"I am free."
The thought pierced my cold, dark consciousness as I crossed a desolate commuterscape toward an early-morning train.
Before exiting my parked car, I had rifled through sections of the New York Times in case of momentous news out of Syria, Park Slope or Madison Square Garden. Instead, I found something grimly unnerving: an insert, bathed in blue and orange hues, that seemed hideously familiar. Dear God. Toys "R" Us was back.
"Door Busters!" the insert shrieked, with the R in "Door" reversed in dull homage to the illiteracy that, along with cheap crap from China in perpetuity, is one of the twin towers of the Toys "R" Us Inc. brand. My eyes locked on "My Talking LapPup," available in "Violet" or "Scout." Fisher-Price Inc.'s "Bedtime Peppa Pig" beckoned from an adjacent coupon panel. At the bottom of the first page - oh, yes, there were six - was a warning that the "Buy 1 Get 1 40% Off Mix & Match SALE!" had only two days to go. Violent video games, bad movies and various branded detritus from the plastics factory would soon experience a devastating price spike.
Panic had begun to seize me when a beautiful moment, the kind you can own and recall over the course of an entire lifetime, materialized out of the frigid air itself. "I have teenagers," I realized. "Put down the insert. It's over."
My cherished daughter, who once pined for a "Hop Along Pink Pony" - the desperate purchase of which, at the last minute on Dec. 24 after weeks of hopeless searching, had pitched her mother into triumphant, transcendent bliss - simply doesn't care anymore. My son, whose contributions to the plastics industry dwarf anything Deng Xiaoping ever mustered, would like some nice clothes, thank you very much.
Yes, it has been a long walk to freedom. There were difficult moments along the way, times when the garish, prisonlike aisles of storecrap seemed to close in, threatening to crush me physically and spiritually. But I never gave up hope. I always believed in my heart this day would come. I will never walk into Toys "R" Us again. I am free. Unless I have grandchildren.
"I am free."
Most deadly fraternity scraps initiation for new members
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest U.S. fraternities and the deadliest, said Friday it will ban the initiation of recruits, citing the toll that hazing has taken on its newest members.Continued ...
VIDEO: Michigan woman's death, mummified body hidden by auto-pay for six years
The mummified body of a Michigan woman was discovered in the backseat of her car approximately six years after her death. The body was only found after the bank that foreclosed on the home ordered work on the property.Continued ...
VIDEO: Chrysler orders community college to crush rare Dodge Viper
Students at a community college in Washington are fighting to save a rare Dodge Viper given to them by the Chrysler Corporation. The company now says it must be destroyed for legal reasons.Continued ...
VIDEO: Penguin sweaters save birds trapped in oil spills
A wildlife group in Australia is inviting volunteers to knit sweaters for the penguin population it conserves, because it says the sweaters can actually save the lives of birds caught in oil spills.Continued ...
VIDEO: Kentucky AG holds back tears, announces he won't defend marriage ban
In a tearful statement that went viral this week, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced that he would not defend his state's ban on gay marriage in court. Conway made the announcement after a federal judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. However, Gov. Steve Beshear said he will hire private attorneys to appeal the judge's order.Continued ...
Staples to close 225 stores as online competition hurts sales
Staples Inc., the largest U.S. office-supplies chain, will close as many as 12 percent of its North American stores and cut as much as $500 million in costs as online competition continues to hurt sales.Continued ...
2 in Indiana sickened after eating contaminated Skittles
Health officials say packages of Original Skittles sold at a convenience store in Richmond, Ind., were contaminated, and two people who ate from a package were hospitalized with symptoms including burning throats, cramping and diarrhea.Continued ...
VIDEO: A panoramic view from atop One World Trade Center
NBC's Today Show aired footage from a year-long project by TIME magazine to capture a 360-degree moving image from atop One World Trade Center, the 1,776-foot structure in New York City that is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.Continued ...
5 memorable college hoops tourney buzzer beaters
It's March, which means the NCAA Tournament is just around the corner. But before March Madness takes hold, the conference tournaments, which get under way this week, often provide their own share of exciting finishes. Here are five memorable buzzer beaters from conference tournament play.Continued ...
What you need to know about subtle office bullying
Sad to say, but bullying does not just exist in the schoolyard. It is alive and well in the workplace.Continued ...
- Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Lilly's diabetes drug rejected by FDA
A diabetes pill developed by Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim was rejected by U.S. regulators because of previously disclosed manufacturing deficiencies at a German plant that hadn't been resolved.Continued ...
Target seeks new technology head after data breach
Target Corp., still reeling from a security breach that exposed the personal information of tens of millions of customers, is seeking a new top technology executive to help prevent future attacks.Continued ...
Facebook cracking down on illegal gun sales planned on site
Facebook is cracking down on illegal gun sales planned through its website, seeking to prevent criminal activity and setting a precedent other social- media sites could follow.Continued ...
Avenger an American value
If you’re someone who appreciates the golden age of domestic sedans — those big, comfortable, heavy-feeling cars with a uniquely American sense of style — this one ought to pique your interest.Continued ...
VIDEO: Mother, children rescued from van in ocean
Witnesses in Daytona Beach watched as a woman drove her van with three children into the ocean. Their dramatic rescue was captured on video.Continued ...
Frigid U.S. weather means highest power prices since '08
Freezing temperatures gripping the eastern U.S. will result in the highest electricity prices in six years for consumers in Boston, Dallas and San Francisco.Continued ...
- Tuesday, March 4, 2014
VIDEO: Will the NFL move the extra point to 42 yards?
The NFL's Competition Committee is reportedly in preliminary talks about spotting the ball at the 25-yard-line for point-after-touchdown attempts, which would make PATs 42 yards, according to NFL.com.Continued ...
Study says too much protein could lead to early death
Even as researchers warned of the health risks of high-protein diets in middle age, they said eating more protein actually could be a smart move for people over 65.Continued ...
Do flu shots cause runny noses?
The vaccine used in the study is similar to FluMist, of which 13 million doses were distributed in the United States this year. The work helps explain why runny noses were an occasional aftereffect of FluMist in clinical trials.Continued ...
VIDEO: New Jersey teen sues parents for tuition
A New Jersey teenager is suing her parents for tuition after saying they abandoned her when she turned 18.Continued ...
Winter stifles pollen, but other pests can make allergies worse now
Most people don't consider allergies the cause of their coldlike symptoms in the winter, because the cause of most respiratory allergies — pollen — is usually not drifting about in cold and snowy climes. Yet some of the most common allergies are to indoor things.Continued ...
VIDEO: New 'Dancing With the Stars' cast unveiled
The highly anticipated cast of the new season of ABC's hit reality show was revealed Tuesday on "Good Morning America."Continued ...
- Monday, March 3, 2014
VIDEO: Museum removes Corvettes from sinkhole
The National Corvette Museum in Kentucky has started removing cars from a giant sinkhole that opened beneath the museum last month and swallowed up eight prized cars like they were toys.Continued ...
VIDEO: Apple iPhone to become more car-friendly
Apple is teaming up with major car makers to make iPhone applications easier for drivers to use while they're on the road. Apple Inc. is calling the technology, "CarPlay."Continued ...
Polar vortex may prove to be a powerful pesticide
The deep freeze, with arctic blasts from the polar vortex, has put invasive insects on ice in dozens of states. That includes the emerald ash borer, a pretty bug that does ugly things to ecosystems it invades.Continued ...
- Most deadly fraternity scraps initiation for new members