Interesting satirical story about Bobby Trendy

Maybe you’ve seen Bobby Trendy on television. He’s a flamboyant fashion designer best known by some as the late Anna Nicole Smith’s designer.

Some look at Trendy and automatically assume he’s gay–never mind that the late Rock Hudson, a man’s man whom one female family member of mine once referred to as “her dreamboat” was gay. Here’s a story I found on a satirical site that features a different take on Trendy…what if everything we think about him is wrong?

Pursuing my true love—fiction writing

One of my side projects is writing and marketing my fiction. I have several fiction short stories that are in “final edit” mode, a novel that I’m about 2/3 of the way through the rough draft and many, many ideas on the backburner. Currently, I am marketing two short stories: No Experience Necessary and Why Are You Here So Soon?. Would rather not give away too many details except to say this: NEN is a fantasy/suspense about a job advertisement and WAYHSS? is a Christian-themed story about suicide. More details to follow.

Besides spam, another warning about this blog

This hasn’t happened yet, but I wanted to make a statement about it now rather than wait for it to happen. Like other writers, I’ve received hate mail in my eight years as a professional writer. I remember one angry letter from a Wynonna Judd fan who took exception to my referencing Ms. Judd in a drunk driving column (the country singer was mentioned along with several other celebrities who had been arrested for drunken driving, and I was commenting about how it’s imperative that we realize just how seriously irresponsible drinking and driving can be). As heated as the exchange was, I am very impressed that the letter writer never resorted to profanity. However, in another letter, an angry Seinfeld fan took exception to my comments that the show is lousy (and, boy, is it). The writer resorted to some fairly graphic profanity. All because I dared to say I didn’t like “The Show About Nothing”.

My point: feel free to comment or even disagree with me. But any posts containing profanity will be unceremoniously deleted and no response will be given. Sorry, but I simply don’t have the time to waste dignifying inappropriate remarks.

Thanks.
RPZ

So far, so good in my career as a Dallas Cowboys blogger

My latest blog about the Cowboys is right here, and things seem to be going well so far. Being told “You’re the man” by management is very encouraging, a sign that I’m not wasting my time writing. Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to make a comfortable living solely from the keyboard.

I also blog here about my favorite baseball team, the Houston Astros. I may also blog there in the future about my favorite AL team, the Kansas City Royals and the San Antonio Spurs, but we’ll have to wait and see. Only so many hours in the day.

It’s funny: I love the Cowboys but detest* the Houston Texans. I love the Astros but detest the Texas Rangers.

*I am, though, very happy that Houston was able to get an NFL team again. Houston’s far too big a city not to have a team, and Texas is far too big a state to have only one NFL franchise.

Another blog

Looks like I might soon be blogging for another sports site. I already blog here about the Dallas Cowboys (the greatest NFL team) but may soon be blogging at a site to discuss the greatest baseball team in the MLB: the Houston Astros. More details to follow. Houston right now is 5-8, and if they can get good pitching (which includes Roy Oswalt snapping out of his slump), they might get someplace.

Ann Coulter’s audiobook “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans”

Am listening to Ms. Coulter’s above-mentioned book If Democrats…Republicans. She’s funny, no doubt, and she has some poignant things to say, but I do find some of her humor to be mean-spirited. For example, Senator Ted Kennedy’s waist size has nothing to do with why I disagree with him politically. I must say, though, that I liked Coulter’s book Treason.

Considering the barbs she tosses it around, it’s easy to see why many don’t care for her. As for myself, I like reading her columns.

The Outer Limits

I watched a few episodes of The Outer Limits last night. Ones I saw were from the nineties, when the show was resurrected. Very good and worth the wait. One of the producers on the show said that whereas The Twilight Zone is based on fantasy, TOL is primarily science fiction. Both are very good.

Wal-Mart and small-town businesses: Part 1 of 4



Last summer, I wrote an article regarding Wal-Mart’s impact on small-town businesses. As I wrote there were two things that surprised me. One, two businesses that felt Wal-Mart was slowly driving them into extinction declined to be interviewed or go on the record. It seemed strange that someone would be offered an opportunity to give their story but decline instead. I guess they had their reasons. Two, most of the other businesses I spoke to generally had neutral things to say about Wal-Mart. A few were even positive. Originally, I intended this story to be for one of my freelance clients. It didn’t work out, unfortunately, and my attempt to sell it to another client fell through. With that, I have chosen to post the story, written in four parts, on this blog. I don’t know how often, possibly once every week or two.

In fairness, for the story I also asked Wal-Mart’s opinion. The folks at the Clio, Michigan Wal-Mart referred me to corporate public affairs. It took several weeks, but I was finally able to get their answers. They are incorporated into the article.

Is Wal-Mart bad for small-town America? I’ve done my best to allow both sides to give their opinion. Now it’s up to you to read and decide for yourself.

(All photos taken by Richard Zowie)

Richard Zowie
Arbela Township, Tuscola County, Michigan
April 7, 2008

Wal-Mart: the culprit for the demise of Mom and Pop in Clio?
Part 1 of 4: Downtown businesses mixed about department store super giant

By Richard Zowie

CLIO, MICH. – Take a drive or walk in downtown Clio, and for some who have grown up here, the sight can be discouraging.

Some buildings, with their rich histories, are vacant with FOR SALE signs in their windows. If walls could talk, the buildings certainly would have endless, illustrious stories to tell about customers, products and services offered throughout the years.

Some businesses, such as Porky’s Hogg Trough, have closed and are now just a memory, a testament of how difficult it can be in today’s economy for businesses to stay afloat. Others struggle to stay in business. Among the many businesses in downtown Clio are an electrolysis shop, jewelry store, hardware store, sports wear shop, chiropractor, dance studio, pharmacy, pet feed and supply shop, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, banks and several restaurants.

When looking at the closed-up shops, the question arises: what ails downtown Clio? Is it the sluggish economy? The collapse of Delphi? The struggles of the Big Three automakers?

Some say the problem is only a couple of miles down on West Vienna Road in the form of a big-box store that offers low prices.

And if you ask around, you’ll find that the subject of Wal-Mart in mid-Michigan is as controversial a subject as the state’s economy, Michael Moore and how to turn the seemingly-incorrigible Detroit Lions into a winning team.

For some, Wal-Mart represents a chance to get department and grocery store shopping done with low prices that are painless for the checkbook and a godsend to a shoestring budget.

For others, Wal-Mart is the epitome of Big Business whose philosophy of “Always Low Prices” forces local Mom & Pop stores to go out of business and threatens to write a disturbing chapter into a town’s economical history.

The debate has almost certainly continued with the opening last fall of a Wal-Mart in the Clio area. Specifically, the store is located in Vienna Township right off of West Vienna Road on North Linden Road just west of Interstate 75. There are seven other Wal-Marts within a 25-mile radius of Clio. The closest is about 12.5 miles south in Flint. Grand Blanc and Saginaw both have Wal-Marts.

The Vienna Township Wal-Mart is not the only big-box store in the area. Kmart is located at just east of I-75 on West Vienna Road. And in 2008, a Meijer store will open less than 10 miles north in Birch Run.

Frankenmuth residents have fought efforts to build a Wal-Mart there.

In downtown Clio, especially among the businesses that have been open for decades, mentioning Wal-Mart tends to invoke a lot of mixed discussion. Two businesses had very negative feelings about the department store super giant; one declined to be interviewed for this article while another refused to go on record. Others voiced their concerns about Wal-Mart’s prices and how difficult it is to compete with them. Some businesses said they felt no negative impact from Wal-Mart while some even stated that the store helped downtown businesses.

Debbie Taylor, who owns Floral Expressions on 186 W. Vienna Street, said that when Wal-Mart first opened, she was worried at first.

“I think I’m more concerned about how Wal-Mart affects other businesses in town, since it doesn’t carry a lot of what we carry except for flowers and plants,” she said. “If other businesses in town close, then this town starts looking a lot more vacant than it already is, and that’s not good for us. People then won’t stop [to shop] since there’s nothing in town.”

Taylor pointed out that Michigan’s sluggish economy, particularly in the auto industry, has not helped the local economy.

“We were affected a lot more when Delphi announced they were going bankrupt than when Wal-Mart opened,” she said.

Audio books

I am currently listening to The Reagan Diaries on audio book format. Wow, I wish I’d done this long ago. gone are the boring drives to work where every soft rock station is endlessly playing the same-old tired songs like “Always Something There to Remind Me”, “Tainted Love” or something by John Mellencamp. Nothing against Mellencamp or the people who sang these other songs, but it just gets tiring hearing them constantly.

TRD is pretty fascinating as President Ronald Reagan chronicled his time in the American presidency. Interesting in retrospect: Reagan erroneously thought that former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor (whom he nominated) was being unfairly criticized for her less-than pro-life views. Reagan also talks about his trip to China and the advice given to him by former president Richard Nixon: don’t ask what you’re eating—just swallow it and move on. Considering that duck and chicken brains are a delicacy in the Chinese culture, that was good advice.