Wednesday, April 29, 2020

4582 We Didn't Get to be the Way We Are by Being the Way We Are

These tumbleweeds didn’t get the memo on social distancing. Or they’re ignoring it.  The two large ones are cousins. The little one, second from left is their son.
We’ve used that title on other items in the past. But it’s truer now than ever.

Look at us! We’re the ‘effin United States of America.  We were the world leader in practically any field you can name… industry, economy, the arts and especially caring for one another.  We used to lead in education, science, technology, education, health care, investment and music -- real music, not the stuff that passes muster today.  And war making.  Once we were good at that. Wars began and then they ended. Now, they just begin and continue.  A waste of the greatest war machine the world has ever seen not to mention the dead and injured.

We started taking things for granted.  For decades now, the forces that are killing us have been making their poison and letting it seep out.  They’ve turned us into a bunch of special interest groups.  Not that those groups shouldn’t exist. They should.  But not the extent that they undermine the United part of the US.

You can blame trump and McConnell and the Koch brothers Cato Institute and the Solipsist Society for the present trouble. But we’re all at fault to some degree.  It is the amorphous “us” that let all this happen.  

Why? Because as fictional news anchor Howard Beale said, all we want is our toasters, our TVs and our steel belted radials.  The movie “Network” came before the computer age, else your iPhone, MacBook and game console likely would have been added to Beale’s list.

Another fictional news anchor, Will McAvoy also nailed it: “We aspired to intelligence. We didn't belittle it. It didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn't… scare so easy.”

Well, it’s time to wake up and reclaim our country from the people who’ve been working to destroy it all these years.


(ROCHESTER MN) -- Vice president Pants toured the Mayo Clinic and didn’t wear a mask. He said it was so he could look people in the eye.  Note to the VP: The mask doesn’t cover your eyes. Try one on. They don’t hurt.

(HUNTINGTON NY) -- The Roman Catholic Church in Huntington on New York’s Long Island is offering drive-through confession. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I did not wear a mask at 7-11 when I went for my morning coffee.

(DEARBORN, MI) -- Ford Motor (F: NYSE) projects a pretax loss of five billion dollars for the          current quarter.  Doesn’t that make you want you to run right out and buy one of their famous exploding Pintos?

(MONROVIA Ca) -- Grocer Trader Joe’s says leave those reusable cloth grocery bags with the front door guides. As we have repeated\y pointed those bags are trouble because they breed germs.

(BRUSSELS) -- The Belgian government has asked that you keep your deep fryers fired up during the pandemic and to keep eating those “french” fries. Belgium claims to have invented finger foods -- including the fries -- and worries that the potato industry and thousands of food stands will go out of business.  You want fries with that?

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

Monday, April 27, 2020

4581 Abandoned at the Altar

People who know the company will know what this means. But the story stands even if you don’t know the name or locations.

This is a story about a regional chain of furniture stores that went broke. Twice. Both recently. They were best known for giving you “the business” when you gave them yours, for screaming at you from print and television ads and for co-inventing the most meaningless phrase in retailing, “the reference price.”

Just what is a reference price? Read this conversation:

Customer: What does the reference price refer to?
Salesman: Well, um… err, it’s kinda like what we think it should sell for.
Customer: Did you ever sell this dining room table or that recliner at the reference price?
Salesman: well, um err.
Customer: silence
Salesman: “No, we never have.”

This phrase is the love child of two older phrases, “comparable value” and “MSRP.” Also meaningless.
The family that owned the chain of stores sold it to a larger company which continued to operate them separately, but later decided to close down.

Then came the Covfefe Virus.  So the sale was called off. You ordered something?  You paid for it -- or at least made a down payment?  Tough. You lose.

You ordered something and it was already on the truck ready for delivery?  Tough. You lose.

The new new owners are trying to salvage their purchase but for some reason can’t.  So there are all those buildings and all that merchandise and all those employees now homeless or jobless or both.

Fortunately for some people a smaller competitor, also family-owned has offered to fill unfilled orders at the actual price, not the reference price.  Some restrictions apply. Well… many restrictions apply. 

Is the story over?  Probably not.  But the only people who will benefit will be lawyers on all three sides of this mess.  And that’ll have to wait until the courts that handle this kind of mess reopen.  Which could be… midway through trump’s second term.


(ALL OVER) -- Friends from all over have left voicemail pretending to have ingested Clorox or Drano and have developed symptoms.  They’re kidding, of course, but one may have legitimately been sick because he ate some canned corn with a best-before date from 1994.

(EAST MEADOW NY) -- The Mexican fast food place, Moe’s Southwest, is ready to re-open its Long Island branches. Fortunately, one of them is right near the county hospital.

(OTTOWA) -- When trump said he’s ready to re-open the Canadian border, Canada says “not so fast, turnip-for-brains.  It’s our border too.

(PIGEON FORGE TN) -- Businesses in this mule holler say they’re going to reopen for business on May 1.  That is if they can find the 600 or so Dollywood workers furloughed with the Virus of Northern Aggression hit the place.

(TUCSON, AZ) -- Arizona is expecting triple digit temperatures this week.  But it’s a dry heat.

(PYONG YANG) -- North Korea’s strong-boy dictator is either dead or not.  Or sick or not. Or living in his 800-foot-long private train that’s sidetracked near the east coast, or not.  Or conducting “normal” business (like threatening South Korea and the US with nuclear annihilation or killing close relative) or not.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

Friday, April 24, 2020

4580 The Hitman... Getting Away with Murder

This guy could teach Capone and Gotti a thing or two.  If it weren’t for Rich Mitch, the trumps would be just another bunch of hoods in the hood.

Andy Cuomo thinks Mitch McConnell wants to bankrupt blue states.  Not true.  Mitch McConnell wants to bankrupt ALL states.  Even his own. Even though he called federal help for states a “blue state bailout.”

“Declare bankruptcy,” says the Senate Majority Leader to State governments in need of federal money to fight the trump virus.  And McConnell is trump’s chief federal hitman.

Is it really that bad?  Sure. The virus is killing people left right and center.  And when money flows -- and it has been and is -- the underworlders always get their cut.  And as in other organized crime syndicates, the payoffs flow upward.  Trickle-up economics.

With guys like Luciano and El Chapo, you had a good idea who was calling the shots even if you couldn’t prove it.  With the McConnell people, most everything is done openly. They get up on television and give speeches.  And then, the Bosses send their leg breakers out.  Or they could if they had to.  But their malfeasance means they never have to put that Garrote around Luca Brasi’s neck.
Nice clean elimination. They don’t need to pay off some gunsel, the virus. This gunsel works for nothing.  And you can’t see him until he gets into your lungs.

Where is Preet Bharara when we need him most.  Or Jack McCoy.

“We're not getting the truth. I know over the years, going back to the 1950s, with the atomic bomb, don't worry about more testing in Nevada. You'll all be fine. Take a shower." -- Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas saying it’s time to reopen the casinos. (CNN Anderson Cooper interview.)


(ATLANTA) -- In his pell mell campaign to be a “made man,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is putting more people on the street; opening up the state.  Godfather trump has signaled his disapproval.  Watch your back, Brian.

(NEW YORK) -- The streets are still empty. The hospitals remain overloaded. The people who work there are still exhausted; running on fumes.

(NEW ROSES, PA) -- The local exploding ego-charity that masquerades as a hospital is having fun basking in the spotlight while its doctors, nurses, aides, orderlies and schedule keepers sweat blood.

(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Associates at Mega Retailer Target (NYSE: TGT) are planning a “sick out” on May 1.  According to their employee association, Target Workers Unite, “foot traffic and ‘guests’ behavior has been atrocious and conditions are unsafe.

(TOKYO) -- After promising every family two masks, the government of Japan has issued a recall.  A lot of them were dirty.  Some shrank in the wash.

(A SOUTHERN STATE) -- One observer thinks humans may be the disease and the virus is the planet’s immune system in action.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® 
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

4579 Stop Whining and Pitch In

You want to open everything up?  Leave me out.  We’re not ready for that.  And anyone who tells you we are doesn’t know what he/she/it/they know what they’re talking about.

The cartoon below and others like it is making its way throughout the rurals:

Scroll down for more
This is untrue on a lot of levels. This is an international health crisis and the name of the game is protecting one another.

We didn’t and don’t know what the Covfefe Virus is going to do next… where it’s going to go… who it’ll hit and how badly.  So, yeah, you’re bored.  You and your significant other are fighting about everything. And nothing. The saloons are closed.  Gasoline’s cheap but there’s no place to go and your mileage has raised to three gallons a week. The bars are closed? Drink wine instead, available at a supermarket near you -- or a convenience store with a beer license.

Stop whining. Wear a mask. If you can’t find one, make one. There are all kinds of videos. Lysol spray on the doorknobs.  Wear a hat and leave it on the porch or in the garage.  Especially my fellow baldies.

Don’t watch the idiot president’s daily self promoting video appearances. You never believed a word he said, anyway.

Shop early. The stores are less crowded and there’s still hand sanitizer left in the dispensers many have at the front door. Stay home as much as possible even if you can’t stand your spouse and he or she can’t stand you.  Watch movies on TV or Netflix or whichever pay-per-view you buy. Read. Nap. Skype. Zoom. Make a phone call.

Finish the basement. The big-box hardware stores are open.  Check your bank account every hour to see if your trumpcheck has arrived.  Write letters. Write emails.  And remember you may be bored and frustrated and angry like most everyone else.  But you’re still up and breathing without a ventilator.

But the day is young.


(FLUSHING) -- Jlo is thinking of buying the New York Mets.  Every girl needs a hobby. Plus empty seats at CitiField were common even before the commissars forced you behind walls. 

(NEW YORK) -- trump’s company has asked president trump for bailout money.  Again?

(HOUSTON) -- Former Secretary of State ReXXon has returned to the company.  He is pumping gas at a convenience store near his Houston mansion and has subscribed to Berlitz Learn to Speak Arabic-Someone-With-An-Expired-Visa.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

Monday, April 20, 2020

4578 News as a Service Industry

Note that the UPI printer uses yellow paper (and purple ink) while the AP’s uses gray paper and black ink. Metaphor for their approaches.

News is a service business.  One slight difference… one of the several ways the service is delivered is with a physical product, a folded sheaf of papers.

How you use the biz and how you have it delivered is up to you, though if it’s that sheaf, you’d best prepare to change systems.

And choice plays a big part in your decision, as with any service.

You run out of money, go for service: find a loan shark or payday loan company. If you don’t like those choices, you can take one step up and find a pawn shop.  If you’re really uptight, there’s always the bank.  Or you can run up your credit card.

More on choice: If your roof leaks, you don’t call for a full scale house renovation, you call a roofer.  When the car won’t start, you call for a jump or a tow, not Elan Musk.

So what’s the point, here? The physical newspaper has become like horse carriages, fountain pens and 1957 Chevys. There’s a fan base for all those things.  Musical saws, reruns of Seinfeld, original model Waring Blenders and Maytag ringer washing machines, too.  

The fans move on.  In the case of printed newspapers, the niche remains pretty big.  And like vinyl records, there always will be a market.  But the rest of us have to hunt down other sources of information.

And there’s a problem with that.  Where to turn.

When Ted Turner invented CNN, it did news 24 hours a day.  When Westinghouse Radio invented WINS (55 years ago this month,) IT did news 24 hours a day.  Straight shooters, these both. Carefully written, produced and presented.

No more.  CNN and its competitors have become advocacy panel shows, sometimes less real than the corrupt quiz shows of yore and the corrupt “reality” shows of today.  

Many of the all news radio stations that followed WINS have become cases of audio bulimia. No one’s watching the store.  And if you live outside a major city, your local radio and TV stations mostly cover fires, building collapses, shootings, stabbings, auto crashes, but not corrupt companies or corrupt governments.

So the big news takes place on the internet.  But without the constraints of a New York Times or even a National Enquirer.  Here’s an old cartoon from the early days of computers:
From Wikipedia. Caption: On the internet, no own knows you’re a dog.

But now that most computers have cameras, we DO know if we’re talking to a dog.  But when it comes to news, it’s a different story.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

4577 President Limbaugh

The only time you'll see this guy to the left of anyone. Pic was pre his ear implants.
Who’s running this show, anyway? Is it really the hoodwinking reality TV star or the loudmouth (Formerly?) drug-addled radio star, Rush Limbaugh?  It’s Limbaugh, even though “no one” listens to radio anymore.  It’s Limbaugh because as a stage four lung cancer patient with self-induced deafness, he has nothing to lose.

In fact, Rush is a pretty talented radio guy. Unfortunately for the rest of the country he’s abused that talent by finding a niche that appealed to a small knot of wackos and managed to expand that knot into millions of listeners longing for simple answers to complicated questions and willing to believe anything that coincides with their supposedly conservative longings, lustings and delusions.

trump wanted to do his own radio show.  Kind of a radio version of his failed TV show.  But he didn’t want to “compete with … Limbaugh.”  trump turns to Rush for instruction.  And Rush knows just how to kiss trump’s ass to keep the relationship safe and the instruction going. Professor Limbaugh isn’t above coddling his favorite students.

Oh, every once in a while, the president cheats on Rush.  You know, like when he watches Fox or that even lower lowlife One America News.  But as he did and probably still does with women, trump returns to his true love, Limbaugh, at least until the divorce or the next other woman.  

Well, no. His true love is himself. But Rush must be #2. Like Avis, he’ll have to try harder.

(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Talk show bananahead Michael Savage has turned his savagery against some of his fellow right wingnuts. He calls them scientific illiterates since he has a Ph.D. in ethnomedicine from that bastion of conservatism, the University of California, Berkeley and knows something about diseases.  But he still supports trump.

(HARRISBURG) -- The governor of PA has decreed all people who work or shop in open businesses wear masks.  Try and find any! Maybe a Halloween mask you forgot to throw out?

(TALLAHASSEE) -- The governor has declared WWE wrestling an essential business and therefore may continue to stage live matches in Florida. Do they have a version of the Marvel comic “Masked Raider?”

(SACRAMENTO) -- McClatchy, the second largest local news organization in the country and now in bankruptcy has opened itself for a sale.  This raises concerns about someone taking this awkward and ill-prepared giant.  It also concerns its current owners that no one will want to buy the place.  Would you?

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions:
© WJR 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

4576 To My Younger and Some Older Friends

We all seem to need big deals in our lives. And this Coronavirus is exactly that.  When we don’t have Something Really Important, we manufacture our own, Fortunately for many, the Coronavirus the first really global big deal of your lives.  And that means you should consider lowering the importance of your personal big deal for the time being.

If you’re an American, act like an American. Follow the rules. Take the precautions.  Distance. Mask. All that.

This virus is as big as most of the really big deals in American history.

The Revolution. The Civil War. WWI. The Great Depression. WWII. Korea. Desegregation.  Vietnam. Even 9/11.

And here’s what Americans did, for the most part, most of the time in most of these cases.

They put their personal dramas on hold, joined their neighbors in fighting to end the main Worst Case of the moment.

Your views on race, gender, discrimination, guns, medical insurance, generational i.d., juror nullification, pot legalization, animal cruelty, any “ism,” income inequality, minimum wages, individual rights, the guy whose dog uses your yard as a bathroom, who should use which bathroom in restaurants, real estate taxes, education, private vs. public schools, charter schools, fraternities and sororities, sports teams, the place or lack of place of pineapple on pizza or which city has the best kind, alumni associations, street gangs, motorcycle helmets, the afterlife, religion, abortion, the role of video games in actual violence, rural life, suburban life, city life, the death penalty, sentencing guidelines, silent rooms in libraries? 

Sure they matter. And you can get back to them after we solve what matters to each and all of us -- including you.

(NEW ORLEANS) -- The 5th Circuit appeals court has blocked Texas from banning all abortions for the duration of the Coronavirus.

(DENVER) -- The 10th Circuit appeals court has blocked Oklahoma from banning all abortions for the duration of the Coronavirus.

(CHESTERFIELD VA) -- Bishop Gerald O. Glen of the New Deliverance Evangelical church told his congregation he would continue to hold regular services unless he was “in jail or a hospital.” He then held a service and soon after, died.

(MINEOLA NY) -- The Nassau County Police Department announces it will test all officers for Coronavirus.  The “deputy sheriffs” also will be tested.

(EAST MEADOW NY) -- Sheriffs’ deputies at the Nassau County jail welcome the tests. Deputy Brian Thuggley says “we don’t want to give our inmates anything contagious.  Heh heh heh.”

(UNITED NATIONS NY) -- President trump says he’ll withdraw US funding of the World Health Organization because WHO doesn’t agree with his pseudo policies on Coronavirus.  Someone please tell trump it’s congress and not the Ultimate Authority White House that contributes and can withhold WHO funding.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

4575 Newskiller Virus

Editor Brigit O’Grady of the Daily News-Times-Telegraph-Evening Standard and Tribune of Pachelbel, Nevada at her Wessays interview on the set of Gunfight at the OK Corral. 

Some thoughts from someone who started in AM radio but worked in national print and TV, too:

Calm down.  What’s happening to newspapers is what happened to AM radio over the last decade.  It didn’t die. Neither will papers. But they’re both relegated to minor roles.

Think about what passes for radio news these days. The all-news stations are the only ones getting many listeners. And the sports guys are on life support.  The all-newsers are stuffed with aural packing peanuts, “Man-on-the-Street” hogwash and uninteresting features.

RADIO REPORTER: “Ms. Baker, how do you feel about the Coronavirus?”
Ms. BAKER, age 86 after taking her daily walk down the middle of the pedestrian mall formerly known as West 42nd Street: “How the hell do you think I feel?  This is awful. Have you found anyone out here who likes it? Have you even found anyone else out here?”

RADIO IN-STUDIO ANCHOR: “Thanks Radio Reporter. And we’ll tell you the story of how kids from PS 150 in Queens are learning to communicate by telephone right after four or five promos and public service announcements and Traffic and Weather Together.”

The rest of the AM talk radio stations are running syndicated right wing hate fests.  Except for NPR which has some fascinating tales of life in Uganda’s rainforest, complete with pre-recorded sound effects and people jabbering in Swahili. 

This situation may ease a bit when this trumpvirus goes away. But it’s a template for the future.

Now to newspapers:  They won’t die. They’ll just do the same thing that AM newstalk stations are doing. 

Brigit O’Grady is editor of the Daily News-Times-Telegraph-Evening Standard and Tribune of Pachelbel, Nevada. Ms. O’Grady is a 2017 graduate of the Matchbook Cover Community College of North Pachelbel, once a thriving mining and gaming community.

EDITOR: Well, we used to have five daily papers here, the Times, News, Telegraph, Standard and Tribune. We all had a joint printing and advertising arrangement.  Now, we share a newsroom too.  It’s right here on Main Street in that building over there, the one that looks like the set of “Gunfight at the OK Corral.”

WESSAYS: But you have a full staff, right? 
EDITOR: We have two reporters, I have an assistant, and, of course, we get the UPI Wire.  We’re hoping they can hang on until we all recover.
WESSAYS: And your page count?
EDITOR: Forty-nine…
WESSAYS: That’s pretty…
EDITOR: ...a week! That’s seven pages a day.
WESSAYS: How do you manage to print an odd number of pages per day?
EDITOR: We leave the last page blank. Our readers know that that’s where the sports stuff would go… except there isn’t any.
WESSAYS: Circulation?
EDITOR: We can’t afford the Audit fees. But we print 500 a day. More on Sundays for the comics.
WESSAYS: But the Population of Pachelbel is only 350…
EDITOR: We cover the suburbs, too.
WESSAYS: Your website help?
EDITOR: Not really. We had to switch from to Google Docs when Go Daddy raised its rates.  The site is free to use but we pass a virtual hat.

Yes, the Washington Post, Boston Globe, LA Times, Newsday and other papers owned by zillionaires will continue to publish.  And the Times and Wall Street Journal.  And as long as there are motels in America, USA Today will survive.

The New York Times is making a profit on subscriptions and the Website, but they’re also taking in laundry in the form of printing other papers.

Good luck to the rest of them, and the AM radio stations once great but now small.

(SACRAMENTO) -- Multi-publisher McClatchy, in a hole so deep they can see China from their basement window, announces a 4.4% staff cut including four executives.

(CLEVELAND) -- The Cleveland Plain Dealer says it had 340 reporters 20 years ago and is “now down to four journalists.” (contributed by R. Thomas Berner of Centre County PA.)

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions?
© WJR 2020

4744 The Running of the Bull

  Newsday Photo   A bull escaped from a farm in Moriches on New York’s Long Island and has been playing hide and seek ever since.  It’s not ...