Friday, September 29, 2006

Area Man Peddles All That's Wrong With Society

(Reuters) Chippewa Falls- America, LLC is unlike anything you have ever seen before. Owner Randy Thompson sells “icons of American culture.” A selection from his shelves includes paint by numbers kits, “Married with Children” DVDs, and beaded cell phone covers among other objects of unexamined lives and empty patriotism. Shoppers can browse US Weekly and FHM magazine while awaiting check out. Thompson’s prize procession is an autographed photo of Paris Hilton and Carmen Electra. There are even palm trees on the sidewalk outside. Never mind that it’s December in Wisconsin.

How’s business you might ask? “Fantastic,” says Thompson, a retired electrical worker. “Ever since I opened the doors, it’s been nonstop.” Thompson opened the store last May with the money he gained from a settlement against his former employer. Did I mention that Thompson’s former employer is his brother, who now works full time for America, LLC? “It was my fault for not putting the “wet floor” sign up after mopping,” says Ricky Thompson after being asked what it’s like to work for his younger brother. Rickey was forced to file for bankruptcy after the settlement. He now resides with his family of five in his brother’s two-bedroom home.

I asked Randy why he doesn’t sell more important American cultural symbols such as jazz music, baseball cards, or maybe something representing America’s pragmatic spirit. “Bull****,” says Thompson, “I don’t know where you live, but this sh** is my America.”

Maybe it’s our America too, Randy.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's been a hard summer for me. Ginger and I moved into our new house in July and just as we were feeling settled, we had a break-in and lost some stuff. Also recently, I've been spending my days off doing repairs around the place. This includes painting, landscaping, refinishing the 106 year floors and a whole lot of other little things that add up to me not taking advantage of the beautiful Seattle summer. I've gotten over the break-in, for the most part, and the repairs were necessary, but I need to rest a bit. For a while, I've been trying to get up to the mountains and go fishing. There are some great spots about 20 minutes from my work. I'll get up there in the afternoon after work one day, I thought, and I'll be back for dinner. This idea has been keeping me going for the past few weeks. And then today, I read this in the local paper:

State's freshwater fish tainted, study says

Oh well.

Disclaimer - Lisa Stiffler is the author of the linked article