Just got back from visiting my sister in Humboldt County, in Northern California, where she was appearing in a community theater production. There is nothing like local theater--the good, the bad, the ugly, and the surprisingly wonderful.
I took my 18-year-old daughter with me. As we returned home last night to LAX, I was walking through the airport, when a well-dressed man said to me as I walked by, "You look better on television." I sort of chuckled, thinking maybe I hadn't heard him right. He added, "Been a long day, hasn't it?" My daughter started laughing so hard I feared she'd soil herself.
Dave writes his opinion about whether Starbucks has a "virus:"Your article nailed the problem with Starbuck's - it is with the employees. The coffee is still the best. I believe that in their hurry to expand they just began hiring bodies to fill positions. This began about September of 2006. It is interesting to note that this is also when the stock began to tank. There was no longer any passion for coffee, or Starbuck's. There were too many employees waiting to be moved to the next new Starbuck's. There was too much free time. The worst was that the employees began gossiping about their frequent customers and each other. Having been a customer of Starbuck's since 1994, I actually stopped going to some of my favorite locations because of the horrible treatment by some immature baristas towards me and other customers (and other employees). I consider myself to be a good judge of this behavior because Starbuck's was the third place in my life. One of the Starbuck's managers used to joke that I was the Starbuck's poster child!"
On last week's post about Bank of America getting liability insurance for its directors, Priya H. writes:
"(This) is in fact nothing more than the standard of conduct required for a director or officer to be entitled to indemnification, as articulated by Delaware corporate law...Second, there is nothing odd or unusual about Bank of America's decision to purchase director and officer liability insurance; the vast majority of public companies in the United States do so. It would be odd if they did not attempt to use the well-known risk management technique of buying insurance to mitigate their risk...directors and officers do not have to have done something wrong in order to be threatened with the enormous cost of litigation."
On whether much has changed in the mortgage biz, lender Pat G. tells this tale:
"I spent loads of time working with a potential customer, that I have to say... doesn't have the best credit in the world - but good enough to buy! I worked different programs to see what would be the best fit for them, payment concerns vs. their fears of adjustable rate mortgages vs. fixed rate mortgages. I gave the borrower a pre-approval letter, and up the request of the borrower gave him a few names of real estate agents that I felt would look out for their best interests. Today, I received an email that pretty much said thanks, but no thanks. Out of the blue -'we've decided to another lender, and if this house is too expensive we'll give you a call.' So, I emailed him back, told him that I was sorry to hear this and what could I have done to gain his business, what was the other lender offering? Was I out of the market with my rates? My fees? What wasn't I doing that would have him go to another lender? I received the email back, and they are looking a new construction! Ugh! To receive their incentives - of course (the builder) has their 'preferred lender'. This old time practice is such a disservice to the customer. The lender will, at any cost, get this customer approved - hence the 'mortgage mess'."
MORE on whether to anesthetize your son during circumcision(who knew this story had legs)Dr. Harvey Marchbein, an OB/GYN/Mohel responds to Cantor Philip Sherman:
"I have met Cantor Sherman and have great respect for him as a mohel. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology however, disagree with his assessment of a baby's pain reaction. In papers written in 1990/1991, they recommended anesthesia for circumcisions, whether they be brises or hospital circumcisions. Some of these papers were actually written by mohalim I am acquainted with, notably Dr. Neil Pollock and Dr. Peter Kurtis (of blessed memory). What could be kinder and gentler than using anesthesia recommended by pediatricians for their newborn patients? Would we withhold epidurals from women in labor and attempt holistic deliveries? Some might, to be sure. But the majority want and request to be as safely pain-free as possible."
On my experiment eating a whole day for the price of one gallon of gas, James R. points out a problem in my comparisons between buying at McDonalds and buying at Ralphs:
"McDonalds usually doesn't pay sales tax on materials (food) for the production of a final product. Also McDonalds has a larger buying power than the consumer. Unless I can guarantee business for a few millions pounds of beef in contract with Hy-Vee, I can't get my food cheap like Crackdonalds. I may pay $2 for a pound of cheap sausage but McDonalds will get it for maybe 30 or 40 cents. Sure, some of the franchisee's profits are taken by McD a few times over but they still make a profit, just not as much as they want. Until they start paying their employees decent wages, benefits, and other "common" welfare requirements, I don't feel bad about buying off the value menu."
My musings on the Boeing/Northrop Grumman tanker battle being the new Star Wars trilogymade Max V. think of another movie:
"Coming Attraction - remake of "Seven-Chitty-Seven Tanker Tanker the fall of 2010 or 2011 maybe 2012. The Boeing, Aeronovali, JADC production remake of www.chittychitty.com starring (Rep.) Todd Tiarht as Caractacus and (Sen.) Pat Murray as Truly, co-starring those lovable felons Darleen Druyun and Michael Sears as Jemima and Jeremy, fearing the hilarious antics of (Rep.) Norm Dicks as The Baron. They sing and dance their way around the world in a lovable Flying Gas Can "Frankentanker" in this magical fairytale with a cast of political pundits and protectionists, all the while outsourcing American jobs to Japan and Italy. Watch the unions roll over and play dead, as Boeing scraps are better than none."
And speaking of "Star Wars" THE MOST FUN YOU'LL HAVE THIS WEEK. Atom.com has its finalists for the best "Star Wars" fan film, with George Lucas choosing the winner July 24th. But you can vote now at www.atom.com/spotlights/starwars/challenge/.Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email firstname.lastname@example.org