Friday, February 22, 2008

Ode to Postum

My partner and I began our relationship with Postum about six months ago. The caffeine-free roasted grain coffee substitute was invented by C.W. Post in 1895, and we two, one a coffee drinker and one not, found the slightly sweet instant beverage was a nice way to end the day. So in the Fall of 2007 we started buying it on a regular basis, often sharing a cup over the phone from our respective abodes. But in December and January we began to have difficulty finding Postum in our local stores. In early January, I found a few jars at the C-Town grocery in New London, CT, and bought three. I recall that there was at least one other jar on the shelf--maybe more--and I now wish I had bought out the entire stock.

It seems that in December of 2007, over a century after it was introduced but just a few months after we became enamored of this hot drink, it was discontinued by Kraft foods. A cruel turn of events for two true Postum lovers. As I write this, there are several jars of Postum being auctioned off on eBay for $20 and up. Also as I write this we are both enjoying mugs of Postum, some of the last few we will have. We are savoring every sip.

Postum, you will be sorely missed. You left us far too soon. We are now forced to search for a surrogate, but so far no suitable substitute has appeared. Wish us luck.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Remembering The Deluxe, Champaign, Illinois

Tonight I had dinner at a bar in Providence, RI, and after ordering a beer battered fish sandwich, I was moved to put ketchup on it. Not malt vinegar or tartar sauce, both of which were delivered with the meal, but ketchup. This choice of condiment may not have any particular meaning to you, but for me it was a nod to my high school years in Urbana, IL.

On Green Street, in the heart of the University of Illinois campus town and just across the dividing line between the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, was The Deluxe, a slightly seedy bar and billiard hall famous for its fish sandwiches, served on a hamburger bun with onions. The tradition—which no one ever questioned—was that a Deluxe fish sandwich was always garnished with ketchup. This was cheap eats at its best, a meal that always went well with a bottle of Bud.

Now long gone, the Deluxe was frequented by working stiffs, college students, and faculty, many of whom still remember it fondly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Going Broke Release Party

We had a wonderful gathering at the art gallery in the Velvet Mill in Stonington, CT to celebrate the release of Going Broke: Why Americans Can’t Hold On To Their Money. Many friends and family were in attendance, as well as Connecticut College colleagues. The video was captured by my former student Dustin Wielt (now a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island) on his digital camera.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yes We Can Video

I am off to Hartford this afternoon to see Barack Obama speak at the Civic Center on the eve of Super Tuesday.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Disturbing Data on Obesity

This table comes from a January, 2008 report from the Congressional Budget Office on technological innovation and health care costs, and it tells a troubling tale. Between 1987 and 2001, the percentage of obese adults in the US increased from 12.3 to 20.7, but to make matters worse, controlling for inflation, during the same period per capita health care costs for obese adults increased by 50 percent. Health care costs have increased for all weight categories, but the increase from 1987 to 2001 is a direct function of weight. The lowest increase is for the underweight group, and the highest increase is for the morbidly obese group. The cost of health care for the 1.3 percent of Americans who are morbidly obese has gone up almost $2000.