The topic of this animated discussion was the fact that dropping trou is not a punishable offense in Virginia. When they exhausted that topic, they went on to the looming crisis in international economics. No, they didn't. They never exhausted the topic. It was still being parsed when I left. Speaking of economics, though, I read a moderately frightening article in Harpers the other day about Wal-Mart. Evidently causing hardship to local businesses isn't the half of it. The existence of Wal-Mart as a kind of monopoly is causing hardship to its suppliers and, by extension, to all of us. By artificially demanding low price from its suppliers regardless of market conditions, they're creating lower wages, poorer quality, and lack of innovation among the country's largest producers. Four out of Wal-Mart's top ten suppliers have filed for bankruptcy. We think we're getting lower prices, but we're paying more in the long run. Unfortunately, we're a short-run-thinking country. I probably haven't stated this case well or accurately, but it's worth looking up. Something else to worry about.