business news in context, analysis with attitude

Just some thoughts as we come to the end of the summer…I may actually add to this even while I’m on vacation…

I am an exceedingly fortunate person, in that people send me products from time to time that they are bringing into the marketplace, asking for an opinion or just wanting me to know what’s out there.

Some I love, some I like, some not so much.

But the one I got late last week is one that I love – Mrs. Fields Cookie Dough Snacks, which is frozen cookie dough designed to be eaten right from the pouch – it doesn’t get baked! There are no eggs in the bites, and there is a special heat-treated flour that makes them safe to eat raw. It is really, really good.

The folks at Rich Products, which makes Mrs. Fields Cookie Dough Snacks, sent them along to me because I’d mentioned in this space that my 15-year-old daughter was bemoaning the fact that she couldn’t get Nestlé Toll House cookie dough because of the recent recall. Well, they’ll be happy to know that she loves their new product … and the only problem that I can see is that none of our local supermarkets yet stock it. (Wegmans has it, but that’s a bit of a haul… The company is in the middle of a nationwide rollout that hopefully will bring the product closer to home.)

This is a free plug. No money has changed hands. But it’s a great product, and I hope it is successful.

Satellite radio, I have to come to believe, is the greatest invention made for the automobile since air conditioning.

When we drove to Gettysburg to Chicago to Columbus and then back to Connecticut, I found it to be invaluable - the reception was terrific and consistent, we could listen to baseball games from all over the country, and we could listen to Margaritaville Radio any time we wanted.

It was wonderful.

I know that XM and Sirius have had their troubles, mostly because they seem not to have figured out the financial model. But I’ll tell you this. Satellite radio is a fabulous invention.

This week, the DVDs containing the first season of “thirtysomething” finally were released…delayed for all these years because they needed to work overtime to get music clearances (an important component of a series that reflected a very specific place and time).

Some of you may not know “thirtysomething,” and some of you may not have fond memories of a television series that some thought was about a bunch of yuppies sitting around being self-involved.

But for some of us, “thirtysomething” was a near religious experience. Every Tuesday night, we saw our lives played out on-screen…people our age, with jobs like ours, dealing with issues like marriage and kids and aging parents and disease and even death that seemed so close to home. It was like the writers and producers had opened a vein and let it bleed out onscreen. But of course, it was far more artful than that.

I’ve watched a couple of the episodes from the first season, and find they hold up pretty well – the wardrobe and haircuts are kind of weird, but it is sort of like watching home movies, except with better writers and better looking people. I have tremendous affection for “thirtysomething,” mostly because it seems so familiar, even all these years later. Sure, it was a little pretentious from time to time, but it was the pretentiousness of young people who wanted to achieve art, not commerce. And the show reflects it – “thirtysomething” is all about people trying to hold onto their sanity and their marriages and their jobs and their friendships without succumbing to dysfunction. It’s great.

They’ll be releasing the subsequent seasons of “thirtysomething” every six months, and as the show evolved, it became darker and also presented a fascinating portrait of business in America. (Has there ever been a better TV villain than Miles Drentell, the head of DAA, played with Machiavellian sleaziness by David Clennon?) I look forward to these future sets immensely, and recommend the first season without reservation.

“District 9” is a disturbing science fiction movie that essentially is a parable about apartheid – it postulates that an alien space ship got marooned over Johannesburg, South Africa, and that all the aliens have been relegated to awful slums where they are treated like pariah. There is, of course, a government conspiracy at work, and special effects that bring “Alien” to mind. But while the movie is dark and violent, to my mind, it also is compelling and thought-provoking…which is what good science fiction should be.

It is the end of the summer, and so it is a great time to recommend what I view as a perfect late August/early September white wine – Hay Mambo, a 2006 “Bistro Style” wine that is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat Canelli, and Chenin Blanc.

Not only is this a delicious white – crisp and light and perfect with salad, seafood, or just sipping – but the folks at The Other Guys vineyard (part of the Sebastiani group) have come up with a unique bottle closure that they call a Zork – it combines a rubber cork with a screw top, and it is brilliant. I love it!

Great wine. Great idea. Go get some. It is just wonderful…
KC's View: