Knowledge is Power. So are Ferraris.

fast-track career

Knowledge is power.  True.  And knowledge without practical wisdom is about as useful as a black highlighter pen. So, what better way to gain the knowledge and wisdom necessary for a fast-track advancement of your business career that to re-visit a few nuggets from the 101C archives (we'll get to Ferraris soon enough). Career Tip #13:  Bring Pen and Paper - Not necessarily in chronological or numerical order, but still crucial to come armed with an old fashioned pen or pencil and a scrap of paper.  Taking notes on an iPhone is cumbersome and silly. Understanding the small print… clauses, codicils and other buzzkills - RTFC!  If you don't already know what that means in engineering-contract-speak, you'll need to go read about … [Read more...]

Monday Morning (Fukushima) Fish Wrap

ice storm

The Fish Wrap: an occasional gaggle of interesting links, sometimes themed around finance and from personal finance blogs. A carnival of sorts, maybe arranged by topics, but certainly curated with inconsistent editorial standards. It's bloody cold in the heartland. An ice storm swept through a couple days ago, and left trees, power lines, traffic signs and anything more than an inch off the ground sheathed in ice. Temps in the high 20's, not terribly cold and downright balmy to folks from Minnesota and Michigan, but it just looks cold. Here's the worst name ever for a menu dish: Fukushima Fish Wrap. Nevertheless, this might just be showing up in area restaurants if the Japanese Ministry of Information publicists have their way. … [Read more...]

The Big Squeeze (Part 2 on Limoneira and Farm Investments)

food chain

This is the second part of a series on lemon orchards,  farmland, fertilizers, food equities, and maybe even organic farming.  No telling where this is going to head.  Part One can be found here.  ************************ The farmer works the soil.  The agriculturalist works the farmer. ~ Eugene F. Ware As it is often said in farming circles, the money is not in growing it, but selling it. It might even be said that even bigger money is in buying it, preserving it, and then selling it.  By "preserving", we mean taking a small portion of the corn or wheat, and then processing, molding, whipping, modifying, emulsifying, and generally turning the original feedstock into a food-ish substance.    Goldfish crackers and Cheetos are … [Read more...]

Basic Home Security

Police Chief William Desmond's collection of burglars' tools and criminal curios displayed at the 1904 World's Fair.

The following is a guest post from Noel Everyone knows a story or two about a brazen thief grabbing valuables from an open garage, or cleaning out Aunt Bessie's silver set and family jewels.  Could even happen to you. Online advice on the best way to protect your castle is plentiful. As a concerned homeowner, finding a few tips to protect your home isn't that hard. All it takes is a computer and a  and as a concerned homeowner, you Home security systems Is a security system an absolute must?  Depends.  If you got nothing worth stealing, might not be worth the trouble.  If you live in a pricey neighborhood, a nice sign alarm company sign in the front yard and plugged-in alarm system gives peace of mind. Knowing Thy … [Read more...]

Swiss Health Care – Just The Facts

Not a Swiss Doctor ...

 “What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!”  - Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love Who knew that Swiss folks were notorious for so much more than being extremely punctual chocolate-loving yodelers? Turns out that the Swiss healthcare system is an almost utopian mix of public support and private insurance.  There's enough free market … [Read more...]

Sunday Morning Fish Wrap: Back from Hiatus

Wish I'd never sold it...

The Fish Wrap: an occasional grouping of interesting links, mostly centered around finance topics, largely from personal finance blogs. A carnival of sorts, this time nicely arranged by topics, and curated with inconsistent editorial standards.   As the title, says, back in the swing of things. The blog went silent from May until November. Such is transient world of blogs, here for a year or two, and poof! A few readers emailed to ask, wha' happened? Ordinary enough reason: the hours spent writing posts are, after all, exactly that: hours. There's only so much free time to go around. Although there are some side benefits to disciplined writing (exercising that idea muscle and toning up that creative side), the odd dollar … [Read more...]

Political Corner: Hear what they’re really saying

"The land is harrowed after the plowing. Tractors are coming in rapidly but four to eight horse teams are still widely used for this purpose."

(taking a break from gardening, stocks and travel.  Time for a mini-rant) In the past 40 years, the United States lost more than a million farmers and fathers. Many of our farmers are aging.  Today, only nine percent of family farm income comes from farming, and more and more of our farmers are looking elsewhere for their primary source of income." ~ Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture. Now that, is probably a statement of fact. I came across this quote on  the quote while writing this weeks earlier article on Limoneira.  Tom Vilsack is the ex-governor of Iowa, now ag czar for the whole country.  Safe to assume he probably knows a thing or two about farming.  If not necessarily doing it, certainly about pandering to … [Read more...]

Aussie Risks and Opportunities

Scarier than Freddy Krueger, Jason and Chucky rolled up into one:  A Sydney funnel web spider

Here's a little-known fun fact about Australia: it's is a major exporter of oil and gas.   Its vast gas reserves of 3.8 million cubic meters place it 10th in the world (Wikipedia sez so), ahead of such hydrocarbon luminaries as Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Lybia and Norway.  Its proven oil reserves aren't too shabby either. Another fun fact: Australia has more insanely poisonous critters, snakes and insects that any other place on earth.  Set aside saltwater crocodiles and white sharks.  While crazy dangerous  in their own right, they can be avoided by the simple expedient of staying out of the water.  But evil creatures like the funnel web spider are another matter entirely.  Not only does it look scary enough to cause pants-area mishaps, … [Read more...]

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Limoneira

"Girl Holding Lemons" - William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1899  (the literal-minded William-Adolphe adopted a quite straightforward approach to painting titles)

  Sometimes nothing will do but a little spritz of lemon:  on fried catfish, in a summer salad, or whiskey sours. What's iced tea without a slice or two of lemony goodness? Or a nice meal without a cordial of Limoncello, for that matter. Most everyone likes lemons, compared to say, vegetables.   In summertime, you can't hardly give away the zucchini you grew in the backyard.  Lemonade is good, lima beans bad.  And about the only way Mom can get Junior to finish that limp squash casserole is to forget about it and fix herself a(nother) vodka gimlet (*). “I believe when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade...and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.”  ― Ron … [Read more...]

Ten Things You Can Do To Impress People At Work

"Baking the bread" - Anders Zorn, 1889

Another in a growing series of tips for a decent career in the workplace.  Other examples can be found here and here. Working for the Man takes some doing. The workplace can be a political jungle, populated with hazards like vengeful Vice Presidents, ambitious underlings, and fearsome human resources trolls who are just waiting for a chance to eviscerate your career with razor-sharp talons. Fear not, here's the prototypical blog list of ten things you (yes, you!) can do to get ahead and impress people at work.  Some of them may require effort, some not so much. #1 - Get Up Early. Up outta that warm bunk and hit the ground running, soldier!  The early bird catches the worm, or at least orders up the Starbucks Venti Latte-to-go … [Read more...]