Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Odds & Ends

It was more than a little eerie to see Bonnie Brooks named head of Lord & Taylor on January 23 and three days later see retired L&T CEO Joseph Brooks had died at age 84. To the best of my knowledge, the two Brookses are related by last name only, but that didn’t still the willies that shuttered through my body.

Joe Brooks was one of the first retail executives my magazine profiled shortly after I took editorial command in early 1979. Four years earlier he had taken charge of Lord & Taylor, returning the specialty department store to a luster not known since the legendary Dorothy Shaver was its president in the 1930s. He restored the long-stemmed rose as the company’s corporate logo, made American designers a focal point of merchandising, and ordered the playing of the national anthem each morning in the flagship Fifth Avenue store.

Joe Brooks was very mindful of image. Accordingly, he refused to carry “see-through lingerie” and “hooker shoes,” footwear with very high heels and platforms. Lord & Taylor no longer abides by those restrictions.

For the Record: I hate making mistakes, but my last two posts contained numerical errors, both since corrected on the blog site. My Monday entry on the Florida primary incorrectly stated the number of delegates awarded the winner of the Sunshine State Republican presidential primary. It is 50, not 55.

Tuesday’s Super Bowl forecast put the final score as New York Giants 24, New England Patriots 17. It should have been Giants 25, Patriots 17. The Giants will score two touchdowns (12 points), two points after touchdown (2), three field goals (9) and one safety (2) for a total of 25.

Weather Indicator: Temperatures topped 60 degrees today, sufficiently abnormal to fool even hibernating bees into awakening from their dormancy. With the car window rolled down I caught one taking a rest on my left thumb as I waited at a red light.

Birds have provided another natural indication of our topsy-turvy winter weather. They aren’t eating as much seed or suet as in years’ past as they have been able to find organic delights in the absence of snow cover. Mind you, I’m not complaining. Nor are the squirrels who have become quite aggressive lately. One in particular has figured out how to get into two feeders.

Denied entry from above because of a squirrel baffle, he’s shown Olympian dexterity in doing a standing high jump of about four feet to the bottom of the metal hanging cage housing the seed bowl. He grasps it and hoists himself up and over the side into seed heaven for the few moments before I shoo him out. To thwart this athletic assault I’ve changed bowls, suspending a plastic bowl that doesn’t need to sit in a wire cage. I hope it works.

The squirrel has a second way to get to the goodies. He shimmies down the chain suspending the bowl from a tree limb, but instead of trying to get around the baffle to get inside the bowl, he leaps to a nearby birdseed house, pushes up the roof which slides up to permit more seed to be stored, and jumps in for a meal unseen by any of his compatriots. I was flabbergasted when I saw this and quickly had to shift the location of the birdseed house to a spot I hope is too far for his acrobatic legerdemain. Again, I hope this works.

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