Bits & Pieces (Thursday, March 28th, 2013)

The Ukelele Orchestra does Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. A great cover. BTW, it’s my opinion that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is probably the most covered song of the 90s, and if it isn’t yet, it will be.

I liked the literal video phenomenon. A while back, I posted a literal video of Tears for Fears “Head over Heels”, which was hilarious and wonderful, and based on a song and a video that’s like 28 years old and has very little commercial value, especially when it comes to doing takedown notices on parodies . . . yet that’s what EMI did, so that awesome video is no longer available. Which is crazy. I understand copyright law, and, yes, it was using the music and video (set to different lyrics) . . . but it was an awesome parody that, at worst, might make people think about Tears for Fears when they hadn’t for 30 years. But whatever. This video parody of Creed’s much more recent “Arms Wide Open” is still up, for now, a feat accomplished by taking their original posting of the video (which was automatically removed), and flipping it horizontally so it doesn’t trigger YouTube’s automagic copyright violation detector.

Although I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before YouTube starts detecting backwards and reversed video and pulling that stuff down automatically as well.

•••

Massachusetts wants to tax you for having a computer and using it to access stuff. Well, actually, they want to tax the people who make that possible for you. Whether the company makes money on the data processing service they are providing or not. Really? A tax on “the cloud”? That’s just stupid.

Some people blame Wal-Mart’s crappy store management on a shortage of cheap labor. Or the minimum wage. Or whatever. However, I tend to suspect there is less a shortage of cheap labor than there is of people who want to labor cheaply at Wal-Mart. When you don’t pay much, having a crappy work environment or poorly managed stores isn’t going to attract the cheap labor that might find more amenable work environments for the same low price.

Also, some of the issue is likely bare bones staffing: underperforming stores don’t hire folks because the sales aren’t there, and the sales don’t come because no one is checking folks out or restocking the shelves or cleaning the aisles.

Dunno. Seems like the free market has an answer: hire a few more folks, maybe pay a little more, get your shelves stocked and stores cleaned and people in the checkout lines, and the sales come, and the profits follow. Not that Wal-Mart is in any danger of declaring bankruptcy.

•••

Apparently George Lucas intended for Indiana Jones to be a pedophile. That adds a new perspective to the character. Who knew?

•••

When blogs become ghost towns . . .

Now, I’ve done it myself, but I never had a huge following. I will occasionally pop back and announce I’ve moved here or there. Or not. Occasionally nurse ideas of going back to the blog, if it’s still there, and just start posting again. Then don’t.

But sometimes fairly popular blogs just stop, or seem to, without a word. I’m a big fan of Blue Sky Disney, which hasn’t had an update in over a month. Nearly two months now. Long delays have happened, but never quite so long, and never without some sort of post. He hasn’t even stopped by to update the comments, and he blogs anonymously so you have no idea if the dude got arrested, was assassinated by the Mickey Mouse Mafia, or just got hit by a truck or had a sudden heart attack. We may never know, and I find that a little disturbing. Anybody else ever had a blog you followed that disappeared, or just stopped, with no explanation?

•••

I was going to post this yesterday, but got distracted. Turns out, the current plan with the unified school system I’m working in (for those interested) is to basically erase all the old jobs under the already determined assistant superintendent positions, and make everybody apply for the new jobs. I believe the CIO, CFO and other similar positions are also already locked in, but everybody else has to reapply for new jobs that won’t necessarily be their old jobs and will likely pay less. Yay! Who says government can’t work like the private sector? 😉

BTW, they still haven’t come up with a name for the new unified school district. And it will open for business as a unified school system next year.

This is going to be a mess.

5 Responses

  1. I have lots of reasons to despise Walmart. Among them are:

    Crowded unorganized aisles.
    Long check-out lines at all times of the day.
    Shoddy and/or poor merchandise.
    Filthy dimly lit stores.

    Compared to Tar-Jay at the same price point (and labor rates for that matter), Walmart is the far inferior shopping experience. I have a Target and a Walmart within a mile of each other and will always go to the Target instead whenever possible. I have never stood in line more than five minutes. They have a Starbucks instead of a McDonalds. The products are more stylish and better displayed.

    I have posited with little evidence that Walmart is losing market share to dollar stores as their reliance on “Always Low Prices” which is substantially different from their previous slogan “Always the Lowest Price” is no longer iron-clad.

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  2. “Apparently George Lucas intended for Indiana Jones to be a pedophile. That adds a new perspective to the character. Who knew?”

    My impression from the movie was that Marion was in her late teens and Indy was a graduate student at the time they hooked up.

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  3. jnc4p: I think that was everybody’s impression, that she had been young, maybe not quite eighteen, but eleven was the age George Lucas first threw out. Sweet Mary!

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  4. yellojkt: I agree. Add Target’s excellent store brands, the 5% discount on Target Card orders, the extra 5% you get periodically if you fill prescriptions there, and their unbeatable honoring of coupons (no standing around while the checker goes through a 100 items to see if something is in there, most of the time, and Target is always giving great coupons), target is a much better experience overall. Wal-Mart by contrast offers fewer real discounts, doesn’t have a ton of Wal-Mart coupons they produce themselves (not compared to Target), and their discount fuel card is all right . . . but kind of lame. Some things are less money but I’ve found both stores fairly similar on a wide range of products.

    I shop both places, and frequently. When the Wal-Mart is well-stocked, they carry more stuff than Target. I can get paint there (although have found the Wal-Mart near the mall a much better place than the Wal-Mart near my house: there, it’s impossible to find the paint guy, and all their bases are always out of stock, so which store you go to is important). But they are always kind of understaffed, no matter which one I go to, and it shows.

    The Super Target near my house has always been understaffed as regards checkers, which I’ve never understood. It’s better now, but when they first built it, they built it with 32 check out lanes. And frequently only had one or two checkers open, even when busy. Things have improved, but still it’s common to see the store full and only four of the lanes open.

    But the stocking shelves and keeping stuff in stock is no small thing. Wal-Mart pioneered Just In Time inventory, but now can’t seem to get the stuff onto the shelves in a timely fashion. They also make arbitrary stocking decisions that I know come from price negotiations: they stop carrying good products that sell well because the vendor refused to take a loss in Wal-Mart’s bare knuckle price negotiations, or in order to buy more for less from a single vendor. Thus things I like to get, the Wal-Mart carries but perhaps Target doesn’t, obligating me to go to Wal-Mart and maybe buy a few other things there . . . they stop carrying, thus I no longer have any reason to go to Wal-Mart for that thing. Not sure it’s the organization Sam Walton envisioned.

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  5. Wal-Mart does offer specials onlines for big ticket items, like TVs and Blu-Rays and whatnot, and I’ve done site-to-store more than a few times and have been pleased with the price and the product, though waiting 20 minutes for someone to get my stuff from the back is tiresome. It’s a nice service

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