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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Hold Your Breath

July wasn’t the disaster that it looked like a couple of weeks ago. Week 3 was the second-best of the year, erasing Week 2’s dramatic loss. The numbers below show how close I came to beating LY before sales dried up again this week. There’s no doubt why I failed: Tea Party Republicans held the economy hostage all week. Americans are all holding our breath until we find out whether Congress will allow a quick collapse through inaction or actively speed up our long-term decline. 

When the rosiest outcome removes trillions of dollars from the economy, the situation is inescapably dire. The Democrats bought into the conservatives’ deficit-reduction butchery months ago, so the conversation is entirely about how to alleviate the inevitable pain. Nobody (except economists) advocates postponing it until the patient is stronger.

It’s fascinating, and a little frightening, to watch the Republican Party splinter.

About 70% of American voters know that Republican radicals are behind today’s political paralysis. What’s wrong with the other 30%? If you subtract the 20% of Americans who are hopelessly ignorant about everything, that leaves only 10% of mentally competent voters who have been either blinded by ideology or hoodwinked by the vaunted Republican propaganda machine.

Surviving another 15 months until we get another chance to throw the bums out will be hard for all of us. So let’s just focus on next week and hope that Washington will get past its self-inflicted crisis and consumers will get back to consuming.


Total income: -3.4%
Total COGS: 1.7%
Payroll: -43.4%
Net Income (Profit): -471.5%

Year to Date:

Total income: -11.6%
Total COGS: -15.6%
Payroll: -11.3%
Net Income (Profit): -1,319.4%

And in the hope of surviving…an 80,000-circulation New Jersey magazine called EDGE plans to feature the Science Quiz wall clock in a gift guide due out in late August or early September. That’s right: it’s another random act of media! I could potentially sell hundreds of these, subject to their availability, my ability to physically move that much bulky stock, and my web host’s tolerance for a big traffic surge. This should solve my cash-flow crisis in time to buy new Christmas products. Better: It might lead to an ongoing relationship with the publication. If they will feature just one or two products a year, it could change my fortunes considerably.

I think I can survive another month. I used half of my emergency reserve to cover operating costs this month. Today’s bank balance is $19.74 against $2,154 in August charge bills. I can just barely stay above water if August sales match LY. Last August is when 2010 started to lose steam, so I have a realistic shot unless the government blows up the economy.

One small help: Host Gator closed my account and refunded $153 of my original $167 charge. And the company that owes me $235 says my check is in the mail. Celebrate the small victories!

And finally, a new reason to hate Blogger: A few weeks ago adding images through their new post editor stopped working. I got around that by going into "edit HTML" and inserting my links that way. Well, as of this week they have screwed up standard HTML tags, too. After way too much effort I figured out that I can upload images in the "edit HTML" view using the old post editor interface, and it does finally insert the picture with a whole paragraph of weird, non-standard HTML formatting. The way things are going, though, they will probably remove that soon, too, and you won't get these amusing little pictures anymore.

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