COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

Money in the Morning

The National Association of Realtors reported this morning that 6.48 million existing homes were sold in the United States last year, down 8.4 percent from the previous year. However, prices remained stable, with the median price for a home sold last month at $222,000, exactly the same as in December 2006. One highlight in the report was that the inventory of homes for sale declined by 7.9 percent. Tomorrow, the Commerce Department will report on new home sales for December.

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Very few products make it to the point where they achieve $1 billion in annual sales. However, Kimberly-Clark announced yesterday that its Scott Brand of bathroom tissues have joined the elite group. Two other Kimberly-Clark products are in the Billion Dollar Club - Kleenex and Huggies. The press release issued to announce the news included several interesting factoids. For instance, "the Scott brand sold over 84 million miles of consumer bath tissue in the U.S. alone, enough to circle the Earth more than 3,300 times."

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This falls into the category, "Why didn't I think of that!" A molecular scientist in North Carolina has developed a way to add caffeine to baked goods that masks the normal bitterness. Dr. Robert Bohannon is the father of Buzz Donuts and Buzz Bagels. He has obtained a patent for the method used to infuse the caffeine into the products and is talking with Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme about his invention.

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Here's a shocker, workers in San Diego rank lowest in the country when asked if they have found their dream job. A survey by CareerBuilder.com found that, nationwide, 84 percent of people say they are searching for the perfect employment. What makes a dream job? Well, 39 percent said having fun at work, followed by making a difference in society and earning a good living. Police and firefighters reported the highest incident of feeling they had found their dream job, while food service workers had the least. Boston has the highest percentage of workers who they that have found labor nirvana, 37 percent. Only 7 percent of San Diego workers have reached that level of satisfaction.

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