Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I've spent a considerable amount of time researching this, and I've concluded there is an optimal way to make a BLT sandwich.  Specifically - it'll taste quite a bit better based on how you assemble the ingredients.

Now, first off, my BLT includes bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, American cheese, a fried egg w/ some onions blended into it, and toast.  Here's one assembled:

But here's the key point:  It matters how you order the components on the sandwich  Simply putting the ingredients together randomly will make your sandwich less than what it could be.  It just won't taste as good.

So when you arrange a BLT sandwich, I suggest this ordering - from bottom to top between the two pieces of toast.   The bottom being the bottom of the sandwich as you are eating it - so that it's closer to your tongue.
1.  MAYO:  putting the mayo here is much better than putting mayo on the top of the sandwich.  I sometimes would mistakenly put mayo on the top piece of toast and wonder why my sandwich was no good.  Put the mayo on the bottom.
2.  TOMATOES:  put the tomatoes on the mayo near the bottom of the sandwich.  I like slicing little Roma or cherry tomatoes best because they keep longer and might have more flavor, but any tomato will do.  Keep it at the bottom.  The sandwich will taste drier if you don't put the tomato at the bottom.
3.  BACON:  Yes.  Put the bacon on top of the mayo and tomato.  As you eat the mayo, tomato, and bacon will all merge together and taste best in this order.  You can try it, but I think if you put the lettuce or other ingredients "between" any of these 3 ingredients, it won't taste as good.  Usually the bacon is coming out of the skillet at this point in time during sandwich assembly, so it's straight from the frying pan onto the sandwich.
4. CHEESE:  I put a half slice of American cheese on top of the bacon, broken in two pieces.  I think it helps hold the sandwich together as the cheese melts, and it just tastes good there.
5.  FRIED EGG w/ ONIONS.  I used to not put an egg on the sandwich, but found out I like it this way.  As I pull the bacon out of the skillet I put an egg in, and toss in some chopped onions with it while it is cooking.  I crack the yolk and mix the onion pieces with the egg and it all cooks into a single fried egg "patty".  The onions make a difference.  When the egg is done I put it on top of the cheese, which I think it melts to to help hold everything together.
6.  LETTUCE: The lettuce is best put on the top of the sandwich.  I think partially - I like the texture of the lettuce, and it'll still give a good crunch on the top of the sandwich without interfering with all the good stuff at the bottom.  Also - if you put the lettuce in the middle of the sandwich things will slide around like crazy.  Lettuce has a high viscosity I guess.  Don't believe me?  Try putting the lettuce in the middle of the sandwich - you'll have a wreck on your hands, and the lettuce anywhere but at the top will make your sandwich taste less good.

And the final point to reiterate.  Make sure you eat with layer 1 on the bottom closest to your tongue when eating, and layer 6 toward the roof of your mouth.  

That's pretty much it. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Job creators and Business

I hadn't posted in a while, and for some reason the thought about something I read a while back was floating around in my head today.  It relates to the phrase of "job creators" that we hear in political discourse.  I think too often that phrase is thrown around loosely and "job creators" gets equated with all business, even big established businesses who on net are shrinking workforce.

Now, obviously we shouldn't have issue with businesses shrinking work forces as needed to stay competitive, but at the same time we should probably make the distinction that pro-business policies are not necessarily the same as pro job creation policies.   What follows probably makes the distinction that pro-small business policies should be favored if job creation is the goal.

So I google around and find this article "Picking on the Job Creators"that points out for the 3 year period of data he looked at in summer of 2012 companies w/ 500 or more employees had decreasing net employment.  All of the net 2.6 million new jobs created over that time were on net from companies with less than 500 employees

I decided to look at the FRED data series on non-farm payrolls to see if things have changed.  All of the following charts are from that data  First I looked at the data series in totality from 1-2005 to 3-2014, and employment growth is shown in the following:

In the above we clearly see that over the entire time period of the data (05-present) we see that all the net job creation is coming from business with less than 500 employess, and 72% of job creation is coming from businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Below is what the picture looks like in annual terms from 2005 to 2013.  Interestingly, we've started to see the large businesses grow employment again beginning in 2010.   In particular note the employment changes as we moved through the financial crisis that started in the last half of 2007, and whose effects were primarily seen in employment data changes in 2008 and 2009.

So the thought I have looking at this is - so what has happened since 2008?  What size of business has been a net job creator for 2008 forward?  What businesses are creating jobs to replace those lost since the financial crisis?

So now lets look at the key time period from 2008 where employment growth turned decidedly negative in every business size, and pull that forward to present.

Alright, so now we see that since 2008 the small businesses of 1-49 employees have created the vast majority of jobs, more than replacing those that were lost in 08-09.  Interestingly businesses of 50-499 employees have still not climbed out of the hole they dug in 2008-09.  Same for businesses of size 500-999.   Interestingly the largest businesses that employ 1000 or more people have increased employment some now, and are part of the net job creator statistic.

Is this a good thing?  I really can't say.  My guess is these jobs are not as good as the jobs that were lost.  I have no data on that, just a suspicion.  I do think the data still points, however, to accommodative policy for small businesses if policy-makers are wanting to support employment growth.  And it's probably good for us to specifically think about small businesses of less than 50 employees when we hear the conversation about "job creation."