Is the US Postal Service another “buggy whip industry”?

Readers are doubtless familiar with the case study of the ‘buggy whip industry‘, frequently cited in business schools around the planet. Briefly, it points out that the manufacturers of buggy whips went on making them to their hearts’ content, ignoring the advent of the automobile, until one day they found that their market had disappeared. Their ‘industry’ could only have been protected by banning the automobile, which would have been an even greater disadvantage to the economy; so they went to the wall. The US Postal Service appears increasingly to be experiencing a modern version of the buggy whip industry’s

Continue reading

Is the US government deliberately empowering drug cartels?

I ask that question because of this report in the New York Times yesterday. Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials. The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are. They said agents had deposited the

Continue reading

A Christmas-related world record

For those who enjoy a Yule log, or Bûche de Noël as the French call it, there’s happy news. If you’ve never tried one, it’s a very tasty Christmas dessert indeed, and not too hard to make. You’ll find historical information and a couple of recipes here. Recommended. Peter

Continue reading

Doofus Of The Day #552

Today’s winner is from Poland. A woman in Warsaw, Poland, abandoned her car after she jammed it between two walls trying to reverse away from a car park. Wiola Nowicka, 67, attempted to turn around in the car park’s narrow driveway once she noticed the high prices she would have to pay. Nowicka’s bad sense of judgement resulted in the driveway being blocked for five hours, as her car was wedged between the driveway walls. ‘I didn’t mean to be a nuisance,’ said Nowicka. ‘After a few turns I couldn’t go backwards or forwards any more.’ Engineers were able to

Continue reading

World’s most expensive car accident?

It looks as if Japan can claim that honor as of last weekend. The Telegraph reports: A fleet of high-performance cars, including eight Ferraris, has been involved in one of the most expensive accidents in history after an astonishing multi-car pile-up in Japan. Police said three Mercedes Benz cars and a Lamborghini Diablo were also involved in the massive crash at the weekend on the Chugoku Expressway, in the country’s south-west. Witnesses reported hearing a “tremendous noise” just a few moments before the accident on the Yamaguchi prefecture highway amid terrible driving conditions. While the majority of the 14 vehicles

Continue reading

Try eating that in one sitting!

I’m dumbfounded to find that a gift Web site has created what it calls the ‘Party Gummy Bear‘. This 26-pound [11.8 kg] candy beast ensures that your shindigs have no equal. Imagine the shock of your party goers when they realize that your 32,000-calorie gummy bear also features an integrated one-liter serving bowl! Serve punches, candies, or even more gummy bears from within this seventeen-inch-long confection. There’s more at the link. Scroll down that page to read more, see more pictures, and view a rap music video celebrating the thing (if you’re into that sort of thing – I’m not,

Continue reading

This is how your Government lies to you

I’ve said many times on this blog that you can’t trust official US government figures for the rate of inflation, unemployment, etc., because they’re deliberately inaccurate – designed to look as favorable as possible, for the benefit of those in power, but in reality disguising a steadily worsening situation. However, there are always those who don’t believe me, who insist that the government wouldn’t do such a thing because people would lose faith in them if they found out. (Some of us found out a long time ago, and we certainly did lose faith; but then, we’re the thinking minority

Continue reading

World’s fastest sofa?

An Australian drinks maker, Ice Break, has sponsored the building and racing of what’s billed as the world’s fastest couch, or sofa. Metro UK reports: The humble sofa has come a long way – this one can do 101mph and has been named the fastest motor couch in the world. Its driver, Glenn Suter, smashed the previous 92mph record in his unusual vehicle, powered by a 1,400cc Suzuki superbike engine. A coffee table and fruit bowl were included by the Australian designers, whose previous speedy masterpieces have included a motorised toilet. . . . Paul McKinnon, who built the machine

Continue reading

Mike Williamson puts things in perspective

Many of my readers will doubtless be familiar with the books of Michael Z. Williamson, and/or with his blog, Facebook page, or other writings. Miss D. found the picture below on his Facebook page, and forwarded it to me, because she knew it would strike a responsive chord in a corner of my soul. (Click the image for a larger view) She was right! I can’t think of a better way to encapsulate the differences between my formative years and those of all too many of today’s youth. There are some pretty good specimens among the latter, to be sure,

Continue reading