Day 8: Blogging Branding course

Well, I’ve made it to Day 8 of the 201 course. Today’s task is to “re-share” older content that we have written. It’s a bit like the “Archive” exercise we did yesterday but suggests a different marketing tact to re-share this older content. One suggestion was to feature my “Favorite Posts.”

Well, thank you, I’d love to, and here are six postings, perhaps one of them will become your favorite too:

A Vending Machine Mentality

Vintage Retail

Peripheral Stuff

The Idea of a Resume’ is so Passe’

The Stock Market as a Teeter Totter

Bitcoin and the Perception of Value



Free trade agreements, cheap stuff, and American jobs

American Pottery Maker Haeger Pottery is closing after 145 years.

Yes, you read it right, ONE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE YEARS.

You see, we still have American companies that are “senior citizen” in age, but, alas, they are dying because of “free trade and cheap products” not old age.”

Haeger is a Chicago area company based in East Dundee, a suburb of Chicago. To quote a fourth-generation owner of the family-operated business, Haeger Estes:

“… it became increasingly difficult for the artware and decorative accessory business to stay open. Gift shops and independent furniture stores are hard to come by, she said, and larger stores are buying their goods from abroad.”

I checked the Ebay® auction website and there are 4,137 Haeger items for sale (on 5/31/2016)! If you are a fan of the PBS television series, Antiques Roadshow (I sure am), we will probably start seeing their pottery featured more frequently. In the spirit of supply and demand, the prices of Haeger pottery should start rising. That’s how the system works. Their retail store at the pottery manufacturing plant started selling out of its inventory when the news became public about the manufacturer closing its doors forever.

Haeger began its business in the “horse and buggy era” of Chicago in 1871. Haeger even made bricks to rebuild Chicago after its great fire. Now there’s “some history for ya”. Of course its age does not match that of some of the companies in Europe, e.g. Lloyd’s of London (1811) or the Bank of England (1694), but considering that the United States as a sovereign nation is 240 years old, Haeger lasting 145 isn’t too shabby in my book.

Since I’m currently attending the Blogging 201 course, it is suggested that I offer the reader every so often an archive of relevant past postings. In that spirit, take your choice of any topic that may be of interest to you from the following:

Signs of the Times #3: Thoughts on Jobs and Jobs Training

Signs of the Times #8: Thriving or Dying-which type of industry do you work in?

Eye Crosser #14: Current Account Deficit

Mega Eye Crosser #3: Trade Deficits & a little Bit about Exchange Rates

Is a Strong U.S. Dollar Good or Bad?

Addendum to Is a Strong U.S. Dollar Good or Bad

What is the Import – Export Bank?

And, as always, thanks for stopping by.

American Dream circa 2016

The American Dream

american dream billboard

The above photo is an example of a 1950’s style billboard that promoted the “American Dream.”

Just reading my “old-fashioned,” “analog,” physically printed newspaper (Chicago Tribune, Sunday May 29, 2016) and turning its pages as the paper rattles. Anyway, here’s one article that caught my eye this morning: “A Port for Portland’s sleepless homeless.”

Here’s an “executive summary” of the article:

The mayor of Portland has initiated a “safe sleep policy” to help the homeless at least sleep in safer areas of the city because these areas are well-lit and thus predators are less likely to rob or harm them when they are trying to sleep during the night. The news article also cites some statistics regarding the “state of homelessness” in the U.S.  Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle have declared a homeless emergency. These four cities estimate around 70,000 homeless in their areas. “The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department says a third of American’s homeless are bedding down in California alone.” There is an estimated 600,000 population of homeless staying in shelters, transitional housing or “sleeping outside” around the U.S.

As an adult, I have seen people lying on the sidewalks or pushing a cart of belongings several times. The first time that comes to mind for me was when President Reagan closed the mental hospitals and former patients were possibly left to fend for themselves; at that time (1980’s) I was working in downtown Chicago. See article from


This is NOT a tirade again Reagan or Republications or Democrats. It’s just trying to point out the facts about the above unfortunate political choices made by many in our Government regarding an issue.

The second time I saw “homeless” Americans was while I was living in Lombard, a suburb of Illinois. It was around 1981, we were going through a BAD recession. One of the car dealers on Roosevelt Road went out of business and there was a sign posted at the vacant dealership property that said “May God Bless America.” I also saw a family of 3 or 4 people, this time at a busy intersection, holding a sign that said “homeless, need food.” During that same period of time, this time exiting a superhighway at another suburban area, it was a woman and her 12-year-old son. She held a sign saying ‘homeless.”  Now in the year 2016, I take the bus to go to my dentist. I see homeless individuals holding signs and standing in the median strips of the roads. It scares me, I think “there but for the grace of God go I”.

Getting back to the Chicago Tribune article, I’ll give you a quote:

“In the park, Wheaton was asked what he thought of the city’s [Portland’s] homelessness strategy. “Well, I’m still homeless,” he said smiling. “Guess it’s not working.”

Now, of course, we’ve had the Great Recession or as I have called it from the beginning, The Great Depression Redux! We have heard about all of the homeless people living in the forest preserves. In Chicago we have many forest preserves, the preserves have become a refuge as well as green space for the citizens of the area.

In retrospect

The United States became an industrial powerhouse after World War II (WWII). Because the men were drafted* to fight the war, women went to work. The American housewife becamerosie riveter

Rosie the Riveter during the war and the American family became a two-wage earner household after the war.  Automobiles gave Americans mobility. Paved super highways gave Americans the access to drive further away. That’s how the American “suburb” came into existence; along with the G.I. (Government Issue) home loan which allowed military veterans a way to purchase a home in the new suburbs. EUREKA! THE AMERICAN DREAM!

*yes, at that time all eligible males over 18 years old were eligible for the military draft; we no longer have a military draft.

Guess what! To me, America started to decline in the 70’s. I could perceive that something was wrong, but you just couldn’t put your finger on it.  You just couldn’t put your finger on it. Our “homeless issue” is only one severe symptom of U.S. governmental policies gone wrong.  To bring this posting to a close, just what can we do NOW!

Well, it’s an election year. It’s a very pivotal election. Does it compare to, say, the presidential election of 1860 which Abraham Lincoln won or the 1932 election which Franklin Roosevelt won? One could say that every American Presidential election was a pivotal election. More than any other time in history, not only is there the possibility of every American citizen to be connected to each other via electronic means, but also to the world at-large. And, these connections are instantaneous, instantaneous! Thanks to the camera phone we can talk, text, photograph, and broadcast information as it happens. Thus, thought, action, and/or consequence, many times,  are not given time to ponder before action or reaction takes place .

The Presidential conventions are almost here. I pray for common sense, sanity, diplomacy, ethics, and decency to prevail.  As Rosie the Riveter said “We can do It!”


“Eye Crosser” Archive

Here’s #3 of my Archive postings as part of my Blogging Branding course.

Beginning and End of Economic Cycle

CDOs – Collaterized Debt Obligations

What is a Reserve Currency?

Interest Rates

What is Inflation?

Debt vs. Deficit

Shadow Banking System

Capitulation? Don’t you mean Capitalization?

U.S. Debt Limit

Velocity of Money

Is it Consumer Confidence or Consumer Sentiment

Who prints the Money? The Federal Reserve Bank or the U.S. Treasury?

The Reins Act

Current Account Deficit

Negative Interest Rates

Is this a Bluff? Brokered or Contested Presidential election

Dodd-Frank Act

What! Devalue a Currency, they can do that?

Trade Deficits and a little bit about Exchange Rates


“By the Numbers” Archive

The Day 5 suggestion on our Branding Blogging course is such a good idea, I’ve created two more Archive pages of my themed postings. This one is #2.

CPI, Consumer Price Index

GDP, Gross Domestic Product

Market Indices

The Beige Book

Real lowdown on Real Estate

PPI, Producer Price Index

Let’s talk about Minimum Wage

Measuring the Markets

U.S. Economic Indicators


Day 5 Brand Blogging: using your Archives

When writing new posts, refer to past pieces with well-placed links. Readers are already engaged with your post, so pointing them to other content draws them deeper into your blog.”

Wow, I’m already using this one. And, here’s the proof:

Great Recession Retrospective Redux

A Retrospective on the Great Recession

In fact, I’ll add a new “archive” blog posting to fulfill today’s assignment. This posting will highlight all of my “Signs of the Times” themed blogs for easier viewing and reading pleasure:  Signs of the Times Archive


Signs of the Times Archive – 5/29/2016

Does your Company offer College Tuition Reimbursement?

Front Porch Pirates

Killer Apps

Thoughts on Jobs and Jobs Training

Security (Safety) vs. Privacy

Peripheral Stuff

Thriving or Dying – Which Type of Industry do you Work in?

Vintage Retail

And then there were?

Crude Oil Boom & Bust

Day 4: Branding Blogging

David Letterman (  had a “Top 10” list so why shouldn’t I? My “Top 10” are the ten blog postings with the most hits in 2015 and so far in 2016 (May). I am approaching the 12th month of my blog, my first anniversary so to speak. The Course 201 Branding assignment for Day 4 actually fits right into my “first anniversary.”

What’s so interesting is that the ten most-read blogs has changed. But then again, maybe it’s not to be surprised or that the ranking of blogs is changing. After all, I post new material on my blog frequently (well, take that a little “tongue in cheek, please), but actually the topic changes with the current news. My brain sparks an idea from a news headline or a commentator remark, or perhaps even a TV program. Anyway, enough pontificating and on with the list:

For the year 2015


For the year 2016

Obviously, since I continually post, newer postings should show up in my “top ten”, but what also makes me happy is that readers are “rummaging” through my Archives.  Yes, rummaging makes me very happy because that’s what I hoped my blog would be… a reference site, a “gee did she say anything useful about “this”? I think that I’m getting better at putting a little humor in “economics.” Oh, did you know that there IS an economist who is also a professional actor? No, you didn’t. Well, his name is Ben Stein. Here’s a YouTube video of his famous “Dry Eyes” commercial:

So you see, Economics can have humor. How I wish I’d had Dr. Stein as my economics professor, perhaps I would have become an economics instructor instead of a computer trainer. On second thought, is either one a good choice? Just joking.

Have fun with your “stats.” Don’t get too hung up. Should I do a couple more idioms? Go with the flow. The squeaky wheel gets the most oil. Squeaky, in this case, means “the more blog posts you make, the more hits and “likes” that you will receive.”

Day 3 course 201

So, OK dear reader, I changed the size of fonts, WOW, I changed the fonts too! Unfortunately, my site is not a “photogenic” site. Very low on “full-color” photos or any photos for that matter.

I hope that the smaller size fonts suit “smart” phones and other communication paraphernalia. Quite frankly, the extra large font in the header was bugging me to no end! So changing the fonts did make sense.

Was your “Day 3” more productive than mine? Hope so.

Numbers Game


  1. 1,237
  2. Nine Eleven
  3. November 22, 1963

Needless to say, you probably know the significance of Number 2, it’s the date of the attacks on the U.S. World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the forced crash of a third suicide airplane in the fields of Pennsylvania. Number #3, for anyone who was living at that time, was the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Many people of a certain age can even recall where they were when they heard the news of Kennedy’s death. I certainly can recall where I was and even who took the phone call and made the announcement to the office area in general.

Today, I was eating lunch in a local coffee shop. The TV was on and the CNN news channel was broadcasting. What I saw was the news that Donald Trump has achieved the “sacred” number of votes needed to secure the Republication Party’s Presidential nomination. Trump is “in”, according to the “Rules of the Road”, Trump made the cut, Trump got the gold ring …can you think of any more idioms to say!

Much will be written about today’s feat by Donald Trump. I will not try to contribute to it because there’s not much I could say of any substance.

My contribution if any is call attention to the significance of numbers. I sat in that restaurant thinking that I will probably remember where I was when I saw that Trump achieved the Republication nomination guarantee goal of 1,237 delegate votes.

Here’s a link to the CNN story:


His running mate for vice president will be a very interesting topic of conversation; will we know who it is before the Republication convention???

And, the beat goes on, a little Sonny & Cher to rock your day: