Category Archives: Business

Mail Delivery Update

I am happy to report that we had mail delivery every day possible for the past week, and on only one occasion did it come after 8:00 pm.  I spoke with the carrier, who told me that there still isn’t anyone permanently assigned to our route, but that a couple of new Postal Service hires are making it possible for the mail for our route to be delivered on a regular basis.

We needed some good mail news. In fact, I think we need a lot more good news all around these days.

What good news have you run across lately?

Idle Curiosity

I mentioned in a comment on the Trail  on Saturday that I was enjoying some Veuve Clicquot champagne, and that led to some research on my part that I found fascinating.

I noticed on the bottle a portrait of a woman. I don’t speak French, so I looked up the name and found it meant “The Widow Clicquot”. I went on to find that in 1805,  at the age of 27, this woman inherited a champagne vineyard and business upon the death of her husband, and was the only woman to run a champagne house.  Her father-in-law insisted that she do an apprenticeship in champagne production, and she went on to be wildly successful. She invented a method of champagne production that is still in use today. She was the first to make Rose champagne. She was a friend of Napoleon, yet she made a point of smuggling champagne into Russia. Here is part of the Wikipedia entry for her:

On 21 July 1810, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin launched her own company: “Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin”.

Barbe-Nicole exported the vast majority of her champagne out of France.  Unfortunately, she was facing naval blockades that kept her from sending her wine abroad. Furthermore, Czar Alexander I banned French products.

Facing bankruptcy, Barbe-Nicole took a business gamble: she decided to send her champagne to Russia, when peace returned ahead of her competitors. While the war’s naval blockades paralyzed commercial shipping, Madame Clicquot and Louis Bohne secretly planned to sneak a boat through the blockade to Russia.

With the French monarchy restored, Madame Clicquot and Louis Bohne put the plan they had been preparing for five years into execution. In 1814, as the blockades fell away, the company chartered a Dutch cargo ship, the “Zes Gebroeders”, en route to Königsberg,[6] to deliver 10,550 bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne to the Russian market, taking advantage of the general chaos, while their competitors still believed such a move to be impossible. The boat left Le Havre on June 6, 1814. Meanwhile, Russia had lifted the ban on importing French products. The whole shipment was quickly sold. A few weeks later, another ship left Rouen laden with 12,780 bottles of champagne destined for St. Petersburg, which were sold out as soon as they arrived. When the champagne reached St.Petersburg, Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia, Czar Alexander I’s brother, declared that Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin champagne would be the only kind he would drink. Word of his preference spread throughout the Russian court.[11

During the years that followed, Russia continued to buy Veuve Clicquot wines. Sales rocketed: from 43,000 bottles in 1816, they climbed to 280,000 in 1821 and increased until the 1870s. Within two years, the widow Clicquot had become famous and was at the helm of an internationally renowned commercial business.

I just love looking up stuff like this. It makes me no richer, but it makes life interesting. Research is sort of like finding out the juicy gossip about neighbors, but it is less damaging and hurtful.

What do you like to find out about? What were you doing when you were 27?

Hotdogging It!

Every now and then I just have to laugh at what makes the news these days. I’m not talking about the incessant political news that is spewing these days, or even the complete over-saturation of stories about the helicopter accident last weekend.  No– I’m talking about the fact that a Weinermobile driver got a traffic warning.

The Weinermobile driver (drivers are called Hotdoggers) got pulled over by a Wisconsin traffic officer and was given a verbal warning about the state’s “Move Over Law”.  This law says if someone is pulled over on the side of the highway with their flashers turned on, you have to move to the next lane over from them or if that is not possible, to reduce your speed significantly.

Oscar Mayer was quick to announce how much training their Hotdoggers get before they are allowed to take to the road in the Weiner mobile, but I guess there will always be a slip up. Luckily instead of getting a fine and points on his license, the Hotdogger just got a warning.

What’s the whackiest “news” you’ve heard/seen recently?

Death of a Salesman

Photo credit: Tomas Fano

There’s yet more news about the upcoming death of Mr. Peanut. The Planters folks, apparently in an effort to top last year’s Super Bowl ad, looked at how other fictional characters are mourned. They liken Mr. Peanut’s death to Iron Man’s death in Avengers: Endgame, since the leggy legume will also sacrifice himself for others. Iron’s Man’s demise was met with an outpouring of social media activity and the Planters team encourages fans to “tune in to Mr. Peanut’s funeral during the third quarter of the Super Bowl to celebrate his life.”

I like Planters as much as the next person but I’m having trouble imaging myself emoting over the peanut mascot. I will admit I was a little bummed about Iron Man in Endgame; he was, after all, my favorite character in the Avenger universe. But certainly not enough to go to an Avenger funeral or send any sympathy cards. I can only hope that Mr. Peanut’s death brings as much social clamor as the company wishes for.

Personally I’d prefer to keep Mr. Peanut and dump Limo Emu.

Do you have a favorite mascot? Least favorite?

No More Booze Cruise

In the news this week, the Spanish Balearic Islands have decided to re-brand themselves. Apparently the islands (which include Majorca and Menorca) have a hard-hitting party buzz and it’s becoming a problem.

Starting this week there are several new laws being enacted to try to get the problem under control: no more party boats with the drinking the only agenda, happy hour specials are prohibited and once the clock strikes 9:30 p.m. no more alcohol can be sold until 8 a.m. the next morning. In addition pub crawls will now be against the law, as well as “balconing” (which I had never heard of) – the dangerous craze of jumping off balconies into swimming pools.

The new laws will be in place for at least five years in attempt to encourage “respectful tourism”.

Any bad behavior you’d like to blame on too much imbibing?

New Technology

I finally had to cut the cord. My old laptop just wasn’t going to make the grade when I upgraded Explorer this week; it was originally a re-furbish, so it was about six.  Ancient for a laptop and SLOW.  So knowing that it would only get worse, I trundled myself up to the computer store last weekend.  Obviously I am part of a large contingent of folks who waited until the very last minute to do something about this week’s looming deadline.

You all know that while I am fully capable to doing research if I care about something, too much time thinking about computers doesn’t fill me with elan. I went into the store, found a salesperson (so so young), told him what I use a computer for at home along with my price range.  He showed me three different computers and I chose one.  10 minutes.  I spent longer standing in line to pay for it than I did choosing it.

Now comes the hard part – learning how to negotiate the new systems and software. I remember in my Software Etc. days that software would come in big packages… several disks and a LOT of manual.  These days you get a piece of cardboard with a website and a license number.  My first thought when I opened the box and turned it on was “I am lost in space here”.  Three hours later, I am up and running.  Not proficient yet at getting around or typing on the new keyboard, but at least I’ve got security, internet and, most importantly, OverDrive (for listening to audio books)!

What’s the last book you listened to? (Or read…..)


Photo credit:  NASA

Twice yesterday I uttered the words “it’s why I’ll never get on the space shuttle.”

On the way to work, I stopped at SuperAmerica. Sorry, Speedway.  The cashier was struggling with the computer that runs the gas pumps, having to basically re-boot it every time somebody needed to pump their gas.  While I was waiting for her to ring me up (no gas for me), I commiserated with her and she made a derogatory remark about computers in general.  I replied “Yea, it’s why I’ll never get on the space shuttle.”

Fast forward a couple of hours and we had a “flub” (Tech’s word for it, not mine) which locked a lot of us out of our program subdirectories for about an hour. I was the one who called the helpline to document the issue so I was the one to hear the tech swear that computers would be the death of him.  As I repeated my space shuttle line, I realized that I say this often in response to somebody griping about pcs and computers in general.  Interesting that there is a need – seems to me that our society depends heavily on computers but generally doesn’t like them.  So here I am, stuck with “it’s why I’ll never get on the space shuttle” as my personal mantra.  I supposed it could be worse.

Do you have a mantra? What would you like it to be?