CSotD: Hot takes and suchlike

Brewster Rockit (Tribune) surprised me the other day, because there’s nothing wrong, or particularly odd, about mixing peanut butter and jalapenos. Elder son used to scoop out the seeds, stuff the raw pepper with peanut butter and choff it on down, and I’ll admit it’s a tasty snack, though I’ve got a rule about only burning one orifice at a time and so tend to pass on the truly hot stuff.

But throughout West Africa, Mafé is a staple dish and includes both peanuts (or peanut butter) and peppers, the type of pepper being a personal choice. I’ve seen recipes using habaneros and even scotch bonnets, so a jalapeno would not be amiss, but there’s enough variation from place to place that it’s not always all that hot.

As for school lunch, I used to send the lad off to his K-2 classroom with a sandwich consisting of peanut butter, jalapenos, cheese, mayonnaise and lettuce.

He taught himself that the bread, cheese, mayo and lettuce were optional.

Anyway, I’m not surprised the teachers flunked Brewster in lunch. Not the first time that what should have earned extra credit was instead rewarded with failure.

And it doesn’t end there. Failing lunch for being imaginative was good practice for the real world, and today’s Non Sequitur (AMS) is more of a documentary than a joke.

I’ve been through two-and-a-half acquisitions, the half being a paper I managed to escape from before the papers were signed and they started snicking off heads.

Even back in the Olden Days, a new boss wanted to surrounded by a new staff, and there’s no point in hanging outside the office wondering what’s likely to happen next. If you’re high enough on the ladder to know the boss, you’re high enough on the ladder to fall a very long distance. Stop speculating and start building your raft.

I’ve said before that I never lost a job I still wanted, and there’s logic in that, because I’ve never come out of a job interview saying, “I think this guy is a real jerk and I hope I get to work for him!”

I took jobs I liked, and left when I stopped liking them. It’s not a difficult concept.

F-Minus (AMS) reminds me of one of my favorite publishers. I’d been at the paper a few weeks when a guy in a polo shirt walked into the office and dropped some papers on my boss’s desk, asking, as he passed by, “How’s it going?”

To which I shrugged and said, “It’s Friday.” To which he paused and said, “I don’t think we’ve met …” and introduced himself. He was the publisher, and I don’t think I ever saw him in a necktie because he was from Pocatello where such fripperies are unknown.

People who met the public — reporters and ad sales — were expected to dress accordingly, but, otherwise, we took our cues from Jim and there was no need for Casual Friday because we weren’t trussed up the rest of the week anyway. I kept a jacket and tie on a hanger on the back of the office door, just in case, and that’s where they stayed.

But I worked at another paper where the publisher brought in Casual Fridays and, within a few weeks, had to put out a memo explaining that “casual” didn’t mean dressing as if you were about to change the oil in your car. She was a good publisher — another of my favorites — but Jim had that rare talent of leading from behind.

Then again, Brenda did one helluva job of leading from the front. One day she overheard a customer handing one of the girls in classified a bunch of grief. She came storming out of her office and gave him both barrels at a level that brought the whole building to a halt. That was 27 years ago and I’ll bet he still doesn’t walk on that side of the street when he passes the building.

Brenda always dressed to the nines, but we already knew she was in charge. And on our side, which is rare enough.

Mike Thompson‘s comment on legacy admissions also fits in well with the foregoing, because while I never worked for the Son of the Boss, I did work for the Son-in-Law of the Boss following an acquisition, and I couldn’t get out of that job fast enough.

I suppose Jim had a degree of some sort, but what I do know is that his father owned a feedlot and that that was where Jim spent his summers, which is hardly the lap of luxury and I’ll bet his dad didn’t have a prestigious alma mater where he could slide in his son as a legacy. Pocatello ain’t Cambridge.

And I know Brenda came up the hard way, step by step and never in the Halls of Academe. A boss who has delivered papers at 4 am and sold ads has only a legacy of (A) hard work and (B) knowing how the place runs.

By contrast, the only thing the Son-in-Law of the Boss knew was which side of his bread the butter was on. If he went to college, the only thing he got out of it was a wife and a job. He didn’t deserve the job and she probably hadn’t done anything to deserve him.

I know I hadn’t.

While over at Betty (AMS), we learn that Bub is a college man, in an arc on the topic of ethical investing. It’s a lively, current topic, as we abandon the Post WWII urge to do good things and slide into an amoral selfishness in which we lionize Gordon Gekko and the Wolf of Wall Street.

They may be villains, but they fascinate us, just as Bogart, Cagney and Raft did during the Depression.

There’s a Venn diagram in which we plot “amoral” and “immoral” to see how much they overlap, and Bub asks a fascinating question which he’s smart enough, and decent enough, to wrestle with.

You can, indeed, make decent profits and improve the world.

The issue, rather, is how you define “poorer” and “better off,” and that’s a hot question.

10 thoughts on “CSotD: Hot takes and suchlike

  1. I love the Steve Miller Band’s first two albums (CHILDREN OF THE FUTURE and SAILOR) and like the next two (BRAVE NEW WORLD and YOUR SAVING GRACE). Your including “Hot Chili” from NUMBER 5 gave me a chance to listen to it for the first time in decades; it remains a reminder of why I don’t care for much of anything else Miller did.

    1. That’s because the original lineup of the Steve Miller Band was the first two albums. Sailor is still one of the greatest albums ever.

  2. Thanks for including Brewster in your line-up for today. I must say, I guess I’m not surprised someone out there would like Jalapenos with peanut butter. After all, I like peanut butter with pickles so … to each their own. Now I want to try it though …
    – Tim Rickard, creator “Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!”

    1. Tim, I eat peanut butter with sauerkraut, cheese, and Sriracha on crackers. Give it a try.

  3. Betty’s anti-ESG investing take is a common one amongst the conservative ilk. The rationale is consistently vague and based on cherry picked data. I can’t personally speak much to the S or G, but the E(nvironmental) makes excellent sense. There can be no doubt among those whose views are based on reason (to borrow a borrowed phrase) that the world is moving on from fossil fuels. If you’re investing for some future beyond the tip of your nose, investing in fossil fuels is a great way to flush money down the drain. If you purchase shares in an index funds that exclude fossil fuels (essentially the basis of the E in ESG), you stand more than a fair chance of coming out ahead. To demonstrate this, in my own retirement investing, I have a significant percentage invested in an S&P 500-based fund that excludes fossil fuels (SPYX if you’d like to check the numbers), and it consistently beats the S&P 500 itself. The anti-ESG investment crowd is just a thin veneer of… something purporting to be more intelligent than “people who are different from me are bad” over the anti-woke crowd. It’s more dumb fodder for the dummies.

    1. I was careful to describe the Betty arc as that — an arc — and as something to be wrestled with. Let’s give them a chance to work on it a bit. It’s generally a pretty thoughtful strip.

  4. Edge finally realizes that this page is not dangerous! And the text didn’t jump around today, or if it did, it was minor. Thank the powers that be for whatever it is they did to make the page more readable. Then they can work on Firefox!

  5. Mike said: an amoral selfishness in which we lionize Gordon Gekko and the Wolf of Wall Street.
    I reply: yes, you really mixed up the animal metaphors. But, thank you for bringing up the issue and I am very sensitive (and disgusted by) to how amoral AND immoral those that want to control our society are. A Journalist is a rare and precious thing and you are one.

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