Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wal-Mart and the movie, The Producers

The last full week of July is upon us. Summer is half-over. Okay, maybe not officially, but in other ways, it is. So many things start again in September. For now though, I'm in lazy summer mode and maybe the weather can be my excuse.

On the weekend, our plans changed due to rain and we saw another movie, The Producers. It's very funny, thanks mostly to Mr. Lane who is consistently hilarious. Before watching the movie, I had the opportunity to visit the local Cambridge Chapters/Indigo bookstore. Of course they didn't have the book I was thinking of purchasing, but I did buy the July issue of Harper's magazine because the cover listed this article: Breaking the Chain, The Antitrust Case Against Wal-Mart. The article is long and informative. It discusses the deleterious effects of the unchecked power of W**^***t including monopsony, my new word of the week. "Monopsony arises when a firm captures the ability to dictate price to its suppliers because the suppliers have no real choice other than to deal with that buyer." Many firms have been affected adversely after chaining themselves to the Wal-Mart star in the hope of soaring. But that is only part of the problem. And you probably wonder why I'm linking The Producers and W-place in my subject line.

Even if you don't wonder, here's why. "Every day Wal-Mart expands its share of the ... markets for magazines, recorded music, films on DVD and books (YIKES, even books). This means that every day its tastes ... weigh that much more on decisions made in Hollywood studios, in Manhattan publishing houses ... (and soon, maybe other publishers).

So, if the retail super-behemoth should decide that a film like The Producers, which features a musical number called Springtime for Hitler, and other possibly unacceptable shenanigans, shouldn't be distributed in DVD format, then it wouldn't be available to the 30 percent of American consumers who shop there. Would that be tragic? Well, no. But is this the thin edge of the Whale-Mart tells us what to view or to read wedge?

I wonder.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hot and Cold

It's been miserably hot, but a storm blew in last night and cooled things off, temporarily. Good thing, because I was tired of being confined to my living room.

It was hot on Thursday when we celebrated Sam's birthday. He loves hot food, so he had pizza with hot peppers, and hot wings too. Friday I got a rejection letter for one of my short stories from NQ. I rather expected it, since NQ is a notoriously difficult magazine to conquer, but I have to try once a year. By Saturday, it was downright horrid outside. I went to the market early and bought a bouquet of flowers for myself. Why not?

Better things happened on the weekend. The man in my life took me to the movies. We saw Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean Part II. I didn't like all the dead critters, but at least there was Johnny to look at, and Orlando Bloom.

Yesterday, I got more birthday mail. It was more than somewhat late, but I don't mind having my birthday goodies spread out. My friend Sharon sent me a silly card, a generous gift certificate for the LCBO, and a copy of her brochure (one I did some work on). So, I can celebrate all over again, perhaps with a lovely single malt scotch, when I'm able to walk as far the LCBO. It may be a while before I can do that, though.

My knee is not speaking to me - it is yelling instead. So, I'm giving it the old cold treatment. I recall one of my many physiotherapists saying "Ice is Nice." That's a damned lie. But I have to use it anyway. And I guess kneeling is off my list of can-do things for now. Floor washing is boring and can be postponed.

I'm going to Windsor August 10 to 13th. Research, research and lots of note taking. Maybe a visit with an old friend, if she is in town, and a visit to the Casino. After all, I have to make the gambling scenes realistic. I won't spend as much as my character does though, she has a bigger budget.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Canada Post, or Pony Express

After my weekend in Port Ryerse, and after receiving excellent advice from my writer friend in Calgary and a friend here, I added the final grace notes to the story I'd been revising, and revising. Then, I prepared to send it out. I decided to be brave and choose two markets this time. I was feeling happy about this decision as I walked to the postal outlet in the card store in the old market building on King. When I handed the envelopes to the person behind the counter and paid the postage, he stamped them and put them in the outgoing first class bin. As I was turning away, the woman who had been waiting beside me "went postal" and began berating the clerk.

She claimed that this postal outlet had lost a package worth $4,000. And furthermore, nothing that she had mailed through this outlet since June 15 had been received. Someone has threatened to sue her, she claimed. Then she said she might sue Canada Post.

I was transfixed by this tale, not to mention worried. It was too late to get my envelopes back, so I'll just have to hope they get to their destinations. I considered that outlet my lucky place, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe I'll have to choose another.

There are plenty of horses in this area, perhaps someone could start a new version of the pony express.