Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trends: Just Wondering

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 2:05 PM

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As I catch up on national newspapers after a couple days off this week, I am just wondering . . .

American Apparel, a publicly owned company, warns that it might not be able to remain in business because of poor sales and lots of debt. The warning came from none other than the CEO, Dov Charney. Flyer readers may be familiar with American Apparel from the provacative ads on the back page of the newspaper.

Just wondering how another retailer, privately-held Bass Pro Shops, is doing year over year in same store, same market comparisons and when and if it will cross the Rubicon on moving into The Pyramid.

Elvis Week has come and gone. The Wall Street Journal paid homage in a long piece by a freelancer who spent a few days in Memphis at the usual stops. The takeaway: the Elvis movement lives on.

Just wondering if Elvis has more appeal to freelancers (I have been there and done that) looking for quirky stories they can sell to national editors than true fans. After 33 years, is Elvis Week running out of gas?

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted on only one of 24 counts in his corruption trial. A story in The New York Times includes jurors explaining in detail how they deliberated and how votes swung, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. The judge's instructions were 100 pages.

Just wondering if political corruption trials are a lot harder than they look. And if Illinois prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald might have ignored some lessons from the 1993 trial of Harold Ford, which was also overly complicated in the minds of some jurors and reporters. And if brash talk "caught on tape" is a killer for the prosecution or a difficulty that can be overcome by the defense, as it was in the Blagojevich case and the trial of Edmund Ford Sr.

The University of Michigan is the latest college to ban smoking anywhere on its grounds and buildings, starting next July, and in and around 109,901-seat Michigan Stadium, starting in two weeks.

Just wondering how a place can change so much from the days I went there and the fine for smoking marijuana was $5.

City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove got some regional attention for pole dancing on a cruise boat party on the Mississippi River. She apologized.

Just wondering if there is an "appropriate" way to pole dance, whether or not you are a City Council member.

Wisconsin is one of 27 states that provides free contraceptives to low-income women who can't get birth control through Medicaid.

Just wondering why Tennessee doesn't do this and why Memphis lawmakers don't push for it.

This is the runup to fashion week in New York, which happens in September. There is a lot of worrying among fashion fans about who gets front-row seats for the runway shows. I learned this by reading New York newspapers. One of them had a picture of a svelte model sashaying on a runway in front of Vogue's Anna Wintour "in her usual seat" on the front row. She looked very stylish in her sunglasses.

Just wondering about the dude sitting two seats away from her. He was wearing a beret, a camel-colored sport jacket and no tie, blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up, and what looked to me like a pair of L. L. Bean Blucher moccasins, which list for about $75. In my career as a serial unfashionable dresser, I have owned all of these items, although I have not rolled the pants up on my jeans since elementary school. And I never wore the beret. How in the hell do they do it?

A criminal court judge in Jackson, Mississippi, read a poem to the defendant at sentencing. The judge wrote the poem herself, before hammering the defendant with 18 years even though relatives of the people the defendant killed in a traffic accident asked for leniency.

Just wondering if a judge in Memphis has ever written a poem and read it at sentencing. Lawyers out there? Judges? Anyone? And is this not very weird?

Baseball player Bobby Thomson died this week. He hit what is said to be the most famous home run in the history of the game in a playoff between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951. To baseball fans it is the sport's golden moment, and the subject of some undeniably great sportswriting.

Just wondering why there were 22,000 empty seats in the 56,000-seat stadium that day.

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