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Dark Roasted Blend: Ants' Metropolis

more about "Dark Roasted Blend: Ants' Metropolis", posted with vodpod

Russian Animation "ВОРОБЬИШКО" Алексей Караев

more about "Russian Animation "ВОРОБЬИШКО" Алексе...", posted with vodpod


The Challenge Of Frugality

Interesting piece in the New York Times about how people are trying to be frugal in their shopping habits, but with mixed results.

“All around the country,” the Times writes, “perfectly sound brains have been seizing up like an old car on a frigid day, particularly in the last few weeks. As Americans attempt to perform cost-benefit analyses of their needs and behaviors, they are whittling pennies from cable bills only to squander dollars on gas driving miles to discount stores, or on coupon-spurred splurges for nonessential items, like Cheez Whiz or organizing supplies. Pinched by shriveled retirement and college accounts, battered by ballooning mortgage costs, rent and co-op maintenance increases, and hedging against the possibility that a job might vanish, some are practicing economies that may not deserve the name.”

It is a matter of both mathematics and priorities, as many customers find themselves in the position of having to make unfamiliar choices for themselves and their families.

KC's View: Growing up in a family as the oldest of seven kids, with a father who was a schoolteacher, the whole idea of frugality was drummed into our heads …and we used to make fun of our dad, who used to buy powdered milk and mix it with the real stuff so he could make it last longer for less money. He used to get paid on the first of the month, so we could always tell the last week of the month because that’s when we would have things like French toast, pancakes, and big bowls of spaghetti (canned sauce, no meatballs) for supper. (The first night of the new month was almost always steak.)

Y’know something? That was just fine. It was a pretty great childhood.

Supermarkets can serve a real role in this process, helping people today figure out how to make intelligent choices…maybe spreading out the “pain” over the month…learning new habits that can save money as well as being tasty and nutritious.

Tell you something else. I served French toast for dinner the other night.

My daughter, though she’s dubious, will survive. Maybe even be better for it.

The challenge of being relevant

OffBeat: Quantum Of Solipsism

The challenge of being relevant to the next generation of consumers is an ongoing theme here on MNB, so it was refreshing to read in the Wall Street Journal this week that Google and Procter & Gamble have actually been trading employees in an effort to get people in each company to think differently.

According to the story, “So far, about two-dozen staffers from the two companies have spent weeks dipping into each other's staff training programs and sitting in on meetings where business plans get hammered out. The initiative has drawn little notice.

“Previously, neither company had granted this kind of access to outsiders. Closer ties are crucial to both sides. P&G, the biggest advertising spender in the world, is waking up to the reality that the next generation of laundry-detergent, toilet-paper and skin-cream buyers now spends more time online than watching TV. Google craves a bigger slice of P&G's $8.7 billion annual ad pie as its own revenue growth slows.”

The process has been revelatory. “As the two companies started working together, the gulf between them quickly became apparent,” theJournal writes. “In April, when actress Salma Hayek unveiled an ambitious promotion for P&G's Pampers brand, the Google team was stunned to learn that Pampers hadn't invited any ‘motherhood’ bloggers -- women who run popular Web sites about child-rearing -- to attend the press conference … For their part, P&G employees gasped in surprise during a Tide brand meeting when a Google job-swapper apparently didn't realize that Tide's signature orange-colored packaging is a key part of the brand's image.”

In other words, things that each side took for granted within the cocoon of their own business ended up being not that obvious or important to people with a different vantage point.

This is an invaluable lesson for P&G, Google…and all of us.

All of our businesses should have gigantic signs that say, “Comfort zones forbidden.” The only way we make progress is when we get outside our traditional boundaries, try something different, take a risk. The downside may be greater, but the potential upside could be enormous.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bedtime story

Presidents and their families quickly learn.

Presidents and their families quickly learn that even trips to the bathroom come with security precautions. Lyndon Johnson, never very subtle, had perhaps the most direct way of expressing his frustration. Once, after pulling his car over to the side of the road for a pit stop, agents quickly surrounded him as he relieved himself. A sudden breeze prompted one agent to alert the president, "Sir, you're pissing on my leg." Johnson, not budging, replied, "I know. That's my prerogative."

Obama's Life With The Secret Service (SLIDESHOW)

Obama's Life With The Secret Service (SLIDESHOW)

Rare Endangered Plants Flowers and Trees | WebEcoist

Rare Endangered Plants Flowers and Trees | WebEcoist

Kuan Yin & Tara: Goddesses of Compassion

Kuan Yin & Tara: Goddesses of Compassion

We all know that the world is changing.

We all know that the world is changing. There’s economic change, which is in the headlines every day. There are industrial changes, as the nation and even the world grapples with what kind of change should be facilitated, and what kind should be left to evolve on its own. There’s environmental change, though there are some people still don't believe in it. And there’s technological change, which we can see all around us.

The thing is, we all know that these and other changes are taking place…but I wonder how may times we wander by the clues and signposts and don't pay attention…and maybe even act as if the status quo still existed.

Give you an example. Last Sunday, Mrs. Content Guy and I were doing a little early Christmas shopping, and she pulled me into one of those stores that only gets opened during the holidays and that sells calendars with a wide variety of themes for the coming year. We started to thumb through the selection, looking for something that might appeal to the kids, when I looked at her and said, “Wait a minute. Our kids don't use paper calendars. They have cellphones and computers for that.”

She looked at me quizzically and said, “Y’think?”

And I responded: “When was the last time you used a paper calendar?”

Advantage, Kevin. (That doesn’t happen very often, let me tell you.) We walked out, and went to a store that seemed more relevant.

By the way, a note here to any parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles thinking of buying calendars for…well, anyone under the age of 65. Don't do it, unless the person being given the gift is Amish. Do it, and you immediately label yourself an old fogey.

There are other examples, some of which have been cited here before, of things that many of us take for granted as being part of our lives that young people have little or no use for. Wristwatches, for example. I feel naked without one on my wrist, but most kids just use their cellphones. Or paper phone books, which are completely irrelevant to an online society. Think how many trees we’ll save when we can stop printing those babies. CDs…which young people never buy because they simply download their music. And I suspect it won’t be long before DVDs go the same way, replaced by downloading services that will be faster, cheaper and of higher quality. And it was just a few weeks ago that I told you how my new Kindle has replaced the physical book, and can, if I want it to, replace the newspaper or a wide variety of magazines.

The big question is this: How are you gearing up your business not just to face, but embrace these changes?

Give you an example of a food company that is doing so…

Domino’s Pizza has established an alliance with the folks at TiVo, the digital video recording service, that will allow people to order directly from their local Domino’s via the television while you are watching TV. It is just another menu item on the screen…I can record one thing, watch another, schedule other recordings for coming weeks, and order a large pepperoni with extra cheese.

Talk about one-stop shopping. Y’think kids aren’t going to take to this like a duck to water?

They won’t find it to be cool, by the way. They’ll just see it as an expected and intuitive use of technology that makes sense and makes their lives a little simpler.

Now, to be fair, the Wall Street Journal story about the Domino’s-TiVo deal notes that the pizza retailer has, in fact, been slow to take advantage of the possibilities offered by cell phones and the Internet. But this is a good way to catch up. Fast. It is only one way, however, and Domino’s better have a lot of irons in the technology fires if it is going to remain relevant for the next generation of consumers.

So next time you check your watch to see what time it is, consult a calendar hanging on the wall to see if you have any plans, and then look in the Yellow Pages to order a pizza that you can eat while watching a DVD, keep one thing in mind.

You are standing on the precipice of obsolescence.

Careful. Don’t fall.

For MorningNewsBeat Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

USDA Looks To Tighten Up Organic Milk Rules

USDA Looks To Tighten Up Organic Milk Rules

USA Today reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) “has issued draft rules for organic milk that would require that the cows be on pasture at least half the year and get plenty of fresh grass. The proposals are meant to close a loophole that has allowed some huge feedlots to sell their milk as organic, even though their cows rarely grazed on fresh grass.

“Advocates for family dairy farms and organic consumers say that's not what shoppers think they are buying when they pay a premium for organic milk.”

KC's View: Tightening up the rules is a smart thing. Organic ought to mean something, and diluting the rules hurts both consumers and the organic industry.

The Thin Line Between Healthy & Unhealthy

The Thin Line Between Healthy & Unhealthy

A story on MSNBC says that a new study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that Burlington, Vermont, is the nation’s healthiest city…and Huntington, West Virginia, is the nation’s least healthiest city. The ratings are based on obesity rates, diabetes, exercise frequency and other standard measurements of good health.

Interestingly, as MSNBC writes, both cities “are out-of-the-way college towns with populations that are overwhelmingly white people of English, German or Irish ancestry.”

But there are differences – Burlington’s population tends to be slightly younger, better off financially, and better educated. And, MSNBCwrites, the cultures also are different: “Bicycling, hiking, skiing and other exercises are common in Burlington. Neighborhood groups commonly focus on improving parks, working in community gardens and repairing and improving sidewalks … healthier foods are also popular. Grass-fed beef is offered in finer restaurants, vegan options are plentiful, and the lone downtown supermarket is run by a co-op successful in selling bulk rice and other healthy choices to low-income residents.

“Burlington is helped by the presence of IBM and other employers offering more generous health benefits and corporate wellness programs than companies in Huntington, some experts suggested.”

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Octopus for dinner!

Full Moon Names - The Old Farmer's Almanac

Full Moon Names - The Old Farmer's Almanac

8 Most Beautiful Mountains in the World | WebEcoist

8 Most Beautiful Mountains in the World | WebEcoist

Reports of distant planets, now on film - International Herald Tribune

Reports of distant planets, now on film - International Herald Tribune

Garrison Keillor: Sitting on top of the world - International Herald Tribune

Garrison Keillor: Sitting on top of the world - International Herald Tribune

Blackcurrants project could stave off dementia - Press & Journal

Blackcurrants project could stave off dementia - Press & Journal

Hamburger Heaven

od God, Almighty, Which Way Do I Steer?
A couple of weeks ago, in an MNB Radio meditation about the hamburger, I suggested that it is perfect metaphor for innovation and possibilities in the food business.

I said, in part:

Viewed as a commodity, a hamburger is just meat and a bun. But with a little innovation and imagination, a burger becomes something more, something special. It becomes something that gives the place that sells it a differential advantage.

The same thing goes for many of our stores and many of our products. Even in a time of economic duress, it continues to make sense to apply innovation and imagination to how we create and market them.

The entire commentary can be found at:


As part of my rhapsody for the hamburger, I listed a number of my favorite places to enjoy one…and invited MNB user to submit their own favorites. I said that the first 25 people to do so would be sent a free limited edition MNB canvas bag…and that’s when the dam burst.

I’m actually going to send bags to the 60 people who responded the fastest…just because I’m that kind of guy. (I had to stop somewhere…but for those of you who won, the bags are in the mail.)

It was a fascinating compilation. Minnesota and Wisconsin obviously are burger heaven for a lot of people. There are a few in Connecticut, my home state, that I’ve never heard of. And who would have thought that one burger joint in The Netherlands would be mentioned by two different people?

To be clear, I have not vetted this list of recommended burger joints. I am relying on the good nature of the people who submitted them. In a number of cases, the burger joints were recommended by a number of people, but only are listed here once.

And so, our list of the world’s best hamburgers is as follows, listed in alphabetical order:

1. 112 Eatery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
2. AJ’s Fine Foods, Scottsdale, Arizona (it is worth pointing out that this is the only supermarket that made the list!)
3. Anchor Bar & Grill, Superior, Wisconsin
4. Bar Lurcat, Minneapolis, Minnesota
5. Big Bun, Boise, Idaho.
6. Big Jud’s, Boise, Idaho
7. Bill Gray’s, Rochester, New York
8. Bubba’s Burgers, Kauai, Hawaii
9. Burger Bar, Norwalk, Connecticut
10. Burger Hut, Chico, California
11. Burger Tex, Austin, Texas
12. Burgermaster, Seattle, Washington
13. Burgermeester, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
14. Burgers, Shakes & Fries, Greenwich, Connecticut
15. Casper & Runyon’s Nook, St. Paul, Minnesota.
16. Charlie Beinlich’s, Northbrook, Illinois
17. Charlie Reidel’s, Rochester, New York
18. Charlie’s Hamburgers, Springfield, Pennsylvania
19. Chips, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
20. Colorado Grill, Fresno, California
21. Convention Grill, Edina, Minnesota
22. Country Burger, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
23. Cozy Inn, Salina, Kansas
24. Crazy Burger, Narragansett, Rhode Island
25. Crown Burger, Salt Lake City, Utah.
26. Crusier’s, Jacksonville, Florida
27. Culver’s, Phoenix, Arizona
28. Don’s Original, Rochester, New York
29. Dotty Dumplings Dowry, Madison, Wisconsin
30. Doug Out Pub and Grill, Richfield, Ohio
31. Fast Eddie’s Bon Aire, Alton, Illinois
32. Fat Franks, Bellows Falls, Vermont.
33. Federal Café, Minneapolis, Minnesota
34. Gilley’s, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
35. GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen), London, The United Kingdom
36. Grasshopper Also, Carlstad, New Jersey
37. Harmon’s Lunch, Portland, Maine
38. Haven Brothers, Providence, Rhode Island
39. Heart Attack Grill, Arizona.
40. Homer’s, Hickory, North Carolina
41. Hudson’s Hamburgers, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
42. Hut’s, Austin, Texas
43. Jerry's Drive Inn, Pensacola, Florida
44. Johnny B’s, Southlake, Texas
45. King’s Place, Miesville, Minnesota
46. Kopp’s Frozen Custard, Wisconsin
47. Kroll’s, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
48. Kuma’s Corner, Chicago, Illinois
49. LDR Char Pit, Rochester, New York
50. Lions Tap, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
51. Lurk’s Bar, Afton, Minnesota
52. Matt’s Bar, Minneapolis, Minnesota
53. McGuire’s Irish Pun, Pensacola, Florida
54. Miner’s Drive-In, Yakima, Wisconsin
55. Montreal French Fries, West Bridgewater, Massachusetts
56. Nation’s Giant Hamburgers, Northern California
57. Neils’ In & Out, La Grande, Oregon
58. P. Terry’s, Austin, Texas
59. Pak-A-Sak, Enid, Oklahoma
60. Rich’s Drive-In, Somers, Connecticut.
61. Rose’s, Canoga Park, California
62. Rotier’s, Nashville, Tennessee
63. Saluit, St. Paul, Minnesota
64. Schaller’s, Rochester, New York
65. Smith & Wollensky, New York, New York
66. Superior Bar & Grill, Superior, Wisconsin
67. Swensen’s Drive-Ins, Akron, Ohio.
68. Taylor’s, Loomis, California
69. Tebo's Gladstone, Oregon
70. Ted’s Steamed Cheeseburger, Meriden, Connecticut
71. The Blue Lantern, Buffalo, New York
72. The Cherry Cricket, Denver, Colorado
73. The Cotton Bottom, Salt Lake City, Utah.
74. The Craftsman, Minneapolis, Minnesota
75. The Station Café, Bentonville, Arkansas
76. Thurman’s Café, Columbus, Ohio.
77. Time Square Diner, Toronto, Canada
78. Tom Wahl’s, Rochester, New York
79. Town Topic, Kansas City, Missouri
80. Village Café, San Jose, California
81. Vincent, Minneapolis, Minnesota
82. White Hut, Springfield, Massachusetts
83. Whitey’s Booze and Burgers, Richfield, Ohio
84. Whitey’s Booze N’ Burgers, Richfield, Ohio
85. Wild Willy’s, York, Maine
86. Willie’s Weenie Wagon, Markham, Illinois
87. Zippy's, Kahului, Maui


MorningNewsBeat: "Corporate Citizenship Ranked In New Poll
The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC) and Reputation Institute are out with their annual Corporate Social Responsibility Index (CSRI), which looks at how major companies deal with the reality and perceptions of citizenship, governance and workplace issues.

One retailer is included in the list – Publix. A number of suppliers to the food industry also make the top rankings, including Campbell Soup, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, General Mills, Anheuser-Busch and Sara Lee.

The top companies are:

1. Google
2. Campbell Soup
3. Johnson & Johnson
4. Walt Disney
5. Kraft Foods
6. General Mills
7. Levi Strauss
8. UPS
9. Berkshire Hathaway
10. Microsoft
11. 3M
12. FedEx
13. Anheuser-Busch
14. Sara Lee
15. Apple
16. General Electric
17. Publix Super Markets
18. Honda of America
19. Deere & Company
20. Adobe Systems
21. Xerox
22. New Balance
23. Toyota Motor Corp.
24. Texas Instruments"
Thanksgiving Dinner This Year Will Be More Expensive
The Los Angeles Times reports that a new report from the American Farm Bureau Federation says that the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner – including turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie – will be up 5.6 percent this year compared to 2007, to $44.61 for ten people.

However, the group notes that adjusted for inflation, the cost of Thanksgiving dinner is a better deal this year than it was 20 years ago, and is cheaper per-person than a fast food meal.

Morning News Beat

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lykke Li - Dance Dance Dance

more about "Lykke Li - Dance Dance Dance", posted with vodpod

Tie a knot in it

Exotic Edible House Plants, Fruits & Vegetables | WebEcoist

Exotic Edible House Plants, Fruits & Vegetables | WebEcoist

California Mandarin Oranges Billed As Super-Fruit | digtriad.com | Triad, NC | Health News

California Mandarin Oranges Billed As Super-Fruit | digtriad.com | Triad, NC | Health News

New Study Finds Cranberries Equal Probiotics' Contribution To Digestive Health :: News :: Natural and Nutritional Products Industry Center

New Study Finds Cranberries Equal Probiotics' Contribution To Digestive Health :: News :: Natural and Nutritional Products Industry Center

Brassicas Today :: News

Brassicas Today :: News

Grape news for heart health - The Irish Times - Tue, Nov 11, 2008

Grape news for heart health - The Irish Times - Tue, Nov 11, 2008

Baby, you're home - International Herald Tribune

Baby, you're home - International Herald Tribune

The problem with the US food industry

Hi, I‘m Kevin Coupe and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, coming to you this morning from Vigo, Spain.

MorningNewsBeat Radio is sponsored by Webstop, your first stop for retail website design services.

All things considered, I’ve got a pretty good gig. Last week, I was in Argentina, and this week I’m in Spain, working on a video project that will have its debut at the annual CIES Food Safety Conference, scheduled to take place next February in Barcelona.

Have passport, will travel. That’s what I should have inscribed on my business card.

It isn’t just fun and games, however. I’ve learned a lot on this project, mostly because I’ve found myself in places I’ve never been before – a fish processing plant in Patagonia at one in the morning, for example, watching people process calamari. Or here in the seaport city of Vigo, documenting the distribution process for a wide variety of seafood and how food safety concerns are observed at every turn.

I can't go into detail at the moment because it would give away the show, and I want you to consider coming to Barcelona for one of the best conferences staged in the food industry. After all, Walmart and Carrefour and Tesco will all be there…and you can't really afford to ignore the issues and approaches that they consider to be so important.

Today, however, I’d like to talk about a different side of the food business.

While I mentioned earlier that my travels aren’t just fun and games, I do have to admit that I enjoy the side benefits – most of which involve food and wine.

For example, while on this trip I went to lunch with a local seafood expert, and he encouraged me to have a local dish typical of Galician cuisine – cuttlefish, which is basically a kind of squid, served in its own black ink and with a bed of rice.

I’m a sucker for a new experience, so I accepted his recommendation…and loved every bite. It was unlike anything I’d every tasted before in both flavor and texture, and I’m very glad I took the leap of faith…especially because the accompanying wine was a 2007 Albarino made by the Pazo San Mauro vineyard, which was simply one of the best white wines I’ve ever tasted.

Here’s the interesting thing about our lunch. While we were eating, my new friend told me that not that long ago, he’d been entertaining people from the US who worked as seafood buyers for some retailers, and he’d encouraged them to have the same dish that I tried. But they wouldn’t do it, and they opted for something more traditional, more safe. It was just too weird for them.

Now, I understand that we all have different taste buds and different levels of tolerance. But this I don't get. These guys were not just in the food business, but the seafood business. How could they not try something totally new, totally different? If they cannot expand their own horizons, how can they enlighten and illuminate and challenge their shoppers?

Maybe this is the difference between being a person who eats to live, and one who lives to eat. Maybe it is the difference between the US food culture and that of much of the rest of the world.

But if you are going to sell food, how can you not be in love with the magic of food, with the sense of adventure that comes from an unfamiliar cuisine, a new use of a spice, or an unexpected combination that holds the promise of delighting the senses?

It may be the central weakness of the US food industry – that it is more about price and deals and packaging and promotions than it is about what finally ends up on the plate.

I know one thing. The industry can't hope to help consumers focus on taste and magic until it is willing to do the same thing.

I could go on about this for a lot longer. But I’ve got to start thinking about what’s for dinner. I’m hoping for some adventure, preferably served rare and with a wine I’ve never had before.

For MorningNewsBeat Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ian at Columbus Day Regatta award ceremony


Also go to pic #93....Ian accepting the CRYC perpetual trophy his fellow crew members on "Hot Streak" for their 1st place finish!

Birthday Party!!

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