When do Lovable Mom and Pop Shops Become Corporations?

These days, everyone seems to be against corporations in favor of supporting Mom and Pop shops.  But see, here’s the thing about evolutionary business structures.  If we continue our support, eventually they will grow into something larger, more profitable – a corporation – and then people will feel the need to hate them.   We’ll hate the fact that they purchase lobbyists to influence politicians to legislate things like loopholes and low-cost loans and investment protections.  We’ll despise the fact that they receive the equivalent of a vote in the political arena.  We’ll start to loathe the Mom and Pop that created the business because they’ll be off in their planes and on their yachts while their employees work for low wages.

Truth is, the public will have some responsibility in creating the development of the corporation.  It is the nature of business: Mom and Pop small business folks risk capital to produce something, and then, as profits grow, hire more workers to help them produce more and more and so on until Mom and Pop can place the business in the hands of someone else and move on to greener pastures.  Presumably, this is the American Dream.  People emigrated from around the world for an opportunity to chase this entrepreneurial capitalistic venture.

And then some of them made it happen, and got wealthy, and purchased politicians to help them keep their wealth, and performed some questionable acts antithetical to social responsibility, and drew the ire of the Dreamers who hadn’t reached their dreams yet.  So that’s where we are and I keep asking myself the same question.  Is the model broken, or do we just want our small business people to have more awareness, to feel a larger obligation to the community that helped them thrive.  Perhaps the corporations aren’t the problem at all.

I think we can sleep well tonight knowing the American Dream is still intact.  Maybe it’s just a subtle shift in the empathetic nature of business owners that can turn the tide.

Paying employees less than owners is not exploitation, but rather, a solid financial decision.  Turning profits for stockholders is the corporation’s responsibility.  But maybe corporate owners could recognize their success was dependent upon the local community.  Maybe they could show a little gratitude by contributing to local schools and offering opportunities to local job-seekers.  Maybe they could allow employees to purchase part of the company and thereby raise the tide, which lifts more boats.

I guess I’m just sick of hearing people say corporations are horrible.  Profit-minded businesses are not the problem.  They are simply the nature of entrepreneurialism.  Mom and Pop are not good-people-turned-bad when they reach a seven-figure income.  They are simply living the American Dream.

So, as we help them to create their beds, we just have to ensure Mom and Pop are dreaming, instead of spending their time fucking us.

By ccxander

Let the Chips Fall Where They May

Kale chips.  Green, baked, crunchy, and the absolute antithesis of anything I’d want positioned on my coffee table during a weekend binge of ballgames.  In gyms, supermarkets, and with various roadside entrepreneurs, the Kale bandwagon gathers support.  “It’s healthy and yummy,” they say, as though baked grass or anything else comprised of chlorophyll and vitamins could appease an appetite.   And yet, this is what it’s all come down to.   I’m sitting here, oven-side, waiting for kale chips to finish baking so I can derive my A, and C and other nutritious anti-oxidants in order to fight off things scurvy-inducing and cancerous.

When I was younger, ripping open a sack of corn chips or popping the Pringles provided a certain delight – the curled shapes, the oleaginous smell, the attendant crunch, the greasy fingers, the unrelenting saltiness  – an entire sensory experience vacuum packed and sealed for my pleasure.  I’d plop some Fritos between the bread slices of my bologna sandwich and revel in the assault upon my taste buds.  “Betcha can’t eat just one” was less marketing slogan than opportunity for exaggeration, “Betcha can’t eat one hundred!” we’d challenge.  Phrases like trans-fats and cholesterol and sodium content had the resonance of a belch in the breeze.

And then something changed.  Adolescent pleasures surrendered to maturity’s safeguards.  I started becoming aware of terms like calories and serving size and nutritional value.  My doctor stopped giving me vaccinations and, instead, started taking blood and touching me in places that once would have been considered “inappropriate.”  Yellow and tasty turned green and gross. Fast food became good food and I heard my self say things like “Can you do that without cheese” and “Hold the fries and just give me a salad.”  It was deflating in ways that only Viagra junkies can truly empathize.

It’s possible the pendulum is askew.  Maybe we’ve gone too far with our desire to make the inedible edible. Maybe kale shouldn’t be baked, and carrots shouldn’t be julienned, and beets shouldn’t be shaken and stirred.  Perhaps green gardens and foods requiring sunlight should be left for the rabbits.  I think we all need to revisit the pleasure of Cool Ranch Doritos and to find a way to smile.  Until then, let the chips fall where they may.

By ccxander

To Pee Or Not To Pee

Went for a hike in the snowy mountains today.  As the sludgy hum of city traffic faded into the falsetto chirps of plagued wildlife, I realized how meditative a good long walk in the woods can be.  About two hours in, nature called, and me, being blessed with the external equipment that allows for upright urination, took a long look around and felt the guilty pang one gets when faced with the dilemma of obliterating a tree or damaging one’s bladder.  There’s no question which won the battle, but I’m wondering about the guilt.

A hundred years ago, we cowboys would have dropped trou and watered the forest without a hint of culpability.  On many occasions, during long stretches of the I-5, I’ve drifted beyond the emergency lane and unleashed a happy stream.  Hell, when faced with L.A. traffic, I’ve gone so far as to fill an empty Gatorade bottle or two  – even your more talented marksmen would palm my shoulder for those efforts.

So, why the guilt?  When it comes to L.A.’s urban jungle – four-wheeled rat-traps slogging through the paved maze, human digits pressing hi-tech digits to send digital messages, capitalism shouted from rising rectangles – the thought of breathable air and tranquility is about as common as an honest politician.  Thus, when faced with the serenity of an old oak, or the sadness of a willow, I’m a little reticent to let loose.  Don’t get me wrong, if I ever find that Ugly Tree responsible for battering so many of the planet’s people, I’d water that thing right good.  But there’s something sacred about nature’s purity, right?

But then, we use fertilizer to grow our food.  Our toilets eventually run into the oceans which sends the water back onto the trees as rain.   The word of the decade is “green,” meaning everything gets recycled.  So maybe my guilt is unnecessary.  Maybe this is how things are supposed to flow, as it were.  Perhaps that arcing yellow stream was symbolic of humanity’s liberation.

To pee or not to pee, that is the question.  I wrote the answer in the snow.




By ccxander

On Washington’s Thievery

Criminal charges eh?

Sorry, gentlewomen, gentlemen and common thieves up there in those grand white-marble iconic structures, but that’s insufficient.

See, we American folk out here, the ones paying our hard-earned tax-dollars – those of us who are employed and can afford it anyway – have had enough.  $800,000 on Vegas partying?  Overpriced prostitutes in Mexico? Most unlikely to succeed solar company with a half billion dollar price tag?  This lavish squandering is unacceptable.

We hear the news media talk about accountability and then have to suffer the six-day Congressional hearings where presumably intelligent Congressmen make statements like this :

Scroll to 1:15 and watch until 1:30


At some point it becomes our responsibility to question the level of stupidity carrying on in Washington’s hallways.

Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Punishment is simply inadequate.  These matters must cease.  We don’t need these people going to jail for their crimes.  What we demand is an end to the malfeasance.  Bernie Madoff dropped $50 billion – give or take a zero – in taxpayer money, and now sits in jail until he’s just a dash between two dates on a gravestone.  Yet, apparently white-collar prison sentences aren’t threatening enough to dissuade our government-folk from acting inappropriately with our dollars.

I did a little math on this thing.  Just using the three examples above, our federal employees have blown about $500,810,000, which averages out to about $3 per working age American citizen.  About half the country doesn’t pay income tax, so that means $6 per person.  For some people, that’s almost hour of work – an hour away from their families, an hour of stress committed to earning food, paying medical insurance, mortgages, adding capital improvements to their small businesses, funding their kids college tuition, or making the rent.  Even worse, we are now each paying $8 per day to pay the interest on the national debt – which, by the way, doesn’t give a damn about weekends off.

The level of disrespect you impose upon your citizenry is astonishing.  You are elected as representatives – a term I’d suggest you research in the ol’ O.E.D. for clarification – and yet you continually succumb to the arrogance of power.  Well, congratulations on educating the population to your self-importance.

As you continue your efforts to dismantle our rights, we strengthen in our resolve. You see, we consider pre-meditated theft as an assault on our families, our houses, our children’s futures, and we will defend those with our own lives.  Voting you out of office is merely the first step.  Expect us to act in accordance with your crimes.  You’ve proven prison is no deterrent. We will find an answer.

By ccxander

Things That Worry Me

If I save my timeline on Time Machine, what happens?

The White House Egg Roll—have we now outsourced Easter to China?

Can I feel claustrophobic in cyberspace?

A lot of people seem to be following me on Twitter.

Schoolfeed is a new website that apparently is connecting me with people and making me friends that I don’t know about.  Does that mean I’m now a victim of identity theft?

Lately, sleep has seemed more optional than necessary.

When I was a kid, I used to have a dog I nicknamed Snookie.  He died. Now Snookie is having a baby.  Does that make me a granddead?

A black kid in a white hood just has to have racial intimations.

Mitt sounds like something you should use around an oven more than something you should use around a Capitol.

16 trillion dollars and no one said “Hey, we might not be able to pay this off?”

My taxes sure seem to be subsidizing a lot of things that I don’t want to subsidize. I wonder what would happen if we could check-off where our tax dollars could be applied.

Today I heard the word irregardless twice and heighth once.

Yesterday I was the only person in the entire world who read my blog.

When placed together, the last two posts explain a lot.

By ccxander

An Open Letter to the Easter Bunny–repost

Hey Mr. E. Bunny, I’m onto you!

The way you go around kidnapping all those potential chickens and disguising them with paint and designs so forlorn mothers cannot figure out which ones are theirs. Your incognito chocolately-colored costumes and furry coverings, hip-hopping through the ‘hoods so witnesses can’t provide clear identification. Don’t think I don’t see the racial undertones of you committing a crime and trying to pawn it off on some other ethnicity as you prey upon society’s bigotry. Since the 17th century, you’ve been traipsing around American towns delivering the fruits of your thievery to wanting children. Keeping your Peeps silent must not be easy.

Oh sure, it all started innocently enough in the Alsace, back during the Holy Roman Empire reign, when some German chap named Frankenau recorded the tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs to children (he also mentioned the negative impact of too much egg consumption, which, let’s be honest, can cause quite the flatulence problem). Back then, the kids would build nests for the Osterhase’s (that’s right buddy, I know your real German name) arrival, but your capitalistic lustfulness called for pre-fabbed wicker baskets which we all know you’ve made a pretty penny on.

Yea sure, I know, the rabbit is a pagan symbol for fertility, but – and I know it just pisses you off – RABBITS DON’T LAY EGGS! That’s right, pal, you just rub those little cotton balls of yours up against some little bunny and “F*ck like rabbits” as it were, and out come a bunch of little furry things whose future prospects include darting beneath bushes and hoping to prevent their lucky feet from being cut off.

Speaking of which, I found out that the women rabbit-folk have a rather interesting quality – superfetation I think you call it – which allows them to conceive a second litter while being pregnant with the first. Now, if you wanna go out and nail a bunch of Preggers in hopes of producing more offspring, so be it, but this theft thing has got to stop. The chickens are getting pissed off. Plus, the whole “No Fat Chicks” graffiti thing you left on your last go-‘round through the coop was completely uncalled for since you are getting off with those Fat Rabbits night after night.

I might also comment on your preference for sub-lunar surreptitious activity. We all know hens and chickens slumber like babies and the chances of them waking up and flying out of bed fast enough to chase you down is simply asinine. Your methods don’t even give them a fighting chance. I’m advising them to hire a tortoise to catch you—and we all know how that will turn out, you arrogant bastard.

But let’s get back to the eggs. Those might be kids, Mr. Bunny. Delicate potentiality growing inside their dainty shells as they wait to see the outside world. I can only imagine you and your furry little slipper-feet, silently padding into the henhouse, lifting the tailfeathers of some dozing fowl, and making off with life’s promise. Then what? You discolor the poor thing, dye him and hide him so his depressed mother has no hope. You are a kidnapper, Rabbit, a bad, bad bunny. I’m betting you and your sick friends are selling these eggs into sex slavery or some restaurant where they’ll be turned into a feast for an overblown steroid junkie looking for a quick protein fix. Where is your compassion?

Oh, and lest we not forget the whole Peter Cottontail pseudonym. You aren’t fooling anyone. Hiding out like some Italian murder witness, won’t protect you. You can stay up all night – I certainly have – wondering who’s gonna come first, the chicken or the egg, but nothing will save you. You are roadkill, Rabbit. I hope you hear me clearly. Stop with the baskets, the chocolates, the seductive marshmellow candies. Stop with the egg- finds, the jelly-beans, the irresistible diabetic precursors. Stop the hopping, the hiding, the hunting. Bring back the eggs, Mr. Bunny. Or the chickens will have their revenge.

By ccxander

Three Phases of Life

IMHO, there are three phases in life.

Phase 1 — When you can get away with saying anything you want.

Anyone aged three to eight has experienced this, when the first curse word comes out like the day’s dawn, or you blurt out some totally inappropriate physical characteristic that causes Aunt Betty or, even worse, Absolute Stranger, to blush while your parents cringe with embarrassment.

Phase 2– When you have to watch what you say

About age nine to whenever you get over your angst about political correctness and foreign strife,  and the fact that doctors may be sticking fingers in places no empathetic human should ever touch, and the notion that you have some pretty creepy habits in your life and that sharing them will incur the disgust and wrath of pretty much everyone you know, but if you can find a way to whether the storm you’ll make for some great “I’ve got this friend who…” stories that we’ll all tell when you’ve decided to skip the evening meal and sit at home with your finger up your nose, passing gas on your coach, and trying to decode the porn channels on your DVR.

Phase 3—When death is closer than birth and you can laugh at life’s absurdity

This is less age-based than merely an evolution from your inhibited phase-2 self.  This is when you conspire with your friends over coffee and talk about the places the doctors fingers have been and the diseases you are currently fighting off and the strange things your spouse did not do in the boudoir last night and what you did in the bathroom shortly thereafter.

But this information is not all for naught. I’m offering this insight for a good reason.  Tomorrow I am getting a colonoscopy.  For those fortunate enough to be uninformed, here ya’ go:

Colonoscopy (def) is the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus.

Did you notice the unbelievably large number of words you never want associated with one another?  Camera…flexible…examination….anus!  Seriously? Just reading the Wikipedia definition makes me feel like I’ve been violated.  Isn’t this the kind of thing you expect in prison?  And I’m going to pay for it.

Anyway, at some point I got to laughing about it.  I’ve decided to ask for a DVD. Plus, I’m thinking I can send a copy to my editor and ask her to revise it so I only need a semi-colonoscopy.  Funny, right?  OK, maybe I’m just ranting and a little nervous about having a Kodak jammed up my ass so some stranger can get a polaroid of my guts.  Sorry to vent.  Thank for listening.  Will post the video tomorrow.  🙂

By ccxander