Tag Archive: Gloomy Gus


“Official statistics no longer countered this (Ossies) group — who were disproportionately young, clever, female and ambitious — as East Germans.” — The Economist’s “Thirty years after the Wall fell, ” November 2, 2019

“From adversity comes opportunity.” — Former Notre Dame Head Coach Lou Holtz

When the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989, more than 1 million Ossies took advantage of their newfound freedom from Communism, immediately heading to West Germany and for the most part … thriving. More than one-quarter of East Germans aged 18-30 moved to the west, two-thirds of them … women.

They recognized there were two paths to go by, but in the long run, there was still time to change the road they were on … especially young, clever, ambitious females.

For those 16 million-plus souls adversely trapped for 28 years behind the borders of stultifying-oppressive-surveillance state East Germany, there finally was an opportunity to leave, begin a new life and build a lucrative career. Many took this new road to affluent Bavaria, Baden Württemberg, Hamburg … and never looked back.

Is moving to a more promising venue, the catalyst for success and building wealth?

Only one way to find out.

“I’m in Favor of Progress; It’s Change I Don’t Like” — Mark Twain

Ever meet Negative Nancy, Debbie Downer or Gloomy Gus?

Their cups are always half empty. They impress upon you what they can’t do rather then what they can do. Their little rain clouds follow them wherever they go … and in the most cases … they don’t go anywhere.

They settle for status quo mediocrity or worse. And soon it will be late … too late in their lives to make a change for the better.

They will choose neither path, and the road will soon be closed for good.

Almost DailyBrett was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The former steel town is a great place to be … from.

Fortunately your author’s family was afforded the opportunity to move to Southern California. For Almost DailyBrett, Sacramento, CA, Portland, OR, Pleasanton, CA Ellensburg, WA and now Eugene, OR followed.

With each move came a change of scenery, variables, superiors, colleagues, subordinates, issues to confront and problems to solve. There were always vexing adversities and intriguing opportunities, and most of all challenges to overcome.

In their coverage of the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall earlier this month, most of the newsies focused on the disparity of those who reside and succeed in former West Germany, and those who remain mired in chronic poverty in former East Germany. For many, they could have moved to seek a better life, but for one reason or another … they didn’t.

Yes, there is income disparity even in a model European nation.

The story also needs to reflect the shift away from an agrarian economy, which is largely cosigned to the Stone Age. The following industrial revolution of Johnstown, PA is kaput. The world is now consumer dominated (e.g., 70 percent of the United States economy), digitized and service oriented.

Advantage women … particularly young, clever and ambitious women.

The service oriented consumer economy is right in their sweet spot. Public relations, marketing, advertising, event planning, local government, law, real estate, health care, hospitality … heck, even hardware stores … are dominated by the fairer gender or at a minimum … heading in that direction.

Can men, who once dominated the agrarian and industrial economies with their brute strength, ignorance and testosterone, succeed in this new service economy? Yes for some, but will they en masse? The evidence is not promising.

Not only have women passed men in terms of labor force participation, the same X-curve apply to women vs. men college graduates with a bachelor’s degree or above. And in the vast majority of cases, one must or want to move away from home to go to college. Universities and colleges should be a one-way ticket to independence, not back to mom and/or dad.

Graduates react after being recognized for their degree during the University of Wisconsin-Madison spring commencement ceremony ceremony at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

If professional women were a publicly traded stock compared to an equity for professional men, Almost DailyBrett would not hesitate to invest in the growth potential of the fairer gender. As your author has always noted, stocks are a forward rather than a lagging indicator … women are leading, men are behind and the gap is growing.

The wind is clearly in the sails of professional women, particularly those who are brave and smart enough to recognize there’s still time to change the road they are on.

And when their ship comes in they will be ready to board and set sail.

Alas way too many men will be killing time, playing video games at the airport.

https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/10/31/germans-still-dont-agree-on-what-reunification-meant

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/the-night-the-wall-came-tumbling-down/

The label “Happy Warrior” is eternally associated with former Democratic Vice President and Minnesota Senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey (HHH), describing his relish for political jousting with a big smile of his face.

HHH

His biographer and personal physician Edgar Berman, M.D. in “Hubert” described Humphrey as a warrior who seemed to get happier even as the odds grew longer with the Vietnam War casting a dark shadow over his 1968 presidential campaign…eventually giving us Nixon and Watergate.

For Republicans, our version of the happy warrior immediately evokes memories of Ronald Reagan, “Morning in America” and references to “That Shining City on the Hill.”

As Nancy Reagan has said repeatedly: “He appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears.”

Portrait

As I look out upon the Doug fir trees that surround my hillside home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as what stands for the sun in the twilight closes the Memorial Day weekend, I sense that yet another Strategic Inflection Point has descended on me. My goals of a predictable position and that very special woman…I know they are both out there…have eluded me for three years and seven years respectively. I am not growing any younger with each passing day.

I have faced down cancer, saw the same disease take my dear wife of 22 years, and then fought Valley Fever to a draw. I raised my daughter by myself for five years, and then moved my lounge act to Eugene…all in pursuit of an advanced degree and a teaching gig that may or may not help me in the end.

Both conventional and social media tell essentially the same story: A historically stubborn unemployment rate, just a couple of clicks under double digits; nearly 24 million unemployed and underemployed (doesn’t count those who have given up the hunt). There are more than 16 million underwater on their mortgages and 13 million vacant properties. The federal government alone is $16 trillion in debt and ditto to a certain degree for states and municipalities. The bill has come due in the form of too much spending, too much credit card debt and mortgages that cannot and never will be paid.

The party is over.

And yet I realize that in the face of my personal adversity and the monumental challenges facing our society that in many ways, I am one of the lucky ones.

What gives me so much inspiration are those rare people who never seem to have a bad day, no matter what happens to them or others. They may be burning up inside, but you would never know it on the outside.

Who wants to be around a “Gloomy Gus” or a “Negative Nancy?” I will take my cup half full thank you very much.

eeyore

Even though I don’t subscribe to his political leanings, I want to be that Happy Warrior or Hubert Horatio “Horn Blower” as Jimmy Carter once described him. In fact, everyone should be a Happy Warrior. We know that better days are out there. We know that the answer lies with innovation, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. We need to keep fighting, keep believing and keep smiling.

One of the great unattributed factoids that I learned in my Silicon Valley days is that 70 percent of the scientists that ever lived are alive today. One must let that statement sink in. Galileo, Copernicus, Salk, Einstein, Newton, Pasteur et al. have all bit the dust, but they only represented a mere fraction of the intellectual firepower of all the scientists that presently walk the earth. What will be the next killer app? Something tells me it will not be with social media and cell phones (albeit they remain vital), but with energy and health care.

I received some bad news Sunday as it applies to my academic career, which will inevitably prompt another decision, maybe taking my taco stand to another city…or maybe not. I also rekindled the flame with someone special on Saturday that reminds me to always maintain reasonable standards, but to never settle in life. When you are confronted with a negative and greeted by a positive, contemplate the latter with a big broad grin on your face.

Somehow, someway I will reach my goals. I will not do so by just focusing on the problem, but by casting my gaze to the horizon and coming up with the answer. I will use every bit of my modest talent and intellect to face down the newest challenge that comes before me.

Didn’t one president state the “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself?” I sense that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a confident smile on his face when he said it at his first inaugural in 1933 (even though believe it or not, it was way before my time).

I refuse to ever feel sorry for myself…there is nothing remotely attractive about whining and complaining. Instead, I know instinctively that I have to be that happy warrior no matter what else life throws at me.

Bring it on.

http://books.google.com/books/about/Hubert.html?id=AktIup4i-nwC

http://books.google.com/books?id=63r22RO3Z2kC&q=70+percent+of+the+scientists+that+ever+lived+are+alive+today&dq=70+percent+of+the+scientists+that+ever+lived+are+alive+today&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ckDET_2TE4mjiQKO5dHqBw&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAQ

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/us-usa-economy-idUSTRE7BM0AB20120106

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/24/real_estate/underwater-mortgages/index.htm

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=49092

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/

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