Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reading - Literature: Crash Courses

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Clarence Saunders

A professor, who comes in here alot, was making conversation, well, because of my poor attempts at doing so. I'm good at "hi" but not so good afterwards.

He mentioned going to Winn Dixie next in his travels and we pondered the name of the store. I told him in my youth I could only remember two grocery stores Piggly Wiggly and Winn Dixie. This led to him  talking about his home town, Memphis, where everyone knew of the "Pink Mansion". Piggly Wiggly founder Clarence Saunders lived there. Apparently some stock options went bad... or something. He also invented a store called the Keedoozle... At any rate, Piggly Wiggly was basically the invention of the self serve grocery store.

I looked it up. And here is the first Piggly Wiggly store:

Notice the fences and turnstiles. I would guess that these were considered indespensible in the day. Apparently, either for security or customer traffic. Saunders liked to guide the customers through the store to see all the merchandise.  Do you remember those one way aisles? I do. Thankfully now most grocery stores are friendly to those who just stop in to get a few things these days. Saunders wanted to fully automat the stores.
The idea that Saunders pioneered shopping baskets and checkout should make you ponder about the greatness of the man. He was however forced into bankruptcy by stock manipulations.
If you would like to read further about  his attempts to design a fully automated store using no grocery carts in addition to another store with the concept of "self checkout" try this link:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

CNBC... dumb as toast at times

 The Mad Money guy, Jim Crammer, seems to have taken over some morning show that I happen to catch on Sirius XM on my way to work. It is wall to wall Jim Crammer though it appears to be a discussion panel of sorts. You might find this annoying until you listen to the analysts without Jim Crammer around.

Sometime in the afternoon (a few days ago because I kinda hurt my back and forgot to post about this when it happened) there was a "segment" on how Citi had chosen Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma as good "back to school stocks."  They went over how the traditional back to school stocks were not fairing well, like Office Depot or somesuch.

But... they could not figure out why Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma could be "back to school" stocks and ridiculed Citi for the picks. Wondering how mothers would wander into Williams-Sonoma for back to school supplies for kids. I admit, it took a good 30 seconds for me to get it but they went on for 5 minutes or more through probably 4 professional analysts who had no clue at all.

So figuring that the standard school supply stores were not going to fare well for whatever reason... why wouldn't one also see that colleges and universities were back in session. Might  kids, parents, and college students need things for their dorm, and new apartments, (freshmen need things for sure) and well... it was obviously a point that should have been made.

They did finally stumble across Pottery Barn Kids as a possibility.. but not enough for them to continue their ridicule without any insight beyond elementary school and high school purchases.

I don't know if I am right but I feel CNBC be this lost without Jim Crammer. This is not to say that Jim Crammer is brilliant but at least he has a presence about him, is willing to think, perhaps change his mind, and is always well researched.

Again, I don't know if I am correct based on my pitiful 10 minutes here and there but... CNBC... you guys are dumb as toast.  And when other times you start talking politics... well... dumber than toast.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Saddest Thing About Depression Is The Belief That It Will Never End

This title from a news story, to me, is the point about depression that you have to own or you lose. Something or some event or some person has to make you see that everything is not awful if you can view it in a different way, from a different angle. Everything looks bleak to someone depressed because honestly, the world can be seen that way. Who has not felt deeply saddened and powerless about the Israel situation? 

Things that are happy to someone else can be hard for a depressed person because that thing does not bring happiness to them and it seems like another failure to pull out of the sadness. If a happy thing cannot make me happy, then everything seems hopeless. 

But it is not hopeless.You can pull out and stay out. I know.

Billy Joel wrote this song about his depression and suicide attempt. 

People who have never had clinical depression just will not understand. They will think that their sad moments, that they have overcome, are the same as your profound depression. They are wrong. In fact, I suppose even those who have overcome a more serious clinical depression might not realize the critically different aspects of someone else's problem.

The solution for me was that I had to filter the world in a different way. A very good academic psychologist helped me see that I was focusing on my mother's death and filtering everything through that lens. It was hard to let go of my mom, but I did.

I made it. There is an end. And, I hate to say this, but it DID involve ignoring some aspect of life that seemed so terribly important when I was depressed. When I was depressed, I thought that it was a cop out to ignore what I thought was the reality of life. The deal really is that you can always revisit these issues when you have more experience, have seen more of life in a different way.

In my experience, don't expect a quick fix but continued effort to bypass the depressing thoughts...putting them off to a better time... when you can think more clearly. These thoughts may be with you the rest of your life but you can handle them from a stronger better state.

And get professional help. Getting over this is not something you can do on your own, in many cases. And you are not qualified to know if you need help. Just get it. You can always stop. I stopped immediately upon figuring out the problem. I only went back to say thank you years later.

Your goal is to get on the other side of this where you can look back with a clearer head.

You are only human. But you can learn. This takes time... give yourself that time.

Robin Williams in my Life

When I was a young man I loved Jonathan Winters, later Robin Williams reminded me so much of him and Robin did know the debt he owed to Jonathan for his comedic style. As I got older I started to like more scripted comedy. I loved Jonathan Winters less but really never lost my love for Williams. I found him a little annoying and abrasive at times but never did he fail to bring out the fun loving child inside of me. As I aged I realized more and more that I loved to watch this man work his magic on my aging self.

Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters are
seen backstage at the TV Land Awards in 2008

Read more here:

Robin had blinding talent. I appear to be the only person in the world who enjoyed watching him as Popeye. I don't much like Hollywood style extravagant movies so I forgave most of this and just admired Robin's talent. This is also one of the first movies I watched on Christmas Day, which is the day my mom died. I used to spend Christmas Day watching movies (at $1 a movie) to get my mind off of my loneliness on this day. I don't think I would ever have chosen to watch Popeye in a theater except for my quest to find movies that were not emotional.

Hook is one of my favorite movies as I always thought it so meaningful to my life. Don't think I am witless but I cried like a baby the first time I saw Hook... it was one of those movies where I had to stay through the credits just to dry my eyes. Again, I am fairly alone in loving this movie and honestly have never again watched the full movie in one sitting (but many times in parts) for fear it will not live up to the expectations of the first experience I had with it in the theater. I think now I will watch it again and immerse myself to see just what it was that grabbed me. I know it was because I felt like an orphan, a lost boy, at the time. Perhaps I never really understood this theme in Peter Pan until this movie. I remember thinking in the theater "Oh, I get it now." And Robin Williams, he was my guide.

I liked him more in movies than I did in Mork And Mindy which I never really liked to watch that often. It was rare when I would enjoy a live audience sitcom. I disliked Laverne and Shirley, another spinoff from Happy Days. I most enjoyed Happy Days in the first two seasons single camera setup. When it changed to live audience, my interest slowly faded.

Robin Williams went on to be one of the great actors of all time. My last moments watching him were on the David Letterman show after his heart bypass. He was inspirational on these shows as was David Letterman. I am so sorry to see that clinical depression may be the culprit behind his death. I suffered this problem in my early life and Robin Williams was one of the moments, again Hook, that helped me understand my problem and completely conquer it.

I knew I had depression conquered when I was harassed and threatened for almost a full year at my last job. I made it through this period defiantly challenging depression head on. I was depressed a lot but I came out the winner. Clinical depression was conquered and I never got as depressed as when my mother died, or when I got a divorce. My divorce was actually a training ground for controlling my moods.

I know some small part of what Robin Williams went through, wearing his heart on his sleeve... at least that is the way I viewed him. I understand.

If you have depression... please understand it does not always have to rule you. You can defeat it with the right help. I got that help. They even have drugs now that actually work. If you feel bullied, that too is overcome by time and in distancing yourself from the bully. You can do this. I was trapped in my own situation for the year because I had to work at least one more year to retire with benefits. You may be stuck by your age or something similar. Things can change. Work to increase your control over your life then distance yourself when you can.

I will miss Robin Williams for his inspiration. We need people that sacrifice their emotions and personal circumstances to inspire.


in One Hour Photo