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Thursday, March 13, 2014

$9 billion in cash... and other stuff.

Grocery chain Safeway was just purchased for $9 billion in cash by a capital investment firm. I heard the big cheese of supermarket buyers just opened his wallet and peeled off nine one-billion dollar bills. Safeway knew they were legit because the bills all had a hologram of Donald Trump imbedded in the paper.

I'm kind of nostalgic about all of this... I was fired from my first job at a Safeway store. Most people won't make change for a billion... not without a purchase they say... so last time I needed to break a one-billion dollar bill, I just bought a sausage biscuit at McDonald's and got change... $200 in paper and the rest in quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.

New York City is beside itself in anticipation over the thought that musician James Murphy is going to make its extensive subway system a work of symphonic art.  He plans to revamp the underground sound of the MTA by changing the cacophony produced by the subway turnstiles and oncoming train alerts. "They make this unpleasant beep and are all slightly out of tune from one another," he says.

"I became kind of obsessed with this idea that instead of just unpleasant, with almost no change at all, it could be beautiful."

The idea came to him after he was blown-away by the Tokyo underground system's friendly voices and "incredibly gentle beeps." Then, in the Barcelona airport, the four-note sequence before an announcement reminded him of the opening notes of the group Chicago's song "Color My World."

So, after he has re-tuned the beeps and sounds, if allowed, all 468 stations on the 323-mile long MTA will play one hauntingly charming and catchy tune, "It's a Small World After All." A rider would never have to lament missing even one note. (The song is a joke, but the rest is true.)


With one sport season over-
lapping another, overlapping another, overlapping another, there is always a Most Valuable Person award every month or so. Here's my choice for the MVP at an upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade in every hometown.

From this human point-of-view, it doesn't take much to be most valuable to someone. Go for it!

Speaking of that and intending to end on an inspiring note or two, I saw something that made me sad a few days ago. I was waiting in line at a very fancy restaurant (McDonald's again) and noticed the young family in front of me... dad was ordering breakfast for his wife, four-year-old daughter (I'd guess) and infant in a car-seat. Order was placed on the counter as he reached into his pocket to pay... but (and I didn't put this together til after), he was short of cash. He told the order-taker that he had to go to the car for more money and directed his family to follow him. Then, as I stepped to the front of the line, I saw the cash register flash "Sale cancelled." I raced to the door just in time to see their car pulling away and felt really bad that, had I been more aware, I could have "played it forward."

I'm really sorry I blew this chance but there will be others... for me and for you. Play it forward doesn't have to be big to be impactful for someone who needs a little boost... and to that voice in your head that says "That's what it's all about."

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