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    Entries in food (14)

    Wednesday
    Feb082017

    Over, Under, and Properly Rated #4 - Business Travel Edition

    NOTE: My current favorite sports talk show is the Russillo and Kanell Show that airs nationally on ESPN radio. On the show, the hosts occasionally do a 'rated' segment where they categorize sports teams, players, and other aspects of sports and pop culture into one of three buckets. 'Overrated' for things they think are generally praised or valued more than they should be. 'Underrated' for the opposite - things that do not get enough attention or accolades. And finally 'Properly' rated, for the things that receive about the correct level of praise or derision.

    It is a fun segment, complete with sound effects, and in the spirit of running out of good ideas this week, I am going to steal borrow for this site. So here goes, the fourth installment, of 'Over, Under, and Properly Rated' (SFB edition). I am going with a business travel theme this time, since I have been back on the road some after a January lull and also because I am pretty sure the world does not need another blog about employee engagement or robots coming for our jobs right about now.

    So here goes...

    Overrated

    1. The fun places you will see! - Writing this from a hotel room in rainy, damp, dreary Cleveland. That is not a knock on Cleveland, you could substitute Newark, Pittsburgh, or Dallas and it would be pretty much the same. At least half, if you are lucky, of the places you will travel for business are places you'd never go to otherwise. 

    2. Turn down service - Let me see, I had to jump to attention with a startling knock on the door so that someone could fold back the blanket a foot and a half and drop two milk chocolate squares on the night stand? No thanks. 

    3. The hotel indoor pool - Unless you are traveling with kids under 10, you will never, ever dip a toe in the indoor pool. Can that room smell any weirder?

    4. 'Comfort' Class - You just paid $59 more each way for 1.2 inches additional leg room. And one 'free' Bud Light.

    5. Going out for drinks/dinner with the local staff - Usually fun for about an hour. Then the locals are all thinking 'It's Wednesday night, I have things to do at home, when can I get out of here?', and you start thinking, 'I had to get up at 3:45AM to catch my flight here, I am about to crash hard. When can I get out of here?'

    Underrated

    1. Hotel in-room coffee makers - You might take these for granted. You might even think the quality of the coffee is terrible, (it is). But tell me how much you enjoy that 37th floor city view room in Vegas until you realize that there is no coffee maker in the room and you're facing a 18 minute trek and a 23 minute long wait at the Starbucks in the lobby.

    2. The chance that being around all those people in tight spaces like planes will make you very sick - The sickest I have ever been in my life was about seven or so years ago when I picked up the Swine Flu (remember that), after a quick two-day, one-night trip into NYC for business. I was knocked flat for 10 days, every muscle I had (not many) ached, and I don't think I got off of my sofa for more than 8 minutes a day. The illnesses you can pick up on a commuter flight to JFK are legion.

    3. The Sky, Admiral's, Captain's or whatever Club you use at the airport - This is the best travel investment that any regular business traveler can make, (yes, I would rate it higher than TSA Pre-check). Just one bad weather night and a 7-hour layover in JFK or LGA will make the $500 or so annual fee worth it right there. And it seems to me that the Airport Clubs are all getting nicer, while almost every other aspect of air travel is getting worse.

    4. Business/First class to Asia, (or anywhere else really far) - Another investment I would recommend, (even better if you can get someone else to fund this), is the splurge upgrade to Business/First Class for any flight you may have to take of 12 hours or more. Why? Because if you only take this kind of a flight once in your life, you will always remember it as the best flight you ever had. The last Business Class pod I had on a flight to China was bigger than my first apartment. And the food was much better too.

    5. Frequent Flyer Status - Things get a little better with 'Gold' status. Things get better still with 'Platinum' status. But things get much, much better with 'Diamond' status. Which it is why it is so hard to get. And worth every stopover in Detroit instead of flying directly to Chicago that you have to endure. If you are just starting to travel for business, pick one airline and stick with it. Cling to it like grim death if you must. You want status.

    Properly Rated

    1. Room service - Pros: It's food that someone brings to your room after you make one phone call. And you can eat in your bathrobe and no one cares. Cons: Overpriced, usually mediocre food.

    2. Rental cars - Pros: It is someone elses car! Let's do a neutral drop as we pull out of the Courtyard by Marriott! Cons: How do I turn on the headlights? Arghhh! That was the windshield wipers!

    3. 'Local' TV/news - Kind of fun to watch a different city's local news shows to get a little bit of the flavor of the place. But tempered by the fact that local car dealers and personal injury attorney advertising is just as annoying on the road as it is at home.

    4. The Hotel Gym - Often, you will be so bored and stir crazy in your room that you will work out more when you are on the road which is good. But, it is a hotel gym. You see some strange stuff in there.

    5. Eating at Chili's, Applebee's, or any other place you can eat at that is within five minutes of where you live - Sure, you feel like a jerk for eating at a nondescript chain place. But, it probably saves you at least 27 minutes of scrolling through Yelp trying to figure out if 3.5 stars means the same thing in San Antonio as it does in Des Moines.

    What do you think? Do I have it right? 

    Is this post itself over, under, or properly rated?

    Have a great day.

    Wednesday
    Apr062016

    Pies, ranked

    In collaboration with my HR Happy Hour Show Co-host, Trish McFarlane, we present the authoritative, unscientific, unresearched, subjective, and 100% accurate ranking of pies.

    10. Boston Cream - (Trish says there is some controversy if this is 'pie'. It is.)

    9. Banana Cream - A good way to introduce the fruit to an unwilling eater.

    8. Vinegar - this is a Trish pick - it involves custard not so much vinegar. It's a midwest thing.

    7. Apple - more for the nostalgia than the tasteVinegar pie

    6. Cherry - Cool drink of water.

    5. Lemon Meringue - How come there are not more 'meringue' pie types?

    4. Peach - Very underrated pie.

    3. Pecan - is 'Pe-can' or 'Pe-Kahn'? Doesn't matter.

    2. Pumpkin - deserves to be eaten more than once a year

    1. Key lime - 'I could eat this all day' - Trish

    As always, you can disagree with these rankings, but of course, you would be wrong.

    Friday
    Mar252016

    Easter candy, ranked

    In preparation for the imminent arrival of everyone's favorite Bunny, your entirely unscientific, unresearched, incomplete, and 100% accurate ranking of Easter basket candies:

    398 - Spiced jelly beans

    397 - 11 - <big list of forgettable candies>

    10. Solid chocolate bunny

    9. Lindt Chocolate Carrots

    8. Peeps

    7. Milk Chocolate Peeps

    6. Mini Robin Eggs

    5. Reese's Peanut Butter Egg

    4. Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny (the best part is the hard candy bunny eyeball)

    3. Cadbury Creme Egg

    2. Russell Stover Marshmallow Egg

    1. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

    As always, you can disagree with these rankings but of course you would be wrong. 

    Have a great, long weekend, hope your basket is filled with whatever it is you love.

    Friday
    Mar182016

    CHART OF THE DAY: The End of Soda (or Pop, if that's how you roll)

    Quick shot for a busy Friday, today's chart is from our pals at Business Insider and shows what BI calls an 'epic' (I'd say it is more 'moderate') decline in per capita soda (or pop) consumption in the USA over the last 18 years.

    Here is the chart, and after that, as always, some FREE commentary from me after the data:

    The headline number is that per capita soft drink consumption has declined from a peak of 53 gallons in 1997 all the way down to 40 gallons in 2015. So just about a 25% decline. Still 41 gallons is a lot of soda, (observed as I down my second Diet Dr. Pepper of the day).

    Why is this important? I am note sure it is, but to me it is at least interesting.

    Could it be, at least by this one measure, the public is finally getting more concerned about the ill effects of the consumption of empty calories from sugary drinks? Or maybe the focus on employee wellness and well-being by lots and lots of organizations is having a positive impact on people's habits with respect to soft drink consumption? Perhaps it's a generational thing. Do 14 year olds like to drink Coke or Mt. Dew?

    Of could it be a simple lack of innovation by the soft drink makers themselves? After all, while we love and praise innovative companies, the second that Coke or Pepsi messes about with the formula or our favorite drink the backlash is immediate and the outrage is enormous.

    Who knows for sure? But as an observer of the world, I find it interesting for sure. Perhaps you do as well.

    Have a great weekend!

     

    Friday
    Feb122016

    GUEST POST: Diet Sodas, Ranked

    Editor's Note: Today, in a very special event on the Steve Boese blog, and perhaps becoming a regular Friday feature, we present very, very important guest post. 

    Today's post is from none other than the former child star of TVs 'Blossom', Tim Sackett, now an HR and recruiting guru/jedi/pundit. Prior to achieving success in the world of HR and recruiting, Tim worked the county fair and carnival circuit for many years and is purported to have created numerous innovations that persist today, but sadly are not credited to Tim. Let's just say if you've ever had a spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl you probably owe Tim a thank you.

    Tim has always been known to have an opinion (or three), on just about anything, and since the 'Ranked' series on the blog here has turned into such a viral sensation, Tim felt compelled to weigh in on a topic that hits very close to home for HR pros: Diet Sodas.

    Enjoy! 

    Diet Sodas, Ranked

    by Tim Sackett

    Why the hell are we ranking Diet Sodas on a HR Technology blog? Because we can! Also, if you don't know, diet soda is the life-blood of most great HR pros.  I know some of you will say coffee, but that's because you're not really an HR pro.  Diet soda is the drink of choice for true HR pros for a number of reasons:

    - It doesn't give you bad breath and great HR pros actually talk to employees

    - It's less expensive than Starbucks, and HR pros are underpaid

    - It's crisp, clean and refreshing! (Oh wait, wasn't that a commercial)

    Anyway, for those who know me, you know I have a diet soda addiction. I currently consume about eight diet sodas a day, that range in size from 12oz to the 32oz we-must-be-in-union-negotiations sized cups.  Heck, I drink to cans of Diet Dew before I even get to work in pull into work in the morning at 7:30am!

    So, let's break down the Top 10 Diet Sodas of all time:

    #10 - Tab

    The original was the best, it caused cancer in lab rats. I had a volleyball coach in high school that drank a 12 pack of Tab a day! He never got cancer. Tab was one of the first attempts at major drink manufacturers to make and market a diet soda. It tasted like aluminum and the after taste was so strong you could still taste it an hour later, but it was so addicting!

    #9 - Fresca

    A grapefruit flavored diet drink. Fresca means 'fresh' in Spanish, which doesn't describe this drink at all, but I love the marketing! Fresca seems to be the perfect drink for older HR pros, who love cats and lean cuisine.  Strong after taste, but overall not an awful option when it comes to diet soda flavors.

    #8 - Diet 7Up

    Let's face it, no one really drinks Diet 7Up unless you have an upset stomach, or you're mixing it with whiskey.  I would actually question the sanity of an individual at work just drinking a Diet 7Up just because they wanted to. I've had a can Diet 7Up in my refrigerator going on 9 years now. Same can, no one ever wants it. It actually was one of the first diet sodas I ever tasted, that actually tasted close to the original.

    #7 - Diet Barq's Root Beer

    Really all Diet root beer tastes the same. Which is actually quite good if you like the taste of root beer. The problem is most people stop drinking root beer around 15 years of age, when it stops being cool to drink something with 'beer' in the name, when you can just drink beer.  All that being said, diet root beers changed the game for diet soda manufacturers because they were forced to develop diet drinks that didn't taste awful.

    #6 - Diet Sprite

    Unlike Diet 7Up, Diet Sprite became cool enough to drink, thanks mostly do the a marketing agreement Coke got with the NBA to market Sprite to kids.  Somehow, dumb parents around the country began to believe that "Sprite" was like a healthy alternative to Coke, because it was caffeine free. By that association, with the NBA, Diet Sprite became a clear diet soda drink of choice for professionals trying to act like they were cutting back on caffeine.

    #5 - Diet Sunkist Orange

    Really, put any flavor of Sunkist at this level - orange, grape, red drink, etc. Like root beer, these flavored diet sodas actually taste really good. It's like a candy treat in the middle of the day, minus all the calories. Sure you have to put up with some snickers from your co-workers for drinking a kids soda, but it doesn't matter because it tastes so good!

    #4 - Diet Dr. Pepper

    The first diet soda to sell itself as 'tasting' like the original. It wasn't the first, but they marketed it better than anyone else for that purpose and it got a lot of people to try it. Also, it lived up to its billing, for the most part. Diet Dr. Pepper really does taste like regular Dr. Pepper (wait, where have I heard that before?).

    #3 - Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry & Diet Cherry Coke

    Turns out if you add "Cherry" to any diet soda it makes it better!

    #2 - Diet Coke

    Okay, confession time. If we had an actual vote of HR pros and favorite diet soda, Diet Coke would win by a landslide. But, that's only the case because most HR Pros are just sheep and follow the heard!  The actual best-tasting diet cola drink is Diet Pepsi by far, but Coke adds a special chemical to their soda to make it more addictive (or at least that's what I read on Reddit). HR Pros love Diet Coke, and are very brand loyal (hat tip: Jennifer McClure).

    #1 - Diet Mt. Dew

    If God him or herself had to pick only one diet soda to drink the rest of their life it would be Diet Mt. Dew.  Part nectar of the gods, part crack cocaine, Diet Dew is the best drink ever made. Not best diet drink, best drink! If given the option of having an HRIS system or a Diet Mt. Dew soda fountain in my office, I would always choose Diet Dew!

    Hit me in the comments - what's your favorite diet soda and why?

    Steve here - solid stuff Tim. I probably would have had Diet Dr. Pepper a little higher, but that is because I have been pushing hard for them to sponsor the HR Happy Hour Show.  

    And as always you can disagree with these rankings, but of course you would be wrong.

    Have a great weekend!