Category: Business/Trade

A Snowball’s Chance In Texas…

…can mean big bucks:
Texans who had snow for the first time in more than a century at Christmas are selling snowballs on eBay.
Most have so far only attracted bids of a few dollars – but one has attracted a bid of more than 10,000.
Its owner said: “This is a wonderful piece of history, a snowball has not been made in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, in over a hundred years.
“This I made in my front yard in Laguna Vista on December 25, 2004. It has not snowed here since about 1889.
“A lot of people here never seen snow, it was an extraordinary event. If you are a science buff or just want part of history for many years you should bid now.”
Another snowball seller, student Patricia Lucas, 18, from Sugar Land near Houston, assured potential buyers her snow was “in great condition, very clean bright white”.
She told the LA Times: “People sell crazy stuff on EBay, and I figured someone would buy a snowball.”

Buy Something Day

As I’m sure you’re well aware, today is Buy Nothing Day, sponsored by those loony anti-corporate Luddites, Adbusters.
In retaliation, I am declaring today Buy Something, Anything Day. Spend, my precious minions! Buy anything and everything your acquisitive little heart desires! Go to your nearest retail megastore and rejoice in the limitless choice of goods available to you, you lucky resident of the industrialized, commercialized 20th century! And when you’re done consuming, go replenish yourself with a nourishing and inexpensive McDonalds’ meal.
Unfortunately, I celebrated BSAD rather prematurely, over the past two weeks in New York. So, I also declare it Buy Sasha Something, Anything Day. In fact, I’ll extend it to a week, so you have plenty of time to choose some nice things for me. Remember, it’s all for a good cause!

Abolish Labor Day

(Original post dated September 01, 2003.)
The US Department of Labor has a webpage on the history of Labor Day. The DoL describes the spirit of the holiday thus:Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.Why do we have a holiday dedicated to only one element of commerce? The “strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country” is dependent on five factors:

  • Liberty. Laws regarding commerce and property rights are relatively fair and consistent. Taxation levels, while far from ideal, are such that (except in a few areas) they do not choke out business startups and growth. The streets are free from warfare and from government pogroms.
  • Culture. Society generally encourages private-sector employment; in several African nations, by contrast, the college-educated gravitate heavily toward government jobs. The rate of crimes against person and property, except in various urban neighborhoods, is not so high that businesses are driven away.
  • Entrepreneurs. These are the people responsible for the organization of an entire company, the establishment of its entire product line, and the assumption of the risk inherent in the venture.
  • Investors. Businesses must be financed. Outside sources such as banking institutions and stockholders routinely invest in established businesses, and occasionally provide capital for startups. Investors assume some degree of risk.
  • Labor. Traditionally this term is used to signify all non-managerial positions within a company. I use it to refer to include all non-entrepreneurial positions in a company. The common usage of “labor” and “management” insinuates that managers (including entrepreneurs) don’t really do anything, that their organizational duties isn’t really “work.” I use “entrepreneur” and “labor” to distinguish between those responsible for an entire company and those responsible for portions of it.

Happy Commerce Day! Drink a toast to the Bill of Rights, peaceful citizens, Bill Gates, Wall Street, and all your coworkers.

Ad lib

Some of the more, er, unusual ads I’ve seen on Australian TV lately:
–A chain of supermarkets is promoted with a claymation stick figure dancing a slow tango with a chili pepper.
–An utterly nightmarish beer ad begins with a sleeping man’s tongue disengaging from his palate. The disembodied tongue then slides on the floor through an ongoing house party to a throbbing techno beat. It retrieves a bottle of beer and slides back to the bedroom, where it re-enters its owners mouth along with the beer bottle. I suppose the man then enjoys the beer, no worse for having his tongue removed and reattached.
–The Dodo ISP has always been promoted by an animated blue dodo bird. Their newest promotion, for their new mobile phone service features the main dodo rapping (?!) with the support of three scantily clad female dodos (dodettes?) seductively cooing, “Talk to me, Dodo”. Quite.
–A home loan broker is represented by a race of hideously ugly, eyeless alien blobs training as if for an athletic competition.


Thomas Sowell’s article explaining outsourcing as a campaign talking point ends with a killer closing paragraph:

Ironically, those politicians who complain most loudly about the outsourcing of jobs often advocate the outsourcing of the job of making foreign policy and safeguarding American national security to the United Nations or to our allies in Europe.


The unfriendly skies

Bruce has a shocking, but not really surprising, story of how his request for a Kosher meal was handled by the bigshots at Emirates Airlines on a trans-Tasman flight.
I myself am planning a short jaunt to New Zealand, and this has definitely made me think twice about flying with them. Bruce is making a big stink, as well he should.
Can you imagine El Al behaving this way?

Saving the McWorld

Paul Feine explains how McDonalds, contrary to the claims of its detractors, is actually improving the lives of millions of people worldwide, by creating healthy competition and affordable, sanitary food in a clean and friendly environment
Imagine that.