More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Monster Or Coke?

For some time I have been eyeing the shares of Monster Beverage Corporation since this happens to be one of the fastest growing companies and stocks in the entire beverage industry. When you're thinking about making any investment decision when it comes to beverages—which are usually quite boring—one certainly would be wise to pay particular attention to anyone in this sector who has the ability to make some waves unlike anyone else, and certainly Monster Beverage Corporation is doing that handily.

Until now I had not been able to come to a conclusion as to exactly how I wanted to approach my interest in this company. First, I wanted to take a closer look at other alternatives, and fully decide my best in to this fast growing brand and the company that owns it. And that brought me back around to Coca-Cola's doors.

That's because Coca-Cola is and has certainly been keeping a close watch on this company as well. And despite claims of rumors as much as two years ago that Coca-Cola was not in talks to buy into Monster, those claims have come full circle—and Coca-Cola now owns nearly 17% of the company and has two board members situated there as well.

My suspicion is that somewhere down the road—and it may be years down the road—The Coca-Cola Company will have quite a lot more to do with Monster Beverage Corporation, be it in distribution, new product development, or marketing. In fact, I believe if the popularity of the Monster brand continues, Coca-Cola may well just buy the entire company.

You have to keep in mind that one thing that Coca-Cola is good at, besides making Coca-Cola of course, is recognizing who the next big player is going to be in the market. Coca-Cola may not be as good at copying trends. But it certainly has the money to buy into who happens to be trendy. And that helps to make Coca-Cola a fairly interesting choice when it comes to buying those trends as an investor.

Coca-Cola has done this in the past by buying Glaecau, makers of Vitamin Water, and by buying into Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the Keurig and K-Cup empire that belongs to GMCR.

It's true that Coke may have fallen short getting into the energy sector with brands like Full Throttle and NOS not having the ability to capture enough market share from Monster and Red Bull to make any real impact on its presence in this part of the industry. But it can make money on the distribution end of a popular brand like Monster (and has been doing so for quite a while), and it can make money by taking on some ownership of the brand portfolio.

So, what else makes Coca-Cola an enticing prospect over Monster?

Even though Monster Beverage Corporation is more than just the Monster energy drink empire, Monster is really the brand that put it on the map. But it also happens to be a trend. Coca-Cola can as easily buy into a growing trend as it can later sell its interest in that trend if consumer tastes change and the entire sector of the industry goes bust. Just owning Monster could allow you to enjoy a fantastic ride up. But if the brand hits a brick wall, it's also going to be one heck of a ride down as well.

Owning shares of Coca-Cola won't entirely insulate you from any negative movements in any given sector of the beverage industry. But it will provide the investor far more insulation than being entirely invested in a company that may have limited ability to recover from a change in trends that would affect its flagship brand.

If you want to enjoy the upward mobility of a company like Monster Beverage Corporation, I say buy shares of Coca-Cola and you'll enjoy the best of both worlds. And if other trends develop in this sector, you can bet Coke will have its eye on it, and will reach into their pockets to let Coke shareholders in on it as well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Lemon & Pepper Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

Just to get things started off right, the grilling season has begun anew, and nothing goes better with firing up the grill and tossing some meat onto the fire than an ice cold beer. I like to start my grilling off with something from the many options brewed by the last standing true American brewing company left, The Boston Beer Company and their fabulous Sam Adams beers.

Today I am cooking up my Lemon & Pepper Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts, which is delicious to say the least, and a breeze to whip together. No lemon and pepper seasoning required for this one. At least not the shakable kind.

For this recipe you will need:
  • 2 large chicken breasts cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 ounce apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of pepper
For the chicken breasts, try to find the largest ones you possibly can. If they are a smaller variety, just use more of them. But I always like to find the chicken breasts that seem like they have put the chickens on a full steroid diet. For whatever reason, there are times I buy chicken breasts from Walmart that I swear must be the size of turkeys before they reach the slaughterhouse.

Just saying.

For the marinade, simply whisk together the lemon juicer, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper, then add in the chicken breasts. Get those bad boys nice and coated, and I like to end the coating with the breasts top side down. Let them marinate for about 1-3 hours, turning the breasts often.

For the grill, simply fire it up, and of course crack open a Sam Adams beer, and keep the temperature somewhere between 350 degrees and 375 degrees, shooting for the low end of that spectrum. Season the breasts very nominally with just a little bit of Adobo seasoning (I like  Goya) and cook until done.

I served mine with a bit of my special potato salad which I may one day share, and some corn mixed with okra and diced tomatoes.

Most of all, simply enjoy the beer, enjoy the grilling process, and of course enjoy the great flavor cooked up into this chicken breast recipe. I like lemon and pepper seasoning, and so why not simply make a marinade out of this popular way to season chicken breasts? Want to try this recipe with other cuts of chicken? I say why not. I certainly will. I may even try this with some fish while we're at it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hilary Fails To Explain Emails Fully

Sometimes secrets, when it comes to the government, need to be kept. Anyone who really thinks about the consequences of certain kinds of information falling into the wrong hands can understand that some things simply do need to be kept quiet.

Still, it is also important to have a government that is as transparent as is possible without compromising national security. Too often what we wind up with are elected officials, or appointed government officials who forget that their boss ultimately happens to be the American people.

Enter Hilary Clinton.

Regardless of what email she used, or where any server was kept (although I do not like the idea of her server being in her complete control), the fact is that any correspondence that she had in an official capacity, whether or not personal emails were sent using the same email address, no correspondence should ever have been deleted. It is the property of the American people, and it should not be up to the official to decide which emails are relevant, and which ones are not. That can leave quite a bit of room to hide things from the American people, and potentially leaves no recourse for anyone to dig into what could be very important details.

Were the 30,000 emails Hilary Clinton deleted just about yoga and wedding plans? Or was there something else in those emails? Perhaps details about Benghazi? We may never know since according to the most recent report her server may have been wiped clean, meaning we may never be able to recover what she deleted. She's not turning over her servers either for anyone to take a closer look at, which seems to continue to suggest there may be something to hide.

She could have ended this whole affair in one fell swoop, but she chose not to, and there has to be a reason for that unless she truly believes herself to be an elite who is entitled to a level of privacy that no one else is entitled to. How can we simply take her at her word?

Whether or not this entire affair will have any impact on her hopes to win the White House is anyone's guess. In past history her failure in Benghazi, and the lack of transparency regarding that issue alone would have precluded her from ever even being considered. But these days too many people are either not paying attention, or are being spoon fed their information through a cipher.

Either way, I think it is a very serious and important matter and the American people should be concerned. All we want are answers, and unfortunately those are something hard to come by from our government officials. Even when we do get answers, it's only usually a half-truth anyway. Our only hope is that the news networks—even the liberal mainstream media—want to get to the bottom of this as well.

The emails could contain nothing of interest at all. But until we have access to that, all we can do is speculate. And with so many questions unanswered throughout her tenure as Secretary of State, that leaves a lot of wiggle room for speculation.