Merry New Year! I write the first blog of the new year as Eddie Valentine and I, fresh crop report in hand, plan to destroy the Duke brothers by tricking them into cornering the frozen concentrated orange juice market. Meanwhile, Beaks is stuck in a cage with that senator to be from Minnesota and some long-too-lonely silverback.
As I ride the Amtrak New Year's eve party train today, I reflect on how fortunate we are to have averted a major crisis. I know things are turning around. Yes, things got pretty bad in 2008. Financial markets collapsed. Autombile manufacturers stepped one foot closer to oblivion. The governor of Illinois under a cloud of, ahem, scrutiny, ahem, named a replacement for Barack Obama. But we did avert one major crisis: Time Warner and Viacom kissed and made up.
Here's something for the old-timers: remember when you turned on a television and it had to warm up before the picture turned on?
I had plenty of televisions where that was an issue. Including many that were black and white. My grandmother had one of those furniture-style pieces that instantly took you back to the 50's when you turned it on. At home, I can recall fondly those mornings when I would turn on old reruns of Fury to eat my cereal before going back to school. And on Sunday mornings, I remember a block of television programming on Channel 4 including Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, Superman, the East Side Boys, and something else. Wrestling was also playing those mornings.
Aw, hell. Schwartz is closing. Just last week, I was at the Mequon location, and it looked a little odd. A little vacant. A little disorganized, and, perhaps, a little bare. I shrugged it off, figuring that the staff must have been restocking or moving stuff around or something. Maybe what I saw was no indication of their troubles, but I feel really badly about walking out empty handed right now.
Schwartz has been around for years, and it is part of the heart of Milwaukee. I can't tell you the nights and afternoons I once spent trolling through the bookcases, buying coffee, or just killing time. And yes, I bought books, too. Plenty of them. For me, local bookstores area crucial part of our community. They may not always have the savings, but the money goes right back into the community.