Category: Oregon Cool


“The best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores.”– Legendary Marquette Basketball Coach Al McGuire

What strategies can American colleges and universities employ to ensure that more freshmen do indeed become sophomores?

Consider the question this way: The late Intel President and CEO Andy Grove wrote about strategic inflection points in his 1996 best seller, “Only The Paranoid Survive.”

There are a few strategic inflection points in everyone’s life.

Get them right, and life may be a good thing as Martha would say.

Get them wrong, and life may end up simply running out the clock of life drinking PBRs in a dive bar.

What Almost DailyBrett is talking about are those poor souls who fall by the wayside may be directly attributable to the failure to make the transition from the freshman to sophomore year in college.

Based upon the experience of your professor author — more times than naught — is once a student takes time off after the frosh year to take a job, the overwhelming chances are the student never comes back to college.

Worse yet the student may have already incurred an educational loan, ending up with the double whammy of zero degree and crushing debt on the books.

Life is off to a miserable start, and it may only get worse.

Are these former students prepared for the demands of our service-oriented, digital, coding-dominated workforce? You know the answer.

Are they one “bad day” from being unemployed … yet again?

Forget about discretionary income to invest in stocks, bonds and mutual funds, these lowly sods are living pay check-to-pay check.

Sure there are examples of early college drop-outs – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg – who become billionaires, but how many reach the Three-Comma-Club anyway?

Grooving With A High School Diploma

“If you think education is expensive; try the cost of ignorance.” – Former Harvard President Derek Bok

The numbers may be a tad outdated, but the story is still the same.

Pew Research reported in 2014 a startling gap between those who attain a BA/BS degree (let alone a master’s or Ph.D), and those with only a high school diploma.

The percentage of those with a bachelor’s degree in poverty three years ago was 5.8 percent; the percentage of those with a lowly high school diploma in poverty was 21.8 percent or more than one-in-five.

The college grad made on the average $45,500 per year; the high school diploma holder, $28,000 … a $17,500 per year delta. Multiply a $17,500 gap (which most likely will grow exponentially) by a 40-year career and the gulf reaches $700,000.

What does the $700,000 (at least) gulf mean?

This staggering number translates into the college graduate having discretionary income to invest in markets. Since the depth of the 2009 recession, the S&P 500 is up 270 percent. For 2017, the Dow Jones has increased 22.2 percent, the benchmark S&P has climbed 17.4 percent.

Many ponder, pontificate and bloviate about the growing economic separation between those who succeed in our interconnected, digital, service-oriented economy. Pew provides insights into the gap between those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree (about 29 percent of Americans) and those who don’t.

Colleges and universities are rightfully attuned to the percentage of entering freshmen, who graduate within the next five years.

Almost DailyBrett is asking a different question:

If many would-be sophomores are dropping out and co-signing themselves to a meager life (maybe even poverty), including one-bad-day-away from being unemployed, shouldn’t we be more concerned about freshmen retention?

Let’s review the U.S. News & World Report records for freshmen retention of four universities of particular interest to Almost DailyBrett:

  • University of Southern California, 96 percent freshman retention to sophomore year (BA degree in Broadcasting Journalism, 1978).
  • University of Oregon, 87 percent freshman retention rate (MA in Communications and Society, 2012).
  • Arizona State University, 86 percent freshman retention rate (Offered Ph.D Fellowship).
  • Central Washington University, 77 percent freshman retention rate (Presently employed as an Assistant Professor).

Some loss of frosh students because of plain, old life, and that is to be expected.

Losing 10 percent-to-20 percent or more of a freshman class should set off alarm bells.

Will these lost students be tomorrow’s poverty dwellers?

That may sound extreme, but then again it may not.

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/freshmen-least-most-likely-return

https://www.payscale.com/career-news/2014/07/fewer-freshman-college-students-returning-for-sophomore-year

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/11/19/u_s_college_dropouts_rates_explained_in_4_charts.html

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/562419

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/running-out-the-clock/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/the-role-of-college-in-exacerbating-economic-inequality/

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/02/stocks-are-high-but-investor-numbers-are-low.html

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/central-washington-university-3771

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/asu-1081

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“I’m in favor of progress; it’s change I don’t like” – Mark Twain

The College Football Playoff is change; it’s not progress.

 

Instead it has become a shameless vehicle for ESECPN to proclaim the winner of a four-team playoff among the SEC, ACC and maybe the Big-12 as the “national” champion.

If Alabama doesn’t even capture its own division, let alone play and win the Southern Eastern Conference championship … macht nichts … then just place Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff anyway!

What’s the purpose of conference championships?

USC wins the Pac-12 title on a Friday night. Who cares? It’s what happens on the next day that matters.

Ohio State wins the Big 10 title the next day, easily beating previously undefeated Wisconsin. That achievement should matter, until it doesn’t matter.

We all knew when there are five “Power” conferences, and only four playoff slots, one champion would be the odd man out, and not invited to the party.

But two conference champions not being selected to pave the way for two SEC teams to be anointed for the playoff … that’s highway robbery and every other metaphor of outrage that applies.

Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry” once opined that opinions are similar to sphincters, everyone has one.

With this introduction here are the dispassionate thoughts from an admitted Pac-12 supporter (i.e., USC undergrad, Oregon post-grad), the author of Almost DailyBrett:

If the Pac-12 is annually dismissed by the Pharisees at ESECPN, and our champion, USC at 11-2, is not even taken seriously for the College Football Playoff …

… And this year, the Big Ten champion, Ohio State 11-2, is also summarily deemed unworthy of the College Football Playoff, then let’s do something radical:

Go back to the good ole days.

The Pac-12 and the Big Ten champions play in The Granddaddy of Them All®, the Rose Bowl.

Yep, let’s celebrate a classic rematch of USC vs. Ohio State playing each other on New Year’s Day.

That’s way it was, and that’s how it should be.

The Granddaddy of Them All®

Oklahoma vs. Georgia in the Rose Bowl, gag me with the proverbial spoon.

The Sooner Schooner being paraded down Colorado Blvd., while UGA does his business in the bushes? Give me a break.

With the BSC followed by the College Football Playoff, we can now conclude college football has taken a huge step backwards.

Consider when Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and Oregon blew out Florida State 59-20, ending the Seminoles 30-game winning streak and holding the 2015 Rose Bowl Trophy.

Was that a reason for passionate celebration for the Pac-12 champion? Well no, because there was another game.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rose Bowl is the game. The author of Almost DailyBrett grew up 20 minutes away from Pasadena. Didn’t want to meet my maker without the Ducks once playing in the Rose Bowl, let alone winning it.

The College Football Playoff Doesn’t Work

We all know now the College Football Playoff doesn’t work.

Expanding it to eight games, just means more slots for SEC and ACC teams.

The Pac-12 and Big Ten should pull out of this monstrosity.

January 2, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back De’Anthony Thomas (6) runs the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half during the 2012 Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The two conferences should reestablish their exclusive with the Tournament of Roses, having their respective champions play on New Year’s Day.

If ESECPN wants to televise a “playoff” featuring the best-and-the-brightest of teams from the former Confederate States, go for it. Just pour some moonshine and scream “Go Bama, Go!”

Whattya think Rece “Bama” Davis? Concur Jesse “Gator” Palmer? Ditto David “Between the Hedges” Pollack?

For me, it’s time to go back to the Rose Bowl.

USC should be playing Ohio State in the historic Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California, not in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington Texas on December 29.

The playoff change did not work.

It’s progress to go back to the Rose Bowl.

http://www.azquotes.com/author/14883-Mark_Twain/tag/change

https://www.tournamentofroses.com/rose-bowl

Always wanted a tree house.

Not a literal house in a mighty tree, but an Oregon home with a forest deck surrounded by Douglas firs, wandering deer and playful squirrels.

 

A place to set off for morning runs, savor upscale coffee, little green chariot drives, day-trade, write blogs, soak-off remaining stress of a four-decade career in the hot tub, and smell the roses with my wunderbare Frau, Jeanne.

And let’s not forget the 30-yard-line seats 15 rows behind the opponent’s bench. As they say: “It never rains at Autzen Stadium” … until it does.

The residence serves as a jumping-off point to periodically see the world and to savor special places. For Jeanne and yours truly we have checked out Germany, Italy, Spain and the Bahamas …

What’s next? Can hardly wait to find out.

Sometimes, the author of Almost DailyBrett when trapped in mind-numbing, never-ending, bumper-to-bumper traffic would day-dream about even having the time to read a novel, let along taking a multi-week trip to some place Fantabulous.

That dream will soon be coming true. The day-to-day grind will mercifully come to an end, and the joie de vivre is just beginning. It’s time to do what I want to do.

A Great Career … and then some

Yes, there are two paths you can go by; But in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on
– Jimmy Page, Robert Plant

 

The old saying in Sacramento to this day is: “When in doubt, declare victory!”

A recent documentary about Arnold Schwarzenegger examined his unbelievable success story from his days as a child of a typical Austrian policeman to his spectacular rise as the greatest body-builder of all time, a movie star, Philanthropist and most amazingly, governor of the largest state in the union.

When asked about his recent dalliance, he readily admitted his failures. He reminded us that humans cannot fly, so the farthest we can fall … is to the ground.

Fortunately, my career has been more ups than downs. Please allow me to humbly declare victory.

The author of Almost DailyBrett began his career as a cub reporter covering the 1978 California tax revolt earthquake. Four years later, he was serving as the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee in a Golden State gubernatorial campaign that we twice almost lost, but persevered and won.

Never dreamed that a gubernatorial commission with my name and the words, “Press Secretary” would sit beside my desk. And yet there it is in black and white with a beautiful gold seal.

As the director of communications for the Semiconductor Industry Association, your author was given a crash course in the wonders and magic of digital technology. He visited capitals around the world (e.g., Tokyo, Washington D.C., London, Brussels, Stockholm … ), while assisting an ultimately successful, all-out effort to open up the Japan market.

Could not ever envision being a corporate guy, and yet your author served for 10 years as a director of corporate public relations for a publicly traded semiconductor company. Next up was nearly four years of agency life serving clients’ 16-hours apart from Ireland to Taiwan … sometimes on the same day.

The three-decade career spanned politics/government, non-profit, corporate and agency, but still there was something missing: Giving Back.

Time to start a second career in academia.

Almost DailyBrett always wanted to seek an advanced degree and to teach. Mission accomplished. My most cherished moments are when my thankful former students tell me about their great new jobs and the excitement in their lives.

Now it’s my turn to the change the road I’m on.

Mortality Is Everywhere

Losing my best man and best friend forever John Newhouse hit your author very hard.

He was only 62-years-young, way too young to buy the proverbial ranch.

Someday, I will hopefully be able to buy him the first microbrew in heaven … just not now … Please!

With Jeanne last August, we discussed life over a dry Riesling on the veranda of the  11th Century Castle Hotel Auf Schönburg on a cliff overlooking the Rhine. We reflected on the fact that a tour of duty is four years in military terms. Why can’t it be the same in academic life terms?

We made the decision then-and-there to come home to the tree house in the forest.

Today, your author looks out the window of our Oregon house at a fall masterpiece with the leaves on the ground and the rain making its autumnal return.

Seven months later, the forest will bloom again and the sun will be warm.

And we will be finally at home and at peace in our Eugene tree house.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/craftingdelivering-the-eulogy/

 

(Washington Coach Chris Petersen) “should be thanking ESPN for actually having a relationship.” – MSESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.

Really Kirk? You just personified the word, “arrogant.”

How dare Coach Petersen or any other mortal speak out against Made for Sports Networks/ Night Owl football games.

The Pac-12 and its $3 billion network masters have come up with this season’s not-so-subtle marketing spin: “Pac-12 After Dark.” The purpose is to provide Atlantic Seaboard and Midwest late-night programming for MSESPN and Fox Sports.

Better than infomercials, right?

What’s next for the conference: “Pac-12 After Midnight or Midnight Football Madness”?

Naturally, the three time-zone separation of the Left Coast and two hours for the forgotten time zone (e.g., Mountain) are a pure fact of geography. No argument. But does mean the Pac-12 should kiss the rings of the network masters?

More to the point, the late-night Pac-12 kickoffs make it oh-so-easy for the Football Pharisees on in God’s Time Zone (e.g., Eastern) to only focus on their anointed conferences: ACC, Big 10, Big 12 and of course, the ESECPN.

The Pac-12 champion has already been ruled out of the playoffs. Thank you Heather Dinich.

The Big Five Conferences are in reality in the Big Four Conferences.

Whattyathink Big 10 Joey Galloway and Herbstreit? Concur SEC Jesse Palmer and Rece Davis?

These nocturnal kickoff times (e.g., 10:45 pm EDT/7:45 pm PDT for last night’s USC vs. Arizona game) are rendering the “Conference of Champions” as virtually irrelevant when it comes to the College Football Playoff, but these games do provide entertainment before last call is proclaimed.

When will the Pac-12 Conference championship be decided? The answer is December 1 at 8pm  EST/5 pm PST in traffic gridlocked Santa Clara, CA on a Friday night.

And when will the other major conference games be played?

All of them are on Saturday, December 2: ACC in Charlotte, Big 10 in Indianapolis, Big 12 in Arlington, and SEC in Atlanta. The Pac-12 champion will be yesterday’s news … literally.

Thank you so much Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott for selling out the conference to the lowest bidder.

Grooving to Big 10 and SEC Networks in Pac-12 Territory

The author of Almost DailyBrett resides in one of the six Pac-12 states, so does that mean I can watch Pac-12 Networks?

If you subscribe to Charter Cable or Direct TV, the unfortunate answer is you can binge watch the SEC and Big 10 networks on the left coast, but not Pac-12 Networks. Reportedly, the conference has been in “negotiations” with these two providers for four-plus years.

What good is it to live in a Pac-12 state and watch Southern Eastern Conference and Big-10 sports? If a conference network is not available to its suffering fans, does the network make any sound?

And when our games are actually selected for broadcast for the major networks, you get to wait for the real major conferences to play their games before our nocturnal kickoffs.

Where Are the Pac-12 University Presidents?

Larry Scott was hired to shake up the sleepy Pac-12 commissioner’s office.

To his credit, he brought in the all-important Salt Lake City and Denver media markets with the accession of Utah and Colorado to the Pac-12. At this point the move appears to have benefited the two Mountain Zone schools with meager benefit to the rest of the conference.

The aforementioned Pac-12 Network is giving MSESPN and Fox Sports more reasons to avoid the conference teams with the possible exception of big market, USC.

The questions remain: Where are the Pac-12 university presidents?

Do they care more about television contracts than their students, alumni, student-athletes and fans?

Do they not comprehend the safety issues for thousands of people who are driving in the wee-morning hours after literally hours of libations and football?

There was a day in which Pac-12 games were played at civilized times including 12:30 pm, 1 pm, 3:30 pm and 5 pm, which allows them to be in the half-time discussions on the east coast.

Why can’t the university presidents deem that conference games will start no later than 6 pm PDT/PST and 7 pm (Arizona time in regards to the early fall heat)?

And while they are weighing whether selling out to the networks is a more pressing necessity than the basic mission of the university: educating students for the data-driven careers of tomorrow, they may also want to collectively ask the following Texas-ism:

Is Larry Scott all hat and no cattle?

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865692254/Commissioner-Dont-expect-Pac-12-after-dark-to-go-away-anytime-soon.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/collegefootball/index.ssf/2015/10/monday_morning_news_notes_link_24.html

http://www.bendbulletin.com/sports/5662001-151/pac-12-after-dark-debate-lives-on

https://pac-12.com/networks

 

Should the school

Doesn’t the Declaration of Independence provide for life, liberty and the happiness of pumping our own gas?

There is certain joy that comes from feeling the surging petroleum rocket from the pump directly into my little green chariot. This Freude is kosher in the State of Washington and in California.

But what about that state in between?

Since 1951, it has been Verboten for a mere mortal motorist to pump his or her own gas in the State of Oregon. This antiquated 20th Century law requires petroleum transfer engineers (e.g., popular major at Oregon State University), and only PTEs to exchange fluids in the Beaver State.

What’s that Elon Musk?

Are you saying that EVs could spell doom to the PTEs?

The first affordable Tesla Model 3s are coming off the production lines in Fremont, California (the old NUMMI plant). The initial plans call for 110,000 this year and 500,000 next year.

From $35,000 upwards to $60,000 with all the fixins’, the intrepid all-electric motorist can roar from zero-to- 60 mph in 5.6 seconds with just a tap on the dashboard tablet without omitting one fossil fuel particle into the atmosphere.

Elon Musk, CEO of US automotive and energy storage company Tesla, presents his outlook on climate change at the Paris-Sorbonne University in Paris on December 2, 2015. / AFP / ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

How’s that sound green Oregonians?

Even a Prius requires a PTE now-and-then. And despite all the hype and owner strutting, the Toyota hybrid still contributes to Climate Change. The proud owner may still be gluten free, but his or her precious Prius is nonetheless putting CO² into the air.

In contrast, the Tesla Model 3 can travel 220-to-310 miles on one charge of electricity. What does that mean to Oregon’s PTEs (same for New Jersey’s legally mandated PTEs)? Are each of you heading for the same crash landing as those who made buggy whips?

Electronic vehicles make PTEs as uncomfortable as a former sales dude or sales dudette at Borders as the imposing Amazon digital shadow hovered over the bricks-and-mortar store. Did you have that out-of-print book, Borders? Do you sell that obscure concerto, Barnes & Noble? Amazon does (Google “Long Tail” Theory”) as there are no physical restraints on its inventory.

Maybe the Oregon PTEs will unionize (if that haven’t already) and march into Salem (not the one where they burned witches) and ask for a new law requiring ETEs (Electricity Transfer Engineers) to recharge EVs in Oregon.

Wait a minute? Oregon could actually mandate that ETEs recharge your Climate Change friendly EV? Don’t bet against it.

Think of it this way, if the state Legislature in its infinite wisdom for 66 years and counting required PTEs to pump gas into each car and expressly forbids the motorist from doing the same, then what’s to prevent them from requiring highly trained electricity transfer engineers (ETEs) to recharge your EV Tesla, Volvo, BMW, Chevy etc.?

What’s next? Will the state mandate an ETE to plug in your toaster or change a light bulb?

Incentives Today; Taxes Tomorrow

Immediately south of Oregon, the Golden State’s one-party Legislature is weighing adopting the California Electric Vehicle Initiative, which would designate $3 billion for larger rebates for those who purchase Tesla and other electric cars.

In April, the same Legislature passed legislation raising California’s gas tax by 12 cents to 30 cents per gallon.

Let’s see the state is considering incentivizing EVs to the tune of $3 billion. And nearly at the same time raising gas taxes to raise $5.2 billion.

What happens if the EV revolution is real and a precipitous decline in fossil-burning vehicles ensues? Does that mean gas revenues will simultaneously decline? Oh dear.

And does that lead to actually taxing EV recharges even though these environmentally friendly cars have been incentivized by the state?

What’s more important in Sacramento and other state capitals? The environment? Tax revenues?

Seems like a silly question to even ask.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/31/tesla-falls-after-model-3-as-street-thinks-musk-sounded-squeamish.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/07/29/i-spent-three-minutes-inside-teslas-model-3-and-im-still-thinking-about-it-a-day-later/?utm_term=.98459e459664

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-it-illegal-to-pump-your-own-gas-in-New-Jersey-and-Oregon

https://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-model-3-arrives-as-elon-musk-tries-to-manage-expectations-1501234208

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/28/new-bigger-incentives-for-electric-cars-could-be-ahead-in-california/

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-gas-tax-signing-20170428-story.html

 

 

 

 

Oregon will never be confused with Tuscany.

In Tuscany, thousands wait in line for hours to check out Michelangelo’s “David.”

In contrast, somebody in Oregon is named, “David.”

In Tuscany, one can queue-up for hours to admire Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” standing in her perfect sea shell.

In Oregon, one can find sea shells at the coast, not sure about Venus.

Frances Mayes’ book, “Under the Tuscan Sun,” and the movie with the same title tells the story of an American (e.g., actress Diane Lane) in search of a life change, and a little love too.

She made a totally impractical, impulsive decision. Seemingly on a whim, she bought a classic “fixer-upper” in Cortona, Tuscany and lived to talk about it. The book’s story and the heroine, who took the ultimate plunge, set off a series of similar decisions as literally hundreds of upper class Americans rushed to Central Italy to buy their own Italian villa in the sun.

Reportedly, some even asked the locals for the Italian word for “cappuccino.”

The author of Almost DailyBrett eventually made the trek to Tuscany with his new bride, Jeanne, to celebrate our honeymoon. We stayed in a 12th Century Italian villa on a bluff overlooking Il Duomo de Firenze, but we resisted the temptation to buy the Torre di Bellosguardo.

That does not mean your author is innocent when it comes to rash, impulsive decisions. In 2010, I came to Oregon at 55-years-young in search of a master’s degree, Oregon football games in the fall, and maybe a little love too.

The impulsive part comes into play when one asks: Why would a middle-age widower (being kind here) decide to buy a three-bedroom, two-bath 2,000-square-foot “tree” house for himself and his American shorthair feline, Percy?

Wouldn’t renting make more sense, particularly when one contemplates widespread academic prejudice: my chances of landing a teaching job at University of Oregon after graduation would be next to none? Renting easily made more sense, except for the George Carlin “stuff” factor.

Carlin’s comedic monologue about the never-ending acquisition of “stuff” (i.e., beds, dressers, chairs, tables, washer/dryer, fridge …) results in a predictable crisis. Can the author of Almost DailyBrett downsize from a 2,200-square-foot Monopoly (ranch-style) house in Northern California to a 1,000-square-foot apartment, and still find sufficient space for his stuff?

Let me interject right now: your author does not do orange metal doors surrounded by Berlin Bunker concrete (e.g., storage units = unintelligent loss of legal tender).

So what did all of the above make me? A displaced Californian with equity to transfer, looking for a tree house to display his stuff, and live and study as well … Under the Oregon Clouds.

Spider and The Fly

On more than one occasion, it has been questioned why would a single-at-the-time, follicly challenged mature dude acquire a 2,000-square foot house with a deck, hot tub and occasionally serving prosciutto and melon with Sangiovese? Was my Eugene house the human equivalent of a spider’s web, looking for “some little girl to fly on by” as suggested by Mick Jagger in The Spider and The Fly?

Almost DailyBrett will piously declare the primary purpose for the turn-key Eugene house with next to zero backyard maintenance was to serve as a place to study, research and finish a master’s degree in Communication and Society. The next steps were finding a full-time teaching gig. The wonderful new wife came later, even though my eyes were always surveying the horizon for both.

The aforementioned Jeanne became Mrs. Brett on her own recognizance, and yours truly was offered a doctoral fellowship to Arizona State University and a tenure track professorship at Central Washington University, taking the latter position.

What that on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand decision meant was transporting my new bride, two alley cats and our  “stuff” to a townhouse in Ellensburg, Washington and renting out the house Under the Oregon Clouds. That plan worked for two years until the renters (e.g., Stefanie and George) decided to move.

Considering that our move back to Eugene was not coming anytime soon, we made the decision to sell the house Under the Oregon Clouds. Think of it this way, a house is bricks and mortar or some variation of that theme. We can always buy another house, another day maybe with sun above. Right?

And yet, the house did not sell as the rain fell during the winter. The house Under the Oregon Clouds is quirky (e.g., it has character). It has three flights of stairs, a car-port instead of a garage (for your stuff). Das Haus ist nicht für Alles.

It did not sell. We couldn’t be happier.

Someday, we will once again visit the 12th Century Firenze villa Under the Tuscan Sun.

More importantly, we will surely move back to that special tree house Under the Oregon Clouds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Tuscan_Sun_(film)

http://www.francesmayesbooks.com/under-the-tuscan-sun/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0CSs4Nf-64

Oregon has not fired a head football coach since 1976.

That streak will come to a close with the termination of Mark Helfrich.

Why? He presided over the end of the Golden Era of Oregon Football.helfrichbeard

Some will contend the musings of Almost DailyBrett and a growing chorus of Duck commentators are a reflection of Oregon fans being spoiled. Joey Harrington is the high-priest of this particular gospel.

You were a great quarterback for Oregon, Joey, but it’s time for you and other apologists to smell the coffee. Oregon’s demise is real and sustaining, and no amount of Uncle Phil money is going to change it.

Unless the present course is dramatically changed, Coach Helfrich and the majority of his staff need to be shown the door.

Consider yesterday’s very winnable game against Nebraska on the road.

The first two-point conversion attempt was successful. Great. Now let’s kick extra points. What? Helfrich kept going for two-point conversions and the team failed four consecutive times … and the Ducks lost by three? What did Einstein reportedly say about trying the same thing over-and-over again and getting the same result? The definition of insanity.

How many penalties did the Ducks incur? Five? 10? How about 13 for 126 yards? This sad result comes down to one conclusion: Coaching.helfrichriley

Now before you state that one-game does not constitute a trend, let’s examine the unmistakable trend. In Wall Street terms it is downward and to the right, time to sell the stock.

During Chip Kelly’s four years as head coach, the Ducks were 46-7, including a dominating 33-3 in the Pac-12 conference. Oregon went on to the Rose Bowl twice, winning one; won the Fiesta Bowl and came within a field goal of taking the “Natty.”

Now in his fourth year as head coach (the first one, trying to grow a beard), Helfrich is 35-9, including 22-5 in conference. Inheriting Chip’s recruits, including 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, the Ducks were 24-4 overall, 15-3 in conference in Helfrich’s first two years, winning another Rose Bowl and an Alamo Bowl.

Since losing the 2015 Natty to Ohio State in a blow out, the Ducks are 11-7. Last year’s defense gave up a school record 37.5 points per game, and this year’s “D” is no better. How can we forget that Oregon lost to Utah by six touchdowns at Autzen, and blew a 31-point halftime lead at the Alamo Bowl?oregontcu1

For the second time in two seasons, a one-and-done “grad” student is playing quarterback. Vernon Adams and Dakota Prukop are more than capable, but what happens to Oregon when the one-and-done sustains an injury (e.g., Adams)?

Ready to take on Washington, USC and Stanford, true freshman Justin Herbert?

Oregon is the storied program that has developed fabulous quarterbacks who played two, three or four years (i.e.., Dan Fouts, Chris Miller, Bill Musgrave, Joey Harrington, Kellen Clemens, Dennis Dixon, Darron Thomas and of course, Marcus “Heisman” Mariota).

How about recruiting a stud high school quarterback or two and letting one of them win the job? Travis Jonson from Servite was supposed to be the “guy.” He is running fourth string. Five-star defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule was supposed to make us forget Haloti Ngata. Instead, we are fondly remembering DeForest Buckner and deep-sixing any thoughts of Kaumatule in Canton.

Oregon arguably has the best facilities in the nation for football, a good reason why the team stays in the discussion despite being marooned in America’s geographic cul-de-sac, the Pacific Northwest. And yet, the program’s recruiting classes are dropping off under Helfrich and his staff, presently running #38 nationally and number five in the Pac-12 behind Arizona and Colorado.

Nebraska celebrated an NCAA record 350 consecutive sellouts in its 90,000-seat stadium this past weekend. Oregon is now working on a two-game streak of non-sellouts at 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium.

How many losses will the Ducks endure this season? The two gimmies, which were not as easy as they seemed on paper (i.e., the dreaded UC Davis Aggies and the vaunted Virginia Cavaliers) are in the books. The Pac-12 conference with its great offenses lies before Oregon. And how does Oregon with one of the worst defenses in the nation even get to the Las Vegas Bowl, let alone the Fiesta or Rose?

Better get out your green-and-yellow rosary beads, D-coordinator Brady Hoke.

Almost DailyBrett was rooting for Oregon before it was cool. This is your author’s 27th year as a season ticket holder and a Duck Athletic Fund member. No one can accuse this blog of representing only a fair-weather fan.

Having said that, the undeniable truth must be told. The Ducks are looking at three more losses and possibly five or more. A post-season — any bowl — is not assured. Want to take the “under”?

Oregon cannot sustain its success on Uncle Phil’s money alone. Coaching matters. Coach Helfrich and his staff are on the hot seat.

Wonder if UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens already has some names in mind when the inevitable change becomes … inevitable?

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/sports/blogs/martini/2016/09/17/oregon-ducks-loss-nebraska-100-percent-mark-helfrich/90601784/

http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2016/09/canzano_identity_crisis_at_ore.html#incart_river_home_pop

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

http://www.goducks.com/roster.aspx?path=football

http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2016/09/penalties_continue_to_add_up_f.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/rooting-for-oregon-before-it-was-cool/

 

 

Invested in Oregon football season tickets 27 years ago, and also seats for the Oregon Symphony Orchestra.

Whatever happened to those yawn-a-minute classical music tickets?

Reflecting on the purchase of Oregon season seats and directly related contributions to the Duck Athletic Fund, the author of Almost DailyBrett can categorically state: My life has been totally transformed partly as a result: super spouse, college professorship, advanced degree and even a little Valley Fever to build a little character.kevinatoregon

Never conceived even for a nanosecond or two that my two humble tickets in Section 33, Row 15, Seats 7-8 near the 30-yard line at Autzen Stadium could mean so much.

When I ordered the season tix, there were only 12,000 brave Oregon season ticket holders. There was an alumni tent in the gravel parking lot. The average crowd was about 25,000, and the mean, hateful, despicable Don James-era Washington Huskies ruled the Pacific Northwest, if not the Pac-10 Conference.

Today, there are more than 42,000 season ticket holders for the always packed friendly confines of Autzen Stadium, where it never rains. The Ducks have beaten the Huskies a series-record (and counting) 12 straight times.

Back in 1990 the Ducks were … the Ducks. They were always a tad above mediocre. Bill Musgrave was the quarterback, surrounded by decent talent. Oregon went 8-4, including a landmark upset of Ty Detmer’s No. 4 BYU Cougars, but lost in the frickin’ Freedom Bowl.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was determined back then, he did not want to go to the Pearly Gates without once watching the Ducks in the Rose Bowl. Oregon was predicted for 10th in the Pac-10 in 1994. And then there was the magical October 22 game against Washington in Autzen Stadium.wheaton

For a few seconds, it seemed that time stood still: “Kenny Wheaton is going to score. Kenny Wheaton is going to score …

The band was playing “Mighty Oregon” on the floor of the Rose Bowl on January 2, 1995. There was not a dry eye on the Oregon side of The Granddaddy of Them All. We lost that day, wearing Champion jerseys and pants in uniforms that would make the Green Bay Packers proud.

Uncle Phil was not on the sidelines. That would soon change.

Akili, Joey, Kellen and Dennis …

Some of the greatest to ever play quarterback for Oregon starred during the Mike Bellotti era (116-57) including Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Kellen Clemens and Dennis Dixon. They handed the ball off to Reuben Droughns, Maurice Morris and Jonathan Stewart. The likes of Haloti Ngata plugged up the middle on defense.

The big moment during the Bellotti tenure was blowing out Colorado 38-16 in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl (we should have been in the Rose Bowl) to finish No. 2 in the country at 11-1.joeyharrington

The author of Almost Daily Brett worked for LSI Logic and Edelman Public Relations during this era and would make frequent trips to Eugene and to road games (e.g., Michigan Big House in 2007) from Silicon Valley – all for the love of Oregon football.

Unfortunately, breathing in the Valley Fever fungus before Oregon’s tight win over Fresno State in Fresno almost led to curtains. Never thought that going to a Duck game could be so deadly to my health. Fought the little Valley Fever bugger to a standstill and dodged prostate cancer as well. The net result: The Chip Kelly era of Oregon football, matrimony, an advanced degree and a second career.

LaMichael, Kenyon, DeAnthony, Darron, Jeanne …

Headed up to Eugene during Chip Kelly’s first year for a game against Cal. Went to more than a football game that fall day in 2009. Stopped off at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Could I be a college teacher? Sure, take the GRE, apply for a fellowship, serve as a TA and devote 15 months of my life to earning a Master of Arts degree.

All the rest is history.

Oh BTW, Oregon went 46-7 in Chip’s four years including a trip to the “Natty,” a thrilling win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl with a high-speed, spread offense that revolutionized football.

Uncle Phil was stepping up big time with the Moshofsky Indoor Practice facility (no more alumni tent in the gravel parking lot), an academic support center for athletes and an incredible football complex.DSC01377

Landed an emergency adjunct instructor position at Oregon, which led to a July 4, 2012 Match.com date with a fantabulous Fraulein by the name of Jeanne. She is now Jeanne Brett.

Heisman Marcus; Rose Bowl Blowout

Nearing the end of my sixth decade on the planet, my UO advanced degree, teaching experience and my extensive background made me competitive for a tenure-track assistant professorship in public relations and advertising.marcusrosebowl

The drive from Ellensburg’s Central Washington University to Oregon’s Autzen Stadium is about six hours. It has been worth every minute as the Ducks continued to overachieve under Mark Helfrich (33-8). Marcus Mariota won the Heisman, and easily outdueled Jameis Winston in the Jan. 1, 2015 Rose Bowl, 59-20.

The Ducks have come a long way from the days when yours truly wondered if they would ever play in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, let alone twice competing for the national championship.

If you are scoring at home, Oregon is 226-100 ever since your author bought his season seats in 1990. The Ducks have won seven conference championships, went to two national championship games, played in four Rose Bowls, winning the last two, and two Fiesta Bowls, winning both. All-in-all, the Ducks have been to 23 bowls during this time.

More importantly, the tickets have been so much more than precious pieces of cardboard with bar codes. They have represented new love (e.g., Jeanne), a challenge (e.g., Valley Fever), an intellectual achievement (e.g. M.A. degree); valuable teaching experience (e.g., adjunct instructor): and a new career as a professor and mentor (e.g., assistant professor).

All-in-all, I am One Ducky Dude. Can hardly wait for fall.

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYt2GDh9PgU

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/washington-cancels-oct-17-game-against-oregon/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/rooting-for-oregon-before-it-was-cool/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/the-world-through-corvallis-eyes/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/the-right-woman/

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/05/08/from-press-secretary-to-professor/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/launching-a-second-career-2/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/give-some-credit-to-rich-brooks/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/ducks-vs-dawgs-to-end-the-season/

 

 

 

“91,000 people. 33 exit gates. One sniper …” Promo for the 1976 film, “Two-Minute Warning”

Terrorism is not the only threat hovering over American society and sports, both college and professional.

There is also the realistic spectre that arises from the proliferation of guns in society … there are more firearms (about 357 million) in the United States than people (318.9 million). Combine an overly armed society with intoxicants, emotion and rage … to Almost DailyBrett it is only a matter of time before …

Your author doesn’t want to think the unthinkable, let alone give anyone any unpleasant ideas. Having said that, let’s ask the obvious: At some point, will an out-of-control fan be tempted to shoot a player, a coach or an umpire or referee on the field, on the court or on the ice?

To be honest, Almost DailyBrett has thought about this subject too many times, the latest just this past Saturday night during the disgraceful, out-of-control NFL Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Six men were arrested for antics ranging from hitting a woman in the face to urinating on another woman. We all know it can be worse … much worse.arrestedcincyfans

The visiting Steelers pulled out a grinding-and-crushing 18-16 playoff win, aided by two horrific, late personal-foul penalties against the hometown Bengals. Would a male fan want to enter the under-the-influence of testosterone men’s room at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium, wearing Pittsburgh black-and-yellow following the game?

Maybe, that biological imperative can wait?

Considering that fans indulge a wide variety of libations and substances of varying degrees of intoxicant properties for literally hours before the game (night games have to be the worst), the game end-results may be adverse, and guns are simply too many and too easy to acquire, is an opposing player, coach or fan taking his or her life into their hands by simply participating or attending the game?

And considering that virtually every game, regardless of the sport, is broadcast by some outlet (conventional or digital), the game venue would instantaneously turn into a televised crime scene. Would that instantaneous publicity (e.g., 15-minutes of fame) prompt copycat shootings at other stadiums and arenas?

Never thought it would get to this point, but we as a troubled society may already be there.

Are Metal Detectors Enough?

In the aftermath of September 11, the Paris attacks and the assault on a soft-target in San Bernardino, there will be heightened security for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California as there should be. The Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement as a whole will be on high alert on February 7.

But let’s not dismiss games without the same stakes.

Consider the Oregon vs. Eastern Washington game this past September. The set up was that Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams was playing against his former team. Even though the outcome of the game was decided in the fourth quarter, Adams was knocked out of the game by EWU linebacker, John Kreifels, with a vicious helmet-first targeting hit. Kreifels was ejected.kreifels

Heading back to the locker room, Kreifels taunted the fans at Autzen Stadium. As a season ticket holder for 26 years, Autzen fans are for the most part passionate, but well-behaved. But what would happen if one person … and it only takes one … out of nearly 60,000 fans takes matters into his own hands? There are no metal detectors at Autzen.  Alas, there was a gun and a shooter at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg about 70 miles away.

Is this concern unreasonable?

Six seasons ago, Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount popped taunting Boise State linebacker Byron Hout. When the Boise fans started to jeer Blount, the 6’0”, 247-lb running back started to charge the stands. Fortunately, Oregon assistant coach Scott Frost pulled Blount away from the fans. What if one of these fans had a firearm, a distinct possibility in Idaho? Almost DailyBrett doesn’t want to think about it, but these thoughts just won’t go away.

Crisis Communications Is More Than Response

Jim Nance of CBS Sports labeled the atmosphere around the Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh game this past weekend as a “disgrace”, including the pelting with garbage of injured Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being carted into the locker room for treatment.

The NFL does have metal detectors at its games, but has the league and its teams (particularly their PR departments) given adequate consideration of the worst case scenario? Certainly, they have simulated terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but what about an inebriated fan with a firearm?

Have our professional leagues (i.e., NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, MLB) and our colleges (e.g., NCAA) ever given any consideration to asking fans … not just in agate print on the back of ticket stubs … but through public service announcements (PSAs) to not bring weapons to a stadium. They have no place in stadiums, arenas and ice rinks, particularly with children going to the games.

Sports public relations departments appear to be doing a decent job in combatting drinking and driving, especially before the trip back home after the game, but what about weapons?twominutewarning

We have seen a San Francisco Giants fan in a life-threatening coma after being attacked in the parking lot following the first-game of the 162-game season at Dodger Stadium. We may recall about a crazed Alabama fan poisoning the oak trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner. And then there was Ron Artest (a.k.a. Metta World Peace) leading the Indiana Pacers into the stands in Detroit (“The Malice at the Palace”). And then there are the chardonnay-sipping Oakland Raider fans …

Before we can contemplate the terror of 91,000 fans, 33 exits and one sniper or deranged fan with a gun, sports public relations and marketing pros need to think more than just how to respond to this awful scenario, but how to prevent it in the first place.

http://www.wlwt.com/news/At-least-6-fans-arrested-Saturday-at-Paul-Brown-Stadium/37365086

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/14/baseballs-new-metal-detectors-wont-keep-you-safe-theyll-just-make-you-miss-a-few-innings/

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/11/14/nfl-statement-on-stadium-security/

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25295913/eastern-washington-suspends-player-for-cheap-shot-on-oregon-qb-vernon-adams

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2014/11/18/ten-years-later-brawl-prompted-change-nba/19256997/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/pacers/2014/11/16/pistons-malice-palace-brawl-commissioner-artest-adam-silver/19138239/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Minute_Warning

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/05/guns-in-the-united-states-one-for-every-man-woman-and-child-and-then-some/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEu3GzNDs74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They don’t hate us. We hate them, even though our mumsies told us to never use that verb.

Eugene is only 47 miles down the road, guess that proves that familiarity does indeed breed contempt.bennybeaver

They actually root for us, except once a year in the Civil War. We detest, despise and loathe them and everything they represent. We will never, ever cheer for them.

They see themselves as The Jetsons. They compare us to the Flintstones.

They see themselves as ultra-cool, and so does ESPN. Guess that makes us, Brand X.

When they do deign to actually contemplate us, they regard us as “Little Brother,” and that “Cow College.” They make disparaging sheep jokes: “The greatest lie in Corvallis? ‘I was only trying to help that sheep over the fence.’”

That’s not funny, and it’s not true.

Seriously.

On Tuesday nights, they watch “Talkin’ Ducks” on Comcast SportsNet. On Wednesday, we are supposed to watch “Talkin Beavers,” even though the title sounds like the obscene chatter of adolescent boys.

We were just so close this past Friday, our rodents coming within three points twice in the fourth quarter until they took it away from us for their eighth consecutive win. The Civil War is now Oregon 63, Oregon State 46 and 10 ties … once again we were on the wrong end of the scoreboard.

Their biggest rival is the Washington Huskies, not us. They will not even acknowledge that we are their true rivals.

They are so smug in their ever-changeable Nike uniforms. We have to admit they have a better school, better stadium, better facilities, better team, better band, better songs, better mascot, better rally squad. Everything is just frickin’ better.shout

Okay, we are better at agronomy, but does that count?

Flat Tail Society

We supposedly market ourselves as Beaver Nation, but does anyone outside of Benton County really believe Mike Parker, The Voice of the Beavers?

They have “Uncle Phil,” and his Nike billions. He lavishly and charitably gives millions to both athletics and academics at his alma mater, and yet we still wear his swoosh uniforms. Doesn’t Adidas or Under Armour want to protect our house?

We played in the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1965, losing by only 27 points to Michigan. They played in the Rose Bowl this past January 1, beating previously undefeated Florida State by 39 points … and the game wasn’t that close.

Twice we were within one game of the Rose Bowl in both 2008 and 2009. All we had to do was beat them … that’s all we had to do. Alas …

“Send me dead flowers by the mail

Send me dead flowers to my wedding

And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave” – Jagger, Richards, Dead Flowers

Coming Full Circle

We have a Heisman Trophy winner by the name of … ahh … what was his name again? Oh, Terry Baker in 1862. Sorry, made a mistake, it was 1962. Their Heisman Trophy winner is Marcus Mariota, just this past year. You can watch him play every Sunday for the Tennessee Titans.marcusheisman

We set an NCAA record for most consecutive losing seasons: 27 (1971-1998). We seemed to be turning the corner until we ran into an oncoming train. Our native-son coach, Mike Riley, packed his bags for bucolic Lincoln, Nebraska. We won two games this year. Oregon had a bad year (for them) too, winning only nine, six straight, and yet another win over us.

At least one commentator referred to our football program as a “road apple.” Hey, that’s not true. We almost won a conference game. And we are going to fix up the Valley Football Center in Corvallis.

Maybe we can adjust the rabbit ears at the Valley Football Center and watch the Ducks in their 12th straight bowl game … at least they are not playing for national championship this year.

We are optimistic about next year. Contrary to the persistent rumors, there will be ice on the sidelines at Reser Lunch Meats Stadium. The student with the recipe is staying for graduate school.

Even though we lost yet another Civil War last Friday, we are proud of Oregon State, our alma mater dear. Our diplomas are proudly hung on the wall, and most of us are gainfully employed.

And when customers arrive, we will cheerfully ask: “Would you like to supersize your meal?”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_War_(college_football_game)

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rollingstones/deadflowers.html

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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