retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Just a few notes for a Thursday “OffBeat”...

I haven’t had a chance to read all the reviews yet, but the overwhelming feeling out there based on the headlines I’ve seen seems to be that Apple’s new iPad is going to be a big hit. Not everybody is going to like it, of course. But so far, the reviews look good.

Though I am both an acolyte and a advocate for pretty much all things Apple, I’m not sure I will be rushing out to buy one. My sense on such things is that it makes sense to hold back a bit and assess...and buy the second iteration, once the kinks have been worked out and it is easier to figure out which version is most appropriate for my purposes.

That said, it is entirely possible that the first time I hold one in my hands - and this could take awhile, since the local Apple Stores are likely to be mobbed for weeks - all my resolve could melt away.

Which demonstrates how an innovative product and a great retailing environment can team up to influence consumer behavior.

BTW...check out Apple’s video tour of the iPad: Click here.

Not sure what is going on with San Antonio, but the Texas city suddenly seems to be all the rage. Not only was the terrific Symphony IRI Group 2010 Summit there just a couple of weeks ago, but the upcoming Fresh Forum, sponsored by Retail Connections, is scheduled to take place later this month ... and I’m doing the keynote at the opening night barbecue dinner. How cool is that! (Full disclosure: Fresh Forum is a sponsor. See their tile ad on the right hand side of the page.)

I hadn’t been to San Antonio in more than a decade, so this is a nice turn of events. And here’s the bonus. After I mentioned that I’d only been in San Antonio for about 18 hours for the IRI event, I got a bunch of emails from MNB readers there asking if I’d arrange a casual get-together during my next visit...which I am happy to do. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know...because I’m always up for it.

I’m usually on the road, leaving my wife and daughter at home, but for a series of complicated reasons I’ve been the one home alone (with the dog and bird) this week while Mrs. Content Guy and the Content Daughter have been away. What this has meant is that I’ve been eating a lot of fish - Sunday it was Caribbean shrimp with pasta, Monday is was barbecued salmon with brown rice, and Tuesday it was Cajun catfish with brown rice.

And I’ve been working my way slowly through a wonderful wine - the 2008 Laxas Albarino from Spain...which has seemed to go nicely with all of the above. I recommend it highly. (It goes for under $20.)

I cannot, in all good conscience, highly recommend Hot Tub Time Machine. There were a lot of movies I could have seen this week, but I found the title to be irresistible. (The world may be split between people who think the title is stupid and those who think it is wonderful. Count me among the latter.) Plus, I’m a huge John Cusack fan.

I cannot recommend it, though, because Hot Tub Time Machine is profane, vulgar, rude, excessive, and has enough f-bombs for about a thousand vice presidential press conferences. (It makes The Hangover look like Shakespeare.)

It also is very, very funny. Not all the time, but enough to keep me laughing for most of the movie. The premise: three guys who are unhappy with their lives to varying degrees are transported back to the eighties by a magical hot tub (okay, it’s a stretch...but no more improbable than using a DeLorean). There, everyone sees them as their younger selves, and they have to face the enormous gap between what they wanted to be and how they ended up.

That’s a far more serious description of the movie than it deserves - the premise serves as an excuse to show and satirize drugs, sex, rock and roll, bad hair, worse clothes, and incredibly large mobile phones. Cusack is fine, as is Craig Robinson, but the real revelation is Rob Corddry, who creates an amazingly consistent and specific portrait of depravity and who drives the movie forward even as his life is going off the rails.

As I say, I cannot recommend Hot Tub Time Machine - unless you are in the mood for a movie that is profane, vulgar, rude, excessive, and very funny.
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