apete's apage

A place for me to speak and be heard.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Screw the Machine!

Do you hate being talked at by those stupid recorded voices...or what is even worse now, having to talk to them, hoping the background noise won't throw off the voice recognition software? Plus, you can always tell when someone is talking at a machine on the phone. It just sounds stupid. Here is a nice page to get around the machine for over 100 companies and get to a normal person. However, I am not promising that this person will not be rude though. Good luck.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Burger Clubbing again

Well, this past week we had another burger club outing. We have a group of 6 of us that go have a burger every month. It started in January and we had a bit of a hiatus while some of the members were out of the country. We went to Sidetrack Bar and Grill in Ypsilanti, MI. The reason that we chose it was because it was on the GQ's 'The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die' List. If you ask me, it wasn't worthy of the list. I've only had one other burger on the list and that is from Miller's Bar in Dearborn, MI which is leading the pack currently on the GQ poll. It is a travesty that Redcoat Tavern in Royal Oak, MI is not on the list. It is the best burger that I have ever had!

After the average burger from Sidetrack we had a viewing of Hamburger America which is a documentary about 8 of the best burgers in America. They all have their little quirks, that is for sure. I haven't had any of them and only two are found on GQ's list. Anyway here they are in the order that I would like to try them.
  1. Dyer's (Memphis, TN) - Yes, it is a deep fried hamburger. It looks wonderful. The best part is that the grease is ancient. They strain it every evening so it is 'clean' for the next day.
  2. The Bobcat Bite (Santa Fe, NM) - This one has green peppers to go with the cheese. It looks great. This is one from GQ.
  3. Louis' Lunch (New Haven, CT) - This is the other one on GQ's list. It claims to be the oldest burger in the world. It's served on toast and you don't get ketsup. They also have this chiz whizy stuff to spread on the bun to act as cheese.
  4. Ted's (Meriden, CT) - Steamed burger along with steamed cheese. It is a hunk of cheese on it though which is what made me like the looks of it.
  5. Solly's Grille (Glendale, WI) - You have to see this to believe it. This is a butter burger and I am not talking about a spread of butter, it is a hunk. I'd say a half of a stick. I love butter but this might be over doing it. I'd like to find out for myself though.
  6. Billy Goat Tavern & Grill (Chicago, IL) - I've acutally walked by this place before. It looked like a regular burger to me. No excitement here. The SNL skit was funny although I don't think I've ever seen all of it.
  7. The Meers Store (Meers, OK) - This was the biggest of the bunch. It is for cowboys. You can only get mustard because mayo is for sissys and ketsup is for yankees. I, personlly, don't agree but that is fine. It's made from the long horn cattle out back.
  8. Wheel Inn Drive Inn (Sedalia, MO) - I like hamburgers and I like peanut butter but I am not excited to try them together. Maybe one day I will though.
Some themes that I took away from the film are:
  • FRESH ground meat is key. Almost all of these places had their meat ground daily.
  • You have to be popular enough to move the entire building (or at least the grease) to be on this list.
  • You can live forever if you eat these burgers! Or at least until 90.
What is your favorite burger? Why?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Wal-Mart Sucks

So, I have been inspired again so I have a little case study. Well, I guess that I can say that I am lucky to have never lived in a community where there is a Wal-Mart. I have been spending some time down in Oxford, OH and they have this new Wal-Mart Supercenter. The funny part is that when you drive from the downtown area to the Wal-Mart there are several closed down storefronts. An industry analyst, Retail Forward, predicted in Business Week (10/16/2003) that for every new Supercenter that Wal-Mart opens, two local supermarkets will close. This doesn't include pharmacies, hardware stores and other local businesses. It also doesn't include the ugly hulk of a building that was formally a Wal-Mart in Oxford, OH. I just guess it wasn't big enough.

I know it's cheaper, but I am one of those people who will spend a little extra money to make my community a little bit better. It is funny that Wal-Mart's founder said, "Something must be done by all of us in the retailing and manufacturing areas to reverse this serious threat of overseas imports to our free enterprise system… Our company is firmly committed to the philosophy by buying everything possible from suppliers who manufacture their products in the United States."” and the current CEO recently purchased a Lexus hybrid because "I just hate dependence on foreign oil." (I will give him props for driving a hybrid though.) when 70% of the merchandise comes from China which would make Wal-Mart China's 8th largest trading partner...if it were an independent nation.

Speaking of Wal-Mart being an independent nation, it would be the 14th largest financially, just ahead of Sweden . And some people find California being the 5th largest economy being odd...

Yet another study shows that local businesses spend 53% of their revenues within the community that it resides. This contrasts greatly to the 14% of revenues from a large store like Wal-Mart. So basically each large store you have in your community, you arfunnelingng even more money to some other place.

Most of this information comes from Walmartwatch.com.

And Oxford is a nice little town including the beautiful campus of Miami University. *sigh* I do feel better now.