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Happy 90th Birthday Dave Brubeck

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Dave Brubeck is still going strong at 90. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing/hearing him live couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed it. Dave has also given back a tremendous amount to up and coming young musicians and students.
Thanks for what you have shared with us and many happy returns of the day Dave.
To hear a lot of Dave’s music, tune to KJAZZ on the Internet. KJAzz is the 24-hour non-commercial Jazz and Blues station at Cal State Long Beach. Most of the work here at Ardent Voice and Siliver and Silicon Images is done with KJazz playing behind me. There are also Jazz-related movies on Turner Classic Movies today.
Michael Franks’ song “Hearing Take Five” says it for me, and I was just a pup then.

Thanks for shopping at Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club – We assume you’re a thief until you prove otherwise.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I did something today that I do not often do – I bought some food at a Wal-Mart. I tried to get my Thanksgiving turkey at a locally owned grocery store, but they seem to have decided that no one needed a turkey smaller than 20 pounds. Since I was out already, and really wanted to get this bird in the fridge and thawing, I went down the road a mile to a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market to check their selection of turkeys. They actually had a much wider selection of turkeys than the local grocer, and they were lower priced for the same brand, so I got a nice 12-pounder and headed for the checkout.

As is usually the case, there were two checkouts open and long lines in each, so I headed for the self-service checkout. These are often problematic, but since I only had one item it seemed fairly foolproof. The moment I scanned the turkey’s tag, I got an automated voice telling me “approval required.” Funny, the turkey did not look like spray paint or anything else I could think of that might have some purchase limitations. Usually when I get an error on these automated checkouts, I just abandon the lane and seek another or head for the human checkout. This time, there was already an employee headed toward me and the other lines were still long so I waited. The employee looked at the screen, then carefully looked at the tag on the turkey. I asked what the problen was and mentioned that the audible message had started before I could move the turkey from the scanner to the bagging area and its validation scale.She told me that they were having problem with people stealing turkeys and switching labels.

I told her that my understanding is that the bar code on the turkey contains the weight of the bird also and was surprised that it halted the transaction without waiting to check the weight. She mumbled something and began logging in to the terminal.

Since I was only buying one item, it seems pretty clear that Wal-Mart has simply decided that all turkey purchases must be scrutinized and manually verified since everyone coming in to the store is a thief unless proven otherwise. Sam’s Club has had a “prove you didn’t steal it” check at the exit door for a long time and I have grudgingly accepted it, though I still hold up my receipt and say “see I didn’t steal anything today” when I check out.

I’m sure every retailer has problems with loss control, but only a couple seem to have resorted to just assuming that everyone in the store is there to steal until proven otherwise. This is one of the results of total focus on lowest price by the consumers to the exclusion of any other factor. If this same type of behavior were done by a retailer that was not seen as lowest possible price, they would soon have no customers to worry about.

There are limits to how much customer-hostile behavior we will tolerate. We all need to make more of an effort to let the retailers know when they are pushing that limit, and also let them know when they are doing a good job. Yes, I have communicated this experience to Wal-Mart as well, . . . for all the good it will do.

Lori Sears’ Portraits

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

For several years now my wife Lori has been creating some wonderfully beautiful and touching artwork, primarily portraits from her home studio here in Tulsa, OK.

Cambodian Boy - Oil

Cambodian Boy (From Innocents in Cambodia) © 2009 Lori Sears

Some of these are in oil, others in charcoal or conte. Recently we have created a site, lorisportraits.com, for her works. I think you will find that the pieces speak for themselves far better than words could. The pieces are of people from the past and the present.