retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There was a really interesting story in the New York Times the other day about a meeting that was taking place in Indianapolis concurrent with the annual Major League Baseball winter meetings - the Working Women in Baseball conference, at which “female baseball employees, mostly from the minor leagues, attended the 90-minute seminar to exchange ideas, offer support and encouragement, and build a growing network of women in the sport.”

The women’s conference isn’t a complaint session, but rather an opportunity to compare notes on the challenges inherent for women working in a male-dominated sport.

I would guess that it won’t be long before a woman is hired as a general manager for a major league baseball team - there is no reason in the world that they can’t make the same kinds of judgements - or better judgements - than a male executive.

After all, it wasn’t that long ago that it was believed that only white males could make those decisions, that blacks and Hispanics didn’t have the intellectual equipment to do so ...and that certainly has been proven to be wrong.

What struck me about the Times story was the intrinsic metaphor at work - the women’s meeting was across the street from the regular baseball meetings.

If I were in charge of baseball, the first thing I’d do (after eliminating the designated hitter) would be to make sure that not only is the Working Women in Baseball conference taking place in the same location as the winter meetings, but make sure that I attended it...because by listening to this new source of information and discussion, I might actually learn something.

Sort of like life.

Good news and, in some ways, bad news on the life expectancy front.

HealthDay News reported yesterday that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that American life expectancy continues to improve, with women born in 2007 likely to live until they are 80.4 years old, and men likely to make it to 75.3 years. Since 2000, life expectancy has increased 1.4 years, according to the story.

Which all is great. (Interesting, isn’t it, that average life expectancy keeps going up despite the obesity crisis...?)

But sometimes, my inner Woody Allen comes out, and I wonder what’s in this news for me. After all, having been born in 1954, my life expectancy is only around 70...which means I’ve only got 15 years or so left. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but that’s not a long time...

Talk about life came this week that the original Orient Express - the train that runs from Paris to Istanbul, upon which James Bond romanced Tatiana Romanova and engaged in lethal hand-to-hand combat with Red Grant, and where Agatha Christie set one of her most memorable mysteries - no longer will run.

According to National Public Radio, the Orient Express is “a victim of high-speed trains and cut-rate airlines.”

Somehow, it seems like something important has been lost...something that puts us in touch with a more romantic and civilized past. It also means that my bucket list is one item shorter.

Jimmy Buffett is out with his first studio-produced album in three years, called “Buffet Hotel,” a lovely, low-key affair made up of songs written and recorded during some of his world travels. other than “Summerzcool” and the great “A Lot To Drink About,” which came out as singles earlier this year, I’m not sure there is a signature tune here...but I like the CD a lot nonetheless and find myself playing it over and over, picking up a phrase here and a wistful sentiment there.

My favorites at the moment include “Wings,” “We Learned To Be Cool From You,” and “Turn Up The Heat & Chill The Rose”...but that could change.

I found something out about MorningNewsBeat this week that I didn’t know - apparently, I am in the “content curation” business.

Wendy Marx, who writes the “Brand U” blog for Fast Company, wrote this week that “content curation (love the mellifluous sound) is aggregation under the watchful eye of an expert. It’s a collection of digital content that someone with authority says is worth reading. Call it a Web 2.0 version of Reader's Digest in multiple flavors for the web ... Curation needs to add value. And it needs to provide some perspective on the article or at least summarize it for easy reading.”

I’d not heard that turn of phrase before, but I like it a lot ... especially because it reinforces the central mission of MNB.

The nice things is that Marx pointed to MNB as an “engaging” example of content curation.

Thanks. can read her blog by clicking here .

Embarrassing to say at this point in my life, but I’d never had babka before...until a company called Aunt Ida’s - which uses as its slogan “tradition with chutzpah” - sent me chocolate babka and apricot almond babka. It’s really good...and really rich,...but really good.

Chalk up another educational experience.

My wine of the week: the 2007 Ferraton Crozes Hermitage La Matiniere, a French Syrah that is great with a spicy pasta dish...and goes or about $17. Wonderful stuff...

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

KC's View: