Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Savior of Small Business

While getting gas at a small, privately owned gas station today I had to go inside and make sure the payment thing was working (because small, privately owned gas stations, or SPOGS, have archaic gas pumps).

The inside had that accumulated clutter you see in SPOGS -- crackers from the last century, linoleum with dark smudges permanently ingrained in it. And one wonders how such a humble place could compete with the gleaming corporate monstrosities, cross-promoted with Dunkin donuts and Taco Bell.

The answer is on the rack next to the checkout -- at least 12 square feet of unrepentant porn. This is not the nice porn that you might mention when you talk about porn, but the nasty porn that you actually think about when you think about porn -- porn that would likely get various appendages chopped off you if carried into most countries.

A friend's family owned a video store for a time, and how did this small place compete with the vast economies of scale that places like Blockbuster could achieve?


Porn is the savior of small business -- the champion of the mom and pop store -- the last bastion holding back the tide of complete corporate takeover.

Monday, March 05, 2007

We're not getting back to nature, we're getting away from people

Jaru has received a tenure track offer from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA -- so we'll be heading there this summer.

As an object demonstration in supply and demand, the salary offered by Washington & Lee is 50% higher than the typical starting salary at colleges in California (such as the state college system), where the cost of living is probably twice as high. One of Jaru's friends was interviewed at a school and the people warned her that she might have a hard time surviving on the salary since the school was in the Silicon Valley.

We'll enjoy doing some hiking up in the woods and hills around the area for a while, but I suspect Jaru might get tired of the lack of ethnic food. One great research item is that a bunch of the houses in the area were built in 1892, so I'll get first hand experience with haunts!