Published on: October 10, 2008
There was a story from the Associated Press
earlier this week that contained paragraphs that deserve a lot of attention, especially from retailers who are responsible for hiring employees and serving customers. Here they are:
“The current market turmoil adds to an already difficult retirement savings picture for Americans, who are increasingly shouldering the burden of managing and funding their own company-sponsored retirement savings plans as firms eliminate traditional pensions.
“Even before the recent downturn, older Americans were on track to continue working longer. Twenty-nine percent of people in their late 60s were working in 2006, up from 18 percent in 1985, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the next decade, the number of workers who are 55 and older is expected to increase at more than five times the rate of the overall work force…”
The good news, I suppose, is that the labor pool may be deeper (if a little older) than expected. The bad news is that nobody may have any money with which to buy anything,
And just when you think things couldn’t get any crazier…
The world may be going to hell in a hand basket, but the Association of Lebanese Industrialists has its priorities in order.
This organization is engaged in an effort to get the European Union to declare that hummus and tabouleh are traditional foods that originated in Lebanon; the lobbying is a result of concerns that Israeli companies are claiming these dishes as their own.
The owner of a hummus bar in Tel Aviv tells Bloomberg
that he has never claimed that hummus was an Israeli dish, just that it has become a staple in the Israeli diet. Besides, he says, he thought hummus came from Egypt.
Can't we all just get along?
Yet another story connecting eating behavior to health…
reports that a new study says that “eating meat and dairy products may increase the risk of prostate cancer.”
Meanwhile, there is a new Italian study saying that eating dark chocolate regularly may help lower levels of inflammation, which is strongly associated with heart and blood vessel disease.
On behalf of a lot of other people, I’d like to say that while I appreciate the efforts of various scientists to figure out the impact of specific foods on health and longevity, I’m pretty much getting tired of all the information that only seems to lead to one conclusion:
No matter what we eat, eventually we’re gonna die. And in the end, as we try to choose between the stuff that’s good for us and the stuff that’s not so good, we’re probably going to make some good decisions and some bad decisions, and at least 50 percent of the time it’s going to be accidental.
So I don’t know about you, but I think I’m just going to try to eat and drink sensibly but adventurously, get as much exercise as I can, and hope that the odds work out in my favor.
I have to recommend a movie that, quite frankly, isn’t doing that well at the box office but deserves to be a hit. “Ghost Town” is a terrific little comedy featuring one of the funniest men on the planet, Ricky Gervais, as an antisocial dentist living in New York who “dies” for seven minutes while under general anesthesia for a colonoscopy. For reasons never quite explained, he awakens able to see and talk to virtually every ghost living in Manhattan – and isn’t very happy about it, since all the ghosts have specific demands about they people they left behind.
The biggest demand from a character played by the always watchable Greg Kinnear, who plays a ghost desperate to make sure that his widow (played by the even more watchable Tea Leoni) doesn’t marry a guy he thinks doesn’t deserve her. Kinnear enlists Gervais for his cause, which creates tension, misunderstandings, and even some slapstick humor. But the upshot is a highly entertaining movie with some lovely performances. Go see it. You won’t be sorry. And you’ll laugh a lot.
One other movie recommendation this week. If you’ve never seen “That Thing You Do,” the Tom Hanks-directed movie about the rise and fall of a sixties rock ‘n roll band, go out and rent it immediately. I hadn’t seen it in a awhile, but bumped into it on cable the other night and couldn’t turn it off. It is pretty much a perfect film – funny, romantic, and capturing very specifically a time in the nation’s cultural history. It also offers some pretty good business lessons…such as, always make sure you have a second act. Because there are few things sadder than a one-hit wonder.
Could there be any more tone-deaf guys in American business than the clowns at AIG who decided that it made sense to spend more than $400,000 on a junket just days after the US government – and, by extension, the US taxpayers – bailed these bozos out of a disastrous financial situation.
I don’t care how long the junket had been planned. It was lousy timing, and I, as a taxpayer, am offended.
Tone deaf. That’s what these AIG guys are. They – and all the other executives who have been bailed out of bad situations by the US government – better figure out that this stuff is unacceptable, and that’s there’s a new sheriff in town.
That new sheriff, by the way, is you. And me.
It may just be coincidence, but as I flew around the country this week as the economy seemed to be falling apart, I noticed that planes and airline terminals seemed to be a lot less crowded than they were just a few months ago.
On the one hand, that’s sort of nice. On the other hand, considering the headlines, it is sort of alarming.
One quick note on the economy. How many stadiums and arenas do you think will have to be re-named in the coming year because the firms that bought the naming rights have gone out of business because of the financial collapse?
I’m thinking six. Morgan, my favorite bartender, who works at Etta’s Seafood in Seattle, thinks the over-under is four. But I think he is being overly optimistic.
In Seattle for a couple of quick meetings this week, I had a chance to grab dinner last night at the one Tom Douglas restaurant I’d never been to – Serious Pie, where I had one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten, made with cherry bomb peppers and sweet fennel sausage. The appetizer was really unusual, made with roasted pumpkin, prosciutto and arugula pesto, and was delicious. And the wine was one that the waiter described as a cheap Italian table wine – the 2006 Placido Chianti, which was perfect with the meal.
Next time you’re in Seattle, Serious Pie is worth of serious consideration.
BTW…Serious Pie is a small and crowded place with shared tables. To show you how small the world is, I found myself sitting next to a young couple that ended up telling me that she worked her way through school at the Price Chopper in Torrington, Connecticut, and that his father is a longtime Nestle employee in upstate New York.
My wine of the week – the 2007 O’Reilly’s Pinot Noir from Oregon. I had the first glass because I couldn’t resist a Pinot Noir with an Irish name. I had the second glass because it was smooth and delicious.
That’s it for this week. I hope that on Monday, when I turn out my next MNB
, the Dow Jones won’t be below 5,000. The way things are going, you never know.