Two American bakers who have gone quite barking...

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The Independent Online
We've had superstores for pets, insurance for pets, now standby for Europe's first dog bakery.

Beagle Bagels, Hound Dog Hearts, Pup Tarts and Big Scary Kitties are just a few of the gourmet dog foods available in a range of stores being opened in London this Friday.

The PETsMART superstore chain is, of course, the brainchild of two Americans, Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff of Kansas City, who aim to have 25 stores open world-wide by the end of the year.

Dan and Mark outline their philosophy in a book of canine recipes titled Short Tails and Treats from Three Dog Bakery. A flavour of the book can be gained from the introduction: "This is our own wags-to-riches story of how we came to start the world's most unique bakery - a boneified, five-paw bakery - for dogs. Ours is a Canine Confectionery, a Pooch Patisserie, a Mecca For Mutts where dogs go to see and be seen, nibble and be nibbled, sniff and be sniffed."

It's obvious that if puns were pounds, Dan'n'Mark would already be as rich as Warren Buffett. If you don't fancy the book, they can also be contacted via their website: http://www.threedog.com.

How very odd. I thought we in Britain were supposed to be living in a "post-industrial society", with all the economic expansion coming from services. Not so, according to the latest Wealth Register written by Dr Philip Beresford, which reveals details of over 5,500 millionaires in the UK.

Dr Beresford writes: "The largest grouping of British millionaires (14.3 per cent of the total worth pounds 17bn of wealth) is to be found in industry, followed by property (12.2 per cent with pounds 14.495bn of assets) and the City (10.5 per cent with pounds 12.44bn of wealth)."

So all those metal bashers from "oop North" are in fact far better off than the stripy shirts in the Square Mile. The message for ambitious Oxbridge graduates is clear: Head for Birmingham.

And if you're pondering whether we're at the bursting point of a 1980s- style market bubble, Dr Beresford adds a worrying parallel with that dizzy decade; attitudes to wealth are returning to the "if you've got it, flaunt it" variety.

For instance, Tiny Rowland (formerly of Lonrho) phoned Dr Beresford no less than seven times to ask where he was in the rankings of the rich.

And another rich person sent Dr Beresford a photo-copy of his Nationwide pass book just to prove that he really was worth a million quid. Pass the Bolly!

Congratulations to Nigel Whittaker, once one of the City's highest paid pr men while at Kingfisher, who has popped up as UK Chairman of Burson- Marsteller, the global group of spin doctors.

Mr Whittaker trousered a hefty pay-off when he left Kingfisher in a board room reshuffle two years ago, which was prompted by a profits warning. Trained as a lawyer, he began a 13-year stint with Kingsfisher in 1983 at the age of 34 as executive director responsible for corporate affairs.

During that time Mr Whittaker helped fight off Dixon's hostile bid in 1986, spent four years as human resources director for Woolworths and three years as chairman of B&Q.

A keen marathon runner, Mr Whittaker founded his own pr consultancy after leaving Kingfisher, and will continue his independent consulting activities while at Burson-Marsteller.

One of my colleagues Jim Levi has just suggested a possible solution to the Millennium Timebomb, which is forecast to cost world business $600bn putting their computer systems right.

The problem is that computers will be unable to distinguish between the year 2000 and the year 1900 because they have traditionally only operated using the last two digits. Thus the millennium heralds the spectre of global computer meltdown.

Jim proposes that all computers should be left to pretend that the year 2000 is really 1900, leaving us a century to sort things out.

Obviously this wouldn't work with computers holding records that actually go back to the year 1900. But there can't be too many of those, surely.

Mr Levi awaits his Nobel Prize for World Peace.

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