Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mixed Greens and Other Choices...

Today's post has a small assortment of short items and I'm curious what you think...

First. Watching the Olympics Men's Short Figure Skating competition last night, I noticed for the first time the backdrop for the arena contained NO ADVERTISING.  We didn't have to stare at some corporation's logo all night long.  Instead. the ice arena is lined with the stylized scene that has come to symbolize these Olympics.  Cool shades of aqua, light greens, deeper blues...mountains, trees, skiers, skaters, Toshiba, no BMW, nothing at all to smack of commercialism.  Just art.  How lovely is that?!  How REFRESHING!!

Next thing to know:  the official website for the Olympics is simply fabulous.  If you haven't checked it out, and want to know results and schedules, check it out:  Official Vancouver Olympics website

You can see immediately that I am not a subscriber to the "Glitch Olympics" snarkiness that seems to be going around.  Even with some mess-ups, when you get that many new people into a new-to-them space, with that much technology at work/'re bound to have a few "glitches."  Overall, it's been very fine. It's pretty fabulous that British Columbia went all out to make this a GREEN Olympics.Solar Power News  The fact that the ice surfacing machines failed isn't Vancouver's fault.  I applaud them for the far-sighted approach to creating this venue.  It will be Vancouver's to use from now on, and they can build on this creative foundation of environmental sensitivity.  GO CANADA!!

Second.  MM came across an interesting article that originated from CNN Money.  It's about choices.

Do you like having LOTS of choices when you go shopping?  Now, think carefully before you answer.  Let's put it another way:  do you really need 20 DIFFERENT KINDS of say, toothpaste from which to choose; or bran flakes, or insect spray?  Honestly?  My answer is no. Because it's so long between purchases of toothpaste, by the time I am shopping for it again, there seem to be another ten "kinds" added to the shelf, and it takes me forever to locate/choose a tube of toothpaste.  Do I want Tartar Control?  How about Fresh Breath?  Whitener?  All of these?  The Original?  Gel?  Fat tubes? Skinny Tubes?  Baking Soda (yuck!) and then....we go to the mouthwashes...!

Guess what?  Walmart is reducing name brand shelf space.  Translated:  your favorite brand may no longer be on Walmart's shelves.  According to CNN, many retailers in repsonse to slow sales, are reducing the CHOICES you will have on the shelves.  Walmart's house brand, Great Value is replacing many "top" selling brands.  Among the stores that are cutting out big brands are CVS, Walgreens, Kroger and Target.  Get used to having fewer choices.  Retailers are feeling the pressure of a declining consumer base as customers look for "good deals" rather than "brand names."  Here is a sampling of the shelf-space reductions by Walmart alone:  toilet paper, -44%; mouthwash, -39%; household wipes, -25%; bar soap, -24%; salad dressing, -14%; chlorine bleach, -9%.  So, do we need all these choices?  Tell me what you really think.

Third.  Those of you who watched the men's figure skating last night--did you like the way the competition unfolded? Did you find the skating beautiful, graceful, artistic?  Here's my three cents worth:  initially, as the skaters were arriving, I've never seen so many glum faces on competitors prior to the opening of an event.  They all looked like they were heading for a funeral!  Then,into their performances, I've never witnessed so many windmilling arms.  The skating itself seemed frenetic and fraught with stress and strain.  Few managed to stay upright for their entire presentation.  Those dratted (useless) jumps at the beginning were something to be gotten through, by the audience and the skaters and the judges.  And not a smile to be found anywhere during the presentations except on the face of the first skater, Florent Amodio of France, who also had (IMHO) the most graceful and passionate performance of the lot (and scored 11th).

All this arm flailing and jumping seems to me to defeat the whole image of figure skating.  It makes something ragged out of something that should be smooth and easy on the eyes.  We turned it off before it was over and went to bed, bored with the sameness of it (every skater did the same thing, over and over)(certainly not a spectator sport, at least in this segment.)  Beats "school figures" though...that was REALLY boring!

Finally, just a note:  my pictures today are simply to remind you there is a color green out there somewhere, sometime, somehow....and to remind you to work toward a GREEN EARTH.


  1. While I realize that most store brands are made by the big-name companies, there are differences and I ran right smack into one today. I wanted Carnation Dry Milk, to try making mozzarella with, but Kroger only carries their store brand. No Carnation! So I'm a little worried about this week's pizza. Heh.

    In general, though, the fewer choices, the better for me.

  2. Our national stores all carry their own brand & own brand 'value'ranges of the basics and I have been buying the value items for years. They are made in the same factories and the difference in price generally comes from the simpler packaging. eg 1K of plain flour - branded £1.20, own brand 50p, value range 29p !We did find that the baked beans were not as good but improved vastly with a squirt of ketchup in.In this last year of recession there has been a great increase in the sales of value items which are no longer seen as something that only poor people buy. I'm not bothered by the range of brands of goods but by dropping into 3 different supermarkets when I happen to be passing I buy only special offers or more usually reduced items that are reaching their sell-by date. Very little is bought at the regular price and we eat very well while not spending that much.
    I haven't watched much of the winter olympics , just caught the highlights of the pairs long progammes. Very impressive but the marking system seems more incomprehensible than ever.