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“This on-demand or so-called gig economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.” – Hillary Clinton, July 13, 2015

“Big government liberals fundamentally can’t embrace digital innovation because it threatens the way they govern. They see car-sharing services as a threat to the local government taxi cab cartels. They see food trucks and Airbnb as a threat to urban planning and the tax and fee racket that they’ve imposed on brick and mortar restaurants and hotels.” – Jeb Bush, July 16, 2015 jebuber

How come one of the hottest IPO candidates, $50 billion estimated market-value Uber, has suddenly become a political piñata?

Maybe we should give Uber a break? The company has not even commenced its roadshow to sell shares of Uber to the public, and yet it is caught in the middle of partisan crossfire.

Hillary didn’t even mention Uber and its $1 billion in annual revenues by name; she didn’t need too. Three days later, Jeb purposefully rode Uber around San Francisco to check out start-up Thumbtack, an on-demand provider via mobile technology for those looking for professionals from interior designers to dog walkers. Don’t worry: Jeb will not carry San Francisco, if he is the Republican nominee.uberphones

As The Economist described the issue here is the on-demand economy matching people with money and no time with people with time and no money. This is also a question of consumer choice between a cab and a private driver at a similar or even lower price. This is a question of deciding between a relatively expensive restaurant or a line of tempting food trucks (e.g., downtown Portland, Oregon), each specializing a particular cuisine for a reduced price. This is also the question of whether to stay in a standard hotel or motel or accessing Airbnb to find a guest room.

For the service provider, she or he can do the work they want, when they want to do it. The on-demand economy allows them to monetize an unused/underused asset (i.e., car, extra room, cooking talent). Does the on-demand economy make music for everyone? No, but conceivably it works for students wanting to supplement their income, young mothers needing a part-time job or the semi-retired wanting to re-engage in the marketplace and make some legal tender on the side.

The unifying characteristic of the on-demand economy is the ubiquitous smart phone used by 2 billion around the globe now, and expected to reach 4 billion users by the end of this decade or a brilliant device for more than half of the planet.

Translated: Potential customers with smart phones summon on-demand service they want, when they want it. They need a ride; they contact Uber or Lyft or Sidecar. Uber, a 2009 privately held start-up (now in 53 countries around the world), does the rest. Want a doctor within two hours, click on Medicast. Need a lawyer? Axiom is at your service. How about a contractor for a remodel? The Handy app is easy to find.

Uber: Net Plus or Net Minus? 

“Uber, a perfect example of how a disruptive technology can improve a formerly noncompetitive market, serves a real need in cities where taxis have taken advantage of riders for years.” – Washington Post lead editorial, July 20, 2015cabdriver

“Bashing Uber has become an industry in its own right; in some circles, though, applying its business model to any other service imaginable is even more popular.” – The Economist, There’s an app for that, January 3, 2015

Despite the positive features of this winning destructive technology, there are those in Washington D.C. and other bastions of the static quo that are threatened. According to The Economist, the number of temporary workers has doubled from 1.0 million to 2.0 million in the past 15 years, while private sector union membership has plunged from 12 percent in 1990 to about 6 percent now.

And there lies the rub for Hillary. Unions for obvious reasons are not thrilled with Uber and its on-demand economy, business-model followers. At the same time, Uber and its ilk appeal to Millennials, who realize the old rules don’t apply. They instinctively know this by examining the literally millions of desultory SOL Baby Boomers, who cannot or will not think out of the box.

The business model of the rust-belt factory with its long-term employment followed by a guaranteed company pension is broken. There is a life-and-death struggle underway between education and technology. What is needed to compete in the 21st Century economy is educational know-how/smarts to keep up and make technology your friend.

There are those who have services to provide and skills to offer and they use mobile technology to participate in the on-demand economy. There are an equal amount of consumers who want alternatives. On-demand companies do not offer perfection, but they do provide choices.

One of the two major parties will be pro-choice when it comes to destructive technologies, exploring and opening up new employment opportunities, particularly those with a young outlook on life. The other will look to the power of Big Brother to fight-off the relentless power of ones and zeroes of binary code.

When it comes to relentless destructive technologies: You can run, but you can’t hide.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/disrupting-washington-unleash-innovators-jeb-bush

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-calls-for-growth-and-fairness-economy-vows-wall-street-crackdown/2015/07/13/15d42d18-296b-11e5-a5ea-cf74396e59ec_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-uber-debate/2015/07/19/8f2623ba-2cae-11e5-a250-42bd812efc09_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/07/17/jeb-bush-wants-to-be-the-uber-candidate-heres-the-problem-with-that/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/business/an-uber-ipo-looms-and-suddenly-bankers-are-using-uber-coincidence.html?_r=0

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/the-worst-generation/

http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/07/uber-vs-laws-000172?hp=b1_c1

http://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-1-progressives-0-1437607639

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“As well as teaching, examining and certification, college education creates social capital. Students learn how to debate, present themselves, make contacts and roll joints. How can a digital college experience deliver all of that?” – The Economist, The Future of Universities; The Digital Degree, June 28, 2014

After spending 16 years in Silicon Valley, the author of digital communications blog, Almost DailyBrett, and social media evangelist, fully gets it when it comes to destructive technologies.

Social, mobile and cloud have changed the world as we can self-publish and exchange views via the Internet to anyone around the globe instantaneously on a 24/7/365 basis.

When it comes to drinking the cyber Kool-Aid, there is one area in which I am pushing back and displaying a healthy dose of skepticism, not cynicism: teaching public relations online, particularly advanced courses.onlinegraduate

Couldn’t help but note the web ad for Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana), championing its only PRSA-certified graduate level PR program, about earning a master’s degree in public relations online. Check out the Ball State website language:

“Our online students have ongoing interaction with their instructors and classmates via e-mail, discussion boards, file sharing, online chats, web page posting, and other communications. These courses are typically taught asynchronously—meaning you can log on for class participation whenever you wish.”

My issues pertain to the incongruity of  (presumably human) “interaction” with the words, “online discussion boards, file sharing, online charts, web page posting, and other communications.” That doesn’t sound very touchy, feely to little ole me.

Making Love … Online?

Let’s get straight to the point: Can you make love online? … Real “From Here to Eternity” physical contact between two hormone-driven, amorous individuals? File sharing may fall a little short, when it comes to the real thing.eternitybeach

Now let’s take the discussion to the next logical step: Public relations is working with … target publics. Right? It is stakeholder relations. It is working in teams. It is making in-person presentations. It is motivating the public to take a favorable action that benefits your employer or your client. These are living-breathing human-to-living-breathing human interactions

There is little doubt that you can teach theory (i.e., Agenda Setting, Uses and Gratifications, Hierarchy of Needs, Diffusion of Innovation, Two-Way Asymmetrical, Two-Way Symmetrical) in the classroom, so why can’t you do that online? You can.

The same applies to ethics including responsible advocacy, honesty, guarding against copyright and/or trademark infringement, protecting intellectual property, and taking steps to avoid slander, libel and/or defamation. Yes, we can teach them all online.

In fact, I should come clean and tell you right now that I am indeed teaching online COM 270 Introduction to Public Relations and COM 280 Advertising Fundamentals, using Panopto recordings, Canvas and old-fashioned email at Central Washington University this summer. CWU’s School of Education this week was honored for its online teaching of School Administration master’s level curricula. As Martha would say, “This is a good thing.”

Where I am getting off the bus comes to the absence of eyeball-to-eyeball (Skype or FaceTime are not the same) human communication associated with online-only curricula. Sure, it may work wonders for more reclusive disciplines, such as statistics, accounting, software code writing, but when it comes to qualitative interplay with target audience Homo sapiens that needs to be done face-to-face. And that’s where online teaching falls short … it just has too.alonetogether3

Grading, Not Teaching? 

In my last few years in Silicon Valley, your author remembers the opinions of C-level publicly traded technology executives pontificating and bloviating that online schools were essentially degree factors, selling diplomas for a King’s ransom.

The Washington Post recently reported about the 20 colleges with one-fifth of all the federal student loan debt in the 2013-2014 academic year. Number one was online superstar, Walden College at $756 million. University of Phoenix was second at $493 million; Capella University was sixth at $399 million and Kaplan University was #13 at $226 million.

These numbers represent serious student loan debt and what are these mostly online students getting in return? Are the faculty at these institutions merely grading or are they actually teaching?

Another concern that comes to mind is the recent book by M.I.T. professor Sherry Turkle, “Alone Together: What We Expect From Technology and Less From Each Other.” Her main points pertain to the literally hundreds of thousands, who are in physical proximity with other humans, but their full attention is on their mobile devices. Some even sit in restaurant tables, pay attention to their smart phones,  ignoring their dinner companion(s).alonetogether1

Successful public relations professionals must be knowledgeable and practiced in digital communications – blogging, social media, websites, images, video, infographics – and must be adroit enough to adopt the next round of destructive technologies … they are out there. We must know them all.

Having made this point, we still must interact with people. We need people. We need to see the look on their faces. We need to see the reaction in their eyes. We need to deduce the inflection of their voices. We need to experience first-hand their culture.

This is the essence of public relations.

There must be a real face time component, when it comes to teaching and mentoring.

Online is good, but not good enough. 

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21605899-staid-higher-education-business-about-experience-welcome-earthquake-digital

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2015/02/27/4-questions-to-ask-before-enrolling-in-a-for-profit-online-program

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2015/07/09/these-20-schools-are-responsible-for-a-fifth-of-all-graduate-school-debt/?tid=sm_fb 

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21646986-online-learning-could-disrupt-higher-education-many-universities-are-resisting-it-not

http://www.cwu.edu/cwu-online-education-master%E2%80%99s-programs-rated-among-best-country

http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/journalism/graduateprograms/mapublicrelations

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/the-rebirth-of-pettiness-the-death-of-conversation/

 

 

 

As a former gubernatorial press secretary, the author of Almost DailyBrett was always concerned when reporters, editors, correspondents and pundits had too much time on their hands, and were bored.

That’s when the media pack starts to form. That’s when the “theories” are born. That’s when vacuums are filled. That is not always a good thing.

And that is precisely what is happening right now in the dog days of the 2015-2016 presidential cycle.

Welcome to the Silly Season.

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 28:  Chairman and President of the Trump Organization Donald Trump yells 'you're fired' after speaking to several GOP women's group at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino April 28, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Trump has been testing the waters with stops across the nation in recent weeks and has created media waves by questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 28: Chairman and President of the Trump Organization Donald Trump yells ‘you’re fired’ after speaking to several GOP women’s group at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino April 28, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump has been testing the waters with stops across the nation in recent weeks and has created media waves by questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The real action at this point of time, 16 months before the November 8, 2016 general election pertains to fundraising and organization.

This week, we learned that Jeb and related PACs raised $114 million in the first six months of this year. Hillary’s fundraising machine brought in $69 million. Marco Rubio secured $32 million.

As former California speaker of the House Jesse Unruh once said: “Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics.”

Alas, the easily distracted ADD political media does not want to suckle on that nipple for too long. Fundraising and organizing are akin to watching paint dry and grass grow.

Instead, the Punditocracy and even mainline reporters are hyperventilating on Donald “The Comb Over” Trump on the right and Senator Bernie Sanders on the left, even though their individual chances of winning their respective party nominations are less than zip.berniesanders

There are 97.8 million Google searches related to demagogic Trump and his daily insults against undocumented aliens from Mexico, and another 46.3 million on Sanders, who swoons to the tune of a 90 percent highest federal income tax rate and even a death tax surcharge.

Can either capture the popular vote and the more than 270 electoral votes needed to be the 45th president of the United States? Well, no. However, they both provide ample fodder for political science fiction.

Political Science Fiction?

For as long as the Almost DailyBrett author can remember there were at least two major political fantasies that crop up every four years: 1. The prospect of a brokered convention and 2.The general election being thrown into the (Republican controlled) House of Representatives.

The last real examples of brokered conventions go back to the 1924 Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden, which lasted from June 24 to July 9, and took 103 ballots to nominate John W. Davis. There was also the curious decision by Adlai Stevenson to leave the vice presidential nomination to the 1956 Democratic National Convention with no advance warning.

Davis went down to defeat to Calvin Coolidge, and Stevenson lost for the second time in succession to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

For sure, the Republican convention in 1976 (Ford vs. Reagan) and the Democratic convention in 1980 (Carter vs. Kennedy) were donnybrooks, and in both cases the presidential incumbents lost reelection. Nonetheless, they were not “brokered” conventions even though there was plenty of smoke in the backrooms.carterkennedy

Does anyone in the Punditocracy really believe that the presence of The Donald and/or Bernie will result in a “brokered” convention on either side of the aisle? Conventions have become über-scripted, mostly dull coronations with very little suspense … and the parties like it that way.

The next question concerns whether Trump and his reported $4 billion in personal assets will refuse to accept defeat next winter/spring and mount a third-party challenge, thus hurting the GOP nominee?

Or how about “independent” Bernie Sanders also rejecting the inevitable and mounting a socialist campaign on the far left and denying Hillary the 270 electoral votes she needs to be the first woman president of the United States?

Or … (as long as we are engaged in political science fiction) what if both run simultaneous third-party campaigns with Bernie capturing a state or two (e.g., Vermont), and Donald taking a state or two (e.g., Idaho) and not enough electoral votes remaining for either the Democratic or Republican standard-bearer?

And while we are at it, let’s factor into the equation the “Big One” earthquake/tsunami as portrayed in San Andreas with California, Oregon and Washington slipping into the Pacific, taking 74 blue electoral votes into the abyss.sanandreas

It seems far too many reporters/commentators are getting their collective bowels in an uproar about the latest of years of incendiary remarks from Trump, and growing crowds for Sanders (George McGovern and Walter Mondale drew large crowds in 1972 and 1984 respectively and won a grand total of two states between them).

They all should know better. In the end, it comes down to electability, fundraising, organizations and campaigns. Yes, campaigns matter.

The Donald and Bernie will not be accepting either party nomination in the summer of 2016. There will be no “brokered” conventions. The election will not be thrown into the House of Representatives.

Get over it.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/jeb-bushs-campaign-raised-11-4-million-in-two-weeks-1436466491?mg=id-wsj

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/09/politics/bush-fundraising-second-quarter/

http://rove.com/articles/594

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/us/politics/donald-trump-republican-party-debate.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/upshot/class-or-ideology-my-conversation-with-bernie-sanders.html?abt=0002&abg=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1924_Democratic_National_Convention

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/adlai-stevenson%E2%80%99s-second-run

http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-appealand-its-limits-1436479851

 

 

 

 

“When the war was over, the men and women who had been involved … joined in joyous and short-lived celebrations, then immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted … They married in record numbers and gave birth to another distinctive generation, the Baby Boomers. They stayed true to their values of personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith.” – Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation 

“Tom Brokaw once wrote a book about the greatest generation, those brave people who survived the depression and fought in World War II. Unfortunately that great generation spawned a generation of narcissists: the baby boomers.” – Huffington Post blogger Gene Marks

The Baby Boomers are inevitably moving day-by-day toward the ash heap of recorded history … and not a moment too soon.woodstock

USA Today last week reported for the first time ever, the number of Millennials exceeds the population of Baby Boomers by an 83.1 million to 75.4 million count, according to the 2014 U.S. Census.

Poor Millennials and X-Gens. They will be the first generations in American history to have a worse standard of living than the preceding generation … that would be the Baby Boomers.

Many Millennials are going to college, graduating with oppressive student loan debt or for the lucky few, no debt, and settling for a job that once did not require a degree, and pays $10,000 less now than it did in the 1980s.

“Will that be a latte, cappuccino or mocha, sir (or madam)?”

And as a result of this economic dilemma, many Millennials particularly those saddled with an average of $40,000 in college loan debt, are being forced to … yes, move back into a parent’s or parents’ home.

Where will the “Hello Kitty” poster go?millennials

Can Millennials buy a house, even with near-record, low-interest rates averaging 4.19 percent this week? The author of Almost DailyBrett remembers buying his first house for $120,000 in Sacramento in 1984 at a 30-year fixed rate of 14.25 percent, paying two points for the privilege. Two years later, your blogger refinanced the loan down to 10.25 percent, once again paying two points.

Do you think Millennials can find any house in California for $120,000 that will not come with meth- lab neighbors, who will soon be auditioning for The Jerry Springer Show?

Brokaw wrote about “personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith” in describing the virtues of the Silent Generation, born between 1925-1945, which stared down the Global Depression and won World War II on two theatres of combat.

Do you think anyone would ascribe any of these Silent Generation virtues – personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith — to the hedonistic Baby Boomers? Seems like a silly question.

The Entitlement Generation 

“The selfishness that has been a hallmark of the Boomers will continue right up to the very end, as they force millions of younger Americans to devote an inordinate amount of time and resources to their care, bankrupting the Social Security system in the process. In their old age, the Boomers will actually take as much from the next generation as they did from the previous one, which fought WW II.” – The Onion, January 20, 1999

“But you know nowadays
It’s the old man,
He’s got all the money
And a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said nothing” — The Who, Young Man Blues

If it feels good; do it.

Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

Almost DailyBrett refrains for the most part in making absolute predictions, but will do so in this case:

Someone, someday will write an epic tome glorying the “Me, Me, Me” generation, and will attempt to be the Tom Brokaw of the Baby Boomers. It will be a pathetic effort that will nonetheless be coffee-table book lucrative because there will be some in the born-between-1946-1964 crowd, who will want to desperately justify their sorry existence on the planet.

They will point to the end of the Vietnam War. They will direct attention to the campaign for the equal rights for women. They will wax nostalgic about the civil rights marches. There are already plenty of revisionist Oliver Stone movies that make these very same points.

But weren’t all of these crusades … sorry bad word with religious overtones for some Baby Boomers … weren’t all of these movements mounted back in the 1960s? What have you done for us since then? Legalized marijuana?

The same-sex marriage victory? That achievement must be shared with Millennials and X-Gens.

Baby Boomers burned the flag, staged Woodstock and Altamont, the latter came with Hells Angels and bloody pool cues. Many against-the-war-in-Vietnam types still don’t like America very much,  bitching and moaning, while not even considering moving anywhere else.

Way too many Baby Boomers made lifestyle choices, which contributed to a nearly four-times increase of former workers on disability from 2.8 million in 1981 to 8.5 million in 2011. Guess who is and who will be paying the bill for these Americans, most of whom will never work again?

The federal deficit was $2.8 trillion in 1989. Thanks mainly to the explosion of growing entitlements for Baby Boomers and some others; the red ink now stands at $18.1 trillion last month … another bi-product of the Baby Boomer generation.

Many Baby Boomers, including those who decried the “Military-Industrial Complex,” became very wealthy during the Internet boom (e.g. Yuppies), buying every McMansion in sight and driving up prices, until (you knew it had to happen) the Bubble burst, and their expensive cars were repossessed.

While markets were recovering, far too many Baby Boomers drove up their plastic debt, and then turned to real estate and refinanced to the max to keep up their spending habits until (once again: you knew it had to happen) … the real estate Bubble burst. Many were left with underwater mortgages … and simply walked away from their houses.

What was left for the Millennials, holding the bag? A rotten economy. Overpriced real estate, transforming the American Dream of home ownership into a pipe dream. Soaring tuition at colleges and universities and with it, $1.2 trillion in cumulative student loan debt.

And when they graduate? Part-time McJobs with no benefits for far too many. And you wonder why the Millennials are mad at the Baby Boomers?

Before going any further, the author of Almost DailyBrett has a confession to make: Yes, I was born in 1955, and am a card-carrying member of the Baby Boomer generation.dinosaur

Does it seem that I am rooting for my own personal demise as more Baby Boomers pass into the abyss every day? Well, no.

Am I embarrassed to be part of this selfish generation and wished it was different, far different? You bet ya.

Will Steven Spielberg, born 1946, serve as the executive director for “Baby Boomer World,” featuring out-of-control, carnivorous, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dinosaurs?

Be afraid, be very afraid.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/25/millennials-now-outnumber-boomers-census-says/29294241/

http://thoughtcatalog.com/matthew-primeau/2015/01/baby-boomers-ruined-the-world-for-millennials/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gene-marks/this-is-why-the-baby-boom_b_4441735.html

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a1451/worst-generation-0400/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2013/11/30/millennials-earn-less-than-their-parents-and-the-recession-isnt-to-blame/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102410254

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/06/generational-decline

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2014/05/20/8-differences-between-boomers-and-millennials

http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/

http://www.theonion.com/article/long-awaited-baby-boomer-die-off-to-begin-soon-exp-647

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/why-the-boomers-are-the-most-hated-generation/276368/

http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html

“A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.” – General George S. Patton

A happy problem, but still a dilemma, for organizations/movements/great leaders, who have just achieved long-sought landmark accomplishments, is: What will you do for an encore?

For championship college and professional sports teams the answer is relatively easy to state, harder to achieve: repeat. The Chicago Blackhawks are tasked with skating the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in seven seasons next spring. The Golden State Warriors are faced with the challenge of winning back-to-back NBA titles, something that has never occurred in the franchise’s mostly desultory history.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Gay-rights activists gathered outside of the Supreme Court on the morning when the Court handed down its decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Gay-rights activists gathered outside of the Supreme Court on the morning when the Court handed down its decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

For the same-sex marriage movement the June 26 Supreme Court ruling, legalizing the right of gay people to marry, was made by a razor-thin 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges decision. The impact nonetheless was 50-0 as every state is immediately and permanently required to permit the performing of same-sex unions, and to recognize their legality regardless of where or how (e.g., civil, religious) they occur.

The next question, which has already been posed by The New York Times and others, for the successful civil rights campaign, is what comes next? The answer will come in the form of celebrating a great political and society victory (e.g., Pride Parades). Eventually, the cheering will subside and the reality of everyday life and the challenge of American politics returns. Now what? Certainly, there is the continued necessity of protecting hard-earned rights and preventing discrimination, and that makes sense; still the question must be posed:

What comes next?

This is an easy question to pose, much more difficult to answer … and with it, the dilemma that has vexed organizations, movements and great characters throughout the course of history.

“One Small Step for Man; One Giant Leap for Mankind”

Let’s face it: NASA has not been the same since 1969.armstrongmoon

Neil Armstrong defied death, and made it to-and-from the moon with far less computing power than can be found in a modern-day smart phone. The first man on the moon had his ticker tape parade upon returning to Mother Earth. His place in the history books is cemented. Undoubtedly, his obits had already been written by the day the Grim Reaper came-a-calling in 2012.

In the face of competing budgetary demands and $18 trillion in record red ink and counting at $3.3 billion per day at the federal level, NASA has become just another agency with a huge public relations problem as it must justify its existence in the absence of any realistic plans to put humans on other planets anytime soon.

The current edition of National Geographic has a cover story about NASA, the New Horizons spacecraft, and hopefully the first ever photos of Pluto, expected on July 14. Checking out the last planet of the solar system is cool, but Armstrong walking on the moon was legendary.

Gone are the days of John F. Kennedy and the Cold War competition and the call to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Yes, we won that technology contest against the Soviet Union, and just 22 years after Armstrong walked on the moon, the USSR collapsed. Russia has hardly bothered us since then.

Not as momentous as the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on same-sex marriage or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon was an accomplishment dear to the heat of the author of Almost DailyBrett: The opening of the long closed Japan market to foreign designed-and-manufactured semiconductors, including those originating from Silicon Valley.siliconwafer

In my tenure as the director of communications for the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and later as the director of corporate public relations for LSI Logic, yours truly worked for three years on this contentious issue.

At one time, Japan was in its ascendancy having driven Intel Corporation out of the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) market, a technology Intel actually invented. The U.S. semiconductor industry was being ushered into oblivion in the 1980s by Japan Inc.’s “Business is War” practices, the same fate that fell upon America’s pioneering color-TV industry.

The SIA and its members worked with Washington D.C. to stop predatory pricing or dumping of Japanese chips below cost, and finally pried open the Japanese market in 1996. The opening of  Japan and the decades-long recession eased the Japanese competitive threat. The U.S. industry achieved a great victory, but then … you guessed it … the question ensued: What was next for the SIA and its members?

Just like NASA, the SIA has tried one gambit after another to recapture its sense of purpose. The problem is that without an overriding issue (e.g., man on the moon, opening the Japan market), organizations and even individuals (e.g., General Patton when World War II ended) in many cases are never the same again.pattonscott

The war has been won. The cheering has subsided. The reality of what have you done lately ensues. An organization’s, movement’s, leader’s raison d’etre is no longer certain. A new public relations challenge comes to the forefront with no easy answers.

Some organizations, movements and leaders have successfully met the challenge of victory, while others face internal dissension as they struggle to come up with an answer to precisely what they should do for Act II.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gay-marriage-and-other-major-rulings-at-the-supreme-court/2015/06/25/ef75a120-1b6d-11e5-bd7f-4611a60dd8e5_story.html?wpisrc=nl_evening&wpmm=1

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/us/gay-rights-leaders-push-for-federal-civil-rights-protections.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

http://www.biography.com/people/neil-armstrong-9188943

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/632929-for-over-a-thousand-years-roman-conquerors-returning-from-the

 

 

 

We gotta flip the script on what a gangsta is – if you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t gangsta.” – South Central Los Angeles community gardener/TED Talk sensation Ron Finleyfinley

Everyone still talks about Steve Jobs.

And why wouldn’t they? He invented the Apple II, Macintosh PC, first modern laptop, iPod, iPhone, iPad and iCloud before the Grim Reaper came-a-calling way too early. Heck, he was born only 18 days before little ole me, but accomplished oh-so-much more in his lifetime … kind of humbling.

From a communications standpoint, Jobs also pioneered (or was generally given credit for) the speaking style consisting of an iconic black turtleneck, ill-fitting jeans, tennis shoes, a lavaliere microphone, clicker/pointer, absolutely no speaker notes and of course, a professorial PowerPoint presentation.

Advanced Apple class was in session and you were lucky to attend.

Will Jobs go down in history as one of the greatest-ever orators? Probably not.

Were his audiences (e.g., Macworld) almost cult-like in their devotion of everything and anything, Apple? Is Pope Francis, Catholic?

And yet his presentations worked, and they worked big time.jobswithipad

The Steve Jobs-presentation method was a welcome departure from the stale, dry, boring, tried-and-true (usually an) hombre in a Brooks Brothers suit with a white shirt and red tie standing behind a podium and worst of all, reading to an audience. The real question each and every time with this tired approach is whether the listeners stop listening before the speaker stops speaking?

Better take the “under” on that bet.

The author of Almost DailyBrett has little, if no patience with telemarketers calling at precisely the wrong time of the day or night (which would be any time), and most of all reading over the phone with my name inserted into a prescribed point of the marketing pitch. Please, don’t read to me.

Okay reading from a text may be a necessary evil for the State of the Union Address, but keep in mind we are talking about reading from a teleprompter and not gazing down at a text. Think of it this way: Reading from a script is just so 20th Century.

Which brings us to Ron Finley and community gardening or as he so eloquently implores: “Plant some shit.”

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

“If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. It they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.” – Ron Finley February 2013 Long Beach, California TED Talk

Can’t help but show Finley’s 10:45-minute presentation to my public relations and advertising students. Maybe without knowing it, Finley tinkered with venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule (e.g., 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font) and made it work for him … and most of all, for his audience. The video of his TED talk went viral with more than 2.35 million page views and counting.

“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city … plus you get strawberries.”

The PowerPoint slides are not particularly spiffy, but that really doesn’t matter. The photos of smiling kids beside sun flowers and vegetables tell the story. You are not expecting a polished presentation and in many respects Finley’s talk is better because you instinctively know it is genuine and not designed by a skilled Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) firm.

He weaves humor into his story, but also the chilling reality about how “drive-thrus” are responsible for more deaths in South Central Los Angeles than “drive-bys.” Presumably, he appeals to liberals because he talks about how residents came together to plant community gardens. Conceivably, he draws positive attention from conservatives with his entrepreneurial spirit and his defiance of an unthinking, uncaring overbearing regulatory bureaucracy (e.g., The City of Los Angeles), which issues him a citation and threatens him with an arrest warrant, if he does not pull out his city parkway garden.

“Cool. Bring it. Because this time it (the garden) wasn’t coming up.”

Ron Finley, renegade gardener, on stage at TED2013

Ron Finley, renegade gardener, on stage at TED2013

Finley uses the classic marketing approach to address the issue of dearth of healthy nutrition choices, which is so beautiful in its simplicity: Here is the problem (food deserts) and here is a solution (planting vegetables and fruits along unused median strips in South Central).

“The problem is the solution. Food is the problem. Food is a solution.”

Does Ron Finley have glossophobia or the fear of public speaking? Not a chance. He seemed very comfortable speaking to the TED Talk crowd, which rewarded him with a standing ovation.

Wonder if he would have generated the same response, if he tried to read to the audience? That’s the point: The Jobs presentation method, TED Talks and the Ron Finley approach rely on holding a conversation with the audience with the linear PowerPoint slides mainly serving as prompts.

The net result is a presentation that is natural, conversational, genuine and which invites two-way symmetrical communications.

Sounds so 21st Century to Almost DailyBrett.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la?language=en

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323699704578326840038605324?mg=id-wsj

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/fashion/urban-gardening-an-appleseed-with-attitude.html?_r=0

http://ronfinley.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtBpZltfR7o

https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Steve_Jobs

 

Well, I’ve got news for the bullies of Wall Street. The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families.” – Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley

Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America.”Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” – Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill

Are the phrases “economic populism” and “social justice” not-so-clever disguises for a full-fledged War on Wall Street?occupy1

Is this another round of the disorganized/nearly forgotten desultory Occupy Wall Street movement now showered, deodorized and all dressed up to make it seem more palatable to the American public?

As we head into the 2016 presidential cycle, one needs to ask:

Is it sound politics, particularly for a general election, to directly take aim on a system in which 52 percent of Americans build their hard-earned wealth through the investment in stocks, bonds and mutual funds for an active retirement, their children’s college education, a second career or something grand on the “bucket list?”

Granted this slightly more than half figure is down significantly from the 65 percent of Americans owning stocks, bonds and mutual funds in the beginning of 2007, but that year was the beginning of the recession, downturn and economic malaise.

Some are questioning what happened to the middle class, but many are forgetting America’s burgeoning “investor class.” And with 52 percent of the public participating, it obviously applies to far more than just 1 percent of the American population. The more than half of all Americans owning stocks, bonds and mutual funds in 2013 could be even higher now because of the bull market.gender6

These are the people who invest in IRAs mainly with retail brokers in person or online (i.e., Schwab, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, eTrade, Edward Jones) or designate a percentage of their pre-tax income in 401Ks with a percentage matching from their employer with taxes being deferred until retirement.

According to Gallup, they are for the most part college graduates as 73 percent of those with undergraduate degrees and 83 percent with graduate degrees invest in markets … that would be publicly traded companies on Wall Street.

Money Under the Mattress?

And why would they do that? Consider the alternatives:

How about under the mattress. How about no rate of return?

How about banks? How about 0.02 percent interest rates?

How about real estate? How about the prospect of underwater mortgages?

And you wonder why smart upper, upper-middle and middle class Americans with some disposable income invest in publicly traded American companies listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ, even though people can lose a portion or all of their investment? The answer is that Wall Street is the best game in town, and with knowledge, diversification, perseverance and a cast-iron stomach, literally millions of people build wealth by investing in our markets and our country.

“Unequal sharing of blessings” 

And what is the raison d’etre of these Wall Street companies? According to ERISA or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, passed by a Democratic Congress, publicly traded corporations are legally and morally mandated to drive the bottom line (doing well) for the benefit of their shareholders.

Guess that means they hire hundreds of thousands of Americans and make the products that people around the world want and need. That even includes the upscale coffee, tablets, earphones, cameras, laptops, mobile phones, social media software and operating systems used by Occupy Wall Street and made by (gasp) companies publicly traded on Wall Street.occupy2

Almost DailyBrett senses a disconnect, but does it matter in a party primary when the empty vessels making the most noise have near zero chance of winning the nomination?

Looking down the road to the fall of 2016 would a presidential nominee really want to be saddled with a platform that takes “issue” with major employers of tens of thousands, providing wonderful products and the prospects of solid rates of return for investors? That doesn’t sound like a winning prescription.

It may make the union bosses happy. It may re-energize those with the need to demonstrate just like they did in 1968, but does it make any political sense to attack, demonize and vilify the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg?

Does Wall Street in the wake of Enron, Arthur Andersen, Bear Stearns, Global Crossing, Martha Stewart, $6,000 shower curtains, “Race Together,” Bernie Madoff, GM and Chrysler bailouts, BP Deepwater Horizon, excessive executive compensation have major real and perceived public relations problems? Does Wall Street need better reputation management? Absolutely.

At the same time, let’s not lose sight of Corporate Social Responsibility (doing good) and the literally thousands of companies that work to protect the environment (e.g., Starbucks and Conservation International), address climate change (e.g., Tesla), help rebuild communities (e.g., Home Depot and Habitat for Humanity), combat cancer (e.g., Nike founder Phil Knight and Oregon Health and Sciences University) assist low-income children with difficult medical conditions (e.g., Southwest Airlines and Ronald McDonald House) … ehh … wouldn’t that be McDonald’s as well?

For those attacking Wall Street indiscriminately under the banner of “economic populism” aren’t they guilty of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Maybe they should be drinking their own bath water instead.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hillary-clintons-guilt-by-association/2015/06/04/bd836dc4-0b13-11e5-a7ad-b430fc1d3f5c_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-who-can-get-ahead-in-the-u-s/

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/bernie_sanders.html

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu101776.html

http://www.gallup.com/poll/147206/stock-market-investments-lowest-1999.aspx

http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/09/investing/american-stock-ownership/

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I think if there’s anything CWU needs, it’s campus tradition, campus spirit and overall unity,” — Rob Lane, Vice President of Student Life and Facilities.

Predictably, there was some relatively quiet grumbling among the easily excitable faculty types and a few students. The status quo was being disturbed and at least for a moment inertia, because of change, was not reigning supreme.

Central Washington University just spent anywhere between $55,800 (low estimate) to $160,000 (high estimate) for a 9-foot long, 300-pound bronze statue of a ferocious Wildcat. And for what purpose, the critics huffed and puffed?DSC01528

This coming Saturday, June 13 is graduation on the Central Washington Campus. Close your eyes and just imagine tasselled graduating students in their caps and gowns having their photos taken in front of … The Wildcat statue? Yes, CWU now has a “location shot” as they call it in the television business.

Certainly, the Wildcat statue will never be confused with famous locations (i.e., Kremlin in Moscow, Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Big Ben in London, White House Portico in DC, Statue of Liberty in Gotham or the Golden Gate Bridge in Frisco), but it’s a start for Central Washington.

And maybe some of these proud parents of graduating students or alums remembering the best days of their lives will be tempted to write a check or two. And pretty soon those checks will start adding up. And wouldn’t these checks help CWU Development …err Advancement … in fundraising? And could this activity relieve some of the pressure on those who would raise tuition?

Sounds like a dynamic effect to the author of Almost DailyBrett.

Static Scoring vs. Dynamic Scoring

The whining and complaining by the static quo bunch in Ellensburg, Washington is similar to the fight back in the other Washington about static scoring and dynamic scoring. The real issue is whether the federal behemoth should give back any tax dollars to the dwindling number of taxpayers, who are actually still contributing to the government.

Using static scoring, the methodology of choice for anyone trying to stop anything and everything, one could accurately conclude that each dollar used for the Wildcat statue (or substitute any other out-of-elite-favor activity) is one less dollar for some other noble deed for the deemed public good.

Using dynamic scoring, the methodology of choice for anyone wanting to stimulate economic activity and entrepreneurship, each activity triggers responses. Reminds one of Newton’s First Law of Motion about a body in motion remaining in motion.TommyT

Thinking about these examples, one marvels how many stop to have their pictures taken in front of Tommy Trojan on the USC campus before making the trek over to the Los Angeles Mausoleum for a football game. How many Trojan alums are wiping a tear or two out of their eyes when they see “Tommy T” and they hear Dr. Arthur C. Bartner’s “Spirit of Troy” band play “Fight On!” Time to write a check?

Even though Penn State has been through the college football definition of hell with the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the firing/passing of Joe Paterno, and the crippling NCAA sanctions, there are literally thousands of Penn State alums who still stop and have their picture taken with “The Nittany Lion.”nittanylion

During a recent visit to the Valley of the Sun, the author of Almost DailyBrett took the time to have his picture taken with the bronze likeness of Frank Kush, ASU’s feared and very successful football coach.

You may be tempted to think that CWU will never enjoy the athletic prowess of USC, Penn State or ASU, and considering the disparity in the size of the athletic budgets of the former with the three aforementioned Big 5 Conference members, you most likely will be right.

But also weigh that San Jose State also built a statue focusing on its lone athletic achievement: John Carlos and Tommie Smith, winning Gold and Bronze respectively, at the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968.JohnCarlosTommieSmith

For some reason, one suspects there was not too much faculty grumbling at SJSU about the building of the Carlos/Smith statue.

Maybe there is a glimmer of hope for dynamic scoring after all.

http://www.cwu.edu/bronze-wildcat-statue-installed-campus

http://cwuobserver.com/3651/news/student-government-planning-wildcat-statue/

http://www.dailyrecordnews.com/members/bronze-sculpture-of-a-wildcat-installed-in-front-of-the/article_db09890c-0945-11e5-aa2f-2b7c38bae26a.html

http://www.freedomworks.org/content/static-versus-dynamic-scoring

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

 

 

“I wrote ‘Satisfaction’ in my sleep. I had no idea I’d written it, it’s only thank God for the little Philips cassette player … I pushed rewind and there was ‘Satisfaction.’” – Keith Richards, Life

“’Satisfaction’ changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band.” – Mick Jagger, Old Gods Almost Deadsatisfaction1

This coming Saturday night, the Rolling Stones will play Jerry World, the $1 billion mega-excess stadium built for the Dallas Cowboys by their obnoxious owner in Arlington, Texas.

More importantly, the concert coincides with the exact 50th anniversary June 6 date of the American release of “I Can’t Got No Satisfaction,” arguably the greatest rock n’ roll song of all time. Satisfaction became overnight the No. 1 hit in both the United States and United Kingdom and held that position for months.

Some will contend that “Gimme Shelter” was the best-ever Stones’ song. Some may back “Paint It Black,” “Jumpin Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Brown Sugar” or “Start Me Up.” There are good arguments for all of them, but “Satisfaction” with its unmistakable opening fuzz riff still triggers the same physical result each and every time. The most famous double negative of all time is the hit that put the Stones on the map for good, 50 years ago.

And if it wasn’t for a cheap cassette recorder, the Gulf Motel in Clearwater, Florida and a Gibson fuzz box purchased from Wallach’s Music City in LaLaLand, we may have not attained Satisfaction and would be poorer as a society.fuzzbox

Summer of ‘65

We’re listening to ourselves in Minnesota somewhere on the radio, ‘Hit of the Week,’ and we didn’t even know (Stones manager) Andrew (Oldham) had put the fucking thing out.

“At first I was mortified. As far as I was concerned that was just the dub. Ten days on the road and it’s number one nationally! The record of the summer of ’65. So I’m not arguing. And I learned that lesson – sometimes you can overwork things. Not everything’s designed for your taste and your taste alone.” – Keith Richards, Life

What’s the old saying? If something is not broken, don’t try to fix it.

As the author of Almost DailyBrett has more than one occasion mentioned, he first heard the famous riffs, the incredible beat, the pulsating sound and the rebellious cry of sexual frustration for the first time as a 10-year-old on a Boy Scout campout somewhere in Southern California. The still prim-and-proper Beatles were not Willkommen in my suburban home; you can only imagine the reaction by the Benny Goodman/Frank Sinatra/George Gershwin crowd to the Rolling Stones.

The year 1965 was another transition year from the Greatest Generation that overcame the Global Depression and sent Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo packing before providing the biological seeds and eggs for the Worst Generation, the Baby Boomers.

Otto Preminger’s black-and-white In Harm’s Way with John Wayne may have represented a last gasp of the WWII generation. Two years later came a color film, The Graduate, featuring Dustin Hoffman’s famous line: “Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?” The movie was shocking back then, but it was only a prelude for The Summer of Love, the fights in the streets of Chicago, Woodstock and Altamont.

The Ultimate Encore

“Jagger and his bandmates staged a high-energy show, with the lead singer a jaw-dropping sight as he strutted, danced, swayed and ran — at one point, late in the show, sprinting the length of what must have been a 60-yard stage. His stamina would dazzle at any age.” – USA Today review of the San Diego opening of the Rolling Stones’ Zip Code Tourmickkeith2

Even though it took four Rolling Stones concerts for yours truly to accomplish personal Satisfaction, that is hearing the song played live and singing the infamous words with tears streaming down my face, there is little doubt that each and every member of the Zip Code tour audience will hear/sing the song.

From a choreography standpoint, the Stones begin their encore with a local choir joining them on stage for another 1960s-era classic, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Once completed, Keith will lay his mangled hands on his Fender  Telecaster and pound out those famous Satisfaction riffs.

Your author is over-the-top biased, but there is no song that defines the word crescendo better than Satisfaction. The Stones stretch this one out for the cheering crowd just to make sure that no one leaves unhappy and unsatisfied.

Think of it this way: Satisfaction was an anthem of the times that has stood the test of time.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2015/05/25/rolling-stones-open-north-american-stadium-tour-in-san-diego/27907521/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/lifelong-search-for-satisfaction/

http://www.rockandrollroadmap.com/places/record-stores/los-angeles-area/wallachs-music-city

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwS4-Vn4z_8

http://www.tampabay.com/things-to-do/music/50-years-ago-the-rolling-stones-song-satisfaction-was-born-in-clearwater/2227921

http://www.floridahistorynetwork.com/may-6-1965—rolling-stones-play-clearwater-write-satisfaction-riff.html

http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F02E1DC163EE03ABC4F53DFB266838E679EDE

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/crescendo

 

 

 

 

 

To the author of Almost DailyBrett, hockey has become a spring/summer sport.

LOS ANGELES, CA JUNE 11, 2012 -- Center Brad Richardson kisses the cup after the  Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. ( Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

LOS ANGELES, CA JUNE 11, 2012 — Center Brad Richardson kisses the cup after the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. ( Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Forget the frozen pond.

Forget the Montreal Wanderers.

Forget the Toronto Arenas, winners of the first Stanley Cup in 1918.

Today there is the Winter Classic, a made for television event that over-glorifies just another regular season game, usually staged in a freezing football/baseball stadium at strategic times during the short-day/long-night winter months.

And every four years, the NHL shuts down for two weeks to permit its players to represent their respective countries in the Winter Olympics (e.g., Sochi 2014), and hopefully for the 2018 games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Both the Winter Classic and the Winter Olympics represent public relations victories for a league presided over by villain commissioner Gary Bettman, who seemingly was separated at birth from always fun-and-happy Harry Reid.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York.  The current collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players expires Saturday at midnight.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York. The current collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players expires Saturday at midnight. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The league most likely will never completely overcome the tarnish associated with the 2004-2005 lockout season, when no hockey was played and no Stanley Cup was awarded.

And yet the league now has three 10-figure franchises (i.e., Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens) and a reasonable $71 million salary cap for the 2015-2016 season. The average team is worth a respectable $490 million and only one-third are actually losing money, but you can be assured there always will be rich people who want to buy these teams.

Just as important, the NHL does a better job in staging its playoffs than any other professional sports league on the North America continent. The Stanley Cup finals begin this Wednesday, June 3 with the Chicago Black Hawks playing the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In a sense the Stanley Cup is the strength and the weakness of the No. 4 sport both north and south of the longest undefended border in the world. The NHL’s playoffs mean everything/the regular season virtually nothing.

Just ask the New York Rangers, the latest President’s Cup winners (regular season best record) to watch the Stanley Cup finals on HDTV.

Has anyone actually seen the President’s Cup?

The World Series vs. The Stanley Cup

Baseball, which used to be our national pastime until it was systematically usurped by college football in the late 20th Century, celebrates its so-called Fall Classic, the World Series, in which 30 teams from only two of the world’s nations are invited to participate (29 from the USA and one from Canada). Seriously, how can anybody call this overhyped best-of-seven, a “World Series.” Give us a break.

In contrast, football (UK), fussball (Germany) or futbol (Spain and Latin America) holds its real World Cup every four years, which is financed through a series of bribes, kickbacks and money laundering schemes from sheiks and oligarchs located in exotic locations (e.g., Russia, Qatar) spread across the shady corners of the planet. There are 32 teams from (gasp) 32 nations that are permitted to participate in a month-long tournament in which all the profits are sent to FIFA in Switzerland and its supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, … oops, Entschuldigung Sie, Sepp Blatter.

The NHL refreshingly does NOT declare that its champion is indeed the world champion. After all, only 23 USA teams and seven Canadien teams are eligible to play, so the NHL spares us the fallacy that its champion is a global Wunder.

Hoisting the cup is good enough.

Here are the reasons why the Stanley Cup is by far the best post-season in North American professional sports:handshakeline

  • There is a true salary cap in the NHL, which means that any of the 16 teams, which qualify for the playoffs, has a chance to win. The Los Angeles Kings were the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference in 2012 and rode a hot goaltender, Jonathan Quick, through a gauntlet of four-rounds without home ice to win the cup.
  • HDTV has been a Godsend to the NHL. Hockey with its small whizzing disc of vulcanized frozen rubber is not easy to follow on standard-definition television. And yet Emmy winner announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick and his mates are as good as any in capturing the excitement and raw force of ice hockey, and the game is much easier to watch on high definition.
  • A Canadien team has not won the cup since 1993 and that obviously is the case once again this year. Even though Canada invented the sport, it is not longer just a Canadien game. Hockey in many ways has become an American game. The NHL is considering its next round of expansion, and rumors are pointing to Las Vegas and Seattle, not Moose Jaw or Kamloops
  • When someone is checked into the boards, slashed, hooked, held, elbowed, cross-checked, interfered etc., the referees do not award free-throws (how wimpy). Nope the offender is sent to the penalty box, and a two-minute or longer power play unit takes on the penalty killers. Special teams all the way, baby.
  • A team going down three games to none in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is most likely toast, but not in every case. There are four NHL teams that have accomplished this feat of coming back from three down, the last being the Los Angeles Kings against the San Jose (cough, choke) Sharks in 2014. This feat has only been accomplished once in beisboll and never in the NBA.
  • The ceremonial handshake at the end of each series is more than just for show. These are real warriors who skate, check, scratch and claw … not including firing the puck … around the ice for as many as seven games, only to respect each other when all is said and done.
  • And then there is the cup. The winners get to skate the Stanley Cup, the Holy Grail of hockey. No sport does pageantry better than the NHL. Bettman is greeted with boos when he emerges to present the Conn Smythe to the playoffs’ best player, and then the cup to the champions. When the booing/cheering is over, each-and-every player will have his name inscribed on the 35-pound trophy, and a special day when the cup comes to his hometown regardless of where or how far.

Now that is something truly special to tell a granddaughter or son, sitting on your knee.

.http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?page=cupchamps11

http://www.forbes.com/nhl-valuations/list/

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/nhl-richest-teams-forbes-toronto-maple-leafs-montreal-canadiens-new-york-rangers-1-billion/

http://www.detroithockey.net/nhl/timeline.php

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/12929596/commissioner-gary-bettman-expects-nhl-salary-cap-climb-71-million-2015-16

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

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

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

http://www.puckreport.com/2009/04/nhl-playoff-comebacks-trailing-3-0.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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