Sunday, June 30, 2013

"The Gettysburg Address Was 272 Words, By The Way..."

Time for another edition of "increase your word power".

And our word for today.


Definition forthcoming. (Play along here and don't Google prematurely).

Example follows.

Which Donut Is More Popular- Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' Donuts?
By  (The Motley Fool Blog Network) - June 29, 2013

Donuts. Who doesn’t love them?

America’s two most favorite doughnut brands are without question Dunkin’ Brands Group  and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts But which brand does America love more?

Dunkin’ Brands Group operates more than 17,400 points of distribution in nearly 60 countries worldwide, including 10,400 Dunkin’ Donuts and 7,000 Baskin-Robbins. The Krispy Kreme hot Original Glazed® doughnut can be found in 22 countries, and the company operates 773 stores.

Clearly Dunkin’ Donuts operates more stores, but everyone knows that both brands sell doughnuts in more places than just their stores. Neither company reports the number of doughnuts sold (but wouldn’t it be cool if they did?), so investors will just have to judge the companies on the numbers like they would for any other brand. (Followed by a thoughtful taste test, of course.)


For the quarter ended May 5 (Q1 FY 2014), Krispy Kreme Doughnuts beat expectations on revenue and met expectations on earnings per share. Profit increased 33% on 11% revenue growth. The company brought in revenue of $120.6 million, and GAAP reported sales were 11% higher than the prior-year quarter's $108.5 million. Same-store sales increased 11.4% from the same quarter in the year previous year, the company's 18th straight quarterly increase, giving investors something to smile about besides a hot glazed doughnut.

Dunkin’ Brands has a market cap of more than $4 billion. The dividend yield is about 1.9%. The long-term EPS growth forecast is more than 15%. The operating margin is higher than the industry average and the return on equity is more than 19%.

The company is on a roll, expanding all around the U.S., particularly in the Western states. Dunkin’ estimates it will open 330 to 360 new restaurants in 2013 -- that is nearly 50% of the number of stores Krispy Kreme operates! Nearly one-fifth of the new restaurants will be located in the Western states, and are expected to bring in 64% of sales in 2013. Dunkin’s first-year sales growth in the West and new emerging markets grew 30%, while sales growth in the established markets grew 17%.

The company’s full-year 2013 earnings guidance details 6% to 8% growth in revenue, 10% to 12% growth in adjusted operating income, and an EPS between $1.50 to $1.53, equal to a growth of about 15%. Growth for 2014 and beyond is estimated at about 17%.

Playing field

Both Dunkin’ Brands and Krispy Kreme are strong, solid, tasty investments on their own. It may appear at first that Krispy Kreme is not really in competition with Dunkin’ Donuts based on the number of stores alone. But the real truth hides in the revenue and profits -- Dunkin' Donuts (not overall Dunkin’ Brands) saw U.S. revenue of $119.6 million in the most recent quarter, and Krispy Kreme brought in revenue of $120.6 million. Krispy Kreme may not have as many stores, but it makes up for it in sales through other venues.

However, Jim Morgan, CEO of Krispy Kreme, doesn’t want you to compare his brand and Dunkin’. Krispy Kreme is happy to be just what it is -- a doughnut shop. The company is 87% doughnuts and 13% beverages. The company has not changed its style or offerings much over the years. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t see some room for growth and change.

Morgan told the Charlotte Business Journal:  

But we do need to leverage our coffee. We’ve got great coffee. We need to get out there on social media and encourage those customers already coming for doughnuts to pick up a beverage. That’s one of our biggest opportunities. I’ll be disappointed if I’m standing at a drive-through a year from now and see people picking up a dozen doughnuts and already have their chosen coffee in their cup-holder. I want people to realize they’re coming to Krispy Kreme to get their doughnuts, but they’ve got great coffee or great chillers. If we could get to 80% doughnuts and 20% coffee that would be game-changing for us in terms of profitability.

And that is good news for investors!

Following the leader

The truth is that Dunkin’ wants to be more like Starbucks  Dunkin' Brands has put a huge emphasis on its coffee in recent years, hoping to draw in more customers after that initial morning rush. Dunkin’ only makes about 40% of its sales after 11 a.m.; Starbucks makes about 50%.

Dunkin’ also wants to double its number of stores to 15,000, and has begun to revamp its franchises. The stores are becoming more relaxing with a more Starbucks-like feel inside with warmer colors, flat screen televisions, and music. Dunkin’ has also started to add more items to the menu besides donuts that are more lunch or early dinner fare, such as chicken sandwiches and iced tea.

Dunkin’ will have to work hard to keep up with Starbucks though. Starbucks had budgeted more than $900 million to refurbish existing stores and build new ones. The company plans to renovate close to 1,400 of its 11,000 U.S. locations in FY 2013.

Starbucks continues to take over the world by addicting its inhabitants to coffee with plans to have more than 20,000 retail stores on six continents by 2014. The chain saw same-store sales rise 2.9% in April compared to a 0.3% decline in February and a 1.3% increase in March. Fiscal 2013 same-store sales are expected to be up 6% in the Americas.

Dunkin’ does well to chase both dreams of coffee retailer and donut shop. Both industries are doing well. Sales at U.S. coffee shops increased 8% last year, according to researcher Technomic. And in the 52 weeks ending June 30, 2012, donuts contributed 7.4% of total bakery dollar sales across the U.S., steady from the previous year, according to (sales reported are for all bakery outlets, not just Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts).


There’s no saying which donut America loves more -- Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme. But one thing is for sure, Americans love donuts, and they love coffee. And as long as that doesn’t change (and why would it?), both companies are great investments for the future.

As promised, here is the definition of today's word, courtesy of Merriam-Webster.

1: containing more words than necessary : wordy verbose
reply>; also : impaired by wordiness verbose style>
2: given to wordiness verbose
ver·bose·ly adverb
ver·bose·ness noun
ver·bos·i·ty \-ˈbä-sə-tē\ noun
In this particular example, it can be said "the writer of that piece exhibits an obvious verbosity".
Because the writer of the piece used 1,017 words to answer the question posed by the title of the piece.
While the answer turns out to be just two words.
Nobody knows.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"The Name Game..."

Up to this point, I've resisted adding my two cents to the massive pile of loose change that's been thrown in the jar labeled "Paula Deen".

Those who know me at all knew that wasn't going to last long.


First, though, let's check the change jar for the latest coinage.

Advance sales for "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up" sent it skyrocketing to the top of's best-seller list this week, though it wasn't scheduled to be released until October.
But on Friday afternoon, Ballantine Books, a Random House imprint, announced it had made the "difficult decision" to cancel the cookbook's publication.

Refunds for those who pre-ordered the book will be handled by the various retailers, said Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum.

Earlier Friday, JCPenny  and Sears  said they would stop selling her products.

On Thursday, Home Depot  and Target which both sold Paula Deen-branded kitchen and cookware, decided to end their deals with Deen, prompting her to seek assistance from a crisis-management firm.

Drugmaker Novo Nordisk  suspended its relationship with her, and home shopping channel QVC said it had also "decided to take a pause" from selling Deen's products.

"Paula won't be appearing on any upcoming broadcasts, and we will phase out her product assortment on our online sales channels over the next few months. We all think it's important, at this moment, for Paula to concentrate on responding to the allegations against her and on her path forward," said QVC president Mike George in a letter.

George's letter went on to say that the company believes in second chances and this may not be a "forever decision" for QVC.
Deen, who is famous for her fondness of butter and other unhealthy foods, has been mired in controversy before. Last year, after months of rumors, she admitted to having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and said she would be the spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk's "Diabetes in a New Light" educational campaign. Novo Nordisk manufactures Victoza -- an injectable, non-insulin drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

In an attempt to stop the hemorrhaging, Paula Deen hired Smith & Company, the crisis-management firm run by Judy Smith -- the inspiration for the hit ABC show Scandal -- according to a source familiar with the arrangement. Smith has served as a consultant for a host of high-profile clients including Monica Lewinski, Michael Vick and Wesley Snipes.
Deen's latest troubles began almost two weeks ago when a deposition in a discrimination lawsuit was released in which she admitted using the n-word in the past. Dean has insisted she does not tolerate prejudice, but her apologies failed to suppress the controversy.

Wal-Mart which sold Paula Deen branded baked goods, cookware, dishware and kitchen appliances, and Caesars which operated Paula Deen-themed restaurants at four of its casinos, cut Deen loose on Wednesday.

Pork producer Smithfield Foods, with a line of Deen-branded hams, dropped her as a spokeswoman on Monday. Last week, the Food Network said it wouldn't renew Deen's contract when it expires at the end of the month.

 At this stage of the circus, in the midst of the cacophony of a million voices castigating and a billion stones being cast, four, and only four, succinct words sum up the brouhaha for me.

A. Little. Bit. Pregnant.

In the private conversations that I've had, to date, with friends and peers on the subject of this silly tsunami, I've avoided being sucked into the tar pit of debating whether Paula Deen is a racist or whether her use of the N word constitutes a moral offense so egregious that she deserves to be cast as Heather Prynne with a greasy spatula, sentenced to wear a fancy embroidered "R" , as opposed to the infamous"A". on her Southern frock for the duration.

My attitude about it all is a little less complicated.

See the previously stated four succinct words.

And here's how the logic looks on my own little spreadsheet.

If Paula Deen is to see her ass, and life, southern fried in the crucible of public opinion, let's, at the very least, stop tippy toeing all around this word that, with mere utterance, is causing fortunes to be lost and lives to be changed.

And just say it.

Out loud.

With all due respect.

The word is nigger.

And, once again, holding fast to my determination to not be sucked into hours of wasted time engaging in the discussion, debate and/or argument about the complexities of how that single word seemingly has such enormous powers of destruction, I've boiled it down, or chicken fried it, as the case may be, to what seems, to me, to be the essence of the recipe.

The word "nigger" is either offensive.

Or it is not.

The fact that hundreds of thousands of people, not to mention, dozens of corporate suits, seem to think that the word is, in fact, offensive, would lead those who might have yet to make up their mind about the matter, to come down on the side of propriety and join the chorus calling for Paula Deen's shish-ka-bobbing.

On the other hand, however, there is a fairly sizeable group of people that apparently doesn't subscribe to the salaciousness of said syllables.

And that would be any and all members of the culture, of any and all races, creeds and/or colors, who believe that while usage of the word "nigger" is unacceptable as a denigration, it is, in fact, not only acceptable, but even assumed appropriate when used as, among other things, a greeting, a commiseration or even as an affectionate exchange between those who find the word worthy of inclusion on the long list of everyday words that people use to greet, commiserate and/or affectionately exchange with one another.

Words like, say, pal.

Or buddy.

Or sweetie.

Or, even, friend.

As in, "what's up, pal?"

Or "you is one crazy buddy".

Or even "that's some serious shit, sweetie".

Or, "so, you liked knocked up that Kardashian, friend?"

Even "what is your problem, amigo?"

But that last word inches us close to another potential kettle of politically incorrect piranha, so let's andale, andale right on past that.

Historians, sociologists, race relations educators and/or experts and/or hip hop music fans will attest that the use of the word "nigger", in certain, and many, contexts is apparently both acceptable and appropriate.

So, simple, basic, primary logical thought inevitably pops the simple, basic, primary question.

Why is Paula Deen being stoned at the gates, not to mention the bank and stock market?

Because she used a racial slur?

Well, wouldn't the term "slur" indicate the use of an offensive word?

Which will bring us back to do, re, mi and the question that no one still has been able to answer to everyone's moral certainty.

Is the word "nigger" offensive?

It is either is.

Or it isn't.

Because it has to be one or the other.

A. Little. Bit. Pregnant.

And until that question is answered to everyone's moral certainty, Paula Deen, no matter how ignorant, uneducated and/or socially stunted she might be, is being shunned for committing an offense that, in the big picture, has yet to be determined to be an offense.

Saying that she has, in fact, used the word, and I say this with all due respect...


Until a clear and consistent determination is made, these little jabs at justice remain a joke.

A joke that Paula Deen, for one, certainly doesn't find funny.

Cause, personally, I can understand why she ain't laughin', nigger.

With all due respect.