Friday, November 30, 2007

How Pilgrims Come to America Today


A Day In Stillwater

I changed my header above to a picture of Stillwater because that is where most of my appointments have been today. While I am here for business, I can't quite enjoy the best Stillwater has to offer. Nonetheless it is one of my favorite cities. I love the river, the architecture, the natural scenery and the downtown area. It's a great place to road trip to with the family in the summer as well.

It is a good thing that the snow is not coming today because its going to take me an hour to get home on the West side as it is!

Terry Fator - What a Wonderful World

Small Business is Big Business



As many Americans work for small businesses as large businesses.


It would be very easy to argue that whether you are fiscally liberal or conservative, you likely work for a small business or people you care about do and thus what is good for small business is good for you.

Which states love small business?

Entrepreneurs, zip up your parkas and head for the plains! South Dakota once again leads the list of U.S. states with the best tax and regulatory climate for small business, according to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council's latest ranking.

Rounding out the top three were Nevada and Wyoming, unchanged from last year. The rest of the top 10 includes Washington, Florida, Michigan, Texas, South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama.

The nation's capital came in dead last once again, preceded by California and New Jersey.

Last year's index used 29 factors to rank states with the lowest taxes and lightest regulatory burden. This year's list added two new criteria: corporate capital gains tax rates and transportation infrastructure.

The Ten Worst? (in order):
Washington D.C.
New Jersey
California
Rhode Island
Maine
New York
Minnesota
Massachusetts
Vermont
Hawaii

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Word: Enviro-Medal Disaster

Don't Sell Your Home Short


...or maybe you should.

In the housing market, the bad news just keeps coming. Nov. 27 gave us the latest release of one leading index which shows that home prices are falling at their steepest rate in 21 years. And there may be much worse ahead: Futures traders are betting that home prices will fall more than 20% in markets such as San Francisco and Miami over the next year.

Futures contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (
CME) show that traders expect double-digit declines in nine out of the 10 biggest housing markets in the U. S.

Options contracts these days are available on a lot of crazier things than home prices. You can "bet" on elections, sporting events and many other obscure future events.

The funny thing is, options contracts can be fairly accurate predictors of the events they are tied to.

Investors' predictions about these real estate markets are certainly not guaranteed to be accurate. But they do provide insights into what people with skin in the game think lies ahead. These types of "predictive markets," have proved surprisingly accurate in forecasting everything from housing movements to the outcome of political elections. They tend to be especially on the mark when the participants have money on the line, as they do in Chicago.

So if you think that the value of your home is going to fall in the coming year, you could theoretically "sell short" options on the housing market in your home town. As your home decreases in value, the value of the option should increase, thereby offsetting some of the decline you are experiencing.

That's the theory. In practice, the housing contracts may not have yet evolved to the point where they would work well for individual investors. The futures contracts for individual cities are thinly traded and on some days, certain contracts don't trade at all. A spokesman for Standard & Poor's says that it's normal for such contracts to start off with low volumes and higher volumes typically come after a catalyst, like the current housing slump.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

She's a tall drink of water



She's a tall drink of water, originally uploaded by jroosh.

This is a "site" that you wouldn't think anything of...that is if it weren't in Edina.

Officer? ...does that have a Hemi?


My driving record may not bear this out but I think most people that drive a lot get pretty good at spotting speed traps and unmarked traffic cops for one simple reason:

They are all in Ford "Crown Vics" with Police Interceptor packages; unmistakable shape; wider tires; blacked-out grille; hunkered down. Eighty per cent of Squad Car purchases go to Ford.

When Chevrolet halted production of full-sized rear wheel drive vehicles, upon which their law-eforcement offering was based, they effectively left Ford Motor Company with a monopoly.

Until recently.


"The most important thing for law enforcement," says Halliday, "is you gotta build 'em tough. I can't tell you how many times we get a 'tough' new piece of equipment, and in 10 minutes the officer is back, saying, 'Uh, I broke it.' You want heavy-duty cooling, brakes, electrical. Also important is good room and comfort. In the 1970s, a typical police car had a siren-control head, a radio microphone, and a dome-light switch. Today, you have computers, printers, dual-antenna radars, video cameras, six-cup coffee maker, the whole nine yards. And when an officer is spending an eight-hour shift behind the wheel, repeatedly getting in and out of the vehicle, well, if he isn't comfortable it's going to have a pretty dramatic effect on morale."


Coffee maker? Nice. Bottom line: rear-drive body-on-frame = tough. Unibody Front driver? I don't think so.



Conversions of front-drive Chevrolet Impalas and rear-drive Tahoe's have reportedly left most law enforcement officials, save NYPD, unconvinced of GM's commitment to the segment. Chrysler however, with the rear-drive, roomy and optional Hemi-equipped Charger Police Vehicle has been gaining ground. NYPD has been buying and testing a few Dodges too.


I can attest to this trend personally as my last speeding ticket was delivered to me via a left side barrier-hugging Dodge Charger piloted by a brave and humble servant of the Golden Valley Police Department. Eden Prairie also has at least one of the new Dodges. Edina has at least one in black, the stealth package.

I can tell you that nothing is more menacing in your rear view than a Dodge Charger PV with blacked out headlights and grille, ablaze with red, white and blue LED's firing from every pore. Crown Vics, not so much. The Chevy? Some people might just keep going. Not recommended though.

So be safe out there...but keep your eyes out for our men-in-blue and the shape of their latest new wheels.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's Not A Purse

So I was grabbing all my stuff yesterday before hopping into the truck for a three-hour roadtrip...and I had to make two trips from the house to the garage.

Phone
iPod
Wallet
Keys
Sunglasses
Digital Camera
Water Bottle
Gloves

Do you remember this episode of Seinfeld?

Elaine: So, you had to carry some of Keri's stuff. Big deal.
Jerry: You don't understand. I went on a successful pocket diet, and I want to keep that weight off.
Elaine making a bowl of cereal.
Elaine: You know what? We sell this thing at Peterman that would be perfect for you.
Jerry: Not more of that crap from the Titanic?
Elaine: No. No. It's a small men's carryall.
Jerry: I'm not carrying a purse.
Elaine sits down at the table to eat her cereal.
Elaine: It's not a purse. It's European.
Jerry sits down with Elaine.
Jerry: Oh.

Later on...

George: Well, at least, I'm not carrying a purse.
Jerry: It's not a purse. It's European!

...

Kramer: Jerry, you forgot your purse.
Jerry: Oh, thanks.

(A pickpocket runs by, taking Jerry's carryall, while everyone yells in surprise)
Jerry: Hey! Officer! Someone took my European carryall!
Cop: Your what?
Jerry: The...black, leather...thing with a strap.
Cop: You mean a purse?
Jerry: Yes, a purse. I carry a purse!

I don't know about you but with all the stuff men have to carry around, what would be wrong with a small purse? When will we men be comfortable with carrying a purse? I have keys, a wallet, a smart phone, my memory stick, chapstick, ibuprofen, sunglasses...

...I'm just saying.

The Seinfeld episode obviously didn't create the desired trend...okay, so who wants to be first?

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Art of Salesmanship


Yesterday morning, just before our holiday road trip, the phone rang.

"Hello."

"Hello, it's Curt. Your firewood guy. How are you?"

"Hey Curt, Good. how are you?"

"Great. Say, I never told you this before but we also sell Christmas trees and wanted to know if you might need one?"

"Well, we usually buy one down the street from the Optimists."

"Oh, okay. Well...you know...I'm about ten minutes from your house...do you want to at least look at them?"

"I would but we're going to be leaving in about forty minutes for a road trip. I don't want to be late and I haven't even gotten ready yet."

"Sure. Well, we hand select each tree each year. These are really beautiful trees. Most places get their trees a few weeks before they sell them."

"Yeah, I noticed that the trees showed up where we buy them a couple weeks ago...all bundled up. But...can you call me next year? I'll probably buy one from you then."

"Sure. I can but we cut them every year the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and deliver them fresh the same day. These are really beautiful trees."

"How much are they?"

"Seventy five dollars."

"That's about what we pay for our tree every year."

"I'm five minutes from your house...can I stop by?"

"...okay.... why don't you come by the house real quick."

Salesmanship is a great and lost art. A talent. A gift.

Think about it; nothing gets done in a free enterprise economy without someone selling something.

An entrepreneur sells a husband or a wife on the idea of quitting "the job" to start a business.

Then a sale is made to investors, bankers and the first few employees.

And of course, to customers.

Politicians sell themselves to staff volunteers, then to campaign contributors and then to voters.

No one has a job in America, without someone selling something; an idea, a new product or service, or a new way of doing something...unless you work for the government.

Without salespeople, our economy would stop on a dime.

A top salesperson in a corporation may be responsible for the creation hundreds of jobs.

Your server at the restaurant is a salesperson. So is your doctor and so is your CPA, if they are good at what they do.

An author sells an idea to an agent, then an editor and ultimately to a publisher.

A good financial advisor doesn't sell products, rather a process. A process helps their client get where they want and need to be in the future.

Most employees sells their services, first via their resume, then an interview.

Show me a great leader and I'll show you a great salesperson.
So why did I buy the tree? Because I admired Curt's ability to push, but not to far. To sell me and without giving up too soon.

If you disagree, maybe it is because you have a different definition of a sale. A professional sale is an honest and ethical transfer of enthusiasm and conviction to a prospect that needs or wants what the salesperson has to offer. In the end, both parties feel they left each other better than they found them, and the result is a win-win.

Curt's tree was better. As we sampled the trees on the back of his truck, they were full, aromatic and beautiful. They were fresh cut. I picked one and it was delivered to my door at the same price as the one I'd usually have to go pick from rows and rows, wait my turn to pay, tie to the top of my truck, and carry it into the house.

His product was better, more convenient, and at a fair price.

That's genuine, honest, professional salesmanship.

They say the easiest sales are always made to salespeople. Do you know why that is? Because professionals always always have an appreciation for other professionals in their field. Good salespeople are true professionals.

Next year...guess where I'll be getting my tree?

Along the same lines, here is one of my favorite scenes from Boiler Room (caution: vulgar language).


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Al Gore's Greenback Mountain


Al Gore is well on his way to perpetrating one of the most successful scams of all time on the American people. Corporations are cashing in, even NBC turned their logos and website green to show their support for the latest fad. I am amused by the irony of a television network, erstwhile spewing forth ever more vulgar and violent programming and marketing to our children via public bandwidth, staking claim in the fight to end Global Warming.

And for what purpose? To save the planet? From what?

There is no proof the earth is warming nor that human activity has the slightest effect on global temperatures. Even at the most fundamental level, the temperature measuring devices and data-gathering equipment have been shown to be at best mismanaged and at worst intentionally represented as accurately depicting rising temperatures.

This is all in full knowledge of a margin of error that is assuredly larger than the fluctuations depicted as an impending crisis. Even Al Gore must know we have no way of accurately measuring our planet's temperatures over time given the growth of industry around the devices coupled with a failure to maintain the standards set forth to assure their accuracy.


The implications are stark; it means that about 70% of the data received will tend to overestimate temperature. Given that the "heat island" effects tend to increase as you build an area, it would suggest that the "trend" of global warming is more than a wee bit dubious, to put it mildly.

From there, the movement has gained momentum as layer upon layer of unfounded claims and predictions are fed to a hungry far left liberal populace who are all too complicit in their need to rally and protest for the very sake of it.

Corporations worldwide, being the opportunists that they are and should be have found themselves a huge and lucrative new market ripe for exploitation and are spray painting everything they make with a thin layer of green to cater to it. They are not about to peek behind the curtain and they sure as hell don't want consumers to. "Green" products, despite mostly dubious benefit to the environment let alone MMGW, are the hottest thing since Nutrasweet.

None of this changes the fact that the origin of the MMGW movement was initially a tactical political ploy and ironically by a conservative British Prime Minister. Thereafter, the data massaged to support it can't possibly be relied upon.

Don't get me wrong. If you want to talk about recycling, sustainable business practices, renewable sources of energy, organic foods, keeping chemicals out of our fresh water or a myriad other obvious and legitimate causes, I'm with you one hundred per cent; mind, body and checkbook.

And that is my problem with Al Gore and his headless minions. Precious resources and political capital are being squandered and diverted from legitimate issues and focused on a movement that is now perpetuated by greed for wealth and power, in no small part by Gore himself.


One critical viewing of An Inconvenient Truth exposes Al Gore as the peddler that he has always been. Contrived and disjointed, it is not even a good movie and is literally filled with inaccuracies and scientific errors. It has single-handedly rendered both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Nobel Foundation irrelevant.

Meanwhile Gore has positioned himself to make millions, cashing in on his new found notoriety and ill-gotten Peace Prize. One day, hopefully sooner than later, millions of MMGW zombies will rise up and actually get behind a cause that really matters.

HT BikeBubba

Friday, November 23, 2007

We Are Marshall


A film that evokes strong emotion from the opening minutes, We Are Marshall draws you in and never lets go of you until the very last frame. A true story, it lovingly unfolds the story of a small University in a proud but small town in West Virginia with a strong sense of community and a tradition of excellence and pride in its football team, The Thundering Herd.

Tragedy struck on November 14, 1970 when a chartered plane carrying the football team, its coaching staff and many prominent fans and boosters went down near Huntington, West Virginia just short of the runway after clipping the tops of trees on a hillside nearby.


We Are Marshall is a worthy tribute to all that were lost that day. Matthew McConaughey, who in my estimation is a hit-and-miss actor (Exhibit A&B:Failure to Launch, The Wedding Planner) certainly redeems himself here (not unlike U-571) in an enthusiastic, artful and convincing performance as coach Jack Lengyel who was hired for the impossible job of filling the shoes of former coach Rick Tolley, who was lost in the crash.

David Strathairn, in the best performance I've seen from him is University President Donald Dedmon who also has the equally impossible task of first convincing the town and the University's board that the right thing to do is to rebuild the football program and then to recruit a coach as well.

Highly recommended, a great family movie, We Are Marshall also includes a requisite but well-done tribute at the end.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

If you love your kid, you'll buy our computer.



If you thought this type of advertising was a new concept...

Make your Own P-Loafy!


Mrs. Roosh has tested this formula and after extensive "clinical trials" I endorse it as a home-based Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf recipe.

Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf

1 cup margarine
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup nuts (optional)
  1. Cream together margarine, sugar, and eggs.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture alternately with water and pumpkin.
  3. Beat well.
  4. Pour into 2 well greased loaf pans.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Charge your friends $1.49 a slice so as to only slightly undercut Starbucks' price
HT Smithers for the Picture

Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

35 Funny Road Signs

The Nutcracker; Sweet!



Overstock.com On Sale at $27.99

Is this thing running?


This would take some getting used to...the engine quits when you hit the break and restarts when you let up.

Chrysler has promised to follow the lead of carmakers like BMW by offering fuel-saving engine stop-start technologies on some of its cars in the near future. The system, which shuts down the engine while the car is stationary in traffic, then starts it again once the driver releases the clutch or brake pedal, can improve fuel economy by up to 5%.

One of the first carmakers to offer the technology was BMW, which sources its version from auto parts supplier Bosch, and only a few a weeks ago ZF announced that it had developed a new version designed for automatic vehicles (the BMW set-up is only available on manual cars). Klegon did not reveal who would supply Chrysler’s new units.

As for the longer term, Klegon said “there is a whole trail of things coming.” He also explained that the hybrid partnership between Chrysler, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and BMW was now looking “into the next generation of design and development for hybrids” with a focus on saving cost and weight.

Click on the Photo to enlarge and see what the sign says.

Motorauthority.com

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Steve Jobs: This is what I think of your iPhone



Tell Algore my copy of "An Inconvenient Truth" is next.

Paul Potts "Nessun Dorma"

This is one of my all-time favorite YouTube videos...cinderella story and all that...and if you like Opera (I do) his One Chance album is actually pretty good and features the studio version of Nessun Dorma ("Nobody Sleeps") the song that won it all for this former cell phone salesman with crooked teeth.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Top Resale after Five Years


Kelley Blue Book predicts how much these vehicles will hold their value.



Bad News for minivans and hybrids.

Chevrolet Corvette 50%
Honda Civic Sedan 52%
Infiniti G37 52%
Mini Cooper 52%
Scion tC 52%
Scion xB 52%
Toyota Corolla 52%
Volkswagen Eos 52%
Volkswagen Jetta 51%
Volkswagen Rabbit 51%

by Type:

Sedan
Honda Civic 52%

Coupe
Infiniti G37 52%

Convertible
Mini Cooper 52%

Wagon
Scion xB 52%

Hatchback
Scion tC 52%

High Performance
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 52%

Luxury
BMW 6-series 50%

Pickup
Toyota Tundra 41%

SUV
Acura MDX 49%

Minivan
Honda Odyssey 39%

Hybrid
Honda Civic Hybrid 45%

Monday, November 19, 2007

Honda to Soon Sell Fuel Cell by the Sea Shore


Fuel Cells have not been in the media of late despite Al Gore's groupies' weeping for our future.

The concept is elegant. Typically, a stacked array of membranes form a sort of battery that produces electricity by combining Hydrogen and Oxygen, which are stored in 5000 pound per square inch high-pressure tanks. If a fuel cell-powered car had an exhaust pipe, guess what would come out of it:

Agua!

Honda stacks theirs horizontally and has shrunk it to the size of a large briefcase. It resides under and behind the center console.

The problem? While Hydrogen is the most plentiful element on earth it isn't easy to grab from the air. Currently in the US we get our Hydrogen from Natural Gas but we have only about 3% of the world's supply. Russia has 27%, Iran 16%, and Qatar 15%. Sound familiar?



How do you "gas" it up? Honda envisions a home-based hydrogen converter fueled by your natural gas line and an access point in your garage. Once topped off, Honda reports a range of 270 miles and an equivalent 68 combined city/highway MPG.

Over twenty years in the making, the Honda FCX-Clarity will launch a year earlier than expected.

How does it drive? Very - eerily quiet according to reports and reviews. Think big, comfortable, enclosed golf cart. Torque: instant. Top speed: 100 MPH. Specs: Electric motor rated 127 horsepower, 188 pounds-feet of torque.

When can you get one? Once Honda has worked some bugs out of the handling and supension, both of which Honda has a unique and proven talent for, the car is to be released for limited consumer duty in 2008; mostly consumers with access to the requisite Hydrogen stations.

The styling? Judge for yourself. I say its as good looking as the Prius is not. The Prius was designed to be a conspicuous badge of honor among Global Warming groupies. It is black eye on the face of our interstate system. The FCX, a sort of Mercedes CLS rear end with an Accord Coupe front clip is a car I would be proud to drive with a Fred Thompson sticker on the back.

For more:


Sunday, November 18, 2007

re the planet: well done!


My friend at Pro Patria has assembled a powerful overview and update on The Man Made Global Warming movement which is at best incomplete "science" and at worst a politically-motivated multi-national liberal power-grab.

Global warming, fact or fiction? For the most part, that is a rhetorical question since we really don’t know one way or another. There are enough questions to classify it as a theory, but certainly not a fact. Unless you’re part of Big Green, in which case it is an irrevocable fact.
We have already covered
the Antarctica lie and shown that the Antarctic ice sheet is actually expanding and could actually cause a drop in ocean levels, but what about the Arctic?

Or not. According to NASA, the Arctic melt is not actually caused by global warming.

You have Al Gore and the UN telling us one thing and other scientists (including NASA) telling us something completely different. Yet Big Green perpetuates the Al Gore/IPCC alarmist mentality and continues to jam global warming down our throats and demand that we cut our lifestyles in the name of saving the planet from ourselves.

Check it out: Big Green v. Reality ...and while you are there, check out his 911 Story.

Let Your Love Flow - Bellamy Brothers

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Minnesota's Own Phil Thompson

Phil Thompson is a published local composer and pianist who's notoriety was boosted by a beautiful composition that expressed the agony of the the tragedy, the heroism of the responders and supported the victims of the I35W bridge collapse.

Written two days after the disaster, his original work "Final Ride Home" was set to video capturing scenes of the disaster site and gained national attention. Soon featured on iTunes - all proceeds of its sale go to the American Red Cross. Phil and his moving work soon appeared in newspapers and television broadcasts across the region.

Phil's compositions will comprise the soundtrack of a new documentary "Footsteps - A Journey in Faith", the world premier of which is November 29th at our own Children's Theatre Company. His Christmas album "Twelve Songs of Christmas" is due any day now. You can also find Phil's debut album "Opening Act" on iTunes.

I had coffee with Phil this morning where he shared exciting news: his resignation from his Financial Advisor role with UBS financial services to pursue his musical career full time.

Phil is a recent graduate of the U of M Carlson School of Management and was recognized for making a difference in the U's online newsletter. His gifts and education have blessed Phil with formidable combination of creative talent and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Phil and I have become fast friends and I couldn't be more proud of his decision to pursue his musical career full time. You can find him at Phil Thompson Music.

Friday, November 16, 2007

View to the Future





I had a few minutes between appointments today and made a trip to the I35W Bridge Construction site. You can see at least one footing and a couple other structures emerging as well as the arrival of rebar assemblies, presumably for support columns or footings.

Click each for Hi-Res versions.

Taken with a Nikon Coolpix L10

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Can you smell what the Jeep is cooking?

Diesel option added to Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine built by Mercedes-Benz
376 lb.-ft. Peak Torque
215 hp. Peak HP
7,400 lbs. Towing Capacity (only about 600 lbs. less than a Suburban!)
450 miles Driving Range
17 miles/city and 22 miles/highway for 4x4 models

Why don't we have more Diesels in America? Their torque-rich means of power delivery suits American driving styles. Thus, they can provide more of what Americans need under the hood with less displacement and therefore less fuel consumption.

Europe gets them why don't we?

One word: California

Over-restrictive particulate standards.

Okay, so there are other states that have also legislated air quality standards that don't allow automakers to address an equally relevant issue: our dependence on foreign sources of energy for our transportation needs.

Diesels make soot. What is soot? In this case it's the same stuff you get when you burn a candle basically. Dust. Pretty harmless stuff.

Hydrogen, fuel cells and maybe even electric via solar represent future sources of propulsion for the automotive industry. Diesels are now. Diesels make for a great power plant for small cars and light trucks and a much less expensive alternative than hybrids.



I'd drive a 330d in a heartbeat.

There are a lot of great Diesel versions of German and Japanese cars that could be made available here.

...if we could just loosen up and give Diesels a break.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Believe - Ross Copperman

Falling Moose Loses Its Head

CEO leaves a sagging Caribou
The man who survived personal disaster to become the head of Caribou Coffee Co. Inc. stepped down from the job Monday, his tenure marked by a two-year slide in the company's stock price.Michael Coles, 60, oversaw the company's expansion from about 207 stores to 473 in his nearly five years on the job. The company began trading in 2005 at $15.51 a share but has since lost two-thirds of its value, closing Monday at $5.15.

I didn't call this development specifically but I've been decrying the steady decline of Caribou Coffee and felt something would have to give soon. I prefer Caribou over Starbucks (although I like Pumpkin Loaf better without the Pecans) and would prefer to support a locally-founded and based company even though the Puckett's have long since moved on to greener pastures.

Plus, I think Starbucks burns their beans too much sometimes.

Watching Caribou corporate drive the company and the stock straight into the ground was hard to watch especially given the apparent and persistent strong market for the third-destination coffee shop.

That's a fancy way of saying paying more for a good cup of coffee so as to enjoy a venue somewhere between home and office to park oneself whilst enjoying said cup of coffee. Why people would sit in a drive-through for same overpriced cup of coffee is beyond me.

Coles, who survived a life-threatening motorcycle crash in 1977, went on to build the Great American Cookie Company from scratch before selling it for millions in 1998.

I am sure its an awesome story. I hate to point out the obvious, but coffee isn't cookies.

For this year, the average analyst estimate calls for Caribou to lose $1.01 per share, while in 2008 the company is projected to lose 63 cents per share. While market leader Starbucks has an operating margin of 10 percent, Caribou's is now negative 4 percent.

I think Coles is doing the right and noble thing. I wish him well.

Related:
ALSO - check this out: Cake Eater Chronicles Gotta Chuckle

Skeptic Receives Scant Other Attention



A week after it appeared everywhere else, the StarTribune runs:


Coleman's views has been circulated widely among like-minded blogs and websites but has received scant attention otherwise.

Scant attention? Well, other than The Drudge Report, one of the most heavily visited news sites in the world. As for other like-minded blogs? There are millions of blogs nowadays so if this content made it to even a small percentage of them, it no doubt still squashed the Strib's readership, now dwindling, by some magnitude.


Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming ‘Greatest Scam in History’

In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted everyone will come to realize we have been duped. The sky is not falling. And, natural cycles and drifts in climate are as much if not more responsible for any climate changes underway. I strongly believe that the next twenty years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blades of Glory

Okay, so you may know I am not a huge Will Ferrell fan. Stranger Than Fiction went a long way to redeem Elf, Talladega Nights, and Anchorman.


I went into this one with low expectations and thus came away satisfied. Ferrell's cheesy flavor of comedy is tired and overdone but in the balance there are several sequences where we laughed so hard we almost blew out the fireplace.

The highlight: Pam from The Office. Jenna Fischer in a movie.

Not so much: Will Ferrell in an Ice Capades costume with puke on his face.

So if you paid to see it in the theater, my condolences. If you have it in your Netlfix drawer, go ahead and watch it. If not, don't go out of your way.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Solar panels a potential boon for investors


As interest in renewable energy continues to heat up in a movement fueled at least partially by state and federal tax incentives, the financial services industry is discovering another means of leveraging the trend: the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of consumer retail chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walgreen Co. — a model that shows some potential to evolve into a new investment opportunity for individual investors.

Financing involves large banks' funding the cost of solar-panel installations for just about any business with a sizable flat roof in exchange for what amounts to a steady income stream paid by the business that is generating a portion of its own energy.

"The efficiency of solar-panel-generated energy has much improved over the past 25 years to the point where it's now comparable to coal- and gas-fired energy when you take into account the government incentives,"

"...projected to expand as long as there are buildings with flat roofs."

"This will eventually reach individual investors," likely inside some kind of packaged product such as a mutual fund.

"There's great political support for this right now, because everyone wants to cloak themselves in a green cape."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mat Kearney - Won't Back Down



Mat Kearney

Thank you for saving the world


Governor Tim Pawlenty at the men's Christian breakfast yesterday morning at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina:

What if we lived under the control of another form of government? Communism, the Nazis? What of our freedoms then? Our church? Our ability to protest our government, have a free press, to associate with whom we please? Even our choice of clothing could be restricted.

Our country guarantees all of these.

But there is a constant threat to our freedom. The players change but the threat remains. In the event of conflict, we try to exhaust all forms of diplomacy but sometimes push comes to shove.

That is when we need those that raise their hand and say "I will do what it takes to secure your freedom...even if it means that I will have to lay down my life."

The governor related a time when he met a World War II veteran and simply said to him "Thank you for saving the world."

To that the veteran replied "Hah! Somebody had to do it!."

Another was a story of a military sendoff in Minnesota. The governor met a young mother of three. She had lost her job, had recently broken her leg, and had her children by her side to see off her husband who was being shipped abroad.

The governor asked how she was doing "It must be so hard for you right now."

She replied "This is what we can do for our country."

The governor reminded us to hold these people up. Not Madonna or Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears.

It is the soldier, the marine, the sailor, the pilot, the guardsman; it is our service men and women who have made us and kept us free.

These are the people that have given us all that we enjoy today.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Oh, the humanity!


Oh, the humanity!, originally uploaded by jroosh.

You're hanging up now!


How many times have you been in a nice restaurant or at your kid's ball game and some dude is on his cell phone. Usually, he is talking too loud and jabbering on about something obviously not worthy of pissing off or distracting all those around him. Meanwhile, noone nearby can carry on a normal conversation or enjoy what everyone else is there for?

A client of mine and I were at Ciao Bella a while back and some pompous dot bomb paper tycoon was holding court with his employees. He was already too loud and then his cell phone rang. His blather on his dumbphone was so loud that it was even embarrassing for his groupies.

They were shrugging their shoulders and glancing around at all of us with apologetic visages. Meanwhile their presumed employer was foaming on and on, oblivious to the scene he was creating.

We asked the waiter to move us and we were grateful that he could oblige. He got it.

How I would have loved to have one of these devices under the table to nuke his call, let him reconnect, and then repeat. Tell me you have never been in a similar situation.


Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chatterer’s cellphone transmission — and any others in a 30-foot radius.

“She kept talking into her phone for about 30 seconds before she realized there was no one listening on the other end,” he said. His reaction when he first discovered he could wield such power? “Oh, holy moly! Deliverance.”

The jamming technology works by sending out a radio signal so powerful that phones are overwhelmed and cannot communicate with cell towers. The range varies from several feet to several yards, and the devices cost from $50 to several hundred dollars. Larger models can be left on to create a no-call zone.

But before you order one (and I know you want to), consider this:

The Federal Communication Commission says people who use cellphone jammers could be fined up to $11,000 for a first offense. Its enforcement bureau has prosecuted a handful of American companies for distributing the gadgets — and it also pursues their users.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wild night!


Wild night!, originally uploaded by jroosh.

God's doodlings


Check them all out at the Hubble Heritage Image Gallery

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pentastar: On the Rise?


It looks like the days of forcing obsolete product onto dealers may be over, at least for one of the big three. Chrysler's CEO, Bob Nardelli who may have failed to distinguish himself as CEO of Home Depot, is showing some overdue leadership among the domestic car makers. Nardelli looks to see that Chrysler is more attuned to the desires of American car buyers. One can only hope that the days of "product out" are giving way to "customer in".

Nardelli is poised to boldly pull the plug on non-performing models in favor of new designs that will more closely reflect consumer demand. Hopefully the days of pushing poorly designed and executed products out the door en masse will end in favor of those that can offer real competition to Japanese and German competition. GM has shown some of the same leadership of late when it killed Oldsmobile but all three of the domestic car makers have more of that coming if they are to survive.

According to The Detroit News, Chrysler's product-cutting plan is all but official. The first three models on the chopping block, according to the newspaper's unnamed sources, are the Magnum, Pacifica and the PT Cruiser. The next round could include the Jeep Commander if it doesn't get its act together.Sales on the first three models were down as much as 32% through September, and the company's new boss, Bob Nardelli, isn't in a playing-around mood.

Company insiders have told the Det News that Nardelli is taking very close looks at the current lineup and isn't exactly thrilled. Supposedly, Dodge's Dakota and Avenger and Chrysler's Sebring are also feeling the Nardelli heat. The newspaper quotes Nardelli as saying, "I'm not a designer, but I'm a consumer," he said. "Rather than deny some of the (negative) reports that are out there you kind of embrace them and say, what do we want to do to take our vehicle from where it is to where consumers want it to be?"

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