On Guns … The Right Thing To Do

Two days ago, Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon sent a letter to their employees part of which reads …

Doug-McMillonDear Associates,

We’ve … been listening to a lot of people inside and outside our company as we think about the role we can play in helping to make the country safer. It’s clear to us that the status quo is unacceptable.

We’ve been giving a lot of thought to our sale of firearms and ammunition. We’ve previously made decisions to stop selling handguns or military-style rifles such as the AR-15, to raise the age limit to purchase a firearm or ammunition to 21, to require a “green light” on a background check while federal law only requires the absence of a “red light,” to videotape the point of sale for firearms and to only allow certain trained associates to sell firearms.

Today, we’re sharing the decisions we’ve made that go further:

After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons;

We will sell through and discontinue handgun ammunition; and

We will discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking our complete exit from handguns. [emphasis added]

Finally, we encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger. We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness. We must also do more, as a country, to understand the root causes that lead to this type of violent behavior. Today, I’m sending letters to the White House and the Congressional leadership that call for action on these common sense measures.

As you all know, I am no fan of Wal-Mart, but I applaud this measure with both hands.  It is too little, and too late coming, but at least the CEO of this company has, finally, shown some common sense and more concern for the people of this nation than most of our elected officials.

Within minutes after Wal-Mart making this announcement publicly, the NRA flew into a rage! NRA-tweet

Well, if you think the NRA represents the ‘voice of the people’, if you think that most people in this nation are against any form of gun legislation, as the NRA would have you believe … explain this:

“Shares of the retailer rose more than 1% to a record high on Wednesday. The gains game after Walmart announced Tuesday that it would change its policies around gun-sales in response to two deadly shootings that killed 24 people at Walmart stores in El Paso, Texas and Southaven, Mississippi.” – Business Insider, 04 September 2019

Walmart-stock-graph

Similarly, after Dick’s Sporting Goods announced in February 2017, in response to the devastating Parkland school shooting, that it was raising the age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, and would no longer sell assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks in any of its 730 U.S. stores, their profits increased by 3.2%.

As a result of Wal-Mart’s announcement, some gun nuts took to Twitter, calling for a boycott of Wal-Mart, but you know what, folks?  In a May Quinnipiac poll, 61% overall said they are in favour of stricter gun regulations.  The breakdown here is interesting:  91% of democrats, 59% of independents, and only 32% of republicans.  What a shocker, eh? Quinnipiac-poll

Note that women are more in favour of gun regulation than men (again, no surprise there), and blacks are overwhelmingly more in favour than whites … could be because they are most often on the receiving end of a bullet.  Apparently 5% of the people polled didn’t much care one way or another.  Sigh.

Wal-Mart, with its 1.5 million employees nationwide, is the single largest retailer in the nation.  They may, in a very practical sense, have even more clout than the NRA when they choose to use it.  But, it isn’t enough.  The shooter who killed at least 7 and injured 20+ more in Odessa Texas last Saturday had failed a background check to buy a gun … twice.  Yet, he had an AR-15 assault weapon in his car when police tried to stop him in a traffic stop.  How?  He bought it in a private sale … in Texas, private gun sales do not require a background check.

And, in spite of two mass shootings in Texas last month, the state legislature expanded gun rights … nay, I cannot even call it “rights”, for these rights infringe on others’ rights … by passing the following:

  • Senate Bill 535: allows Texans to carry guns in churches, synagogues and other places of worship, unless otherwise banned by those places with proper signage.
  • Senate Bill 741: prohibits property owners’ associations from banning storage of guns on rental properties.
  • House Bill 121: provides a legal defense for licensed handgun owners who unknowingly enter an establishment that bans firearms as long as they leave when asked.
  • House Bill 302: prohibits landlords from banning renters and their guests from carrying firearms in lease agreements.
  • House Bill 1387: loosens restrictions on the number of school marshals who can carry guns at public and private schools in Texas.
  • House Bill 1177: allows Texans to carry handguns without a license during a state of disaster.
  • House Bill 1143: prohibits school districts from banning licensed gun owners from storing guns and ammunition in their vehicles in parking lots.
  • House Bill 2363: allows certain foster homes to store guns and ammunition in a locked location.

Take a close look at these!  They prohibit a landlord from banning guns in his/her rental property!  How utterly stupid!  They loosen gun laws in schools, churches, foster homes.  What could possibly go wrong, eh?  Governor Abbott signed all these bills into law in May & June, and they went into effect the day after the Odessa shooting. Irony?

C’mon people!!!  Let’s get serious and make it damn clear once more that people’s lives, that our safety, the safety of our children, mean more than anybody’s so-called “right” to own and carry a gun.  Get the damn guns out of the hands of civilians!  At the very least, insist on background checks for every single gun sale, and ban the damn assault rifles once and for all!

Note that in his letter to his employees and his public announcement, Doug McMillon encouraged the nation’s lawmakers to act.  I second that motion … time to get back into phone-calling and letter-writing mode, my friends.  This madness cannot continue!

Good People Doing Good Things —

Today’s good people are on a smaller scale than I had originally planned, but they will make hour heart smile, I promise!  I had one of my rare false starts this evening, and had to abandon the ‘good people’ project I had spent 4 hours on!  Needless to say, I was frustrated and panicking, but within minutes I found a whole contingent of other good people.  I was not about to forgo the ‘good people’ post this week … we all need it more than ever, I think.  And so, I bring to you …


He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My BrotherNoah-and-LucasNoah Aldrich is 12 years old, and his brother Lucas is 10.  When Lucas was two months old, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic neurological condition called Lissencephaly.  According to his mother, Alissa …

He has severely impaired motor skills (can’t sit, stand, walk or roll-over), he is non-verbal, and is fed by a g-tube.  He is at a high risk of having seizures and pneumonia in the future.  There is no cure for Lucas’s condition and he is expected to have a significantly shortened lifespan.

But Lucas has something very special … Noah.  For one so young, Noah has always shared a special bond with Lucas.  In 2014 when Noah was only eight, the family heard about a youth triathlon being sponsored by the local YMCA, and Noah knew he wanted to do that with his brother.  He began training the very next day!

Before the triathlon, Noah didn’t even know how to swim, but here he is pulling Lucas in a raft …Noah-pulls-raft

And pushing him for the running part of the competition …

Noah-pushing-Lucas

And pedaling him for the biking portion …

noah-biking-lucas.jpgThey may not have come in first in the triathlon, but they were the biggest winners, don’t you think?  When asked by a local NBC News affiliate who covered the event if he thought it was a big deal, Noah responded, “Well not really … I’m just doing something with Lucas.”  I wonder if ever before has one so young worked so hard to give his brother a bit of pleasure?

This is a short (2:28 minutes) clip, but do yourself a favour and check it out … it will make you smile … Gronda, get your tissues!


Two Big Hearts …

You remember Hurricane Florence that hit the Carolinas a couple of weeks ago?  Shelli Trench of Garner, North Carolina, wanted to help her neighbors.  When she dropped off some water at a shelter in the local high school, Shelli asked the rescue workers what their greatest need at that moment was, and they replied, “T-shirts”.  Apparently people were stopping by for showers, but the shelter had no clean clothes to offer them.

Shelli isn’t rich by any means, but she had $50 she felt she could spare, so she headed to the local Wal-Mart to see what she could do.

“I went in and asked for a manager, hoping he would give me some kind of discount to make that money go further. Instead, I got a blessing.

When Jeff Jobes, the manager on duty, heard about the plight of the people at the shelter he didn’t give me a discount. Instead, he armed me with one of his associates (Alex) and a shopping cart and told her to fill it… on him.

Y’all… $1,251 later, I was able to deliver 254 items of clothing to the evacuees at the Garner High shelter because Jeff the manager loves his community and he proved it with his actions.”Shelli-Jeff.jpg

Aren’t Shelli and Jeff just wonderful people?  Why can’t everybody in the world be like this?  But wait … there’s more to this story …

I woke up to this morning to this text from Manager Jeff: ‘How is everything this morning? Need anything?’

So I drove to the shelter and ask them what they needed and they gave me a list of fresh fruit for snacks, Ensure, Boost, and Gatorade.

I texted the list to Jeff and his response was: ‘Give me 30 minutes then come see me.’

Y’all when I got to the store, manager Jeff and his co-manager Kelly were busy pulling together the items that were requested.

They didn’t donate bags of fresh fruit. They donated case after case after case after case of apples and oranges and bananas and Ensure and Boost and Gatorade and Cliff bars and pastries and bread and cookies.

My van was loaded to the top.

The outpouring of love and support from the Walmart in Garner is unbelievable.”

Jeff Jobes.jpg


Javier Amos of Watertown, South Dakota, is 9 years old and has leukemia.  He is currently in remission after undergoing chemotherapy for most of last year.  You’ve heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, right?  Well, they recently selected Javier to be the recipient of a wish.  Most kids would likely pick a trip to Disney World, right?  Or skiing in Aspen, or meeting Colin Kaepernick, or a new 10-speed bike.  But not Javier!Javier-AmosYou see, Javier has spent much of the past year in and out of hospitals, too sick to attend school, and while he might not have missed long division too much, he missed his friends a lot.  So, Javier decided to use his wish to throw a huge pizza party!  According to Make-A-Wish South Dakota Program Services Director Joe Evenson …

“Out of all the wishes we have granted, this has got to be one of the most unique ones.  For a kid his age to be able to do what he’s doing today, he could have literally went anywhere in the world, chosen to met anybody he wanted to or had anything he wanted.”

But all Javier wanted was to be with his friends.javier-party


And that is all I have time for tonight, but I hope these people helped to remind you that the whole world is not like what we see on television and the internet every day!  Now, let’s all go out and be good people ourselves, shall we?

Good People Doing Good Things — Above and Beyond

This week I decided to focus on those small acts of kindness people do that are just a bit ‘above and beyond’ … small acts that mean so much.  It’s never hard to find those people … they are all around us if we only open our eyes.


When I read a story about a police officer who rescued a man from a burning car, or foiled a bank robbery, I consider those things to be “in the line of duty”, and do not see them as fodder for this post.  But … jumping off an overpass is, I think, far above and beyond the ‘line of duty’, even for an officer of the law!CavalloMeet Officer Jessie Ferreira Cavallo, who was on her way to work Friday afternoon when she saw a boy running along the Saw Mill River Parkway in Yonkers, New York.  She watched in shock as the boy climbed over a guardrail and jumped. Without thinking, she followed right behind the boy and jumped in behind him!

“Everything was happening so fast, and I think my adrenaline was pumping so high. I just knew, when I looked down and saw him … he looked dead. I couldn’t see anything other than blood. I thought to myself, ‘He needs help. I need to help him’.”

A second woman – this one in a military uniform – stopped to assist and the two heroes began to give the unresponsive boy CPR and strap on a neck brace. The boy was then rushed to a hospital, where he was treated for broken bones. He is expected survive.

It wasn’t until the next day that Cavallo realized what she had done.

“Friday, after this whole thing happened, I went to work and worked to 11 p.m. I didn’t realize what was going on until yesterday. That’s when it hit me. I didn’t realize how high it was. It seemed doable. It didn’t seem that high. I thought I jumped over a brick wall, or a cement barrier. It was so fast. It was more like tunnel vision. I saw the boy and I needed to get to him. I didn’t see anything else.”

The boy had run off from an organization that serves children with special needs or emotional and behavioral issues.  He will survive, and Officer Cavallo gets a two-thumbs-up from Filosofa for her heroism above and beyond the call of duty!  👍👍


Ebony Harris is a cashier at the Wal-Mart store in Burton, Michigan.  Ms. Harris was on her break, about to get a sandwich at the Subway sandwich shop inside the Wal-Mart when she saw a young lady in a wheelchair turned away by the nail salon that is also located within the store.  Employees at the salon said the young lady “moved too much”.  She has cerebral palsy and therefore she has sometimes uncontrollable shaking.

Ms. Harris and a couple of her co-workers took matters into their own hands, buying nail polish and sitting at one of the tables in Subway to paint the young woman’s nails! Ebony-Harris

“I just wanted to make her day special. I didn’t really want her day to be ruined. That’s why I did it. And you know, she moved her hands a little bit and she kept saying she was sorry. And, I told her ‘don’t say that’. I said ‘you’re fine’.

We’re not trying to bash the nail salon. We’re not trying to make them lose customers, make them look bad,” she said. “But maybe spread awareness that no matter the person, who they are, what color they are, disability, whatever, they’re people too. She’s a girly girl. She’s just like you, me, Tasia, my daughter, anybody. She wants to look pretty, you know, and so why can’t she?”

Why can’t she, indeed! Hats off to Ms. Ebony Harris and her co-workers for going above and beyond with so much compassion!  🎩


Sometimes when the ‘do-gooder’ is a celebrity, I hesitate to include them in this feature, for often we think, “well, so what … they can afford it”.  But this story about a celebrity doing a small act of kindness struck a chord with me.

Rapper/actor Ludacris just happened to be shopping in the right place and at the right time.  He was in line ahead of a woman, Therra Jaramillo, at a Whole Foods market in Atlanta, Georgia, when some of the pet food she was purchasing for her rescue pets (and an elderly, blind chicken named Dixie Licklighter) was accidentally rung up with his order.  As Ms. Jaramillo tried to retrieve her items, explaining to the cashier, Ludacris stopped her, saying “I might as well get it”.  Well, long story short, he did get it and all the rest of her groceries, as well!

Ms. Jaramillo goes on to tell us that her father had recently died, and she was a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, which took the life of her mother.  She has been out of work, down on her luck, and the only reason she was shopping at Whole Foods was because a friend had given her a gift card, knowing that she needed food.

Ms. Jaramillo told her story through a series of tweets, ending with this one …LudacrisA small act, costing only a few hundred dollars, but … an act of kindness, above and beyond.


Last Monday it was 110° in Southern Nevada.  Bus driver Mike Blair noticed an elderly man trying unsuccessfully to board the bus, but he seemed in distress, unable to quite manage the steps.  Blair helped the man onto the bus and placed him right next to the air-conditioner, then he took a bottle of cold water from his own lunchbox and gave it to the man, helping him get the bottle to his mouth. BlairAfter about 10 minutes, the elderly man seemed to rebound and got off at the next stop, saying, “Thank you.  I’m 92 years old”.  A small act, indeed, but above and beyond the job description of a bus driver.


There are literally thousands of stories like these.  You don’t have to make huge sacrifices of money or time, just look around and when you see somebody struggling, help them.  This is what being human is all about, don’t you think?

Now, I don’t typically do this on ‘good people’ posts, but I came across this video and it was just so darned funny that I had to share it with you and give you a laugh this morning!  And no, before you even ask, this is definitely not how I fold fitted sheets!!!

And on that note … have a great day!  Remember, not all of us can be Mama Rosie, Mohamed Bzeek or Bill Gates, but all of us can do little things that are just a bit ‘above and beyond’.

Jolly Daylight Savings Time Monday!!! 😴

Good Monday morning and welcome, dear friends!  I know you all must be extra tired this morning, having lost an hour’s sleep this weekend!  Me?  Oh sure, I’m perky, but then … I don’t have to put on a suit and head out to work today, so I can afford to be a bit perky, knowing that a nap lies waiting for me in an hour or two!  Anyway, I do hope you all had a good weekend!  I mostly stayed in, just a brief foray out yesterday evening for supper.  Daughter Chris had to play and march in the St. Patrick Day parade downtown on Saturday, and the poor girl fell walking from her car to the parade route and skinned her knee terribly!  She is short … just over 5 feet … and had her drum attached to her front, so she wasn’t able to see that the pavement rose in front of her.  The drum is pretty well dinged up, too!  I took a picture of her knee and was planning to include it here, but … um … well … I was more or less informed that it was a bad idea if I wished to continue to live in this household, so … sorry, folks, no bad knee pics today!

Since I knew how tired you would all be this morning, I made the coffee extra strong and tried to make the humour extra fun!  So grab a cuppa and settle in for a bit of fun before you have to head on out the door.


Pancake jammies?

Is there anybody in the U.S. who hasn’t eaten at an IHOP restaurant?  I just read that IHOP is planning an expansion into the UK and Ireland, but I don’t think they are there yet.  Anyway, here in the U.S., it is the numero uno place to go for breakfast.  Pancakes, french toast, omelets … you name it.  Sadly, of course, I am unable to have pancakes and must settle for eggs, but still the food is good and it is a fun treat. IHOP has now decided to branch out, however, and they have rolled out a breakfast-themed clothing line called PancakeWear!

The colorful, one-of-a-kind lineup features adult- and child-sized one pieces and lounge pants as well as socks.  According to Stephanie Peterson, Executive Director, Communications at IHOP …

“Breakfast and laid-back loungewear just go together at IHOP so we thought it would be fun to design a limited-edition merchandise collection that reflects the spirit of the brand and what we see in our restaurants all the time – people in pajamas enjoying pancakes.”

What?  Wait a minute … I’ve never gone to IHOP in my jammies, and have never seen others there in theirs, either.  What am I missing?

But the best news …

“PancakeWear by IHOP was launched to celebrate our 60th anniversary as a brand, but also to do a lot of good for our largest charity partner Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. A portion of proceeds from every sale of our breakfast-inspired one pieces, lounge pants and socks directly supports CMN Hospitals and the more than 10 million kids that are treated every year at their 170 affiliated facilities.”

The company plans to raise $5 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through the sales of clothing and other events.  A fun thing for a good cause, yes?


R.I.P. Target …

I remember when my favourite book shop, Borders Books, closed at the end of 2010.  I was crushed, for we used to go there every weekend.  They had the nicest staff, and the best kids’ area of any book shop I have ever been in.  But, alas, they were shortsighted and did not keep up as they should, with Amazon and Barnes & Noble snapping up the online and e-book markets, so ultimately they failed.  But even crushed though I was, I did not do what the people of Hutchinson, Kansas, did when their local Target store closed.  What did they do?  Why, they held a candlelight vigil, of course!The mourners included some who identified themselves as Target employees and a couple of the participants dressed in the store’s khaki pants and red shirt combo.  And while some of the participants in the vigil made their candles the last purchase they ever made from the Target location, others admitted they bought their candles at competing store Wal-mart.  GASP!!!  😲

As a tribute, the mourners played “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie Titanic.

This must be some new trend, for back in January, in Montgomery, Alabama, the community turned out in force for a candlelight vigil to memorialize a Taco Bell restaurant that had been destroyed by fire earlier in the month. Personally, if my Target store closed, I wouldn’t care much one way or another.  If my local Wal-Mart closed, I would cheer and hold a celebratory parade!  Have I mentioned before that I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart?


Stuffed or not?

Imagine that you are finally, after years of dreading it, getting ready to go through your child’s collection of stuffed animals and donate the ones that aren’t missing body parts, to a charity.  Your child has just graduated college and is off on a hiking tour somewhere in the Alps, so what better time, right?  So, you go through the stuffed critters one by one and put them in large trash bags … these for charity, those for the rubbish.  Just as you finish, you notice that one of the bags is … moving!  Cautiously, you open the bag to find …A ferret snuggling in amidst the teddy bears!!!  No, not a stuffed ferret … a real, live, warm-blooded ferret looking up at you with cute little dark eyes.

The anonymous woman was in her garage in Woldingham, England, when this happened, and she immediately contacted the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  They took the ferret to the vet, who determined she was underweight, but otherwise healthy.  She was named Honey, and is now available for adoption.  If I had been that woman, I would have kept her, bought her a bed, some toys, and called her Missus Beasley.  But then, I’m an animal lover, in case you didn’t know.


Where have all the chickens gone? 

Some restaurants are known for solely one thing.  Earlier I talked about IHOP, and they are known mostly for pancakes, but they have a wide variety of offerings to choose from.  Even Burger King is known mostly for burgers, but they also do chicken and fish sammies.  But Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC, is known for one thing and only one thing:  chicken.  So how do you explain KFC running out of … chicken???It happened in the United Kingdom where not just a few, but hundreds of KFC restaurants were shuttered for days because they ran out of chicken.  How did this happen?  They changed their distributor from a company called Bidvest, to DHL.  DHL, it turns out, had promised to “set a new delivery standard”.  🤣  I’m sure KFC managers aren’t laughing, but you’ve got to admit there’s humour here.  DHL promised a new delivery standard and then didn’t deliver any chicken … that is certainly a new standard!  🤣 🤣 🤣

Fully 562 of the 900 KFC’s in the UK were shuttered.  The company did offer a uniquely humorous apology, however …

Although I was not able to confirm, it appears that most stores are now back in the business of frying and selling chicken!  This is the stuff that corporate ulcers are made of, and I would be willing to bet a few heads rolled.


Alright, friends … um … friends? 😴  WAKE UP!!!  It’s time to go to work!  Sheesh … and I even added a few shots of espresso to the coffee!  Listen up now … I need you to do me a big favour and be sure to share those beautiful smiles with someone today, okay?  Tough times … we all need a bit of a boost, especially on a Monday.  Keep safe and have a wonderful week!!!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa!

toon-5toon-4toon-3toon-2toon-1

Saturday Surprise — Black Friday!

Welcome to Saturday’s Surprise!  Since yesterday was that infamous Black Friday, the day where people lose all semblance of sanity in the U.S., I thought it was fair game for a humorous post.  Now, as most of you already know, I do not observe Black Friday in the way most do, for I am not much of a shopper under the best of circumstances, and definitely do not think shopping should result in life-threatening bruises and broken bones!  My Friday-after-Thanksgivings are spent safely ensconced in my home, curled up with a book or my laptop, sipping coffee, and munching on leftovers.  I have friends, however, who arise at 1 or 2 a.m. to go stand shivering in a long line, waiting for the doors of a store to open, then make a mad dash amidst a throng of hundreds for that much coveted piece of electronic wizardry or article of ‘must-have’ clothing, then stand in yet another line of hundreds, already having been punched, shoved, and possibly even knifed, to pay fifty cents less for the item than they would have paid the day before.  Insanity, I tell you!

That said, I thought there must be some funny stories about forays into the Black Friday jungle, and I was right … and so, today I share those with you.  Some will make you laugh, others will have you shaking your heads, wondering if the world has gone mad!  Some of these stories are from the poor retail workers whose jobs it is to serve the public, others from shoppers. I have not changed them, except to shorten them in some cases:

black friday 1“I worked for six yrs at a Johnny rockets(sic) in a mall as a server and management. We didn’t open early like the rest of the stores because we are a restaurant and well, we don’t serve breakfast.

Had people shake our gates screaming that they wanted food. [It] would be just me and a opener getting the chairs set out.

I pointed them towards the food court and told them we didn’t serve breakfast. A lady spit at me and told.me “I know you have bacon”

black friday 2“Someone punched a security guard in the face because he thought he was a customer skipping to the front of the line..he was just walking in the door to start his shift. So yeah, my town has those kind of people in it.”

black friday 3“An 80-year-old grandma tackled and then bear-maced a woman over fleece fabric at my store. The old lady wanted a cancer pink-ribbon fabric, and the woman she ultimately tackled had called ahead and ordered a bulk amount of it, because she works for a cancer organization and makes blankets for cancer patients.”

Black Friday Maxine“Back in my poor college days when I worked at walmart we had a fight break out over a bike. Fists were thrown and there was some blood. Eventually one guy got ahold of it and managed to get away from the crowd, he rode the bike out of the store to flee his pursuers (without paying).”

black friday 4“I think the craziest thing I ever did was camp out with my Texas relatives for the entire night before Thanksgiving. I don’t really ‘do’ Black Friday, but they do, so I decided I would try it. We brought a tent and a camp stove and set up in a Best Buy parking lot. And it was awesome! We made so many friends, some of whom I am still Facebook friends with today. I wouldn’t do it every year, but what I found was the event wasn’t so much about consumerism as it was togetherness. Also, nachos made on a camp stove in the Best Buy parking lot are the best.”

black friday walmart“I was at the mall with my sister, and we were packing up our car when a frazzled couple with a TON of bags came up to us. They said they would give us $20 if we drove their stuff home for them because their car was full. We agreed but realized on the way to their house we totally could have driven off with it — they didn’t ask our name or anything!”

black friday 5“I met my now husband on Black Friday! I saw him across the aisle at an electronics store and asked him for his thoughts on whether I should get x or y TV. He gave me some pointers and then gave me his phone number ‘in case I had any more questions.’ I texted him to thank him, and that was history!”

black friday 6

“One year I went to a local book and gift store and spent $78 on a bunch of stocking stuffers. Then I got a call from my bank. The cashier accidentally charged me $7,800 and my account was super overdrawn!”

black friday 74

“And there was this 11ish year old kid with a woman in her 60s. He was waiting for his 360 bundle. Woman before him had “gotten the last one,” sighs all around. Then he says “nope one more” and begins the motion of handing it to the kid and this guy comes out of no where and pushed the older woman and the kid. The kid hit his face on the edge of a video game rack, you know the one with the metal and plastic dividers.”

 

And in news about the country from yesterday, the following Black Friday headlines:

  • 1 shot at Missouri mall – One person was shot outside a Missouri college town mall on Thursday night, when stores opened for early Black Friday deals. An unidentified 19-year-old suffered life-threatening injuries in the parking lot shooting at the Columbia Mall.
  • Brawl shuts down Alabama mall – Police and firefighters responded to the Riverchase Galleria after 11 p.m. Thanksgiving after at least one fight on the second floor; a video shows two girls fighting.  A shoe was thrown during the melee, hitting a baby in the head.
  • Skipping the lines? – Some people have attempted to skip the lines at Walmart and Best Buy by wearing employee vests, either obtained from past employment or through social media users selling them online. Wal-Mart vests were being sold on one website for $100 each!

And so concludes another Saturday Surprise!  I hope you are all still safe and of sound mind if you participated in the Black Friday madness.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, stay warm and keep safe!  Love ‘n hugs …

And to set the tone for the day, a favourite of mine … 

And In Today’s Bad Taste Section …

Any who know me well know that I have an extreme distaste for Wal-Mart.  The reasons are numerous, starting with the way they treat their employees, their environmental practices, their poor quality products and much more.  I have boycotted Wal-Mart for years now and will continue to do so.  However even I could not have predicted how low they could stoop, what poor taste they would exhibit with their latest faux pas.

Wal-Mart Is Selling Prints of Japanese Internment Camps as ‘Perfect’ Wall Art

The retailer is offering 15 posters of the forced relocation of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans, which occurred during World War II, including ones of children waiting to be transported and a group of Japanese women within the grounds of an internment camp. The pictures are described as “the perfect Wall Art for any home, bedroom, playroom, classroom, dorm room or office workspace.” – Think Progress, 11 November 2017

What’s next?  Pictures of bodies in the ditches of Auschwitz?  This is not the first time Wal-Mart has come under fire for selling controversial products.

  • In September, 2016, a Wal-Mart in Panama City Beach put up a display that used Coke and Sprite boxes to create an American flag backdrop. In front of it, Coke Zero packages were stacked to resemble the World Trade Center towers. A banner above read, “We will never forget.” The display was quickly taken down amid complaints from shoppers, but still …

Wal-mart twin towers display


  • In July, 2014, a poster, featuring the main gate of the Dachau camp with the slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei”—”Work Makes You Free”—was being sold on Wal-Mart’s website. It, too, was quickly taken down and Wal-Mart issued a statement that it had been placed there by one of their third-party sellers, but still …

Wal-mart auschwitz


  • This past July, a netting weave cap was listed on Wal-Mart’s website, the colour described as “N—– Brown.” Again, the product was quickly removed, the blame placed on a ‘third-party seller’.  But still …

Wal-mart brown capMy best guess is that by the end of the day, the internment camp pictures will be removed, blame placed on a ‘third party seller’, and the incident will fade into the oblivion of most peoples’ minds.  But let me note here that Wal-Mart has full control of their website, that it is viewed by Wal-Mart’s own web developers daily, and that at the end of the day, Wal-Mart must accept responsibility for any and all content.

What is in the mind of whomever first came up with the idea, the person who thought this was a good idea, who thought it would add something to one’s living room to have this picture …

Wal-mart internment… hanging over the fireplace?  I realize that we are fast becoming a society inured to social injustice, placing it far lower on the priority list than greed and profit … but this???  Is there any one person reading this post who thinks this is okay? What kind of people are so greedy that they would profit from the pain of others?

I know a great many people who shop at Wal-Mart, though I refuse to.  They say they save a lot of money there, but I have my doubts, given the shoddy quality of their merchandise.  And those who call for this new “America First”, for the manufacturing of goods to return to the U.S. from overseas, need to note that Wal-Mart imports from China alone were estimated to have displaced some 400,000 jobs from U.S. workers between 2001 and 2013 1  Only one of many reasons to ask yourself if you might do just as well elsewhere.

Shopping at Wal-Mart is a bit like voting for Donald Trump or Alabama’s Roy Moore:  cheap, tacky, classless and tasteless.

1 New York Times, 09 December 2015

Mini-Mini-Mini Vacation Is Done … Filosofa Returns!

Well, friends, I have returned from my ‘mini-vacation’, which turned out to be even ‘mini-er’ than I planned.  You will get a kick out of this story …

I will always believe it was the red car.  When you rent a car, usually it’s grey or black, but this time they gave me a bloomin’ RED car.  Not just any red, but a red so bright that it hurt your eyes to look at it.  I do not care for red cars.  Now I am convinced that they are jinxed.

cruze-2I got a bit of a late start – 9:00 instead of 8:00 – but okay, I would still be there well before dark, probably by 6:30.  The rain was torrential, and being visually challenged anyway, it made for some very tense driving, but I was happy that I was going to see H and have a fun weekend.  It was also windy, and there was a considerable amount of debris on the highway.  One such piece of debris turned out to be a long piece of some sort of metal and by the time I saw it, I could not avoid it as there were cars on either side of mine, so I ran over it at 65 miles per hour.  Everything seemed fine until about 20 minutes later when a light flashed on the dashboard telling me that my tire pressure was low, and I knew immediately what had happened.

 

rain

I got off at the next exit, a small town with only one service station attached to a convenience store/deli.  I parked and went inside, hoping they could direct me to a tire store, but no such luck … the nearest one was some 20 miles, and I knew my tire would not make it that far.  So, I called Roadside Assistance.  A snippet of that conversation:

He: Was this flat tire a result of vandalism?

Me:  No

He:  Was it the result of an accident?

Me:  No (thinking that if I had an accident, the flat tire would be the least of my worries)

He:  When did you first notice the flat tire?

Me:  About 20 minutes ago

He:  Can you give me the exact time?

Me:  Probably not, as I did not look at the clock … and why does it matter?

He:  I’m just trying to pin down the problem, ma’am

Me: The problem is that the left front tire has no air in it.

He: What is the mileage on the car?

Me: 6,625

He: So why do you think the tire is flat?

Me: Because the car is sitting on the rim, and because the dashboard monitor told me so.

He: But what do you think happened to it?

Me: Possibly it was damaged when I ran over some debris in the roadway, but I do not understand why any of this matters.  I am stranded in this rental car and I am hoping to get to Pennsylvania sometime this week!

The conversation went on for another 3-4 minutes and ended with him telling me that somebody would be there with a new tire in about an hour.  An hour came … and went.  After 75 minutes, I received a text message telling me that the service tech would be there in another hour.  Sigh.  But he did not actually bring a replacement tire … he merely put on the temporary tire that was in the trunk and warned me not to drive more than 50 miles or so before replacing it with a full-size tire.

flat tire

So, I set off in search of a tire store in the nearest large town.  I decided to stop at Wal-Mart, a store that I typically avoid at all costs, and ask where the nearest tire store was.  Turns out that Wal-Mart actually deals in tires and if I would just drive around back they would have me back on my way in no time.  “No time” turned out to be another two hours, and by now it was 5:00 and still pouring rain.  At best, it would take me until midnight to get to H’s house, whereas I was only 2 hours from home.  So, H & I agreed that, since I cannot see to drive after dark, it made more sense for me to just go back home and we will reschedule for next month.

But the story isn’t quite done yet. Turns out the car rental company will not re-imburse me the $80 for the tire, because … one has to purchase additional ‘roadside assistance’ for them to cover things like that.  Who knew?

And then … I almost broke my thumb.  See, it was still pouring rain and my eyes were about shot by this time, so after I drove for an hour, I pulled off at a rest area to give my eyes a break and have a smoke.  Since it was pouring rain, I put the window down only when I needed to flick my ashes outside, then immediately put the window back up.  Well, I got in too big of a hurry to get that window back up, and my thumb was still outside when the electric window reached the top.  Be advised … electric windows do not stop for metatarsals. The thumb is bruised, but not broken, by the way.

thumb

And so sums up my journey … 2 days preparing, 2 hours packing, 10 hours on the road, and … well, I am thankful to be home safe and sound, so I am not complaining or fretting.  In fact, I had rather a good chuckle over the whole thing … after a few tears, that is.  We are hoping for a more successful trip in four weeks.  Meanwhile, I will be back in the saddle after I unpack my suitcase and rest for a bit.

Filosofa Rants … Again

Disclaimer:  This is a rant.  Filosofa is angry and disgusted.

We fear that which we do not understand.  This is the source of much of the conflict in the world and always has been.  It is the root cause of every single form of bigotry.  Last year when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, there were radical and irrational responses across the nation.  The outcry has only intensified since then.  Why?  Because many people fear homosexuality, just as many fear blacks, Muslims, Jews, and other who are ‘different’.  When I was a child, I was left-handed, and I learned at a very young age that people feared left-handed people.  I went to Catholic schools where the nuns would rap my knuckles with a ruler every time they caught me writing with my left hand.  I rebelled (surprised?) and remained a ‘southpaw’ until a broken arm forced me to change my writing hand.  Most prejudices are stupid.  S-T-U-P-I-D. There are two ways people can respond to their fear of a person or group they perceive as being different.  They can: a) make an effort to learn about that person, that group, find some common ground and attempt to understand the differences, or b) they can express their fear as hatred and contempt, attempting to either force the ‘different’ one(s) to conform or attempt to eradicate them.

The federal Equality Act of 2015 is a bill in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate that if passed would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.  Currently in 31 states people are at a risk of being fired, evicted or refused service just because they are LGBT.  That is the wrong that this bill seeks to set right.  Although the bill has not been passed, and the likelihood of it being passed before next year is slim, there is an ongoing uproar and a number of states are scrambling to pass state laws that counteract the federal bill before it becomes law.  The most ludicrous, vicious and inane reaction has come in the form of public restroom discrimination.  I have had, and still have, no desire to write about this topic.  It is beyond my comprehension why and how this even became an issue, and I have thus far chosen not to waste my time on it.  Filosofa is busy and has much weightier things to think and write about.  But alas, rather than settling, this issue is becoming a raging inferno and even otherwise intelligent people, sadly including some of my own friends, are reducing themselves to blathering idiots.  Let us consider a few facts:

  • When was the last time you saw a LGBT person in a public venue? Probably every time you go out, but since they look exactly like anybody else, you had no clue.
  • When was the last time you were in a public restroom with a gay or transgender person? Again, you have no idea because they look exactly like anybody else.
  • LGBT people are far more likely to be harassed than they are to be harassers.

targetThe mega-retailer, Target, recently announced a non-discriminatory restroom policy that would allow transgender people to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.  Two thumbs up to Target for this policy.  However, there are those who are dead-set against such progressive, tolerant thinking.  Some of those people have formed a coalition and are circulating a petition to boycott Target.  The petition has already gained more than 550,000 signatures.  First of all, the new ‘hate laws’ passed by North Carolina, Mississippi and others, make it illegal for a transgender person to use the restroom of their current gender identity.  Meaning … somebody would have to visually inspect the genitalia of each person entering a public restroom in order to ensure that person used the ‘proper’ facility.  I am much more offended by even the thought of such an inspection than I would be the thought of sharing a restroom with a transgender person.  Second, WTF does it matter?  Some of the comments I have seen bandied about are that people are afraid transgender people will sexually abuse their children.  WAKE UP!  99.9% of ALL people, transgender, gay, straight, black, Muslim … ALL people … use a public restroom because they need to ‘take care of business’.  They do not go there to molest children.  Pedophiles exist and the vast majority of them are not LGBT people.  Third, and this applies more to women than to men, there are stalls with doors in public restrooms.  I can honestly say that I have never in all my years of using public restrooms seen a person with their pants down in a public restroom!  Why does anybody care?  In fact, I have actually gone into men’s restrooms before … no, I do not make it a habit, but a couple of times I have mistakenly entered a men’s restroom, and on one occasion I was ill, there was a line at the ladies, so I went into the men’s.  The only thing that happened was a gentleman was kind enough to stick around and make sure I was alright.

I avoid public restrooms whenever I can, but not because I am afraid of the people I might encounter.  I avoid them because I have a limited immune system and avoid germs as much as possible.  However, I have no fear of using a public restroom, I have no fear of encountering a gay person or a transgender person in a restroom, public swimming pool, or any other venue.  As much as I like any retail store, I like Target.  I am there at least twice a month to purchase cat food, toilet cleaner, paper towels, deodorant, toothpaste, and other household/personal items.  In fact, I was there yesterday.  I will continue to shop at Target as long as their prices remain competitive.  I do not shop at Wal-Mart, as I object to their employment and import policies, not to mention that their products are sub-standard. However, I have not circulated a petition, nor do I criticize others – I simply do not shop there. If you don’t want to shop at Target, fine … it won’t be as crowded when I go there next Saturday.  But what is the point in yelling it to the world, in signing a pointless petition, in trying to bend the world to your close-minded way of thinking?

Feelings are what they are and are neither ‘right’ nor ‘wrong’, they simply are.  But actions will be judged as being right or wrong, proper or improper, acceptable or unacceptable. Those who honestly fear encountering a gay or transgender person in a public restroom should probably avoid public restrooms altogether.  It may take time, but ultimately this nation is moving toward tolerance for all.  Slowly, but surely.  There are so many serious issues in this world that should demand our attention, our consideration, demand that we use our voices to speak out against injustice.  The whole issue of who has a right to use which public restroom is not one of those critical issues, it is only being made to seem so by the masses.  I do not have time for this, and neither should anyone else.  Go worry about how to take care of Syrian refugees, how to end racism, how to feed starving children, how to save our environment.  Next time you find yourself thinking about who should use which restroom, go plant some flowers to help the bee population.

Please read Target’s response to the public outcry.

End of rant.