold to argue with octogenarian ladies on a day like Sunday was.

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  2. Joe K said on December 16, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Good weekend here. Flew a trip Saturday morning to Milwaukee and Indy thru the snow, wasn’t to bad. Nice dinner with the wife, then birthday Sunday, watched the bears win, then took in a komet hockey victory, got home and got called out to fly a mechanic from Columbus Ohio to Ohara, now off to bed.
    Pilot joe

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  3. David C. said on December 16, 2013 at 7:01 am

    When my mom had cataract surgery, they asked my dad if he wanted to watch. He said he did, so they put it on cctv for him. I couldn’t watch surgery on a stranger’s eye, or anything else, let alone surgery on my wife. But anyway, Alan could watch the laser do it’s thing live and in living color.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 16, 2013 at 7:17 am

    As Nancy Pelosi so eloquently said last week, with masterful command of military lingo, “Embrace the suck.”


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  5. Dorothy said on December 16, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Happy birthday a day late, PJ!!

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  6. James said on December 16, 2013 at 8:13 am

    My wife and I tried to buy a fancy vacuum cleaner from, and they tried to pull this bait and switch on us. When I called to complain, they refused to stand by their price, and said I implicitly agreed to their terms of service by merely visiting their site, and that included their right to change prices arbitrarily.

    Fuck Sears.

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  7. alex said on December 16, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Not to diminish ADHD where it really exists, but it’s been my observation that the “attention deficit” in ADHD is typically attention starvation by neglectful parents. I personally know of several cases where mom and dad are utterly self-absorbed people with the unrealistic notion that their children should raise themselves and behave like perfect angels and achieve 4.0 grade point averages without intruding on mom and dad’s “me time” which is all the time. So they dope ’em up to shut ’em up. Adderall and Ritalin—the new “mommy’s little helpers,” non-drowsy formula.

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  8. beb said on December 16, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Perversely, the best test for ADD is to give the kid some medication and see how he or she reacts to it. The ones with ADD will slow down and concentrate. The ones without ADD will just get hyper. But I won’t say the drug companies are the only ones pushing for medication. Several people, in like bible schools, and daycare/first grade ended up telling us we should have our daughter tested. At some point one begins to wonder if the problem was the child’s inability to pay attention or the teacher’s deserve to have uniformly docile children. I think one of the biggest mistakes our country did was to allow lawyers and prescription medications to advertise of TV and magazines.

    The CEO of Sears using the principles of Ayn Rands to run his company. Just to be snarky, but aren’t most companies run on similar principles? Microsoft just aanounced that they will finally stop using a system (Status ranking?) where every member of a group is rated on a curve, with one excellent member, a bunch of mediocre members and one member designated the goat to be fired. What a way to build morale!

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  9. brian stouder said on December 16, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Here’s wishing a happy birthday for Joe’s household (whether it was for him or Mrs Joe!), and strength to our proprietress, so that she can present us with another jocular ocular update, as the holidays unfold

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  10. LAMary said on December 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I had a good dishwasher experience with Sears a few years ago. I paid for my dishwasher online and when I went to pick it up it was out of stock. They upgraded me pretty seriously for no extra charge. I got to Sears for appliances, tools, and to return things I don’t like that I ordered from Lands End, but yes, it’s dingy and grey and the clothes are ugly.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 16, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Beb is quite correct — the problem is that the follow-up tends to be non-existent, or simply based on parental response, which is where Alex’s observation kicks in.

    RAD is also something that’s real, but massively (IMHO) overdiagnosed; I see cases of supposed RAD that look much more like a child just trying to get a messed-up adult/guardian/family to notice that they exist and have needs.

    Kids under 15 coming in saying (let alone parents telling me) “I’m bipolar” also give me the pip, especially when it isn’t a WedMD home diagnosis, but what a supposed professional told them. Friends, you cannot say with confidence that a 12 or 14 year old is bipolar. You just can’t. It may be true, but it usually isn’t, and labeling often creates more barriers than it knocks down for pre-teens . . . or even an eight year old, which I was presented with a couple of months ago. In my role, I can’t argue, I can only check what the source of this understanding is.

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  12. Judybusy said on December 16, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Happy birthday, Joe!

    We did early Christmas on Saturday with my family, and now that my 3 nieces are older and not a constantly bickering snarl, it’s pretty fun. (It was so bad in 2010 we skipped Christmas with them in 2011, and were very direct in telling my sister the reason. Despite not-so-skillful parenting, the girls are thankfully turning out great.)

    Yesterday my honey puttered at home, I ran errands and saw a couple friends.After a few years’ neglect, we’re doing Christmas cards and a letter. We wrote it together last night while imbibing in wine and watching George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol. And a new tradition is born! It was super fun, and we hope others find the letter as amusing as we did.

    It’s looked like winter since the 5th, when we got about 6″. It keeps snowing every few days, adding another inch or so. The day we got the base, we had guys working on our exterior, so they tamped down all the snow on our sidewalk. I have not had time to get out there with the ice chopper to clear it down to the concrete. Also, the windchill’s been -1 to -25 since then (every day!) so it’s pretty hard.

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  13. coozledad said on December 16, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Here’s a lovely little Christmas story. It’s all about letting that special Calvinist ugly flag fly:

    These are the kind of people who turn to Megyn Kelly to help justify being leaky bags of puke.

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  14. Heather said on December 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I used to go to Sears Optical for my annual exam, and it was always depressing to walk through the store. I was satisfied with the eye care until my insurance changed, when the new doctor found all these issues with my eyes, and then I wasn’t so happy.

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  15. Bitter Scribe said on December 16, 2013 at 10:41 am

    If you’re really interested in the story of Sears/Kmart, don’t miss this Bloomberg article (linked in the Salon piece Nancy linked to). Especially don’t miss the comments, as several of them seem to have been written by former Sears employees and/or people with retail management experience. Sample:

    If [the CEO] had built a business, he wouldn’t be a Randian. The thing about building a business is, you quickly realize that it’s a communal experience, one that requires investment — of time and energy and ideas as well as money — from all involved. You don’t get that by demonstrating Galtian contempt for ordinary workers, you get it by respecting and rewarding their contributions.

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  16. Danny said on December 16, 2013 at 10:41 am

    The only version of “A Christmas Carol” that matters…

    … other than maybe the Muppets’ version.

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  17. alex said on December 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

    In the remote past, I found Sears’ automotive department to be either incompetent or dishonest or both; I haven’t been back to give them another chance and never will. But I like my Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools. Here’s hoping the company can be wrested from the hands of that dolt before it goes completely kaput.

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  18. Jenine said on December 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Coyotes do the middle of the path scat marking. Saw lots of that on the Tennessee Valley trail north of San Francisco. I don’t know why domestic dogs don’t.

    I found this story of a surgeon’s hubris to be quite amazing:
    A general surgeon had been ill with a stomach bug, but decided to perform surgery anyway. He announced he would have an IV in, and a bag of fluid running.
    He’s mostly through the case, when he says, “I’m going down.” And does, collapses on the floor. The paralytic agent the anesthesiologist gave to the patient went in the surgeon’s IV tubing by mistake. An understandable one, the anesthesiologist never having had to distinguish between the patient’s IV and the surgeon’s IV before. They had to intubate him, because paralytics also paralyze breathing. His resident was able to finish, as they carried him out.

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  19. Connie said on December 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

    As to New

    As to New orleans, may I recommend the Hotel Monteleone, and the restaurants Bayona and the Palace Cafe.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on December 16, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Happy Birthday, Pilot Joe, and I wish I’d been on your plane yesterday. My 4:25 flight left exactly six hours late, and I walked in the door at 1:50 am. Still, the tickets are so cheap we’ve already bought more for our next trip.

    Besides the truths everyone else has stated, here’s the reason Sears won’t survive: the appliance salespeople have a line painted down the middle of their department and they can’t or won’t cross it. When our microwave died we did our research and found the best one/best price at Sears. Four or five guys were lounging around without customers so we asked one to help us. Nope, he says, I don’t sell over the stove microwaves, I only sell counter top models. You have to go over to that side of the line and get that guy to help you. That guy with three customers waiting? Yep, that guy.

    We knew what we wanted and it only needed to be rung up. But we waited 20 minutes. I doubt I’ll ever go in again.

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  21. Sherri said on December 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

    beb @8, it was called “stack ranking”, and that marvelous idea came from Jack Welch, of GE fame. But the low-ranking member was designated to be fired; you needed to keep that employee around, otherwise you’ve have to come up with a new low-ranking member next year. The various stacks had percentages associated with them, and that percentage of the company had to be placed in that stack rank every year. Many man-hours of meetings are spent getting everybody sorted; obviously, it’s a very political process.

    And yes, it was quite bad for morale. It was the most hated thing about working at Microsoft.

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  22. Danny said on December 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Sherri, did you see that Microsoft recently did away with the stack ranking program?

    Companies should let managers manage their departmental budget how they see fit. Just let me know what the annual salary/merit/cost-of-living increase pool is and I’ll decided how to divide it up fairly and keep folks engaged. It’s really quite simple.

    The thing I miss most about Sears are the old catalogs. I still recall how they had a “Husky” size for fatter kids. Priceless. Walter Matthau’s character in “Grumpy Old Men” grudgingly denied he was fat as a kid… he was husky!

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  23. BigHank53 said on December 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Our local Sears was one of the ones that got the axe. Tools and appliances were the only reasons I ever set foot in the place. Making your internal divisions compete with each other is insane. Every dollar spent on duplicate efforts is a dollar taken straight out of your profits, which aren’t exactly fat in the retail sector.

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  24. nancy said on December 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Obviously the two microwave salesmen were in competition. Wouldn’t want to help over-the-stove get a leg up on the countertop division!

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  25. Basset said on December 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    And Sears is spinning Land’s End off too… apparently they’re already getting rid of stock. Mrs. B. and I walked through Sears on the way to the Apple Store recently and noticed Land’s End fleeces for $10 apiece so we stopped to look… someonebwith a Sears badge on walked by and said “no, those are two for $5.” Such a deal…

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  26. Bitter Scribe said on December 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Walter Matthau’s character in “Grumpy Old Men” grudgingly denied he was fat as a kid… he was husky!

    In an episode of “Taxi,” one of the all-time great TV sitcoms, Danny DeVito recounts how he has to shop in the kid’s clothing department: “Huskies. I hate ’em.”

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  27. MichaelG said on December 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I’ve always been very happy with Sears and have bought tons of stuff from them – stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers. lawn mowers, etc. Maybe it’s the local branch with which you deal. Also I’ve bought stuff on line and gone over there to pick it up. Works nicely.

    I always leave Sacto very early so my plane is never late. Wrong. Last week I was on a 6:00 flight to Ontario. We pushed back on time but then the pilot announced that we had to be de-iced. That took a taxi over to a remote area where the de-ice truck sprayed the aircraft. Then the next announcement: The de-ice people had bumped into the wing of the aircraft and we had to go back to the terminal to have the wing inspected. Everything turned out all right but we ended taking off an hour and a half late. That plane’s flights for the rest of the day were late. And by the way, that new TSA special line is terrific. No waiting and you don’t have to take off your shoes or your coat and you just walk through one of those old pass through security things, not the full body scanner. Both ONT and SMF feature the new line. I love it.

    Happy Birthday, Joe!

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  28. MarkH said on December 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    My experience with Sears has been completely opposite of the negativity expressed here by some of you. Here in town we have a samll franchise Sears store that took the place of the old catalog store about 12 years ago. It is mostly applicances, tools, lawn equipment and other hardware. What they may not have they will quickly order in if you see it online and will make sure it is the lowest price they have. These smaller stores, and this one in particular, are rumored to be on the way out soon. But the service is excellent as they don’t want the locals to go to the nearby KMart or to Idaho Falls to the larger Sears store.

    The wife is very picky and she recently wanted to return a new mattress we bought. Sears handled the exchange seamlessly, as they did a new large screen TV we got to replace the previous Samsung under warranty. And when we had to got to the IF store, there was none of the slacker service some have described here. The store is not like walking into Macy’s or Nordstrom’s, but it is clean, well-lit and they have the best appliance prices.

    It is sad to note that corporately, bad decisions mean they are suffering and the outlook is not good.

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  29. Suzanne said on December 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I really don’t understand businesses in the US anymore. I’ve had enough jobs in the past few years to know that the most common business model around is to treat your employees like crap, never communicate with them, and then complain that you can’t find any decent employees beliving it’s because people just don’t want to work. It’s insane!

    I also know a young man who had a bad experience with Sears auto recently. He took his car for routine maintenance but realized when he got there that they closed in half an hour. He offered to come back the next day but was told “No problem! We can get it done! Go shop and we’ll call when the car is ready!” Except they didn’t call, but closed up for the night with the car & apt keys locked inside. The young man told the store manager ( who said he couldn’t help because he had nothing to do with automotive) that he would get a ride home and pick up his extra key and get his car and return the next day to pay. Nope! The store manager said that would be considered theft because the car had not been signed out and that he would call the cops.

    He did get the car the next day and was not charged, begrudgingly, for the service, but was out $$ because his apt key was locked in Sears and his complex charges to be let in. He’d gone to Sears auto many times before. He will never return.

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  30. Dexter said on December 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Forty years ago Sears was a good place to buy the sort of clothes I’d throw on after a post-work shower and head to the bars , not the workingman dives, but the mediocre night clubs around Fort Wayne where the ladies mingled with the men, just the weekday time-killer place where once in a while something might spark up. I worked hard in the factory with Craftsman tools, also, and I was frequently trading in broken tools for new ones at the Glenbrook (Fort Wayne) Sears…lifetime guarantee.
    Sears also had a warehouse somewhere around Taylor Street as I recall. They ran ads for overstocked and scratch-and-dents a few times a year. I bought a few items there, I remember a humidifier I got cheap.
    Here in Bryan, Ohio, we have a Sears store. They sell ‘fridges, stoves, washer-dryers, lawnmowers and snow blowers and a full complement of tools. They are ridick expensive, but I go in there once a month to browse the tools and almost always buy something they have marked down.

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  31. mark said on December 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm


    “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval”

    I hope the Court of Appeals has equal resolve.

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  32. Sherri said on December 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Yes, Danny, I did know Microsoft did away with stack ranking; my husband works at Microsoft. The new system is supposed to work much the way you want: there’s a budget, but managers have discretion to divide it up as they choose. Steve Ballmer was always regarded as the reason stack ranking wouldn’t go away, but apparently he’s decided to blow it up on his way out the door.

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  33. LAMary said on December 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Hey, I like Lands End. They have tall sizes for women. I can get plain white shirts and dress pants for work and they are long enough.
    I also have bought great stuff on clearance over the years. I have some washable wool blankets from Lands End that are wonderful, and I think they cost me about 15 dollars each about 15 years ago.

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  34. Peter said on December 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Crain’s Chicago Business ran an article a few years back on the woeful state of Sears, and they had a graph that showed the amount of money each chain spent on renovating/updating stores, both total amount and as a percentage of sales.

    Macy’s was second from the bottom (and as a former Field’s customer, that sounds/looks right), but they, far down on the list, spent TEN times as much as Sears did. Yikes.

    Crain’s also had a Sears executive profiled once as one of their 40 under 40; I swear they had an article six months later profiling a Sears executive who was doing the same thing…

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  35. MarkH said on December 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I’m with LAMary on Land’s End. It could have made all the difference on Sears clothing offerings. But, apparently not. And Dexter, Craftsman tools are the best out there, next to Snap-On. So I feel they are worth it. But not being a pro mechanic, I’m usually only there at sale time, too.

    And, yes, mark, someone had to take a judicial stand on the NSA. Judge Leon has done just that. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in higher courts.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Danny @ #16 – Count me among the fans of Reginald Owen’s 1939 Scrooge. That’s the ur-movie of “A Christmas Carol” for me.

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  37. Deborah said on December 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I have only been to Sears twice in the last 10 years. Once in Chicago (the one on State Street) to get a Lands End bathing suit. Lands End has the BEST bathing suits, very flattering for women of a certain age. The other time was here in Santa Fe at an awful mall on the outskirts of town. I can’t remember why we even went in there, it was last year sometime, it was depressing as hell. I bought another bathing suit from Lands End on-line before I went to Beaver Brook for that class I took. Again, I love the suit, it makes a 63 year old woman happy to look that good in a bathing suit. I highly recommend them.

    And Coozledad Rio Rancho where that teacher/white Santa story happened has been having a huge problem with drugs. They’ve recently had a crack down and many of the drug sellers have relocated to Santa Fe, particularly our neighborhood. Great, thanks a lot Rio Rancho.

    We’re having a warming trend, highs in the 40s lately, all the snow is melting except on our driveway. We have about 3″ thick of “icy frozen lumpy fuck” that is on the north side of the building and always in shadow which drives me nuts. By the way “icy frozen lumpy fuck” is a phrase Wendy McClure used in her book “A Wilder Life”, which some of you here have commented about having read.

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  38. Joe K said on December 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I thought ” icy frozen lumpy fuck”, was the name of a new band.
    Pilot Joe

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  39. alex said on December 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Happy birthday Joe! Flying anywhere special for the occasion?

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  40. Brandon said on December 16, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Not a Sears story, but our venerable local department store Liberty House went bankrupt in the early 2000s and Macy’s took over. No comparison!

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  41. Dexter said on December 16, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Where I worked all the non-skilled people (me) used Craftsman everything. The skilled trades people used Snap-On because the salesman came into the factory regularly to sell them everything they needed…we weren’t allowed to take time off the line and machines to meet with the salesman, so we went to Fort Wayne to the Glenbrook Sears.

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  42. Dexter said on December 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Our family lived with the ADHD nightmare for years…Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate CD, Focalin, Dexedrine, and Daytrana …different clinics, different cities, different doctors, different meds, different doses.
    At times my two step daughters and their kids moved “back home” after hitting life-bumps-in-the-road. Their two boys put all of us through the wringer at times, and even though at times I voiced negatively against all these stimulants for these little boys, the schools and the moms made the boys take these pills. Both boys have struggled with pill addiction since becoming adults. Did they ever have a chance? Goddam if I know.

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  43. beb said on December 16, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Interesting mix of stories about Sears. 40-50 years ago it was the place to go. When we needed to get a new refrigerator we found a size that fit in our kitchen at Sears and aside for having to hunt up a salesman, we got a nice price, on time delivery and every thing seems fine. Much better than at Best Buy where they screwed up everything.

    I’m reminded of how Target beat the pants off K-Mart. Nicer stuff and newer stores. The last time I was in a Kmart that place just looked old. Not dingy, just old.

    It’s hard to believe such iconic stores are on their way out.

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  44. Deborah said on December 16, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Many moons ago I taught art at the elementary school level. I had this one kid who was in the first grade who was so hyperactive it was amazing. The poor kid could not sit still, he was all over the map. It was so sad to think that he had to conform to the rules of sitting in your seat and obeying the teacher’s direction, because the kid was in no way capable of doing that what-so-ever. I had a hard time thinking of ways to keep him from totally turning the classroom into chaos and giving him stuff to do that he could possibly master. There are kids like that who need help, believe me. There just aren’t as many of them out there as the phrama companies would like us to think.

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  45. Prospero said on December 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I wouldn’t buy a bluetooth speaker that looked and behaved exactly like Cleopatra’s cunt. At any price. Listen to digitally degraded recordings on an overpriced by a mile device, because it’s supposed to be cool? Not this cowboy.

    I’d describe the last K-Mart I entered is post-Soviet. That setting, I believe, whanged out the pin on the dingy-meter.

    And a mighty happy birthday to JoeK. I wish him gorgeous days in the air and I wish I had a plane and knew how to fly it. I’d say, honestly, he is the singularly most bent political thinker I’ve ever come across. And he’s a grand guy.

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  46. Danny said on December 16, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    mark, interesting and that kinda dovetails with the other news that Rick Ledgett, head of the NSA tasl force, is talking amnesty for Snowden in return for the remainder of what he might have copied and can still publish.

    Well, as the NSA would tell us: If the NSA didn’t do anything wrong, then they don’t have anything to worry about.

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  47. ROGirl said on December 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Sears just seems so downmarket compared with Target. I have some Kenmore appliances I’m happy with, and a few years ago I have found some decent Lands End things (jeans, winter parka, khakis), but lately I haven’t seen anything special, and much of it is schlumpy (elastic waisted pants)or ugly (stripes or polka dots).

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  48. Deggjr said on December 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    To pile on Sears, we bought our third Sears riding lawn tractor two years ago. There was a 5% merchandise rebate. The rebate did affect the buying decision, but nice because tractors aren’t cheap. At the register the salesperson asked if we also wanted the 12 months interest free offer. We didn’t need it but why not. The salesperson acted as if he was getting away with something, which it turns out he was.

    When I applied for the rebate the offers were merchandise OR interest free. We paid off the amount but couldn’t get through the Internet to get the merchandise rebate. No problem could ever be solved more easily. We haven’t gone back.

    Sears notified us about a year ago they were cancelling our credit cards for lack of use (per the credit card agreement). No problem there either. Do cancelled cards negatively affect credit ratings? Everything that has value also has a cost.

    I do like Land’s End and they accept Visa. I’m sure the Land’s End people are ecstatic to be leaving Sears.

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  49. Dave said on December 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I’m struck by the memory of how my parents wouldn’t hardly shop at Sears, something to do with a water softener they purchased sometime around 1956 and had problems with. My father swore by Montgomery Wards, thought their merchandise was better, we had all kinds of MW merchandise in our home when I was a child. Our first bicycles were Montgomery Wards Hawthornes, I’m certain all three of mine were (20″, 24″, and 26″). My first transistor radio, which I got around the time I was 11 (1961) was a Montgomery Wards Airline radio.

    Yet, Sears well outlasted Montgomery Wards.

    Julie Robinson, Allegiant? One little hiccup and their entire system gets delayed. My wife once sat at FWI for about six hours, leaving in the wee hours of the morning, getting to her mother’s in FLA in the early AM, way past scheduled arrival time. We’ve had other experiences but that was the worst. Still, you can fly from Fort Wayne to the St. Petersburg airport, avoiding all the Tampa traffic, and it’s only about ten miles from where we go.

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  50. LAMary said on December 16, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Yes on the bathing suits from Lands End, Deborah. Again, they make long torso bathing suits for us tall women, yay. My most recent Lands End purchas was a leopard print cotton cardigan. I’m not usually a leopard print sort of person, but this is a very nice cardigan.

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  51. Deborah said on December 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Pilot Joe, I’m not sure I would like the music of a band called “Icy frozen lumpy fuck”, but happy birthday!

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  52. Joe K said on December 16, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you all for the birthday wishes,
    It meant a lot.
    Currently waiting for some freight in Memphis to haul back to
    Lima Ohio,
    Thank you, thank you very much.(Elvis impression)
    Pilot Joe

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  53. LAMary said on December 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Happy Birthday a little late, Pilot Joe.

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  54. Basset said on December 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Joe… Do not leave the airport in Memphis. Don’t leave the freight office, the FBO, wherever you are sitting right now. Just don’t.

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  55. brian stouder said on December 16, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Way back in the day (late 1960’s) here in Fort Wayne, there was the Sears at Rudisill and Calhoun streets, a multi-level department store of the classic sort; and Wolf & Dessauer (W & D’s) downtown; and K-Mart.

    My mom loved W & D’s, and would ride the city bus downtown to get there (she never, ever drove; never had a driver’s license, and never wanted one); and on a weekend dad would take her to K-Mart (southeast, before Southtown Mall existed) if something or other was needed.

    Our neighbors down the street were Sears people; mom always disliked Sears.

    The malls killed the free-standing Sears and W & D’s; for one thing, you could driver there and park, unlike downtown, and have all those dozens of choices of where to go.

    And now, I think Wal-Mart has done in Sears (to the extent that Sears didn’t do itself in).

    I don’t think I’ll ever really be a Costco/Sam’s Club guy…. Wal-Mart & Target (and the occasional foray into the mall) will probably always do me

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  56. basset said on December 16, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Tried Sam’s Club, prefer Costco.

    Doubt very many of y’all recognize the name, but Ray Price has died. He was important.

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  57. MarkH said on December 17, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I remember Ray Price well, basset. For some reason, I latched onto country music right out of high school, probably an extension liking country rock. Anyway, used to play a lot of him when I jocked at OSU and old style country in Lancaster, OH, including his signature, “For The Good Times”, of course. Great voice.

    Happy belated Birthday, Pilot Joe!

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  58. Kirk said on December 17, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Ray Price is a great loss. Great voice, great performer.

    And the next nickel I spend at Walmart will be the first. Screw a company that shits on its employees and undermines the economy of every town it it infests.

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  59. Bob (not Greene) said on December 17, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Here’s Ray Price just three years ago, in 2010, on Marty Stuart’s show. The guy could still sing the hell out of it even then.

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