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Retail hell and the murder of malls

So often, it seems that I am posting “end times” stories on this website. End times for schools in my area.. for churches.. for stores.. End times for the fabric of the once strong and proud coal region of Pennsylvania.. End times for so many things.

Believe it or not, I am mostly a positive person with some negative traits. While admiring those who can see the glass half full all of the time, I strive for that. But lately, things in this area could not be more depressed..

This past weekend, after 20 years of existence, another store in my local mall shuddered and fell by the wayside. Black Diamond antiques in the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville PA.. it was a strange little place, filled with coveted items of yesterday, trinkets that had no specific meaning but most likely meant a lot to someone who passed away within the last 100 years, and old relics like typewriters, newspapers, and He-Man toys. As a matter of fact, I was able to mostly recreate my entire stock of He-Man toys that were tossed into the garbage late 20th century. My son Ayden gets the collection now. He was upset this weekend to learn that Black Diamond’s He-Man selection will vanish.

The problem with malls is that it is not 1989 anymore. Music stores? No need.. fast food? Less interest.. Specialty shops? Amazon!

Just as malls killed main street, Walmart killed malls. Walmart is being slowly impaled on the information superhighway, along with the remaining malls that still survive to today. People have no need for brick and mortar when they can click and order. It’s just the way of the world..

Will these same Amazon shoppers miss malls? Maybe not. A friend of mine complicit in the death of retail shopping holds no guilt. He is fine with the choices he made, completely lavishes in the speed of his goods being shipped and can’t wait for the day when drones can do it.

But those jobs!? (minimum wage, of course.. but summer employment for students and year round employment for seniors… all gone.)


I have been long enamored with the fate of malls. I always sensed it would happen. I am sure you did, too. Nothing after all lasts forever.

I have fond memories of teenage years, scavenging the mall for things to do but finding little. These days, teenagers in the mall would actually be a welcome site—back in the 90s they were always kicked out. Now they doors would be left wide open for ANYONE to come in.

I don’t give my own local mall too much longer.

The Schuylkill Mall even ended up on in 2006. No updates since that …

About a year and a half ago, I decided to call the mall management and give them some ideas. I actually penned them and typed them up, making a concise list of practical things I think they could do to replenish shoppers or even have new ideas that don’t involve shopping. One idea was to quit playing 80s music—that generation is gone and there’s no getting it back. Other ideas was an commerce center, indoor farm and market, and lots of free rent for a few months to spawn independent restaurants.

However this was before I completely read the graffiti on the bathroom stall like the holy scripture of the shopping mall: things aren’t coming back. Maybe there will be a few places.. but not many. Malls are gone. Main street USA is boarded up and not reopening. Jobs are vanquished. Drugs dominate. Towns that once celebrated sundown now fear it. The dead eyes of night stare at empty store fronts and peer into windows of dilapidated structures.

With all that said, I am positive for the future. Somehow.

But things indeed are changing.

The future will be drone delivered.

Perhaps what I will miss most? The photos of people trampling each other on Black Friday.



Mystery continues on why the Sunspot solar observatory was shut down

Sunspot apologizes for the continued closure of the facilities,” a statement on the observatory’s Facebook page said on Sunday. “The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is addressing a security issue at the National Solar Observatory facility at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico and has decided to temporarily vacate the facility as a precautionary measure..

And that is just about all the public knows about why the FBI shut down the observatory within notice warning or after-event statements..
But online, theories rage into the night as to what caused the FBI to sweep into the town, close down the space observatory along with the town post office, and ever let anyone back in.. The entire observatory is reportedly empty at this time—employees obviously gone but some Twitter reports state that the actual equipment and other items have been taken away as well.
Major media is rightly paying close attention to the hurricane along the East Coast,  but lost in the Atlantic sh…

Intrigue in China: Where is Fan Bingbing

From CNN:

Fan Bingbing, one of China's highest-paid and most bankable stars, has appeared in both Chinese and Western films, including the multimillion-dollar X-Men franchise. Across the country, her face once adorned thousands of advertisements, her star power used to sell a galaxy of luxury brands, from Cartier to Louis Vuitton. She was a regular sight at major award shows and fashion ceremonies. In 2015, Time Magazine named her China's "most famous actress."  But the film star hasn't been seen in public since early June, when, according to a post on her verified social-media account, she went to visit a children's hospital in Tibet. In an article by state media Securities Daily on September 6, which was later deleted, the publication said Fan had been brought "under control and about to receive legal judgment." No official statement has been made as to Fan's whereabouts, or any potential criminal charges against the actress.  However, in a country …

Mulder and Scully still have the sunspot case

The internet firestorm over the sudden closure of the Sunspot Solar Observatory went worldwide within the last 10 days..

As of yesterday, there was finally an official statement of some form as to why. But the statement is not going to end the rampant speculation -- these types of events get their fodder from "official statements" that fail to answer directly reasons why events occurred.The group that manages the Facebook page for the New Mexico facility say they are cooperating with on an ongoing criminal investigation..The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy said "we became concerned that a suspect in the investigational potentially posed a threat to the safety of local staff and residents. For this reason, AURA temporarily vacated the facility and ceased science activities at this location."AURA said it was their decision to vacate...
The sheriff in town offers a different opinion, of course.. initially when the facility closed Benny House told …