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Thursday, August 27, 2015


This 30 second commercial from BMW is one of the best I have seen.  It's cute, different, and easily gets the point across in two words without the usual mind numbing oratory of most car commercials.  It's a nice example of how less is more.

Have you been to McDonald's lately? Either have I but there was a time when they were a dependable place to eat for a small amount of money.  In my case I refer to my years in the USAF in the early 1960's when my buddies and I were looking to spend more on partying than on food.  My standard order cost 60 cents.  (2 burgers, fries, shake.) Try getting by on that today.

(Tim Boyle, Getty Images) 1962 McDonald's
Although the name "James Harrison" may evoke some bitter memories in Phoenix because because of his 100 yard touchdown interception of a Kurt Warner pass in Super Bowl XLIII, I admire the guy for his outlook on kids receiving trophies for simply participating in various sporting events.  Harrison believes trophies should be earned, not just handed out for showing up.

We live in a "feel good" society where a lot of parents think there should be rewards for doing nothing and that eliminating such awards may cause a lack of self esteem. Perhaps, but to me it is a good example of how life really is; they will hopefully get over it. Coincidentally, former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner agrees with Harrison and he is the guy who threw the pass that Harrison returned for the Super Bowl touchdown.

Who would have thought?  Columnist Froma Harrop reports that the so called "Millenials" (those who are 14 to 31 years of age) are not drawn to the allure of  the automobile!  Does that mean that they have no idea what a GTO or a Little Deuce Coupe are?  I'm not surprised as the ones in that age group seem more interested in iPhones, texting, and living in cramped downtown apartments than they are in tooling to the drive-in with the top down on a warm summer night. I think the times will change as the young tend to be fickle and are always antsy to try the next fad.  After all, a guy can only send messages on an iPhone while taking a girl to a drive-in (if you can find a drive in!) can be a much more enjoyable experience; especially if you insert a Jan and Dean CD into the player!

My most important jobs.  I don't believe I could list in this space ALL the jobs I have ever had. However, I have been fortunate to have had jobs that taught lessons in life and others that paid well. The best example of the former is the four year hitch I did in the United States Air Force.  I grew up in the era where guys had to serve a minimum of two years in the military service of the U. S.  Very few were exempt; even Elvis and Willie Mays had to serve and they did. Unfortunately, the draft was discontinued after 1973 thus ending a life altering experience that did a lot of guys a lot of good; me included.

As far as jobs that paid well, I have been lucky enough to have been born with the ability to speak decently and convince people that they should buy stuff from me. I was paid commissions on what I sold so I did well in that career.  I advise any wannabe salesmen to never take a salaried sales job. If you do it's like saying you have no confidence in your sales ability and you will never make as much money as you could on commission.

Will Rogers quote of the day:  "Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."

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Monday, August 03, 2015


If there is anyone reading this who remembers “Five and Dime stores” please raise your hand.  That’s what I thought; not too many.  Don’t feel bad, the old Five and Dime stores (or variety stores as some refer to them) have basically disappeared from the American landscape but in their days of popularity during most of the 1900’s they were very popular outlets for household goods and other “notions.” Many also had booming lunch counters where one could purchase a nice meal for a reasonable price.

One of the most popular of these stores was Newberry’s.  It was founded in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania by J. J. Newberry in the early 1900’s and by 1919 consisted of 17 stores.  If you wanted anything from bed sheets to goldfish, small appliances, to spools of thread or a pair of blue jeans, Newberry’s was the place for you.

Typical small town Newberry store.

By 1965, Newberry’s had 565 stores across the country doing yearly sales of $291 million.  By 1972, they still had 439 units as they were sold to McCrory Stores.

With changing times bankruptcy was declared in 1992 and 300 stores were closed by 1997.  As late as 2001, the last store was closed in Portland, Oregon.  Other Five and Dime stores like Kresge’s and Woolworth’s were similar to Newberry’s but they also faded with the changing times.  Those companies went on to survive with large discount department stores and food centers carrying the names Woolco and K-Mart.

It was easy to spot a Newberry’s store during their boom times.  The signs usually were the width of the store and contained a red background with gold lettering.  As a kid growing up in Cincinnati during the 1940’s and 1950’s I spent a lot of time in those stores.  My mother bought lots of dry goods from them and occasionally I would get toys, yoyos, or maybe a turtle or a goldfish if I behaved myself! (Some of above acquired courtesy of “Wikipedia”.)

The Newberry's store in downtown Phoenix (c.1955)

Lunch counter at Newberry's c.1950's. Sliced ham sandwich 10 cents?