Premier Foods’ Douchey Move

just look at all that frosty spongey goodness...

(note for the readers:   this post was written back in December, at the time the news broke.  It's been languishing in the drafts folder, up until now...) For decadent deliciousness and low-to-none nutritional value, Mr. Kipling's Angel Slices and French Fancies are the British riposte to Ding-Dongs and Twinkies, right on up there with any sugar-bombs Lil' Debbie  can dream up.   Along with quick-noodles and tuna, snack cakes and pies are the basis of a sound nutritional plan for any iron-stomached university student. Along with Mr. Kipling's, Premier Foods flogs palate-pleasing fare as Ambrosia Devon Cream and Batchelor's Noodles.   One would think they'd in the same happy boat as Golden Enterprises, similar purveyors of … [Read more...]

Keystone XL Pipeline, Boo!

pipeline

So easy to mock crunchy environmental types who doth protest too much on pipeline construction.  Possible oil spills, loss of habitat, contamination of the Ogallala aquifer, say the greenies.  Jobs, jobs and more jobs, counter the oil company shills and hacks.  Oil and gas companies are evil, they club baby seals and emit lots of carbon, say the enviros.   What, don't you drive a car to get to work.  Oh wait, you don't have a job, do you? On and on... For readers who are not aware of what exactly the Keystone pipeline is all about, it's merely Phase Four of an existing network of pipelines that delivers hydrocarbons from northern oil fields in Alberta to points south in the U.S.  Phase 4, the XL version, would add a leg through … [Read more...]

Investing in marijuana stocks: consider your mellow harshed

marijuana stocks

With legalization of pot picking up a head of smoke steam all across the States, it behooves us to take a closer look at what's out there in terms of budding investments, which are safer than growing a patch of C. Sativa in the backyard.  Federales aren't going to bust down your door at 2 a.m. looking for stock certificates (not yet, at least). The title of this post isn't totally original, by the way.  "Consider your buzz harshed" was the closing sentence in a  Cracked magazine article, on four (count them, four) reasons legalized pot is still kind of a bummer: - You can't get high in public places - You can still be fired from your job [if you test positive] - Banks won't touch money from marijuana businesses [1] - You can still … [Read more...]

Has The Penny Seen Better Days?

This one certainly has

Once more into the breach with Nelson of Financial Uproar. Let's talk about Canada for a second, eh? We could talk about poutine, maple syrup, round bacon, hockey, or even how it's May and there's snow expected this week. But let's not, since one of those things is a little depressing. Instead, let's talk about a recent change made in their currency. To the untrained eye, there's very little difference between Canadian and American coins. Both countries have the same change, with the exception of Canada moving to $1 and $2 coins in the late 1980s and 1990s respectively. We Canadians do tend to love our dollar coins, even though it makes going to the strip bar slightly more awkward. In early 2013, Canada made another change to our … [Read more...]

Do the Cheesecake Factory, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart value your time?

All true stories, of course

No, not if you have to wait for a table.  In which case, Cheesecake Factory could give a rip, and maybe shouldn't have to.  The wait can routinely be more than an hour for a chance to scarf down faux-exotic dishes, noveau cuisine salads and monster cheesecake slices. Not if you're shopping at Wal-Mart at peak time after work on a weekday or on the weekend. Standing in an interminable checkout line, shopping cart heaped full  with everyday low-priced pretzels and cheese puffs and name-brand undergarments, you can either catch up on tabloid gossips, chat on your Obamaphone, or fantasize about Mila Kunis or Justin Bieber -- or both, whatever personal proclivities happens to be. At Lowe's, do-it-yourselfers can while away the time … [Read more...]

It’s All Marketing

ARL-750ml-web-120x300

You make something and wish to have consumers part with hard-earned cash, you have to sell the sizzle somehow. Here's how backwoods moonshine* gets marketed: Bold aromas of wet grain sack, crushed whole nut, and crusty artisanal raisin bread with a vibrant, silky dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a hot and spicy dusty gravel road finish. Opens up to some attractive macadamia nut brittle and spice cake notes with a touch of water. Very interesting and distinctive; will be great in cocktails. Regrettable composition aside ("nut" and "sack" should not be mentioned less than three words apart -- the brain does funny things with word association), tasting notes for alcohol products are some of the silliest and extreme examples of … [Read more...]

Delta Airlines and the March of Folly

"Beauty, supported by Prudence, Scorns the Offering of Folly", by Angelica Kauffman - 1780 (an study in allegory, now on exhibition at the Kadriorg Palace, Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn, Estonia)

  Corporations are not unknown for making dumb decisions and stupid moves. Some are patently obvious on their face, like the Netflix/Qwikster fiasco, some are revealed as idiotic only in retrospect (such as Decca Records deciding NOT to sign up the Beatles).  Still other boneheaded moves just leave some of the outside watchers shaking their head, softly muttering under their breath, "They'll be soooorry". I must have been living under a rock since last April 30th, when Delta Airlines broke the news that they had purchased from Philips 66  its currently idled refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania, for the sum total of $180 million.  In the press, Delta executives droned on at length about synergies, saving of $300 million a … [Read more...]

Why Does Gas Cost So Much in California?

Old Gas Pump in Savannah Georgia.  Author: Lukelastic from Wikimedia Project.

More unintentionally humorous content from the mainstream media on politically charged issues.   This from one of America's newspapers of record, the LA Times: Tesoro plan to buy Arco gets more scrutiny amid gas-price surge As California gasoline prices set fresh records daily, consumer advocates are gearing up to fight the sale of the low-cost Arco brand and its Carson refinery to a Texas company not known for its cheap fuel. Some experts are calling the proposed $2.5-billion sale to Tesoro Corp. of San Antonio the biggest shift in California's petroleum business in decades. Activists say the deal, announced in August, would reduce competition and possibly raise prices for motorists, and they will ask state and federal regulators … [Read more...]

Von Mises and Rothbard, Who Dat? NPR’s Planet Money Whiffs It…

Assistant Secretary, U.S. Treasury, Harry Dexter White (left) and John Maynard Keynes, honorary advisor to the U.K. Treasury at the inaugural meeting of the International Monetary Fund's Board of Governors in Savannah, Georgia, U.S., March 8, 1946 (image by wikimedia).

A mid-year resolution to walk/run/workout at least an hour a day opens up all kinds of podcast-listening options. While the choices are many, the winners are few. A consistently well-produced show is NPR's Planet Money. A touch ironical for a quasi-state media outfit, PM is at its best when it pokes fun at the absurdities of incompetent government - city, state or federal, take your pick... In a rare miss, PM's latest episode #398, the podcast follows the mainstream media tendency towards blinkered disassociation from glaringly obvious facts, only evidenced when talking about libertarians and Austrian economics. "Obama, Ryan and Two Dead Economists" is a lengthy interview with Nicholas Wapshott (great British last name, by the … [Read more...]

Canadian Natural Resources and the Ecology of Business

"The Return of the Miners" - Constantin Meunier (1831-1905) - oil on canvas, Meunier Museum, Brussels

In my day job, I have to scour the planet for the cheapest/best/safest companies to manufacture our company's products. For the novice, the easy answer to "cheapest" is to find the lowest low-cost country (LCC, in procurement-speak) of choice, and a willing orphanage ready to put those lazy kids to work. Nazzo fast, Guido. Factories that manufacture equipment for the oil and gas industry (or aerospace, or automotive, or power gen) in turn require a host of outsourced and specialized services.  Testing, batch processing, finishing, contract labor, maintenance, etc. Each industry center of excellence creates is own ecological environment where sub-suppliers are born, fluorish, are swallowed by bigger fish (merged and acquired) … [Read more...]