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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

News Factoids for October 2011

Albertson's and Walgreen's have already put out a row of Xmas decorations, in the middle of October! The Halowe'en candy has been on the shelves for weeks, so long by now that it is probably already stale.

The Film News Briefs free weekday newsletter is full of information that is useful for anyone in the movie or TV business, or wanting to be. There is so much info on new movies and casting deals (I skip the TV deals and the executive hiring announcements) that I am often a day or two behind in updating that data to my various websites.    free signup here

"The average real weekly earnings of a typical [American] blue-collar worker are lower today than in 1964." == Time Magazine

Taxes at the end of the Reagan administration were 18 percent of GDP; today taxes are 15 percent of GDP. Spending under Reagan averaged 22.4 percent of GDP "well above the 1971-2009 average of 20.6 percent", while spending today is 24 percent of GDP. == per Time Magazine, August 2011

The wealth gap between white and black American households doubled in the last two decades, to a ratio of twenty to one. == per a Pew Study, 2011

Internet Explorer’s overall share dropped from 56% in July to 54% in August while Firefox’s market share increased from 19% to 20% and Safari’s share grew one point to 9%. Between July 2010 and July 2011, however, Microsoft’s browser share remained steady at 56%.

The world human population reached 7 billion sometime during the month of October 2011.

Median income of U.S. college graduates declined 9.6 percent since 2000, a difference of more than $4,000 in salary. == per Time Magazine

"The U.S. collects less tax as a percentage of national income than any other leading economy." A graphic showed Denmark at the top with 48 percent and the U.S. at #16, with half that rate. == per Time Magazine

The U.S. Postal Service announced that the price of a basic stamp is going up a penny, to 45¢ on January 22 in 2012.

Copyright 2011 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 2011 Quotations

"The main purpose of the stock market is to make fools of as many men as possible."
~~ financier Bernard Baruch [1870–1965]

"It's just amazing how long this country has been going to hell without ever having got there."
~~ TV curmudgeon Andy Rooney

"Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul."
~~ eco-activist Edward Abbey [1927-89]

"You will not become a saint thru other people's sins."
~~ Anton Chekhov [1860-1904]

"A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth."
~~ Thomas Mann [1875-1955]

"The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference."
~~ Bess Myerson

"The expression 'as a matter of fact' precedes many an expression that isn't."
~~ Laurence J. Peter [1919-90]

"You are made in the image of what you desire."
~~ Thomas Merton [1915-68]

"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good [that] we often might win, by fearing to attempt."
~~ activist Jane Addams [1860-1935]

"We must try to contribute joy to the world. I didn't always know this and am happy [that] I lived long enough to find it out."
~~ Roger Ebert, in 2011

"Racecar spelled backwards is racecar."
~~ Kevin Kennedy

"I do want to get rich, but I never want to do what there is to do to get rich."
~~ Gertrude Stein [1874-1946]

"History keeps repeating itself. That's one of the things wrong with history."
~~ Clarence Darrow [1857-1938]

"Character is like a tree and a reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."
~~ Abraham Lincoln [1809-65]

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
~~ Maya Angelou

"The proper time to influence the character of a child is about 100 years before he is born."
~~ theologian Wm. Ralph Inge [1860-1954]

"Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time."
~~ Malcolm Forbes [1919-90]

"There are some days I practice positive thinking, and other days I'm not positive [that] I am thinking."
~~ John M. Eades

"Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
~~ Mark Twain [1835-1910]

"To have joy one must share it."
~~ George Gordon, Lord Byron [1788-1824]

"An idea that isn't dangerous is hardly worth calling an idea at all."
~~ Oscar Wilde [1854-1900]

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. / Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world. / ... / The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity."
~~ W.B. Yeats [1865-1939], in "the Second Coming" 1919

"If someone thinks that he does not live by a philosophy, then what he really lives by are the scraps and tail-ends of other people's broken and discarded philosophies."
~~ G.K. Chesterton [1874-1936]

"The blackest despair that can take hold of any society is the fear that living honestly is futile."
~~ Italian journalist Corrado Alvaro [1895-1956]

"There can be no happiness if the things [that] we believe in are different from the things [that] we do."
~~ Freya Stark [1893-1993]

"The charm of fame is so great that we like every object to which it is attached, even death."
~~ Blaise Pascal [1623-62]

Zuckerberg's Law: "The amount of sharing by a Facebook user roughly doubles each year."

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there."
~~ Josh Billings [1818-85]

"[Steve Jobs] revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing."
~~ biographer Walter Isaacson

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."
~~ Steve Jobs [1955-2011], in 2005

"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."
~~ Oscar Wilde [1854-1900]

"The next best thing to being clever is being able to quote someone who is.”
~~ Mary Pettibone Poole [?-??]

"Hóka-héy, today is a good day to die!"
~~ Sioux leader Crazy Horse [c. 1840-1877]

"The only good Indian is a dead Indian."
~~ General Phillip Sheridan [1831-88]

{each set of posted quotations are then posted at the Working Minds website, alphabetical by author}

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The U.S. Beer Monopoly

The United States ranks 13th in per capita beer consumption at 81.6 liters, and is second in total volume against #1 China.

Beer accounts for roughly 85% of all alcohol volume sold in the United States and annually generates over $91 billion in retail sales. South African Breweries-Miller became the largest brewing company in the world when it acquired Royal Grolsch in 2002; InBev was then the second-largest beer-producing company in the world, and Anheuser-Busch was third.

But when Anheuser-Busch acquired InBev in November 2008, the new Anheuser-Busch InBev company became the largest brewer in the world.

2010 statistics from Beverage Industry Magazine, March 2011

Anheuser-Busch InBev places first:
#1 Bud Light – 28.5% market share
#2 Budweiser – 11.4% market share
#5 Natural Light – 6.0% market share
#6 Busch Light – 4.0% market share
#7 Busch – 3.6% market share
#10 Natural Ice – 1.9% market share
— for a total of at least 55.4 percent share of the U.S. beer market

Molson Coors places second:
#3 Coors Light – 10.2% market share
#9 Keystone Light – 2.6% market share
— for a total of 12.8 percent share of the U.S. beer market

SAB-Miller places third:
#4 Miller Lite – 9.1% market share
#8 Miller High Life – 2.7% market share
— for a total of 11.8 percent share of the U.S. beer market

... which adds up to three corporations controlling at least 80 percent of the U.S. beer market.
Copyright 2011 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Walter T. Foster Story

Walter T. Foster published a series of large-format books about art, such as "How To Draw Horses". The books were priced at a dollar each in the 1940s and 1950s, were displayed on racks at hobby and stationary stores, and were so popular that he became very wealthy. His daughter Margaret was my mother's best friend, and Margaret and her son Lyle lived only a few miles away from us in Culver City, California. (Lyle was the age of my two younger brothers, so he and I never connected.)

Walter Foster was a character. He made his fortune and allowed himself to indulge himself in fun ways. He had a Christmas list, and my mother was on that list. I remember one year Walter sent out a limited edition phonograph record of him singing Christmas carols, backed by something like a 25-piece orchestra. The platter itself had to be 78rpm and was about ten inches across and made of clear red plastic, sorta like ruby glass. (I do not remember any impression of Walter's singing.)

Another year he sent out limited edition prints of a watercolor by one of the artists presented in his art books, mailed in a tube. My father was a cabinet maker and he liked the print, so he framed it under glass and the picture hung in my parents' hallway for many years.

The painted portion is on ecru? paper; measures twenty-one inches wide and 14 inches high; and the signature is in red in the bottom right corner. The subject is a road in India, the trees look like California sycamores, and three oxcarts are moving along the sun-dappled road. Dad scotch-taped a label from 'Walter Foster Art Services' on the back, with the handwritten date 1962.

When I was in the Air Force, my permanent station was Las Vegas, Nevada (with visits to Thailand and VietNam), and when I was discharged, I got a job as the systems programmer for Howard Hughes (the I.B.M. 360 was brand new then). At some point during that two years, the artist of my parents's watercolor print had a one-man showing in Las Vegas, and I went one afternoon. I do not remember where that event was, but I can see the house and the driveway, it was a commercial gallery that appeared to be adobe and was in a residential neighborhood. The artist was there, a medium-size man from India; he was surrounded by art people and I was not very comfortable in that setting, so I did not speak to him. His other paintings on display were very good. That would have been in 1969 or 1970.

Around 1980, Margaret and Walter died close together in time and Lyle inherited the company and hated being an executive, so eventually he sold it to a corporation and moved to Northern California and became a taxidermist.

Fast forward. Mom was changing the decor at the house, one of her hobbies, and she asked me if I wanted the Foster watercolor, and I agreed and that print has been in my possession ever since. After I moved to New Mexico, I hung the framed picture in my hallway; I began to wonder what it is that I have, but cannot decipher the signature, which seems to contain the initial letters G and something and A and R. I began wondering what the picture might be worth during one of my visits to Santa Fe, which is infested with art galleries of all types. (I figure that identifying the artist will shorten the door-to-door hunt up Canyon Road, etc.)

I tried emailing the present company, but got no reply. The official website boasts of their 88-year history, and they are keeping up to date with such products as an iPad app about drawing with digital software. I might also be able to identify the artist by slogging thru the books about watercolor, but I do not have access, nor is the website anywhere near complete in presenting old issues.

I plan to (and did) take a photo of the framed painting and a close-up of the signature, so that there are now two yellowish hotlinks in this sentence.
Copyright 2011 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved