Girl Scout uniforms to be made in China.

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The owners of a family-run New Jersey factory that makes uniforms for the Girl Scouts of America said they may be forced to close or lay off workers if the organization takes its business to China.

I have nothing against China…I am sure they will make them well…they are making fake Levi’s so well that even my Levi’s client can hardly tell the difference. They also used to make all of Chairman Mao’s cool uniforms as well.

It seems to me however that an American institution like the Girl Scouts should at least try and keep jobs in America.

Jackie Evans Inc. employs 90 workers at its plant in Passaic, a once-booming manufacturing city in northern New Jersey, about 10 miles west of New York City. They’ve been making uniforms and sashes for the sole client for about a decade.

The Girl Scouts told the company a few weeks ago that it would be seeking bids, including one from a company in China, according to Domenick Monaco, the son of owner Mario Monaco.

“Our main motive is to keep jobs in the United States, and find a fair way to keep prices affordable,” said Domenick Monaco, who helps run the company. He said his family was exploring ways to come up with a bid by the mid-November deadline, including seeking grants or government help to keep prices competitive.

Barry Horowitz, vice president and general manager for merchandise for the Girl Scouts, emphasized that no decision has been reached. The organization is soliciting proposals from four companies. Two are overseas, including one in China.

“We are engaging in good business practices,” he told reporters, “Like any manufacturer who uses fabric, we have an obligation to deliver the best value to our members and their parents.”
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Eagles Concert in Atlanta

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The Eagles may never get the critical adulation of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, but they still have what it takes to entertain. And they didn’t disappoint the die-hards who attended last week’s packed Green Concert at Piedmont Park with a set list laden with greatest hits from their 1970s heyday…although my favorite, Already Gone, did not make the set!

Their vocals, harmonies and musicianship were impeccable. Their sturdy portfolio of songs, played ad infinitum on the radio over the decades, were well represented, from “Take it to the Limit” to “Hotel California” to “Lyin’ Eyes” to “Life in the Fast Lane.”

The audience (50,000 strong) vibe was happily California mellow, the odor of a certain illegal substance wafted through the air and the backdrop of a half-crescent moon and the Atlanta skyline comforting. With each song I was thinking, dang am I that old?

Though Don Henley, at age 63, is looking his age thanks to a paunch and white beard, he hasn’t lost his vocal skills, infusing songs with a sheen of sadness and longing, especially “Desperado.” I loved it.

Unlike other bands, which cut out solo hits by individual band members (no way the Go Go’s are playing Belinda Carlisle’s “Mad About You”), the Eagles were very generous. Atlantans heard three solo hits each from Joe Walsh and Henley, plus “Funk #49″ from Walsh’s band James Gang. (Sorry, Glenn Frey solo fans. No “Heat is On” or “You Belong to the City.”)

Henley’s solo hit “Dirty Laundry,” with the video screen popping up shots of Bill O’Reilly, Nancy Grace and the recently ousted Rick Sanchez, remains as relevant as ever 28 years later. Walsh was the loosest, goofing around after being introduced with some silly vocal exercises. His solo songs provided some welcome punch and edge to the proceedings.

While “Desperado” is typically their final song, they decided on the spur of the moment to play a second encore. It took a few moments to get ready because the crew wasn’t ready for it, but they gave the crowd an excuse to sway a few more minutes to “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” to conclude their two hours.

Here was the set list:
1. Seven Bridges Road
2. How Long Play
3. Take it to the Limit
4. Hotel California
5. Peaceful Easy Feeling
6. I Can’t Tell You Why
7. Witchy Woman
8. Lyin’ Eyes
9. One of These Nights
10. The Boys of Summer
11. In The City
12. The Long Run
13. Life’s Been Good
14. Dirty Laundry
15. Funk #49
16. Heartache Tonight
17. Life in the Fast Lane
Encore
18. Take It Easy
19. Rocky Mountain Way
20. Desperado
Encore 2
21. All She Wants to Do Is Dance

Going back to University after 25 years? I did…online.

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Many people ask me why I decided after so many years to go back to University to earn an MBA….that is a very good question….there were so many reasons.

I think first and foremost because I was departing the comfort of a big global company with vast resources and very smart people I felt I needed the credibility of the MBA…I had the experience but always felt I needed the creds…
I thought if I heard one more client say let’s get some MBA’s thinking about this I would pummel them. I needed that diploma!

I do however believe that people place entirely too much stock in executives who have an MBA directly out of school…most had no real workplace experience so the concepts they learned in their universities had no real impact on them and the students could readily apply what they learned on the job.

Our clients and firms were very often disappointed by performance and output of young execs with MBA credentials. I am sure there are exceptions but as a rule we always found their proposals weak in terms of actionable solutions.

Because i had so much real on the ground experience, I found the MBA learning experience to be exhilarating…I could apply virtually every concept I encountered to real projects that I had encountered over my career…It was like an MBA program on steroids.

I also found the University of Phoenix online program to be an excellent way to go…the classes were small and the courses were taught by “working” professionals with real jobs and real challenges. I also give high marks to the online resources like the extensive library…I had every stat I could every want to bolster my business cases at my fingertips.

The online atmosphere created more dialogue and interaction with fellow students and professors versus my experiences in real classrooms…and the interaction was all week long not just the hour or two that I experienced in a brick and mortar classroom.

National Pasta Day

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October 17th was officially National Pasta Day! I had no idea there was a pasta day as I am Italian…every day is a pasta day! My mom is always making meatballs and sauce or should I say, “gravy” for our pasta dinner.

There are literally HUNDREDS of different shapes of pasta, inlcuding spaghetti, fusilli, lasagne, etc. For someone who is bad at making decisions, picking out a type of pasta is always tough! It’s hard to beat fresh linguini.

Here is a fun fact about pasta…I had always heard that Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China BUT did you know Thomas Jefferson is known for introducing pasta to the United States… Thank you Mr.Jefferson!

Thomas Jefferson, rightly or wrongly credited with first bringing pasta to the tables of Americans, drew a picture of a pasta-making machine. This drawing, now in the Library of Congress, resulted from a trip to Italy taken by Jefferson in 1787. Don’t forget that “macaroni” served as a generic name for pasta and doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re talking abut elbow macaroni.

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Here’s recipe for Macaroni Pudding from Thomas Jefferson’s Cook Book (the recipe actually comes from Mrs. Horace Mann, Marie Kimball’s version of Jefferson’s cook book)

Cook macaroni in milk until tender; 2 ounces to a pint of milk will make a good-sized pudding. Add 5 eggs, 3/4 cup of sugar, flavor with lemon or rose water and bake one hour. Well doesn’t sound like my mom’s.

In honor of pasta day I declare this pasta week. I will start tonight by having angel hair pasta with ricotta cheese.

Mark Twain’s latest book…100 Years after his death.

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It’s been 100 years since Mark Twain died, after declaring, “If I cannot swear in heaven I shall not stay there.”

Wherever he is, a century later, the words and stories he left behind live on . . .

“Oh, I used to tell lies,” declaimed Twain, “but I’ve given it up – the field is overrun with amateurs,” and of course, in books, the most famous of which, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” still captivates readers around the world.

Now, all these years later, there’s a NEW book by Mark Twain: His autobiography, about to be published as he specifically instructed, 100 years after his death.

Robert Hirst curator of the Mark Twain Papers at UC Berkeley and a small army of editors has been laboring for six years to reconstruct the autobiography just as Twain wished it to be.

And why now, 100 years on?

Mark Twain had a very tender heart. He liked to say nasty things – he’s really good at it – but he didn’t like the idea of being there when the person heard them, and was hurt by them!

That’s one aspect of the 100-year embargo. The other is just freeing him up to say exactly what he [thought], and so in a way he doesn’t have anyone looking over his shoulder.

Anyone who was looking over his shoulder may have thought the old man had lost it.

The autobiography is highly unconventional, in many ways ultra-modern – not telling one straight story from birth until death, but skipping around.
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“Mark Twain wants this autobiography to be random,” Hirst said. “You know, he’s going to talk about what he wants to talk about on this day, change his mind and move onto the next thing.”

You heard that right . . . talk. One of the greatest writers in American history decided the best way to tell his own story was NOT to write it, but SPEAK it.

Daily dictations over four years, about whatever he found interesting that day.

So was Mark Twain the first BLOGGER?

The book is partly a journal, partly a diary, and partly recollection so yes it is a blog without a web.

In Twain’s words (and there are roughly 650,000 of them) in what will be three volumes, President Theodore Roosevelt is “one of the most impulsive men in existence” . . . the American soldiers Roosevelt sent to the Philippines Twain called “uniformed assassins” . . . and then there’s his Italian landlady, who’s “excitable, malicious, malignant, vengeful, unforgiving, selfish, stingy, avaricious, coarse, vulgar, profane, and obscene” . . . and that’s just for starters.

There are funny, fond stories of his family, and his raw, stunned heart-break at his daughter Suzie’s sudden death.

But if you’re expecting a tabloid tell-all, Twain admits he failed at that.

In the third month of the dictation he says, ‘You know, I can think of a thousand shameful things I’ve done in my life, and I’ve not got one of them to go on paper yet.”

When Twain began dictating, the man famous worldwide for his white suit, his best-selling novels, and his rip-roaring lectures was, in his own words, “the most conspicuous person on the planet.”

The 100-year embargo, says Hirst, was also an extraordinary publicity ploy.

“All you have to do is look at the last three months of the web and the newspapers to see that he was right,” said Hirst. “He knew how to market it. Just say it can’t be read for 100 years. That’ll do it!”

The Magic of Chicken Soup

You’ve probably heard it proclaimed since childhood that chicken soup is good medicine.

Whether it was your mother, grandmother, or a Campbell’s soup commercial handing out the advice, a steaming bowl of chicken soup has been touted as the cure for just about every ailment, from the common cold to a nasty scrape on the knee.

But is chicken soup, in and of itself, really a “medicine” of sorts? Does it actually possess healing capabilities, or is its magic all in our heads?

Around the 12th century trusted healers started to prescribe “the broth of fowl” for their ill patients. It was during that time that Egyptian Jewish physician and philosopher, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimonides, started to write extensively about the benefits of chicken soup.

The ancient healer wrote, “The meat taken should be that of hens or roosters and their broth should also be taken because this sort of fowl has virtue in rectifying corrupted humours.” Hence the term “jewish-penicillin.”
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Maimonides used his ‘fowl brew’ to treat such things like hemorrhoids, constipation, and even leprosy. He strongly believed and especially praised the brew’s healing power for respiratory illnesses like the common cold.

Since then, many researchers and scientists have pondered the question of whether or not chicken soup has any real health benefits to patients suffering from a cold. Some have even done experiments to see if there is such proof.

Dr. Stephen Rennard, MD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, thought his family’s chicken soup really did work, but as a scientist, he wanted proof.

“One day we were discussing chicken soup,” Rennard explains. “My wife says that grandma says this is good for colds, and I said maybe it has some anti-inflammatory action.”
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Rennard tested his theory and added his wife’s home made chicken soup to white blood cells, called neutrophils. To his surprise, the soup did slow the neutrophils. In fact, he claims that chemicals in the broth could clear a stuffy nose by inhibiting inflammation of the cells in the nasal passages.

Since Dr. Rennard’s findings in the early 1990’s, several studies have since agreed with his results, and show chicken soup as a “relief” for the common cold, not a “cure.”

All research agrees that the soup helps break up congestion and eases the flow of nasal secretions. In addition, many say it also inhibits the white blood cells that trigger the inflammatory response (causing sore throats and the production of phlegm.)

When you are feeling under the weather, it seems that everything hot helps to make you feel better. However, the good thing about chicken soup is that – properly prepared such as the recipes below – it is loaded with valuable nutrients. This includes:

Chicken: Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, a substance released when you make the soup. This amino acid is similar to the drug acetylcysteine, which is prescribed by doctors to patients with bronchitis. It thins the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough out. And hot chicken vapors have been proven more effective than hot water vapors in clearing out the cold in your nose.

Carrots: Carrots, one of the routine vegetable ingredients found in chicken soup, are the best natural source of beta-carotene. The body takes that beta-carotene and converts it to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps prevent and fight off infections by enhancing the actions of white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.

Onions: Onions, another chicken soup regular, contains quercetin, a powerful anti-oxidant that is also a natural anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory.

Blockbuster to go bust in 2011!

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For many years, Blockbuster has been the source that many gamers and movie fans went to for rentals on films and video games. As the internet grew in popularity, many movie fans changed to other delivery methods like Netflix and eventually streaming rentals. Blockbuster may have been sleeping.

Today Blockbuster is a shadow of what it was years ago. In its heyday, Blockbuster had six locations in my hometown of under 100,000 people and today there is not one single location left operating. Heck there were two in Tokyo. Redbox and Netflix have all but killed Blockbuster.

One analyst believes that as early as next year we could see the end of Blockbuster altogether. Analyst Douglas A. McIntyre form 24/7 Wall St. has pegged Blockbuster as one of the ten national brands he expects to go under in 2011. Blockbuster is also reportedly mulling over a Chapter 11 filing to eliminate debt.

They could have easily shifter to the digital distribution model and with its brand power kicked the newcomers to the curb.
Who will be left snoozing by the new mobile explosion?