Friday, January 13, 2012
JBS Alert: Starvation Potential or Investment Opportunity
While many of you out there have been idling away your time in fruitless pursuits (no not watch reruns of American Idol or new episodes of Glee, but watching the debates or voting in the Republican primaries) the staff at 'Just Blowing Smoke' have been tirelessly keeping their eyes open for the next potentially world-changing story. Kept locked in the JBS research center for hours on end on a diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew, it's probably not surprising that these labors eventually bore a tasty result.
So for those of you who missed the announcement in the business news earlier this week, I can and should now inform you that on Wednesday Hostess brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The victim of an increasing antagonism to its products, Hostess is but the latest corporation to fall victim to bad press and the nefarious plots of an evil consortium of yogurt and granola producers. For those who because of recent fever or long-term stupidity still haven't quite understood the implications here, let me say this as plainly as I can. This means NO MORE TWINKIES!
Long attacked for unsubstantiated charges of large-scale population poisoning, Hostess was long seen has having evil design bent on shortening human lifespans through the sale and consumption of unhealthy snacks (Frito Lay has faced similar dubious charges over its products). The truth however, is that the makers of the Twinkie were merely serving the public dietary need for Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60 and Stearoyl Lactylate (and of course yellow #5 and Red #40 dye).
The implications of the potential demise of this 87-year old, privately-held baked goods organization however, are truly staggering when fully considered. Laugh if you will my friends, but these little sponge cake beauties contain three of the major food groups: sugar, cake, and chemically produced, non-dairy cream filling. Dip them in chocolate and wrap them in bacon before deep frying them, and you will have surpassed your daily dietary requirements for all the foods that make life worth living.
Hostess however, is apparently yet the latest in a series of US corporations about to fall prey to its poorly negotiated union contracts over the years. Long grown fat and happy (pun intended) as the 'snack bubble' grew, Hostess chose to mostly ignore the warning signs of a trend towards healthier eating habits. With that bubble now apparently burst and burdened under contracts with the Teamsters that provide lavish health and pension benefits, it's in fact Hostess's health and future that are in jeopardy.
Little is know of the dim beginnings of the dysfunctional relationship between Hostess and its Unions. It's rumored however, that some of the names of others of their most famous products came as a result of their negotiations. 'Ding Dongs' is rumored to have come from the name Teamster negotiators used in describing their corporate counterparts for many years. 'Ho Hos' is likewise said to have come from a comment made by one of the Teamsters sitting at the table when asked by a reporter how their negotiations of their most recent contract were going. (There was a parallel rumor that this term described the way that Union negotiators treated management over the years, but this 'blue version' cannot be corroborated.) Few are apparently laughing however, when viewing the implications of a temporary, let alone a permanent Hostess shut down.
Of course there are potential immediate health risks involved to the general public, as those suffering from gastronomic addiction attempt to overcome TWS (Twinkie Withdrawal Symptoms). There is likewise considerable concern that without Twinkies, long seen as a 'gateway snack', users will eventually turn to more debilitating confections like strawberry shortcake, chocolate mousse, or banana pudding; and eventually suffer addiction to those most dangerous of substitutes ... cheesecake, turtle pie, and creme brulee.
While certainly some of us may survive for a limited period of time if the maker of Ho Hos and Ding Dongs goes belly up (metaphorically speaking of course, as a steady diet of these bad boys permits no other position), the fact we are looking at the demise of the Twinkie (even to those who have stockpiled them) is perhaps yet another sign that Armageddon may in fact be in sight.
I don't know about you my friends, but it's my intention to make stops at all of my regular grocery and snack outlets to obtain as many of these pastry delights as I can lay my hands on this weekend. I do this not only in a show of solidarity with my Hostess brothers and sisters, but in the hopes of putting as many Twinkies into storage as my one bedroom apartment allows (I'm even considering renting a storage area).
Laugh if you will, but it's my guess that in the years ahead (Twinkies have in fact proved in government funded studies to have a half-life equivalent to that of Uranium-235), that this stockpile may in fact serve me very well indeed as a retirement investment. Real estate prices (as we have recently seen) may rise and fall, currencies may likewise command respect and be heaped with scorn, even the price of gold and silver may rise and fall over time; but the value of the Twinkie when none can be found on the shelves (like the efficacy of the pastry itself) will live forever. The Twinkie standard of exchange may not be one currently accepted on the world markets, but many of you will rue the day that you failed to join me in the purchase of what will become the first truly edible form of exchange.