Valentine’s Day Freebies!!!

I don’t post much on this site anymore — in fact, it’s soon to be transitioned into a more of a digital hub to my other sites, and an online reel of sorts, but as a Valentine’s Day gift to those who still have this one bookmarked, here’s some really fun V-Day freebies you may enjoy (that you know I’ll be taking part in!):


Record Store Day Plans Black Friday Releases!

There will be a round of Record Store Day releases on Black Friday this year. A Record Store Day FAQ says there will be about 35 unique releases on Black Friday.

Record Store Day will only be releasing about 10% of the number of releases for Black Friday as compared to Record Store Day itself. For example, there were approximately 300 unique releases made for Record Store Day this year. For Black Friday there will be about 35. By design, Record Store Day is not attempting to create the massive music celebration of Record Store Day. Rather, we are reminding music fans about the gift of music at the kick off of the holiday season. We will call it a victory if less cheap toasters and socks are given as gifts and more awesome music by some of the greatest artists of our time exchange hands.

Billboard reports that some of this years releases include a vinyl singles box from the Beatles as well as vinyl singles from the Byrds, Black Keys, Dr. Dog and Ryan Adams. Hitfix lists a few more, including vinyls from the Beastie Boys, Nirvana, The Doors and Tom Petty.

You can find all of the Black Friday releases on the Record Store Day website.


Netflix Dumps Qwikster: Aly Rejoices

Thank the sweet goddess: Netflix has decided not to launch Qwikster!!!

Netflix announced in late September that it was going to spinoff its DVD by Mail service into a new company called Qwikster. The company has now decided against the spinoff — probably because we all had bought Netflix-themed voodoo dolls.

The DVD by mail business will remain at Netflix. Netflix said in a statement on its blog that customers found the idea of Qwikster to be too complicated.

It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.

This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster.



Is The Era of Loyalty To Consumer Brands Over?

Consider this possibility: Imagine if our attraction to bargains have killed our sense of brand loyalty?

Darlene Quinn knows what it’s like to be loyal to a brand name.

Quinn is a former senior executive with the Bullocks Wilshire department store chain. “Some of our most recognized and best-loved brands are falling victim to an economy in which price is the paramount concern for consumers,” said Quinn, author of Webs of Fate, a novel about the retail fashion industry from Greenleaf Book Group (www.darlenequinn.net). “We’ve ended the era of the brand-loyal consumer, and entered the age of low prices.”

Quinn’s argument is that major national brands and some regional brands will soon watch their final sunsets as the hunt for low prices currently outweighs old-fashioned consumer brand loyalty.

“Brand loyalty used to mean something in the retail business,” Quinn said. “We are now hardwired to look at paying less than full price. The status symbol has become ‘how much did you save?’ Although there are many of us who are less than happy with the outcome and who are willing to pay more for quality and service, it will take a long time, if ever, for a reversal. I would love to see the return of brand loyalty, but with the economic outlook starting to dim again, I don’t see it happening.”

Brands recently targeted by the Wall Street Web site 24/7 for fading away include two great American traditions:

· A&W Grills – A&W Restaurants is owned by Yum! Brands, a fast food holding company that also owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s. A&W was originally founded in 1919, and the company helped introduce the “drive-in” fast food concept. It was so successful that they started selling their sodas in cans in 1971, a side of the business that was sold to Dr. Pepper/Snapple a decade later. After World War II, the chain had 450 franchised locations, which has since dwindled to 312 US stores by last year. In the era of the mega franchises, like Subway and McDonalds with about 35,000 locations each, A&W can’t survive. The brand has been for sale since January, and if a buyer isn’t found soon, the drive-in could be closed forever.

· Sears – Sears, officially named Sears, Roebuck and Co., is an American chain of department stores which was founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in the late 19th century. As Wal-Mart became the dominant department store during the 1990s and 2000s, Sears began to struggle, so the company merged with Kmart in early 2005, creating the Sears Holdings Corporation. The problem is that joining forces strengthened market share, but not revenues. Two dying giants who merge only create one larger dying giant. The competition between the two brands continued, simply under the same roof, with Sears losing the battle. Kmart reported a 1.6 percent decline in sales in the first quarter of 2011, while Sears dipped 5.2 percent. The end result? Look for New CEO Lou D’Ambrosio to shutter the lesser performing brand, Sears, and use the additional resources to bolster Kmart.

What do you think of this (frightening!) trend?


Interesting: China Mourning Over Steve Jobs’ Resignation as CEO of Apple

I’ve been out of the country the last week or so, and am a little behind on news.

However, was checking in on CNN yesterday, and they have some interesting reports from China about the resignation of Steve Jobs as the CEO of Apple.

It seems Jobs is a cult figure in China and it’s a location where Apple products sell like hot cakes (even more than elsewhere) – and it’s a place where young entrepreneurs revere Jobs for his vision — and they way he dresses. Young businessmen who wear jeans and black turtlenecks are said to have “Jobs Style.”

Apple has many suppliers in China, as such as Foxconn, Dimplo, Dynapac, Wintek and TPK. Those companies’ stocks dropped on the news that Jobs was retiring. There is a great concern about the future of those suppliers.

CNN’s Eunice Yoon says many people are actually in mourning. He’s still very much alive!!!!



Robots Apply Eyeliner in Nars Cosmetics Film!

This is SO awesome: A robot applies eyeliner in this new video for Nars cosmetics’ new Larger than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner. The film shows two mechanical arms applying the shade Via Veneto to model Emily Baker. The robot even adjusts Emily’s head by grabbing it in its large metal hand. Take a look:


Sesame Street’s Claim: Bert and Ernie are Not Gay

The biggest debate at the bar last night: Are Bert and Ernie gay?

I’ll back up: Over the past month there have been online petitions asking for Sesame Street muppets Bert and Ernie to come out as a gay couple and get married.

The media picked up the story, and finally Sesame Workshop finally had to issue an official statement about the issue. Bert and Ernie are not gay. They are just good friends.

Here is the statement:

“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

Bert and Ernie are about getting along with people who aren’t like you. They’re not about anything else, such as sexuality. Get your mind out of your pants, people.

Photo: Sesame Street

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