Thursday, January 05, 2017

One Hundred and Thirty One Years of Sears!

I said last year that Sears/Kmart will go out of business in 2017.  I am not hoping that they, or any other business disappear this year...but what have they done to stay relevant?

According to Wikipedia: "Sears, Roebuck & Co., also known simply as Sears, is an American department store chain founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1886."

Look at the bright side, 131 years.  THAT was a good run.  Perhaps in a few years from now, some other company, feeling retro, will bring back the name through a licensing agreement.

OK, maybe Sears is not done for YET, but this video clip may demonstrate where they currently stand...

Sears has had an impressive history.  In Chicago alone, they had TWO, count them TWO Sears Towers!

Original Sears Tower (Corporate home: 1906-1974)         Sears Tower (Corporate home: 1974-1988)
They have sold and moved out of both towers.

Over the years, Sears has been the parent to many other major national brands.

In 1931, Sears launched Allstate Insurance Company, (named after their "automobile tire" brand), and was eventually spun-off in 1993.

In 1984, along with IBM, Sears was behind the first consumer online service; Prodigy.  By 1996, after initially investing around $1 billion, both companies sold their interests for $200 million.

Sears also launched Discover credit card in 1985, which they sold in 1993.

So they were not able to retain those, but they still had other valuable longtime brands including; Kenmore, DieHard and Craftsman.

Tribune headline (1-5-2017):
Sears sells Craftsman brand to Stanley's Black & Decker for about $900 million

Well, if that is not the first nail in the coffin.  (Craftsman: Powerful. Durable. Sold.)

In the late 70's, my mom went to Sears, (as ALL moms did back then), and she saw a sale on denim suits for little boys for only $2 EACH suit.  That would be almost $4 in today's economy.  So, she bought one in every size.  This explains why in most of my school pictures, I am seen wearing the same suit, regardless of how much I grew.

Sears said that it would close 108 Kmart stores and 42 Sears stores.  #ThanksTrump!

According to my memory, the last thing they did well, was when they ran a campaign to attract females back with their "Softer side of Sears" commercials in the 80/90's.

They had come a LONG way from their earlier days, as seen here in their 1909 Sears catalog:

Sears may not be dead yet, but I do not see how they are going to survive much longer.

Perhaps Sears will be the next Montgomery Ward.

Tony Lossano, Broadcast Producer (TV & Radio, Chicago), amateur bicyclist, a fantastic dog walker, and has never been married to Alyssa Milano.

Friday, December 30, 2016

At the end of 2016

2016 has been a rough year.  From Zika, the presidential election, celebrity deaths, to Syria.  This, and so many other moments have been tolling on most everyone's daily grind.

Many people have been creating and sharing memes representing what 2016 represents to them.  They call it "Me at the beginning of 2016 and me at the end of 2016"
This is just a coping mechanism using humor to deal with this year's continuous stream of disappointments.  Let's deal with the celebrity deaths.  These are real people with real friends and family, who are personally affected...but they also entered OUR lives and affect how we feel as well.

2016 seems like a year where more celebrities have died, than usual.  Well, calculating this may be difficult, depending on your definition of "famous" or "celebrity" deaths.  There is a natural increase of possibilities, as there is an increase in outlets that can produce such talents, (TV, streaming, theatrical, sports, reality, billionaire con-artists, etc.), the internet fact-checking resource, tried to clarify if 2016 was the Deadliest Year for Celebrities.  They surveyed several news outlets, which lead to this graph:

It appears that 2016 came close with winning that title, but like the election, there is no clear mandate.  Looking for patterns, is what humans do.  Sometimes we see things that make absolutely no sense.  Like celebrities dying in groups of three!?!

Forget the notion that celebrities die in 3's.  Anyone who tells you that, just simply can not count past 3.  One of the only times you can count like that was when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash together, BUT you have to minus the death of the pilot, then you could say that celebrities die in 3's.

It still felt like celebrities died in 2016, on an ongoing regular basis.  (I am worried that there will still be more after this is published)

We made it so close to the end of 2016, when Star Wars' badass-princess, Carrie Fisher, looked like she was going to die, after flying back from London, and was put into a hospital.  She survived and was in stable-condition!

...or so we had hoped.  Sadly, she did not, and then her mother, the legendary Debbie Reynolds tweeted this out:
...and less than 24 hours later, Carrie's brother and Debbie's son told Variety:

"I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie."
-Debbie Reynolds to her son, Todd Fisher

Debbie Reynolds had passed away, from a broken heart.

2016 had taken away so many famous stars...

Here is a short list of just some of the famous people, (and their age), who left us in 2016.

 Pat Harrington Jr.

David Bowie

Alan Rickman

Glen Frey

 Abe Vigoda

Bob Elliot

Antonin Scalia


 George Kennedy

 Nancy Reagan

 Frank Sinatra Jr.

Joe Garagiola
 Garry Shandling

 Patty Duke

Merle Haggard
Doris Roberts

 Alan Young

Muhammad Ali
Garry Marshall
Kenny Baker
Fyvush Finkel
Gene Wilder
Arnold Palmer
Janet Reno

Robert Vaughn

Gwen Ifill

Florence Henderson

Fidel Castro

Ron Glass

Grant Tinker

John Glenn

Alan Thicke

Zsa Zsa Gabor

George Michael

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds

and so many more, including even ALF aka Michu Meszaros, the actor who played "ALF" (76).

Has there actually been a surge of deaths compared to past years?  I believe discovering news via Facebook/Twitter, where we go to escape the troubles from the day, may just catch us more off guard.

The surprising results of the 2016 rigged election also helped pave the way for an anxiety tollway.

2016 is ALMOST over...however, 2017 will not magically be better, and come to think of it, I suspect that it may be worst.  Unless you stop thinking that events can be reset with just a new calendar.

The concept of time was created by man, to help give the illusion that everything does not just happen all at once.  

Slate wanted to know where 2016 ranked as "The Worst Year, Ever!" or something like that, and one historian suggested that 72,000 B.C. was the worst.  That was when a Sumatran volcano erupted with the force of 1.5 million atomic bombs.  So, maybe 2016 comes in 2nd?

But like with climate change, this is not going to get any better with time..  Unless we start doing something about there enough bubble wrap in the world to protect everyone from the future.

Tony Lossano, Broadcast Producer (TV & Radio, Chicago), amateur bicyclist, a fantastic dog walker, and has never been married to Alyssa Milano.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rainbow From Above The Clouds!

This is the most beautiful photo that I have seen all day!  Too bad it is very controversial!

...but who added the caption?
On the Facebook, this has lead to another debate between science and religion.  Perhaps that was the intentions of whomever added the caption, "AMAZING PICTURE TAKEN FROM A PLANE ABOVE THE CLOUDS AND A RAINBOW"

There is no debate, as one person posted this photo in the comment section;

Yet, a debate began in the comments section, (of course it did).

One person named "Travis" wrote;
"fake or not, it saddens me how many people have lost the magic in their lives and only get enjoyment out of ruining other people's fantasies instead of just enjoying the beauty of the photo. just because people created it, does that make it any less fantastical?" 
Which is when another person named "Timothy" replied;
"There are many more amazing and fantastical things in this universe that are real, explained and cannot be ruined.  Just because we bring science into this and explain things before people think something fake is real, doesn't mean we're the bad guys.  for example: birth, space, stars, nebula, tectonic movement and the things it has created.  There's so many that I can't list them all."
At some point, the debate even went on to debate on the choice of words used in the comment section, as "Tim" wrote;
"Fantastical is not a real word. Which does not make it any less fantastical."
Which "Lyssa" then wrote;
"Fantastical, huh? Go back to school."
Camilla ended this portion of the debate with this little entry;
"'Fantastical' actually is a real word. Seems Travis isn't the one who needs to be sent back to school."
...which she backed up with a link to The Free Dictionary, proving that "fantastical" is a real word.

This made me so happy, as this IS a word that I use to say all of the time, and people use to question it!  So, take THAT Mrs. Canepa, my grade school teacher!  I WAS right!

[Sorry, I went a little off-topic here.]

"Mike" made it all clear, when he wrote;
"It is not the picture anyone is taking an objection to, it is the absurd and unnecessary caption. The picture itself would be just as lovely with no words at all, yet some idiot decided to blatantly lie about its origin and present a complete misconception of a scientifically well-known phenomenon. For no. Fucking. Reason. A picture like this needed no explanation at all, just let it be pretty. Christ."
"David" wrote;
"For some reason, i am suddenly filled with road rage, and the urge to throw a turtle shell at someone..."
This silly-ass debate goes on and on...

...and granted, this is a very tamed back-and-forth argument about a very silly topic...but let's not lose focus here...

The debate is over someone adding a caption on a PhotoShopped picture.  This is not something that most people spend a lot of time doing, but these little additions continue to divide people into certain groups.  Think about that.  As that is the real point here.  It keeps you distracted and not noticing the real important issues.

Like, how cool is this photo!

Change one word and there is no debate.
Ironically, the big controversial word in the original caption was "rainbows!"

Tony Lossano, Broadcast Producer (TV & Radio, Chicago), amateur bicyclist, a fantastic dog walker, and has never been married to Alyssa Milano.