Monthly Archives: November 2012

lifetip #3

lifetip #3

Leave a comment

November 29, 2012 · 6:19 pm

lifetip #2

lifetip #2

Leave a comment

November 29, 2012 · 6:03 pm

lifetip #1

lifetip #1

Leave a comment

November 29, 2012 · 6:01 pm

Giving Tuesday

Happy #GivingTuesday! http://givingtuesday.org/ The perfect antidote to excessive holiday spending. Show your generosity and support your local arts organizations today. http://actorstheatre.org/support/donate/

Leave a comment

November 27, 2012 · 8:06 pm

“When you look …

“When you look more generally at life on Earth, you find that it is all the same kind of life. There are not many different kinds; there’s only one kind. It uses about fifty fundamental biological building blocks, organic molecules.”
— Carl Sagan

Leave a comment

November 27, 2012 · 2:35 pm

Harvey Milk

Today we should all stop and remember a great man Harvey Milk. On this day he was killed as he was trying to get equality for the LGBT community.

Leave a comment

November 27, 2012 · 1:58 pm

Book Worms

Book Worms

1 Comment

November 27, 2012 · 1:57 pm

How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart

“…

Costco’s average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam’s Club. And Costco’s health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco “it’s better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder.”

Mr. Sinegal begs to differ. He rejects Wall Street’s assumption that to succeed in discount retailing, companies must pay poorly and skimp on benefits, or must ratchet up prices to meet Wall Street’s profit demands.

Good wages and benefits are why Costco has extremely low rates of turnover and theft by employees, he said. And Costco’s customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers’ expense. “This is not altruistic,” he said. “This is good business.”

Mr. Sinegal, whose father was a coal miner and steelworker, gave a simple explanation. “On Wall Street, they’re in the business of making money between now and next Thursday,” he said. “I don’t say that with any bitterness, but we can’t take that view. We want to build a company that will still be here 50 and 60 years from now.”

IF shareholders mind Mr. Sinegal’s philosophy, it is not obvious: Costco’s stock price has risen more than 10 percent in the last 12 months, while Wal-Mart’s has slipped 5 percent. Costco shares sell for almost 23 times expected earnings; at Wal-Mart the multiple is about 19.Mr. Dreher said Costco’s share price was so high because so many people love the company. “It’s a cult stock,” he said.

Mr. Sinegal, who is 69 but looks a decade younger, also delights in not tilting Costco too far into cheap merchandise, even at his warehouse stores. He loves the idea of the “treasure hunt” – occasional, temporary specials on exotic cheeses, Coach bags, plasma screen televisions, Waterford crystal, French wine and $5,000 necklaces – scattered among staples like toilet paper by the case and institutional-size jars of mayonnaise.

The treasure hunts, Mr. Sinegal says, create a sense of excitement and customer loyalty.

This knack for seeing things in a new way also explains Costco’s approach to retaining employees as well as shoppers. Besides paying considerably more than competitors, for example, Costco contributes generously to its workers’ 401(k) plans, starting with 3 percent of salary the second year and rising to 9 percent after 25 years.

ITS insurance plans absorb most dental expenses, and part-time workers are eligible for health insurance after just six months on the job, compared with two years at Wal-Mart. Eighty-five percent of Costco’s workers have health insurance, compared with less than half at Wal-Mart and Target.

Costco also has not shut out unions, as some of its rivals have. The Teamsters union, for example, represents 14,000 of Costco’s 113,000 employees. “They gave us the best agreement of any retailer in the country,” said Rome Aloise, the union’s chief negotiator with Costco. The contract guarantees employees at least 25 hours of work a week, he said, and requires that at least half of a store’s workers be full time.

Workers seem enthusiastic. Beth Wagner, 36, used to manage a Rite Aid drugstore, where she made $24,000 a year and paid nearly $4,000 a year for health coverage. She quit five years ago to work at Costco, taking a cut in pay. She started at $10.50 an hour – $22,000 a year – but now makes $18 an hour as a receiving clerk. With annual bonuses, her income is about $40,000.

“I want to retire here,” she said. “I love it here.””

Leave a comment

November 27, 2012 · 1:54 pm

How to Live Without Irony

THE STONE November 17, 2012, 3:24 pm

By CHRISTY WAMPOLE

“If irony is the ethos of our age — and it is — then the hipster is our archetype of ironic living.

The hipster haunts every city street and university town. Manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself, this contemporary urban harlequin appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone). He harvests awkwardness and self-consciousness. Before he makes any choice, he has proceeded through several stages of self-scrutiny. The hipster is a scholar of social forms, a student of cool. He studies relentlessly, foraging for what has yet to be found by the mainstream. He is a walking citation; his clothes refer to much more than themselves. He tries to negotiate the age-old problem of individuality, not with concepts, but with material things.

Throughout history, irony has served useful purposes, like providing a rhetorical outlet for unspoken societal tensions. But our contemporary ironic mode is somehow deeper; it has leaked from the realm of rhetoric into life itself. This ironic ethos can lead to a vacuity and vapidity of the individual and collective psyche. Historically, vacuums eventually have been filled by something — more often than not, a hazardous something. Fundamentalists are never ironists; dictators are never ironists; people who move things in the political landscape, regardless of the sides they choose, are never ironists.

Observe a 4-year-old child going through her daily life. You will not find the slightest bit of irony in her behavior. She has not, so to speak, taken on the veil of irony. She likes what she likes and declares it without dissimulation. She is not particularly conscious of the scrutiny of others. She does not hide behind indirect language. The most pure nonironic models in life, however, are to be found in nature: animals and plants are exempt from irony, which exists only where the human dwells…”

Leave a comment

November 26, 2012 · 6:11 pm

By MAYA | Published: NOVEMBER 26, 2012

“Top Toy, one of the largest toy companies in Sweden, is flipping the gender script in its Christmas catalogue. This year, girls are shown playing with toy guns, while boys are playing with dollhouses. The company was called out a few years ago by a watchdog group for its stereotypical advertising, and decided it needed to adapt to Sweden’s progressive attitudes about gender.

Here’s hoping someday American toy companies heed the call of girls like Riley and quit with the ridiculously gendered marketing too.”

4 Comments

November 26, 2012 · 5:45 pm