Sunday, March 30, 2008

Indianapolis Spotlight: Hum. V 'Simple Man'

I've been hearing this song, everyday, on RadioNow and I finally tracked it down. Turns out this kid is an Indianapolis boy on the verge of going big.

So here's the video.

Hum.V - Simple Man

Here's another song released on Hum.V's 2007 album "Simple Man". It's called "Patriot".

Here's a link to more information about Hum.V:

President by Wyclef Jean

Just came the new Wyclef Jean vid. It's a pretty neat song.

Here's a Fave - Chicken Grilled Taquitos from Taco Bell (commercial)

I love these things, and I have always been a fan of this commercial.

Club Chalups: It's Back!!!

This is probably one of the worst Taco Bell commercials out there. It's got that new 'groovy' feel but I really don't find the 'clubbin' scenario very interesting.

See....I told you so!

What's up with me? - A Matt Update.

Okay, I'm eight weeks into my Taco Bell experience, and it's Taco'tastic. I'm really beginning to find my groove at Franklin. I still make mistakes...plenty, but I'm starting to emerge as the leader that is expected. In the new, I will be the opening manager at
Stop 11 and will be running a few solo shifts at Franklin. We also have some big opportunities happening, the Club Chalupa is back and is coming with a super combo! Frutista's will be available soon, but topping the list is the switch to GTO (grilled to order). All of the tortilla's will be grilled on order.

On the personal side, we're trying to figure what's wrong with our cat. She's been having one too many accidents. My wife's been blogger like crazy, so check out here blogs at Squirrel Chatter to find out all the latest details.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Baseball Picks

Here's my picks for this year.

AL Pennant Winner – Los Angeles Angels (I just feel that they have the mojo to win, and it's not bad have Vlad on the roster.)

NL Pennant Winner – Colorado Rockies (By now, Rockies' pitchers have figured out how to pitch at home and are just as unstoppable on the road.)

2008 World Series Champion – Colorado Rockies (Beat the Angels in 6)

AL MVP – Vladimir Guerrero (He continues to tear up the league.)

NL MVP – Hanley Ramirez (Hanley is the best player in baseball right now)

AL Cy Young – James Shields (Underrated behind Kazmir, but primed for a big year.)

NL Cy Young – Brandon Webb (He struggled in spring training, but will get his stuff together for the season.)

AL Rookie of the Year – Alexei Ramirez (Middle infielders are great picks for this award.)

NL Rookie of the Year – Jayson Nix (see note above.)

AL Comeback Player of the Year – Dontrelle Willis (He still has his stuff, and now he has a new setting.)

NL Comeback Player of the Year – Kerry Wood (Great stuff for the reliever spot.)

Blog Review: The Father Life - Bock Beer Article

A great series of articles devoted to fathers (or fathers to be). Most topics are wrote in a very responsible perspective, but provide intelligent and thoughtful insights into fatherhood. Recently, Chris Osburn provided a great article on Bock beers.

Here's a quick look into his article, "There are four kinds of Bock beers: Bock, Maibock, DoppelBock, and Eisbock. Bock, the traditional version of the style, is bottom fermented like the others, but this one contains a clashing of malt and hop presence. The malt wins out in the end and makes for a rich flavor without a lot of bitterness. Maibock is the lighter and paler cousin of traditional Bock and is usually a little more bitter than traditional Bock."

For the full article, visit or Osburn on Tap .

Friday, March 21, 2008

What's my wife planning?

I woke up this morning to a surprise, four stakes are plotted outside in my background. She's been a little grumpy with me lately, and although she says it's just the plot for our herb garden, it looks surprisingly like the outline of a crude cemetary plot.

I better keep my eye's wide open. If I don't post in the next few days, come looking for me.

[BTW, i'm just kidding about all this its really just the outline for our eventual garden]

Here's the picture, I'll let you decide.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Great Dan Dakich Story...

Here's a great post from Terry Hutchen's IU Blog, Hoosiers Insider:

He writes, "IU interim coach Dan Dakich is always looking for ways to have fun. Thursday night was no exception. Prior to going in for his press conference with the media, Dakich was sitting in the stands with IU media relations assistant Jeff Keag prior to North Carolina's practice eating popcorn and checking out what was going on. He said he thought people were a little bored and so he asked a couple of kids out of the stands if they'd like to go down on the court and challenge him to a free throw contest. The kids agreed and Doc took them on. He would shoot five free throws and in every case he would win the challenges. He would then pump his fist and say things like, "Indiana 5, North Carolina zero" or something to that effect. After a while, he invited a whole section worth of Carolina fans down to stand around the free throw line and try to distract him when he was shooting free throws. Again, more fun for everyone. Dakich was clearly in his element here."

Tomorrow, IU plays Arkansas. My prediction, IU beats Arkansas 75 - 70. EJ scores 25 points and DJ contributes another double-double.

To view Terry's blog, visit (or click the link)


My first full day was overwhelming, exiting, and very fulfilling. I had a lot to do...all day. No lunch, no breaks, barely time to think. Initially, the RGM thought we would be able to have a little time to ease into things, but it was literally a non-stop workday. While I don't feel that I was a able to manage operations as well as I expect myself too, I was able to embrace the role of manager. Most importantly, I have a good feel for the business at Franklin. Be able to run shift during such a busy period, including making adjustments, solving problems, motivating, coaching, has gave me such a great awareness of ways I can effectively manage.

Okay, so I ran out of beef (and chicken, nacho cheese, nachos, cinnamon twists, 32 oz lids, 42 oz cups), however, the business still stayed open and everyone was still served. Most of all, CHAMPS was still delivered, and that's the most important factor.

Also, I was honored with a great complement. An elderly man, which I had served earlier in the afternoon told me that I did an excellent job and that I will make a great manager.

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Taco Bell Commercial - Johnny Cash Special

In the early 90's, Taco Bell aired the Johnny Cash commercial. It's a classic.

Today's the Day: Transitioning to Franklin

So today's the day, I'm now in my home store located in Franklin, Indiana. We've got a great staff and a great core crew, I look forward to this opportunity. Also, look for Taco Bell to unveil there Frutistas soon.

A fruitista is a fruit slushy drink that TB is looking to start selling in early summer. From what I understand, it will be available in Strawberry and Mango. Here's a quick review from Back Yard Blogger's Journal, "Taco Bell is relieving hell with the hottest freeze in this freaking 100 degree town. I'm talking about the smack-your-lips-and-take-another-sip Frutista Freeze. Who knew some much flavor and coolness could be handed to you with a spoon straw through a drive-thru window while at the same time rhyming with "Mista." I had the mango. It made me feel like a fool for attending parties & showers just for the sherbet punch. From now on, it's down the street and to the border for cold, fruity, carbonated, tiny ice-ridden juice with real strawberries on top. We can spike this stuff, too....I originally thought it was the "Fruitista Freeze," but then I realized it was the "Frutista Freeze." Apparently, others are making the same mistake. If you google the Frutista Freeze, guess who has the one and only entry that pops up?"

(picture available at Back Yard Blogger's Journal)

Also, I want to put out a big thanks to all of the crew at the Madison & Hanna Taco Bell. During my training, they allowed me to make the mistakes a 'rookie' makes and learn the lessons a beginner learns. Most of all, everyone was a CHAMPION!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dan Klecko signs with Eagles

Today is a sad day for the Indianapolis Colts, at 5'11 and 275, Dan Klecko was a player who played with heart. Never the most talented, he excelled in the Colts organization because he took on whatever challenges were asked of him. He'll make a great addition to the Eagles squad.

Thank you Dan Klecko!

Indystar reporter, Mike Chappell states, "Dan Klecko’s career with the Indianapolis Colts is over, and Ben Utecht’s might be. Klecko, a backup defensive tackle the past two seasons who became an unrestricted free agent last month, agreed to a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles today."

To Stacy: All for love - Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Sting

All for love by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Sting

Working Late Nights

So I've started my late shifts, 7pm to 4am, and it makes for a long evening. Working this shift makes for a lot of ups and downs, but it does deliver a lot of fun moments. Yesterday, or rather, this morning, I learned the primary closing procedures. I also learned the importance of deck scrubbing. For those of you who are not in the know, deck scrubbing is the tasks of scrubbing the floor tiles in very thorough wipes, then mopping, and scrubbing again. It was pretty tough work. To efficiently get the tiles cleaned you can only due about 3ft x 3 ft area, which takes about a half hour.

Also, my pick for favorite customers are the late-nighters who visit us through the drive through. If your a reader, and your reading this, then congratulations because you are awesome. You ask the best questions like "Do you have Tacos?" or "Can I get a million packets of mild sauce." You make the best product suggestions such as "You should put sour cream and tomatoes on your tacos?" We do, its called a supreme. So thank you, Mr or Mrs Late-nighter for making my evenings fun.

Well, I'm 'fittin' on getting ready for my second close.

Yum Brands make stock of the week

From and found on

Stock of the Week: Yum! Brands
By Jim Mueller March 14, 2008

If you knew that the KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell fast-food chains -- pardon me, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) -- were all owned by the same company, give yourself a brownie point. And if you also know that they're owned not by PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), but rather Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM), you might be up for the coveted Floppy Chicken Award.

Just about everyone is familiar with Colonel Sanders and the big red Pizza Hut roof. But not everyone realizes that KFC and Taco Bell, with three other chains, are controlled by a company spun off from Pepsi 11 years ago. Originally called Tricon Global Restaurants (memorable, huh?), the company gave itself its yummy current moniker in 2002.

A taste of the fast-food business
The fast food industry is saturated, and the competition is fierce. Counting the total number of units, Yum! Brands is the largest QSR company, with more than 35,000 locations at the end of 2007. For comparison, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) had 31,000-plus restaurants, and Burger King (NYSE: BKC) had a bit more than 11,000. With a market cap in the neighborhood of $17 billion, though, Yum! is only about one-quarter the size of McDonald's.

The crowded competition for customers' dining-out dollars requires Yum! and its rivals to advertise heavily in order to keep their brands fresh in diners' minds. Ultimately, Yum! strives to get consumers who crave fried chicken thinking of KFC first and foremost, rather than a rival like AFC Enterprises' (Nasdaq: AFCE) Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits. Yum! may have accomplished that mission, since two of its brands -- KFC and Pizza Hut -- are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 for restaurants on Interbrand's list of most valuable brands. (McDonald's holds top honors.)

Yum! has a two-pronged business model. First, it operates its own restaurants, bringing in sales and paying for food costs and other expenses. Second, it licenses its brands, letting franchisees operate the stores in exchange for a portion of those locations' sales.

While license fees and royalties aren't QSRs' largest revenue source, they're definitely the most profitable element on the top line, sending most of the revenue they generate down to the bottom line. Yum! had $1.3 billion in 2007 revenue from 26,406 franchises. Those franchises generated a whopping 97% gross margin, compared to a mere 21% on company-owned stores.

A scrumptious investing opportunity
Yum! Brands' investing story is centered around growth, primarily internationally, and especially in China, which grew revenue 31% in 2007. Though China hosts just 10% of the company's total stores, the country's revenue provided 20.5% of Yum!'s 2007 sales and more than 27% of its operating income. Meanwhile, the 18,000 stores in the U.S. contributed half of Yum!'s revenue and operating income. With more than half a billion people in China, it's easy to see the possible growth the company can tap there.

But Yum!'s not just banking on Chinese opportunities; the company is also aggressively returning money to shareholders. Yum!'s buybacks reduced share count by 5% in the last quarter alone, and by nearly 20% over the past five years. While its recently announced plan to buy back another $4 billion worth of shares will pile on more debt, those repurchases will certainly help the company easily meet CEO David Novak's goal of annualized 10% growth. Beyond trimming its share count, the company also pays a growing dividend that currently rewards shareholders with $0.60 per share (a 1.7% yield).

Unappetizing risks
I see three major pitfalls for Yum! Brands:

1. Political perils. In 2007, Yum! opened a net of 455 stores in China, for 17% growth, and 463 elsewhere internationally, for 4% growth; domestically, the company closed a net 143 locations. With the company placing so much emphasis on foreign locations, a change in China's laws could badly hurt Yum!'s fortunes. Except for lobbying, this is mostly out of the company's control.
2. The rising cost of food. As more corn is diverted to produce ethanol, the corn used to make food, and to feed chickens, cattle, and cows becomes more expensive, raising the prices of chicken, beef, and cheese. The company must either pass those costs on to the customer or shrink its margins.
3. Food safety and general cleanliness. At the end of 2006, an E. coli outbreak grievously harmed Taco Bell's sales, and an attack of rats caught on film at a New York City location in early 2007 further tarnished the chain's reputation. Such incidents had short-term negative effects on sales, since it takes time for people to trust the food again. Besides using reliable suppliers and high internal standards, this factor is also mostly out of Yum!'s control.

Delicious cash flow growth
Yum! has generated mouthwatering 20.3% growth in annualized free cash flow over the past five years. While analysts anticipate a much slower 11.6% earnings growth rate for the next five years, the company has historically grown free cash flow more quickly than net income. Applying Yum!'s historical 20% growth rate in a three-stage model for five years, discounted at 12%, offers a little more than 20% upside potential.

Like Starbucks, I think Yum! Brands might be undervalued -- poised to grow more quickly than the assumed rates that Wall Street's already baked into its share price. But when I reduce my estimated free cash flow growth rate to analysts' expected earnings growth rate of 12%, I get an intrinsic value of roughly $30, which would make the stock more than 20% overvalued. Yum!'s current price of nearly $37 implies that investors expect 15% growth.

Growth potential is always tough to predict, and as you can see, various growth expectations create wide swings in Yum!'s intrinsic value. Still, given the enormous potential in China, and the rejuvenation of Yum!'s domestic brands, I'd be willing to order up a small position in this company near its current prices, and add further on any weakness in the shares.

Further yummy Foolishness:

* Fourth-quarter results.
* A shot at best of 2008.
* You know competition is fierce when the eggs are colored.

View complete article here

Awareness Test

This is a very cool vid from Good.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The new treat...the cheesy beefy melt

I'm not a big fan of the Cheesy Beefy Melt. It's a steamed tortilla filled with 3-cheese, beef, rice, and sour cream. Steamed sour cream is not my choice for delicious, but a lot of people like this Taco treat. Also, the commercial makes me gag a little...***Grph***

Here's the latest commercial...

Let's learn about John McCain

John McCain - as presented by Good Magazine.

Matt’s Big Backyard Bonanza

So spring of 08’, is almost here, and I have big plans. The main objectives for this spring, summer, and fall is the completion of my backyard. I do have a few things to finish-up out front such as finishing my edging and the some areas where I need to plant some grass. Also, I need to replant Mr. Tiny Spruce, who is looking pretty sad this winter.

The majority of my plans are focused on my backyard. These include the construction of a cement or stone patio and walk-way, the construction of a pergola, and a small herb/vegetable garden in the northwest corner. I’m also undertaking a major seeding project after the patio to fill out the bare spots in my backyard.

Here’s a quick assessment of the project scheduling:

April: Front yard grass, Edging, Herb & Vegetable Garden
May: Backyard patio and Pergola, Mulching
June: Backyard Grass, Raised Flower Beds

So overall, I’m hoping that the house comes away with a more distinguished look.

Monday, March 10, 2008

To Stacy: The song Home by Michael Buble

I miss Stacy. I finally have a couple days off, and she had to go back to work. It's pretty boring right now. Here's a song I wanted to post for Stacy.

Michael Buble "Home"

Finding the good seats when flying.

Peter Greenberg does a short video on finding the good seats for an airline flight.

The way things GO.

It's always funny to consider how things change. How old things cease to exist and new ideas begin to grow? This blog is a short commentary of how I feel about the idea of personal growth. Leadership guru, John Maxwell, states, "If we're growing, we are always going to be out of our comfort zone." Learning is tough. Right now, I'm learning a lot of things at work. Honestly, my retention level is probably only about 50 or 60 percent, but there's a lot to learn. Most of all there's is a lot of ideas to re-enforce. My favorite personal growth quote is an old Irish saying it goes, "You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was."

Okay, those were my ramblings.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

On Skid Row - A GOOD video series

Recently, I came across this video series from GOOD Magazine and felt compelled to share the story. Problems are real and SKID ROW is as close to real as one can get. We tend to ignore areas like this, but that's where are answer should start.

Here's a few interesting facts to start. The average age from homelessness in the US is age 9.

Current initiatives for SKID Row include the building of an additional 2,200 units of housing, but how can this work when nearly 40,000 people are in need in the area.


Part 2: Kids

Part 3: Drugs

Part 4: God


Good Magazine Website

John McCain and his 'Private Conversations'

John McCain gets angry over reporters questions of his discussion to run with John Kerry. McCain says that everyone knew about this and that it was a private conversation. Obviously, he doesn't feel the need to elaborate, but John, "why are you so angry?"

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Jon Stewart Commentary: Taco Bell in Mexico, What?

Funny stuff.

Taco Bell Raid - Operation FTB

This is pretty crazy. In 2006, several people raided a Taco Bell in Indiana and dumped 25,000 plus packets of hot sauce in which they had accumulated over a 3 year period. The raid, dubbed Operation FTB, caught the attention of local media and a video was soon released by the group. Here's the video:

Overall, the best part of the whole ordeal is Taco Bell's statement. The 'reply' in a statement from Rob Poetsch, a spokesman for Taco Bell, state, "We do appreciate this person's passion for Taco Bell. We don't encourage people to take out our sauce, but we appreciate them being so forthcoming. We're not sure what we will do with the sauce, but we will NOT be serving it to customers."

Grill Training at Wendy's

This video was passed on to me. It's an older video from Wendy's on Grill Training. It'll teach you how to master the 4 point you don't make a mess....

Monday, March 3, 2008

Barack and Abe

Recently, I came across this comparison of Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln via the Essays & Effluvia blog cited below. The original post is from Gary Evans. The comparison is eerily similar, but very notable. Enjoy!!!

Amazingly similar “Experience” between Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln. Look at the following questions, and try to guess which is which:


Question: Name the Presidential candidate:

1) a lawyer;
2) an Illinois state legislator;
3) lost an election to represent Illinois in the U.S. Congress;
4) spent only two years in the U.S. Congress before running for President;
5) risked political damage in opposing a war in which the U.S. invaded a foreign country;
6) delivered a famous speech on national unity as a candidate to represent Illinois in U.S. Senate, elevating his political career to the national level and paving the way for a Presidential run;
7) sought his Party’s Presidential nomination by challenging the establishment candidate, a Senator from New York, also a lawyer, who was widely expected to easily secure the nomination;
8) was viewed by Party delegates as a talented speaker able to attract moderates and newer voters;
9) viewed by some in his Party as a better candidate more likely to secure critical states in the general election as his rivals, especially those with “experience” had accumulated more political enemies;
10) the opposition party was fractured and in complete disarray;
11) March 4th is a very significant date in his political career;


Answer: Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln

1) Obama attended Harvard Law. Lincoln was self taught and practiced law becoming one of Illinois’ most respected litigators.
2) Obama served in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Lincoln served four successive terms in the Illinois House of Representatives;
3) Obama lost his 2000 Democratic primary bid to unseat four-term Congressman Bobby Rush. Lincoln lost the 1858 Illinois Senate race to Stephen Douglas.
4) Obama was seated in the U.S. Senate in 2005 and announced his candidacy for POTUS in 2007. Lincoln served one term in the 30th Congress form 1847-49;
5) Obama strongly opposed the Iraq War during his campaign for U.S. Senate. Congressman Lincoln opposed the Mexican-American War, which made him very unpopular at home. He demanded from President Polk, “Show me the spot!” – the exact spot where American blood was first shed. The justification of war was that Mexico attacked and killed Americans inside U.S. territory. Lincoln believed the attack took place on Mexican soil. This earned him the nickname “Spotty Lincoln”;
6) Then candidate for the Senate Obama delivered his famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which catapulted his national political career. Lincoln gave his “House Divided Speech” in June 1858 upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate. This speech is considered one of his best;
7) Against long odds, Obama challenged Senator Hillary Clinton, a lawyer, from New York and is now the likely nomination. Lincoln challenged Senator William Seward from New York for the Republican Party nomination. Seward, also a lawyer, was widely considered the favorite with his vast governmental “experience” first as Governor and then Senator from New York. Seward became Lincoln's Secretary of State.
8) Obama is widely recognized for his orator skills and his ability to attract moderate independents and even some Republicans. Party leaders viewed Lincoln as a talented speaker and more moderate than his rivals, William Seward and Samuel Chase.
9) Obama is viewed more likely to win the “Red states” than his rival. Lincoln’s Western origins made him more attractive to the critical Western States – California and Oregon. His more limited “experience” resulted in fewer political enemies and thus a smoother path to winning the General.
10) The Republican Party is currently fractured and in disarray. Conservatives are unhappy with John McCain. The opposition in Lincoln’s day was fractured by the North/South divide. The Democrats held two conventions – one in Baltimore and one Richmond -- and nominated two candidates. The Northern Democrats chose Stephen Douglas and John Breckinridge was the candidate of the Southern Democrats. Breckenridge carried the South and won 72 electoral votes and Douglas secured only two states, Missouri and New Jersey, totally 12 electoral votes. Lincoln won 180 electoral votes;
11) March 4th proves to be a pivotal day for Obama in which he can secure the Democratic nomination. On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as the 16th President of the United States.


Source: Gary Evans

Reposted from Essays & Effluvia blog.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Restaurant News: The Growth of Quick Casual Dining

Okay, so where do you eat lunch? Do you grab a couple burgers from Burger King? Do you stop for an hour or so and get a good meal at Applebee's? Or do you prefer, to have a little of both? Quick casual dining is different. Places such as Panera or Qdoba have implemented this idea to success. The customer orders at the counter and picks the food up at the counter, but instead of dining on pre-made food like at BK or Mickey D's, they meal is prepared to order.

Can we really consider this segment a new prospect, or is the growth due to a consientious shift in consumer thinking? In my opinion, it's unlikely that a clear difference can be seen between these restaurants and an quick-service experience like the one delivered from Taco Bell. Throughout the industry, food preparation is similar.

For more information on quick service dining, check out this article from Calkins Media.
Quick Service Dining

Jagger escapes assassination plot in 1969.

Jagger fans finally know the truth. According to the BBC, in 1969, Jagger escaped an assassination plot by the Hell's Angels due to bad weather. Apparently, Jagger pissed off a gang of Hell's Angels because he took them off the payroll. In a Davey Smith moment, these men decided to get their revenge via a water attack. During the sea trip to Jagger's home, a storm hit and all of the men were thrown overboard spoiling the attack. Just as God spoke in the book of rock, "Thou shalt not harm rock'n'roll."

BBC: Hell's Angels sought to kill Jagger