Sunday, November 16, 2008

What Could Make Me Post Again?

Yeah, I went quiet on this blog because I was busy (moving, downsizing, selling a house) and keeping two blogs up seemed quite enough. Then when I had some time I wasn't used to scouting out stories for JUC and getting it done. And there were so many opportunities, so many openings, setups, straight lines that it just shut me up.

So here we are in full-blown recession, the Dow has lost a third of its value and there are so many unintended consequences that it takes my breath away. I had too much material. I couldn't write about it.

Then in yesterday's New York Times I see this article. I think to myself, "If I was keeping up with unintended consequences this would be my story today."

So why not? Let's discuss Spam. It seems that in hard times our buying habits change. No surprise there. Rice and dried beans sales so up. New computers? Not so much. SUVs? Don't go there.

So yeah. GM is going bankrupt and will Ford be far behind? Dell stock dipped below 10 before settling out to close at 10.89 Friday. The deficit is at record levels. Banks are failing. Billions of dollars of tax payer money is being funneled to the same perps as always.

But. Spam sales are up. Usually you don't hear much about Austin, Minnesota. In fact, Austin, TX (my Austin) is now just 'Austin.' Austin, Minnesota (and also the Austins in Colorado, Oregon, Quebec, etc.) don't get top of mind. Wikipedia and Google know what you are really looking for.

But. Back to Spam. Spam is made in Austin, Minnesota. And the Spam factory which is not sending you e-mail about enlarging or reducing or wiping out debt or getting drugs but making a product consisting of ham and pork (yeah, the good part of the pig and, um, some other parts of the pig) and spices and stuff is running at capacity. Yep, people are snapping up 12 ounce packs of meat product, ready to add to your favorite depression recipe, for less than three bucks. It is selling so well that the factory is running two shifts seven days a week. The workers are collecting lots of overtime and while they are only promised Thanksgiving and Christmas off they will have some extra coin for, you know, new TVs so they can watch a reprise of "It's a Wonderful Life" during the season.

Don't you sometimes feel that life is just a bundle of unintended consequences? Why can't I keep the stories coming here to point out that stuff?