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We all knew it was coming, and as I pointed out earlier this month, we know who's largely to blame: Iconic toy retailer Toys "R" Us has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, and will soon take similar steps (CCAA) in Canada. In the later hours of September 18, 2017, Toys "R" Us made it official, voluntarily filing for relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, and sharing the news via press release. It's important to note that while this news is serious, companies restructure and emerge from Chapter 11 all the time, though the companies with ownership stake in Toys "R" Us - particularly Bain Capital - leave much to be desired.

Five years ago, I celebrated one-year tobacco-free with a journal entry about my personal journey. Then, in 2013, I posted again, celebrating the two-year anniversary of coming clean (indeed, cigarettes are a drug), followed by another post in 2014 documenting year three, and how I couldn't get Philip Morris/Altria to leave me alone (they since have, but only after I threatened legal action). In 2015, I posted again, noting that little bits had changed, like Cracker Barrel restaurants playing into the hands of Big Tobacco (presumably) not knowing it, and the rise of the e-cig and vape crowd, followed in 2016 by an update. Today I am posting once again, as it's the six-year anniversary of kicking the habit. As I've done previously, I am re-posting much of my original entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, along with a few alterations and timely updates. Philip Morris/Altria and R.J Reynolds: As I've warned before, with each passing year, the targets on the backs of your companies and leadership continue to grow...

March 14, 2011 is the day that I officially quit smoking. At some point on the night of March 13, I quietly took the last puff of the last cigarette in the last pack that I ever owned. Upon telling my wife that I was officially ''done,'' she took it upon herself to clean-up some of the ''smoker's mess'' that I'd created. The ashtrays of both cars were scoured. The sand-filled flowerpots that I'd strategically placed on my front porch and near my gardening shed were disposed of, along with a ton of stray butts that had made their way into the surrounding landscape over the winter months. The cleansing had begun.

Published in James' Journal

Four years ago, I celebrated one-year tobacco-free with a journal entry about my personal journey. Then, in 2013, I posted again, celebrating the two-year anniversary of coming clean (indeed, cigarettes are a drug), followed by another post in 2014 documenting year three, and how I couldn't get Philip Morris/Altria to leave me alone (they since have, but only after I threatened legal action). In 2015, I posted again, and since then little bits have changed, like Cracker Barrel restaurants playing into the hands of Big Tobacco (presumably) not knowing it, and the rise of the e-cig and vape crowd. Today I am posting once again, as it's the five-year anniversary of kicking the habit. As I've done previously, I am re-posting much of my original entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, along with a few alterations and timely updates. Philip Morris/Altria and R.J Reynolds: The targets on the backs of your companies and leadership continue to grow...

March 14, 2011 is the day that I officially quit smoking. At some point on the night of March 13, I quietly took the last puff of the last cigarette in the last pack that I ever owned. Upon telling my wife that I was officially ''done,'' she took it upon herself to clean-up some of the ''smoker's mess'' that I'd created. The ashtrays of both cars were scoured. The sand-filled flowerpots that I'd strategically placed on my front porch and near my gardening shed were disposed of, along with a ton of stray butts that had made their way into the surrounding landscape over the winter months. The cleansing had begun.

Published in James' Journal

Three years ago, I celebrated one-year tobacco-free with a journal entry about my personal journey. Then, in 2013, I posted again, celebrating the two-year anniversary of coming clean (cigarettes are a drug), followed by another post in 2014 documenting year three, and how I couldn't get Philip Morris/Altria to leave me alone (they since have, but only after I threatened legal action).  Today I am posting once again, as it's the four-year anniversary of kicking the habit. As I've done previously, I am re-posting much of my original entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, along with a few alterations and timely updates. Philip Morris/Altria and R.J Reynolds: The targets on the backs of your companies and leadership have grown...

March 14, 2011 is the day that I officially quit smoking. At some point on the night of March 13, I quietly took the last puff of the last cigarette in the last pack that I ever owned. Upon telling my wife that I was officially ''done,'' she took it upon herself to clean-up some of the ''smoker's mess'' that I'd created. The ashtrays of both cars were scoured. The sand-filled flowerpots that I'd strategically placed on my front porch and near my gardening shed were disposed of, along with a ton of stray butts that had made their way into the surrounding landscape over the winter months. The cleansing had begun.

Published in James' Journal

Two years ago, I celebrated one-year tobacco-free with a blog about my personal journey. Then, in 2013, I posted again, celebrating the two-year anniversary of coming clean (cigarettes are a drug). Today I am posting once again, as it's the three-year anniversary of kicking the habit. As I've done previously, I am re-posting much of my original blog entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, along with a few alterations and timely updates. Last year, I discussed how Marlboro (under the Philip Morris or Altria name) won't leave me alone. It's continued for another year... and perhaps it's time to lawyer up?

March 14, 2011 is the day that I officially quit smoking. At some point on the night of March 13, I quietly took the last puff of the last cigarette in the last pack that I ever owned. Upon telling my wife that I was officially ''done,'' she took it upon herself to clean-up some of the ''smoker's mess'' that I'd created. The ashtrays of both cars were scoured. The sand-filled flowerpots that I'd strategically placed on my front porch and near my gardening shed were disposed of, along with a ton of stray butts that had made their way into the surrounding landscape over the winter months. The cleansing had begun.

Published in James' Journal

TRF XMAS125It's interesting how much a week can change things. For me it's taken a generally positive opinion about a company that I've casually respected in recent months, turned it into a feeling of disappointment, and in the end, made me come to despise said company. I'm talking about toy maker GoldieBlox and their possibly orchestrated fiasco with The Beastie Boys over a viral commercial. When I first heard that they'd borrowed some Beastie Boys music without asking, and then preemptively filed a for a declaratory judgement against the living members of the group, like many, I blogged about it. The "facts" were few, the opinions were many, and all sides took their time with properly addressing anything. What we now know is that GoldieBlox seemed to have had every intention of using (whether it's "parody," "satire," "transformative," "fair use," "infringing" or whatever) the Beastie Boys' 1986 song "Girls" without any regard for the group's opinion on the matter.  Their release today of a "Letter to the Beastie Boys" coupled with the removal of the offending video only solidifies that in my mind, despite their carefully-crafted, likely attorney-urged attempt at trying to save face. Whatever they spent on legal fees and the video itself, the publicity they've gained has been priceless. Everyone (myself included) is talking about GoldieBlox, and really, it's at the Beastie Boys' expense. Speaking as someone whose been "borrowed from" in the past without being asked first, that's not cool.

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