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All my bags are packed, I'm on my way


"I'm not crying about kids... ummm.... it's allergies."


Greetings from the Minyanville Mansion where I'm taking advantage of the free (you know, for me) long distance. Currently, I'm listening to my daughter take a nap via speakerphone. In terms of holding an interest level, "listening to someone sleep" vs. "watching today's tape" is about a push.

Circuit City: Where Service is State of the (Dark) Arts?

I continue to needlessly obsess over Circuit City (CC). The more I think and hear about them, the more I think they are in big, big trouble. If not for the Greater Fools running piles of Private Equity money (read: buyout risk) CC would likely be an investment-type short to zero. Ignore the $5 in cash on the balance sheet, CC is going to burn that and then some relocating just about everyone of their US stores in the next few years.

Speaking of which, if you want a smoking gun to link to CC's death, the most likely suspect is the locations. About 10 years ago Best Buy (BBI) and CC were facing a common problem: their stores were too small, poorly organized and the kind of vaguely "Creepy" that made Ron-the-stereotypical-stereo-salesman so unworthy of Stacy in Fast Times.

Best Buy fixed the problem, closing the small stores and gutting the ones they kept to create the Goliath they are today. Circuit City remains small, poorly organized and creepy. They are closing the small stores and replacing them with larger footprints, one by one. They are buying/ leasing huge amounts of commercial real estate right now, today. "Bubble" or not, that isn't a good thing.

Kind though they trend, Minyans would rather take a pair of steel-toed boots to a nest full of puppies than shop at Circuit City. The only retailer I've gotten more "I hate them SO much!" email about is BlockBuster (BBI) (shopping at which Minyans seem to regard as akin to taking one steel toed boot and stomping their other, naked, foot into "syrup"). Best Buy's (BBY) Geek Squad program is a work in progress but the reviews on BBY's customer service level vs. what I'm hearing about CC is increasing.

Dell is going to be storming into HD plasma of every size and they are going to be pricing to win share, not margin. Best Buy, which also prices aggressively, offers service that Circuit City can't match. Both Best Buy and Dell have lower SG&A levels than Circuit City. CC is thus the lowest margin player, trapped between a high end CC can't aspire to and a Great White shark of a competitor, in Dell.

Think: "Custer".

Ask any Gen-Xer.

Any mention of Fast Times at Ridgemont High demands mention of Phoebe Cates and the Car's "Living in Stereo" scene.

Respect must be paid.

[Taking a moment]

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I'm convinced that there is a conspiracy afoot. Every flight I've taken from NYC to SF for the last year, and there are a lot of such flights, seems to take an eastward route the whole way. Airlines are flying from NYC to California (Read: Kal-E-FOR-knee-a (Republicans only)) the long way, around the globe, rather than back across America.

This explains both the rocketing cost of fuel and the fact that my return flights take between 80 and 90 hours longer than the outbounds, if you think about it.

The counter theory ("Even if you don't agree with it, you have to understand the other side of the trade" stood out as an insanely important point when it was made on the Buzz earlier this week) holds that it just seems like a many-fold longer flight to me, due to my excitement over getting home and making play-dough "Elmos" with my 2 year old, Helena. Or some combination of that and the Jet Stream.

I'm planning to do more research on this conspiracy in about an hour. If I can link the mysterious flight routing to OPEC, the airlines, the Administration and/ or Castro... well, I'm thinking that it would make for a decent Monday Tubthump, at least.

Until then I'll be sculpting some Monsters and doing a few Hokey Pokey's with a certain little girl. I wish all Minyans (and others, I suppose) a fantastic Father's Day weekend. There is no greater blessing than having a kid. It's one of those things that can't be described accurately but every parent understands.

Share it with someone special, if you can.

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