Tag Archive: Kremlin


Muhammad Ali was the self-proclaimed, ‘Greatest of All Time.’

And then Joe Frazier walloped him with a massive left hook, sending Ali and his pretty red tassels sprawling on the canvas.

The lesson: Be careful about labeling someone, anyone — particularly anointing yourself — as the ‘Greatest.’

As an on-and-off naturalized Oregonian since 1975, Almost DailyBrett believes it’s now safe to make the call about the state’s greatest-ever citizen.

Hands down, it has to be Phil Knight.

Happy Birthday #82, Uncle Phil.

Some may want to immediately contend that Knight is being named Oregon’s greatest simply because he the 16th wealthiest in the world with an estimated fortune of $35.9 billion (Forbes). Bernie Sanders says billionaires should not exist. Oregon should be proud that Phil Knight more than exists; he thrives and cares.

To be considered by Almost DailyBrett for this lofty honor, one has to be born in Oregon. Salem lists among its most influential: President Herbert Hoover, Governor Tom McCall, trail blazers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but alas … none of them were born in Oregon.

Some worthy native Oregonian candidates for the ‘greatest’ designation include: Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, Senator Mark Hatfield, author Ken Kesey, Senator Wayne Morse, runner Steve Prefontaine and democratic socialist John Reed.

Sorry being the only American to be buried in the Kremlin Wall (played by Warren Beatty in the interminable “Reds”) does not put Reed at the very top of the greatest Oregonians list.

Why is Phil Knight the greatest? Let’s Just Do It.

Never In Recorded History Have So Many Oregonians Owed So Much To One Man

If one Googles (21st century verb) the word, “entrepreneur,” the image of one Philip Hampson Knight should serve as the definition.

His best seller, “Shoe Dog,” tells the story of how he turned a $1,000 loan from his father and almost failing about nine times, he actually turned the proverbial corner with his athletic apparel company, Nike.

Today, Almost DailyBrett is a happy-camper-investor for many moons in the global athletic apparel market leader by far, Nike (NYSE: NKE).

The total amount invested in Nike stock is $156 billion (e.g., Feb. 21 market capitalization figure) with shares trading at 35 times multiple compared to the prior year’s earnings (P/E ratio).  Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike reported annual revenues of $39.1 billion in FY ’19. In total, 70,000  employees work for Nike globally, 8,000 of them in Oregon.

Without any doubt, Phil Knight’s Nike is the largest and most influential publicly traded company in the history of the State of Oregon. Think of Nike this way, great company, great products, great employer and great publicly traded company. How’s that for fiduciary responsibility?

Nike pioneered its much copied marketing campaigns celebrating The Athlete: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, LeBron James,  Rafael Nadal, Kevin Durant, Rory McIlroy, Stephen Curry and many, many others.

Almost DailyBrett has not always agreed with Nike’s marketing decisions (e.g., Nike Takes A Knee), particularly designing and selling apparel associated with NFL persona non grata, Colin Kaepernick. Your author has never expected perfection with any individual or organization (impossible distinction to achieve, let alone maintain), and the same is true with Nike.

Giving Back To His Native State, Oregon

“And here at home in Oregon, we believe the potential to arm our talented young people with the skills and tools, they will need to have a lasting impact on the world and to pursue rewarding careers, make such (charitable) investments essential.” — Phil Knight upon making a $500 million pledge to the University of Oregon for a new science center

When discussing Uncle Phil’s financial impact you are reaching the end of the beginning of the Phil Knight story, not the beginning of the end. Knight’s legend particularly revolves on his giving back to his native Oregon and the world.

Preparations for the opening of the Knight Cancer Research Building, August 21, 2018. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Considering that Phil’s business strategies and his company focused on sports (e.g., track and field), it’s only natural to first emphasize his sports philanthropy, particularly for his alma mater, the University of Oregon (e.g., BA in Business Administration, 1959). He has given more than $300 million (and counting) to the school’s Athletic Department, including $100 million to the UO Athletics Legacy Fund.

Academically, he contributed the lion’s share to the $27 million renovation to the University of Oregon Knight Library. The name of his late father and 1932 Oregon Law grad, William W. Knight, adorns the 68,000-square foot UO law school.

He has also directed $500 million-plus to Oregon Health Sciences University’s (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute, and $125 million more to establish the OHSU Cardiovascular Institute.

Knight’s generosity is not limited to Oregon universities, as he gave $105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business (e.g., MBA, 1962). Recently, he pledged another $400 million to Stanford to establish an on-campus new graduate scholarship program.

With all due respect to the memories and accomplishments of Governor McCall and Senators Hatfield and Morse, Bowerman, Pre, Kesey and Kremlin Wall fixture, John Reed … none of them rose to the level of entrepreneurial and philanthropic success and impact on Oregon’s past, present and future than Phil Knight.

Yes indeed without any conceivable doubt, Phil Knight is the greatest Oregonian of all time.

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore/notable/knight.aspx

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore-oregonians.aspx

https://www.oregonlive.com/life-and-culture/erry-2018/07/227b06fbff2915/the-100-greatest-oregonians-ev.html

https://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#39cd30857e2f

https://www.businessinsider.com/athletes-endorsements-nba-golf-tennis-2019-6

https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2016/10/phil_and_penny_knight_will_giv.html#incart_river_index

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/taxing-uncle-phil-to-death/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/nike-takes-a-knee/

“Let’s lob one into the men’s room of the Kremlin.” — US Senator Barry Goldwater

United States Senator and nominee for president, Barry Goldwater (1909 – 1998) speaking at an election rally in Madison Square Garden, New York City, USA, 28th October 1964. (Photo by William Lovelace/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

When Almost DailyBrett was touring the Kremlin in 1981, presumably using the men’s room at some point, your author was particularly not in favor of lobbing one into Moscow’s most infamous venue … just then and there.

Nearly 40 years later that position has not changed.

What has shifted — somewhat — is our national view of Russia. The Cold War is over, even though relations from time-to-time between the US and Russia can range from chilly-to-frosty.

As Winston Churchill once described Russia: “A riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

Are the Russians our enemies? Are they our adversaries? Are they our competitors? They certainly are not our friends. What gives?

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin give all the impressions they are pals, but are they really? Guess talking and making nice is better than the nuclear alternative. Considering that Russia reportedly is working on a hyper sonic weapon, which can evade our missile defenses, maybe detente will become fashionable again.

As mentioned by Almost DailyBrett before, you can take Putin out of the KGB, but you can’t state the KGB out of Putin. How many Russian enemies have been poisoned and attacked overseas? Did Putin know? Of course, he did.

“There Is A Bear In The Woods … “

” … For some people the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame.. Others say its vicious and dangerous. Since no one really can be sure, who’s right, isn’t it smart to be as strong as the bear? If there is a bear.” — President Ronald Reagan 1984 “Prepared For Peace” re-election ad

The prose above, which were written and recorded by ad-man extraordinaire Hal Riney (1932-2008) were described by some as ambiguous, but the spot was memorable nonetheless.

Considering the relationship between tiny Finland and Superpower Russia with its nukes and 11 time zones, it has been suggested: “When you sleep with the bear, you do not snore.”

America with its four continental time zones does not worry about making nocturnal sounds.  Nonetheless the relationship with Russia, regardless of the state of affairs, still needs to be managed … and considered.

Almost DailyBrett  and many others contend that Russia is the most xenophobic country on the planet with good reason.

How many times has the Rodina been trampled and invaded (i.e., Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler)?

Despite being the largest nation on earth geographically, Russia sees itself as surrounded on all sides: NATO to the west and north, the Muslim world to the south (they haven’t forgotten the misguided 1980 Afghanistan invasion) and China to the east.

Russia’s collective paranoia is understandable. The nation is notorious for decades of disinformation and meddling in the political affairs of democracies (e.g., Nuclear Freeze movement).

Similar to Churchill, Kremlinologists have been puzzled in how to interpret the constantly shifting attitudes of Russia to the world around here from the Czarist, Communist and now the ultra-nationalist times.

Your author even though he went Back in the USSR during the days of the “Evil Empire,” still has a return visit to Russia on the “Bucket List.”

And when Almost DailyBrett is there again, your author certainly doesn’t want a hyper-sonic “one” being lobbed into the Men’s Room of the Kremlin.

Pozhaluysta! Please!

https://time.com/4875093/donald-trump-goldwater-rule-history/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/russia-on-my-bucket-list/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/the-daisy-ad/

Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” – Winston Churchill

My maternal grandfather never wanted to go to two places: Hell and Russia.

He lived to the century mark and slightly beyond. I doubt he went anyplace, but heaven. I’m certain he never stepped foot inside Russia.

kevinrussia

The author of Almost DailyBrett visited the USSR in 1981, when Leonid Brezhnev and the Politburo were calling the shots. That was 33 years ago.

Today, the Soviet Union is an unpleasant Cold War memory. Nonetheless, Russia remains a difficult and perplexing nine-time-zone nation on the geopolitical map, stretching from Belarus in the West to Vladivostok on the Pacific … and is just as fascinating as ever.

Putin or no Vladimir Putin, I want to go back and check out the changes before I meet Anastasia (“screamed in vain”) in the after-life.

Honeymoon in Stalingrad?

Even though I married Rachel Weisz’ twin, or at least Jeanne could easily be mistaken as Rachel’s sibling, we are not heading to the banks of the Volga for our belated honeymoon. The castles of Bavaria and the phallic symbols of Tuscany in summer are a smidge more romantic.

This is not to suggest that Enemy at the Gates was not a love story. Heck, you have all the elements of a great Casablanca love triangle: Jude Law (sniper Vassili Zaitzev), Joseph Fiennes (Commissar Danilov) and Weisz (Tania), the rubble of Stalingrad and the Wehrmacht and the Red Army in a battle to the death.lawweisz

Nonetheless Russia is calling, and it is a bucket list kind of summons. Some may want to jump out of airplanes. Others may swim with dolphins or sharks (hard to keep them straight) or march with the penguins in Antarctica.

Yours truly wants to walk across Krásnaya Plóshchaď (Red Square) one more time. The same applies to St. Petersburg (it was Leningrad back in 1981) with the Hermitage Museum (Czar’s Winter Palace) and the Summer Palace.

And of course, this time there must be a visit to the aforementioned Stalingrad, now named Volgagrad. It will never be Volgagrad in my mind; it will always be Stalingrad, the most decisive battle of World War II. Germany was finished after Field Marshal Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Paulus surrendered his surrounded Sixth Army in January 1943.

Looking down at the Russian steppes 33 years ago from an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Vilnius, Lithuania, I could imagine the majestic Cossacks, Napoleon’s Grand Armee and Hitler’s Panzers all charging deeper and deeper into Russia.

Reflecting back on the trip, I was repeatedly asked when I was going “in and out” of Russia, not “to and from.”

A Trip Like No Other

“Take me to your daddy’s farm; Let me hear your balalaika’s ringing out; Come and keep your comrade warm; I’m back in the U.S.S.R.; Hey you don’t know how lucky you are boys; Back in the U.S.S.R.” – The Beatles

Living in Eugene, Oregon for four years, I was always amused by the city’s “community” gardens. These are patches of land where like-minded folks under the tender, loving guidance of the City of Eugene plant their sustainable and organic crops (if you don’t believe me, just ask them) and maybe even dream of a communal environment where everyone is truly equal.

Regularly driving past this garden on Amazon Parkway, I would reflect back more than three decades to my trip to the Soviet Union. Certainly, Russia was a “social” society at the time (e.g., prefab apartment blocks, jammed fossil-fuel emitting buses, foreign currency-only outlets, and empty store shelves), but I am not certain about the “justice” part.

There was this problem with the “most equal of the equals.” They were the ones in the fancy limousines being whisked to-and-from the Kremlin in their special lanes. These were the same “simple” folks in the fancy boxes at the Kremlin Hall of the Congresses for the opening night of the Bolshoi Ballet’s Swan Lake. Something tells me that the working Ivan never made it to the intermission buffet of caviar and Moskovskaya vodka.

collective

Coming back closer to home: Do the overly educated of Eugene and other cerebral towns really want to emulate the USSR and its collective farms and communal poverty? What is the attraction? Maybe the author of Almost DailyBrett is not smart enough to comprehend.

When asked if I have ever seen real poverty, I think back to my trip to at best, second-world Russia. As my friend and colleague who made the trip with me said” “They treat their people like (insert your favorite fecal material word here).”

Spending any amount of time in the USSR and contrasting it with 1980s Morning in America completed my own political metamorphosis.

Would I recommend Russia as a vacation destination? It all depends what you want to accomplish for your precious time away from the demands of the workplace? If you are looking for romance and your Corona con limon playa, go elsewhere.

If you are a buff on history, politics, suspense (e.g., LeCarre, Forsyth, DeMille novels) and intrigue, Russia may be just your brand of vodka.

Next time, I will remember to keep my eyes open for my photo in front of the onion domes of St. Basil’s in Moscow.

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

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

http://www.excursions-volgograd.ru/en/excursion/museum_battle_stalingrad_tour

http://listverse.com/2012/09/17/top-10-facts-about-the-battle-of-stalingrad/

http://www.eugene-or.gov/communitygardens

 

%d bloggers like this: