I Killed Borders

I Killed Borders

BYE-BYE BORDERS: The erstwhile retail giant announced last week that it's closing its book covers for good. Stores like this one in Augusta, Ga., began liquidating inventory last Friday. Photo: Newscom.

Last week, I learned that Borders Books and Music is about to leave this earth forever. While I was truly saddened to learn of its demise, there is something I have to get off my chest. So let this serve as an admission of my guilt and an official confession.

I am a murderer. I killed Borders.

First of all, I suppose I should come clean. Borders was not my first “brick and mortar” bookstore experience; I remember spending hours in B. Dalton and Waldenbooks in my youth, as well as Barnes and Noble. And of course there was the Beloit Public Library. But for the last half-decade plus, there has been something special about Borders. Whether it was the proximity to our house, or the convenience of being able to hang out there before and after seeing a movie at the mall, I’m not sure.  But my heart has held a special place for Borders, which by definition makes this a crime of passion.

Borders was where I saw my wife for the first time. We shared a coffee and smiles, and I bought her a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife there. We kissed in the parking lot. Over the years our daughters have enjoyed numerous story-time sessions and have come to view Borders as a shopping destination second only to Target in sheer awesomeness.

We have parted with much coin at our local Borders. But that doesn’t change the fact that there is blood on my hands. I may not have pulled the trigger, but my hands were on the grip. I killed Borders. 

Can I be blamed for falling victim to the seductive wiles of free shipping, unlimited selection, and low price guarantees? I love the indescribable pleasure that my finger feels after I’ve clicked my mouse and made a purchase …

My mistress — let’s not be coy; her name is Amazon — first courted me years ago by offering me half-price DVDs on Tuesdays. Now I consult her for everything; she has replaced Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, eBay, and, yes, Borders as my preferred shopping destination for the cool stuff that I think I need. I’ve even used my phone to take pictures of books I’ve leafed through at Borders in order to check the price on Amazon.

It’s embarrassing to admit that, but confession is good for the soul, I guess.

When I explained to my 6-year-old about online shopping and Borders’ demise, she asked, “Why would anyone get in their car and drive to the bookstore?” Why indeed.

I mourn the loss of Borders. And as the guilty party, I can only offer my sincere condolences to the victim’s family. I feel, however, that I must also share this troubling fact.

I can’t stop.

While I’m not sure who my next victim will be, I do know that this isn’t over.

This Week’s Pendulum

This Week’s Pendulum


1 U.S. POLITICS NEWT GINGRICH RESTARTING OR SHUTTING DOWN?

A month into his presidential campaign, Newt Gingrich must regroup because his entire senior campaign team has quit. While Senator John McCain did lose his campaign manager and campaign chief strategist, the majority of his staff downsizing was a result of financial woes. Gingrich, on the other hand, has lost his campaign manager, campaign spokesman, New Hampshire based consultant, strategist, South Carolina consultant, Iowa consultant, and additional Iowa staffers due to a difference in opinion about political direction. Gingrich was already under scrutiny because of his anti-GOP comments concerning Medicare, $500,000 Tiffanyís tab and luxury cruise to Greece. His staffís lack of confidence in his political potential is just another sign that Gingrich isnít in this race for the long haul.

2 WORLD BUFFER UP YOUR FOREIGN LANGUAGE SKILLS ON BBC.COM

Americans are known throughout the world for their insensitivity to foreign cultures, and often their disinterest with learning other languages. If you’d like a tool to help boost your foreign language skills and take a step towards slightly improving our foreign reputation, visit BBC.com. They offer extensive tools in all the major languages as well as tools on a vast array of dialects. Their tools include, 12-week email courses, programs, dictionaries, guides and more!

3 BOOKS PRICE OF KINDLE EXPECTED TO DROP BY CHRISTMAS

If you’ve been thinking of buying a Kindle and joining the E-Book craze, you may want to hold off for a bit. The Kindle is rumored to be under $100 by Christmas based on the success of the product thus far. Analyst Mark Mahaney predicts that eBooks will surpass print book sales in 2-3 years. Kindle sales are already up 200% from last year. I do not currently own a Kindle, but may look into a purchase if the price drops as expected.

4 MUSIC WHY RAPPERS SHOULD REFRAIN FROM POLITICAL STATEMENTS

Ever since Kanye’s “Bush hates Black people” outburst, rappers have had a bad rep for their political correctness. It looks like they’ve done it again, this time the culprit is Lupe Fiasco. Not only did he say that “the biggest terrorist in the United States is Obama,” but he followed that up with a more intelligent reason for not voting, “It’s meaningless.” (INSERT ‘BOO’ HERE) Why Mr. Fiasco do you feel that politics is a viable platform for you? I’d prefer the next time a pop artist picked up a book, that they chose not to make their “enlightenment” public. Who do you think will be the next culprit?

5 EDUCATION SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE CLASSROOM

Today’s youth are living in an era where there is not only a dependence on technology, but also a dependence on social media. Love it orhate it, social media has changed the way we interact and it is here to stay. As a result, L.A. based teacher, Enrique Legaspi, has incorporated the use of Twitter in his 8th-grade history class. Instead of raising theirhands, students tweet their answers. Some may find this use of technology in the classroom disturbing, but with 8-18 years old consuming ‘10 3/4 hours worth of media content everyday’ it might benefit teachers to engage youth in creative ways. Will tweeting the teacher during class become a trend? I think this will become more of a problem than a solution to student participation, but maybe teachers should consider using Twitter for afterschool homework assistance.

6 MONEY STOCKS SUFFER SIX WEEKS OF LOSSES

On Friday, the Dow dipped below 12,000 for the first time in three months. Energy stocks took the biggest hit, after Saudi Arabia reported that it would increase oil output and reduce prices to $99 per barrel. This is the 6th straight week of decline, the longest streak since 2008, and analyst are worried this might be more than the temporary glitch in a stock come-back. Frank Davis, director of sales and trading with LEK Securities, stated that “nearly all (traders are) leaning toward the bear side.”

7 TECHNOLOGY FACEBOOK TO START SCANNING AND IDENTIFYING YOUR PHOTOS

Facebook is changing the way you tag your friends. They will now be able to scan faces in your photos and suggest friends, based on facial recognition. The new feature has people up in arms about the violation of privacy. Facebook has allowed for users to opt out of the feature in their privacy settings. Google had planned to release an application that would allow someone to “Google” them from a picture and find out their information. They later decided not to release technology in that capacity, due to privacy issues, and has used it for less invasive technologies.

8 TV KEKE PALMER STARS IN NEW FILM FOR TV DIRECTED BY NICK CANNON

Keke Palmer will play an international pop star named Kadee Worth in Rags, an upcoming film on Nickelodeon. The movie is a modern-day fairy tale that centers on Charlie Prince, an orphan played by Max Schneider, who lives with his evil stepfather and dreams of being a singer. When Kadee finds Charlie, they work through their differences to gain a  new perspective on their worlds and an appreciation for each other.

  

9 MOVIES WILL “MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS” BE A HIT OR GET AN ICY RECEPTION?

Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a family comedy starring Jim Carey and based on the children’s book Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. The movie is about the workaholic Mr. Popper and his journey to truly understanding the important things in life. While, the film sounds awfully similar to Carey’s Liar, Liar, this production is unique because Carey shares the screen with real Emperor Penguins. Mr. Popper’s Penguins opens Father’s Day weekend and appears to have humor for the whole family, so this may be the flick for dads and their kids. While the plot is sure to be predictable, the knowledge that it features real penguins gives the film bonus points in my book!

10 CELEB IS TRACY MORGAN ASKING FOR TROUBLE?

You think Tracy Morgan would have taken a hint from the “Kobe Bryant homophonic slur incident” and subsequent NBA public service announcements and just avoided saying anything about the LGBT community.  But he didn’t, and now Morgan is apologizing to “the gay & lesbian community for [his] choice of words at [his] recent stand-up act in Nashville.” In his apology, the comedian and 30 Rock actor, says he is not hateful and is “an equal opportunity jokester.” While everyone is entitled to their opinion, Morgan took it a step too far. It is reported that he said if his son were gay, he’d better come home and talk to him like a man or he’ll “pull out a knife and stab that little nigger to death.” The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is condemning Morgan for his remarks. The alliance has asked that 30 Rock investigate and Morgan remove the remarks from his routine. If Morgan doesn’t do something drastic, his career could be in jeopardy.