Tag Archives: Walmart

Thinking about death after a trip to the cemetery. The Giants and 49ers look awesome. And Alan Grayson, stirring it up again against Walmart

In between Thanksgiving meals, Thanksgiving leftovers, having my annual Thanksgiving weekend dinner with old friends and all that, I went to two cemeteries last week.

No one I knew died recently; I just went to visit my grandparents. Hadn’t been to their graves in a long time (they’ve all been dead for at least 10 years), but something made me want to visit.

Cemeteries are a strange, strange place. Very quiet, and very still, and especially when you’re there by yourself, you sometimes feel a little silly standing there talking to a piece of granite for a few minutes.

But I think it’s important to visit people who were once so important in your lives, even if they can’t really hear or see you anymore. So I talked to them, and told them about some of the milestones in my life they’d missed: the college I graduated from, the career I had as a journalist, my marriage that failed and the one that’s upcoming that I’m so excited about.

It felt good, almost like visiting an old friend. I wish Larry Lewis and Ruth Lewis and Don Kouvant were still here, to meet my fiance and one day meet some more grandkids.

I miss them very much, but cherish the time I had with them. As I was leaving, I promised them I’d come back and visit soon.

I hope I remember to honor my word.

**While still trying to swallow the bile from the Jets’ loss last Thursday (you know it’s bad when even Fireman Ed decides to quit, I took in some good football Sunday. My usual Monday ramblings…

— Now that looked like the Super Bowl champs on Sunday night. The Giants got their swagger back, Eli looked like Eli again, and they even looked like they could run the ball a little. I’m sure Giants fans will still find ways to complain about Eli, though; funniest thing I heard in a while was last week on WFAN, a caller started his point with “I’m not a big Eli fan, I know he won two Super Bowls … and the Jets fan-host, Joe Benigno, practically sputtered, “You know, I wish I could ever get to a point with my team where I say I’m not that big a fan of a guy who won me two Super Bowls!”

Don’t worry Joe, it won’t ever happen.

— I think Jim Harbaugh is crazy for yanking Alex Smith in the midst of a terrific winning season, but man, this Colin Kaepernick kid looks pretty good. Never thought I’d say this, but maybe the Jets can get Alex Smith for next year?

— I know a lot of obnoxious Steelers fans, so it was nice seeing Charlie Batch and friends screw up so royally Sunday.
— Only a Norv Turner-coached team can give up a 4th and 29 in the 4th quarter. I love me some Norv.

**If you follow politics fairly closely, you probably remember Alan Grayson. He’s a liberal Democrat from Florida who had a pretty eventful one-term in Congress a few years ago, standing up to Republicans, and the Iraq War, but got himself into a whole heap of trouble when he called his 2010 opponent “Taliban Dan” and ended up losing his seat.

Basically, Grayson is someone I admire for speaking his mind, but he goes a little too far sometimes. On Thanksgiving, though, I loved what Grayson did.

Just elected to the House again from a different district, Grayson spent his Turkey Day at a Florida Walmart, handing out turkey sandwiches and reminding Walmart employees how badly they’re treated by not being allowed to unionize. Most Walmart “associates” make around $10 an hour, by the way.

So Grayson gave each employee a paper bag that had three things in it: A turkey sandwich, a bag of chips, and a letter explaining their right to organize.

Much to my shock (yeah, right), Grayson was thrown out of the building.

OK, it was a stunt, but it certainly was worth a try. And the fact that one of the largest employers in America refuses to let its own employees bargain for rights, and get needed protection, is just one of the many, many reasons I am disgusted by Walmart.

Girl Scout cookies and Wal-Mart. And the greatest rock video starring a women’s curling team you’ll ever see

So, as sure as mid-February comes every year, I help make little girls’ dreams come true.

That’s right, I buy box after box of Girl Scout cookies. I worship at the freaking altar of Girl Scout cookies. I love the Tagalongs (now called Peanut Butter Patties, for some reason), the Thin Mints (as my wife says, the only question about Thin Mints when you open the box is “do I eat one sleeve or two?”), the chocolate chip ones, all of ’em.

So last weekend, as I went shopping, I of course ran into three adorable Girl Scouts and a grown-up at a table in front of our Publix supermarket, and of course I bought three boxes.

And it got me to thinking about this post I wrote last summer, about my least favorite corporation, the evil Walmart, and how they had decided to start making knock-off versions of Girl Scout cookies. This pissed me off for several reasons: A, The Girl Scouts don’t deserve to be undercut by a billion-dollar corporation,; 2, it’s just so damn mean-spirited, and C, the Girl Scouts make a huge percentage of their operating budget from selling these cookies.

So, with it cookie time again, I decided to try to find out if Wal-Mart went ahead with their plans. I didn’t have a ton of time to research this today (hey, I’ve got a job, you know), but I checked Wal-Mart’s website, and, hmmm, there’s something called a Fudge-covered peanut butter filled cookie for sale, which is exactly what the Tagalongs from the Girl Scouts are. And some Fudge Mint cookies, which are suspiciously identical to Thin Mints.

So, yeah, nice job, Wal-Mart. Hope your sales of those cookies are spectacular, so some nine-year-old in Idaho never gets to go on her dream trip to Washington, D.C. this year.

**OK, now for the fun. If you only watch ONE rock video this year starting an Olympic women’s curling team, this should be the one  you watch: The attractive ladies of Sweden’s curling squad (and can we have a moment of silence to acknowledge that BOTH U.S. men’s and women’s curling teams have now been eliminated? Thank you.) starred in a video with a band called Hammerfall.

Words can’t do justice to this epic work of film. It’s beyond strange, but I’ve watched it four times already. Curling rocks!

Elena Delle Donne, an athlete to root for; the power of the press, and Mariah Carey drunk

So I was thinking today that when I started this blog I said I’d try to focus on positive athletes, ones who are good role models and are worth you rooting for.

And I haven’t written about one in a while, so here goes: Let me introduce you to Elena Delle Donne, the biggest thing going in the state of Delaware right now (admittedly, it’s a tiny state, but I love it).

Delle Donne’s story was detailed in 2008 in this great story from the New York Times last year, and then updated very well by Selena Roberts in Sports Illustrated in November, but college basketball fans have known about her for a while.

The native of Wilmington, Del. was the No. 1 women’s basketball recruit in America in 2008. She’d had an awesome career in high school, and at 6-foot-5 could do everything on the court. She had her pick of colleges, and like most top players, picked UConn, by far the best program in the U.S.

But after two days on campus, Delle Donne bolted back to The First State. She said at the time she was burned out from basketball, which was perfectly understandable.  As I’ve seen and railed against, amateur basketball is a cesspool of pressure and bad influences, and way, way too many games played by kids so young.

It turns out, though, that Delle Donne’s biggest reason for returning to Delaware emerged: She really missed her sister Lizzie. Lizzie was born blind, deaf and with cerebral palsy, and she and Elena have a tremendous bond.

Elena was heartsick at the thought of being away from her sister for four years at Connecticut, so she came home, and enrolled at the University of Delaware (my alma mater, thank you. Go UD!). She played volleyball last season, but then got the itch to play basketball again.

So now she’s back on the court, and is unstoppable again, and there’s excitement in Delaware over women’s basketball, which I can assure you has never happened before.

Delle Donne also happens to be a super-nice kid according to all, and as UD has piled up wins this season she’s stayed long after games to sign autographs.

It’s nice to see someone like Delle Donne say “no thanks” to the fame and spotlight of big-time sports, isn’t it?

***You want to know what you’ll lose if newspapers continue to die in this country? Instant results like this. Yesterday I wrote about a New York Times story that outraged me: clothing stores like Walmart and H&M were throwing out, and intentionally damaging, extra merchandise that couldn’t be sold, instead of donating the clothes to the poor or to charities.

Well, one day after being shamed before a million readers, H&M now says it will donate all unworn clothing at that NYC store to charity.

See, this is what newspapers do best. Bring miscarriages of justice to light, anger people, then force corrective action. Bravo.

***Finally, the train wreck that continues to be Mariah Carey once again gives us amusement. Here’s an apparently drunk Mariah at the Palm Springs Film Festival Tuesday night: She later admitted that she was, indeed, quite sloshed.

An outrageous N.Y. Times story, and Sly Stallone has (painfully) forgotten how old he is

I am outraged right now, and I think after you read this story from the New York Times Wednesday, you will be too.

Apparently people in NYC have discovered that Walmart, and H&M clothing stores, are throwing clothes away at the back of their stores, and also shredding holes into them so they can’t be used again.

Instead of, I don’t know, GIVING THEM TO A CHARITY! Because, you know, there’s nobody in the dead of winter in New York who could use a sweater or a coat.

This is truly disgusting. I cannot wait to hear the possible defenses from the two companies. The Walmart rep said she was shocked, shocked to find out this was going on, while the H & M people never got back to Jim Dwyer, the excellent Times writer who penned the piece.

I mean seriously, what could the defense be? They were already defective so we couldn’t donate them? I’m seriously open to any reasoable ideas you out there might have to explain this.

Otherwise, it just looks incredibly, incredibly stupid.

** Speaking of incredibly stupid, everyone’s favorite action hero, Sylvester Stallone admitted that he suffered a broken neck while doing his own stunts during the filming of his latest movie, “The Expendables.” Stone Cold Steve Austin (he’s a former wrestler, but you knew that) and Stallone were shooting a fight scene, and Sly ended up seriously injuring himself.

Does someone want to tell Rocky Balboa that he’s 63 years old, and maybe too damn old to be shooting his own fight scenes? Plus, Steve Austin is like, huge.

Listen, Sly, everyone knows you’re a tough guy. Now go get your copy of AARP magazine, enjoy a bran muffin, and stop trying to kick everyone’s ass on a movie set.

Besides, I hear Carl Weathers is still looking for some revenge from Rocky II.

Why Wal-Mart and the YES Network are on my (you-know-what) list

anti walmart

girl-scout-cookies

No, it’s not for the same reason, but I’m pretty pissed at both of them right now.

Actually, I’ve been mad at Wal-Mart for just about the last 10 years. Ask any of my good friends and family and they’ll tell you straight out that I refuse to go there, or let anyone I know shop there.

Why? Well, you could start with their absolutely shady business practices. Or their unconscionable treatment of employees who want to unionize or, you know, improve working conditions. Or you could read about their terrible overseas factories and how the lives of their workers there are.

If you think I’m just making this stuff up, check out this website, or read as much as you can of this incredible Pulitzer-Prize winning series by the L.A. Times from 2003.

Anyway, I’d thought I’d run out of  reasons to hate the discount chain. But nope, they keep scraping the bottom of the barrel and filling me with rage all over again.

The latest target of Wal-Mart? Yep, those dastardly, underhanded, good-for-nothing troublemakers: The Girl Scouts of America.

If you haven’t heard, good ole’ Wal-Mart has decided to copy two of the Girl Scouts’ signature cookie brands, the Tagalongs and the Thin Mints, and sell them at lower prices.

And it’s a good thing, too!

Boy, those adorable little girls have been getting away with selling great cookies and raising money for FAR TOO LONG, the Arkansas boys in the back room must have figured. You’re telling me that the Samoas, Trefoils, and Do-Si-Dos really should only be used to fund activities for the Girl Scouts, an organization that does SO much good for little girls’ morale and for the community?

I tell ya, it’s a good thing Wal-Mart is here to teach those girls a lesson: Life is hard, kids, and we’re going to make your cookies and sell them cheaper and there’s nothing you can do about it! We’re Wal-Mart, dammit, and we run the world.

Just disgusting. Despicable. Awful. I could go on, but I think the facts pretty much speak for themselves. How can anyone in good conscience shop there? I often wonder. Oh yeah, their prices are way lower than everybody elses.

I call on everyone who’s ever bought or eaten a Girl Scout cookie (I think I’ve had about 5,000 Tagalongs in my life, thank you) to boycott the store until they change their new plan.

Girl Scouts of America, I’m with you! And please keep selling your great cookies, I look forward to them every year.

** Now, as to why I’m mad at the YES Network. A few months ago, my cable provider here in Central Florida told me that YES, the Yankees/Nets behemoth cable channel, was being added to my sports package. Great, I figured. I only watch a handful of Yankees games per year anymore, but there are definitely times I want to watch them.

I called the cable company at the time and asked if it would be an extra charge. Nope, they said, I already get the sports pack, so it’ll be included.

Then, she tells me, I’m not getting what I think I’m getting. Due to some bizarre contractual agreement, I’m getting the YES National network, which isn’t allowed to show live Yankees and Nets games.

“So what the hell am I getting?” I replied, knowing that Yankees and Nets games account for 98 percent of what anyone wants to watch on YES.

“You’re getting their alternate programming during the games, and you’ll get the pre and post-game shows,” the cable lady replied. “Only the people in the Tri-State area can get the regular YES Network.”

I was stunned and angry. What the hell is the point of having the network if the viewers outside the NY area can’t see the real programming?

So of course, Friday night, the  New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox played a classic game, 0-0 into the 15th inning, before Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer to win the game.

And I couldn’t see it. My YES Network showed all kinds of crap until the postgame show came on.

AARRRGGGGGGGGGHHHH was, I believe, my utterance over and over as the game went on.

YES Network, please explain to me why you would have a network, which you want to expose to as many people as possible, and then not show the top programming on the network to as many people as possible.

Just stupid, stupid, stupid. YES and Wal-Mart, you have incurred my wrath.

**On a slightly better note, I know many people are probably overdosed on John Hughes tributes like the one I wrote the other day, but I found one more beautiful essay that I thought you might like: This woman had a pen-pal relationship with the director for many years.