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Dealing with Each Other

“We’ve always taken the view that we have to physically be together from an employee perspective. People don’t work as well remotely … We want employees all in the same physical space to have more collisions. In fact, we’ve done weird things to prioritize collisions over convenience.” – Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

hsieh

“Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.” – Jackie Reses, Yahoo Human Resources executive vice president

Having worked in Silicon Valley for 15 years, Almost DailyBrett gets it when it comes to the Internet. It’s hard to argue with 2 billion users around the world and growing, sending 2.8 million emails every second…and that was way back in 2011.

The Internet was supposed to free us to work any place, any time in any attire (or non-attire) and contribute just as well to our employer or even obtain a degree online.  The Net spawned a wide variety of new acronyms (e.g., SEO and SEM), even some that are getting outdated (e.g., HTML) and others that are gaining steam including MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses.

We can digitally communicate and self-publish with a few taps with our mobile device or legacy laptops (desk tops are now so 20th Century) to anyone at anyplace at any time. We can send “selfies” of our mugs and other anatomically parts (right, Anthony Weiner?). We can also use the Internet, whether wirelessly or with the remaining wired devices, to NOT communicate with anyone at anyplace at any time.

And there lies the rub.

Back to the Future; Back to the Office?

Tony Hsieh is seen as a pioneer when it comes to delivering a “Wow” experience to Zappos customers The company name is a play off the Spanish word, Zapatos, naturally sells shoes over the web. Sounds a little dull…until you and Harvard Business Review take a deep dive into the $1 billion-plus business.

Tony (last name rhymes with Shay or Shea) follows the mantra of under-promising and over-delivering. Your shoes are supposed to arrive in three days (e.g., piece of cake for Hsieh et al.); Zappos will get your order to you in two days or less. The customer is happy…real happy. Sounds like a Pharrell Williams song. Tony is real happy too as a result of Amazon purchasing Zappos for $1.2 billion.

Zappos, located in Lost Wages, Nevada,  is continuously ranked as a super place to work and has even adopted the management concept of a holacracy or a self-governing operating system; no more imperial edicts from the corner office to the great masses of unwashed employees.

holacracy

And yet when you weigh the coolness factor of Zappos’ “Wow!” customer strategy and its holacracy management system, it still requires the old-fashioned show up for work and deal with your colleagues approach. Sorry no more working remotely.

What does this message say for the future?

Face-to-Face Communications

“Public Relations helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics.” – Public Relations Professor and founder of “Public Relations Journal,” Rex Harlow

The threat posed by the University of Phoenix, DeVry University, Kaplan University, Capella University, Ashford University and other online diploma mills to the traditional bricks-and-mortar universities is real. They are not constrained by space and offer an endless “long tail” to their perspective students.

In fact, you can secure your bachelor’s degree or above from these hallowed institutions. It will just be you, your online instructor and conceivably other students typing away and maybe even Skypeing from remote locations around the globe.

A few questions come to mind: What about building, enhancing and solidifying relationships? What about developing qualitative skills or the ability to interview people and describe their experiences as a result of direct interaction? What about effectively working in teams? And what about the “collisions” mentioned by Tony Hsieh?

zappospeople

 

There is no doubt that MOOCs are here to stay, and even the venerable bricks-and-mortar universities are offering their imprimaturs to one-up the University of Phoenix types. And yet neither the online courses offered by the new kids on the block nor the digital courses presented by the old guys can replicate real face-to-face communications.

This need for direct people-to-people interaction is particularly salient to public relations. The whole notion is relating to the public, particularly difficult reporters and editors. At some point, you have to meet people. You can’t just hide behind your monitor.

Some may seriously disagree with the movement to compel folks out of their pajamas, forcing them into business attire and into their vehicles for the dreaded fossil-fuel commute to the office. And waiting for them there will be colleagues, superiors, subordinates, customers, partners, distributors, butchers, bakers and candle-stick makers.

We have to deal with all of them, like it and be adept at this skill. Digital codes have transformed the world, but only to a point. We still have to learn to interact and co-exist with people, preferably in person as opposed to an impersonal email, tweet or text.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/02/amazon-closes-zappos-deal-ends-up-paying-1-2-billion/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtMhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtMhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtMhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2014/01/15/making-sense-of-zappos-and-holacracy/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2013/02/26/4-reasons-marissa-mayers-no-at-home-work-policy-is-an-epic-fail/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/curtains-for-bricks-and-mortar-universities/

 

 

 

 

Just going for a bag of groceries can be a lot of fun. The real trick to owning one  of these (Miata) is you always take the long way home,” – Comedian Jay Leno

Those who dismiss the Miata as a ‘chick car,’ have never driven one” – Tom Voelk, New York Times auto reviewer.

miataleno

Do I love my Miata (my little green chariot) more than I love my new bride?

That would be a big, “no,” and for good reason.

Having said that, can there be more than one love in a mature male’s life without him getting stuck in deep doo-doo? The answer is “yes.”

This coming June will be the 10th anniversary of my purchase of an emerald mica and tan (rag top and leather interior) Mazda Miata. After travelling more than 127,000 miles, I am asking myself: ‘Why not 10 more years with the same car?’

Midlife Crisis?

When I first acquired my Mazda Miata, I was the director of Corporate Public Relations for LSI Logic Corporation. Driving my new car into the employee parking lot, I raised a few eyebrows with my new ride, triggering predictable suggestions of a “mid-life crisis.”

“Why didn’t you get it in red?” I was repeatedly asked.

Have you ever seen an Oregon Duck football game? Even with the myriad of “Just-Do-It” uniform changes courtesy of Uncle Phil, there is not a smidgen of red to be found. Besides I am not a red guy, unless you want to count Oregon pinot noir or amber ale.

Overall my purchase drew thumbs up from my colleagues except for accurate criticisms that the Miata is a great car, “if you have another car.” And I did have another car, an all-wheel drive Subaru Legacy that served me with distinction for more than a decade.

Gangster Rapper? Me?

As I contemplated buying a new car way back in 2004, my daughter suggested that I purchase a white Cadillac Escalade. Her reasoning was simple: “All the gangster rappers drive Escalades.” Do I remind anyone even for a nanosecond of a gangster rapper? Besides they can afford the super fuel and upkeep for an Escalade, complete I assume with bullet-proof windows.

Seriously, I was thinking about a 3-series convertible von Deutschland, in particular von den Bayerische Motoren Werke (e.g., BMW). It didn’t take me long to figure out that I could acquire two Mazda Miatas for the price of one Beemer 3-Series convertible, excluding the major difference in upkeep…not in favor of the Beemer. Including obligatory California taxes and license, I was able to purchase the car for under $30,000 … that’s a deal.

_MG_1302 (3)

Some were curious about why I would buy a Mazda, thinking the brand was beneath me. And my reply was to ask: ‘Is a Corvette just a Chevy?’ A Miata (it will never be an MX-5 to me…sorry Mazda Marketing Department) is a special car, one that serves as a logical and workable continuation of the high-maintenance Lotus Elan, Triumph Spitfire, MG MGB, Fiat 124 Sport Spider and the Alfa Romeo Spider. The post-war Brit and Italian designers had the idea right – a fun two-seater sports convertible – they just failed on the execution.

What’s the old joke about needing to buy two Jaguars? You can drive one, while the other is in the shop.

Leave it to Japanese designers/engineers with their now legendary penchant for quality to get it right.

Rental Miata?

My romance with Miata began by mistake. My plane to San Francisco was late and the rental car agency had very few cars left. Instead of a sub-compact econo-box, they rented me a blue Miata. For the first time ever, I didn’t want to return a rental car. I never forgot that Miata.

As a smitten owner of a Miata, I have to report that the four-cylinder, back-wheel drive car has plenty of guts on the highway. Why? My second generation car only weighs 1,065 pounds. As a driver you are much closer to the road and you literally feel every bump and pot hole. Be careful with big rigs, and whatever you do, stay out of their blind spots.

The handling and turning radius is easily the best I have ever experienced in any vehicle. If you can’t parallel park a Miata, then you simply can’t parallel park any car. Going topless? Just flip two low-tech latches and you are in business. As a follicly challenged male, I always have to remember my sun glasses and ball cap. Soon I will be hugging the curves.

DSC00422

As the Miata celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, it has already set a Guinness World Record of 900,000 vehicles, easily the world’s best-selling two-seater sports car. Mazda is expected to reach the 1 million mark next year.

Is the Miata for everybody? Alas, it is not a family car. There are only two seats and an itsy-bitsy truck, about big enough for a picnic basket, some folding chairs and that aforementioned bottle of Oregon pinot noir.

And when does spring come? How about right now? Time to put the top down.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/automobiles/100000002825211/the-miata-turns-25.html?emc=edit_th_20140416&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=26450727

http://www.torquenews.com/1083/mazda-celebrates-mx-5-miata-turning-25-special-tribute

http://okcmiata.com/members/miata_colors.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Elan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_Spitfire

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_MGB

“Act of Love”

“Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.” – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on illegal immigrants

“Hispanics are Republicans they just don’t know it” – Ronald Reagan 

“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” – Chinese General Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War.”

illlegal

The time-tested notion of running to the poles in party primaries and then shifting to the center in the general election has been widely attributed to Richard Nixon.

And for the most part, this strategy has been de rigueur in American politics for decades. The truly committed – hard left or hard right — are the most likely to passionately participate in retail party caucuses, straw polls and town-hall style meetings during primary seasons. They can make or break a candidacy. These passionate partisans are naturally feared for their high propensity.

And when one survives the primary/caucus gauntlet and becomes the standard-bearer of one of America’s two major political parties, then the task is to pacify the hard-line base and win over the independents.

That strategy worked for decades, but will it continue to be as effective as the Democratic Party moves further to the left and the Republican Party moves further to the right?

The answer very well could be “no.”

The reason lies with the segmentation of American society. Almost DailyBrett wrote about how political pros are becoming adept at using digital technology in building coalitions of sympathetic voters, isolating those who are opposed, and employing GOTV (Get Out the Vote) methods to drive coalition members to the polls.

axelrod

David Alexrod and the Obama team were particularly adept with strategies to push America’s growing Hispanic population into the president’s column. Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote; Mitt Romney, just 27 percent. Game, set and match to Obama.

The result was all-together different just eight years earlier as President George W. Bush received 41 percent of the Hispanic vote in defeating his challenger, John Kerry. George W. Bush was the governor of Texas for two terms before being elected president and speaks Spanish. Likewise, Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida for two terms, speaks Spanish, and has been married for 40 years to his Mexico-born wife, Columba.

Plan on seeing, Columba, on the campaign trail and repeated references to four-decades of marital bliss and of course, La Familia.

jebcolumba1

Some are contending as evidenced by recent headlines that Jeb is being placed on the “defensive” by his “Act of Love” comments about illegal immigrants. He has drawn measured (for now) responses from rivals, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and commentator Bill O’Reilly. Maybe his carefully chosen comments should be seen in a different light, as a way to highlight his credentials to the pivotal Hispanic voting block that demonstrated by recent evidence is not signed-sealed-and-delivered to the Democratic Party.

Jeb Bush is a bright guy. He knew his “Act of Love” remarks would not play well with the “wingers” in the Republican Party. Heck, he may even lose the Iowa Caucuses as a result of this particular remark…and others that are bound to follow. The loss, if it comes to pass, maybe will be his gain. He cannot win the presidency without at least 40 percent of the Hispanic electorate supporting his candidacy as they did for his brother’s re-election. The Hispanic vote is in play.

Jeb Bush also knows the last three nominees of the Republican Party were not the darlings of the hard right, his brother, John McCain and Mitt Romney. One can win the GOP nomination and the open-seat election in 2016 by demonstrating “electability,” and that requires a sincere commitment to compassion, not exclusion.

There will be some, who will grit their teeth and accuse Jeb of promoting, “amnesty.” These are Jeb’s enemies and he never really had a chance of winning their support in any event. What would be worse is to be seen as appeasing or pandering to the party’s insensitive wing?

Jeb’s deliberate use of the phrase, “Act of Love” in many ways conjures images of Reagan’s sunny, optimistic “Morning in America” theme.

morninginamerica

The mantra is that America is an exceptional nation, one that draws immigrants, one that fosters entrepreneurs and innovation, and if you have a dream and are willing to work hard to make the seemingly impossible, possible, then anything and everything conceivably is achievable.

The notion of the “Act of Love” puts the undocumented alien into a different light instead of a wanted felon; one who is looking to America for a better life for she, he and La Familia.

The first signs of this strategy was how Jeb characterized his decision-making process to run or not run – regardless of the stated objections of his madre: “The decision will be based on, can I do it joyfully, because I think we need to have candidates lift our spirits.”

Jeb is wagering that America needs a dose of optimism, a smile instead of a frown, good-spirited rhetoric instead of mean-spirited name calling. Politics will remain a “contact sport” as referenced by Mary Matalin. The Bush brothers know this. The Clintons know this as well.

Let the contest ensue with the Hispanic vote clearly in play.

 

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/jeb-bush-defends-act-of-love-immigration-105612.html

http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2014/04/marco-rubio-responds-to-jeb-bushs-act-of-love-comment.html

http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2014/04/bill-oreilly-jeb-bush-is-using-my-line-on-immigration.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/04/11/rand_paul_bush_immigration_remarks_well-intentioned_122257.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/jeb-bush-remarks-expose-gops-immigration-problem-23278238

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/09/politics/latino-vote-key-election/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26119-2004Dec25.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/segmented-society/

http://www.city-data.com/forum/illegal-immigration/1124060-president-reagan-hispanics-republicans-they-just.html#ixzz2ycXLwocm

 

 

Okay it’s really “Meet the Press,” the very same NBC Sunday public-affairs program that debuted in 1947. Harry “The Buck Stops Here” Truman was in the White House.

press

In the 14th year of the 21st Century, can anyone contemplate debuting a new program, naming it, “Meet the Press?” Or how about inaugurating a women’s general interest periodical and calling it, “Good Housekeeping”? Of course not, and yet the 1885 brand lives on as “GH.”

 

“Meet the Press” can be found on NBC, hosted by David Gregory, every Sunday morning reportedly running three-out-of-three in the ratings of the major network Sunday talking-head shows. Is the Rockefeller Center network so attached to this tired brand, which is an anachronism to the game-changing technological shifts west of the Hudson River that it refuses to acknowledge the obvious?

Maybe the rocket scientists at NBC should call the program MTP similar to making-love-in-a-canoe Pabst Blue Ribbon trying to be cool with the PBR acronym. Sorry, we won’t be fooled again.

Is this the time to strike the analog word, “Press” from our collective vocabulary, especially for people who should know better: public relations practitioners, communications choreographers, digital media pros etc.? Almost DailyBrett argues in the affirmative.

And if you do use this word, what does that say about your mindset? Are you closer to the “laggard” classification when it comes to the “Diffusion of Innovation” curve?

diffusioncurve

 

They buried Johannes Gutenberg in 1468. And now it’s time … actually it’s way past time … to deep-six his printing “press,” literally and figuratively.

gutenberg

And with it should be the permanent prohibition by public relations/communications professionals in using the anachronistic and woefully outdated five-letter word: P-R-E-S-S.

That’s right. There should be no more “Press” or “Press Room” icons and pages on company and agency (Hello? … digital) websites. There should be no more “press conferences,” and please no more “press releases.”

There are still scars on my back and vivid memories of uttering the word, “Press” in the presence of electronic media types back in my Sacramento days. “Press” to the conventional electronic (e.g. radio and television) media refers to the “pencil” reporter/editor types. And now even fewer media are actually using printing presses.

Surveying the office bookshelf, the author of Almost DailyBrett comes upon “The Press and America: An Interpretative History of Mass Media” and “The Press: Inside America’s Most Powerful Newspaper Empires – From the Newsrooms to the Boardrooms.” These books were written and published in the simpler analog days of the 1970s and 1980s.

No more kicking and screaming: These “press” references, including the titles of these outdated books, are just so 20th Century…or one could argue, they are really 15th Century. And that is the unavoidable truth when it comes to “legacy” media. Maybe we should label them as “antique” media?

It’s time for the digital natives to reign supreme.

According to The Economist, the high-water mark for employment of full-time American newspaper journalist was about 57,000 circa 1990. Fast forward to the present day and the number is down to 38,000 and dropping, claiming the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Rocky Mountain News and many others as casualties.

These are all legacy media that are now legacies, and others will be soon joining the ranks.

Does this mean that college and university journalism schools should shut their doors, and ask the last student to “Please turn out the lights”?

To borrow a well-worn metaphor, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an oncoming train.

 

The illumination comes from serious digital-native startups that some may be tempted to dismiss as blogs. Pew Research’s State of the News Media cites the literally dozens of digital news providers, some better than others, which are meeting the insatiable global demand for news and information on a 24/7/365-day basis.

digitalmedia

Do you want to label Vice and its 1,100 journalists as “Press”? The question sounds silly when you think of it. How about The Huffington Post with its 575 journalists or POLITICO with 186 or BuzzFeed,170 or Gawker, 132?

One may be tempted to dismiss these contributors as mere bloggers until you examine the departure of reporters from legacy media New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR and others for jobs with digital native news services. Are the lost jobs in legacy media being replaced on a one-to-one basis by digital native outlets? Alas, the answer is ‘no,’ but the trend is clear. The demand for news and information is being filled, mainly by providers that use software, binary code, search engines and keyboards.

Michael Deaver, Larry Speakes and others in the Reagan communications team had to make more room in the crammed White House briefing room for a new network, CNN.

The Clinton White House had to do the same for Fox News and MSNBC, which ironically both debuted in 1996.

Undoubtedly, the present White House and administrations to follow will have to make the calls when it comes to digital-native media. Some deserve admission to this club, and some do not. Regardless the vast majority media now and into the future will never use printing presses. They are so yesterday. The world continues to change, but the demand for accurate news and information will never change.

It’s time to bury the word, “Press” once and for all.

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/as-meet-the-press-struggles-in-the-ratings-plenty-of-questions-for-host-david-gregory/2014/04/20/247ed4c0-c72f-11e3-bf7a-be01a9b69cf1_story.html?wpisrc=nl%5Fhdln

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Housekeeping

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21599784-some-moderately-good-news-news-industry-digital-resurrection

http://www.vice.com/en_us

http://www.businessinsider.com/

https://firstlook.org/

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/

http://www.politico.com/

http://www.journalism.org/packages/state-of-the-news-media-2014/

 

 

 

 

“Only in America”

The old joke: “When has it been a bad day?”

“When Mike Wallace (in particular) and the 60 Minutes crew is waiting in the lobby.”

Sometimes having 60 Minutes coming for an extended visit can be great news for a company, and maybe for a nation that could use a kick in the collective pants.

pelley60Minutes

The Scott Pelley story this past Sunday focused on a 42-years young immigrant “engineer” from South Africa, Elon R. Musk, who is playing a huge role in reviving American heavy manufacturing in both automobiles (Tesla) and rockets (SpaceX).

Almost DailyBrett wants to hear, tell and relay more of these stories.

Driving repeatedly up the 880 (e.g.. The Nasty Nimitz) past industrial Fremont, one would cast a sad glance at the shuttered NUMMI plant. At various times, GM and Toyota cars and trucks would be made there until they weren’t any longer.

The negative narrative was that Silicon Valley with its unparalleled collection of gear heads would always be a center of innovation, but manufacturing was just too bloody expensive.

Oh, ya?

Tesla’s 1,000 employees at the recharged NUMMI plant can’t build the fully battery-powered (up to 250 miles on one charge with zero climate change emissions) $100,000 Model S cars fast enough to meet the demand. Overall Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) employs nearly 6,000 directly and indirectly results in the hiring of thousands of others in supplier roles, and quite well could be the first successful U.S. automobile start-up in 90 years. And the company is working to developing the technology to build $30,000 non-polluting all-electric cars with acceptable travel ranges.

Heck, Bill O’Reilly called Tesla a global “game changer” that will force all rival automakers to respond.

Earns Tesla Motors

But the story does not start-and-stop there; In fact it goes into the stratosphere and beyond.

Musk also pioneered privately held SpaceX with its 3,000 employees, which received a $1.5 billion NASA influx to deliver cargos via rockets to the agency’s orbiting space stations. SpaceX is developing the first rocket that can be landed right back on the launch pad, and may play the leading role in taking humans to Mars for the first time.

Don’t bet against Musk, Tesla and SpaceX.

We seemingly live in a culture in which no good deed goes unpunished, one in which we despise the 1 percent who have much more than the rest of us, and yet we don’t know them.

For example, Musk came to America … “Only in America” … because of its software prowess, particularly the Silicon Valley. After attaining degrees in physics and business from the University of Pennsylvania, he devised the software that provided on-board navigation for drivers, and made $22 million. He developed the online banking system, called PayPal, which he sold to eBay for $1.5 billion (Musk’s share, $180 million). Modestly, he said that was a “good outcome.”

And then he bet the ranch and his earned nest eggs on both Tesla and SpaceX, and was close to bankruptcy and a nervous breakdown. He had hundreds of electric cars that did not work and three failed rocket launches in succession…a fourth would have been game, set and match.

spacex1

With tears in his eyes, he told the story of how Number Four was the charm, and the NASA and further VC investments saved the day. His reaction was very human, very open-kimono. Maybe there are good people who happen to earn a lot of money?

The rest is history. Entrepreneurs by their very nature have to be prepared to fail. Caca happens more times than not. Musk stared failure and permanent debt right in the eyes…and the other guy just blinked.

As mentioned more than once in Almost DailyBrett, my former boss Wilf Corrigan came to America from Liverpool, England with his new Norwegian bride circa 1960. The initial destination was the wrong side of the tracks in blast-furnace hot, Phoenix, Arizona with barely two shekels to rub together.

In time, he rose to the top spot at Fairchild, lost the company in a hostile takeover bid, formed his own company, LSI Logic, which is now being driven into oblivion by his successor. Wilf succeeded, failed and succeeded again.

Failure is an option in Silicon Valley and America, but so is success…including new businesses, jobs and maybe heavy manufacturing (e.g., electric cars and rockets).

musk

Mounting the proverbial soap box, there are a record 47 million on food stamps and another record 8.9 million on disability, most legit…some not. We need to provide a safety net for those who are in real need…

We also need to not hate, but celebrate, the doers, the achievers, the entrepreneurs. The days of jealousy should be behind us, but you know they are not.

For the public relations industry, we should be unabashed and undaunted in telling the stories of those who dare to fail and ultimately succeed, providing us with great products and the best anti-poverty program on the planet: A good paying private sector job with full benefits.

Thank you Elon Musk and all the others who dare to follow in your footsteps. We can hardly wait to hear and tell the stories about you.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tesla-and-spacex-elon-musks-industrial-empire/

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/2014/04/01/bill-oreilly-truth-about-obamacare-and-global-warming

http://www.teslamotors.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Factory

http://www.spacex.com/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/in-search-of-another-suite-h33-kirkland-house/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/makers-and-takers/

 

 

 

 

The White House, April 1, 2014 – President Barack Obama in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America today announced the successful annexation of Cabo San Lucas to protect American vital interests in this strategic location at the tip of the Baja Peninsula.

Under direct orders from President Obama, U.S. Navy Seals led by Lt. Jordan O’Neil completed the acquisition of Cabo San Lucas including the embarkation points for large cruise ships in a pre-dawn action today. No casualties or any impact to the local population, atmospheric carbon levels or hormonal whales were reported.cabo

 

During the past few months, President Obama became increasingly concerned about the plight of U.S. time-share owners and alarmed by the threatened suspension of room-service by the Mexican government at resorts situated along the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean.

If these owners were compelled by protracted inconvenience to sell their interests in resort properties (e.g., loss of room-service and exhaustion of margarita salt supplies) that could conceivably result in reduced income redistribution transfer revenues to achieve administration social-justice goals.

roomservice

The president also announced plans for a Tuesday, April 15 plebiscite for the residents of Cabo San Lucas, under the protection of the U.S. Navy Seals and supervision drones, to choose whether they want to remain with Mexico or join the United States. If they opt for the latter, these residents will then be asked to select their choice of income-taxation jurisdiction: Arizona, 4.54 percent, California; 12.3 percent, New Mexico, 4.9 percent or Texas, 0 percent.

Responding to threats of punitive economic sanctions advocated in the United Nations by Russia, Syria, Iran, North Korea and others, President Obama announced that he is prepared to send Vice President Joe Biden and/or Secretary of State John Kerry to these countries to talk at them until they withdraw their contemplated actions. If these tough actions are insufficient, the president will send Vice President Biden and Secretary Kerry as many times as necessary until these nations come to their collective senses and/or beg us to stop the filibuster.

John Kerry hugs Joe Biden after being sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State during a ceremony at the State Department in Washington

Another option on the table is to impose the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Russia, Syria, Iran, North Korea or any other nation supporting economic sanctions against the United States. The president said instituting Obamacare by force would be a “last resort” as he does not want to impose any program that is opposed by the majority of any nation.

“The plight of American citizens in neighboring nations is in the strategic vital interest of the United States,” said President Obama. “When American time-share owners are directly threatened by the immediate suspension of room service and the withholding of margarita salt that left me with no option but to send Lt. O’Neil (e.g., G.I. Jane, Demi Moore) and the Seals to Cabo.”

gijane1

 

Once the Cabo San Lucas peninsula is secured and the plebiscite is held with the local residents naturally voting to join the United States, President Obama plans on conducting an inspection tour of the strategic destination, starting with the first tee.

 

Cautionary Statement: None of the statements made above constitute a guarantee for those interested in investing in Cabo San Lucas time shares, ordering room service or trading in margarita salt futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Investors contemplating trading or appropriating legal tender as a result of the U.S. strategic annexation of Cabo San Lucas are encouraged to contact Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, the appropriate hedge fund or your investment advisor.

 

About the White House: The ultimate federal housing project, the White House is the home of its present occupant and his family. For more information, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.I._Jane

http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/ind_inc.pdf

 

“Steve Jobs was on the phone to the editor of Gizmodo, saying, ‘Give me my f…ing (iPhone 4) phone back…Our purpose is to get information out quickly according to our schedule, not according to his (Jobs’) schedule.” – Nick Denton, “Gawker Media” founder and owner.

iphone4

“If you guys (Winklevoss twins) were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.” – Mark Zuckerberg as played by Jesse Eisenberg in the “The Social Network.”

“I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. And I saw the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale.” – U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden to the SXSW Interactive Festival.

“Thou Shalt Not Steal. “ – From the 10 Commandments.

If someone broke into your house and stole your hard-earned cell phone, HDTV and precious jewelry with deep-sentimental value, what would be your reaction if certain segments of society actually cheered and applauded the perpetrator?

And would it be totally uncool, if you reported the theft to authorities and shared your suspicions about the culprit(s)?

Or would you just be expected to shake it off, grow a pair (as mumsy-in-law would say) and maybe attend a techy/music conference to cheer-and-hail the thief who stole your intellectual property? Would he now be your personal hero?

Maybe the issue is that certain people truly believe that intellectual property — especially IP researched, developed and safeguarded by government or corporate — doesn’t deserve protection at least in the eyes of those who detest and loathe the “military-industrial complex.” Besides they are way smarter than the rest of us anyway. Just ask them.

Watching the YouTube video and reading media reports of Snowden speaking from autocratic Russia with the U.S. Constitution as his backdrop to hundreds of cheering techies at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin, one is struck by the irony that Snowden is the ultimate “wanted” man as in wanted for espionage and outright theft of government property.

snowdenSXSW

And yet he is protected in Russia by Vladimir Putin. Yes, the very same Vladimir Putin who helped himself to Crimea. Oops…Almost forgot…Crimea voted overwhelmingly to “voluntarily” join Russia. Let’s see: Snowden steals from America; Putin defies America and many others as well. Got it?

Here is another irony: Steve Jobs is revered, particularly by those who never worked for him, as the greatest technology genius since Albert Einstein. But when the prototype of the iPhone 4 ended up in the hands of Gawker Media’s Gizmodo? Well that’s just tough, Steve. Sorry.

Is this IP-be-damned trend a natural outgrowth of Sean Parker and Napster when it came to music that was written, practiced and recorded, and then heisted, uploaded-to and downloaded-by hundreds of thousands at no cost? The members of Metallica didn’t think it was cool for thousands to pilfer their music, which they regard as their heavy-metal intellectual property.

And now there is even a political movement (die Piraten or the Pirates) in Germany, which basically contends that intellectual property, including the semiconductors, software, search engines, fiber-optic cables, PCs, wireless devices, satellites, which form the basis of the Internet are a basic no-cost human right. Forget about the literally billions that has been poured into governmental and corporate R&D, closing the “digital divide” takes precedence.

pirates

And those 10 Commandments that supposedly were handed down to Moses, including Thou Shalt Not Steal? Well, they are just so yesterday.

Working for a decade as the director of Corporate Public Relations for LSI Logic Corporation, I came to deeply appreciate the proprietary nature of the company’s library of silicon/software intellectual property building blocks (e.g., processors, memory, logic, I/O ports).

We built the first critical processors for Sony’s first two generations of the PlayStation. Without our intellectual property, which either had to be developed, acquired or licensed at great cost and effort, we would not have been in the game. As it turns out, the Sony PlayStation deal was one of the most celebrated design wins for American suppliers, right smack in the middle of a major trade dispute with Japan.

Our legal department constantly reminded us about the need to include the hard-earned ®, ™, and © icons. These are all forms of intellectual property protection, and draw their origins back to Medieval Venice. And today, they are the subject of breathtaking lawsuits and judgments, including Apple winning a $290 million patent infringement judgment against rival, Samsung. Steve Jobs was most likely smiling from heaven.

And speaking of heaven and hell. We were taught to simply don’t steal. And don’t smokescreen theft with deflection discussion of individual liberties and cloaking yourself in the U.S. Constitution. What belongs to you belongs to you. And what belongs to someone else belongs to someone else.

This concept seems so simple and straight forward. Right?

http://www.hark.com/clips/vjljkvbhwl-inventors-of-facebook-you-would-have-invented-facebook

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Network

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/10/tech/web/edward-snowden-sxsw/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Parker

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_4S

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Party_Germany

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/pr-advice-for-edward-snowden/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent

http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/definitions.jsp

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/11/21/jury-awards-apple-290-million-in-patent-dispute-with-samsung/3644555/

 

 

 

 

Who says there is no such thing as a “free lunch”?

ribsdinner

Just split an entrée with your significant other the night before and there most likely will be plenty left over for lunch for two the following day.

And maybe even a bite or two for Bowser too?

What is it about all of this food? When is enough, enough?

Are restaurants overfeeding us?

Why would Almost DailyBrett pose these questions?

Heading into Husky Stadium on Lake Washington for Oregon’s record 10th straight (and counting) win over Washington last October, I was struck by what one can buy with $250 million.

Four years earlier, Husky Stadium was an old, decrepit and crumbling football stadium with small seats and incredibly narrow aisles. Today, the stadium is much more comfortable with larger seats and wider concourses. Does this upgraded level of comfort just reflect the power of millions of dollars of legal tender or does it signal another trend?

huskystadium

The answer is both. The stadium, even though it sits on a beautiful lake spanned by a floating bridge, needed a facelift and that requires cash. The smaller seats and narrower aisles were judged to be more than adequate way back in the 20th Century, but they do not work now. People are bigger and becoming ever larger. Is this what they mean by upgrading our national “infrastructure”?

How many of us are “normal” weight by using the Body Mass Index (BMI). Try it out: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm

Mimicking the Spaniards and their appetizing Tapas, there was a small-plate movement (10-inch rather than 12-inch plates) in the trendier parts of America less-than-a-decade ago. And like most well-intentioned campaigns, some stick around and some go by the wayside.

tapas

We are way past the point of being overly concerned about the obesity epidemic in the good ole USofA. Are our restaurants in their never-ending quest to provide “value” to discerning customers in this eternal difficult financial climate, contributing to the expanding waist lines of Americans?

Research indicates that we eat what is put before us, and that is contributing to an obesity epidemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

Last month, my relatively new spouse and I visited the Old Town Tortilla Factory in Scottsdale, Arizona, a great place particularly in 87-degree February warmth.

We placed one order of the chipotle baby back ribs with string fries and cole slaw and the waiter was cool enough to waive the divided order charge. Predictably, we could not finish the entrée and had no room for dessert. Alas, there was no Bowser back in our rented condo to devour the remains.

And just this past week, Bates’ Steak House in Eugene, Oregon was the venue for the birthday celebration of the editor in chief of Almost DailyBrett. We ordered one serving John Wayne Cowboy Steak (e.g. marbled 16-ounce rib eye). Fair enough.

The entrée came with soup, salad, potatoes, rice, bacon, blue cheese, tortillas, salsa, beans and the aforementioned 16-ounces of seared steak. For dessert, the choice was either a fancy liquor or a root beer float with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Predictably we needed a Bowser bag. And the left overs, placed in the microwave for two minutes, were more than enough for lunch.

nachos

You may thinking these stories are anecdotal, but they keep on recurring. Walking into a Mexican restaurant, we were told of the grilled chicken nachos appetizer special. We took the plunge. That plate was more than enough for dinner for two…and that turned out to be our dinner.

Admittedly, the vast majority of restaurants fail. The new ones in particular are under tremendous pressure to succeed in this low-margin business. Are they and their entrenched competitors resorting to overfeeding customers in order to stay in business?

And if they are, is this delicious trend contributing to our obesity epidemic?

Writing about food is not for the faint of heart. The editor of Almost DailyBrett still has scars on his back for his commentary about the TMI (Too Much Information) gluten free movement. There are those who care big time about genetically modified food and those who have more important things to do. There are the carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, vegetarians, vegans and countless other (up)-vores.

And regardless of all this attention as to whether coconut oil is actually good for you or not, it all comes down to calories in; calories out. Salad-size plate moderation is a good thing.

Our restaurants should come to this realization as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Plate_Movement

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/739086

http://oldtowntortillafactory.com/

http://www.batessteakhouse.com/

http://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Overeating

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/vegan-gluten-free-elitism-with-coconut-oil-2/

“Now if this (Ketchum, Inc. client Vladimir Putin allegedly protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine) sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s. All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.” – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

hillary1

“Hitler makes cameo appearances all the time within American political narratives about emerging international crises. He’s an easy and recognizable shorthand that signals danger.” – Former State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley.

During the past few days, the Washington Post, CNBC and others have questioned Ketchum Public Relations representing Russia, even though the country invaded a strategic portion (e.g., Crimea) of its neighbor, Ukraine. Ketchum states its only advancing Russia’s economic development and investment goals, not foreign policy. However, a New York Times op-ed, authored by Putin and placed by Ketchum, criticized the foreign policy of the United States in the context of Syria.

When is it time for an international public relations agency to jettison a client, even one paying $55 million so far, based upon questionable at best behavior? Or does the legal tender reign supreme? Would Ketchum theoretically accept any client, telling its “economic development and investment” story, regardless of the circumstances? Does Corporate Social Responsibility apply to agencies as well? What if an international client with a difficult story to tell came to Ketchum or any other international agency…let’s say back in 1938.

Ketchum, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., would turn down the business. Right?

The scene is a large meeting room in Germany’s Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The time is September, 1938.

Propaganda Minster Joseph Goebbels: “Herzlichen Willkommen zu dem Vaterland und das dritte Reich, Herr Ketchum.“

Ketchum EVP: “We are delighted to have been selected from several firms competing for your RFP (Request for Proposal) to help tell Germany’s story and to facilitate understanding of what your Führer is trying to accomplish in Central Europe.”

Goebbels: “The pleasure is ours. We are particularly pleased to meet with Ketchum Public Relations. Apparently, you have a solid track record of representing nations that don’t have…how should I say it…the easiest public story to tell.”

Ketchum EVP: “It’s nice to be recognized for our track record. We are particularly good at competing in the arena of public opinion and national brand management for countries that want to insure their rightful interests are respected and understood.”

Goebbels: “As you know, earlier this year we peacefully completed an Anschluss bringing together German-speaking Austria together with das Reich. We believe this connection was only fair and just.”

Ketchum EVP: “And now, if I understand you correctly, Germany wants to do the same for the ethnic Germans that were artificially separated from the Vaterland by the Versailles Treaty and the establishment of thrown-together states, such as Czechoslovakia.”

sudetenland

Goebbels: “That is exactly why you are being paid so handsomely, say $1.6 million in U.S. currency every six months, to tell the Führer’s great story. He is fully aware of our meeting today, and is pleased you are joining our team.”

Ketchum EVP: “Let me get this right. Your Führer will soon be meeting with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to discuss the Sudetenland question. How can we help? We have offices in Berlin, Munich, Prague and London. We are prepared to assist both here in Germany and elsewhere.”

Goebbels: “Don’t worry about Germany. My ministry has Alles in Ordnung when it comes to spreading our message within Germany. We could use some help in New York and London, However, you may have a conflict with our account and your Prague office.”

Ketchum EVP: “Let me reiterate that we really want your business. We have already taken the steps to register our business relationship with Germany with the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act. We have a track record of placing an op-ed for the oligarch of Russia with the New York Times. We could do the same for your Führer, advancing him as a Thought Leader when it comes to hegemony in Europe.”

Goebbels: “Sehr gut, but what about the upcoming summit in Munich between der Führer and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain? We really need help with Fleet Street in the City of London.”

neville

Ketchum EVP: “We have already taken the liberty to brand the Munich conference as “Peace for Our Time.” Our goal is to ensure that the appeasing and pleasing “Peace for Our Time” is on the lips of informed publics, particularly in London, New York and Washington. Those are our prime audiences.”

Goebbels: “And what about your Czech office in bothersome, Prague”?

Ketchum EVP: “Kein Problem Herr Minister. We will set up the Mother of All Chinese Walls. Our Prague office will not interfere with your plans for German media and our assistance in the U.K. and the USA. I trust that everything will go along swimmingly.”

Goebbels: “We will have indeed have ‘Peace for Our Time.’ Ha…”

Ketchum EVP: “We are happy to represent you in selling your assistance to the Sudetenland ethnic minorities to skeptical publics. Is there anything else we can do”?

Goebbels: “There is this matter of the Polish Corridor…Maybe we should discuss a retainer relationship.”

Ketchum EVP: “We really love retainers…”

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/03/06/ukraine-crisis-ketchum-idINL1N0M22BB20140306

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101465564

http://www.presstelegram.com/general-news/20140304/hillary-clinton-compares-vladimir-putins-actions-in-ukraine-to-adolf-hitlers-in-nazi-germany

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clintons-putin-hitler-comments-draw-rebukes-as-she-wades-into-ukraine-conflict/2014/03/05/31a748d8-a486-11e3-84d4-e59b1709222c_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/03/07/who-would-lobby-for-russia-these-people/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol

http://www.odwyerpr.com/story/public/2034/2014-03-10/ketchums-dilemma-represent-or-not-represent-russia.html

http://www.ketchum.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Public_Enlightenment_and_Propaganda

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement

What makes Alabama and Auburn, “football schools”?

ironbowl

And conversely, what makes Duke and North Carolina, “basketball schools”?

It seems that the term, “football school,” has been around since the earth cooled. The ghosts of John McKay, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Darrell Royal, Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno, Bud Wilkinson and others would certainly agree from their respective resting places in Heaven and Hell.

Ditto for the words, “basketball school,” may also have been carved into the Rosetta Stone to commemorate “The Wizard of Westwood” John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, “Phog” Allen and Jim Valvano.

Does anyone in the State of Alabama let alone anywhere else, besides Sir Charles Barkley, really care about the basketball rivalry between Alabama and Auburn?

Does anyone in the State of North Carolina let alone anywhere else really care about the football rivalry between Duke and North Carolina?

Ask virtually anyone in Alabama what happened in the last second of the 2013 Iron Bowl and a huge smile or a deep sigh will emerge reflecting the religious fervor from both War Eagle and Roll Tide surrounding this game. They already know what they will be doing for nearly four hours on a late November night later this year.

michaelduke

Ask virtually anyone along the eight miles of Tobacco Road separating Duke and UNC and beyond what they are doing this coming Saturday night and they will most likely think the question is rhetorical: It’s North Carolina vs. Duke baby, and the “Cameron Crazies” are ready to go. You can be sure that ESPN’s Dukie Vitale will be there as well.

When one starts listing football schools which institutions immediately come to mind (moving from God’s time zone to the west)?

How about Penn State? Yep. Ohio State and Michigan? Certainly. Notre Dame? Must we? Alabama and Auburn? Definitely. Texas and Texas A&M? Ya better, ya hear. Oklahoma and Nebraska? Yes sir. USC? Fight On! Oregon? Particularly in the last two-plus decades.

When one starts listing basketball schools which institutions come to mind (again moving from God’s sacred Eastern Time Zone to points out west)?

Syracuse? Does the name, Jim Boeheim, ring a bell? North Carolina and Duke? No doubt. Kentucky and Louisville? Yessum. Indiana? Ever see the movie, Hoosiers or read Season on the Brink? Kansas? Dorothy would pass up the Emerald City to check out a game in Allen Fieldhouse. And of course, Arizona.

During the course of a KNBR (San Francisco) radio interview a few years ago, former University of Arizona basketball star Tom Tolbert asked NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young if Arizona would ever go to the Rose Bowl. Young without missing a beat told Tolbert to forget it because “Arizona is a basketball school.”

Even though there are obvious exceptions to every rule, Almost DailyBrett has to conclude that basketball schools are really not very good at football, and football schools conversely are really not proficient in round ball.

Do you remember Indiana’s last Rose Bowl? O.J. Simpson was carrying the ball for the other team.

Can you list the number of NCAA titles in Men’s basketball for USC (We remember you, Cheryl Miller)? That would be … none.

Can you list the number of Rose Bowls for Arizona? You already know the answer to that one.

As a Pac-12 kind of guy, let’s focus on USC, the football school, and Arizona, the basketball school. What makes the two so dominant in one sport and so mediocre (being kind here) in the other?

One could immediately point to tradition, and legendary coaches. USC is Howard Jones, John McKay and Pete Carroll. USC is the LA Coliseum. Heisman Trophies, Song Girls, Traveler, Conquest, Rose Bowls and National Championships. Steve Sarkisian has traded in a lumbering Ford F-150 (University of Washington) for a Lamborghini (USC). As a former football manager at Troy way back in the Gerald Ford/Jimmy Carter years, I can attest everything is football at USC.

carrollusc

In turn basketball was the near-empty L.A. Sports Arena, one of the most dreary and desultory sports experiences in the history of the planet. USC had no home court advantage for literally decades. Wooden was packing them in at Pauley Pavilion. The USC students really wouldn’t even walk a few blocks to the Sports Arena, but would make the same trek in droves to the LA Coliseum.

Today, USC plays in the beautiful Galen Center and no one friggin’ cares. The team is mired in last place in the Pac-12, trailing even the dreadful WSU Cougars. AD Pat Haden (e.g., a football star) hired Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield and the effort is a never-ending work in progress.

For USC fans, the goal every year is to win the Pac-12 and contest for the national championship, if not outright win the glass football. When it comes to basketball…Do USC fans really care? The answer is, not really.

Quick name a great Arizona quarterback since the Wildcats joined the now-Pac-12 conference in 1978?

How about a legendary Arizona football coach?

Sorry “Bear Down” disciples, Frank Kush coached for ASU. Even though Rich Rodriguez does not want to hear this: Arizona is a study of gridiron mediocrity. Even early erector-set Arizona Stadium makes one’s blood head north. This is NOT a must do college football experience.

lute

Now let’s talk McKale Center. Let’s remember Lute and Bobbie Olson. Let’s contemplate the 1997 NCAA title. Let’s dwell on the likes of Richard Jefferson, Miles Simon, Channing Frye, Salim and Damon Stoudamire, Luke Walton (UCLA Bill’s son) etc. Let’s visualize Arizona getting to the Final Four again this year (if they can make their free throws) with the likes of Aaron Gordon, Nick Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski, T.J. McConnell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Coach Sean Miller has not made AzCat faithful forget Lute, but he is on the verge of starting a new Arizona dynasty in round ball.

Some things change, but more times than not, they stay the same. And when they change, it takes a long time. That certainly is the case for USC basketball and Arizona football.

A football school is a football school and a basketball school is a basketball school.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Bowl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolina%E2%80%93Duke_rivalry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USC_Trojans_football

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Wildcats_men%27s_basketball

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