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Reflections on June 8th, 2012:

Moving into the rest of our life………… Over the last several years Alice and I have been “wintering” with our motor-home at a campground i...

Friday, November 09, 2018

Buddy at camp....


Blue Spring and Ochlockonee River State Park

We came in yesterday from camping (glamping?) at two Florida State Parks: Blue Spring State Park in Orange City Florida, and Ochlockonee River State Park which is in Sopchoppy Fl on the Panhandle near the Gulf. Several of our friends were with us from our former Good Sam Chapter for Blue Spring, and one of the couples joined us for the long slog to Ochlockonee. Florida State Parks are wonderful, very inexpensive if you're a Senior and a Fl resident, and we're trying to camp at a different one every month. I took lots of snaps and video, and they're linked below thru Google Photos:
Blue Spring State Park: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6GLiRF4c8b7ksNJT7
Ochlockonee River State Park:
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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Went to see our nephew Chris Lenart race his motorcycle at Daytona today....

Alice and myself had a fun day at the Daytona Racetrack today.  Even though we've been down here since 2012, and it's only an hour away, we'd never been to a race there.  We did go on a tour of the facility with our camping group years ago, but trust me.....when your nephew is racing around that banked track on a motorcycle it's a totally different experience!  When he messaged us that Daytona was on his upcoming racing schedule we couldn't resist going....and are glad we did.  Click the following link for some snaps and video of the event.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/Axhh8yQ4T8QZrGHC9 . Note that he came in Third Place, Thunderbikes in the Race of Champions :).

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.....

Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid plunging sales, massive debt

Just another not unexpected headline for most, but for some of us whose life was actively intertwined with Sears, it's a pretty sad day.
For me it started in 1967.  At that time I was a branch circulation manager for the Hartford Courant in West Hartford CT, having just got back from Vietnam in 1965.  We had two branch offices in West Hartford, and the other manager (a Bobby Hull) told me he had just interviewed with Allstate Insurance and was going to take the job if offered to him.  We had pretty decent jobs with the Courant, health and retirement benefits, a company car, lots of office help...and I expressed concern that he was leaving for an unknown job in insurance sales.  Long story short, he sold me on the opportunity and got me an interview....and we both left the Courant and joined Allstate.  Allstate was then a wholly owned independent subsidiary of Sears, which was the largest and most profitable retail operation in the country.  Over the years, as Sears lost its footing there was many a year that our Allstate was the only bright light it seemed in corporate earnings, and it was our profit that was holding up the Sears Profit Sharing Plan.  Later of course Sears shuttered its catalog operation, spun off Dean Witter Reynolds and Coldwell Banker, and finally....Allstate.  I had a good run (34 years) and lots of good memories, especially at the beginning when we had a "booth" in a Sears store where we sold our insurance.  It wasn't until much later that we opened Account Offices, and much later when I purchased a building in New London and Alice joined me as a Licensed Customer Service Rep in our our Allstate branded Agency.  Our "booth" in Sears in New London was right next to Catalog, and I remember being amazed at the amount of business they were doing twelve hours a day.  Everyone thought those good times would never end....

October 17th, 2018:  This is one of the better editorials on the subject, from the Day in New London:

The irony of Sears’ demise

Ironic that Sears, the original retail innovator, proved to be so poor an innovator in the 21st century when confronted with both brick-and-mortar and online competition.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Sears was arguably a precursor to Amazon. Consumers across a vast and growing country thumbed through massive Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogs to order products to meet many of their needs — appliances, clothing, toys, medicines — and the list went on for hundreds of pages.
Much as Amazon employees do today, Sears workers in massive warehouses, the largest in Chicago, organized, sorted and mailed the products through the Postal Service to Americans who waited eagerly for their arrival on rural farms and in small villages.
As remote areas became fewer and the U.S. population spread across a vast suburbia during the post-World War II economic and population boom, Sears’ business model moved from its catalog to its growing number of stores, which by the 1970s were becoming the anchors for many a shopping mall.
Then the landscape changed. Walmart erected its massive super centers across the land, undercutting prices and stealing the working-class consumers that had made Sears such a retail giant. Big-box hardware stores Lowes and Home Depot competed for the consumers who had gone to Sears for their tools and appliances.
This first assault on Sears was soon followed by a second — the emergence of retail sales on the Internet, most successfully of course, by Amazon. Sears, which had written the catalog on direct sales to consumers, failed to successfully meet any of these changes.

Over the past five years more than 1,000 Sears stores have been shuttered, with company losses approaching $6 billion. Successful product lines were sold off, most prominently Lands’ End, a clothing line. On Monday, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York City, saying it faced $11.3 billion in liabilities against $7 billion in assets.
The filing is intended to provide a path to further shrink, reorganize and rid Sears of bad debt to save it. For the sake of its 68,000 workforce, and because many of its stores still anchor malls that are also struggling, it would be great to see this effort succeed. But the odds appear long, with a more likely outcome that Sears goes the way of Toys “R” Us or Sports Authority.
In this case, a part of Americana would pass into history.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Pat Richardson, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, retired Day editor Lisa McGinley, Managing Editor Tim Cotter and Staff Writer Julia Bergman. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

In this July 8, 2017, file photo, people walk into a Sears store slated for closing that is next to a mall that is being torn down in Overland Park, Kan. Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses. The company once dominated the American landscape, but whether a smaller Sears can be viable remains in question. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Cutting the TV cord, October 1, 2018.

It’s been a LONG two years.  Like many of us, I’ve run the whole gamut of internet connectivity on TV’s…
.from  coax cable to Worldnet to At&t's U Verse….to complete frustration and
a switch, two years ago tomorrow, to Direct TV Satellite (also owned by AT&T).  
The DirectV experience has not been great. Contrary to what I was told even t
he threat of a storm knocks the satellite tv OFF. Yes, you can set up to go
down a channel and off HD and have a good possibility on continued coverage
BUT….it’s been a gigantic pain in the arse.  SO bad in fact I made a note on
my computer (Google) calendar to DUMP it as of 10-1-2018 when the AT&T
Satellite contract ran out….
Also, like many families we have a variety of TV’s in the house.  A modern
Vizio Smart TV in the LR, an older large screen Samsung in the BR, an ancient tv\
in the spare room that’s connected to an antenna since there is no HDMI input….

My first thought was to drop the Direct TV service and go to Hulu Live.  That would
give me the MSNBC news show we use, plus the few other channels Alice uses for
entertainment (HGTV ?).  Problem is, was, that Hulu Live does NOt work on our
Smartcast TV unless we CAST to it...it's not native. So, we found SLING Tv, and that
DOES work.  I purchased the latest and greatest Roku for the Living Room
(we already have it on the two upstairs sets)  Everything works smoothly...the cord
HAS been cut and iife is good. Msg me at r.payette2@gmail.com if you have questions,

Thursday, September 27, 2018