Saturday, June 26, 2010


This is a short post, because Walmart's problems and abuses are documented everywhere else. Incredibly, Sam Walton's autobiography was entitled, Made in America. It was Wal-Mart then. He gave his buyers incentives to buy American products. He was also a pioneer in profit sharing. Things have changed a little bit.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Once upon a time, there was a game, a mob scene in England that came to be called, "Football." It grew into other variations, which also go by the same name. Overbearing fans often insist that their variation is the only one worthy of the designation, but all are legitimate descendants of the original free-for-all. Association football went on to become known as, "The Beautiful Game." It needs a makeover. There are problems everywhere.

1. On the field: Good spectator sports have high drama, winning traditions, displays of mastery, comebacks and heroic last stands. Soccer might be beautiful, but nothing happens. The offsides rule, somnambulant players, defense oriented strategy and flopping all combine to make soccer boring. At least when you watch paint dry, there is a slight change in color and texture.

Here are some scores from The 2010 FIFA World Cup:

Uruguay vs. France
Ivory Coast vs. Portugal

Both games were 0-0.

South Africa vs. Mexico
England vs. USA
Italy vs. Paraguay
New Zealand vs. Slovakia

All 1-1.

USA vs. Slovenia 2-2.

2. Around the field: Watch an American Football game filmed at any time in the last 40 years. You're right in the action. If you watch the NFL in person, you see cameras everywhere. Every angle is covered. The NFL boasts the highest production values, and other American sports aren't far behind.
Soccer takes its motto from an old Chrysler campaign: Suddenly it's 1960! One camera sits high above the cheap seats. The viewer sees ants run around on a green surface.

3. Off the field: Soccer is bankrupting itself. It has gone further than baseball and the NFL in bleeding its audience dry. While one could argue that those willing to pay any price for a nonessential deserve to do just that, it has come at the expense of mass appeal. Bankruptcies are happening across the sports world. Core audiences do not have unlimited budgets. It might be too late to win back the masses, who don't know and don't care.

It's been a long time since the maracanazo.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The British Judicial System

Thanks to Britain, the US has the rule of law. Generally, precedents and testimony where witnesses are confronted and cross examined is better than the older Roman system of everything in written form. It's puzzling though, that the English system is now off the rails in a big way.

The above story is about a woman who was heavily penalized for selling a goldfish to a kid who was underage by two years. There are laws about children buying pets, but a goldfish isn't exactly a dog.

Last winter, some kids were arrested for stealing council sand. The sand was in bins, and it looked like it was there for the taking. It seems that they took the sand and spread it on the walkways of elderly neighbors, who would have otherwise been unable to leave their homes, due to icing. The sand serves no other purpose.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Being a native of Northern California, Levi's have always been a point of pride. They were invented and produced there for over 100 years. Although there were some changes (I never understood the Big E people.), they stayed basically the same the whole time.

Then, Levi's discovered contract manufacturing. Gradually, quality slipped to the point where they are just generic pants. I have continued buying them, because they are the only ones who sell odd numbered sizes.

Now Levi's aren't very good. Contract manufacturers size things so inconsistently, that odd numbered sizes show up via sloppiness, though they aren't labeled as such. It's time to look to other brands.

My current pair of 501s was badly made in Mexico. When I sit, it feels like they're twisting. The outseam is much higher than the inseam.

Does Levi's get it? Of course not. Their vintage products change hands for lots of money, but they have no idea why.