March 31, 2009

The stuff that dreams are made of.


The stuff that dreams are made of, describes exactly what the Maltese Falcon is, as described by Sam Spade at the end of the famous, if somewhat, or more than somewhat, very confusing movie.

It also might describe our ambitions, or describe what we were going to be when we grow up. Some people I know were certain of what they wanted to be, and never veered from the path to get there. Others like me never had a clue what they wanted to be, much less how to get there even if they did.

I suspect that my 'lack of a plan' plan is the most prevalent amongst us. We live a sort of pinball kind of occupational life, not one I would recommend, but that's the way it went.

Looking back on it now from that place in life where we fill out the line on the form with the word none, or retired I have to consider myself lucky, and that is a very appropriate word, because my occupational life was certainly a crap shoot. I never planned one step along the way. This is not the way to do it. But I was never inspired by a doctor, or lawyer, or cop, or businessman, or scientist, or soldier. My parents never tried to inspire me one way or the other, it probably would not have worked, but on the other hand they never stood in my way, in fact they asked me what I was thinking about and would have financed schooling if I could decide.

But no I never could decide. I believed in the Huckleberry Finn school of academic and occupational achievement. I preferred to float down the river and take whatever came.

A risky way to deal with one of life's most important decisions, that choice that will provide the financing for that stuff that dreams are made of, but human nature is what it is. In my life I was given a strange sort of logic, the feeling inside me of knowing that jobs are just jobs and without short changing an employer, a way to make money. It was not a religious experience, at least not with me.

This is certainly not a primer on HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS, that would be an ironic joke. The only thought I wish to leave in this small slice of life piece is don't deny your human nature and reject the Huckleberry Finn school of academic and occupational achievement out of hand, because while you're lazily floating down that river you just might understand what dreams are really made of.

March 30, 2009

Loving, forgiving, talking, don't always insist you are right, sometimes being wrong and admitting it is good. It can't hurt you and increasing 'your friend for life's' self esteem is more important in the long run. Always talk, establish a team of us against the world if need be. Remembering good things is enjoyable for the both of you. Forget the bad times, reliving them over and over serves no good purpose. Always remember this woman or man you married long ago was once young, but not now. Be kind to each other, kind, loving words will help heal a little those aches and pains we've picked up from somewhere along the way. Remember to say in deed as well as in words that you're sure glad we made this trip together.

Assumed authority for above words? Married fifty-three years and hoping for fifteen more.

March 28, 2009

Mitch Albom on the Charlie Rose show lamenting about his dying town of Detroit and the automobile industry. We here in Ohio feel or will feel their pain with industry shutting or moving. Cleveland has very little downtown now. Here in my hometown, we have a General Motors plant that is losing people, and is on the endangered list for sometime this year of closing completely. What this will do to my town which is already distressed from industry disappearing over the years and our tax base dwindling, causing our infrastructure to decay along with empty houses and the rest of the rust belt nation syndrome of despair? It is a question with a dim prognoses as an answer.


I work crosswords, my wife works crosswords. That said, you have to guess that I like words and the occasional discovering of new words. It is a great discovery when the new word is a word that I may use again. When the newly, great discovered word, is a word that describes me or my surroundings, it is better yet. What is this great new word that I discovered?

Well, now that I have gone to a new paragraph, as if in anticipation of great revelations with accompanying ruffles and flourishes from the computer room orchestra, you're going to be disappointed. Well maybe I go too far. I feel an anticlimax right about here.

I must describe my physical condition at this moment so you can see how my new word fits in. I am old.

My new word is: SENESCENCE, which means growing older, aging. Now I certainly am going to find ample opportunities to throw that new baby in somewhere in some conversation in the future. O.K. so it's not that great, but I'm in a state of senescence, so give me a break.


Uploaded by mg02

March 27, 2009

received this comment from sondra about the corruption of our English language, and the seeming unwillingness on our part, to address it's importance:

Loved the article about "seen". I agree that it is getting worse and worse and even among educated people.
We have several new doctors at our hospital and in my job as a medical transcriptionist I hear these capable and highly educated physicians absolutely destroy our English language. Trust me it is not the foreign ones, but our own sons and daughters. As an example:
"knowing the imponderances and risks of surgery, these risks were discussed with the patient including death, and other comorbidities".
After I gained my composure with the word "imponderances", I quickly got hit again with "including death and other comorbidites". After death what other comorbidities can there be?
I could go on and on, but the fact that I need all the English skills I ever learned in my everyday job, and will be reprimanded if I don't use them correctly, to have to transcribe this crappy language is more than this old lady can handle on some days. Growing up, doing well in English class by speaking and writing correctly was mandatory. I even liked diagramming sentences. I could go on and on about the horrors I hear everyday by accomplished people, but then I wouldn't get any sleep tonight.
America we are losing pride in our country, let's not lose the language also.

March 26, 2009

When did the elusive verb saw, the past tense of see, go missing? I think it has been several years since I last saw it. In its place, the verb seen has taken over. Now seen is a perfectly good word, I like it, but it should know its place. It's been a few years since I was in school, but I was taught to conjugate verbs. It was standard instruction in grade schools in the forties and fifties. It went like this. I see. I saw. I have seen. Seen needed a helper, it is not one of those words that stand-alone. But today, now you listen, how many times do you hear, I seen it. That is not right.

Now the English language may not be as melodious as French, but it is the language used by the majority of the world, and as such, a little care should be taken to speak it properly. I have talked to some teachers about this corruption of the language and they are aware of it. Why then I ask, is it not being corrected? I think, perhaps, some of the younger teachers use the same bad grammar. If that is not so, why then do I read books that are supposed to be edited by educated people, being printed with incorrect grammar? I think maybe some editors don't know incorrect grammar when they see it.

Perhaps you are saying, so what. Who cares? I, for one. I cannot stand the corrupting of our language and it's substitution of mongrelized words. Slang is fun when we know it's slang, but I think more people than I care to guess, don't know the slang from the correct word.

I suppose it is more of the, in your face, if you don't like it, so what, attitudes of today. It is egalitarianism gone too far, when the young people aim down instead of up, in their use of the English language. The French love their language, we perhaps, should learn to love ours maybe just a little bit more.


How goes the cliche 'So many of us are but one paycheck away from life on the streets'. In this land of plenty it doesn't seem possible in the 21st century, but evidence seems to be springing up around the country in these small (so far) Hoovervilles. See this slideshow. One of the slides, slides #6 of 13 show a picture of one of two men living in a tool shed the replica of one which I have in my back yard for tools and seasonal equipment.

I was born in the last depression, and I never thought seriously that I would come any closer to those times again than watching THE GRAPES OF WRATH. but darn if it doesn't, day by day, show evidence that Tom Joad's ghost is walking our land again.

The impression I get from Washington is that President Obama and his army of economists on the government payroll are starting to implement patches here and there that seem to be taking hold, we can only hope and pray that is so. My evidence which really may be more hope than fact is based on the stock markets stabilization. It hasn't regained it's loses, but at least it is back to it's normal win some, lose some up and down days. I'll take that on a wishful scale as good news. The classic depression and classic depression movies documenting it are far in the past and I for one hope it stays right there. I am buoyed by optimism that Obama and his steady demeanor will prevail and kill the beast before it re-emerges too much further out of it's 'been there, don't want to revisit,' place in the past.

Slideshow courtesy of the New York Times.

March 25, 2009

I find this picture from fascinating. This was the caption provided by the site: Washington, D.C., circa 1917. A Victrola talking machine on the delivery wagon at the Woodward & Lothrop department store. Harris & Ewing.

1917? I am enthralled by the power of the picture to send my tiny brain reeling. It's going into Woody's? Do they have an electronics department? I wonder what the price was?

If you have never gone to I would recommend that you do now, if for nothing else to watch the comments that might come in.

March 24, 2009

From: S.

You win some, you lose some.

March 23, 2009

The Public Reader always mindful of it's readership, and aware that finances are in short supply with our economic crisis getting worse, and knowing that an inexpensive vacation adventure would be just the ticket, we offer this:

For the adventurous spirit on a severely limited vacation budget:

"Go Club Iceberg".

Does history really go in cycles?

Sometimes it seems that way. If our source for the fact of the matter is Frank Sinatra we'd be talking about our love life, but this old New Yorker cover dated 1933 could be redated to today and be recycled. The pain it reflects is, or will be if all our crack economists can't get a handle on it, growing deeper and wider. History sometimes sucks doesn't it.

March 22, 2009

I was doing a little twittering (trying to figure out what that's all about) and found this at one of my stops. It's a little late since February is Washington and Lincoln's birthdays, but I still want to post it. Some of these guys get very little face time.

March 21, 2009

George Carlin on Aging (attributed to Carlin, but now questionable, but who cares?)


Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids?

If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions. "How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five!

That's the key. You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back.

You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16!

And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21. . . YEAS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED, we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 . . . and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70!

After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.

And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!"

May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. " An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge. 8 Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

March 20, 2009

Welcome fellow survivor to the vernal equinox.


When I daydream,
I oft times dream in black and white.
Of sitting in a dining car on a speeding train,
smoking, and listening to the different conversations all around me.

Have you heard the latest Miller tune?
Jeepers, it's keen.

My son is in the Pacific somewhere,
I worry about him so.

Mrs. Roosevelt says in the Saturday Evening Post that many things will be different when this is all over.

Please marry me
I may not come back.

I used all my ration stamps
and bought a big steak.

Make sure you read part of my letters to the kids so they don't forget me.

Did you see the picture in Photoplay
of Gable in his uniform? He's so dreamy.

I hardly have enough gas to go anywhere,
darn war.

I understand there's no more sleeping space available, we'll just have to sit here and talk all night.

My dad got killed at Guadalcanal.
Gosh, I miss him.

Scrabble is fun, but maybe there might be a limit....or not.

March 19, 2009

I have been wanting to post this with some up to the moment edgy political comment, but alas I can't think of anything. So I will post it because I just think it's funny and I like cats so it's not anti-cat.

Ah where have all the hero's gone? AIG's big mob boss with a halo over his head and in his most humbling attitude says he is urging his cohorts in legal crime to maybe give back half of their booty. Ah that oughta satisfy the multitudes, let em eat cake.

March 18, 2009


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

Is that not the best first line of a book ever? Of course, it is from A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens and he was talking about nineteenth century England. But could it not be about the time we are living through now?

The best of times, of course we are living in a time of high tech, world communication, anything is possible kind of world. The worst of times, our fear of violence breaking out when and where we least expect it. The age of wisdom, most certainly except we also live in an age of babel where we have so many sure fire opinions that we can't sort through them all and find something that works. We fight amongst ourselves for what purposes I sometimes wonder. How un-wisdomly is that.

Age of foolishness, oh my God, hours and hours, reams and reams of paper, will be needed for this. We have senators and presidents of high magisterial standing who have power enough to make changes for the ages, yet can't figure out how to sort through a money problem caused by such a mundane subject like buying and selling real estate, a problem that bodes possibly to bring a world to it's knees. An epoch of belief when all of a countries hopes go to a figure evoking the mannerisms and plain speaking of the most revered leader in our past Abraham Lincoln. An epoch of incredulity when a mega sized institution comes begging for financing to the government, and succeeds, then gives the money to itself as a bonus for pulling off such an incredible scam and the world sits back with mouths open and gazes at the gall. The seasons of light and darkness perhaps are the perceptions of some that war is becoming declasse, outmoded, stupid even and there must be a better way to arbitrate world class problems. Since the beginning of time this has been the question that has defied solution. It's our turn to grapple with the insoluble question. If the answer is that we are talking and thinking about it, then this may indeed be our spring of hope after our most recent winter of despair for many thousands of homes empty by one or more members thrown into the indescribable folly that is war.
One of my favorite television game shows was THE MATCH GAME. If you didn't chuckle at least a couple times well you had a problem. Here are five of more or less regulars and three of them have died. I thank them for a lot of laughs.

Gene Reyburn 1918-1999
Brett Somers 1924-2007
Charles Nelson Reily 1931-2007
Richard Dawson 1932-
Fanny Flagg 1944-

March 17, 2009


Robert B. Parker a favorite author of mine, who chronicles the life's of Spenser and the popular Jesse Stone characters. Mr. Parker seemed to have been stuck on the relationship between Jesse and his ex-wife Jenn in recent books. They talked to each other constantly, she showed up frequently, then she would go off and sleep with someone else. Stone was confused and a drinking scene inevitably would follow. This continued for at least two books, maybe three, I'm too lazy to research it but take my word for it. It became redundant. I wrote a blurb about it in the blog. I hoped he would write her out, kill her off whatever. Well.....the latest book NIGHT AND DAY is out, I read it, I liked it as I do all his stuff, but hallelujah it looks like Parker has done it. This has nothing important to do with the plot so I'm not giving anything away, but it looks like JENN IS NOT DEAD, BUT STONE HAS BLOWN HER OFF! Too much is too much even for lovelorn Jesse.

Good show Robert B Parker.

March 16, 2009

Did you ever wonder what Martha Washington might have looked like when she was younger? Sure you have, so have I. Those that can did a little job of 'regression' on Martha and this is what they have come up with. Of course, everyone does not agree with the result, picky picky. I suppose it all depends on how seriously you take something like this. I find it fun and a little interesting. Here is the article with more links to prove their side of the story.

March 14, 2009

Believe it or not, a manuscript of a Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Mr. Mark Twain, has been found and will be published. The story of the story can be found here. The title of his newly found piece is, The Undertakers Tale, a look at the undertaking industry. If any American writer could be know as America's Writer Extraordinaire, it has to be Twain. He was American from his birth and his childhood on the shores of the Mississippi river to his subjects he chose to write about.

Years ago I took a journey to Hannabal Missouri, Twains home town just so I could walk on the same streets he walked on, and whence Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn took form in his imagination.

I was mortally wounded with disappointment. There is nothing there except a few valiant efforts of some locals to make a buck or two off some memories of his books. I cannot tell you how distressed I was, and still am at the complete nothing being done in his memory.

I fretted over this for some time and compared his life as a writer of Americana his whole life, the epitome of an American success story, from working on the Mississippi river on steam boats to becoming the most famous American in the world and the model and spokesman of our growing country.

I thought of the Rockefellers picking up a worn out plot of land in Virginia that had a pedigree and rebuilt it to better than it's former state. That was, of course, Williamsburg, Virginia. How many millions of people from the world over have visited there to get an inkling of what it was like when we colonist were hatching a dream about making a country where, of all things, everyone would be free to pursue happiness, how bazaar an idea was that.

I thought about Williamsburg and what could be done to further the American idea, and thought about Twain again. How someone with means could rebuild Hannibal, Missouri to the way it was in Twains day, with perhaps a convention center where today's writers could assemble and converse and lecture. The Mississippi could be cleaned up and become commercially viable with steamboats traversing where Twain sailed in his early years. Twain awards could be awarded annually from Hannibal. They present Mark Twain awards now from the Kennedy center, why not bring them home to Hannibal?

I even composed and sent a very amateurish prospectus something like the above, but I really did not think it would go anywhere. I was not disappointed, it didn't. I think I sent it to the Ford Foundation. But I still think something should be done to elevate Mark Twain to America's premier author, speaker, and spokesman in absentia. Maybe someone with deep pockets, and empressorial abilities could make a dream a reality. Maybe someday it will happen.

March 12, 2009

If you like to visit art galleries, or would if they were closer to where you live, then you will hopefully like the new IMAGES blog I am today inaugurating. If there is any one blog that is pure enjoyment for me, it is this one. There is very little about living in the big city I miss, except the opportunity to visit the usually free galleries. Well this will have to do. Drop in at least once please or make it a habit.

March 11, 2009

Blue Nude Henri Matisse

Why am I drawn to these articles about geezers? Because I am one, as some comic might say. As people grow older their physical capabilities become less and less, but they don't want to give up their independence.

If you are in fairly good shape and are fortunate enough to still be at home living among your contemporaries,in a mixed neighborhood of young and old and want to stay there, there may be a way. If your elderly friends have had the best of life and have become skilled in some trade and are suffering the same problem you are, growing old, a plan has surfaced.

The plan is simply exchanging skills such as a retired carpenter who supposedly is still mobile can fix a problem in your home in exchange for me fixing his computer. This article explains it all and overall it makes the point that there are many ways to skin a cat if the carrot at the end is your ability to stay in your home and enjoy your Independence for many more years.

I have spent a good part of two days now tinkering with this blog. As is obvious I changed the template, that was the easy part. Then I had to use my very very limited amount of knowledge of coding getting what was too large and that which was the wrong color the way I wanted it. I am now done, or I should say done enough. I'm still not satisfied with the color of the blurb just under the blog title. I can't seem to figure out how to, or maybe I should say where to make the proper coding changes to change the color.


the stock market finished up 300 some points yesterday, that news beats all news. It will be so great when it gets itself adjusted and business gets back to normal and employment increases again.

March 10, 2009


In the Times this morning the Opinion section handles a few opinions about network television. Is it going to last much longer? I, like many, have for a while now thought that was a mute question, hadn't it died quite a while ago? I seldom watch anything on the networks. The question we used to ask was, 'it's Tuesday night, what's on? and that was a rhetorical question because we knew it was the night for this show and that show at 8, 9 or 10 o'clock. No more, just last night for some strange reason I ask that of my wife and we just looked at each other. Of course, we didn't know. It would get the same response tonight, or tomorrow, there isn't anything on network television. The question is no longer how much longer will it hang around, it died an undocumented death some time ago. RIP.

Here you will find the articles I read on this subject.

March 9, 2009

March 8, 2009

I like to eat out, and if I can accidentally eat healthy at the same time I've gotten lucky.

List Names Healthiest Fast Food Eateries

MyFox National


Fast food is quick and inexpensive, but it can also be unhealthy and fattening. Is there a way to eat well and still get a cheap meal?

In its March issue, Health magazine surveyed fast food restaurants in America. They ranked the Top 10 and one surprise is that McDonald's makes the list.

The key to eating well at these restaurants is to look for the healthy options, like salad, soups and organic foods. Also patrons should go with reasonably sized items. But people need to be careful and stay away from unhealthy options like fries and super-size items.

The magazine's criteria was to look at uses of fats, preparation, sodium counts, organic produce and the availability of nutritional information. The testing was conducted by a panel of dietitians, nutritionists and doctors.

The America's Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants are:

1. Panera Bread
2. Jason's Deli
3. Au Bon Pain
4. Noodles and Company
5. Corner Bakery café
6. Chipotle
7. Atlanta Bread
8. McDonald's
9. Einstein Bros. Bagels
10. Taco Del Mar

Health magazine has more tips and dangers zones from the restaurants on the list.

USA Today columnist Tedd Mitchell, M.D., echos Health magazine, saying that people should "stick to the lower-calorie, lower-fat menu items." Also he suggests splitting items at restaurants in order to save calories and cash.

March 7, 2009


March 6, 2009

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Friday, March 6, 2009 -- 8:53 AM ET

651,000 Jobs Lost in February

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the
national unemployment rate surged last month to 8.1 percent,
its highest level in 24 years.


March 5, 2009


If we can't have some car chases and crashes, perhaps blowing up some bridges will fill our primordial urge for whatever. I don't know what I'm talking about, enjoy the guy singing anyway.

February report is in, and it says Walmart and Costco are doing five percent better and everybody else is going in the tank.

Retail Sales Slide Further, Except at Wal-Mart

Published: March 5, 2009

February was another terrible month for the nation’s retailers, but the numbers they reported on Thursday were slightly less awful than in previous months.

Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer, exceeded analysts’ expectations, once again underscoring that consumers are opening their wallets only to buy necessities. At stores open at least a year, a barometer of retail heath known as same-store sales, Wal-Mart had a 5.1 percent sales increase, compared with a 2.7 percent increase for the period a year ago.

The company said its strong sales were driven by its grocery and health-and-wellness categories, and noted that more customers are streaming through its doors.

“We believe falling gas prices significantly boosted household disposable income in February and therefore allowed for both more trips and more spending towards discretionary categories,” Wal-Mart said in announcing its results.

On the heels of that news, Wal-Mart said Thursday that it would increase its annual dividend to $1.09 a share, a 15 percent increase from the 95 cents a share paid during fiscal year 2009. “The strength of our operations and the resulting strong financial position allow us to increase our dividend payout to shareholders again this year,” Mike Duke, Wal-Mart’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Thanks to Wal-Mart, the retail industry had a 0.7 percent sales gain in February compared with the period a year ago, according to Retail Metrics, a research firm. Without Wal-Mart, overall retail sales would have fallen 4.1 percent. As Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, noted in a report Thursday morning, “it’s still ugly,” but Wal-Mart “dressed up” the month nicely. Thomson Reuters had slightly different numbers, showing that overall industry sales increased 0.3 percent, and declined 4.7 percent not including Wal-Mart.

Whatever the overall sales increase, it was less than a percent — but nonetheless welcome news for an industry that has not posted a positive sales figure since September. Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and director of research for the International Council of Shopping Centers, an industry group, said in a statement Thursday that “the last four months show an increasingly less negative performance for the industry.” The council said same-store sales for some 35 chains it looks at were down 0.1 percent in February compared with a year ago.

Retailers and industry analysts said that in February stores got a lift from pent-up consumer demand, better weather and some new spring merchandise. A couple of chains posted sales increases that were more than twice what analysts expected.

Still, most stores suffered sales declines. Analysts pointed out that their expectations for February sales had been low, and cautioned against reading too much into the bump in sales.

“Sales trends are not as bad as they were in January but they’re kind of at a level where they were in October, November, December,” said Jeff Black, a director at BarclaysCapital Equity Research, “so we haven’t improved off of that base.” The worst sales declines came from Abercrombie & Fitch, the teenage-apparel retailer, which posted a whopping 30 percent drop.

Indeed, clothing retailers continue to hurt the most, especially at the high end. Same-store sales sank 26 percent at Saks, 24.2 percent at Neiman Marcus and 15.4 percent atNordstrom, compared with a year ago.

Other department and big box stores also had declines, including Dillard’s (down 13 percent), Stein Mart (down 12.2 percent), J. C. Penney (down 8.8 percent), and Macy’sand Bon-Ton Stores (both down 8.5 percent).

Sales fell at the mall too, dropping 13.4 percent at Zumiez, 12 percent at Gap, 7 percent at both American Eagle Outfitters and Limited Brands, and 6.6 percent at Wet Seal.

Over all, discount stores were the only retail categories that had sales increases in February, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Same-store sales at BJ’s Wholesale Club increased 8.2 percent, not including fuel. The company said customer traffic increased about 7 percent and the average transaction amount ticked up about 1 percent. Sales of food increased 10 percent.

Sales at Costco were up 5 percent, not including fuel. Ross Stores, the discount clothing chain, had a 1 percent sales increase compared with the period a year ago. Michael Balmuth, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a news release that Ross’ “name-brand bargains” drove its better than expected sales.

Not every discount chain had sales growth, though the declines in this category were far less than in others. Sales at TJX, which owns TJMaxx stores, were flat. At Kohl’s, sales fell 1.6 percent. Children’s Place, which sells affordable children’s clothing, had a 3 percent decline. At Target, sales continued to lag behind other discount chains, falling 4.1 percent. Gregg Steinhafel, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a statement that Target’s results “continue to reflect the significant economic challenges facing our guests.”

As in previous months, a few mall retailers that cater to teenagers posted impressive double-digit increases. In fact, Aéropostale said it enjoyed record sales in February, reporting an 11 percent increase. Same-store sales at Buckle increased 21 percent. Sales at the niche retailer Hot Topic jumped 10.8 percent, much more than analysts expected.

The International Council of Shopping Centers expects March same-store sales to be flat or decline 1 percent on a year-over-year basis.

March 3, 2009

The original who's on first with Abbott and Costello. I've seen it so many times and I still chuckle out loud. It's spring training time so it's time to bring out the roster and see who's on first, second and third.

Here is a more current skit between Condi Rice and President W talking about Wu the new chairman of China. Much like the Who's on first skit and funny.

Come on guys spring is right around the corner and the sun will be warm, the grass will green up and the birds will start singing again. Hang on just a little bit longer.


I would guess that most boys and some girls born in the thirties went to the movies on Saturday morning and watched the cowboy movies, and in their moments of daydreaming wanted to be just like that guy on the screen. I was no different; of course I wanted to be a cowboy. I dreamt of filling my saddle bags with grub and riding my horse on the lone prairie kicking up dust, riding with no destination. I never thought at that time of having a cowgirl with me, a dog would do just fine. I remember I used to like Gene Autry the best in the cowboy movies. I don't quite know why, because when I see an old movie of his now, he seems to be singing an awfully lot and I'm quite sure I would have grown bored with that real quick. But whatever, he was my favorite at the time. My father in law also wanted to be a cowboy. He also wanted to be in the merchant marine, but a boy grows up and family responsibility suddenly puts those dreams into perspective. So it is that way with most of us, we grow up and those old unfulfilled dreams become the stuff of stories we tell our grandchildren or whomever else we might get to listen to us.