Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Well-Heeled Debut

The locally-based shoe company Heelys Inc. (which makes shoes with skate wheels in the soles) had its initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock market yesterday, and it exceeded expectations, opening at $30.30 a share (its IPO price was $21). Not surprisingly to me, many of the companies that have done exceedingly well this year are oriented toward the youth market; Heelys sold 3.9 million pairs in the first nine months of this year, which was three times the amount sold in all of last year.

Even though I'm not in their demographic, I've actually tried a pair of Heelys one time. Several years ago at jazz camp, we had two piano players in the band I was directing, and we all got a kick out of how one of them, when it wasn't his turn to play, would just lean back on his heels and skate around the room while we were rehearsing. I found out that the kid was within one shoe size of me, so i asked him if I could try them. I realized that I could fall flat on my face and suffer hurt, embarrassment or both (I rarely skated as a kid, so I have limited experience in that area), but, as I told the band the next day, one of the ways to keep yourself young is to not be afraid to try new things, so I took advantage of the opportunity.

I'm happy to say that I didn't fall a single time, and I really had fun with them. I'd never actually own a pair myself, of course, but I'm all in favor of any company whose main product is fun, so I wish them the best as they roll out (pun intended) this new venture into the market world.

Sharp Top, Poetry Tulip and Chattoogaville, we hardly knew ye: The state of Georgia is erasing the names of 448 communities off their offical map, mostly because they have too few people and, in some cases, too long of a name.

It didn't work with a guitar a few weeks ago, and it doesn't work with kitchen utensils either: Sooner or later, criminals will figure out that it's not smart to shoplift large items by sticking them in your pants.

No playing possum this year: A Pennsylvania family was surprised last year when they discovered an opossum hidden in their live Christmas tree (which caused the mother to toss the tree out into the yard). This year, they're getting an artificial one (a tree, that is, not an opossum).

I bet this family gets a fake tree next year, too: Meanwhile, in California, a woman was decorating her live tree and discovered a live bat inside. Thankfully, rabies tests on the bat came back negative.

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