Monday, October 31, 2005

Bon-Ton to buy Saks stores for $1.1 bln

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bon-Ton Stores Inc. said on Monday it had agreed to buy 142 stores from Saks Inc. for $1.1 billion in cash, making it one of the largest regional department store retailers in the United States.

Bon-Ton said the deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to be completed early in the first fiscal quarter of 2006.

Parking deck open at SouthPark

Ashley M. Gibson
Charlotte Business Journal

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- SouthPark officials opened the mall's newest three-level parking deck this week. Construction of the 800-space deck, on the Sharon Road side of Dillard's, began in February. It brings the mall's total to 7,400 parking spaces.

"The addition of new retailers created a need for this expansion," says Nicole Bostic, SouthPark director of mall marketing. "We are pleased to offer our shoppers more convenience in parking at the mall in time for this year's holiday season."

The mall is owned by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group. SouthPark mall is anchored by Nordstrom, Belk, Dillard's and Hecht's. Shoppers have more than 140 store choices, 40% of which are exclusive to the Charlotte region.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Alife Pump sneaker

Now this is cool. This is the ultimate tennis ball sneaker, brought to you by New York's Alife and Reebok. For those not in the know, Alife is a design/ art collective based in New York City. I don't have a price on this, but rest asured, the model is limited edition and priced accordingly. Thanks to Al Cabino for sending this to me.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Game arrested after mall confrontation

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Rapper The Game, accused of rowdy behavior and refusing to remove a Halloween mask in a shopping mall, was arrested Friday on a charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

"I'm here for a concert. I got arrested for signing autographs," the 25-year-old rapper from Southern California told television station WFMY after he was released on $500 bond. "Signing a little girl's autograph got me arrested."

But police said in a statement that The Game, whose real name is Jayceon Taylor, and a group of companions were behaving disruptively and swearing at Four Seasons Town Centre.

Mall security officers said Taylor was wearing a full-face Halloween mask and cursing loudly in front of other patrons, and refused when they asked him to leave, police said. When police arrived, Taylor continued to act up and was arrested, the statement said.

A 19-year-old companion, Michael J. Taylor, was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer when he allegedly interfered with Jayceon Taylor's arrest. He also was freed on $500 bond.

Other members of the group were sprayed with pepper spray when they surrounded the officers in a threatening manner, police said. The incident was captured on videotape by a member of the group.

Jayceon Taylor said officers overreacted.

"They thought I was Rodney King, man. It was a case of mistaken identity," he told WFMY as he headed, belatedly, to a performance in nearby Winston-Salem. "It's unfair, man. Their behavior's unfair. ... Soon as I wake up in the morning, I'll be on the phone with my lawyers."

Police said they will conduct an internal investigation, as they do in all cases where officers use force.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Mall Palm Reader Attacked For Being 'Psychic'

Note from Steve: If he was pyschic, shouldn't he have seen this coming?

Hanover, MD (WJZ/AP) - A woman who apparently had a grudge against self-professed psychics severely punished a mall palm reader who failed after being put to a test.

Police say that around 4:30pm on Monday the woman approached 38 year-old Kevin Patrick Miles, who owns the Zodiac Zone kiosk at Arundel Mills, and said, "So, you're supposed to be a psychic?"

Miles says the woman then pulled a soda bottle from her purse, threw it at his head, and asked "Did you see that coming?" before leaving.

Miles immediately told mall security, but says they didn't call police until 8:30 p.m. when he asked to review the security tapes.

The kiosk owner said the woman had begun making scenes two weeks ago and this was the third time within that period that she had stopped be his place of business. He said she tells him he's satanic and that his kiosk goes against the teachings of God. He went on to say that each time the woman had been becoming more aggressive. But, Monday was the first time she had assaulted him.

The woman is described as Asian, in her early 40s, with a slim build.

Tree outside Rochester business getting a lot of attention


A tree outside the Hickey Freeman factory on North Clinton Avenue is getting a lot of attention because some say they see the image of Jesus in the bark and bare trunk.

Jim Holtz says he made the discovery early Monday morning. “I always look over in this direction and I saw the tree and I said am I seeing things. Then I came over to see if anybody had spray painted the tree. They didn't.”

Holtz was back Wednesday with camera in hand. So were scores of others who'd heard about this phenomenon.

People stopped their cars to stare, others walking by couldn't help but study the tree.

People say the face of jesus appears to be looking downward. Alex luzu can't believe it.

“It’s amazing. It looks like the same thing I saw in Florida. Cause in Florida...Tampa I seen the same thing. It’s real.”

So what does it mean? Why would the face of Jesus appear on a silver maple tree in front of the Hickey Freeman factory? Some believe it's a message. Deborah Lewis believes she can interpret the message. “I believe it's a meaning in the sense can't see Jesus, but in the sense that its showing that I am real...I'm coming back soon which is all known...He will be back.”

Theresa west believes it points to hickey-freeman's religious roots. She knows Jeremiah Hickey who ran the company for many decades. “I do think that he was one of the most religious men I have ever met.”

But not everyone is convinced this is a divine sign. Daily Messenger newspaper photographer Vasiliy Baziuk had to look at the face for 15 minutes before identifying the features many say belong to Jesus. “It looks like a face...but I don't know how real it is.”

But Jim Holtz, the man who started it all, has no doubts. “I believe in God and don't go to church too much...but that's definitely the face of Jesus Christ to me.”

This isn’t the first time people have claimed to see religious figures. There have been citing of the Virgin Mary. A 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich bearing the likeness of the Virgin Mary sold on Ebay last year for $28,00.00.

Mall for a New Generation

It's All About the Air As the Los Angeles Area's Iconic Centers Go Back to the Great Outdoors

Brent Hopkins
Los Angeles Daily News

Forget the hills, the beach, even the Hollywood sign - Southern California's true icon is the mall.

From the novel outdoor shopping centers of the 1960s to the '80s' boxy, enclosed fortresses to the massive "lifestyle centers" of today, the mall has had many faces. It's gone from sunshine-warmed to air-conditioned and back again. It's contained movies, skate rinks, youth zones and choreographed dancing fountains. In the urban desert of Los Angeles, malls dot the landscape like modern oases, each trying to outdo the previous one with bigger stores, better parking, smoother landscapes.

Marking the latest entry into this ultracompetitive playing field is the Simi Valley Town Center, a $300 million development that will celebrate its grand opening today - a mall that blends department stores, boutiques, big-box retail outlets and apartments. Each of its key elements represents a lesson learned from the experiences of its retail forebears, resulting in 1.5 million square feet of commerce in nearly every form.

"Retail's been around for thousands of years, starting with someone selling pots in the desert," said John Gilchrist, a principal with the Corti Gilchrist Partnership, one of the Town Center's three developers. "Then he put a carpet down, then he put a tent up. But consumers have certain preferences and trends change."

The Town Center, which intends to re-create an Italian shopping district on a hillside, is a far cry from that desert pot stand, with six restaurants, two department stores, Best Buy, Lowe's and 500 apartments. While it's the first major shopping development since The Oaks in nearby Thousand Oaks went up in 1972, this new entry will add competition to an area that defined mall culture for much of the past half-century.

From the trailblazing Panorama Mall, a swanky center anchored by The Broadway when it opened in the early 1950s, to the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square, the Valley served as an incubator for some of the region's most influential shopping centers and trends.

When they first came about, these huge centers aimed to pull together all the elements of a downtown shopping district in one location. Taking advantage of Southern California's good weather and ample land, they were open-air with vast asphalt parking lots.

But as shoppers became more accustomed to creature comforts, enclosed centers became in vogue, with multilevel, air-conditioned concourses linking increasingly huge department stores. Topanga Plaza started the trend in 1964, and Northridge Fashion Center cemented it seven years later, conditioning shoppers to nab all their purchases in one stop.

Fried-food court fare fed many a cranky child dragged along for the ride. This all led to the 1976 birth of the Glendale Galleria, the super-regional mall so huge it extended across several city blocks. By then, malls had little resemblance to the downtowns of old, becoming entirely self-contained and cut off from the outside world. This spawned the iconic Sherman Oaks Galleria in 1980, home of the much-mocked Valley Girls, and led the Panorama Mall and Fashion Square to cover up in coming decades.

But by 2000, the traditional mall didn't cut it anymore. Consumers suddenly remembered they liked the outdoors and turned their backs on enclosed centers. The Sherman Oaks Galleria shut down, only to reinvent itself as an outdoor "entertainment destination" mixing retail, movies and sit-down restaurants. Other centers reversed course and began playing up their natural elements, adding outdoor features and landscaping beneath skylights.

"A big part of it is that consumers are fed up with the sameness of shopping malls," said Linda Berman, vice president of branding and communications for Caruso Affiliated Holdings. "At a certain point, people will react to that. Closed-mall developers are getting more savvy about importing better entertainment, putting in outdoor elements, whatever it takes to make it warmer and friendlier."

Caruso, which owns a series of so-called lifestyle centers, including The Commons at Calabasas and the landmark The Grove in the Fairfax District, has been one of the biggest forces in the current movement back outdoors. Though at times controversial - critics say its whimsical developments are overly saccharine and rival developer General Growth Properties Inc., owner of the Glendale Galleria, set off a nasty legal battle attempting to block Caruso's plans to build an outdoor center in downtown Glendale - its malls have become a huge success with consumers.

"Here, people feel like they're on vacation," Berman said. "When you're at a resort, the shopping barriers fall away. People don't really come here to shop necessarily, but they end up buying something anyway."

The trend back to more classic, outdoor centers has led other developers to take notice. General Growth knocked down the old Fallbrook Mall to make way for a collection of big-box stores with more outdoor space, while Westfield Corp. will spend more than $300 million to bring in high-end tenants such as Neiman Marcus to Westfield Topanga.

While there are limited things a developer can do within the confines of an enclosed center, Westfield is still playing up the natural aspects of the mall.

"The centerpiece of the redeveloped center is an architectural and design marvel called The Canyon," Katy Dickey, Westfield's vice president of communications, said in a statement. "With over 30,000 square feet of glass, it will be a vast sky-filled atrium, which runs through the heart of Westfield Topanga, bringing the Southern California lifestyle indoors."

The final step in bringing shopping centers back to the way they used to be comes in the form of adding apartments. Though a relatively new trend in malls, first seen locally at Paseo Colorado in Pasadena in 2001, this hearkens back to traditional retail, in which stores operated in the heart of neighborhoods instead of on their suburban fringe. For Simi Valley Town Center, the people who will live in those apartments will add a community vibe to the shops - and built-in customers as well.

"It's the doctrine of new urbanism," said Alexander Moore, a professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California. "It all goes back to the importance of the street. Not only do you want the traditional things, like boutiques and department stores, but you want real, actual people there."

Thursday, October 27, 2005


This is McChronicles, a blog of "the McDonald's Brand Experience From The Customers' Point Of View." My friend Muddy sent the link to me and I thought I'd share. As I told her, I’m lovin’ it (ba-da-ba-ba-ba)

october 27 article - rugby

This article’s on the new Rugby by Ralph Lauren store in Charlottesville. Came out pretty nice.

Voice of Jolly Green Giant Dies at 80

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) - Elmer ``Len'' Dresslar Jr., who extolled vegetables to generations of TV watchers as the booming voice of the Jolly Green Giant, has died. He was 80.

Dresslar died Oct. 16 of cancer, according to daughter Teri Bennett.

Dresslar was an entertainer and singer for nearly six decades. But his voice rang through millions of households when he sang the simple refrain, ``Ho, Ho, Ho,'' in an ad jingle for Green Giant foods.

``His was the most consistent and most frequent voice of the Jolly Green Giant over the years, the one consumers are going to recognize,'' said Tara Johnson, a spokeswoman for General Mills, which owns Green Giant Co.

Dresslar, a Kansas native, moved to Chicago with his wife in the early 1950s to study voice after touring with a production of ``South Pacific.'' By the 1960s, the Navy veteran had carved out a career singing in clubs, on television and in advertising jingles.

He recorded 15 albums with The Singers Unlimited jazz group and appeared on the CBS television show ``In Town Tonight'' from 1955 to 1960. He and his wife, Dorothy, retired to Palm Springs in 1991.

Ad jingles were the most consistent part of his career, and he landed roles for Rice Krispies cereal, Marlboro cigarettes, Amoco oil and Dinty Moore canned beef stew.

He periodically re-recorded the ``Ho, Ho, Ho'' for Jolly Green Giant commercials, most recently about 10 years ago.

Bennett said her father auditioned for the Green Giant job without any idea his baritone would become so recognizable.

``He never got tired of it,'' she said. ``If nothing else, it put my sister and I through college.''

song of the day | october 27, 2005

Hide And Seek - Chuck Mangione Listen

Rumors of stalled Sears strategy grow

BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter

A Wall Street analyst gave voice Monday to rumors that Sears' ballyhooed strategy of building new stand-alone stores is in trouble.

Sears is counting on its newest store, Sears Essentials, to compete with big-box rivals such as Target, Kohl's and Wal-Mart, while also selling refrigerators, treadmills, lawn mowers and patio furniture.

Sears has denied reports that it is slowing or halting its plans to convert 400 Kmart stores into Sears Essentials stores within three years -- at a cost of about $3.5 million per store. But Sears hasn't yet announced how many Sears Essentials stores it will open in 2006.

Furthermore, two top Sears executives integral to the strategy have left or are leaving the Hoffman Estates-based retailer, Gregory Melich, an analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co., said in a note to investors Monday.

Catherine David, a former Target executive that Sears named to oversee Sears Essentials and two other stand-alone stores, left the retailer in September.

Sears hired David in July 2004 to turn around the struggling Great Indoors home-decor chain, which Sears had downsized a year earlier to 17 stores.

Sears also is losing Luis Padilla, another former Target executive and a merchandising whiz credited with putting the "chic" in Target's "cheap chic" reputation. Padilla is leaving at month's end, following Sears Chairman Edward S. Lampert's decision to install his own top strategists.

Furthermore, Sears is investing less than its retail rivals in its stand-alone stores, and has cut its advertising by more than 40 percent, Melich wrote.

More than 50 percent of Sears Essentials stores are within five miles of a Target, a Lowe's or a Home Depot, giving them tough conditions under which to compete, he said.

Other analysts have questioned the Sears Essentials format as unfocused and underwhelming.

"The store seems a hodgepodge of everything, and there's no clear message to consumers about what to expect," said Kim Picciola at Chicago-based Morningstar.

John Melaniphy III, a Chicago real estate expert at Melaniphy & Associates, said Sears has been noticeably silent about Sears Essentials' performance, in contrast to its bragging about exceeding expectations with Sears Grand, the company's largest stand-alone stores that are twice the size of a Sears Essentials.

Investors were hoping Lampert, a billionaire hedge-fund whiz, would have dropped any designs he had on retailing and sold much of Sears' real estate to turn a quick profit.

As time goes by, investors have gotten impatient. Analysts had estimated that Sears' stock would climb to $169 to $200 by year's end if Lampert sold assets. The stock ended the day Monday at $125.07.

Sears will open 49 Sears Essentials stores by year's end.

In Chicago's suburbs, Sears has converted former Kmart stores in northwest suburban Palatine and in southwest suburban Homer Glen to the Sears Essentials format. A Sears Essentials will open this weekend in west suburban Elmhurst.

Said Neil Stern of Chicago's McMillan Doolittle consultancy, "It's critical to the future of the company as a retailer to make this [Sears Essentials] work."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

10 Scariest Stars in HDTV!

Note from Steve: Yes, this is plenty mean-spirited, but it's funny as hell!

Phillip Swann, president of, has generated international attention for his list of the 10 celebrities who look better or worse in crystal-clear High-Definition TV. The list has been featured in such publications as The Chicago Tribune, The National Enquirer, The New York Post and TV shows such as Inside Edition and The Fox Report With Shepard Smith.

But now -- just in time for Halloween -- Swanni is publishing a new list that's guaranteed to once again catch the attention of the entertainment world, particularly in Hollywood: The list consists of actors, actresses and TV personalities who are the victims of horrific acne problems, aging signs and/or terrible plastic surgery. Their faces are so abnormal and weird-looking that it's difficult to look at them in ultra-realistic HD. It's not just that they look worse in high-def, they are the...

10 Scariest Stars in HDTV!

1. Burt Reynolds
After numerous 'apparent' plastic surgeries, Burt's face looks like it's been Scotch taped back in place. His skin texture seems different in every area, as if the Nip 'n Tuck boys couldn't keep track of what they did last. And those toupees don't help, either. You get the feeling that it takes the Boogie Nights star half the day just to get his head together, and we don't mean psychologically.

2. Tommy Lee Jones
The veteran actor chased prison escapee Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. But speaking of break outs, his face must have broken out more often than a hundred fugitives when he was kid. His cheeks are covered with blackheads and pockmarks. In the recent high-def showing of The Hunted on Showtime, the one-time co-star of Coal Miner's Daughter looks like he's been in a coal mine for the last year. And it's hard to believe that he's only 58; you could put $50 worth of groceries in the bags under his eyes.

3. Mary Tyler Moore (left)
The veteran actress now looks like The Joker in Batman. If she pulled her face back any further, it would be behind her. Oh, Rob!

4. Cher
Did she get Botox? Well, let's put it this way. Her face looks more frozen than a Hollywood agent's heart. In fact, seeing her in high-def at a recent awards show gave us the chills. Her face reminds you of a Buckingham Palace guard. You could stand in front of her and scream and not a single part of that thing would move.

5. Keith Richards
Everyone knows that the Rolling Stones guitarist has not taken care of himself, but you should see him in HDTV. No, let's rephrase that. You don't want to see him in HDTV. During the recent Tribute to Gram Parsons concert broadcast by INHD, the high-def network, Richards' face looked like it had been worked over with a meat cleaver. His cheeks have ridges within ridges; the effect makes him look like a Shar Pei.

6. Joan Rivers
Another likely Botox addict. The red carpet host looks like she's injected more needles than Jose Canseco.

7. Edward James Olmos
The star of PBS's American Family (broadcast in high-def) has terrible acne stars, particularly on his cheeks. He wears a moustache, but if anyone should grow a full beard, it's this guy.

8. Faye Dunaway
The Chinatown star has that "always happy to see you" look. Her face has been pulled back, leaving her eyes wide-eyed and somewhat buggy.

9. Steven Tyler
Dude Looks Like a Lady! During CBS' high-def broadcast of the 2005 Grammys, Aerosmith's lead singer seemed more like a woman than a man. It wasn't the hair; it was the face. Tyler looked like he had some of his facial skin scraped off to give him a younger and more feminine look. Some people start to look like their father when they get older; Tyler is starting to look more like his daughter, Liv Tyler.

10. Peter Jackson
The Oscar-winning director may be the Lord of the Rings, but he's not the lord of the razor. At the 2004 Oscars, Jackson's beard looked like Middle Earth itself.

A ‘Different’ Wal-Mart

Bentonville, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores described a new style of business during the company’s analyst meeting. “Some of you see our size as a liability,” said John Menzer, who was recently named head of the U.S. stores division. “We can be nimble. And we will be different—very different—from the Wal-Mart you know.”

Some of those differences will be seen in the merchandising department, he said. “We’re going to take risks in merchandising,” he said. “We’re going to take risks in marketing. We're going to reach out to new consumers who are not fully shopping our stores.”

Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings

by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

As a legal noose appears to be tightening around the Bush/Cheney/Rove inner circle, a shocking government report shows the floor under the legitimacy of their alleged election to the White House is crumbling.

The latest critical confirmation of key indicators that the election of 2004 was stolen comes in an extremely powerful, penetrating report from the Government Accountability Office that has gotten virtually no mainstream media coverage.

The government's lead investigative agency is known for its general incorruptibility and its thorough, in-depth analyses. Its concurrence with assertions widely dismissed as "conspiracy theories" adds crucial new weight to the case that Team Bush has no legitimate business being in the White House.

Nearly a year ago, senior Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) asked the GAO to investigate electronic voting machines as they were used during the November 2, 2004 presidential election. The request came amidst widespread complaints in Ohio and elsewhere that often shocking irregularities defined their performance.

According to CNN, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee received "more than 57,000 complaints" following Bush's alleged re-election. Many such concerns were memorialized under oath in a series of sworn statements and affidavits in public hearings and investigations conducted in Ohio by the Free Press and other election protection organizations.

The non-partisan GAO report has now found that, "some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."

The United States is the only major democracy that allows private partisan corporations to secretly count and tabulate the votes with proprietary non-transparent software. Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others, has asserted that "public elections must not be conducted on privately-owned machines." The CEO of one of the most crucial suppliers of electronic voting machines, Warren O'Dell of Diebold, pledged before the 2004 campaign to deliver Ohio and thus the presidency to George W. Bush.

Bush's official margin of victory in Ohio was just 118,775 votes out of more than 5.6 million cast. Election protection advocates argue that O'Dell's statement still stands as a clear sign of an effort, apparently successful, to steal the White House.

Among other things, the GAO confirms that:

1. Some electronic voting machines "did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected." In other words, the GAO now confirms that electronic voting machines provided an open door to flip an entire vote count. More than 800,000 votes were cast in Ohio on electronic voting machines, some seven times Bush's official margin of victory.

2. "It was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate." Numerous sworn statements and affidavits assert that this did happen in Ohio 2004.

3. "Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level." 3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards can easily be done, according to the GAO.

4. The GAO also confirms that access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network. This critical finding confirms that rigging the 2004 vote did not require a "widespread conspiracy" but rather the cooperation of a very small number of operatives with the power to tap into the networked machines and thus change large numbers of votes at will. With 800,000 votes cast on electronic machines in Ohio, flipping the number needed to give Bush 118,775 could be easily done by just one programmer.

5. Access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords. So even relatively amateur hackers could have gained access to and altered the Ohio vote tallies.

6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy, meaning, again, getting into the system was an easy matter.

7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail, re-emphasizing the fragility of the system on which the Presidency of the United States was decided.

8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel, confirming still more easy access to the system.

In essence, the GAO study makes it clear that no bank, grocery store or mom & pop chop shop would dare operate its business on a computer system as flimsy, fragile and easily manipulated as the one on which the 2004 election turned.

The GAO findings are particularly damning when set in the context of an election run in Ohio by a Secretary of State simultaneously working as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. Far from what election theft skeptics have long asserted, the GAO findings confirm that the electronic network on which 800,000 Ohio votes were cast was vulnerable enough to allow a a tiny handful of operatives -- or less -- to turn the whole vote count using personal computers operating on relatively simple software.

The GAO documentation flows alongside other crucial realities surrounding the 2004 vote count. For example:

The exit polls showed Kerry winning in Ohio, until an unexplained last minute shift gave the election to Bush. Similar definitive shifts also occurred in Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico, a virtual statistical impossibility.

A few weeks prior to the election, an unauthorized former ES&S voting machine company employee, was caught on the ballot-making machine in Auglaize County

Election officials in Mahoning County now concede that at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush. Voters who pushed Kerry's name saw Bush's name light up, again and again, all day long. Officials claim the problems were quickly solved, but sworn statements and affidavits say otherwise. They confirm similar problems in Franklin County (Columbus). Kerry's margins in both counties were suspiciously low.

A voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry. The problem was allegedly fixed.

In Gahanna Ward 1B, at a fundamentalist church, a so-called "electronic transfer glitch" gave Bush nearly 4000 extra votes when only 638 people voted at that polling place. The tally was allegedly corrected, but remains infamous as the "loaves and fishes" vote count.

In Franklin County, dozens of voters swore under oath that their vote for Kerry faded away on the DRE without a paper trail.

In Miami County, at 1:43am after Election Day, with the county's central tabulator reporting 100% of the vote - 19,000 more votes mysteriously arrived; 13,000 were for Bush at the same percentage as prior to the additional votes, a virtual statistical impossibility.

In Cleveland, large, entirely implausible vote totals turned up for obscure third party candidates in traditional Democratic African-American wards. Vote counts in neighboring wards showed virtually no votes for those candidates, with 90% going instead for Kerry.

Prior to one of Blackwell's illegitimate "show recounts," technicians from Triad voting machine company showed up unannounced at the Hocking County Board of Elections and removed the computer hard drive.

In response to official information requests, Shelby and other counties admit to having discarded key records and equipment before any recount could take place.

In a conference call with Rev. Jackson, Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, Attorney Bob Fitrakis and others, John Kerry confirmed that he lost every precinct in New Mexico that had a touchscreen voting machine. The losses had no correlation with ethnicity, social class or traditional party affiliation---only with the fact that touchscreen machines were used.

In a public letter, Rep. Conyers has stated that "by and large, when it comes to a voting machine, the average voter is getting a lemon - the Ford Pinto of voting technology. We must demand better."

But the GAO report now confirms that electronic voting machines as deployed in 2004 were in fact perfectly engineered to allow a very small number of partisans with minimal computer skills and equipment to shift enough votes to put George W. Bush back in the White House.

Given the growing body of evidence, it appears increasingly clear that's exactly what happened.

America doesn't have heroes like Rosa Parks anymore

In these superficial times, we can learn from her sacrifice, says SHERON PATTERSON

The passing of civil rights icon Rose Parks reminds us of this sad reality: The bravery she exhibited 50 years ago on that Montgomery, Ala., bus has gone out of style.

The intestinal fortitude that Mrs. Parks demonstrated is passé in our day and time. We live in a world that encourages us to cowardly go along with the crowd, and many of us do.

Before you react angrily to my comments, answer this question: What would you have done if you were sitting on a segregated bus and you wanted change to come to a city? Even though all those around you murmured for change, would you have seen yourself as capable of making the change?

Quite honestly, I don't know whether I could have been the one either. But I am sure glad that Mrs. Parks was.

She fearlessly took on an unjust system all by herself. Historical records show that initially four African-Americans were asked to relinquish their seats in the middle section of the bus for a lone Anglo rider. Even though three of them complied, Rosa Parks remained resolute and did not move.

Mrs. Parks recalled that her motivation for holding onto her seat rather than giving it away was that she was tired of being humiliated. Thanks to her valiance, a young preacher, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., got involved, as did the rest of the city of Montgomery. A successful Montgomery bus boycott was the leverage that the flagging civil rights movement needed to get going.

I suggest that we have seen the end of an era of valiance. If someone were to take a risky stand like that today, they would require an entourage, a television film crew and endorsements from products related to the cause.

People like Mrs. Parks, whether they were black, white, red or yellow, gave of themselves to make the world better. Self-sacrifice is almost a profane word today. It is as if situations and predicaments don't move us as they used to.

We have become desensitized to suffering and injustice, instead of getting involved to improve the situation. We turn away and find another source of entertainment.

If Mrs. Parks' death is less significant to our young people, that's because her story has had to compete with MP3 players, celebrity gossip and the latest – and ever increasing cost of – sneakers. Heroes usually get their ranking by how many times they appear on MTV or the cover of People magazine.

Mrs. Parks did none of that. She didn't do anything that had bling-bling involved. She didn't make any snappy comments. She just bravely kept her seat.

If the truth is told, we grown folk will have to fight to remember her and respect her, too. We also tend to get caught up in things that are superficial.

But her death should cause all of America to stand and applaud a woman who had the guts to remain seated. While we are standing for her, we should take a hard look at our world and determine what we should be doing to make it better.

Then we should set about doing it, all the while not expecting a pat on the back or a paycheck. If we choose to, all of us can rekindle the Parks style of bravery.

It boils down to the question of how much of ourselves we are willing to sacrifice.

Sheron Patterson is senior pastor of Highland Hills United Methodist Church in Dallas. Her e-mail address is

Sam Goody stores try new concept to lure more shoppers

Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Sam Goody is trying something in its record stores that its teen customers already know about - CD burning.

The music chain is testing a store-within-a-store idea called Graze at seven locations, including its Mall of America store. The idea is to invite customers to sit on sofas and try out music, digital cameras, satellite radio and other gadgets. Customers can have their music burned onto a custom CD.

With Sam Goody losing many of its key young customers to music downloads, it wanted to try to increase store traffic in the hope that sales will follow.

"We aren't right with the consumer now," said Rob Willey, senior vice president of corporate development at Sam Goody parent Musicland Group Inc. He said Sam Goody stores need a stronger "emotional connection" with its core shoppers - 12-to-24 year olds.

"I want to earn back our share of music with the lifestyle hook. We believe this will turn retail on its head," he said.

Musicland is counting on good consumer response as it looks to Graze to rejuvenate the Sam Goody chain, which has more than 450 U.S. stores, including 10 in Minnesota.

Sam Goody has plenty of room to boost customer traffic. For every 1,000 visitors to malls, 26 go into Sam Goody stores - about half the count of other specialty retailers, such as Victoria's Secret, Willey said.

Willey said 75 percent of CD sales are impulse purchases - so picking up even one to four more visitors per 1,000 shoppers could dramatically boost sales, Willey said.

One way to pull them in is the electronic floor mats at each Graze storefront. The flashy floor mats display 30-second commercials, movie trailers and store promotions repeated every six minutes. And they're interactive, so you can kick images of soccer balls with your feet during a commercial for a video soccer game.

Teens Justin Foye and Nick Hilzinger were impressed with Graze's CD burning after trying out the store's sofas and listening to some music. Foye said the store's access to thousands of songs seemed quicker and simpler than downloading them.

Hilzinger said Graze was "really relaxing. It would make people come here."

Next year, Musicland plans to open six stand-alone Graze stores in U.S. shopping malls.

"This has the option to become its own brand," Willey said. "I don't think Graze will replace Sam Goody. But we hope it can activate and energize Sam Goody."

Retail experts said Musicland has correctly targeted the Graze concept at its biggest music consumers. But it will still be tough to lure more shoppers in their teens and early 20s into Sam Goody stores.

"It will be difficult to get them (teens) away from Internet downloading," said Dave Brennan, co-director of the Institute for Retailing Excellence at the University of St. Thomas. "The younger they are, the more techno savvy. It's hard to get them back into a regular shopping experience."

Looking Sharp

Joe Killian
The Carolinian

The second year I was an Community Advisor, over at Mary Foust Hall, they put on a semi-formal. At around 5 p.m. there was a knock at my door. It was a kid down the hall, asking if he could borrow a tie - and if I could teach him to tie it. I did.

Twenty minutes later there was a second knock. It was a kid from one floor up, asking if he could borrow a jacket. I found him one.

Before I'd closed the door another kid appeared, asking if I could show him how to polish his shoes. Out came the Kiwi and the brushes.

This happened to me over and over again, throughout all the years I was a CA and Head Resident. And I enjoyed it. It was one of the few ways in which I could bond with my male residents that didn't involve video games - and one of the few ways in which I could do my job (teach them something, provide some guidance) that didn't involve my busting them for drinking or drugs.

But it did occur to me...these kids are my age. Why don't they know this stuff?

In a way I was lucky to have grown up in the family I did. Oh, it didn't seem that way at the time. When you're in grade school your mother sending you to Catholic school seems like punishment. But they drilled into me from an early age that the way you look affects the way you feel. Though I'm still not a big fan of school uniforms I can't argue with that logic.

I can remember my dad, a career Marine, teaching me to put a crease in my pants and shine my shoes, repeatedly hammering into me the idea that having pride in your appearance tells people a lot about the sort of person you are. It seemed, at the time, like the sort of noise with which fathers have bored their sons for generations - to no discernable effect. But , right around the time I became seriously interested in girls, my dad suddenly seemed a lot smarter than I'd ever realized.

Probably most of all I have to thank my aunt for telling me to stop looking like a slob and tuck in my shirt in that brief, flickering moment in which Grunge was in fashion. A smart, strong woman with classic style, she made me realize that, fair or not, it's often important to impress people with how you look in order to get them to care about what you say or how you think.

Looking around the campus I notice that women don't seem to be wrestling with how to make themselves look presentable. On the contrary - I'd argue most women my age spend almost as much time considering and then modifying the way they look as we spend trying to figure out how to get them out of all those carefully considered clothes. It's an easy out to say that women are simply more style conscious than men, more intelligent and therefore generally more socially adept. Just one of those curious little quirks of gender. But it isn't true. How many gay men do you meet with closets full of hooded sweat shirts and baseball caps?

My friend John Russell - now writing for the the Village Voice - once told me he thought straight men avoided thinking of and dealing with clothes because fashion consciousness was a threat to their masculinity. It was one of John's countless (often paranoid) theories of gender and society...but I think he had something with this one.

Until the acdendency of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and the scourge that is the "metrosexual" there weren't many men who were comfortable admitting that they cared about their clothing at all. Caring about their appearace equalled vanity, and vanity equalled femininity and there was nothing feminine about them, damn it. Curiously some of the only men who openly wanted to look sharp were our grandfathers - men who'd fought World Wars, saved civilization as we know it and came through all of it smiling to marry our grandmothers and raise our parents, the comfortingly masculine scent of their cigars clinging to them as they bounced us on their knees and smiled serenely knowing they were the men we'd never be.

I'd argue it's an unconscious masculine insecurity that's the cause of whole generations of men now failing to actually become men - remaining video-gaming, explosion loving, professional wrestling fanatics in cargo pants and sneakers seven days a week. These are twenty and thirty-year-old boys who have forgotten that there's supposed to be something more to life than fast-food, bad porn and the next Jackie Chan movie.

But being a man is great - and it should mean never having to apologize for your tie. We have to - as a generation of men - put the effort we expend on bench presses and skirt-chasing and beating the latest version of "Halo" back into the endeavors of real men. And that, my friends, whether you like it or not, means caring about the way you look. So break out the shoe polish and, if you're not sure how to do it yourself, go ask your CA. That's what he's there for.

Joe Killian is a long-time writer and Life Editor for The Carolinian. You can check out his blog at

Stretchy Nike Free

Helen Jung
The Oregonian

The new Nike Free sneaker, hailed for its unstructured form, might be a little too unstructured.

Customers have been returning the slipperlike sneakers, which are designed to mimic being barefoot and strengthen feet, because of rips in a swatch of sheer fabric around the heel.

It's not a fatal flaw, said Robb Finegan, a store manager for Fit Right Northwest, who "cut the rest off and kept running."

Still, "it's kind of frustrating," he said, noting that about half his customers have returned the sneakers.

Retailers are now cautioning customers before they buy the sneakers, said Jay Schrotzberger, a store manager for Portland Running Co. who owns three pairs. He also cut out the mesh material.

Still, at $85 a pair, not everyone is going to be happy with a solution that turns a running shoe into a slingback sandal. Not to mention that the shoe insert tends to slip out the gaping hole in the back when you run, he said.

And Nike, which declined to comment, can't be too happy with that solution either. When people cut out the stretchy material, they're also cutting out a swoosh.

Lawsuit seeks $60,000 from Greenbrier Mall shoe store

By JOHN HOPKINS, The Virginian-Pilot

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A pair of socks from a Chesapeake store could ultimately come with a price tag of $60,000 or more now that the courts are involved.

The parents of a North Carolina girl have filed a lawsuit against a shoe store in Greenbrier Mall after the girl tried on shoes using what she thought were typical courtesy socks.

When the girl’s parents were told they had to buy the socks, a brouhaha followed inside the store. A crowd gathered.

The commotion drew mall security. In all of the yelling, the family was allegedly called sock thieves, according to the lawsuit.

Now the family wants $50,000 in compensatory damages and $10,000 in punitive damages from Genesco Inc., which does business as Journey’s shoe store.

Officials at Genesco could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

The episode slandered and defamed the teen and caused her to suffer embarrassment and humiliation, according to the lawsuit. Being called a sock thief aggravated the teen’s migraine headaches, requiring medical treatment, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit was filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court by John Gunn of Colerain, N.C., on behalf of his 16-year-old daughter. Gunn was with his wife and two daughters on the afternoon of April 22, 2005, when the family went shopping for shoes at the store, according to the lawsuit.

The teen inquired about several types of shoes. She settled on some flip-flops.

When the teen asked to try on another pair of shoes, the sales clerk gave her a pair of footies that were too small, according to the lawsuit. A sales clerk gave the teen permission to use another pair of socks to try on the shoes, the lawsuit said.

The shoes, however, did not feel comfortable and were not purchased. The socks were returned to the employee, according to the lawsuit.

When the family went to the checkout counter to purchase the flip-flops, an employee insisted that they pay for the socks, too.

The family questioned the reason they would have to pay for the socks. After some discussion, however, the family agreed to pay.

The family’s bankcard, for some reason, would not work although there was ample money in the account, according to the lawsuit. The family did not have any cash .

The store employee “became very abusive,” took the socks and placed them with two other pairs, then advised the family that they now had to purchase all three pairs of socks because they had now all been “contaminated,” according to the lawsuit.

At some point, Gunn requested that nearby security guards come into the store to help resolve the situation. In front of the two guards, a mall manager and a number of unknown spectators, the employee repeatedly accused the family of “stealing s ocks.”

The family’s attorney declined to comment.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

love music

When you fall in love, or what I like to call “serious like,” everything that you do and say becomes significant. No, I’m not in love now, and don’t care to be honestly (unless a truly special girl came my way and felt the same), but it’s still on my mind.

Today, I’m reflecting specifically on selected music that loomed in my mind and reminded me of the days when I was in “serious like” with some folks.

“Upside Down” by Diana Ross.
The year was 1981 or thereabout. I was an unhappy kindergartner, forced from my days of playing and watching “The Price is Right” and “Another World” by elementary school. It seemed fun when I used to visit my brother in kindergarten, but we moved the summer before and the school and teacher were different. I hated it. That is, until I met Deanna.

Deanna was beautiful, feisty and elegant (in a toddler kind of way). She had the longest hair and prettiest eyes and I was head over heels for her. We used to play like we were “married” all the time, and were serious about it, too. She turned my world around, and “Upside Down” was our song.

As time went on, it became less serious and I started falling for this other girl named Bridget that was in our class, but I had a really close friendship with Deanna up until middle school. After we hit puberty, she dropped me like a hot potato, but when we see each other out somewhere occasionally as adults, she’s friendly again.

“Hopeless” by Dionne Farris.
It was summer, somewhere in the mid-‘90s. I had just been dumped by one of my college girlfriends and I was kinda sad and lonely. That’s when I met Shanette. Shanette honestly wasn’t my type. I thought she had pretty hair and a pretty face, but she didn’t really show a lot of interest. My cousin was married to her sister, and they thought it would be cute to get us to talk to each other.

So against my better judgment with nothing else going on, I called her. I actually was surprised at how sweet she was at first. We talked for a couple of hours and subsequently went on several dates, nothing real serious, but interesting just the same.

Eventually, we realized we wanted something different than each of us had to offer. She didn’t stimulate my mind; I didn’t stimulate her libido, though I had a fun time trying ;-). I left that relationship hopeless and somewhat dejected, and “Hopeless” was the song that summed up that summer.

“Cosmic Girl” by Jamiroquai.
I’m apparently a sucker for unrequited love. Over the years I’ve had several serious crushes that went nowhere. Either I wasn’t cool enough or there was a boyfriend in our way or our schedules wouldn’t work out. Angie was the ultimate culmination of all three factors rolled into one: my longest deepest crush.

I met her in college in sophomore year. She really didn’t do it for me at first, but she was always so nice and she sat beside me in architecture studio, so we talked all the time. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. What I felt started turning into what I thought was love six months after I met her, but she didn’t budge. She was seeing someone and I just wasn’t the right guy to break that up.

I moved on and talked to other girls, and fell madly in “serious like” with this gorgeous Amazon named Amy who was, in my mind “the perfect woman.” Amy never let me get close to her, then one summer she gained what has to have been 60 pounds and still was distant, so I gave up. I digress; that’s a different story entirely…

Anyway, eventually I was back to Angie, who had had a couple of bad breakups in my absence from “serious like” and I tried to be the guy who caught her fall. We got a little closer, then a little more, although she had met someone else in the interim that was “cooler” and she didn’t let me get as far as I wanted. I still, as always, tried like hell ;-)

After nearly 10 years of trying to make Angie mine, I woke up from weeks of soul searching and decided that this had gone far enough. We had some words, and we agreed that there was something there, but it wasn’t going to be any good for anybody to go any farther. I was never going to be who she wanted, and vice versa.

We’re still very good friends and I love her still; I’m just more realistic about it. She’s my “Cosmic Girl” from another galaxy and I can’t image being without her for very long.

“I Wanna Hear It from You” by Jason and Randy Sklar.
Here’s the elephant in the middle of the room, folks. I was just hanging out here at the blog posting away on whatever earlier this year and I got an email from this girl named Anita. She was into dead malls and I was intrigued. She, again, wasn’t my type physically, but she had a beautiful mind and a wickedly perfect sense of humor and irony. I was hooked.

It’s the oddest relationship I’ve ever had. I never heard her voice, I never touched her, I never even visited her, but somehow we became a part of each other. The internet is spooky like that.

It turned out to be as hopeless as chasing Amy. I could never be to her what she wanted, and vice versa, and at one point when we were fighting, I said some things that really hurt her and she simply stopped emailing. I don’t remember apologizing, and it’s doubtful that it would have been sincere if I did.

I don’t really want her back in my life. I hate to say it, because for all that she was and wasn’t, I loved her, but it was never going to work. That said, I wish her all the luck in the world trying to land the man she wants, even though it’s obviously not me.

I hate “I Wanna Hear It from You” but I’ll always remember what it meant to me over the summer and the person who made it meaningful.

Fewer Federateds

Department store retailer announces six more “duplicate” stores it intends to close

Federated Department Stores Inc. (Cincinnati) said it has identified an additional six duplicate stores in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky and New Hampshire it intends to divest commencing in 2006.

The department store retailer previously announced 76 locations it plans to divest because duplicative Macy’s and May Company stores operate in the same mall or shopping center.

Today’s additions to the divestiture list brings the total to 82. The six new stores slated for closing are: Macy’s in Wesleyan Park Plaza (Owensboro, Ky.), a 55,000-square-foot store opened in 1987; Macy’s in Rockingham Park Mall (Salem, N.H.), a 159,000-square-foot store opened in 1994; Macy’s in Tucson (Ariz.) Mall, a 138,000-square-foo store opened in 1982; Macy’s apparel store in The Oaks (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), a 149,000-square-foot store opened in 1983; Marshall Field’s in University Park Mall (Mishawaka, Ind.), a 123,000-square-foot store opened in 1980; and Robinsons-May in North County Fair (Escondido, Calif.), a 116,000-square-foot store opened in 1986.

Federated also said it intends to begin “going out of business” sales on Jan. 29, 2006, in malls where the company operates 32 duplicative store locations the company already announced it plans to divest or convert to Bloomingdale’s.

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Dies at 92

DETROIT (AP) - Rosa Lee Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man sparked the modern civil rights movement, died Monday. She was 92.

Mrs. Parks died at her home of natural causes, said Karen Morgan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.

Mrs. Parks was 42 when she committed an act of defiance in 1955 that was to change the course of American history and earn her the title ``mother of the civil rights movement.''

At that time, Jim Crow laws in place since the post-Civil War Reconstruction required separation of the races in buses, restaurants and public accommodations throughout the South, while legally sanctioned racial discrimination kept blacks out of many jobs and neighborhoods in the North.

The Montgomery, Ala., seamstress, an active member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was riding on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955, when a white man demanded her seat.

Mrs. Parks refused, despite rules requiring blacks to yield their seats to whites. Two black Montgomery women had been arrested earlier that year on the same charge, but Mrs. Parks was jailed. She also was fined $14.

Monday, October 24, 2005

limited edition mania

Limited editon chocolate sneakers? $600 Vans knockoffs by Chanel? $475 cocktails? Is the world going bonkers? Not at all.

It's all about exclusivity and uniqueness in the consumer goods of today, and manufacturers and retailers are tapping into consumers' desires to stand out withing the context of popularity.

My friend Alain from Canada forwarded me this article on the limited edition trend and its future. It's an informative read. Thanks Alain.

Levi to try on $350 jeans, hopes they fit

Sarah Duxbury
San Francisco Business Times

Now that $200 jeans seem as commonplace as $5 lattes, Levi's, the granddaddy of denim, is changing its lineup.

Two new lines, Capital E and Levi's Red, will hit shelves next spring, furthering the company's representation at all price levels. Previously, Levi's had two offerings: traditional Red Tab, which sold for $40 and up, and premium denim, which sold for $110 to $180.

Come 2006, the premium category will be replaced by Capital E, a super-premium line which starts at $140 for a pair of jeans and climbs as high as $350. Some of the most popular premium fits will be incorporated in the new line, but Capital E will involve luxury details like turquoise on the buttons and extensive hand-finishing. It will take 15 people to make one pair of Capital E jeans, an added cost reflected by the high sticker price.

Amy Gemellaro, a company spokeswoman, said that the move to ultra-premium is Levi's way of staying at the forefront of the denim world. Capital E will retail in high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus and Barney's, as well as some trend-setting boutiques.

But the company will not forget the upper-middle. Next week it will announce the introduction of Levi's Red, which will sell in better department stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's for $50 to $80.

The more populist Red Tab line, long Levi's bread and butter, remains the biggest part of the company's business and will continue as before. Many elements introduced in premium lines eventually find their way to Red Tab products.

"We talk about being the inventor of the (denim) category, and this is about having the best range out there," Gemellaro said, noting that Levi's products will now range from $40 to $500 for vintage reproductions. "The idea is to make sure we deliver across all categories of denim."

Through a separate division, Levi Strauss & Co. also sells a discount Signature brand at mass retailers like Wal-Mart.

Levi Strauss & Co. has reported four consecutive quarters with increased income, signaling that denim's originator retains relevance. For the third quarter ended Aug. 28, Levi Strauss & Co. reported both sales and revenue growth, in part driven by the success of the Levi's brand in the United States.

"We want to make sure we reach all customers," Gemellaro said of the Levi's brand's new three-tiered strategy, adding that the two new lines will hopefully raise both revenue and Levi's profile in the marketplace.

Ubersexuals Leaving Metrosexuals at the Spa

By Daniel Altiere

Look out metrosexuals, there’s a new man in town.

He's the ubersexual — the man who can talk fashion with women but also compete for them with the fireman at the bar.

He’s got male buddies, but also enjoys female friends. He might groom himself with expensive products, but he would never, under any circumstances, highlight, wax or self-tan.

He works out, but he’s not vainly striving for a six-pack.

“The ubersexual man would look down on a Calvin Klein model,” said Marian Salzman, who writes about ubersexuals in her book, "The Future of Men", co-written by Ira Matathia and Ann O'Reilly. “He still cares about the way he looks — he hasn’t given up aesthetically on himself — he’s just not doing it to satisfy what the outer world sees him as, he’s doing it for how he feels about himself.”

Who fits the bill? Advertising agency JWT, which employs Salzman as director of strategic content, says the Top Ten ubersexuals are Jon Stewart, Guy Ritchie, Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, George Glooney and — at No. 1 — U2 rock star and world peace activist Bono.

Click here for more information on the world's Top Ten ubersexuals.

This is a departure of sorts. For the last few years, the term metrosexual has been used as a defense of men’s open adoption of traditionally female things. We are men, hear us ... blow dry. Magazines like Vitals, Details, GQ and Esquire began celebrating men’s right to preen, primp and tweeze.

The ubersexual harkens back to a man from an older world — a man who might shave with a badger brush and an imported soap, but would never peel “in order to gently restore radiance to the skin.”

More than just style, though, the ubersexual embraces the positive aspects of his masculinity —his “M-ness” — without giving into the stereotypes that give guys a bad name.

He’s confident, passionate and feels good leading, but he respects women, is comfortable with his emotions and isn’t completely ignorant of anything cultural outside of sports, beer and burgers.

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who reportedly was disappointed to be left off the list of ubersexuals, told listeners: "An 'ubersexual' is simply what men used to be before feminists came along and neutered them. It is hilarious that we now have a book claiming women want, essentially, a new type of man, who is in reality the traditional man."

Salzman would agree: “[For the past 15 years] women have become so comfortable in the idea that they could define what was feminine, they had also taken over responsibility of dictating what was masculine ... the uberman is not going to take it anymore.”

Limbaugh may be right when he says women are looking for the "traditional man." A JWT study determined that while only 20 percent of men consider themselves ubermen, 80 percent of women want them to be.

Los Angeles-based psychologist Dr. William Hoppock said this issue comes up a lot in his sessions with female clients.

"I have some very high-powered, successful women in the entertainment business as clients. They’re strong in their work but — they want their man to come home to. We’re not talking about ‘hey, get me a beer’ — that’s not a man, that’s a boy man. We’re talking about the man who takes responsibility — who makes them feel safe: he ‘chops wood and carries water’ and he’s not pissed off at the woman for having to do that.”

Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria, a self-avowed "real woman," feels the same way.

"I think women are wanting to feel safe and taken care of more these days, and I don’t really know that that’s the sensation you get with a metrosexual.”

She also said she’s sick of having to take the lead when she goes out with a man.

“I’m sick of going on dates where I’m the one smelling the cork.”

She said she finally might have found a guy she has hopes for in part because “he says things like ‘what’s with women and shoes.’ I like that he doesn’t get that."

Another JWT poll asked 500 men and 500 women at what point in a relationship did they think it was OK to have sex. The majority of men said on the fourth or fifth date; women said between the first and second.

The roles have become reversed. And it’s confusing men.

Jonah Meyers, a partner in a leading New York-based Internet firm, said his girlfriend wants him to be a man’s man, but he has a hard time keeping up with her forever shifting perception of masculinity.

“It’s very confusing. One day men are told to have a mustache, the next week, they’re told to shave their chest. It’s confusing, it’s conflicting.”

Then again, maybe the mark of the new masculinized man is that he just doesn’t care. Maybe that’s what makes the ubersexual so different from the metrosexual.

You asked for the man’s man back, ladies. Are you sure you’re ready for it?

Holiday Shopping Forecast: The Good, the Bad and the Squeezed

NEWSWISE Business News

A Purdue University retail expert says consumers will have deals galore early and late as retailers adjust to gas prices that will likely limit shoppers' trips to the mall.

"While consumers have adjusted to $3 per gallon gas and have kept spending, high gas prices act like a tax on retail spending," says Richard Feinberg, director of the Purdue Retail Institute and Center for Customer-Driven Quality. "Retailers realize that fewer visits by consumers because of high gas prices mean they must offer bargains, sales and promotions designed to 'compel' spending."

Feinberg, who is a professor of consumer sciences and retailing, predicts consumers will spend 2 percent to 6 percent more overall than last year, but retailers will see an increase of only 1 percent to 4 percent, when they'd much rather be in the double-digit range. Internet sales will increase $5 billion from $20 billion last year, but Internet spending still represents only 5 percent of the $435 billion that will be spent this year.

"The effect of home heating increases will be much greater than gas prices," Feinberg said. "While the 25 percent increase in gas prices costs the average family $10 per week, heating costs will increase $150-200 per month.

"And because consumers tend to pay for gas with credit cards, the increased price tends to be hidden. But most people write checks for heating costs, so those increases are much more apparent."

The season's biggest heating bills won't arrive until after Christmas, which is good for retailers in the short run but bodes poorly for retail sales in January, February and March. There's even more bad news for retailers tucked into those home heating bills, Feinberg says.

"January has become a bigger factor in holiday sales - a total of 10 percent - largely because gift cards have become increasingly popular. Retailers can't book gift card sales until purchases have been made, so this hurts retail spending reports in the traditional holiday shopping period."

As energy costs and skittish consumers translate into a challenging season for retailers, Feinberg says big retailers will have an advantage.

"Wal-Mart can pressure vendors and manufacturers to sell them products at lower prices and, therefore, Wal-Mart maintains profit margins," he said. "Smaller retailers don't have that kind of leverage with suppliers, so this will translate into lower profits."

Feinberg says the squeeze on retailers also will affect seasonal employment.

"One way for retailers to attempt to maintain profitability is to control expenses. So there will be fewer seasonal employees hired this year, and those hired will work fewer hours."

Finally, Feinberg said retail fragmentation means analysts need to look differently at holiday sales.

"The traditional measure is same-store sales increase," he said. "But most national retailers have added outlets in the last five years, so retailers may have smaller same-store sales but higher overall sales."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The old Carolina Circle Mall lives on -- at least in cyberspace

Note from Steve: This article appaered in today's News & Record about my friend Billy, who runs the Carolina Circle City blog. Kinda nice to see someone from Steve-land make the paper, especially for an excellent site like his.

Greensboro News & Record

To everything there is a season, and a blog to every purpose under heaven.

Consider the case of a new Web log devoted entirely to Carolina Circle Mall.

Carolina Circle is no more, pounded into so much rubble and scraped away to make room for a new Wal-Mart. All that's left is red clay, clumps of uprooted trees and brush and scattered stacks of rusty steel girders.

Coming soon: another temple to low prices and low wages. Hoo-rah.

But the loving new blog keeps the memories alive and sees life through the shops and promenades of what used to be one of the most pleasant places to shop in Greensboro.

Titled "Carolina Circle City," and authored by a self-described 15-year-old Sagittarian named "Billy," the site covers any and everything you'd want to know about The Mall that Time Forgot -- and more.

Billy Coore of McLeansville is a ninth-grader at Pendle Hill Christian School." A lot of my childhood was there," he says of the old mall. "I have many, many memories there."

Adds his dad, John Coore: "He's been crazy about that mall ever since he was a baby."

So it was no surprise when Billy prodded his dad to take him out to the old mall to shoot photos and video recently as dozers and excavators picked it apart.

In a Q&A with himself about Carolina Circle, the young blogger makes clear his affection. For instance:

Q. What was your favorite version of the mall? Ice Rink Version or Carousel Version?

A. Carousel Version. I grew up going to the Carolina Circle with ... a carousel. Even though I was born after the ice rink years, if it wasn't for the carousel, I wouldn't care about the mall as much.

Q. What was your favorite store?

A. Montgomery Ward. It had everything from your electronics to your apparel. I remember that smell it always had outside and inside. It's too unique to describe. During the demolition, I could still smell it.

I can't say that I still smell the old mall. Some say I didn't smell the coffee, either, about its inevitable demise.

I still believe to this day that Guilford County could have saved the sprawling off-white building if it had only followed through with a plan to place court space and county offices there and to locate a branch of GTCC there.

Part of that devotion was rational and eminently practical (which, of course, may have sealed its fate; the commissioners aren't exactly known for being rational or practical). So the commissioners balked. The deal never happened.

Then Dr. Don Linder came along and attempted a sports complex called Pyramids Village. I was more skeptical about that one, but still hopeful. Linder had lots of cash and cachet.

During one meeting at the complex he produced slick brochures and marketing studies about the projected residential growth in the area and the demand for such a facility. Already, his new soccer fields on part of the old mall's parking lots were booked with youth and adult soccer teams. Next, he assured me, he'd attract retail shops. Heck, he might even build a ballpark out there.

The rest, as they say, is misery. Linder's grand plan never fully played out. He sold part of the complex to the city. The rest he now plans to develop as a shopping center with Wal-Mart as the anchor.

One thing you can say for sure: Carolina Circle had the right name. Round and round it went, always stopping precisely where it had begun: nowhere.

But I think I've finally pinpointed its appeal to me. Like Billy, I grew up with it, and I remember its brief heyday in the 1970s and early '80s, when there were shops and people and the famous ice skating rink (unlike Billy, I preferred the rink to the carousel that replaced it).

And I preferred Carolina Circle to Four Seasons because it was smaller, friendlier and more intimate. It had many of the same stores, but you could shop there during Christmas season and not feel overwhelmed. There were big stores and little ones. There was Montgomery Ward, which remained until the bitter end. There was my college buddy, who managed one of the record stores there.

Now, shopping seems to be going back to the future. Malls are passe and old-fashioned shopping centers, where you actually have to walk outside in fresh air, are back in vogue. A new retail development, the Village at North Elm, takes the concept a step further, affecting the look and feel of a little self-contained town, complete with streets and alleys. It looks promising.

Still, I'll miss the dingy old hulk off U.S. 29. Though probably not half as much as Billy Coore.

Yale's fashion typologies: carving a niche in campus couture


While the New England fall weather ushers in a homogeneity of Yale sweatshirts, beneath the bold text lies something altogether different. And while many may soon shed their high school wardrobe in pursuit of the unkempt collegiate look, a certain (and occasionally unfortunate) degree of individuality remains intact.

Popped-Collar Preps
The consensus among most students is that the average Yalie is a Lacoste-wearing, collar-popping prep. Whether they are sporting ribbon belts and matching grosgrain flip flops or brightly colored cable-knit sweaters and matching argyle socks, it is easy to spot this type -- most likely outside of J.Crew on Broadway.

But other students have their two cents to add on the issue of the '80s prep tradition.

"Nantucket reds and seersucker pants are kind of weird," Miguel Agrait '06 said. "But they don't bother me as much as collar popping."

Indeed, if the plethora of facebook groups dedicated to this preppy fad is any indication, the controversy may be less about the fashion itself and more about those who sport it.

"It's a very specific group of people who do it and they tend to be -- how do I put this -- tools," Agrait said. "Single is bad enough, but double-collar-popping is pretty much a mortal sin."

The proud and preppy of Yale are less inclined to speak out in favor of their treasured trend, but there are those who will defend collar-popping as part of their inalienable right to freedom of expression.

"If it really bothers you that much, don't do it, but please don't go up to someone and un-pop their collar," Mimi Wang '09 said. "That's just disrespectful. I don't go up to other people and take off their socks-and-sandals."

Pseudo-Boho Vintage
Equally prevalent and ever-growing in popularity is the trendy hipster look propounded by Urban Outfitters. The appeal of this style is that it is constantly changing, and thus nearly impossible to keep up with. But if one truth holds certain, it is that every Yalie loves a challenge.

"The vintage thrift store look is around now," Wang said. "But then there's also the fake vintage thrift store look that somebody paid fifty bucks for at Urban."

Another feature of this aesthetic phenomenon is deliberately and strategically placed holes in jeans, sweatshirt, tank top and so on.

"Right now, it's kind of the Bohemian homeless look where girls try to look skanky with ripped clothes or things that old ladies with cats would wear," Pat McGill '06 said. "I've seen people wear lots of things that are just ridiculous."

Fortunately, most of these fads are over as quickly as they begin.

Jock Apathy
Athletes have a reputation for living in their team sweatshirts, track pants and sneakers, and that reputation is not unwarranted. For example, lacrosse player Lauren Taylor '08 can be seen in sweats or yoga pants six out of seven days a week, although she says there are a few student athletes who attempt to break out of the sweatpants cycle.

"Some people do choose to get more dressed up, but that just means they're more together than I am," Taylor said. "But really, you're just going to end up at the gym at some point, so why change?"

Softball player Christina Guerland '07 said the jock stereotype is pretty accurate when a team is in season, but not always.

"We do enjoy our sweats," Guerland said. "But it's not like we don't get dressed up to go out like everyone else -- we do. It just requires more motivation."

Ultimately, the style mantra of the Underarmour-clad, Nike-footed, lanyard-sporting Yalie can be summed up quite simply.

"We're all going to have to dress up daily in a couple years anyway," Guerland said. "Take advantage of the sweats while you can."

Pathologically Nerdy
"It's the computer-nerd look," McGill '06 said. "They wear tight-fitting jeans and ill-fitting polos, with their hair messed up and their glasses slightly askew."

McGill, who insists that he is not one to sport the nerd style (or lack thereof), said this manner of dress is limited to a very specific but easily recognizable group of the Yale population.

"It's the look of the physics lab dweller who stumbles back from Science Hill blinking because he hasn't seen the sun in seven hours," McGill said.

Michael Huang '09, on the other hand, said nerd fashion is not fashion at all, but more of a cry for help.

"They're the people who need to be stripped down and given a makeover," Huang said.

Corporate Chic
Last, but certainly not least, is a style particular to Yale and other schools of its Ivy ilk. Clad in a blazer and loafers, this Eli is ready to take on the world, and just cannot wait until graduation to dress the part.

"Yale fashion mirrors the type of lifestyle most people plan on adopting after Yale," self-proclaimed fashion guru and FCC president Aniket Shah said, referring to those students who plan on becoming lawyers, politicians and investment bankers.

Even some professors have caught on to this style trend.

"Some of these students look like young senators," humanities lecturer Suzanne Obdrzalek said, commenting primarily on her philosophy students in Directed Studies. "There are all these guys in khaki pants with a very straight crease down the front and pink button-down shirts. And then there's this whole East Coast Ivy thing of wearing tennis sweaters around your neck like a man-shawl."

Perhaps the truth is that there are too many distinct individuals at Yale for there to be one strict fashion.

"Because Yale has so much diversity, the Yale fashion is so that one day you can wear a blazer and popped collar, and the next you can wear a tee shirt and ripped jeans," Shah said.

After all, individuality and versatility are always in style.

Lucas chips in for MLK memorial

George Lucas has donated $1 million to help build a memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall, reports The Associated Press.

''The ideals and principles for which Dr. King fought have never been forgotten and are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago,'' Lucas said Thursday, adding in a statement that a memorial ensures King's message will endure for future generations.

Other notable supporters of the project include former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Jack Valenti, former president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

More than $40 million has been raised for the memorial, with $100 million needed to finish the project, organizers said.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Slurpee at 40

Has it grown up?

By David Amsden

Lunchtime, Richard Montgomery High School, 1994. For those of us imprisoned in this suburban Maryland moonscape without cars or friends with cars, there were only two options when the bell rang: A) the cafeteria, a desolate fluorescent-lit echo chamber that pegged all ye who entered social contraband for the next four to 60 years; or B) 7-Eleven, the only "restaurant" within walking distance of the school. For obvious reasons, we always opted for the latter, typically indulging in some heroically seed-strewn marijuana on the way over. And so for a year of my life I subsisted almost exclusively on rubbery beef jerky, vaguely defrosted hamburgers, microwaved Big Bite hot dogs that made disconcerting crunching noises, and everything the devilish minds at Hostess ever invented. Each of these "meals" was, of course, washed down with a Slurpee about the size of an aboveground swimming pool—which left our brains perfectly "freezed" so we could get through the rest of the day.

These childhood memories seemed improbably significant the other day when I came across two news items: one informing me that the Slurpee has turned 40; the other that a 7-Eleven has opened in Manhattan, an island I migrated to eight years ago in order to pretend I was never the type of person who drank Slurpees every day. As much as I want to be thrilled, or at least ironically nostalgic, the pop sociologist in me can't help but raise an eyebrow. Here we have yet another instance of adults (in this case New Yorkers) co-opting the territory of teenagers (blended icy beverages) in such a way that the trashy and indulgent becomes hip and respectable. The Frappuccino, the Coolatta: At some point over the last few years, grown-ups developed an ability to order these things and take themselves seriously. Which makes me wonder: Is my beloved Slurpee looking to reinvent itself, Gatsby-like, as a pseudo-sophisticated drinkable dessert? How long until my editor asks me to grab a Slurpee so we can discuss my next piece?

The Slurpee, like so many great innovations and perfectly nice human beings, was an accident. In the late '50s, a Kansas Dairy Queen owner named Omar Knedlik found his soda machine was on the fritz. He tossed some bottles of pop in the freezer and discovered people went into conniptions for the slushy texture that resulted when the soda partially froze. Wheels turned. He invented a machine to slushify water, CO2, and flavored syrup. In 1965, 7-Eleven bought the machines from Knedlik, hired an ad copywriter to coin an irresistible name, and the Slurpee was born. Back then it cost a dime. Four decades on there have been more than 200 flavors, ranging from the earnestly goofball of yesteryear (Blue Blunder Berry) to the quasi-classy of today (Mochaccino). Michael Jackson reportedly plunked down $75.62 to install a Slurpee machine at Neverland Ranch. Eleven million Slurpees are sold each month and hit the eager palate at a cryogenic 28 degrees. In total some 6 billion brains have been frozen since the dawn of the Slurpee. Here in the United States the drink is most beloved in Detroit, but, curiously, it's up in the Winnipeg tundra where the Slurpee is most popular—further evidence, at least to this patriotic-when-convenient mind, that Canadians really just want to be Americans.

But enough with the logistics. Explaining the appeal of the Slurpee is a bit like explaining the appeal of pure oxygen or terrific sex: Those who don't get it are simply not to be trusted. Slurpees are divine because of their unapologetic garishness, a giddy reminder that no amount of sugar is ever too much. That the expression "brainfreeze"—meaning the needling headache brought on by drinking something too cold too quickly—was trademarked in 1994 says it all: The point is masochistic, to find pleasure in pain, to embrace evil over good. (Sometimes this is taken too literally: Near my Maryland home, a teen was recently convicted of murdering another teen for trying to buy a girl a Slurpee.) My point here is to say that it's not (too) hyperbolic to equate drinking a Slurpee with surrendering to the greed and gluttony that is being a chronically shortsighted, diabolically unthinking American. In this, the Slurpee serves as a precursor to everything else 7-Eleven is about: namely, smoking cigarettes and drinking too much beer. (The franchise is the nation's No. 1 retailer of Budweiser.)

Or, wait, scratch that: The Slurpee represents everything 7-Eleven was about.

Celebrations of any sort—even those for drinkable sugar—are always somewhat preposterous, and in the strain to muster up excitement, something darker is often exposed: that whatever we're celebrating no longer exists in the form we're busy praising. 7-Eleven may be purporting to rejoice over the Slurpee, its neon-bright mascot, but in truth the Dallas-based franchise has spent the last year trying to distance itself from its identity as a haven for loitering teens looking to ignore their parents and husbands looking to pick up some beer and smokes before heading home to ignore their wives. A great deal of money was spent on an ad campaign lauding 7-Eleven's new line of designer food—turkey and zesty havarti on wheat-nut bread, a blue-corn wrap with turkey and tomatillo sauce, even a "chili-lime" hot dog to compete with the classic Big Bite. In a bygone era the glory of 7-Eleven was simple: Buy the food when you're 16 and it'll still be edible when you're in a nursing home 70 years later. Now they're proud to tell you that the sandwiches are made "fresh" daily. In other words, 7-Eleven is singing the praises of the Slurpee at the very moment when they're aggressively reaching out to an un-Slurpee demographic: self-consciously refined, ambitiously healthy yuppies.

Which brings us to 7-Eleven's glistening new Manhattan outpost. Apparently the location is doing well, having been dutifully covered in the New York Times and worshipped by burnished, carb-counting types looking to dupe themselves into thinking they're not burnished, carb-counting types. Slacker-hating sophisticates can now pretend to be slackers, projecting a false sense of value onto the very suburban childhoods that felt so valueless at the time. What's glimpsed here is a small piece of a much larger and much stranger social machinery: With misguided nostalgia comes a tendency to fetishize the mundane because the truth is either too earnest (I miss being young!) or just plain sad (When did I become this person?). As a result, people no longer simply wander inside and drink a Slurpee, but wander inside and "drink a Slurpee." I'd be concerned about this, worried that the point of the Slurpee will be missed, except years of experience have taught me that after three furious sips, the overly self-aware brain will be frozen, all meta-oriented cells will be annihilated, and, for a few painful seconds, we will all be bumbling freshman again. Truly.

alphabet soup

Note from Steve: Another meme from Jocelyn :-)

A- AREA CODE YOU ARE IN RIGHT NOW: 540, formerly 703
B- BIRTHDAY: August 30, 1975
C- CURRENT CRUSH: Don't have one
D- FAVORITE DRINK: Blenheim Ginger Ale
E- YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS: um, no eggs
H- CURRENT HATRED: being poor
I- I THINK: that I post too many artciles to my blog
J- JOB: Intern Architect
L- LUST ABOUT: a lot of things
M- FAVORITE MOVIE: "The Muppet Movie"
O- OVER OR UNDER: Whatever she wants ;-)
Q- A LITTLE QUIRK ABOUT YOURSELF: I try never to use "etc." when I write
R- LAST ROAD TRIP: Washington, DC
T- FAVORITE TV SHOW: Arrested Development
U- COLOR OF YOUR UNDERWEAR: White with blue diamond pattern
W- WISHFUL THINKING: I wish I had more of a "life," whatever that is.

joke week | day 7

Before the inauguration, George W. was invited to a 'get acquainted' tour of the White House. After drinking several glasses of iced tea, he asked President Clinton if he could use his personal bathroom. He was astonished to see that the President had a solid gold urinal!

That afternoon, George W. told his wife, Laura, about the urinal. "Just think," he
said, "when I am President, I'll have my own personal gold urinal!"

Later, when Laura had lunch with Hillary at her tour of the White House, she told Hillary how impressed George had been with his discovery of the fact that, in the President's private bathroom, the President had a gold urinal.

That evening, Bill and Hillary were getting ready for bed. Hillary turned to Bill and said, "Well, I found out who peed in your saxophone."

Ken Considers Makeover to Win Back Barbie

NEW YORK (AP) — Apparently, Ken still isn't over Barbie. Almost two years after the closely watched celebrity couple split after a 43-year romance, Ken is considering a makeover in an effort to win his doll baby back.

Mattel made the announcement Thursday. Russell Arons, vice president of marketing at Mattel, would say only that fans might see big changes this spring.

"A makeover may be just what Ken needs to step back into the spotlight," she said.

A makeover makes sense as a business strategy, said Chris Byrne, a New York-based independent toy consultant.

"Barbie and Ken are such an integral part of our culture and so aligned with each other, people want to see them together," he said.

In early 2004, Mattel tried to update Barbie's image by having her split with Ken and head to a California beach, where she caught the eye of Blaine, an Australian boogie boarder.

It was just a brief flirtation, though.

"Barbie and Blaine was a great PR stunt, but at the end of the day people want to see Barbie and Ken get back together," Byrne said.

Byrne noted that global sales of Barbie were down in the third quarter.

A Hollywood makeover won't hurt sales of the princesslike Barbies that 4- to 6-year-olds play with and it might help court the 8- to 11-year-olds who have turned to the more fashion-forward Bratz dolls from MGA Entertainment, he said.

This wouldn't be the first time Ken reinvented himself.

In the 1970s and '80s, he took up inline skating and boogied to disco tunes; in the '90s he focused on his careers as a businessman, baseball player, explorer and rock star.

NBA's new dress code doesn't sit well with Iverson

Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier-Post Staff

PHILADELPHIA - Sixers guard Allen Iverson is his own person.

He certainly has his own thoughts, his own way of doing things and his own style from his cornrowed hair, to his multiple tattoos, to the way he dresses.

And that is Iverson's biggest problem with the league's new dress code, which will take effect on Nov. 1, the start of the regular season.

Essentially, Iverson thinks the new dress code stifles a player's individuality.

In short, the dress code states that players must dress in "business casual" attire whenever they participate in team or league activities, which includes arriving at and leaving games. Items such as shorts, T-shirts, sleeveless shirts, sunglasses (while indoors) and headphones during team or league business are banned. Chains and necklaces can't be visible over the clothes.

Players on the bench not in uniform must wear sports jackets, shoes and socks. Jeans are still allowed.

"Like I said, I just think it's wrong, I think it's unfair," Iverson said following Wednesday's practice. "Actually, I don't think it's good for the league. I really don't, because it kind of makes it fake, the whole thing is fake. You've got all these guys with these personalities and different games. Tracy McGrady is different from Kobe (Bryant). Kevin Garnett is different from Tim Duncan, and I'm different from those guys. That's what makes the league what it is. Everybody has their own personality, everybody has their own style. I just think that's unfair when you take that away from people.

"Basically, you're saying, "Don't dress hip hop.' What does a chain have to do with your outfit? A lot of guys wear chains for personal reasons. I have a chain with my mom's name on it, my kids' names on it, a chain with my man that passed away on it. I don't think that's right for people to say that I can't wear that and I can't express it. It's just not right. I think they went way overboard with it."

That being said, Iverson said he thinks he will adhere to the policy, particularly once suspensions possibly could come into play.

"I don't want them to take my money, either," said Iverson, whose team faces the Cleveland Cavaliers at Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton at 7 tonight in an exhibition contest. "I don't want to just give my money away. When they start talking about suspending me and hurting what we're trying to do here as a basketball team, then I don't have no choice but to abide by it."

Sixers guard John Salmons isn't fond of the new policy either. Salmons often wore baggy jeans and T-shirts when he sat out of games last season.

Salmons said it's like "telling people who usually dress up in slacks, shirts, telling them every day they had to come in in jeans, sneakers and T-shirts."

"They're going to say, "Why? I don't dress that way,' " Salmons said. "I understand about trying to clean up the image, just because you put a suit on somebody, it doesn't mean they're that person."

Sixers president Billy King said his team will comply with the policy. King doesn't think the league is asking that much, and said the rule is not about Iverson, although he feels the media has made it seem that way.

"This rule was not made for Allen Iverson," King said. "This rule was made for 400 and some odd players in the NBA. If the speed limit says 65 and you go 70, you're testing it, you get caught, and you get a ticket. There's rules in life. People test them and penalties come with it. I think everybody's making it about Allen.

"There's been other guys that are dressed a certain way that have been more adamant about it as well. I think being in Philadelphia, people look at Allen and say, "Well, he can't do this or do that.' He can wear his dress shoes and a nice shirt and he's fine."

Iverson wore a suit last season to a playoff game in Detroit, and figures that was the only time he wore a suit jacket last season.