business news in context, analysis with attitude

I have two new heroes.

One is Rose Morat. the 101-year-old New York woman who, on her way to church last Sunday, was knocked down by a mugger in the vestibule of her apartment building.

What I love about Rose, if I may be so bold as to call her by her first name, is that when questioned about the attack (she was bloodied but unbowed), she told the media that if she’s been 15 years younger, she never would have been the victim.

Fifteen years younger. Meaning, if she’d been 86, she would kicked his butt.

My kind of woman.

The other hero is 22-year-old John Cornwell, who has invented a new refrigerator that literally can launch a beer across the room.

The fridge has a range of 15 feet, uses a catapult attached to an electric motor, and can aim to the right or left, manipulated by a remote control (naturally).

You can check out this remarkable contraption at

And they say the younger generation has no gumption…

One of the dumbest edicts I’ve ever heard of came out this week when the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives suggested that its membership stay off “The Colbert Report” because of fear of being ridiculed.


First of all, that alone is ammunition for the estimable Colbert.

Second of all, it is our experience that smart, secure people have a sense of humor. Mostly about themselves.

Staying off “Colbert” just proves that you don’t get the joke.

There are a lot of times when it is pretty cool to be a parent, but I’ve reminded of one of the coolest lately as my 17-year-old son has started to open acceptance letters from various colleges – far more than ever wanted me.

Ohio Wesleyan University. Susquehanna University. Albright College. Roger Williams University. And St. Joseph’s University.

I couldn’t be prouder of him. And yet, there’s just a tiny bit of sadness, because in September he’s going to leave home. And just like with my older son, now a junior at Columbia College Chicago, I find that I’m not ready for him to go.

My mother used to have a plaque hanging in the kitchen when I was growing up, and it said something along the lines of, “a parent has two jobs – one is to give a child roots, and the other is to give the child wings.” (It was a lot more poetic than that, but that’s the gist of it.)

I wish she were here so I could tell her that I understand what it meant.

Ironic that the day before St. Patrick’s Day, reports are on the wires saying that Ireland is becoming less of a Guinness culture, with an increasingly cosmopolitan population willing to try other beers as well as wine. And one report says that even the “pub culture” is in decline – that while Irish pubs open abroad at the rate of about one a day, pubs in Ireland are closing at about the same rate.

That’s a shame. Some of the best times in my life were spent in the pubs of Dublin, and it had nothing to do with the beer. (Okay, that’s a lie. It had something to do with the beer. In fact, it had a lot to do with the beer.)

But what I really loved about those times was the sense of camaraderie, of community, that one could detect in a real Irish pub. Becoming more cosmopolitan is a good thing, but I hope it isn’t at the cost of community.

Wine of the week: a 2004 Icardi Barbera d’Alba from Italy, which is just spicy and thick enough to go great with our old standby lamb and artichoke stew.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, a safe St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ll see you Monday.


KC's View: