This Has Nothing To Do With Alan Greenspan | - Part 5

Someday, We’ll Miss Joe Biden

It may well be that caricatures and impersonations of Vice President Joe Biden in such places as Saturday Night Live have unalterably shaped opinions of the man to his detriment. Nevertheless, you can’t help but chuckle a little bit when you seen headlines and photos like the combination below from this story at Bloomberg.

In Biden’s defense, he’s only got about a quarter-smile going on there (which, for most of the general population, would be a pretty wide, full smile) and this may or may not have anything to do with anything that is going on in Ukraine.

It would seem that his biggest obstacles to securing the Oval Office in 2016 (well, aside from Hillary) is that he’s so gaffe-prone and has a history of smiling at all the wrong times.

There was a nice article in Fortune magazine not long ago about Martin Guitar of Nazareth, PA and it’s been hanging around in my Drafts folder, waiting for some Sunday morning when there wasn’t anything else readily available to hoist up.

As some of you may know, I grew up just a few miles from Nazareth and Martin Guitar ranks probably a distant second to Mario Andretti in the town’s claim to fame.

Even with consumer spending on the uptick, you might not think buyers would be spending their dollars on guitars. But think again. Business at the legendary guitar manufacturer C.F. Martin & Company has never been better. In fact, with $114.3 million in sales, 2013 marked the guitar manufacturer’s best year ever.

True, superstars play Martin’s fabled instruments. But the guitar maker’s success is due as much to the fact that this family business, founded in 1833, sees to it that quality control, customer relations, and service stay strong and remain under careful scrutiny.

As Martin grapples with the rising cost of raw materials and a deluge of low-cost competitors, it has managed to retain the reputation as the BMW of the guitar world.

“Our 2013 fourth-quarter sales were the best in our company’s history,” says Dick Boak, director of the museum, archives, and special projects for Martin. “We always get a big bump at the end of the year, because of Christmas. This year something unusual happened. There’s a young guitar player named Ed Sheeran from England, who is very popular with kids, from about 15 to 25. They saw him on TV playing a fairly inexpensive guitar of ours, a ‘Little Martin LX’ [retails for around $300]. So we did a limited edition of about 4,000. And they all sold out.”

If you’re ever in the area, a visit is highly recommended.

I’m not a guitar player, but they have a terrific museum and a great factory tour that should be of interest to anyone. Just the fact that a family-owned company has survived and is now thriving after more than 180 years is pretty impressive in itself.

We’re Kind of Turning Japanese

This Pew Research report on how the nation will look demographically in the decades ahead is not really surprising for those who have been paying attention over the years to the well established trends that have long been underway.

Basically, we’re becoming less white and grayer (note the link to the left -  someone felt the need to buy the domain to answer what was, apparently, a commonly asked question and, not surprisingly,  it shows up as the first search result for “grey or gray?”).

Anyway, there’s a really neat interactive graphic with the Pew story about how the nation is aging and the start point (1950) and end point (2060) of said graphic are shown below.

More on the changing ethnicity of the country and the implications of it all make this a report that is well worth reading, especially if you’re  many years younger than me…

A Bad Day for One FedEx Driver

This kind of reminds me of a scene from the 1980 indie movie hit The God’s Must be Crazy as one FedEx driver appears to have forgotten something important when exiting his truck.

It’s pretty neat how the truck “threaded the needle” between the tree and the house (akin to what many hope the Federal Reserve will do in formulating monetary policy to withdraw unprecedented stimulus over the next year or so), though the driver’s door didn’t fare well in the process (insert your own Fed metaphor for this one).

This related story at CNBC indicated that no one was hurt and the property damage was minimal, though, I’m guessing that this particular driver will not soon forget this incident that has now been seen by over 9 million viewers on YouTube.

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