Asking the Stupid Questions Since 1971
We recently subscribed to the deadtree edition, weekends only, of the New York Times. I read the paper in a different manner than I do the web edition. On the web I jump around through the site, depending on what catches my interest on the front, but I rarely do that. More often I just read an article that someone else links. With the print edition, I flip through each page of each section, looking for interesting articles. It usually takes a few beers to get through it all.
This weekend I'd like to note the following items.
In an editorial on the daughter of Strom Thurmond and Carrie Butler, Brent Stapler writes
By showing that families who appear to be white at one time can appear to be black at another, she is underscoring the fact that race is a more elastic concept than most contemporary Americans understand.
The Sunday business section has an article on a call center for McDonald's drive through. Place your order in Missouri (or Minnesota or Massachusetts), have it taken in Colorado, and fulfilled 12 feet away from you. IT matters.
In the fast-food business, time is truly money: shaving even five seconds off the processing time of an order is significant. Mr. Bigari said he had cut order time in his dual-lane drive-throughs by slightly more than 30 seconds, to about 1 minute, 5 seconds, on average. That's less than half the average of 2 minutes, 36 seconds, for all McDonald's, and among the fastest of any franchise in the country, according to QSRweb.com, which tracks such things. His drive-throughs now handle 260 cars an hour, Mr. Bigari said, 30 more than they did before he started the call center.
Just below that article, Ben Stein talks about blame.
Middle-class people can largely control what they earn. Their children can very largely control what they earn. They can control what they spend, above a certain floor. If they are "squeezed" on their mortgage payments because they bought more house than they could afford, whose fault is that? [link mine]
Is it your fault, or someone else's? Whose responsiblity is it? Are you a victim of circumstances, or the actor in your own personal morality play? Or is it both, loser?
Those who've been following the adventures will know that we've got our house on the market, and have been looking around for an acceptable substitute, assuming we find a buyer. The New York Times notes that local property values have outpaced the national average, with properties in Putnam County increasing by 219%.
Sometimes the weekly newsletter from work is interesting. For example, last week two technicians rescued a four-year-old who was playing in traffic.
And there's always some marketing material, because we do try to sell our service. This week's recommendation contained an interesting observation.
[T]he best coverage of the upcoming political conventions will be on the Internet. Most TV networks will offer only brief highlights; to follow all the action, customers will turn to the Web and they'll want a fast connection for smooth video transmission.
And they'll need the speed to upload their video and photographic commentary. It's pamphlet season!