A to Z 2015

2015 Blogging from A to Z Theme

Blogs--most reading this know what they are, but maybe some of you are not sure what a blog is and have been thinking about starting one. Or perhaps you've been trying to come up with a new thematic idea for your current blog or one that you plan to add. For the 2015 A to Z Challenge I'll be looking at various possible blogging themes as well as a suggestion here or there about blogging better. If you know someone who has been thinking about starting a blog then direct them to my series. Maybe I can help come up with some blogging ideas of interest to them--or to you.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Walmart (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

Walmart on Blogs

       Of all of the businesses that people blog about, Walmart might generate the most online chatter.  Beloved by many and demonized by others, the mega monster chain has blogs in it's favor and blogs of detractors as well as company blogs that promote Walmart from the inside.  When you start searching you can find many blogs focused on Walmart.

       Originally I had not intended on using Walmart as my "W" topic until a very suspicious thing happened with my local Walmart that is an anchor store in the shopping center across the street from where I live.   To me going to Walmart is somewhat of a hassle so I usually only shop there once or twice a month.  However they offer much cheaper prices on certain items so I tend to shop for these at Walmart instead of the higher priced grocery store where I do the majority of my food shopping.

Suspicious Walmart Incident

      Probably few of you heard of the situation to which I am referring, but I'll tell you the story and then let you come up with your own conclusions.   On Thursday April 16 I heard mention on the radio that the employees of the Pico Rivera Walmart were protesting at a nearby hotel where a labor meeting was underway discussing the status of our closed store.  Closed?   I had not heard that they had closed.

        Apparently on Tuesday April 14th with 5 hours notice to the employees, the store management announced that the store would be closing for an undetermined period of time in order to fix ongoing plumbing problems.   The estimate was that they could be closed for up to 6 months.  Some employees could have the option of moving to other store locations, but many would be out of work.  This all with only 5 hours notice.   They just happened to make the decision to start repairing the plumbing that quickly?

         Now curious, I began researching online for any information about this closure and what I discovered next amazed me and left me very suspicious.  Besides our Pico Rivera Walmart, the corporation simultaneously closed four other stores in the same manner--four stores across the U.S. in Oklahoma City, two stores in Texas, and one in Florida.  Looking at a map these stores are somewhat evenly distributed across the southern United States.   Some strategic connection could be construed by looking at where these stores are in relation to each other.   The plumbing alibi at five different stores across the United States doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

        Conspiracy theories abound on this story and anyone who has been reading Tossing It Out for a few years probably knows that anything conspiratorial catches my attention, especially when corporate America or the United States government is implicated.  When you add religious prophecy then you've really got my attention.  All of these things start coming into play with the Walmart story.

What Is Walmart Up To?

        The most immediate reaction to why these stores had closed was that it was a sort of punishment to labor and a warning to the unions to back off.   As I had reported here on November 23rd of 2012 in a post called Does Walmart Deserve a Whipping?, our local store was one of the targets of the labor movement against the Walmart corporation.

      The jabs at Walmart by labor have continued ever since at the Pico Rivera store and reportedly at the other stores recently closed for plumbing problems.  Using the store closures as a retaliatory action against labor seems like a feasible corporate strategy, but on the other hand a questionable one that could backfire in a number of ways.  The labor angle sounded possible, but I wasn't buying that explanation so I went further down the crazy rabbit hole of the internet.

A More Sinister Walmart Conspiracy?

       My next investigations into Walmart connected the current events to suspicious reports dating back over the past few years.  Google and YouTube are rife with stories about underground tunnels crisscrossing the United States for the purposes of troop movements and underground cities being built in case of some above ground catastrophic event.

       This tunnel theory starts sounding a bit fantastical, but there is somewhat convincing evidence that it can be done more easily than most of us might think and that it has actually been achieved to some degree and this work is currently underway throughout the United States.  When we consider the research now being done with  ETT (evacuated tube transport) that is developing super trains that could potentially run at speeds up to 1800 MPH, we can see how a vast tunnel system would be necessary for this type of technology to be practical.

         Some wild theories now abound that the closure of the Walmart stores have nothing to do with plumbing, but the Walmart Corporation is in league with the U.S. government to use the locations in conjunction with work currently being done on the tunnel systems.  This is all far-fetched sounding and even impractical from the standpoint of why they would need tunnels that intersected Walmart locations.  Then again Walmart is known for their highly efficient supply chain management strategy (Vendor Managed Inventory) that requires an intricate web of transportation and warehousing.  The Walmart model of operating has certainly not gone unnoticed by the U.S. government.  Besides how much do you trust the U.S. government or any corporations these days?

       I won't go into too much detail in this post since I want to keep what is turning into a long article from becoming even longer.  If you're interested you can do your own searches about the tunnel theories.  But there is another sinister report that has come out that I think is worth a mention.

FEMA Detention Camps!!!

       Either there are some people with wild imaginations out there who are trying to scare us or there is some element of truth to the story.   Some of you have heard the rumors of government sponsored FEMA camps being organized around the country to be ready for some future event that will require rounding up large sectors of the population and placing them in camps or detention centers.  It's happened in other places throughout history.  Could it happen now in the United States of America?

       There have been plenty of scenarios related to epidemics, natural disasters, civil unrest, foreign invasion, or the collapse of the power grid that could be motivations for the government to move populations into controlled areas to establish control and order.  Any of these threats could potentially cause a chaotic state among the populace to the point where government would feel compelled to avoid the chaos that would likely ensue from any of these disasters.

        The temporary closings of the Walmart stores have caused some to speculate that these sites might be getting retrofitted to act as detention centers that might be needed in the near future.  In the event of the collapse of the infrastructure in the area where I live, I believe that this as well as all urban areas would be especially frightening as people struggle to survive.  A detention center manned by government control officials might be seen as necessary to stabilize the societal deterioration.   Has Walmart become complicit in helping to organize authoritarian rule of the people?

         When you think about it, the Walmart machine is highly efficient at logistical movement of supplies, management of labor, crowd control. and organizational structure.  A nation governed by a corporation or network of corporations is not unforeseeable and probably is in place already to some extent.   Are you looking forward to being moved into a control center managed by the U.S. Government/Walmart?


       No this is not some profane utterance, but a principle of Judaism that I will not go into detail about here.  You can look it up.  And why am I bringing this up in relation to the Walmart Conspiracy?

        A few days prior to the Walmart closing and my investigations into all the crazy sounding conspiracies, I happened to flip the television on to some show about Bible prophecy where they were talking about things like "the Blood Moon", Shmita, the Rapture, and the Tribulation. (Again I offer these terms with no explanations but Google can explain to the uninitiated.)

       The guy on TV was telling about how the next seven year cycle culminating in Shmita would be coming this September of 2015. He said at the end of every seven year cycle there is an economic downturn, the most recent being 2001 and 2008 which some of you probably recall as being somewhat bad economic years.  The TV prophet added that this year the Shmita would correspond with a blood moon, which some of you might recognize as something with prophetic implications.

        The upshot of all the prophecies was that in September we will be seeing the biggest economic collapse ever and perhaps the collapse of the U.S. as we know it.  There will be chaos and martial law will be declared with government troops fanning out across the nation to take control of every community.

        Okay, I know that now some of you are thinking I'm heading into Crazy Town, but I'm just telling you things I heard and observations I have made.   One thing that did come to mind when the Walmart story emerged was that if the stores open in six months as projected, that would be in September just in time for the Blood Moon, Shmita, and martial law being administrated due to a chaotic state resulting from everything falling apart.  They would need dentition camps and strategic networks for movement of troops and supplies.

          Yes, wild sounding I know, but could it happen?   If anything I think there is some great material here for some dystopian fiction.   I hope it's fiction.

          Have you heard about the Walmart closures, the tunnel network, or Shmita?   Why do you think the Walmart stores have been closed for an approximately six month period?   Do you read any of the Walmart related blogs?

Blogs about Walmart (can you believe it?):

Walmart Is Pure Evil

Walmart Watch

Walmart Blog  (official company site)

Walmart Sucks

I Heart the Mart  (coupons and deals)

The People of Walmart  (hilarious and at times unbelievable though true)

...And the list goes on...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Victories and Vacations (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

      We enjoy an uplifting story that gives us hope in our own lives.  History is filled with countless stories of the victories of nations, communities, and individuals.  The stories of winning and achieving over tremendous odds tend to thrill us.  A blog that depicted such stories on a regular basis could likely have readers returning often for an empowering dose of the positive.  A blog dedicated to victories could have an endless number of subtopics.

       Like travel blogs, blogging about vacations holds many possibilities for interesting stories and visually entertaining photos.  A vacation blogger can blog about their own vacation adventures as well as general information about vacation trips that we all might dream about at one time or another.
Vacation blogging can include information about popular hot spots as well as lesser known destinations.   This type of blog provides an opportunity to offer readers coupons, deals, and travel services.

       The letter "V" might seem like a limiting one for blog topics but I'll bet you can think of many.  How about veterinary topics, vaccines, or the Vatican?   You can travel the world from Virginia to Venezuela to Viet Nam.

          What are some blog themes that you can think of that start with the letter "V"?   Do you ever blog about your own vacations?    What has been your favorite vacation memory?


Friday, April 24, 2015

Update! (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

Slacker Bloggers

        One thing about blogs that really annoys me is when they aren't kept updated.  This is especially true when the URLs are posted on social media profiles such as Twitter for example.  If an interesting sounding Twitter account recommendation comes my way and I see a blog URL listed, I often don't bother following them if I go to the blog address and find that they haven't posted for six months, a year, or even more.

        This is true for any place where a person advertises their blog URL whether it be FaceBook, a business card, or even an author's recently published book.   If you aren't going to keep your blog updated then don't advertise your blog link as a place for me to go visit!

         Exceptions to this might be those blog owners who are essentially using their blog page as an informational web site to provide contact details, biographies, or any other strictly business facts that might enlighten visitors who just want additional information.   If this is what is being done then the page should not be referred to as a "blog".   Using this terminology for a static site is misleading.

The Blogging Commitment

        Anyone who decides to become a blogger should accept the responsibility to keep their site updated.  When I go to a blog that doesn't have any posts for a month or more it leads me to question the professionalism of the blog owner and wonder why that person blogs.  Especially if the most recent, now months old post is open-ended leaving the readers to expect a new post to come soon.  That's when I have to ask, "Where is that post?"

         Life can get in the way and a blogger is entitled to change his or her mind about their blogging agenda, but that's when some sort of finalized post should be put up.  At least tell us "Closed Until Further Notice" or something of that nature.  And then be sure that you don't have any promotional material or on line links that are directing people to your dead or sleeping site.

Blogging Consistency

          You don't have to post every day or even every week, but you should make it clear when visitors can expect to see posts.   If you only post every first Monday of the month then make that clear.  If you are one who doesn't like being confined to a schedule or merely blogs when the whim strikes then you should make that clear to visitors as well.

         Personally, I am not at all impressed when I visit a blog where there has only been sporadic activity and when it does happen the writing is banal and of little interest to readers.   The worst are the bloggers who admit that they have been slack in posting and then mention something about their uninspired state of mind--"goodbye that's all I can think of today, see you when I feel like posting again."  If that comes from an author especially, do you think I want to read that person's books?

The A to Z Test

        During the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge we see some of this blogger reliability exemplified.   So many blogs are stricken from the list during the month of April because they aren't able to keep up.   With the exceptions of sickness or other unforeseen life circumstances, most of the bloggers who get booted because of inconsistency of blog posting are just blogging like they normally do.  You can look back over their older posts and see the evidence of inconsistency everywhere in their blog history.

        Part of the A to Z goal is to instill good blogging habits like consistently posting content of reasonable quality.  Those who fall behind due to old bad habits need to coerce themselves into building blogging muscle and creative mind stretching.

       If you keep up the daily A to Z pace then you are either blogging in your usual professional manner or you are working towards that goal.  If you fall behind but are catching up, then you know you have what it takes to be a real blogger with a professional attitude about the craft of writing and now you just have to start pushing yourself a bit more.

      For those who dropped out or never responded to the communications of the co-hosts, maybe you need to reassess why you have a blog and whether or not you should continue to have one.  While you're at it you might want to take a good look at everything you do in life and how well you are doing at those things.   Blogging is a responsibility that to a great extent mirrors your character.

        Finally, if you are one of those people who has a blog that is rarely updated, please don't share that link with us.   I might go to read your out-dated post one time, but if it's still there when I return later you've lost a great deal of credibility with me.

        Do you think I'm taking blogging overly serious or would you tend to agree with what I've said here?    Do you blog according to a certain schedule?   Do you take any action if you know you won't be posting for a designated period of time?  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Travel (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

     Travel is another one of those blog themes with endless possibilities.  Most people enjoy reading about travel and many of us like the helpful travel trips that the more seasoned and in-the-know travelers can offer us.   A travel blog is an especially good site on which to share photos of faraway places or even more local sites that are interesting to visit.

        Here on Tossing It Out I have sometimes posted about my own travel adventures and I seen stories about travel on many other blogs as well.   The nature of travel blog posts is limitless with topics ranging from sights to see, places to eat, and travel bargains to be found.   A travel blog is one that opens itself well to monetizing since there are so many businesses that would be willing to advertise on an informative site with high traffic.   And even without pro-blogger status, a travel blog can be a fun way to share ones love of traveling with others who have a like interest.

       How about a blog dedicated to promotional trailers such as book, TV show, and movie trailers?  Other "T" topics one might consider are transportation, toys, teenagers, and Trekkies.   There are tons of "T" themes one can pursue when starting a blog.

        Do you ever share travel stories on your own blog?   Are there any pro travel blogs that you regularly visit?   What "T" themes can you think of that I haven't mentioned here?

Some blogs about travel or that are posting about travel for A to Z:

The Travel Type

born to be a Tourist

Yes, Virginia, There Is Life After Retirement

Patrick Tillet  (Have you seen his great travel photos?)

Tui Snider's Offbeat and Overlooked Travel