Brock Henderson

Happy May Day

Posted on May 1, 2011. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Holidays, Life | Tags: , , , |

May 1st is May Day . . . or at least it was.

When I was a child the 1st of May was celebrated.  Not like Christmas or Easter, but a welcoming of spring.  There was often a May Day parade, and I can remember my Mother taking me to a few homes of elderly people, where we would leave a basket at their door with some sort of home-made treat like cookies.

At kindergarten we would hang streamers to a large pole in the ground, each child having the end of one streamer, and we would walk around the pole until it was completely wrapped.  It was the May Pole.

I have no idea what the significance of the May Pole was, but certainly taking a basket of goodies to friends and those less fortunate was a nice gesture.

The country doesn’t seem to celebrate May Day any more.  No parade, no May Pole, no May Day gift baskets. 

Sad.  It was a great tradition. 

Guess we got too busy . . . or perhaps too lazy . . . or maybe people don’t give a (bleep) any more.  I don’t know; but it was a nice tradition that has unfortunately faded away into distant memories.

So may I suggest you take a couple of minutes to sit down and call someone you haven’t spoken to in some time.  Don’t send an e-mail,or a text, or a tweet, but  reach out as one human to another and actually talk to them.  Let them know you are thinking of them and that they are special.  After all we all need to feel special.

Happy May Day

That’s my 2 cents.

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Thoughts on Networking

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I attended a networking event today that overall was quite enjoyable.  We met at a local Italian restaurant, had a bit of open networking then sat down to eat. 

After eating came a period networking that was “speed dating” style.  Half of us remained seated and the other half rotated from person/position to person/position every five minutes.  Got to meet a great many very nice individuals.  Some were competitors, but they were still nice people.

But I was struck by the number of individuals, (about four), that would hand me a business card with scratched out information and corrected information hand written on the card.

For one individual it was, in my mind anyway, excusable — she had only recently started with the company and they hadn’t gotten her business cards yet.

One individual had so much hand written on the card, and so much scratched out that it almost looked like he had simply picked up someone’s business card and scribbled his info on it.

Is that the kind of image you want to give as a business professional?  Computer generated business cards, while not top-of-the-line in image, would have been better than a card all scribbled on.

That business card is how people will remember you, and this gentleman will certainly be remembered . . . but not in a good way.  Oh, his profession?  Marketing Consultant.  What kind of marketing message does a scribbled business card send? 

To add to the image problem he wore jeans, while the rest of us were in business attire; and his body language screamed “I don’t care”.

It’s not unusual to form strategic alliances with competitors on occasion, but I saw no reason to want to form any alliance with this gentleman.  He certainly seemed like a nice individual, but his attitude, attire, and business card all said “unprofessional”.

In marketing you should be presenting a unified image.  All your marketing materials, letter head, staff, and everything else needs to be sending the same message about you and your company.  When they don’t match it sends an unconsious signal to your prospect that something isn’t right; and they become reluctant to do business with you.

Make sure you are sending the right message every time you step out the door.

That’s my 2 cents.

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World’s 50 Best Resturants

Posted on April 27, 2010. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Life, Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Want to know where to eat the next time you are in London, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, or some other major city in the world.  Here’s a list of the best places to eat in the world . . . cost of a meal is not reported.

(Begin Article)

By Sarah LeTrent and Kat Kinsman, Special to CNN (CNN)
Danish cuisine reigns supreme, according to the some of the planet’s most prominent eaters.

S. Pellegrino’s annual “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list was released on Monday at a celebrity-chef-studded event in London, England, marking the ninth edition of the much buzzed-about (and hotly debated) catalogue of the international culinary landscape.

The No. 1 spot goes to Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. The restaurant, helmed by chef René Redzepi, ranked No. 3 in 2009. The Guardian newspaper’s restaurant critic Jay Rayner — better known to U.S. food fans as a judge on “Top Chef Masters” — agrees with the judges’ decision.

Writes Rayner on The Guardian’s food blog, “Is that the right result? Allowing for the fact that I think the rankings are far less interesting than the list itself, I would say, yes. Redzepi, the 32-year-old chef at Noma, pursues a regional, seasonal agenda that is right on the cutting edge: if it isn’t available in the Nordic region, he won’t cook with it. The result is a very idiosyncratic style of food that speaks to concerns about the way a global food culture turns our eating experiences a uniform beige.”

Noma’s ascension to the top slot ends the reign of a culinary titan.

After four consecutive years ranked as the World’s Best Restaurant, Spanish restaurant El Bulli takes a seat at No. 2. However, that won’t make it any easier to snag a table. Only 8,000 reservations are accepted every year, out of a reported million requests.

The dethroning of Catalonia’s culinary king, Ferran Adrià, comes after his announcement of plans to close the Mecca of molecular gastronomy for two years in December 2011.

In 2014, the restaurant will reopen as a nonprofit foundation — “a think tank of gastronomic creativity” for 20 to 25 young chefs. Despite the second-place finish, Adrià was still awarded Restaurant Magazine’s Chef of the Decade honor.

The illustrious list is compiled by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy — an 806-member panel of the globe’s most venerated chefs, food critics, restaurateurs and gourmands.

“The list creates tremendous debate — and it’s meant to,” according to the World’s 50 Best release.

Eight of the restaurants crowned this year — Alinea in Chicago, Illinois; Daniel, Per Se, Le Bernardin, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, wd~50 and Eleven Madison Park in New York; and The French Laundry in Yountville, California — are in the United States, this year’s most honored country.

Of the remaining 42 top finishers, six are in France; Spain and Italy each have five. Here is the full list:

1) Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)

2) El Bulli (Roses, Spain)

3) The Fat Duck (Bray, England)

4) El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)

5) Mugaritz (Errenteria, Spain)

6) Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)

7) Alinea (Chicago, Illinois)

8) Daniel (New York)

9) Arzak (San Sebastián, Spain)

10) Per Se (New York)

11) Le Chateaubriand (Paris, France)

12) La Colombe (Cape Town, South Africa)

13) Pierre Gagnaire (Paris, France)

14) L’Hotel de Ville – Philippe Rochat (Crissier, Switzerland)

15) Le Bernardin (New York)

16) L’Astrance (Paris, France)

17) Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)

18) D.O.M. (São Paolo, Brazil)

19) Oud Sluis (Sluis, Netherlands)

20) Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)

21) Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

22) Vendôme (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany)

23) Chef Dominique (Helsinki, Finland)

24) Les Créations de Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

25) Mathias Dahlgren (Stockholm, Sweden)

26) Momofuku Ssäm Bar (New York)

27) Quay Restaurant (Sydney, Australia)

28) Iggy’s (Singapore)

29) L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Paris, France)

30) Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)

31) Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek, South Africa)

32) The French Laundry (Yountville, California)

33) Martin Berasategui (Lasarte-oria, Spain)

34) Aqua (Bath, England)

35) Combal Zero (Rivoli, Italy)

36) Dal Pescatore (Montava, Italy)

37) De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands)

38) Tetsuya’s (Sydney, Australia)

39) Jaan Par Andre (Singapore)

40) Il Canto (Siena, Italy)

41) Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athénée (Paris, France)

42) Oaxen Krog (Oaxen, Sweden)

43) St. John (London, England)

44) La Maison Troisgros (Roanne, France)

45) wd~50 (New York)

46) Biko (Mexico City, Mexico)

47) Die Schwarzwaldstube (Baiersbronn, Germany)

48) Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)

49) Hibiscus (London, England)

50) Eleven Madison Park (New York)

(End Article)

If any of you have ever eaten at any of these resturants I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on the quality of their food.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Stephen Hawking: Aliens Exist

Posted on April 26, 2010. Filed under: Brock Henderson, futuristic, Life, Physics, Science | Tags: , , , , , |

One of the world’s greatest scientific minds, (Hawking was the first to suggest the existance of Black Holes), has stated that life in all probibility exists on other planets.

To paraphrase his point, in an infinite universe with infinite galaxies which have an infinite number of planets, the probability that earth is the only planet with life doesn’t make sense.  One out of infinity is so mathematically small that it just stands to reason that other planets have life.  It may not be life as we understand it, but life none the less.

The entire article is reproduced below, and can be found at:  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article7107207.ece

 (Begin Article)

THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact. 

The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries. 

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space. 

Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved. 

“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.” 

The answer, he suggests, is that most of it will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals — the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history. 

One scene in his documentary for the Discovery Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff-face where they are picked off by flying, yellow lizard-like predators. Another shows glowing fluorescent aquatic animals forming vast shoals in the oceans thought to underlie the thick ice coating Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. 

Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point: that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity. 

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.” 

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” 

The completion of the documentary marks a triumph for Hawking, now 68, who is paralysed by motor neurone disease and has very limited powers of communication. The project took him and his producers three years, during which he insisted on rewriting large chunks of the script and checking the filming. 

John Smithson, executive producer for Discovery, said: “He wanted to make a programme that was entertaining for a general audience as well as scientific and that’s a tough job, given the complexity of the ideas involved.” 

Hawking has suggested the possibility of alien life before but his views have been clarified by a series of scientific breakthroughs, such as the discovery, since 1995, of more than 450 planets orbiting distant stars, showing that planets are a common phenomenon. 

So far, all the new planets found have been far larger than Earth, but only because the telescopes used to detect them are not sensitive enough to detect Earth-sized bodies at such distances. 

Another breakthrough is the discovery that life on Earth has proven able to colonise its most extreme environments. If life can survive and evolve there, scientists reason, then perhaps nowhere is out of bounds. 

Hawking’s belief in aliens places him in good scientific company. In his recent Wonders of the Solar System BBC series, Professor Brian Cox backed the idea, too, suggesting Mars, Europa and Titan, a moon of Saturn, as likely places to look. 

Similarly, Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, warned in a lecture earlier this year that aliens might prove to be beyond human understanding. 

“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive,” he said. “Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”

Stephen Hawking’s Universe begins on the Discovery Channel on Sunday May 9 at 9pm

(End Article)

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Are Your Customers Doing Your Job?

Posted on December 8, 2009. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Customer Service, Good Business, Life, Marketing, Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , , |

I was sitting at an Arby’s waiting for my daughter to get out of school when I noticed something.

Frequently … way to often it seemed to me … a drive-through customer would pull around to the front of the restaurant and wait for their order to be brought out to them.  A number of them would then get out of their cars and come in and wait for their order.

What good is a drive-through if the customer has to come inside to pick up their order?

As a customer I would be outraged if, after placing my order outside, I would need to come in and pick up my order.  It would be easier just to go in and get my order to go.

I asked one of the workers why they did this, and her response was that they are timed on the length of time it takes to handle drive-through customers.

So in order to make their numbers look good, they “cheat” the system and have customers pull around front.

I suspected a lot of fast food places do this in order to “look good” to corporate, so I did a very unscientific study.  The problem seems to exhibit itself at some McDonald’s and Burger King’s as well.

But how insulting it is to the customer; they are putting the customer at an inconvenience rather than improve their work flow.

This raises the question:  Are you making your customers do things that your team should be taking care of?

Several months back I needed a locksmith to put a better lock on my doors.  He did fine, but left trash and wood chips all around the work areas for me to clean up.

Contrast that with a plumber that came out.  He did his job, (and it was a very messy and odorous job), cleaned up, used a fan to help move the odor out of the house, and left no trace of his having been there. 

That’s the way it should be.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, or how small and insignificant the task, never have your customer do anything that you can and should do.

The customer is paying for your service or product, they shouldn’t have to do any of your work.

It wouldn’t have taken the locksmith five minutes to clean up after himself, but he didn’t bother.

It took the plumber several minutes to clean up and deodorize, but he did it anyway.

I’ll never use that locksmith again, but I have used that plumber again, and recommend him whenever I can.

Don’t make your customers do your job.

 That’s my 2 cents

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Student Interns: A Moral Question

Posted on September 19, 2009. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Labor, Life, Marketing, Personnel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The question I pose here is quite simple.

Should student interns be paid or not?

I have always been of the opinion that they should be paid, but there are respected consultants who strongly advise their clients NOT to pay student interns.

His thinking is that their “pay” is the work experience you are providing and that should be enough.  Monetary compensation is not required.

It is true that you are not required to pay student interns, so you can have a potentially unlimited supply of “free” labor to perform menial tasks.

However, (you knew that was coming didn’t you), after a good deal of thought I disagree with those who encourage the use of non-paid student interns.

Yes, they are presumably learning valuable work and social skills under your tutelage. 

And while unpaid student interns may be legal, is it ethical?  Is it morally right?

No, I don’t think it is.

My belief is that if an individual is helping you with your business—even in a small way—that person should receive some sort of financial compensation.

It just isn’t right to have someone provide you with their time and all they get is some work experience they can put on a resume.

To a lot of students that might be enough, but as a business owner it is your duty to lead by example.  And the example you are showing student interns when you don’t pay them is that you can use people.

Is that really the example you want to show them?

Do you want their weeks with you to include the fact that it’s OK to take from someone without giving fair and equal compensation?

Presumably they have rendered good service to you through their duties of filing, answering the phone, running errands, and whatever else you have asked them to do.

Doesn’t that deserve some sort of consideration?

I would suggest that the only real difference between an employee and a student intern is the length of employment, and little (if anything) else.

Would you even dream of telling a traditional job applicant that you will allow them to work for you, but you aren’t going to pay them?

No.  And the applicant would look at you like you’re a loon if you did.

But the desperate student looking for some sort of experience will jump at the chance to be so rudely abused.  And taking advantage of their willingness is wrong.  It is unethical, unprofessional, immoral, and teaches the wrong lesson to future business owners.

Pay your student interns.  It doesn’t have to be a lot, but they are providing you with loyal, honest service and are entitled to fair compensation for that service.

They are being fair and honest in their work with you and they are entitled to equally fair treatment.

UPDATE:  I was reminded by a friend that college interns are paying tuition for that time they are with you.   One more reason they should be paid.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Success Creed

Posted on July 12, 2009. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Life, Marketing, Religion, Sales, Self Promotion, self-help, Selling | Tags: , , , , , |

I believe in myself. I believe in those who work with me. I believe in my employer. I believe in my friends. I believe in my family. I believe that God will lend me everything I need with which to succeed if I do my best to earn it through faithful and honest service. I believe in prayer and I will never close my eyes in sleep without praying for divine guidance to the end that I will be patient with other people and tolerant with those who do not believe as I do. I believe that success is the result of intelligent effort and does not depend upon luck or sharp practices or double-crossing friends, fellow men or my employer. I believe I will get out of life exactly what I put into it, therefore I will be careful to conduct myself toward others as I would want them to act toward me. I will not slander those whom I do not like. I will not slight my work no matter what I may see others doing. I will render the best service of which I am capable because I have pledged myself to succeed in life and I know that success is always the result of conscientious and efficient effort. Finally, I will forgive those who offend me because I realize that I shall sometimes offend others and I will need their forgiveness.

Signed ____________________________________

From “Law of Success” by Napoleon Hill; an excellent book if ever there was one.

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Balance

Posted on June 3, 2009. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Health, Life, Marketing, Sales, self-help, Selling | Tags: , , , , |

Ancient Greeks believed in balance in their daily lives.  That is not to say that they went around balancing objects all day, but how they lived their lives.  There were three areas they would work on each day, and I recommend it to you.  By doing this you will become a better individual, and a more successful one as well.

Those three areas are:

 Spirit   *   Body   *   Mind

Spirit  Meditate, or pray, or read inspirational books; in some way give your soul some nourishment and stimulation.  This is to help you raise your spiritual side and become a better person.  (Going to church once a week is not enough.)

Body  Exercise on a daily basis.  I don’t mean you have to go to the gym and work out, but take a walk, do some isometrics, but in some fashion give your physical self some stimulation.  This will increase your physical fitness and possibly help you shed any extra pounds you might have accumulated over the years.  (Carrying out the garbage won’t cut it.)

Mind  Read a book; something that will help you in your personal or professional life; a book on selling for example would be appropriate.  (The newspaper doesn’t count, that’s too depressing.)

Dedicate at least 30 minutes to each activity on a  DAILY  basis.  I don’t care when during the day you do this, just that you actually do it.  Consistently.  Every day. 

I repeat:  30 minutes on each activity, each and every day.

Yes, there will be days you don’t feel like doing it, you’re too tired, or too busy, or sick, or too something.  But force yourself.  By keeping at it you will make it just as natural a set of activities as getting up and taking a shower.  You will discover that the overall impact of this ritual will make you happier, more energetic, and thus more successful.

Now, go put some Balance into your life.

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I’m Feeling Old

Posted on January 21, 2009. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Economy, Government, Legislation, Politics | Tags: , |

I was born when Truman was President. He was our 33rd President, but I don’t remember anything about him.

The first President I can remember is Eisenhower, our 34th President. Then came Kennedy who was assanated while I was in High School, followed by Johnson who really escalatedthe Viet Nam war. Then there was Nixon, (who ended the Viet Nam war), Johnson, Carter, (where we had a stagnet economy with inflation – economists called it Stagflation), Regan, George H. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and now President Obama.

My life has spanned 12 of our 44 Presidents. That is 28% of all the Presidents in our nation’s history . . . and that makes me feel old.

George Washington took the Oath of Office on April 30th, 1789; and now, almost 220 years later here I am. Not only have I lived during 28% of our Presidents, but I have lived for 28% of our nation’s history.

I joked at a meeting today that I used to go drinking with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, and suddenly I feel like I almost did.

Our founding fathers wouldn’t recognize America today. Government bailouts of big business, talk of socialized health care, career politicians, no prayer in schools, law suits over coffee being too hot, same-sex marriages, high rates of divorce, and taxes.

Don’t know if they still teach this in school, but one of the reasons our founding fathers revolted and formed this great nation was because of unfair taxation. Now look at what we have become, a nation of taxes. Federal income tax, State income tax, City tax, gasoline tax, sales tax, tax on tires, tax on your phone, tax on air plane tickets, hotel tax, cigrette tax, liquor tax, death tax, property tax, utility taxes, etc., etc., and etc. And by the way, Congress is now working on legislation to tax cows and pigs because they “pass gas” and therefore polute the environment.

Think about that for a second. Farmers and ranchers will now have to pay a tax on their animals because they perform a naural bodily funcition. They fart.

And if they can tax animals for farting, isn’t it logical that they start taxing two-legged animals that fart? It is quite possible that in a few years you and I will have yet another tax to pay … the fart tax. Will it never end?

There is no telling what kind of country my grandchildren will end up with. I’m praying, (I think that’s still legal), that Congress won’t mess it up too much over the next few years, but frankly I don’t hold out a lot of hope. They haven’t done a stellar job over the past few decades, but I keep praying.

That’s my 2 cents

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On the Economy

Posted on March 31, 2008. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Economics, Economy, Money, Resession |

The news seems obsessed with dire predictions of recession, and one commentator even said we were on the brink of a Depression.

Poppycock!

First, we are not in, anywhere near, a recession let alone a depression.

Most people don’t even know how a recession or a depression are defined, and so we allow the news media to fill our heads with nonsense about it.  A recession is “A decline in business activity.  Often defined as two consecutive quarters, with a real fall in gross national production.”

Business activity always fluctuates, with some seasons being better for one industry over another.  For example, lawn care is better in the summer than in the winter, but we would not suggest that a lawn service company that has no business for three or four winter months is in a recession.

Retail stores generally make their real profit during the Christmas selling season, does that mean that they are in a recession the rest of the year?  No.  But to hear the local and national news you would think the end of our economy is coming.  But it isn’t.

The unfortunate truth is that pain, suffering, hard times, bad news, disaster and the like make for better news ratings.  Good news, hope, and optimism doesn’t sell.  Which is why I don’t listen to the news much any more, it’s filled with negativity that I don’t need or want.

Is the economy in a bad way?  Measure it for yourself by going to your local mall.  Get a coffee or soda and sit down and start observing the people.  What percentage are carrying purchases?  The more people or groups of people you see with a purchase the better the economy.  Acouple of weeks ago I did a very quick observational survey like this and saw that about 30% of the shoppers had made a purchase and to me that is not a sign of recession.

But, you say, what about all those people who are losing their homes through foreclosure?

First, the normal foreclosure rate in the U.S. is between 1% and 2.2%, (just so you know what “normal” is).

According to an article on MSNBC the current foreclosure rate is 5.8%, a little over double the normal rate.  But to hear the news media talking you’d think half the country is in or near foreclosure.

Part of the reason for the above average foreclosure rate is that lending institutions were pressured by Congress to provide loans to individuals with marginal ability to repay the loans.  So people who would normally never qualify for a home loan, (because they couldn’t afford to make the payments), were given sub-prime loans so they could have a home and live the American dream.  Unfortunately, because those individuals had insufficient income they eventually defaulted on their home loan, and we have arrived at where we are today.

Moral of my story:  Don’t listen to the news, it’s just doom and gloom.

Update:  The Histeria continues.  A British paper has published a front page article about our economic situation with the headline:  USA 2008:  The Great Depression.  (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/usa-2008-the-great-depression-803095.html)

Granted, the last Great Depression did start with us and did throw the rest of the world into economic chaos as well, but as I’ve said we haven’t even had a recession yet so why start using the “D” word?  Because it sells newspapers, and increases news ratings.

And that’s my 2 cents.

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