Grim Meathook Present

I’ve been to the pharmacy twice in the last two days, once to leave off a prescription and once to pick one up. Both days the line has been at least 15 people long to pick up and about half that to drop off. This is maybe 3 times as long as usual.

The employees said “sorry, our hours are cut.” When I came in today I turned around and walked out because I didn’t have an hour free to wait. Fortunately I didn’t need the prescription right away.

If upper middle class people with good benefits in a resort town in Southern California are now waiting an hour to get their prescriptions, because the drugstore chain has cut hours way down, what’s it like right now in Wal-Mart land? My guess: not so great.

I’ve also noticed discounters like Target carrying less inventory and less variety. If I don’t get to Target before noon on a Saturday the chance of finding the lightbulb I need is halved.

Something went down at the bank in the same shopping center the other day and they have an armed security guard now. That’s new.

It’s not the end of the world, especially here. But if I can notice the quality of everyday life slipping here? It must be getting really special in poorer bits.

Gatsby 2.0

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

“The margin calls hit some chief executives who had borrowed to buy company stock. These included Chesapeake Energy Corp. Chief Executive Aubrey K. McClendon, who was forced to sell nearly his entire stake in the company, which he had accumulated in recent years, including a $43 million purchase in July. “These involuntary and unexpected sales were precipitated by the extraordinary circumstances of the world-wide financial crisis,” Mr. McClendon said in a statement. “In no way do these sales reflect my view of the company’s financial position or my view of Chesapeake’s future performance potential.””

And they say nothing happens here

Man shot with taser after alleged carjacking attempts
The Orange County Register

Costa Mesa — An unidentified man police say was responsible for three carjacking attempts is in the hospital after being shot with a taser gun by officers.

The bizarre string of events started with a three-car accident at 11 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Newport Boulevard and 19th Street. From witness reports, police said the man who caused the accident got out of his car and attempted to carjack a cab. An altercation broke out and it is believed the cab driver ran over the man with his taxi.

“That apparently didn’t stop the suspect and he then attempted to carjack a second vehicle,” said Costa Mesa Police Lt. Dale Birney. “This guy was a one-man crime wave.”

Police received more reports of carjackings further south on Newport Boulevard. At Newport and 18th Street, the same male suspect reportedly punched a motorcyclist before heading over to Newport and Lido Isle. It is unclear how the suspect got there, but police said they found the suspect jumping on parked cars and pulling the windshield wipers off.

Lt. Birney said Newport Beach police then shot the man with a taser the several times. The man, believed to be in his 20s, became unconscious and was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. His condition is unknown and the investigation is ongoing. He is likely to be arrested for the attempted carjackings in Costa Mesa and felony vandalism in Newport Beach, police said.