Monthly Archives: December 2011

My newspaper with ads has become an adpaper with news.

It used to be that the advertising department at newspapers supported the news department.  It seems that nowadays it has become the other ways around, at least that seems to be the case with my own local newspaper, The Clarion-Ledger.

I base this observation on what has become a major annoyance for me, and what may be the last straw in my continuing home delivery of that newspaper.  That annoyance is the new practice of wrapping an advertising section around the back of the newspaper and part of the front page.  Lately, on some days when I pick up my Clarion-Ledger and look at the front page I see only part of that page because the left one-half or so is covered by advertising.  I suppose that the way to avoid having advertising on the front page is to have a new half of a front page.

OK, friends at the Clarion-Ledger (and other daily newspapers), I get it.  I know that you have to make a profit to stay in business.  I know that Gannett’s profit dropped 1.6 percent in the third quarter of 2011, and that it is due to”… persistent declines in print advertising and circulation.”  I also understand that daily newspapers everywhere are facing challenges brought on by technology and that the current economy is not helping any.  I’ve read the articles.  I’m a news junkie.  I want you to succeed.  I know that the future of newspapers is uncertain.  I’m on your side.  I just want you to understand my feelings on this issue (pun intended).  Wrapping an advertising section around the back page and part of the front page really irks me.

There.  Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest I’m going to read the Sports section.  At least I don’t have to peel something off of it this morning.

How not to ask for a Christmas tip

There seems to be much written about whom to tip and how much they should be tipped.  There is even a website with recommendations for tipping everyone from the teacher to the gardener to the letter carrier.  Oops, scratch the letter carrier if you live in England.  You may be committing the crime of bribery if you tip the letter carrier there too much, according to an article in Forbes. There does not seem to be written about how to ask for a tip.  If you live in New York City, please disregard this post because asking for a tip in Gotham is now a fine art well-known by those seeking tips.

So how NOT to ask for a tip.  First, do not be too direct.  Case in point, I subscribe to two newspapers, my local newspaper and a national newspaper.  I begin my day by gathering those newspapers from my driveway at 6:00 a.m. and settling in with a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.  An hour later I am well-informed and caffeinated. I appreciate the fact that those newspaper delivery persons got up at 4:00 a.m. and made their deliveries.  I delivered newspapers when I was a kid so I know what it’s like.  It is certainly worthy of a tip.  These days, things are different from when I was a kid, and did personal collections from my customers.  Nowadays, a customer subscribes online and never sees who actually delivers the newspaper. To encourage a tip the delivery person puts a note of some kind with the newspaper.   I received two such notes this week with my newspapers.  The national newspaper delivery person enclosed a Christmas card signed by him.  His return address was on an envelope.  A day later there was a note enclosed with my local newspaper that read, “Mail Christmas tips to … ”  There was not even an envelope.  You can take it from there.

Second, another way not to get a tip is simply to just not deliver good service.  There are many reasons people give tips at this time of year.  Some do it out of feeling that it’s a duty, while others do it cheerfully because of good service. By delivering bad service the potential “tipee” is making it easy for the person who would give the tip to withhold the gratuity.

Tipping is a way to show appreciation.  It is not a requirement.  It should be a good thing to do do, not something done grudgingly or unwillingly.  For the recipient, a tip should be something that is not expected, but is appreciated when received.

50 Manufacturing Sectors that GREW over the past 10 years

In an online article Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. lists manufacturing sectors that grew during the past 10 years.  Read the list and make your own conclusions, but it appears that government-related and food-related categories grew nicely.  Small arms did not do badly either.  The ethyl alcohol manufacturing growth is related to ethanol.

1.  Ethyl Alcohol Manufacturing

2.  Plastics Packaging Film and Sheet (including Laminated) Manufacturing

3.  Military Armored Vehicle, Tank, and Tank Component Manufacturing

4.  Wineries

5.  Other Ordnance and Accessories Manufacturing

6.  Perishable Prepared Food Manufacturing

7.  Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturing

8.  In-Vitro Diagnostic Substance Manufacturing

9.  Digital Printing

10.  Women’s and Girls’ Cut and Sew Blouse and Shirt Manufacturing

11. Ground or Treated Mineral and Earth Manufacturing

12. Oil and Gas Field Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing

13. Spice and Extract Manufacturing

14. Custom Architectural Woodwork and Millwork Manufacturing

15. Wet Corn Milling

16. Coffee and Tea Manufacturing

17. Other Nonferrous Foundries (except Die-Casting)

18. Turbine and Turbine Generator Set Units Manufacturing

19. Tortilla Manufacturing

20. Plastics Bag and Pouch Manufacturing

21. Frozen Cakes, Pies, and Other Pastries Manufacturing

22. Creamery Butter Manufacturing

23. Roasted Nuts and Peanut Butter Manufacturing

24. Cut Stone and Stone Product Manufacturing

25. Small Arms Manufacturing

26. Electromedical and Electrotherapeutic Apparatus Manufacturing

27. Secondary Smelting, Refining, and Alloying of Nonferrous Metal (except Copper and Aluminum)

28. Biological Product (except Diagnostic) Manufacturing

29. Metal Tank (Heavy Gauge) Manufacturing

30. Surgical and Medical Instrument Manufacturing

31. Explosives Manufacturing

32. Irradiation Apparatus Manufacturing

33. Cheese Manufacturing

34. Ship Building and Repairing

35. Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Propulsion Unit and Propulsion Unit Parts Manufacturing

36. Sign Manufacturing

37. Dog and Cat Food Manufacturing

38. Power Boiler and Heat Exchanger Manufacturing

39. Distilleries

40. Fats and Oils Refining and Blending

41. Dental Laboratories

42. Mayonnaise, Dressing, and Other Prepared Sauce Manufacturing

43. Frozen Specialty Food Manufacturing

44. Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing

45. Machine Shops

46. Meat Processed from Carcasses

47. Other Aircraft Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing

48. Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing

49. Flour Mixes and Dough Manufacturing from Purchased Flour

50. Lime Manufacturing



Clicks, bricks and Internet sales tax

We live in a world of change.  Always have, always will.  It’s just that the pace of change is accelerating, and that’s a challenge for everybody to keep up.  Just about everyone – no, everyone – is affected. Look at what e-mail has done to the U.S. Postal Service.  Internet commerce has become a huge driver of change, so much so that the latest discussion in that regard is about how bricks and mortar stores will be affected.

A good discussion of that topic can be found at a ZD Net debate article headlined “Yes, clicks rule vs No, bricks live.” In it, one writer says that, “anywhere between ten and fifteen years from now, the makeup of what we call ‘brick and mortar’ today will be largely a cultural anachronism.”  The opposing viewpoint is expressed as, “Changing business models are hurting some retailers, while others are thriving.”

One of the issues for state and local governments is the loss of sales tax revenues.  That issue is now getting serious attention at the federal level.  Even Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who has advocated no new taxes, recently said in a letter, according to a Clarion-Ledger article, that, “Today, e-commerce has grown, and there is simply no longer a compelling reason for government to continue giving online retailers special treatment over small businesses who reside on the Main Streets across Mississippi and the country,” Barbour wrote. “The time to level the playing field is now, as there are no effective barriers to complying with the states’ sales tax laws.” 

And the change goes on.

Remembering Michael Rubenstein

Like many who knew him, the first time I saw and heard Michael Rubenstein was by way of his WLBT sportscast. He was a different type of sportscaster. He was eloquent, articulate, brash and authoritative. He knew sports like no other sportscaster. And he covered ALL of the universities and schools in Mississippi.

I got to know Michael through our association with the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. I had the privilege of serving as President of the organization during the two years (1994-1996) of design and construction of the facility. He was the Executive Director. To say that he worked tirelessly on the project would be an understatement. It was his life’s work. His vision was to showcase Mississippi’s sports history and to provide a place where lots of things went on. He said that he dreamed of the day when there would be school buses in the parking lot and meetings and functions in the museum, not just displays of sports equipment and photos. It would be a place where people participated.

Those years were rewarding and challenging. Raising money was a top priority, and Michael was constantly on the phone and in face-to-face meetings telling potential supporters that the museum would showcase the positive things about Mississippi – its sports heroes and its sports legacy. The museum would also be a place where current Mississippi athletes would be honored. He hired two perfect staff members, Margaret Ferris White and Lulu Maness, who have their own connections to legendary Mississippi sports figures. They are still there today.

Michael’s vision became reality, and he personified what it represented. He was a walking sports encyclopedia and someone who championed the importance of sports in Mississippi. His legacy is in a building on Lakeland Drive and in the memories of those who knew him.

Rest in peace, good friend.