Tales of Chum

Some late news chum, as a result of working through my normal lunchtime:

  • From the “Financial Tales of Whoa” Department: The job losses continue to pileup: Williams-Sonoma: 1,400 jobs. Providence-St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank: 95 jobs. Warner Bros: 800 jobs, with Clear Channel cutting 1,850 jobs, and Disney/ABC cuts expected soon. Intel: 5,000 to 6,000 jobs. Never good news.
  • From the “Re-tail News” Department: Prices go up and down. Changes to California taxes may turn Two-Buck Chuck into Two-and-a-half Buck Chuck. All sorts of retailers are cutting inventory and even going so far as to introduce special “Recession Lines”. Expect to see less high-priced items and more special events for regular shoppers.
  • From the “Cat Tails and Dog Tails” Department: The Mercury News has an article on a haven for cats: A place called “Cat House on the Kings”, which provides 12 green acres, with over 700 feline friends, field after field of grass to roam and a whole orchard full of trees to climb. There’s a five-bedroom house when cats want to go inside, and even the newly named Sadie Malone Senior Village, a cabinlike building with ledges by the windows for naps in the sun and two cat doors. For the dog lovers, the AKC has released its list of top-10 breeds. Nationally, the list is: 1. Labrador retriever; 2. Yorkshire terrier; 3. German shepherd; 4. Golden retriever; 5. Beagle; 6. Boxer; 7. Dachshund; 8. Bulldog; 9. Poodle; and 10. Shih tzu. For just Los Angeles, it is 1. Labrador retriever; 2. Bulldog; 3. German shepherd; 4. Golden retriever; 5. Yorkshire terrier; 6. French bulldog; 7. Poodle; 8. Pug; 9. Pomeranian; and 10. Maltese. You can find the Top 10 list for major cities here.

P.S.: Oh, and Obama’s inauguration did not cost more than Bush’s. There are just too many people writing about things they don’t understand.


Pre-inaugural Chum

Although Monday’s are usually quiet news days, perhaps the hoopla tomorrow is churning it out:

  • From the “Brands That Live and Die” Department: The NY Times is reporting that even though the Sharper Image stores have closed, the brand is living on. Specifically, the new owners of the brand are using it for new innovative, although cheaper, electronics. Other brands aren’t so lucky. A local franchiser is closing most of the Southern California Applebee’s, including those in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, and Santa Clarita. Another bane of the mall, Libby Lu, is also closing their locations. I’ve always had a grudge against Libby Lu, as they took over the GameKeeper location at the Northridge Mall.
  • From the “Feeling the Pain of the Recession” Department: Many other groups are feeling the pain of the recession. The LA Times has an interesting article on one such group: gardeners. It seems local service providers such as gardeners, housekeepers, and pool cleaners are often hit hardest during a recession — and they are the ones that can often ill afford such a hit. There’s another group being hurt by the recession: Bush-administration appointees. Normally, when an administration leaves office the appointees can count on jobs in the DC area at local corporations and lobbyists. But the tightened job market is making those jobs harder to come by, and so these folks may have to look elsewhere.
  • From the “Perhaps The Expectations Are Too High” Department: I know that everyone is excited about the change of administrations tomorrow, but let’s not elevate the man to patriarch status until he has earned it. Even our great leaders didn’t come into office with such high expectations (and that includes the man of the hour, Abe Lincoln). But I’m already seeing movements to rename Delmar Blvd in St. Louis as Obama Blvd, and even CNN is indicating that everyone expects Obama inauguration speech to be carved in marble. I admit, he is doing some interesting bipartisan actions — even going so far as to consult with his election opponent, but let’s not raise the expectations so high he can never meet them. We should, after all, be used to low expectations.
  • From the “Moving Day” Department: And speaking of low expectations, how about those Bushes? Seriously, one thing that has always interested me is the logistics of moving one occupant out and one in on the same day. It appears that that the Bushes have been smart here, or at least Laura has. Starting in the summer, Laura Bush started moving out of the White House, completing the move of personal belongings from Camp David over Christmas. The only things really left for President and Mrs. Bush are their personal belongings and luggage for the last day. Of course, they will leave a legacy…
  • From the “They’re Dieing to Get In” Department: Speaking of legacies… There is an interesting legacy in the Santa Monica Canyons: The Marquez Cemetary. The LA Times has an interesting article today on how the family is attempting to restore the cemetary and open it to the public.
  • From the “Read a Good Book” Department: If you are at all like me, you love a good bookstore. Especially used book stores. Ever wonder how they are faring these days? There’s a good article in the Daily News on A&M Book Cellars in Canoga Park (website), a used-book store that has been around 24 years. The secret of their success: don’t change. It reminds me of another favorite used book store: Cliff’s in Pasadena.