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Minyanville's Business Briefs Exposed: McDonald's, Dell, Ford...


Business Briefs from a uniquely Minyanville perspective.


Here in the 'Ville we like to keep things smart, but we also love to laugh. All work and no know how it goes. With that in mind we give you The "Off-Balance Sheet," a place where Minyans can experience humorous takes on the world of finance, personal stories from our Professors and Minyans and all the other stuff that makes life worth living. So take a break from the flickering ticks and dive in.

Don't Mess With Brazil

Brazil's economy grew slightly faster than expected in the fourth quarter of 2006 and beat forecasts. The forecasts, which are expected to make a full recovery, were jumped in a residential area of Sao Paulo and hospitalized with a range of injuries, including a broken jaw, several compound fractures, and three concussions.

Um, Is This Working Out? Or Working?

Members of California Fitness, a Hong Kong health club, are powering the gym's lights with the energy they expend on the facility's fitness machines. Other amenities at the club include the opportunity to wax the manager's car, clip the receptionist's toenails, and mop the floors in the locker rooms.

Is the Hamburglar Wearing a Beret?

In an attempt to elevate their image, McDonald's (MCD) is getting ready to add lattes and cappuccinos to menus across the country. According to industry insiders, McDonald's move toward sophistication will also include items such as the Big Maki, the Filet-o-Mignon, and a new dessert offering, the Chicken McNougat.

Damn, That's Cold

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) said it will freeze its pension plan for salaried workers, as the tire maker continues to cut costs. Says a Goodyear spokesperson, "It worked for Ted Williams' head-we're hoping to replicate the same kind of success here."

Is There A Plastic Surgeon in the House?

After personal computer giant Dell (DELL) lost a third of its upper management to resignations and retirements, a new, high-profile team of executives has entered the picture. When viewed straight-on, the executives' features seem completely normal, but, says a source within the Austin, Texas company, when seen from the side, their profiles are "higher than usual, like, there's tons of distance between their noses and their foreheads, and their lips look like they're at least three inches above where they should be."


Ford (F) will spend over $11 billion to restructure the company through layoffs, scaled-back pensions, and plant closings. When asked how it was possible that laying people off, scaling back pensions, and closing plants could actually cost the company money, a Ford spokesman blamed the whole thing on a new hire in accounting who hadn't yet gotten up to speed. Then he said it was a typo. Then he finally said, "Listen, buddy-we're Ford, okay? What do you want from us?"

Cox & Balls

In his first year as chairman of the SEC, both supporters and detractors have been confounded by the moderate and nuanced positions taken by Christopher Cox. Less surprising has been the consistently hard-line stance taken by the SEC's number two man, Jerome Balls.


Investors who sought refuge in U.S. government bonds Tuesday returned to riskier investments yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported in an article titled: Regaining Some Taste for Risk. For those of you who have never tasted risk, the flavor has been described as "somewhere between Tilapia and a mild Chilean Seabass, with the consistency of very tender veal."

Metal: Heavy

Continued selling pressure weighed on metal futures, as they incurred a second day of losses. In a public statement released yesterday, Megadeth bassist James Lomenzo said, "Metal may not be what it was in '86, but it absolutely has a future. We're still moving a respectable number of units. So's Metallica, Anthrax, and Biohazard. So, everyone just take a deep breath and cool out, okay?"
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