As you may have seen on Twitter yesterday, Burger King was either sold to McDonald's or taken over by crazy people. Both would be an improvement, as Burger King has a reputation as "the fast food that even fast-food lovers don't like at all." There has always been something off about this hamburger franchise business, especially the marketing. That's why cynical people looked at the supposed hacking of @BurgerKing and figured it was just another desperate try to get anyone to care about the perennial No. 2 hamburger brand.
In all the pretend cultural battles between the East Coast and the West Coast, Dunkin' Donuts occupies a special spot. Eastern Seaboard people are constantly in the Dunkin' Donuts shops, eating bizarre lard-based concoctions such as the beloved "New Hampshire Turkey Snausage Cheese-Steak On a Heat-Pressed Chocolate-glazed White-Bread Sodium Bagel." It's the kind of food that makes Taco Bell look healthy in comparison. It's food for cops and the huge bellies they've earned from 25 years on the beat, taking crap from you people who don't show no respect for nothin', and eating in their patrol cars while listening to classic rock.
Decades of often awkward interaction with America's "print media" professionals has proven (to me) that writers who talk about their medium are bores, and also bad writers. This goes for the people who type up rules for "curating" the Internet and the people who propose "best practices" for typing bullshit on Twitter, but it's the newspaper person who is most guilty of being terrible all the time. Often applying the term "ink-stained wretch" or "scribe" to himself—and it is always a "him"—the newspaperman looks back on his career (which started when personal computers were already in every grade-school library) and sees not the stories covered or drunken camaraderie of the [...]
"Trillions of dollars worth of stock certificates and other paper securities that were stored in a vault in lower Manhattan may have suffered water damage from Superstorm Sandy. The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., an industry-run clearing house for Wall Street, said the contents of its vault 'are likely damaged.'" —And here you are worried about people having food and water and electricity.
Before the entire economy of Earth collapsed, online reporters who covered the exciting world of "blogs with banner ads" enjoyed speculating on the value of various websites run by a couple of clever weirdos here and there. Was Gawker Media worth more than General Electric? Had PerezHilton.com eclipsed Disney in valuation? Etc. Well, the economy must finally be "great again," because there's a new Business Insider post claiming Matt Drudge's web page is worth "$150 million to $375 million."
Everyone online is sort of sniffing at the already-infamous "Why I'm Leaving Goldman Sachs" op-ed in today's Times, and much of that sniffing is understandable. Lots of people definitely know, assume or simply believe that Goldman has been for much of the last decade (or longer) in the service of steering their clients wrong in favor of profits. This is a totally reasonable (and valid!) conclusion, after all, after the activity of the last five years. (Particularly for anyone who saw their incredibly terrible returns on investment after ill-timed BRIC-chasing and plenty of other recession-era disasters.) And so their point is: well, what were you doing, Greg [...]
"There is a silver lining to Athens' ever uglier transition to a third world country: the massive GDP boost that awaits it as it sets off to fix broken windows and burned down buildings." —That is some dark sarcasm. Many wild pictures here (and here and here) of the weekend in Athens, which came in response to "the drastic cuts debated in parliament include axing one in five civil service jobs over the next three years and slashing the minimum wage by more than a fifth."
"For the full year of 2012, digital advertising revenues increased 0.2 percent to $214.8 million from $214.5 million in 2011. Excluding the additional week [in 2012], estimated digital advertising revenues decreased 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter and 1.9 percent for the full year of 2012." —The New York Times Company released its 2012 results this morning, if you like that kind of thing. Lots of fun stuff, like the $4.5 million cost for a "retirement and consulting agreement" for departed CEO Janet Robinson. How do you like your buyouts now, staffers?
Here is a disgusting fact you probably don't think enough about, unless you're Michael Bloomberg resting between other public tragedies such as climate change and the slaughter of children: The primary source of calories for Americans is "caloric beverages." Meaning, on top of all the repulsive processed food and industrial fat-meat Americans eat around the clock, corn-syrup drinks provide the largest percentage of calories per American.
Coca-Cola, which adds corn syrup to water at factories around the world, is finally spending your money to buy commercials on the cable-news channels to tell you about this problem.
"Today, we'd like people to come together on something that concerns all [...]
There's a whole bunch of ways to read now, and we'd like you to indulge in all of them, as you wish, even in the ways that don't particularly help us publish writing. One thing we've often heard from folks is that they would like a quiet thing to sit down with for reading—away from the laptop and the desktop, away from the IMs and Twitter and email and noise.
With the help of 29th Street Publishing, we've made The Weekend Companion. It's a weekly Awl magazine, and it comes out every Friday, for iPhone and iPad, through Apple's Newsstand. Each issue has just five or [...]
Have you been out of the workplace for two or more years? Perhaps because you were laid off by a financial service company, such as Goldman Sachs, who had repeated layoffs of thousands of employees, for a bit of free—and, with the exception of one harrowing quarter, unnecessary—cash to have handy in the recent financial crisis? Good news! The Goldman Sachs Returnship® Program (yes) is offering ten-week paid internships for people just like you, those were cast out of the workplace as dead weight to appease the bottom line (sorry, who took an "extended career break"). Goldman Sachs is "committed to help facilitate the on-ramping process"! Some of these [...]
Thar she blows! How much would you pay for an apartment in Carroll Gardens that is basically two unattractive low-ceilinged rooms on a "ground floor" plus a walk-in closet (or cozy "home office"), with a (truly) big backyard and 16 by 11 feet of storage in the basement? If you said $1,095,000, then you are 1. correct and 2. INSANE.
If you put 30% down (and WHY WOULD YOU, THAT IS MORE THAN $300K), then your mortgage and maintenance and taxes are a grand total of $5000 a month, because, oh yes, the taxes are $700 a month.
This is it. This is Peak Apartment. It's all over. [...]
If pennies and nickels are largely useless, why does the U.S. Mint continue to manufacture them? In this excerpt from The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers—and the Coming Cashless Society, out this week, David Wolman investigates why eliminating the penny is problematic.
In the Victorian ballroom of the Charing Cross Hotel in London, the thirteenth annual Digital Money Forum is wrapping up with a session of free beer and wine. Beneath brass chandeliers, people from the worlds of banking, telecom, academia, and international development have absorbed an entire weekend’s worth of talk about money in the form of bits and bytes, and tomorrow’s technologies for handling [...]
Are you enjoying Bonus Day? (It's every New Yorker's favorite holiday, in this long stretch between Christmas and Passover.) The verdicts have been rolling in all day, as they are also rolling across the world between now and the end of the month. It's a funny thing! Remember how we used to hear about "talent retention"? That big compensation was mandatory to keep great talent at a firm (that was performing quite poorly)? That was already rich coming from a small industry that ditched of tens of thousands of staff, but it seems extra-hilarious now in the season of the wee bonus.
"Is it any wonder that virtually all Wall Street 'professionals' are habituated sociopaths who lie for a living just to skim a few pennies (metaphorically speaking: make that millions of "other people's" dollars in the real world). And is it any wonder that all banks demand their inner workings never see the light of day so they can operate in absolute secrecy, and exchanges like the above, and 22 more, are never read by the public." —Would you like to be a fixed income trader? Well, that era is ending, but it was a good grift. (via)
Do you remember where you were when MySpace lost its spot as the top social network? Where were you when Plastic died? There are early signs today that Facebook, used by many and loved by few, is beginning its inevitable decline. In Britain, where the drunken populace spends an inordinate amount of time staring at their phones, Facebook lost 600,000 users last month. That's not quite 2% of the U.K. user base, but it's also the opposite of "growth."
The data chimes with speculation that Facebook is reaching saturation point among the web user population in its core markets, and that continued growth is increasingly dependent on the [...]
Congratulations, everybody: Black Friday retail sales topped a billion dollars, which means everybody is rich and happy again. Whether shopping from a laptop in bed with a variety of empty bottles and pie crumbs or "at the actual store" with your fellow shoppers in their sweatpants, you helped make America great again.
How much greater? How about 26% better than Black Friday 2011! That is just a phenomenal amount of spending, for a phenomenal amount of consumer goods, electronics, gifts, and whatever else people buy. Pretty much everything is a Black Friday sales item in 2012. Cars? Oh hell yeah, go buy a car on Black [...]
When [Ken] Feinberg finally came back to him with a plan that dictated, among other things, that AIG slash salaries by 91 percent for its top dozen executives and pay all bonuses in stock, [Bob] Benmosche called him, pissed. “You said you weren’t going to fuck it up,” he yelled. “And you are fucking it up!” PricewaterhouseCoopers, he told him, was threatening to sound alarms over the company’s inability to retain employees, and now four key people were threatening to walk. “He said, ‘Robert! I am not your problem.’ I said, ‘Ken, you are the pay czar.’ And he said, ‘I am telling you I am not your [...]
In 2010, an anonymous writer took over the advice column "Dear Sugar" at the literary website The Rumpus. Last night, Valentine's Day, she went public with her identity at a “coming-out” party in San Francisco. Like many others, I’ve become obsessed with her advice, but I wasn’t sure I wanted her to come out, and told her so when I interviewed her last year. Still, she did it anyway, which shows how valuable my advice is, I guess.