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 screen for $30 off (after the mark-up, obviously). We’ll be home with the family and hope you’ll be with yours.
Culture Shock. The quietest, most well-read American seems brassy to a Brit. Our culture follows us everywhere, it seems. Recently, Kate Mulrennan applied for a job teaching in Seoul, South Korea. The employer explained: “I’m sorry to inform you that my client does not hire Irish people due to the alcoholism nature of your kind.”
Kumbaya, y’all. Vanderbilt University has declared all organizations open to everyone (the Faculty Club being the exception). It may be the school’s most distinguishing characteristic. Now the Ku Klux Klan, perhaps following Vandy’s lead, is recruiting members of black, Hispanic, and Jewish descent.
But, Mom, I don’t wanna be a terrorist anymore! Kids used to run away from home and do something respectable, like join the circus. But times have changed. Some 2,000 youths of Western nations, including more than 100 from the United States, have run away to join jihadist groups like ISIS. Now some of these would-be terrorists are wanting to come back home. “It’s not what we came for,” wailed a fresh recruit from his crib somewhere in the Levant. It seldom is.
Going out with a bang. Burial. Cremation. Or conclusion by pyrotechnics. Annette Maunder left instructions, and her husband Gary took her cremated remains to a field outside of Plymouth, England, where she was sent off rocket-like in spectacular fashion, ending up all over the place. “The best 13 years of my life,” said Mr. Maunder. “She was a keeper.” In a manner of speaking.
RIP. John Shields, former CEO of Trader Joe’s, passed away last month after a successful career. His stores grew from 27 to 158 in his tenure. His cardinal rule: to reject “any candidate who didn’t smile within 30 seconds of shaking my hand.” Happily, the retailer departed before the inauguration of “Black Thursday,” though somewhat more conventionally than Annette.
Can you meet me for dinner? I’m at olive.gripe.flushes. Forget longitude, latitude, and that stupid GPS. Your place in the world is now denoted by three little words. A British company, What3words, has demarcated the planet into 57 trillion squares of land measuring 3m by 3m (9.84 feet by 9.84 feet), each tagged with a short moniker of three ordinary English words. Find yours at http://what3words.com/. Name your own square for a little over two dollars per year.
A new reason to give thanks. Center Jason Brown was set to make $37 million from his contract with the St. Louis Rams. In an effort to combat hunger in his home state of North Carolina, Brown quit his “day job” and bought 1,000 acres of land to begin toiling the fields, the yield from which he will use to feed the hungry. “My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,’” Brown said. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No, I’m not. No, I’m not.’” Excuse us, we seem to have something in our eyes.
Quote to note: “My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor.” – Phyllis Diller, 1917-2012
Thanks for reading,
On the 19th, to the Brookhaven Rotary Club, Joe Ledlie and Rich Escoffery, of Elarbee Thompson, addressed the subject of business bullying – how to protect a firm from internet attack. Knowing that, you might think twice about sending us any more fact-checks.