Category: 21st Century Life


“People who love to drive, love the car. Enthusiasts love the car. Automotive media love the car. Miata owners have an almost motorcycle-gang loyalty, with dozens of Miata clubs all over North America.” — Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune, “Why Is The Mazda Miata So Beloved”

Talk about the ultimate first-world crisis.

Mazda quietly dropped the legendary “Miata” brand for MX-5.

MX-What?

Never in recorded history has a sports car touched the lives of so many people as the Mazda Miata introduction in 1989.

Thirty years later, the best selling roadster of all time (Guinness Book of World Records), Miata has stood the test of time with its reasonable price, 181 horses, 26 city and 35 highway fuel efficiency …  and most of all … it’s a blast to drive.

How do you spell fun in the sun? M-I-A-T-A.

For Almost DailyBrett, his little green chariot without pop-up headlights was purchased brand-spanking new in June 2004. It was love at first sight and the affair continues to this day. Some have suggested we need to get a room.

Can’t tell you how many times your author has garnered Miata envy from poor saps driving mini-vans with plenty of room for infant car seats.

Perhaps you should control your hormones?

Getting It Right The First Time

The Mazda Miata or MX-5 is going to be celebrating its 25th year of production. And there’s a reason for that. Very few times that you get something right, the first time, but this is a classic case of that.” — Jay Leno, “Jay Leno’s Garage,” February 2014

Jay Leno spoke in a glowing fashion about one of his two Mazda Miatas five years ago.  Fast forward to today.

Is nothing sacred? Is this Miata imprimatur disappearing act a sterling example of enlightened brand management?

As we wonder about the course of self-driving vehicles, Almost DailyBrett loves his Miata … it will always be his Miata … today, tomorrow and forever.

Can’t imagine a self-driving Miata. What would be the point?

Your author is not alone. There are 96 Miata clubs spread across America. The sports car keeps on selling, particularly in spring and summer.

Do you think there is a correlation between warmer temperatures and putting down the ultra-easy top?

The new MX-5 without any Miata branding looks like a sad Miata … a really sad Miata.

Remembering The New Coke Roll-Out Debacle

“Coke’s decided to make their formula sweeter; they’ve decided to mix it with Pepsi.” — Comedian David Letterman on the botched New Coke roll out

Coca-Cola came out with New Coke in 1985 without proper research about consumer reaction, and thus an unnecessary brand riot was born.

Mazda, can we see your quantitative and qualitative analysis, demonstrating that we wanted to bid adieu with the Miata name, and opt for MX-5?

No one asked Almost DailyBrett. 

If Miata owners wanted to drive a Mazda, we would drive a Mazda … let alone a Mazda MX-5.

If Corvette owners wanted to drive a Chevy, they would drive a Chevy.

A Miata is a Miata. A ‘Vette is a ‘Vette.

Simple, real simple. It’s the brand, stupid.

Miata owners love their Miatas. Competitors came out with the Honda S2000, Toyota M2, the BMW Z3 and the Pontiac POS (e.g., Fiero).

No dice on any of them.

Mazda management in Japan needs to understand that Miata parents control the brand.

As Robert Duffer in the Chicago Tribune, Miata owners/enthusiasts “love” the car. There are more than 100 Miata clubs in the United States and Canada combined. We are talking about the ultimate in “L” words.

Why get in the way of our public romance from sea-to-shining sea, across the fruited plain?

Mazda needs to understand the old, time-tested adage:

If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/mazda-mx5-miata-history/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/autos/chi-why-is-the-mazda-miata-so-beloved-20140905-story.html

https://mossmiata.com/miata-car-clubs

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Selling My 2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata Was Remarkably Difficult, and Also Remarkably Easy

The beer stand at Oregon’s Moshofsky Center indoor “tailgate” party offered an intriguing choice last Saturday.

One could purchase a 16-ounce Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale for $10.

Or one could consume two 12-ounce Coors Lights (a.k.a. “The Silver Bullet”) for the same price … $10.

Here’s the question: What is more important … the quality of the beer or the cost of the suds?

Back in college we never blinked about the source of our fermented hops, water and barley, our only considerations were access and cost (e.g., Oly quarts for 55 cents).

Heck, we even tapped keg beer and consumed nothing but foam.

When contemplating this national issue, consider that Oregon is celebrated for its microbrew culture (along with Pinot Noirs and Cannabis).

Almost DailyBrett is a big fan of user friendly Mirror Pond pale ale with its smooth full taste, reasonable amount of malt and barley, and low alcohol.

But would your author … even for a nanosecond consider drinking two Coors Lights (24 ounces) for the same cost of one Mirror Pond (16 ounces)?

The real question: Was yours truly willing to make “love in a canoe” in the name of thrift?

“Life Is Too Short To Drink Cheap Beer”

The Germans are legendary for their beers, namely golden (helles) and dark (dunkles) lagers.

Das Reinheitsgebot or the German Beer Purity Law goes back to München 1487, five years before Columbus set sail for the New World.

Besides setting its protectionist standard for beer (e.g., no Silver Bullets in Deutschland), the Germans also coined the above phrase about life being simply too short to ingest Coors Light or any other Ausländer lager, let alone English ales.

For Almost DailyBrett, is his expected stay on this planet way too short to even consider … let alone drink … Coors Light regardless of price?

Mirror Pond pale ale is the anchor brand for Bend Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery, and favorably rivals Chico California’s Sierra Nevada’s Pale and Ft. Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium’s Fat Tire.

Admittedly, $10 is pricey for a one half-pint when you consider you can buy a “sixer” at your local supermarket for approximately the same price. One should also consider and weigh the ambiance of game day at Moshofsky with several thousand of your most intimate fellow Duck fans.

Isn’t Gemütlichkeit or being warm and fuzzy all over with kindred spirits the same whether one Mirror Pond or two Coors Lights are being carried and consumed?

That question is the essence of the dilemma. How many beers do most people quaff before, during and after a nationally televised football game (e.g., Oregon’s 17-7 win over Cal)? For Almost DailyBrett, the answer is typically two.

Okay, let’s rephrase the question: Two Mirror Ponds for $20 (32-ounces total) or two Silver Bullets for $10 (24-ounces).

Would your author actually Make Love In A Canoe?

Gasp, would yours truly consume two beers that are F…… Close to Water?

Alas, dos Coors Lights were the shameful order of the day in direct violation of the Reinheitsgebot, and everything we hold dear in America.

At least your author was not tempted by PBRs at any price or quantity.

When it comes to a race to the bottom, yours truly will only stoop so low.

https://www.coorslight.com/av?url=https://www.coorslight.com/

Mirror Pond Pale Ale

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinheitsgebot

 

“Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: ‘We the People.’”

“We did it. We weren’t just marking time, we made a difference. We made the (shining) city (on the hill) stronger – we made the city freer – and we left her in good hands.  All in all, not bad. Not bad at all.” — President Ronald Reagan Farewell Address, January 11, 1989

President Ronald Reagan was not a first-person singular leader: I, Me, Myself.

Even though he was completing one of the most successful presidencies in American history and was justifiably entitled to take a bow, he still for the most part gravitated toward first-person plural even in his farewell address: We, Us, Our.

These vital pronouns salute the team that makes it happen, the linemen who protect the quarterback, the pit crew changing the tires in less than three-seconds, the people who write the emails, send the letters and form the coalition that makes a politician and a movement successful.

Donald Trump is an über first person singular type of guy, and that is his greatest weakness. He could learn from Heisman Trophy Winner Marcus Mariota, Five-Time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, and most of all from Ronald Reagan.

Almost DailyBrett was privileged to devote two decades of his career, directly serving two first-person plural leaders: Former California Governor George Deukmejian and LSI Logic founder, chairman and chief executive officer Wilf Corrigan.

Did both of these overachievers have healthy opinions of themselves? Of course.

Did they have big egos based upon their proven records of self-made success? Naturally.

One was the most popular governor of California in the modern era; the other was a successful entrepreneur immigrant worth, $432 million.

But when push came to shove, it was about the people around them, the citizens and customers they served, the investors and their shares … we, us and our.

“I Have Returned”

Did you note MacArthur’s first-person singular is his most remembered quote, and his follow-up in first-person plural is forgotten?

Didn’t the collective strength of the U.S. Army and Navy facilitate MacArthur’s return to the Philippines?

MacArthur was later fired by President Harry S. Truman. Surprised?

Will Donald Trump be fired by the American people in 13 months time, despite a robust economy, no new military involvements in the Middle East (or elsewhere) and way too-far-to-the-socialist-left potential opponents? It can happen, but will it?

Under similar circumstances Reagan crushed Walter Mondale in 1984. Reagan won 49 states worth 525 electoral votes, capturing 58.8 percent of the vote. Mondale recorded his home state of Minnesota and DC for a total of 13 electoral votes, 40.6 percent of the vote.

Almost DailyBrett can state with impunity that incumbent presidents have decided advantages heading into re-election years (i.e., Obama, George W., Clinton, Reagan), but not certainty (i.e., Carter, H.W. Bush). Recent presidents with the tailwind of economic prosperity … “It’s the economy, stupid” … all were re-elected.

Your Enemies Will Always Be Your Enemies; Your Friends … ?

Having said that, Trump is his own worst enemy, and that is magnified by his first-person singular devotion on steroids.

Why couldn’t his own campaign quietly conduct opposition research when it comes to Hunter Biden being selected for the board of directors for Ukraine’s natural gas supplier – Burisma Holdings — while his father, Joe Biden, was vice president of the United States? This question is particularly magnified considering Hunter’s well-chronicled repeated problems with cocaine, and zero experience in energy.

For some reason, Trump decides that he … and only he … can conduct this oppo research directly with the leader of Ukraine … and as a result an impeachment proceeding was born. Will he join the ranks of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as impeached presidents, but not convicted in the Senate (if it goes that far)?

The larger question is whether he pulls defeat out of the jaws of victory when his friends (e.g., high propensity Republican fidelity) are still his friends? Will his personal embrace of first-person singular (I, Me, Myself) trigger mistake-after-mistake, and his friends stop being his … friends?

Maybe a little more Reaganesque first-person plural … we, us, our … and some good old fashioned humility would do the trick.

Don’t count on it with this president.

https://www.azquotes.com/quote/551270

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/the-governor-who-changed-my-life/

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

“There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words.” — Doors’ drummer John Densmore on Ray Manzarek

Having trouble negotiating the Pere Lachaise cemetery maze in Paris?

No problem. Just join the steady stream of rock n’ roll pilgrims traipsing the footpaths to pay their respects to Jim Morrison.

As one of those recent pilgrims (last August), Almost DailyBrett will go out on a limb:

Never has a rock n’ roll front man cast such a long shadow over his fellow band mates than James Douglas Morrison, and that includes Mick Jagger.

Jagger and Keith Richards are forever joined at the hip as The Glimmer Twins of the Rolling Stones. The combo of Jagger-Richards wrote the songs that will stand the test of time. The public not only expects, but demands that Mick and Keith stay together.

The magnetism, stage presence and voice of the so-called “Lizard King,” Jim Morrison, easily eclipsed the combined impact of guitarist, Robby Krieger, drummer, John Densmore and Doors co-founder (with Morrison) keyboards-bassist, Ray Manzarek.

Morrison died, way too young in Paris at 27 in 1971. The French never performed an autopsy, but what we always suspected … was most likely the culprit. One other member of the Doors, keyboard and bass player, Ray Manzarek, also passed away, just six years ago courageously fighting rare cholangiocarcinoma —  bile duct cancer — in Rosenheim, Germany.

Morrison was the legend of The Doors.

His presence and his lasting power are uncontested. Each-and-every day, people from around the world come to Pere Lachaise to take a glimpse at his relatively mundane tombstone, shoved into a tight space against the backdrop of larger memorials for unknown people. Doesn’t the memory of Morrison deserve better? Maybe not the Lenin Mausoleum … but better?

Manzarek was the sound of The Doors.

His keyboards ignited “Light My Fire,” amped up “Back Door Man,” propelled “Back Door Man” and powered “LA Woman.”  Manzarek’s keyboard solo on “Riders On The Storm”was arguably his best work. He happily described the writing and recording the haunting, yet beautiful song, in a recent YouTube video (see below).

The Doors Philosopher

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.” — Poet William Blake’s quote that reportedly inspired philosopher Aldous Huxley’s book “The Doors of Perception,” and thus the name of the band.

“You don’t make music for immortality; you make music for the moment, capturing the sheer joy of being alive on Planet Earth.” — Ray Manzarek

If you were seeking out a perfect commentator to interpret the Doors’ phenomenon (100 million records sold globally from eight albums during eight years, 1965-1973), you couldn’t do better than Manzarek. Time-and-time again he nailed it, when it came to describing the Weltanschauung of the band.

Manzarek was outspoken without coming across as outspoken. His quote above brings a smile to your author, who has neither time nor patience for Oliver Stone’s 1960s fantasies and fairy tales.

Some immediately dismiss all psychedelic era rock n’ rollers as little more than drugged-out skeletons. Manzarek with his glasses and era sideburns contributed to this image. Yet there was more, much more with Manzarek.

Almost DailyBrett is not suggesting the Doors were angels (e.g., Morrison’s well-chronicled drinking habit), but the complexity of Manzarek should be admired and appreciated. Besides his undergraduate degree in economics from DePaul, Manzarek earned a M.F.A from UCLA. He married Dorothy Aiko Fujikama in 1967, the couple raised one son Pablo, and had three grandchildren.

The couple left Los Angeles behind, buying and renovating a wine country farm house in Vichy Springs (e.g., Napa Valley) in 2004. Manzarek’s incredible talent spanned music, writing and maybe a little architectural design as well.

Manzarek will never be a household name, let alone a legend. There are almost zero pilgrimages to pay final respects (reportedly, Manzarek was creamated). No one should doubt his contribution to the band he co-founded, his incredible talent and his thoughtfulness.

Manzarek was indeed … the sound of the Doors.

Home

https://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Rock-n-roll-retreat-The-Doors-Ray-Manzarek-2798037.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Manzarek

Are free dinners the same as free lunches?

Almost DailyBrett is simply amazed by the sheer volume of invitations received every day since the onset of his retirement.

There are annoying robocalls, carnivorous telemarketers, “personal” letters, informational packets, not to mention a slew of digital and broadcast ads.

Dinner for two at the nicest places in town … free of charge.

New “friends” wanting to lend a helping hand in managing your author’s investments, providing a swell place to take vacations year-after-year, distributing retirement savings or taking over residential equity and kicking-back crumbs month-after-month.

Why does one need a middle-man for your own retirement nest egg?

There is a thriving industry to provide Almost DailyBrett and everyone else with a spiffy “vacation club,” spending quality time annually with family (assumes one wants to spend more time with family).

“You deserve it.” How do you know?

Conversely, there is reciprocal industry to extract (for a fee) pigeons from foolish time-share contracts.

Too much time with the family? Too good to be true? Didn’t read the contract? It must suck to be you. Only we can help.

Buy a time-share, get out of a time-share … either way the Land Sharks win and you lose.

Somebody is making money and sad to say, it’s the salesmen/saleswomen.

These apex predators all have the gift of gab with wonderful smiles and they are all well dressed, hiding their dorsal fins.

They have a deal … such as deal … for you.

Their basic proven strategy: Get your derriere into a comfy seat with a nice drink (or two or three … ) and soon it will be time for the contracts … time share, annuity, reverse mortgage … all waiting to be signed.

Just affix your signature right here on the bottom line … muther sucker.

“Die And Go To Hell”

“We don’t sell annuities. I would die and go to hell before I would sell an annuity.” — Ken Fisher of Fisher Investments’ 60-second advertisement

Can’t forget the image of Leonard DiCaprio giving the middle finger to a vacillating on-the-phone investor in Martin Scorsese’s over-the-top plethora of gratuitous F-bombs, drugs and skin: The Wolf of Wall Street.

What value to society is created by time-shares, annuities, reverse mortgage sales dudes and sales dudettes?

Do they really care about their clients? 

As we grow more mature, there seems to be a mindset that retirees in their sixties … let alone older … are losing it upstairs. They are ripe for exploitation.

It seems that new friends are popping up here, there and everywhere. They are always ready to help. Trust us.

Almost DailyBrett detests the hard sell. The harder the push, the greater the personal resistance.

Your author gravitates to proven friends. A prime example is Charles Schwab, which has managed my retail investment portfolio for a generation.

Is publicly traded Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW) intrinsically interested in driving the top and bottom lines, consistent with its fiduciary responsibility to investors? Absolutely.

Schwab’s core business … providing a low-cost trading platform (e.g., $4.95 for equity, mutual fund and bond transactions) … may be a tad boring and predictable, but the client is provided with real shareholder value.

Didn’t CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer write a book entitled, “Get Rich, Carefully?”

Does anyone think he or she is going to get rich carefully with a time share, annuity or reverse mortgage?

Didn’t think so.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/hasta-la-vista-to-timeshares-annuities-and-reverse-mortgages/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/07/14/has-it-come-to-this-tom-selleck-and-henry-winkler/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/506-f-bombs/

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/timeshare-salesman-says-he-lied-for-a-living-062615.html

https://www.cnbc.com/mad-money/

 

A lot of truth is often spoken in jest.

According to the old joke, Richard Nixon dressed in his presidential windbreaker gathered the Washington Press Corps at his presidential retreat on the beach in San Clemente, California.

After chastising the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate for not covering him fairly and accurately during his political career including his presidency, he gave them one more chance.

Nixon miraculously walked out onto the Pacific Ocean and back without getting his wing tips wet.

“Now, you can finally cover me fairly and accurately!”

The New York Times front page headline the following morning: “Nixon Can’t Swim.”

The liberal elite media could not and would not cover Nixon fairly back in the 1970s. The negative coverage trend toward Republican office holders has only intensified with time. There is zero benefit of the doubt when it comes to Republicans, only to Democrats.

Almost DailyBrett knows this undeniable fact based upon eight years of hard-earned experience as a campaign media director and press secretary for California Republican Governor George Deukmejian.

“Rebuilding Trust Requires Embracing Bias”

“A more partisan media is the last thing America needs. Those who doubt that should consider that it would be squarely in Mr. Trump’s interest. The president’s attempt to gin up his supporters by depicting the media as biased is one of his most powerful lines. Why vindicate it for him?” — Lexington, USA columnist for The Economist

“We don’t want to change all of our structures and rules so much that we can’t put them back together. We don’t want to be oppositional to Donald Trump.” — Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times

Almost DailyBrett is begging for mercy.

The New York Times along with CNN (Clinton News Network) and MSNBC lead the oppositional journalism pack against Donald Trump. They detest the man (understatement), wanting unlimited license to label him as a “racist” regardless of context. After four-plus years, we know for a fact the liberal media will take everything and anything he does or says and add a negative spin to employ a PR word.

Hiring foreign affairs hawk John Bolton with his goofy mustache (Liberal media: ‘Trump added a dangerous war monger to his team’) and later firing him (Liberal media: ‘Trump can’t retain anyone on his staff’) is vivid proof that any Trump action triggers an automatic negative take. The media always wants it both ways.

Liberal columnist Nathan Robinson (see quote above) suggested out loud that elite media should openly express a bias and affinity to left-wing causes in order to rebuild public trust. Why shouldn’t the liberal media come out of the closet? Let the world know, what it already knows: Liberal media outlets are just another special interest group, similar to Planned Parenthood, ACLU and NPR.

Bias leads to trust?

There are hundreds of always excitable journalism professors, who will be more than happy to intensify their “guidance” of impressionable students toward socialist justice, encouraging them to express their bias digitally, in print and across the airwaves. These academics will declare … wrongly … that objectivity never existed and never will in America’s newsrooms.

Robinson is essentially arguing the media should simply come clean and openly side with Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren Democratic Socialism, lauding those who drink the Kool Aid and chastising any and all who dare to dissent. Lexington counters that a gallant admission of oppositional journalism by the major mastheads and networks will aid and abet Trump’s talking points about the media losing its way, abandoning any pretext of being fair and accurate.

Didn’t St. Louis Post-Dispatch executive editor Joseph Pulitzer once say the three most important words in journalism are: “accuracy, accuracy and accuracy”? He made this famous assertion even though he was a staunch Democrat, actually serving in Congress, and crusading against business and corruption.

If a reporter. correspondent, anchor or media outlet sacrifices personal and/or institutional integrity on the low-altar of abandoning fairness and objectivity, any and all of these lost souls should not even sniff the prestigious journalism award that bears Joseph Pulitzer’s name.

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/09/12/a-full-court-press

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/10/media-bias-is-ok-if-its-honest

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/oppositional-journalism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/03/26/oppositional-journalisms-victory/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/profs-should-not-force-political-opinions-on-students/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/is-the-word-racist-becoming-cliche/

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company.” — Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)
“And while Bernie (Sanders) wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight — on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. And that means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance.” — Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)

If your author didn’t have bad luck 15 years ago, he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

In chronological order: there was the diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2004, my first wife died of stomach cancer nine months later, and to top it off … the brutal arrival of incurable (but today manageable) Valley Fever (e.g., fungus) came in 2006.

Fortunately, Almost DailyBrett was always covered by some flavor of Blue Cross … and that is true today.

At the expense of shedding any semblance of modesty your author earned his health insurance, waking before dawn for mind-numbing commutes and waiting hours for evening flights and confronting countless challenges in between.

The rapid fire series of bad medical luck with a new installment every year, each diagnosis had the potential to devastate your author financially … and yet there was thankfully health insurance, private-sector health insurance.

Any public discussion about eliminating my hard-earned Regence Blue Cross, particularly in the onset of my retirement years, is an absolute non-starter for yours truly. Your author will categorically state that he will not entertain even for a nanosecond, voting for any candidate who advocates taking away my Blue Cross.

Aren’t Democrats labeled by detractors as the “give-away” party, never as the “take-away” party?

Aren’t Democrats the “pro-choice” party, rather than the “no-choice” party?

Sorry Bernie and Elizabeth, Almost DailyBrett is one of the estimated 150-to-180 million Americans who would lose his or her private insurance with the onset of the “Medicare For All” elimination of private insurance scheme.

Think of it in terms of Monte Hall’s Let’s Make A Deal: On one stage is tried-and-true Blue Cross health insurance — the one that has served your author and his family since the 1980s — and on the other stage is … the door. What’s behind this scary door?

What we know for sure is that Blue Cross Blue Shield will be out of business. Private insurance will be nationalized. There will be zero “public option.” There will be only one option, the government, the same government that provides us with DMV, the US Postal Service (USPS) and Amtrak.

Sorry, you author does not want federally mandated Amtrak train wreck health care.

Insurance: A Necessary Evil

Even though insurance by its very nature is a negative product (you pay for it, but you really don’t want to use it), Almost DailyBrett actually likes his private sector insurance company, and wants to keep it. Sorry Elizabeth, this author does not concur with your sweeping ex cathedra pronouncement.

Bernie loves to point out that drug and insurance companies generated a cumulative evil profit of $100 billion (e.g., denominator). Question: What is the numerator? How many companies are we talking about?

Keep in mind that each of these publicly traded health companies has a federally mandated fiduciary responsibility to drive the top, and yes … bottom lines. Are we including bio-tech companies, researching cures for cancer, heart disease and other ailments? Are all of these companies actually making money?

The $100 billion number sounds just a little too perfect … to be real.

Bernie and Elizabeth want to give everyone federal health insurance, and only federal health insurance. No issue divides the Democratic Party more than the question of taking away private health insurance from the one-half of the nation, the 150 million-plus who earned and rely upon their private health insurance.

Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a new “Third Rail of Politics,” and Bernie and Elizabeth are shocking the nation with their draconian plan.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/13/transcript-third-democratic-debate/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/prostate-cancer-a-piece-of-cake-compared-to-valley-fever/

 

On any given autumn Saturday there are seemingly 27 different college football games on nearly a dozen networks, all available in HD with exceptional video and sound.

And let’s not forget the HDTV games on Thursday and Friday nights as well.

For the addictive channel surfing male of species in particular, there are so many games to choose. There are cold microbrews in the fridge, snacks on the table, and an always available WC down the hall, all provided free of charge in HVAC comfort.

Contrast this climate controlled football nirvana with sphincters yelling in your ear, blocking your view, $10 making-love-in-a-canoe beers, lines for the commode, and endless commercial and instant replay reviews on days/nights which can be blistering or freezing and wet.

As a 30-year and counting Autzen Stadium season ticket holder, Almost DailyBrett has been tempted on more than occasion to leave the overpriced tickets (includes the required Duck Athletic Fund donation) on the coffee table, and watch the game in high-definition comfort at home. Wonder how many Oregon fans will take this option this weekend considering that Pac-12 Networks has decided the game against Montana will start … at 7:45 pm PDT, 10:45 pm EDT.

Seriously, how many folks in the Eastern and Central time zones are going to be watching Pac-12 Networks at midnight, when literally millions in the Pacific time zone cannot even access the network because of contractual issues? If the conference can’t be marketed east of the Rockies, then what’s the point of the late kickoff?

We know from the reporting of the Los Angeles Times that way too many UCLA fans are showing up dressed as empty seats at the 80,616 capacity Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Consider the optics last Saturday as an “announced” crowd of 36,000 attended UCLA’s latest loss, this time against juggernaut San Diego State.

Was the Rose Bowl half full or half empty?

Thankfully, this season will be the last in which the Pac-12 “Championship” game will be played in the nearly vacant Levi’s Stadium in gridlocked Santa Clara on a Friday night (December 6). The announced attendance last year was 35,114. How many freebies were given out to pad the crowd?

Do you know Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott?

The only winner was Fox Sports, providing the network with Friday night “programming.” The losers were the Pac-12 teams, the conference and of course, the fans.

The Networks Don’t Care About The Fans

Alabama is playing its September 21 home game against Southern Miss at 11 am local time.

Does anyone at the sports networks have any appreciation for the expected temps in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when the humid sun is nearing its zenith point for the day? Nick Saban is fried about it (pardon the pun), but he and the Alabama administration seem to be powerless to stop the madness.

Alabama is a perpetual national champion from God’s anointed conference, the SEC, and the school can’t convince the networks to find a  broadcast “window” that works for its fans, friends and supporters?

The networks and the universities want the optics and the revenue that comes from packed stadiums, but are seemingly indifferent to the potential of heat stroke/frost bite by fans. And what’s a fan to do?

How about watching the same cupcake, body-bagger game (e.g., Alabama vs. New Mexico State) in air conditioned comfort in High-Def for free?

Almost DailyBrett initially could not believe when one of my USC fraternity brothers announced that he would not be hosting his long-time tailgate parties at the LA Coliseum this fall. Instead, he said he would “Stub Hub” a game or two, and watch the rest of the games in HDTV.

“We also abstained from buying tickets, so, while we may attend a game or two, will be watching most of them at home.”

One may be tempted to dismiss the above story as simply anecdotal. What is not anecdotal is that college football attendance is down for the major conferences, save the ACC.

“What A Better Way To Spend An Autumn Afternoon” — ABC’s Chris Schenkel (1923-2005)

Almost DailyBrett remembers the days when there was exactly one college football game broadcast on Saturday afternoons by ABC.

The supply of the sport was obviously way under the demand, considering the literally millions of Americans who want to follow their alma maters and favorite teams.

Athletic departments needed additional revenues to fund a wide-variety of sports, the majority of which run in the red.

The networks came to the rescue, but predictably there are no free lunches. The “strings” that came with the deal was the loss of total control, particularly when it came to scheduling and kick off times. The universities, their alumni departments, and most of all their fans couldn’t engage in advance planning with game times being announced only six days before.

Almost DailyBrett is heartened by the complaints coming from Nick Saban and others. The universities want alumni and fans on campus. They want them to sing the fight song, hang out at the tailgate parties, buy the expensive jerseys, have a wonderful time and most of all … write checks.

To this date in recorded history, an empty seat or bench has never written a check to a university.

Doubt this empirical fact of life will ever change.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla/story/2019-09-05/ucla-football-attendance-issues-crowded-sports-field

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/27581049/alabama-not-happy-start-due-heat

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/09/10/alabama-football-is-sick-tired-day-games-would-rather-beat-its-cupcake-opponents-night/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/6-a-m-tailgate-parties/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/the-conference-of-champions/

 

 

“To liberals, the US is not good enough for the world. To conservatives, the world is not good enough for the US.” — Pulitzer Winning Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018)

My dear wife Jeanne and your author walked 125 miles, an average of 6.8 miles per day, during the course of 20 August vacation days, spanning three European nations: Austria, France and Germany.

We even dared visit  Paris in Verboten August, and were greeted by beautiful weather, easy access to restaurants and virtually no lines for Versailles and The Louvre. Wasn’t anything and everything supposed to be closed for vacation?

One never missed the living Renoir-style impressionism of the sidewalk cafes in France and the beer gardens in Austria and Germany, and could easily come away with the conclusion that all Europeans are happy, content and satisfied.

Touring the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, visitors are easily impressed with the union of 28 countries, speaking 24 separate languages, and serving as the home of 512 million people working together — sometimes in harmony — as members of the European Union (EU). Europe for the most part recorded almost 75 years of sustained peace since the establishment of the EU, rather than being at each other’s collective throats.

And yet there are storm clouds that won’t go away easily, namely Brexit.

A plethora of higher moral ground activists point to Denmark, Norway and Sweden as “happy little” royal countries. They rhetorically pose: ‘Why couldn’t the US be more like them?’ Almost DailyBrett must reply: We rebelled against monarchy (telling King George III where to put his royal scepter), so why wouldn’t we automatically reject monarchy, even constitutional monarchy?

If the expressed goal is true socialist justice, then how can one accept all the state-sponsored extravagance being bestowed upon the ultimate winners of a biological lottery, those born into a royal family? Versailles in France and Neuschwanstein in Germany are vivid examples of monarchial excesses, which ended with the King Louis XVI being guillotined and Mad King Ludwig II mysteriously drowning.

And yet dynastic monarchy is still being practiced in the three aforementioned Scandinavian countries, plus Belgium, Netherlands, Spain and of course, the United Kingdom. If the social justice types complain bitterly about the top 1 percent in America, how can they tolerate the birth-right exclusive … 0.000000000001 percent … in Europe?

Certainly, America has its own issues particularly when it comes to personal health, namely obesity, Diabetes, Opioids and more. Does that mean the vast majority of Europeans are better when it comes to waistlines and personal health? For the most part the answer is, yes.

However, the collective European commitment to the environment and public health abruptly ends with smoking. The deadly habit and its directly related second-hand smoke is right beside you in Europe, literally everywhere.

The warnings on packs of smokes are not mushy as is custom in the states. Even a non-German speaker can easily understand Rauchen kann ist tödlich sein (e.g., Smoking can be deadly), and still one can easily conclude the filthy practice is alive and dead on the European continent (some reportedly inhale to stay skinny). Most likely, they will have beautiful corpses.

Visiting Strasbourg in Alsace Lorraine in France and Baden-Baden in Germany’s Baden Württemberg, it’s easy to reflect on how many times these French-German towns have traded management teams at the point of the bayonet, particularly the former. The Germans took control in 1871, the French took it back in 1918, the Germans again in 1940 and then the French in 1944.

Is there any place in America that has been the subject of that many repeated wars in the 150 years? The answer is an obvious, no.

Let’s face it, a huge reason why Europe has remained peaceful for the past three generations has been the continued placement of U.S. troops and weapons systems in Western Europe during and after the Cold War. Europeans should write thank you notes to US taxpayers. Time for Europe to pay up in the form of their required 2 percent annual GDP equivalents to fund the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, otherwise known by the acronym, NATO

The French in particular were notorious (read: Charles DeGaulle) for not acknowledging our leadership in the liberation of France. Thankfully, French President Emmanuel Macron, gladly speaking English, has pointed to the countless U.S. GI graves in Normandy and recognized our role.

Sorry to say, Denmark did not liberate France and end Nazi and Communist tyranny in Europe. It was the United States in the forefront … of course.

Some complain about the presence of US corporate logos all over Europe, particularly Starbucks, McDonald’s, Apple, KFC, Amazon, Nike etc. The same concentration of European brands is not seen (exception: legendary German cars … BMW, Daimler, Audi, Porsche) other than French cosmetics and Spain’s Zara.

Let’s face it, there is no Silicon Valley in Europe and the entrepreneurial venture capital culture is not the same, maybe with the exception of Germany’s business software provider, SAP or Systemen, Anwedungen und Programmen (Systems, Applications and Programs).

According to The Economist, America’s top five companies in market capitalization (stock prices x number of shares) are technology firms with an abundant focus on services provided. Together, they average 30-years of age, generate $4.3 trillion investor capital and trade at 35 times last year’s earnings.

Conversely, Europe’s top firms are goods-oriented were founded a century ago (i.e., Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever). Collectively, they worth less than $1 trillion (Microsoft alone is larger) and trade at 23 times last year bottom lines. When it comes to “unicorns” or innovative privately held start-ups, think USA not Europe.

In terms of market performance you can’t beat America’s NYSE and the NASDAQ … sorry Britain’s “Footsie,”France’s CAC-40 and Germany’s DAX. And if you want to tie up your disposable investment income for 10 years in government bonds, which guarantee a certain loss … Europe (e.g., 10-year BUND) is at your beckon call.

Buy high and sell low?

Having traveled to Europe four times in the last five years for holiday, and many times before for business and pleasure (no one goes to Brussels for kicks), Almost DailyBrett qualifies as a spirited Europhile. Having said that, your author is a proud American.

Denmark may be happy. Good for the Danes and their lovely harbor mermaid.

When it comes to changing the world for the better, there is no contest. Europe en-masse cannot compete against the U.S. when it comes to being truly exceptional. This reality may drive certain elitists crazy, but your author has to call ’em as he sees ’em.

https://beta.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/charles-krauthammer-pulitzer-prize-winning-columnist-and-intellectual-provocateur-dies-at-68/2018/06/21/b71ee41a-759e-11e8-b4b7-308400242c2e_story.html

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/g12797004/current-monarchy-countries-in-the-world-list/

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/travel-guide/g19733989/happiest-countries-in-the-world-2018/

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/09/12/the-economic-policy-at-the-heart-of-europe-is-creaking

 

 

 

Time is money.” — Founding Father Benjamin Franklin

“Time is money. Wasted time means wasted money means trouble.” — Shirley Temple

Very few things in life irritate Almost DailyBrett more than walking into a supermarket with 12 or more check-out lines, and only two are open.

Albertsons is a particularly notorious offender. The supermarket chain is essentially asking consumers to subsidize its cheapness by forcing customers to waste time in long lines.

Your author does not shop at Albertsons or any any other serial personal-time thief.

Some upscale supermarkets (e.g., Market of Choice) have checkers available at every checkout, but the prices are much higher.

Which brings us to the question du jour: What is more important: Your money or your time?

The cop-out initial answer: It all depends.

If one barely has two shekels to rub together, the answer is obvious … you stand in long lines, hopefully getting a better deal for your precious time.

If one has no financial worries with a steady salaried position, packed schedule or even is a billionaire entrepreneur, then time is obviously the choice.

What would happen if you have $100,000 in assets and $100,000 in liabilities (besides losing sleep)?

You are essentially running a precarious personal/family business. Naturally, one would want to grow the assets and decrease the liabilities. Does that mean opting for money over time is the priority? Or does that mean putting time effectively to work over money is the answer?

Everybody loves a deal. Right?

Think of it this way, no one goes on Amazon or eBay looking to pay full freight. Heck no, we want a bargain. We want the best bang for our cherished buck

Does that mean we wait in way-too-long lines to just secure a better deal? How about the pool souls who waited up-to-10 hours outside an Apple store, just to pay more than $1,000 for the Apple iPhone X?

Sometimes the questions comes down to return on investment (ROI). Is the “deal” worth the time? Is the time worth the “deal?” Is the time worth, paying full retail?

Infinite vs. Finite

“Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” — Jim Rohn, author and entrepreneur

Well-run enterprises are constantly figuring out novel ways of saving customer time, reducing internal costs and delivering competitively priced merchandise.

ATMs have been a fixture for banks, conceivably since the Earth cooled.

Some supermarkets have self-checkout lines, allowing consumers with a minimum or no assistance to scan products, bag and pay, thus minimizing time.

Did you check out McDonald’s reaching an all-time high stock price of $221.93 last Friday? The fast-food leader accomplished this feat even as global markets were rattled with US/China trade uncertainty, Hong Kong tensions, and confusing public relations message by the Federal Reserve?

Investors detest FUD … Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.

McDonald’s daily feeding of 68 million or 1 percent of the earth’s population (e.g., 75 burgers per second) has long been accepted by Wall Street.

What is new is McDonald’s commitment to customer IT, particularly self-ordering kiosks providing greater speed with the same expected Big Mac quality. Sorry Veggies, Almost DailyBrett is an admitted McDonald’s investor and consumer (NYSE:MCD) and has to call em as I see em.

When push comes to shove, what is more vital money or time?

Time cannot buy groceries or love. The legal tender whether it be greenbacks, Euros, Pounds Sterling, Yen, Yuan etc. is a necessity of life. One must possess currency.

If one manages his or her personal and economic affairs correctly, there should always be the ability to make more money during the course of a lifetime. The key as you author is fond of pontificating and bloviating is … Buy Low Sell High. Discretionary revenues should be intelligently put to work.

Money can purchase groceries and many times love, but can it buy time?

That’s the rub. Money conceivably can always grow (Keith Richards makes money when he sleeps … royalties).

Time is finite. There is no arguing the point; one has only so much time. That’s why Almost DailyBrett always hopes that “Time Is On My Side.”

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-03-02-0130

https://www.businessinsider.com/19-facts-about-mcdonalds-that-will-blow-your-mind-2012-4#mcdonalds-sells-more-than-75-hamburgers-every-second-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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