November 2014

Family Values, 20 percent off. The yearly parade of American avarice known as “Black Friday” is starting a whole day early this year. You may know the day as Thanksgiving. Some stores will be open for business on the holiday itself for consumers looking to get that 52 in. flat …

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October 2014

It’s a Canine Eat Crinoline World. The holidays are about family, good times, and as we all may know only too well – spending. First up? Halloween. The National Retail Federation estimates this year’s holiday (that’s today, by the way) is bringing in almost $7.4 billion. (Have you seen how …

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September 2014

You can’t put that on an invoice. In a new paper on competence and warmth submitted to the National Academy of Sciences, lawyers are seen as unquestioningly competent and as warm as a taxi driver or prostitute. Talk at the top. Light-hearted banter – occasionally with an edge – has always marked …

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August 2014

Just send all the Moms their own personal lei next month, Edgar. The ladies love flowers!  Why did Land’s End, a focal point of all things Middle American, send a steamy issue ofGQ to millions of customers’ mailboxes?  The cover featured a Hawaiian lady with only a lei where her Regular …

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June/July 2014

Now that’s not very groovy.  A laid-back pizza chain born in 1974, when peace allegedly guided the planets and love ostensibly steered the stars, has gone corporate by closing one of its stores hereabouts. Without officially advising its staff. A “Closed” sign reportedly went up on the store’s Facebook page …

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May 2014

Ah, the snickering side of globalism. Kinki University, named after its region in Japan, is large and well-respected at age 65. But its name draws chuckles at meetings in Western countries where it means “perverted.” Now it’s changing its name to Kindai, a kind of made-up moniker meaning “university that used to …

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April 2014

Icon not go on like this. A squib on a computer screen? Yep. A living symbol of an idea, movement or period? True, by definition.  A painting in Eastern Christianity that opens “a window to the divine”?  Sure, that’s where “icon” comes from.  A football player who declares “I am …

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March 2014

Ah, spring. No, wait, now it’s winter again! Who do we talk to about this? So much for “Mad Men.” Some of those rumbles you hear out there are new and massive shifts in American journalism. Now, it seems, a big newspaper no longer rakes in most of its money …

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February 2014

Now say you’re sorry…and get out your sword.  Insincere apologies by politicians, CEOs and celebrities are reaching flood levels. Time to quit that empty talk, declares The New York Times. Of course there’s the classic Japanese response, where true remorse requires, um, drastic measures. By the numbers. People are living longer. They have more money …

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January 2014

Chosen. But that could change. They are famous for success, American sub-cultures of certain Indians and Japanese and Persians and Jews. Why?  All of their members believe they belong to the best. But each believes he or she could easily suffer the worst. None readily give in to whatever impulse presents itself. …

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THE LEDLIE LETTER Year by Year