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Jan
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1.25.15 … Oh, no, no more yetis or Easter Island statues!! Or dog water bowls that look like toilets!! …

SkyMall, bankruptcy, WSJ:  Oh, no, no more yetis or Easter Island statues!! Or dog water bowls that look like toilets!!

The company behind the in-flight catalog SkyMall filed for bankruptcy protection, a victim of evolving rules and technology that now lets airline passengers keep their smartphones and tablets powered up during flight.

After 25 years selling quirky products like a Darth Vader toaster or a paper towel holder with USB ports, SkyMall LLC is seeking a court supervised sale of its assets, according to papers filed Thursday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix.

“We are extremely disappointed in this result and are hopeful that SkyMall and the iconic ‘SkyMall’ brand find a home to continue to operate,” acting Chief Executive Scott Wiley said in a statement Friday.

The company, which started in 1989, fully suspended its retail catalog operation Jan. 16, and also laid off 47 of its 137 employees, according to court papers. SkyMall’s parent company Xhibit Corp. , which acquired the business in 2013, is also seeking Chapter 11 protection.

via SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy – WSJ.

And I’ve mentioned Skymall before … more than once …  5.5.14 … SkyMall: A Tour Of The American Psyche … We hurt … We don’t want to look fat … We love our home and our pets … we don’t know where to store our shoes … We wish we had the money to order an 8-foot-tall silverback gorilla statue or a small, motorized gondola that moves around a pool while a 2-foot-tall gondolier named Luciano Pool-varotti sings … | Dennard’s Clipping Service.

and …

travel, random:  OK, I admit it … while John does the Sudoku puzzles in the magazines, I look through SkyMall to see what ridiculous think I want this trip … and the winner this month is … one or two?

via 6.22.2010 … summer … | Dennard’s Clipping Service.

labyrinth, Lauren Artress:

“The labyrinth is a mandala that meets our longing for a change of heart, for a change of ways in how we live together on this fragile island home, and for the energy, the vision, and the courage to meet the challenges of the 21st century.” – Lauren Artress

Jean-Claude Baker (‘Son’ of Josephine Baker), obituaries, NYTimes.com: “irrepressible impresario of his own improbable life” … I had to think about that one.

He told a few friends last week that he had finished his will, an impressive gesture even for the famously unbridled Jean-Claude Baker, irrepressible impresario of his own improbable life.

Over the nearly three decades since wresting his bustling night spot Chez Josephine from the X-rated morass of West 42nd Street, Mr. Baker — who had been mothered as a destitute teenager in France by the fading erotic stage sensation Josephine Baker — had delivered exhausting bonhomie to celebrity-rich audiences of pre- and post-theater diners.

But at 71 he was finding it increasingly wearisome.

“I’ve been a little bit under the blue weather lately,” he emailed me in late November, on why he had proposed lunch and then gone missing. Last summer, he wrote, “It’s becoming very difficult to keep the dream alive” and “my brain is tired.”

Still, it seemed easy to discount his mood swings.

“He’d been saying for 25 years, ‘I can’t go on, I’m going to kill myself,’ ” said Richard Hunnings, one of Mr. Baker’s oldest friends and general manager of Manhattan Plaza, the artist-friendly rental complex across 42nd Street at Ninth Avenue.

Yet there he was, night after night, in his Shanghai Tang silks, red mandarin outfits and black soutane, embracing patrons, dispensing gigs to needy musicians and leaking juicy self-promotional tidbits to the gossip columns.

Last Thursday morning, he was found dead in his Mercedes that had been running in the enclosed garage of his East Hampton, N.Y., home.

via Jean-Claude Baker, ‘Son’ of Josephine Baker, Is Remembered – NYTimes.com.

Krista Tippett, Why I Don’t Do Christmas | On Being: Christmas is troubling in a secular world with family members who have beliefs all over the spectrum.  So I like her conclusion: “As I said, we need each other. And that impulse, surely, is deep in the original heart even of the most secular things like Santa Claus and surrounding your home with lights: examining what we are to each other and experiencing that, sometimes when we do this, something transcendent happens.”

Here’s what I take seriously. There is something audacious and mysterious and reality-affirming in the assertion that has stayed alive for two thousand years that God took on eyes and ears and hands and feet, hunger and tears and laughter and the flu, joy and pain and gratitude and our terrible, redemptive human need for each other. It’s not provable, but it’s profoundly humanizing and concretely and spiritually exacting. And it’s no less rational — no more crazy — than economic and political myths to which we routinely deliver over our fates in this culture, to our individual and collective detriment.

So here’s what I’m thinking about this Christmas. Recently I followed up on a promise I’ve been making myself for years: to wash and sort and give away all the good clothing my kids have outgrown as they’ve left childhood behind. It’s embarrassing that I never took the time to do this all along. In the course of digging around for where to donate, I stumbled on the site of a charity that works with homeless teenagers. It turns out that they’re not asking in the first instance for all these Levis and good-as-new, cool t-shirts. They’re asking for donations of socks and coats. They’re asking for newly purchased underwear, noting that most of us take for granted our ever-renewable supplies of clean underwear that fits.

I’m not going to buy any presents this year. We will go shopping as a family for these homeless teenagers, and I’ll try to be honest about the equivalent I would spend on my own children on the commercial holy days if I believed in them. I report this in some hope of feeding a little rebellion I sense many of us are quietly tending. But I also make it public to be sure I follow through.

As I said, we need each other. And that impulse, surely, is deep in the original heart even of the most secular things like Santa Claus and surrounding your home with lights: examining what we are to each other and experiencing that, sometimes when we do this, something transcendent happens.

via Why I Don’t Do Christmas | On Being.

 


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