News recap

April 21, 2009

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A few unusual stories were making the rounds last week. I picked a few of them to highlight.

The saga of Octomom

Nadya Suleman has filed a trademark application for the term “Ocotomom”. She intends to use it in conjunction with baby products and a TV variety show.

I’m not even sure that she has a valid claim to the trademark. I believe the term originated from the media, not from Suleman herself. Thus the reporter who first coined the term could probably claim prior use and invalidate Suleman’s claim.

Second, and more troubling for Nadya is that people aren’t having a particularly positive reaction to her situation, and this would inhibit her ability to cash in with the trademark. I simply don’t see a lot of companies who will be jumping at the chance to hitch their wagons to her star.

Fir goodness sake

A Russian man was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had an operation to remove a tumor from his lung. Doctors were stunned when they removed a two inch fir tree from the man’s lung.

The prevailing theory is that the man inhaled a seed at some point, and that it sprouted with the moist can carbon dioxide rich lungs.

While having a fir tree lodged in your lung isn’t the best thing in the world, it’s a whole lot better than having lung cancer.

Money back

In 2005, Deere and company pledged to create 300 new jobs in the state of Iowa and received seven million dollars in tax credits for creating the jobs. The jobs were created, but in the current economic situations, Deere is not sure that it will retain the jobs through 2010 (as required by the agreement) and has offered to refund $1.8 million to the state.

I do realize that Deere probably doesn’t have much leverage in this situation – if they break the agreement, the state very likely has the ability to pursue some sort of repayment. However, the fact that a company is offering to pay back money before the state even asks for it seems a bit unusual. Far too often, it seems that companies fight tooth and nail to keep money that they aren’t entitled to.

We always had red (Farmall, International, Case IH) on the farm when I was growing up, but I have always considered Deere to be a good corporate citizen.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeff Scherer
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 09:14:01

    Nothing runs like a Deere! My lawn mower is a Deere and I’ll buy another when it craps out. It’s been running like a champ for about 8 years with nothing ever going out. I hope they can hang tough in this market.


  2. The Casual Observer
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 10:07:52

    I have an ancient lawnboy that I got from a co-worker when we bought a house a few year ago. I had to pay for some deferred maintenance (due to it sitting idle for a few years), but it works great. I fill it with gas/oil, put in a new spark plug every spring, and that’s it.

    Reliable stuff is cool.


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