The Sunshine Boys

I think the stressful, last-minute scramble to D.C. is finally catching up to me. I’m home in bed with yet another cold. I’m tempted to just lay here, reading Trump-related news all day, in between coughing fits. As I think doing so would be bad for my mental health, though, I’ve decided to rent The Sunshine Boys on Amazon… Here’s hoping that it not only lifts my spirits a bit, but also goes a little way toward helping the bottom line of the beleaguered online retailer, which has lost over $50 billion in market value since Donald Trump began his jihad against the company last week. [Trump, it would appear, is dead set on destroying Amazon as the company’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, a paper which, to its credit, has been doing an admirable job of documenting the numerous crimes of the Trump administration.] Anyway, here’s the trailer for the Sunshine Boys, in case any of you might also be looking for a pleasant distraction this morning.

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  1. wobblie
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Jeff Bezo’s is one of the world’s worst plutocrats. I take some small pride in never having bought anything from or through Amazon (the destroyer of independent book stores as a start of its monopoly practices, his labor practices seem out of the 19th. century too). The Washington Post (along with the NY Times) is doing all they can to start a war with Russia. Getting in bed with low life dogs will result in you becoming a flea bitten mangy dog yourself.

  2. Lynne
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Amazon has not destroyed independent bookstores fwiw. They are doing really well. I say this as someone whose job is literally to look at sales data from independent bookstores all day.

    What Amazon has done, imho, has been to force independent bookstores to up their game and boy have they!

  3. Demetrius
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I don’t necessarily agree that Bezos’ WaPo is trying to start a war with Russia … but I do agree that Amazon is generally a terrible company.

    People need to know that the wide selection, convenience, and low prices they enjoy (and many have come to expect) come at a terrifically high price – a business model that undermines independent business and local economies, and a “big brother” corporate culture which treats employees as expendable commodities.

    The more I’ve learned, the more confident I’ve become in my choice to not patronize Amazon directly, nor any of its subsidiaries, like Whole Foods, etc.

  4. Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I’m conflicted about Amazon. I do use the service and link to it from this site. When I can, though, I try to patronize local stores, like Literati and Vault of Midnight. And, for what it’s worth, I was just joking about wanting to give them money to offset the damage done by Trump. I was just looking for a way to work in the Amazon connection…. Now, here’s what I really want to say… Why is no one wishing me a speedy recovery, or telling Walter Matthau stories?

  5. Demetrius
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, Mark … that was rude.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon!

  6. Posted April 3, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Ha… No problem. I’ll get over it.

    I’m done with The Sunshine Boys. I’ve moved on to A Family for Joe with Robert Mitchum.

  7. Jcp2
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Amazon is repeating what the Sears catalog did last century, but with even less transactional friction. Anyway, Amazon profits from retail is not what drives it. It makes money on cloud computing for other businesses too small to have their own data centers. It’s like Costco. Costco’s margin essentially is the membership cost for joining Costco.

  8. Iron lung
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Small stores sell a lot of goods through amazon. Some base their entire business model around it, i.e. dont have a storefront.

  9. Lynne
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I am not conflicted at all about my Amazon usage. I don’t buy books from Amazon because I have no reason to. I work two blocks from Literati and it is easier and quicker to get my books there. I also like bookstores and Amazon simply cannot replicate the experience (although they are trying).

    I also patronize companies which use their cloud services so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t avoid them.

    I also know more than one small business who sells through Amazon and more than one author who self publishes on Amazon. It isn’t entirely evil to the little guy.

  10. wobblie
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who chooses to watch Robert Mitchum is alright by me. Take lots of zinc. Hope you feel better.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I once worked doing the lambing for a French Countess ar a 17th century chateau with blown out windows and no heat or hot water. Her name was Randy. One evening, I noticed a small picture of Robert Mitchum among the framed family photos on her dresser. I asked her if he was a relative (She was American by birth). She said, ‘No, a lover.’ Then she opened a bottle of wine and regaled me with stories. That was a good night.
    True tale.
    I’ve got nothing on Mattheau though.
    I always liked them both for very different reasons.

    Take care. I recommend Night of the Iguana for feverish evenings sick in bed.

    Ps Amazon is not killing retail… yet. It’s changing it… which is not a bad thing. Consumers like to blame retailers for giving them what they want, which is often not good for them. Store front retail needs to be smarter and more engaged to survive, and that’s not bad. The rents for retail are a bigger problem than Amazon. Amazon offers a way to supplement storefront income or replace it.

    There are lots of sucky things about giant corporations. They would all be solved if Americans were willing to pay a fair price for goods. In other words, I blame consumers. Because the solution lies with consumers.

  12. Demetrius
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I agree that a lot of the blame lies with consumers – many of whom feel (or have been trained to believe) that the only measure of value is price. Too many people feel they are “winning” if they can save 10 cents on a can of peas by buying at Walmart or via Amazon … without stopping to consider how these savings merely represent an externalized cost – that is, a cost paid by someone else, or in some other way – in terms of the environmental degradation, lost jobs, lower wages, less robust local economies, etc.

    I count myself in that equation, too, BTW – since even though I try to make informed, responsible choices, it isn’t always possible (or practical) to do so.

    And sometimes, like everybody else, I appreciate a low, low price.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I buy almost everything used and buy everything else, especially food, with great care. I buy new release books and electronics where convenient however, which usually means Amazon lately. I’m not trying to be moralistic about this. It’s just my personal inclination and priorities. Most of us consume far more than we need. I try to waste no food. I have cut my grocery bill in half by being vigilant and buying as needed. There are many ways to economize besides looking for deals… My son likes new things. He just has a lot less of everything than most kids. That’s ok too. I would buy the economic argument for looking for bargains if Americans as a whole didn’t consume so much more than we could ever possibly need or ever use.
    Overbuying at the lowest price possible is the consumer version of employers pushing for ever greater productivity. Both consumers and employers try to squeeze as much value as possible out of the capitalist market. They pride themselves on it. Workers do it to themselves. I’ll never understand it.

  14. Posted April 3, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Night of the Hunter is one of my favorite movies. I think I need to watch it soon to erase A Family for Joe, which was absolutely horrific. If you haven’t yet, please don’t follow that link. And, Jean, please share your Mitchum stories. I’d love to hear them.

    “I once worked doing the lambing for a French Countess ar a 17th century chateau with blown out windows and no heat or hot water. Her name was Randy. One evening, I noticed a small picture of Robert Mitchum among the framed family photos on her dresser. I asked her if he was a relative (She was American by birth). She said, ‘No, a lover.’ Then she opened a bottle of wine and regaled me with stories. That was a good night.”

  15. wobblie
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Typical liberals blaming the victims. Consumers are not the cause of monopoly practices. They are the ultimate victims. Walmart used to convince (propagandize) consumers to shop at their stores using the “Made in the USA” motto. That disappeared along with American manufacturing as the drive for higher profits moved manufacturing to China, Mexico and other low wage countries.
    Consumers are workers and most of us have not seen any form of pay increase (in real terms) in 30 years or more. Again, the result of monopoly practices which have had bi-partisan support.
    The problem is “consumers overbuying”, the new mantra to impose additional austerity on the masses I guess.

  16. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Yes, blaming consumers for heavy handed business practices and well funded political lobbying by large conglomerates is pointless. It is equivalent to blaming workers for low wages and non-existent benefits packages.

  17. stupid hick
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    This discussion is a microcosm of why Trump, against all reason, continues to win, over and over, and you continue to be dumfounded by it. Trump blasts Amazon and it should be obvious to anyone who is not a Fox News zombie that he is not motivated by the dubious reason he gives, that Amazon is not paying it’s fair share of taxes and ripping off the post office. It’s obvious his attacks on Amazon have nothing to do with Amazon, and have everything to do with wanting to punish Bezos because he also happens to own the Washington Post, whose coverage is not sufficiently subservient to him personally. Yet most of the what I read is either fact checking of what Trump claims, or outrage about how wrong he is about everything (which is true, but misses the point), and here we are talking about whether Amazon is good or bad, and deserves our sympathy. Focus people!

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I want to be clear here that I understand that giant conglomerates wield undo political
    Influence, and that the public knows this and that they like Trump when he appears to stand up to the big guys, even when it’s bullshit, which is always. I have witnessed first hand How Policies meant to reform industries and protect consumers and workers are manipulated by such conglomerates to protect themselves and unduly burden smaller producers and employers. They use their political influence to gain control of the market and limit competition.
    However, US consumers (who are workers) are also over-consuming at obscene rates and seeking the cheapest prices for Good which DOES undermine their own interests and plays into the hands of these conglomerates.
    Americans waste 40% of the consumable food we buy. 40% ends up in the dumpster. And then we think we can’t afford to pay 10% more for groceries. You can’t imagine how low the profit margins in the food business are and how much economic peril everyone in the food system faces, except the giants. I will admit that Years of watching Americans make food choices as a waitress, business owner and now looking at the numbers for other food businesses has made me quite cynical about consumer choices. What they say they want and what they actually buy are almost polar opposites.
    Yes consumers are led into this self-defeating behavior, just as they were led to vote for Trump or not vote for HRC, but we must get smarter if we are to extricate ourselves from this fix, and that means supporting workers not just in word but in deed.
    There is a difference between ‘blaming the victim’ and acknowledging how we play into its systemic dysfunction— how we can (and can not) impact how the system works. It’s handy to blame bad guys, but it’s also a means to externalize blame about things that are our legitimate responsibility.
    Conservatives love to critique socially responsible or politically motivated consumer choices (and there’s plenty to critique there). They critique it because it’s powerful—lots of evidence of that lately.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Mark— re Robert Mitchum. happy to tell you in private some time, but I can’t do it in a public forum. There were secrets involved, and he was a public person, and they aren’t my stories to share publicly.

  20. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I bought a box of granola bars on sale from a CVS recently and ate them all.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I did the same. But I gave them to my kids. I also bought a $2.50 box of Capri Sun as a treat for my son the other day— Treat v norm being the operative word. I’m not talking about a single box of granola bars, or being purist in anyway. That’s not the problem or the solution. I’m not trying to propose how others prioritize, just that they consume consciously, in whatever way their conscience directs them. The norm is not buying a box of granola bars to be consumed immediately, but buying a case of granola bars at Costco and storing them in the basement until the pantry flies get to them. Costco is actually a very good company in terms of worker treatment but it’s horrible in terms of worker impact down the line of its supply chain. And it encourages a kind of excessive compulsive consumption that’s a sign, in my mind, of a scarcity mentality in direct denial of our great privilege here. That scarcity mentality is a distortion of the real issues of rising health and housing and education and debt costs— major ‘fixed’ expenses v far too cheap consumer goods. It’s not there’s not economic constriction; it’s just we are excessive where there’s not and in ways that further the economic construction and pressure on others down the line from our purchases.
    ‘Fixed costs’ are ignored by most people I have found. Fixed costs aren’t fixed. Even the language around them discourages advocating for change/solutions until they are absolutely crippling.

  22. wobblie
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Another independent book store closes

  23. Lynne
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    wobblie, yup. But consider that one of the reasons they stated is that another independent book store opened right across the street from them.

  24. wobblie
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Amazon, a great employer

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  1. […] how, the last time I got sick with a cold, I told you how I stayed home and watched the Sunshine Boys? Well, that sent me down a vaudeville rabbit hole, which, at some point, delivered me at the […]

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