Sunday
Apr032011

A Branson Declaration..."Screw Chicken Little"

"The sky is falling, the sky is falling".... perhaps.  It is concerning that a sense of alarm grips the nation from sea to sea and Fox to CNBC.  A million foreclosures a year, double digit unemployment, record high school drop out rates, $4 a pound for tomatoes, etc.  Those who are wandering up and down Main Street anxious about where we might be next year, sense that Chase and Walmart and Empire Electric will prevail, but as for their neighbors, the butchers, the bakers and the candle stick makers....well they're much less confident. Here in Branson, the defacto Ozarks Capitol, we have weathered 3 years of backpeddelering, board-ups and cheap boots. At its best, the tacky "strip" now seems just north of "hospice".  Woe to We.....but wait, perhaps Ozarkians may have a secret weapon. Our "just local" perspective, our tendency to shun academia and our celebrated "make it from scratch" instinct, may well promote action when those more discerning would pass.  Dubiously justified optimism may well be as contageous as  factually validated pessimism.  This week a symbolic tribute to this sensibility took roost on the weary "strip".  It is as though, some guy who, without a clue about econometric projections,  woke up one morning and said, "I think I will open a new restaurant on "the strip", where countless others have failed, but mine won't, because my entry door will be a "30 FOOT CHICKEN".   I hope he succeeds and others join  "Chicken Big" and "Hollywood Kong" in maintaing the Branson vitality in spite of the forecasts.          

Friday
Apr012011

Golly Gee, I'll Have the "Chickpea"

Thank God, Branson is not weighted by tsunami's, revolution, nor radiation.  But, alas, we do have our own crisis, of a sort.  Recent revelations, shared by the State's academic elite, declare that the lives of Taney County children are being jeopardized by school lunches offering corn, potatoes and peas.  The situation is dire, but not hopeless.  The beauracrats have force revised the school lunch menus to accent lentils, broccoli and chickpeas.  Initiatives such as this are not only wasteful but infer to an academically underachieving generation that excellence is externally explained.  Yes, perhaps we do need a Food Revolution, but first we need a "Reasoning Revolution"   

Saturday
Mar262011

Spring "Rush" in Branson

Redbuds, Dogwoods, Mobil Home Rental Ads and Rush Limbaugh Portraits......it must be spring in Branson, America's whacky little carnival town that makes a living celebrating 19th century values, for 20th century  "right wingers",  terrified about adapting to the 21st century.  Lest the minions of $9 per hour part time employed Ozarkians get distracted from their passion to live third world lives.........well, they but need turn an ear or an eye.  Yes, the "Rush", whose adaptive attributes have carried him far from the "4th quadrant" Ozarks, will daily remind them that they are not to blame for their generational misfortune.  So long as there is one remaining elitist liberal dining  alfresco at the club, The "RUSH" will rant that  it is they who are to blame for the 4th quadrant's  misery.  And yes, Branson will listen, and they will be satisified, and they will find a new/used mobil home for $395 per month, and they will get a liberal agency to pay for their outrageous utility bill, and they will think about calling Parmelle Law, but they WILL NOT understand that it is they who are paying for the "Rush" to live a far more elite life than those that he bludgeons.    

Wednesday
Apr282010

Branson Watches "Tainted Taney Tribulations"

Unless the Tri-Lakes News totally fabricated this weeks Pennel/Strafuss/Strahan "call-out" story, there is for sure something very rotten down river in Forsythe.  What isn't clear is which of these adversarial "County Leaders" is a modern day Baldknobber.  The "tweet take" is that "Leader A" paid an engineering invoice  billed to Taney County without proper approval.  Why the engineers didn't just return the unapproved payment was not reported.  What was reported was that the "payment error" totally pissed off  "County Leaders B & C", who demanded investigations, reprimands, censures,  and from the tone of their quotes,  upcoming, the guillotine. Leader A, according to the report, tried to sooth their  ire by personally funding the errant payment back to the Counties Account, but to no relief. The County wouldn't accept his payment.  As the Tri-Lakes story went to print, Leader A had paid for a "Lie-Detector" test to validate that he was not a garden variety municipal thief.  It certainly doesn't sound like the typical "money gone missing" profile, but maybe there is more to the story.

 I bring attention to this local "intra-council face-off", because unless there is much undisclosed  incriminating  evidence against "Leader A", then any prudent observer would have to conclude that "Leaders B & C", are some pretty heavy-handed dudes with hidden agendas!       

Sunday
Apr252010

Selling China in Branson----Twice!

Here in Branson, the Ozarks Capitol and  "Americana Values Mecca"  we stand firm against all things foreign, but when it comes to "cashing in" on the nine million tourist flocking here to experience "3 days of yesteryear", well, it a horse of a different color.  Like in any tourist location, our prices are high and our quality is low.  Yes, we all know that most of the souvenir/craft/antique products offered around the world in those charming little indigenous shops are actually manufactured in Shanghai/Beijing, but we have a sense that it is OK, because the shop keepers have obviously been enterprising in locating and transacting to buy the imported "crap".  

Sadly, I report that we have now moved into a new "tourist crap paradigm".  In today's complex multi-layered culture we maintain an economy where most of the people have no idea what most products cost most of the time.  This is particularly true in non familiar markets, like destination resort areas.  For Branson's shopkeepers this new economy offers some attractive possibilities.  There is now no need to assess changing retail trends, finance inventory, or promote unique products.  All shopkeepers have to do is haunt The Landing where name stores like Kirklands and Belks are selling China products at "rock bottom prices" just trying to cover their lease obligations.  Shopkeepers are in numbers buying this crap that Kirklands purchased from China and  reselling it to tourist who missed Kirklands in favor of visiting their cute little indigenous shops.  Now that's Americana Values!

                         Kirkland's price times one point five....... it keeps me and ma alive!