Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My take on Macy's

When I first moved to Minnesota, one of the nicest things about shopping in Edina (cake eater territory) was that I could walk into a good men's clothing store and ask for "17 1/2 36-37 fitted" and not be laughed at.  You paid for it, but you could get it--or they would know where you could.  One of the places where you could get fitted suits of good quality was Marshall Field's, and I vividly remember walking into the men's area, and within five minutes the salesman had guessed my size (correctly) and found five suits that would meet my needs.

So what is going wrong now?  Well, in my last visit to Macy's in Edina, what I noticed is that the guys who used to staff menswear are simply not there anymore, and when I looked at the garments they had, polyester blends were far more common than wool or cotton.  Moreover, the old system of identifying garments by size had broken down--nobody cared to make sure that  a 36 waist trouser was on a hanger identified as such. 

In other words, the prices still said Marshall Field's, but the garment quality said J.C. Penney and the  presentation said Goodwill.  In other words, my view is that contrary to their CEO, the company does not need to "evolve" or "execute faster", but rather to remember the things that made them the nation's biggest and bring them back. 

Granted, in a world of fast fashion and spandex garments, it's harder and harder to sell the old Marshall Field's experience, but at a certain point, that's precisely why you hire people in marketing, no?  I certainly try to do my part, and the differences in fit, wear, comfort/breathability, and such are not difficult to describe. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Glad I graduated when I did!

A professor--apparently a liberal one--at my alma mater, Michigan State University, is in trouble after having sent out Donald Trump-themed Valentine's Day cards.  I shudder to think of the reaction the Al Capone-themed Valentine's Day cards I gave out one year would get now. 

Or it might be that, now as then, most people wouldn't get it.  Only two people got it back then, and my wife and I met at their wedding.  I don't think that Capone cards had anything to do with that, though.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A simple question

Recent reports indicate that recent decisions of retailers to drop "Trump" brand clothing, jewelry, and other lines had a lot to do with precipitous drops in business as the election season was gearing up--apparently about the same time "the Donald" wrapped up the nomination.  Now granted, I don't have a good statistical sample of those customers who ultimately made that decision, but one would have to conclude that a significant portion of "soak the rich" Democrats were previously willing to buy Trump brand products.

Now from my perspective, I've found the Trump brand rather tacky ever since I was in high school, but it particularly boggles the mind to contemplate this crowd buying their merchandise in the first place.  If one isn't careful, one is bound to learn something new each day, I guess.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feel safer?

When arrested for having a loaded pistol while flying, the aptly-named Rick Derringer noted that he'd flown over 50 times with such and never been stopped before.  Sure makes me feel safer, but it sounds about right given the rate at which the TSA misses lethal weapons in FBI tests.   

So while I don't condone his failure to read the signs while going through screening--his mistake is not exactly excusable or subtle--it does suggest that we might do well to try something new for airplane security.  I wonder, for example, what portion of pilots are now certified to fly while armed?   (the last data I could see indicated about 10% in 2008)

Bringing rail travel back

Having grown up near Chicago, and within 20 miles of at least 20 train lines in NW Indiana, I'm a huge fan of trains, but quite frankly the reality of train travel (a.k.a Amtrak) leaves a lot to be desired.  And so I was intrigued by this article about "most romantic train rides", especially the picture in this link

Notice what you have is the coal-fired (romantic?) steam locomotive pulling up a grade with....a modern diesel locomotive right behind it.  In other words, they've got the romance and the reality.  To buy the ride, people want both.  And in this case, it's pretty obvious that they're compromising one to get the other.

The solution, if it's practical, is simply to have a small diesel and generator on each carriage--a "doodlebug" configuration--and then let the old steam locomotive be the "crumple zone" in the case of a crash.  I'm told that the typical objection to a doodlebug configuration is, after all, the prospect of what happens in a crash with freight trains. 

Oh, and maybe....just maybe....rework the steam engine to burn natural gas instead of coal.  Maybe I'm just weird, but unfiltered coal smoke is not part of the old romance of rail, but is rather part of why so many of us decided to drive, take the bus, or fly.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Unclear on the concept

Believing (wrongly) that the federal Department of Education has the power to destroy public education, many people on the left are planning to homeschool their children.  The irony here is that since schools allocate funds by the number of students, and since schools really need a quorum of smart, well behaved kids to function well, these well-meaning but misguided liberals are...

.....exercising their power to destroy the public education available to their children.  Oops. 

But that said, if liberals learn how few resources (in money and time) are needed to educate a child well, and the tremendous freedoms offered by home education, all I can say is "the more the merrier."  This is especially the case as it would further the migration of home education away from the teachings of guys like Bill Gothard, and would be tremendously good for the movement.  It also has the possibility of reminding the left of the joys of traditional family life where one parent has primary care of the children, and of reminding Democratic legislators that homeschool freedoms cannot be infringed without extracting a political price.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Fun thought

I'd like to get one of those squarish pink hats--the ones named after a cat I'm told--and embroider "Justice for Juanita, Monica, Gennifer, Paula, Kathleeen, and a bunch of others" on it, and then see who gets the joke.  Or maybe that would be a little bit more dangerous than it ought to be in a world of reality-and-humor-challenged activists.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Liberalism in action

Apparently, the rioters thugs  fascists rioting at Berkeley on February 1 decided, among other things, to smash the windows of the Martin Luther King building on campus.  February 1 is, of course, the start of Black History Month.

It strikes me that the major difference these guys have with the Ku Klux Klan is that they wore black instead of white hoods to cover their faces. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Real man, Monty Python Fan

I may be reading between the lines a bit too much, but this case of a woman marrying the firefighter who accompanied her to the hospital after the Boston Marathon bombing makes me think the firefighter is not only a real man in many ways, but also a Monty Python fan.

Real man because he ran towards the explosion and helped save this lady's life, and then is marrying her, and a Monty Python fan because in the ambulance, he told her that her injury--which required the amputation of her leg above the knee--was only a "flesh wound". 

And come to think of it, marrying an amputee counts as another point for being a real man.  Best wishes to the happy couple!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Game changer for media coverage and the former President?

To no one's surprise, President Trump's executive order curtailing the acceptance of new refugees has been assailed....falsely....by former President Obama.  Now given Obama's popularity with the media, he's not to be trifled with, but it strikes me that a simple note from the new President might give him pause.


Noted your talking to the media.....and I remembered that I have it in my power to release the FBI staffers involved in the decision about whether to prosecute Hillary from their pledges of confidentiality, and depending on what we hear from them, we might decide to override Jim's decisions and see what Hillary has to say about the matter.  Just sayin'.

Enjoy your retirement!


Yes, I'm writing about today's politics, again, like Mario Puzo.  I don't like it, but if that's the game that must be played....

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Because diversity!

It turns out that the limo torched by anti-Trump protesters was owned by a Muslim immigrant, and the driver they assaulted while ruining his livelihood had an identifiably Hispanic name.  With friends on the far left, it would seem that Hispanics, Muslims, and immigrants don't need any enemies, do they?

In related news, Minnesota legislators are looking to increase the penalties for rioting, and while I sympathize with the motivation, it strikes me that the biggest problem we have with rioters is not that the penalties we have are not harsh enough.  It is that police departments and prosecutors are refusing to prosecute rioters and impose the penalties we have.  We seem to be forgetting that if a penalty is seen as unduly harsh, prosecutors, police, judges, and juries will refuse to implement it.  A parallel case is some wisdom a friend gave about the landlord business; don't make the penalty for late payment so high you can't bring yourself to impose it.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bat-signal to the Kool Aid Report

Powerline tells us that there is, apparently, an entire journal devoted to "Metal Music Studies", and that a key question to be addressed is whether a musical genre where most performers have long curly hair with pancake makeup and have physiques developed by years of bench-pressing tuna salad sandwiches and heroin suffers from a crisis of hypermasculinity.   Worth noting as well is that a patron saint of hair metal, Mutt Lange, is the same guy who also did production work for Bryan Adams, Huey Lewis, Lady Gaga, and of course his ex-wife Shania Twain. 

If that's not hyper-masculine, I sure don't know what is.  For more hyper-masculine heavy metal, you can check out the "Harp Twins", "Harptallica", and of course the "Kool Aid Report."  Yes, with all this hypermasculinity, even Arnold Schwartzenegger's cameo at an AC/DC concert can't feminize it enough.  Over and out, Foot.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Michigan gets a couple right

Back when I was a young pup, a friend of mine scored a great opportunity--as a guy who was able to run close to 15 minutes for 5k, he got a full ride, including the possibility of five years and summers, at Purdue.   As a decent student, it struck me that in that amount of time, I could get not only a bachelor's degree, but also a master's, without spending one red cent. 

Sadly, it didn't work out that way for my friend--he partied his way out of college, much to my dismay--but it's good to see that a number of players from the University of Michigan are taking good advantage of their chance by graduating in four years.  Time will tell, of course, whether this is simply a few smart football players, or whether Michigan's second-best Big Ten university (and 14th best Big Ten university overall) is going to end its shameful practice of giving many football players, especially minorities, Cadillac tastes on a Chevy budget by allowing them to maintain eligibility on their "general studies" program, but this is a good start for Harbaugh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cruel to the country, cruel to Bradley Manning

Apparently, one of President Obama's final acts in office is to commute the sentence of Bradley "Chelsea" Manning, duly convicted of disclosing close to a million classified and sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.  Now as much as this is cruel to the country--telling people that it does not indeed matter whether one keeps private information private--it is simultaneously cruel to Mr. Manning, who is said to have attempted suicide twice in 2016 and is on suicide watch at Leavenworth.

How is it cruel to Mr. Manning?  Simple; outside of Leavenworth, he will no longer be on suicide watch, and will not be eligible for medical benefits through the VA--this is part of a dishonorable discharge that was part of his sentence.  He will also have a tough time finding work as a result.  In other words, in commuting Manning's 35 year prison term, President Obama may well have given him a death sentence.   I hope I'm wrong for his sake, but this is where the evidence points.

Friday, January 13, 2017

More participation trophies

...."Ammo Grrl", at Powerline, summarizes my view of President Obama awarding himself the "Distinguished Service" award (OK, his staffer technically did it, but what exactly does such an award from a subordinate mean?), and then proceeding to give Joe Biden the "Presidential Medal of Freedom." 

Now apart from the fact that a list of "Presidential Medal of Freedom" winners reveals that it's pretty much a popularity contest, and apart from the fact that Biden and Obama really don't have that much to crow about except for the Health Insurance Deform Act and the 1994 crime bill that gave Congress to the GOP, Proverbs 27:2 quite frankly comes to mind--let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth. 

The craziest thing, of course, is that praise from "people that matter" in the media, Hollywood, international leaders and bodies, and the Democratic Party has belonged to Obama and Biden in spades.  Would we argue that the "Distinguished Service Award" ranks up there with his Nobel?

So what we have here, really, is a couple of men with a pathological need for affirmation--more or less what the Mayo Clinic calls "narcissistic personality disorder."