It is tough to come up with an idea for one of these columns two times a month. It’s always in the back of my mind, but when it comes down to writing something I realize that it may not be a good idea after all or it’s not 600 words long.

For this week, I first thought about doing something on the government shutdown (hopefully it has been solved by the time The L-V is published, since I’m writing this Sunday evening).

The ways things change on a daily basis, it’s hard to tell what they’re going to do at the national level. I am sure there will be tweets and tweet replies, some trash talking on television, and finally a solution will be reached that will be the greatest deal in the history of mankind.

Speaking of deals, a TV commercial was just on in the background talking about Justin Timberlake appearing as half-time entertainment for the 2018 Super Bowl.

Now there’s an idea for a column. Back at the 2004 Super Bowl, Justin Timberlake was the entertainment, but all a lot of people remember is “nipple gate” and a wardrobe malfunction with Janet Jackson. It all happened in a flash, but we were deluged with “freeze frames” of the exposure for weeks and weeks. A lot has changed over the years with now frequent TV coverage of sexual indiscretions including an alleged payoff by the president to a porn star for silence. It kind of makes the idea of “nipple gate” seems kind of quaint.

Snow Days could always generate some sort of column. While we get our share of snow, we also now include really Cold Days, Blowing Wind Days, and Flood Days. Today the notices come by phone, radio, websites, texts and rumors. Depending on your age, I’m sure you remember when things were much worse. No sense in doing a column about that.

I saw where Amazon has narrowed its list of possible locations for a second headquarters, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are both on the list. Both think they are prime locations, with Pittsburgh stressing the tech connections and Philadelphia saying, well they’re Philadelphia. Amazon should bring a lot of jobs with it and there will certainly be a lot of space available with the closing of so many retail stores — thanks to Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon, maybe I could just ask Alexa to write the column for me. No, Alexa wouldn’t even answer me.

Everyone talks about the dominance of Walmart in retailing, but you need to look at the growth of Dollar General. They are opening up in every nook and cranny in Clarion County. They certainly have a lot of merchandise and the parking is always convenient. Their goal is to have a store within six or seven miles of their consumers and they seem to be on track.

I hear people always talking about the convenience of not having to drive a long distance. And it’s happening all over the place, not just Clarion County and not only Pennsylvania. They are everywhere.

There’s going to be a point where Walmart feels the competition from Dollar General on the lower end in addition to Amazon and online purchases at the other end.

One more possible column idea I passed on has an interesting premise. How is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in every action movie? Add the movie roles with TV appearances, commercials and endorsements, and the Rock is everywhere (sort of like Dollar General?). He is now in “Jumanji” and a quick check on the web reveals he’s set for more this year: “Rampage,” “Skyscraper” and “Fighting With My Family.” It doesn’t really matter what they are about because the Rock is the Rock.

[Ron Wilshire is a freelance writer from Clarion, who probably likes to write feature stories more than columns, but thinks he doth protest too much.]

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