Tag Archive: USC


“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” — Jerry Seinfeld

It was a Funeral for a Friend.

To be more precise, it was a service celebrating the life of my best man and my BFF.

John Newhouse moved into heaven at 62-years-young.The world would be a better place if there were more John Newhouses. Alas he was taken from us way too soon.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was honored to deliver the third of four eulogies June 30.

Having long ago conquered Glossophobia, which hails from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread, delivering a eulogy was still an unprecedented, daunting challenge. The emotion cannot be minimized. The semantic issues are real. Even the best orators are confronted by the strictures of the eulogy.

If the family requests a three-minute eulogy that does not mean you should double or triple that amount of time. As Carly Simon sang: “You probably think this song is about you.” It’s not. Time your presentation. Stick to the written script. Work on your transitions, timing and eye contract. They all need to be just right.

As an assistant professor, a PowerPoint, a laser pointer and a clicker are de-rigueur standard tools of the trade. Using the Steve Jobs technique, each slide is a prompt, making speaking notes superfluous. Alas, there are no PowerPoints or Prezis for presenting the eulogy.

Speaking extemporaneously or winging it is not an option. Don’t go there. The eulogy needs to be just right. Standing behind the podium and mentally searching for the right words at the right time in the presence of the audience can very well lead to an embarrassing rhetorical train wreck.

And yet even with a tight script, the English language simply will not rise to the occasion. Nonetheless, there must be chosen words and they may not be perfect – that’s not possible – but still they must describe my best friend for 41 years.

Borrowing from another tongue, the Latin words of the U.S. Marine Corps motto — Semper Fidelis/ Semper Fi (always faithful) — spoke to the character of John Newhouse.

Regardless of his given cause/affinity, John was always loyal: The Spirit of Troy, The Los Angeles Dodgers, our USC Fraternity Phi Kappa Tau, his fellow Rotarians, his youth baseball teams … and most of all his family.

Looking into the collective eyes of his grieving family and recounting John’s unshakeable commitment to his two sons regardless of the circumstances, and how he treasured his wife and instinctively knew he overachieved in marriage, is a testament to why the phrase Semper Fi is appropriate.

Even though the author of Almost DailyBrett endured 12 years of parochial school with its sentences diagrams and the petty tyranny of the nuns and priests, the question comes whether it is kosher to add a Biblical verse 1 Corinthians near the conclusion of a church eulogy.

“Love is patient. Love is kind … “seemed to work for this setting. John was patient, did not keep score (except at a baseball game), always protected, always trusted. Yes, 1 Corinthians did the job.

As the clock clicked past three minutes, it was time for the close and a promise to share a microbrew together, if your author ever makes it to the pearly gates.

There are a myriad of challenges that each one of us will face in life. We will do better with some than others. Crafting and properly delivering the eulogy is one of them. With proper preparation, an understanding the English language will not cut it, and with a confidence the words will make the mark, then it will be time to go forward to remember, celebrate and pay proper respects to a departed colleague, friend or dear family member.

“Love Never Fails.”

John Robert Newhouse: A Celebration of Life

“John Newhouse was my best man.

“John Newhouse was my best friend … forever.

“He was everyone’s friend.

“He was my fraternity brother … and a fraternity brother to several in this room.

“He was the kindest person I ever knew.

“John Newhouse loved the world, and was a renowned traveler.

“My grandfather told me there were two places he never wanted to go.

“One was hell. The other was Russia.

“John and I went ‘Back to the USSR’ during the height of the Cold War in 1981.

“More than a few thought we were crazy, and they were right.

“When one talked about going to The Evil Empire it was not to-and-from, but in-and-out.

“John saw Moscow, Leningrad and the Baltic States as just another adventure.

“We did come out of Russia. We came back to America.

“John literally visited every continent on the planet, and was always looking forward to his next road trip. Wendy knows this undeniable fact oh-too-well.

“Speaking about the world, we can all say ex cathedra, our planet is a better place because of John Newhouse.

“When celebrating a life of someone so special that ended way too early, the world’s Lingua Franca, the English language, simply fails us.

“The U.S. Marine Corps adopted from the Latin, Semper Fidelis or Semper Fi as its motto. Translated it means: ‘Always faithful.’”

“There are many virtues about John, but his passionate loyalty to the Spirit of Troy, his devotion to his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, his commitment to his fraternity bros, his service with his fellow Rotarians, but most importantly his faithfulness to his family, stand out when one contemplates what made John Newhouse just so special.

“John Jr. and Scott. Let’s face it: From time-to-time, you drove him insane. Nonetheless he was proud of each of you, and he literally would do anything in his power to make your lives the best they could be.

“Wendy, you were always a miracle in John’s eyes. He was so proud to have you on his arm. He loved you dearly. I can state with impunity he was always Semper Fi when it came to you and your 33-years of marital bliss. He instinctively knew that he overachieved in marriage and he treasured your union every day.

“Considering that we are celebrating the life of John Robert Newhouse in a house of God, there are lines of scripture that seem just right in depicting why John was a gift to all of us. They come from 1 Corinthians:

“Love is patient, love is kind.

“It does not envy. It does not boast.

“It is not proud.

“It is not rude. It is not self-seeking.

“It is not easily angered.

“It keeps no record of wrongs.

“Love does not delight in evil.

“But rejoices with the truth.

“It always protects, always trusts.

“Always hopes. Always perseveres.

“Love never fails.”

“John, I love you. Your family loves you. Your wonderful spouse loves you. Everyone here will always love you.

 

“And on a personal note as your best man, John: If I am good enough to enter those pearly gates to join you in eternity, the first microbrew is on me.”

 

 

 

After at least four years of more lectures, labs, study groups, readings, papers and presentations than you would ever care to count, the prospect of taking up to another 18 months to attain a master’s degree or maybe even four years to earn a Ph.D is a prospect most graduating seniors would rather not even think about.

And yet the question still persists for some: Should you seriously consider taking the advanced degree plunge right here and now following graduation? Consider that even more employers are requiring advanced degrees; many want MBAs.

Before answering this perplexing interrogative: Consider the unmistakable NFW response by the author of Almost DailyBrett in 1978. Yours truly had just received his bachelor’s in Broadcasting Journalism from the University of Southern California. There was simply no way when it came to the question of signing up for even more college.

I was done, thank you very much.

Looking back at that easy-and-yet momentous decision, your author now regrets not pursuing a master’s degree right then and there, when he was as free as a bird … no spouse, no kidlet, no mortgage, no car payment … absolutely nothing.

Fortunately, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were right in Stairway to Heaven: “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.”

A confluence of events in my life (i.e., widowerhood, adult daughter, real estate appreciation, fellowship) gave me that one-last-chance-in-a-lifetime opportunity in 2010 to pursue my master’s degree in mid-life at the University of Oregon.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was very fortunate, very fortunate indeed.

Died and Went to Heaven

When the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication offered me a fellowship, your author jumped at the opportunity in two nanoseconds or less.

You should do the same, if you are selected for an on-campus fellowship at a R1 university.

Becoming a Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF) provides the following benefits:

  1. An absolutely free master’s degree or Ph.D … yep no-instate or better yet, no out-of-state or private school tuition;
  2. Medical, dental and vision health care benefits for at least the fellow, and maybe the whole family as well;
  3. A stipend of $1,000 or more per month;
  4. Invaluable teaching experience as a teaching assistant to a professor.

As Almost DailyBrett wrote before, I appreciated this unbelievable deal and thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was perplexing to say the least when the University of Oregon GTFs went on strike in 2014 … Patience, Kevin. Patience. Let’s not get started on this subject again.

Some have asked: Should I take an online master’s degree or Ph.D? My short answer is nein.

If one is pursuing an advanced degree in public relations, marketing, journalism, broadcast, film etc., it is best to be on campus to directly interact with your colleagues and Ph.D professors. Sorry to say, file sharing and texting just don’t cut it.

If one is pursuing an advanced degree in accounting, an online program may be appropriate. Having said that, communications requires – face-to-face interaction and diplomacy – no online program can help you advance these interpersonal story telling skills.

What about the necessary evil? The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

Brace yourself and come to full acceptance mode as quickly as possible. Any graduate school worth its salt (sorry University of Phoenix, that designation does NOT apply to you), particularly a Research One or R1 university, will require the GRE.

Your author took it twice, the second time after a prep course, and lived to talk about it. Take the prep course and do as well as possible on the GRE.

What About Grad School?

“No one does bull shit better than you.” – A compliment from one of my USC fraternity brothers

Trust me, bull shit does not work in Pro Seminar.

The two-night-per week, three-hours per class, was the most intense review of communications philosophy one can imagine (i.e., Kant, Marx, Althusser, Descartes, Hegel, Le Bon …). Don’t even think about going to class without doing the reading; you can’t hide in plain sight for three hours. Don’t even think about B.S.- ing a full professor with a Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

And once you have navigated the benign sounding, but mind-numbing Pro Seminar class with its up-to-five hours per night of reading, you will be ready for … qualitative and quantitative analysis in the next quarter.

Sounds horrible? Right?

In reality, pursuing a graduate degree was an incredible and rewarding challenge. It soon dawned on me that I was only using a mere fraction of my brain. I made some great friends as well.

One of my profs said: “We are working on your intellectual growth.”

Intellectual growth? Me? Really?

Oh, did I mention that my master’s degree was an absolute prerequisite for landing a tenure track professorship in public relations and advertising at Central Washington University? Guess, learning about Immanuel Kant and his categorical imperatives was well worth it.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/taking-the-gre-again/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/are-striking-uo-graduate-teaching-fellows-certifiable/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/online-college-not-good-enough-for-pr/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/did-a-perfect-storm-lead-to-the-gathering-storm/

 

 

Leave it to Lane Kiffin to be fired from a job (Alabama offensive coordinator) that he already quit.

That’s Lame … Kiffin.kiffinsaban

As a result, Kiffin won’t be on the sideline tomorrow for the biggest college football game in America as the Crimson Tide defends its national title in a rematch with Clemson in the “Natty.” His failed USC successor Steve “Moonshine” Sarkisian will be calling the plays for Alabama.

Who will ESECPN’s Kirk Herbstreit gush about for three-plus hours without Kiffin huddling behind his little laminated card? If you took a gulp of beer every time Herbstreit heaped fawning praise on Kiffin during last year’s Natty, you would have been smashed by the second quarter.

It seems as if a little dark rain cloud follows Lane’s every step of his rocky career. With Kiffin, there is an abundance of football talent, and yet a gaping deficit in personal public relations.firelanekiffin

Consider that Kiffin was shown the door by the Oakland Raiders, publicly called a liar by the late Al Davis. He skipped out on the Tennessee Volunteers after one season, leaving the school, team and coach staff in the lurch. He was fired in the LAX parking lot at 2:30 am by then-USC Athletic Director Pat Haden when too much became too much.

And now by “mutual” consent with legendary Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, Kiffin will not be the offensive coordinator for the best team in the land in the biggest game of the year.

If you are keeping score at home, here are the raw numbers for Kiffin’s another-chance-after-another-chance career: Oakland, 5-15; Tennessee, 7-6; USC, 28-15 for a grand total of 40 wins and 36 losses. Give Kiffin credit: He has turned mediocrity into a lucrative (read millions) art form.

And now he is the incoming head coach of the … (drum roll) … Florida Atlantic University Owls (2016: 3-9) of Conference USA. You have to wonder if the administration at FAU is so desperate that it would reach out to such a tarnished commodity behind a laminated clipboard. How long will it take before Kiffin embarrasses FAU? Three years? Almost DailyBrett will take the “under.”

The above question implies that Kiffin will actually spend three years at FAU. Considering Kiffin’s track record, three years is most likely a stretch.kiffinbillboard

How does Lane Kiffin keeping failing only to be given new life time-and-time again? It’s akin to giving Anthony Weiner access to Twitter once again. The result is not going to be pretty.

It would be hard for Almost DailyBrett to make up all of these transgressions: Airport parking lot termination, locker room fights, banned reporters, deflated footballs, missed dinners, departed team buses, jersey changing incidents, recruiting decommits, the hoodie, the sun glasses, even the petty precluding of visiting teams merely walking through the LA Mausoleum before games.kiffinshades

When the Crimson Tide’s Nick Saban hired Kiffin as his offensive coordinator three years ago, didn’t you know the Great State of Alabama was not big enough to hold both of their legendary egos and related arrogance at the same time?

The public explanation for Kiffin’s latest dismissal is that he was not devoting the time and effort necessary for a team preparing for the Natty. Kiffin was also hiring his FAU staff and recruiting players for the Boca Raton-based school.kiffinhoodie

Something tells Almost DailyBrett that Kiffin was garnering way too much attention (i.e., Herbstreit on ESECPN, Gary Danielson on CBS) and taking too much credit away from Saban. If Alabama wins Monday, he will tie the immortal Paul “Bear” Bryant with a record six national championships.

Somebody needed to go, and it was the one who was already going.

What’s curious is after one former failed USC coach being dismissed as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Saban is now relaying on another former failed USC coach.

If Steve Sarkisian learned anything from the legendary mistakes of Lane Kiffin, it’s good to humble and to allow the boss to receive the lion’s share of the Crimson Tide glory.

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/01/kiffin_is_as_kiffin_does.html

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/lane-kiffin-just-cant-stop-sabotaging-010217

http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/01/02/

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/lane-kiffin-florida-atlantic-fau-alabama-salary-contract-head-coach-hired-where-is-roster-recruiting-121216

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

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/sec/2017/01/02/lane-kiffin-abruptly-out-alabamas-oc-steve-sarkisian-take-over/96081884/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/media-vultures-circling-over-kiffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

 

The author of Almost DailyBrett was there in 2006, when Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds hit home run #715 to move past Babe Ruth.

By coincidence (other than being an unapologetic sports fan) he was there in 2007 when the same Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds clobbered #755 to eclipse Hank Aaron for the all-time, home-run title.

In both cases, it was a sad triumph of medical science over integrity and fair play.bonds

How come I still feel a little dirty having witnessed these epic moments from the stands of AT&T Park, but not really cheering? The reaction was similar to a Mardi Gras party without the beads. The fan response seemed as artificial as standing like cattle in a freezing pen waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve night. Pass the hand warmers and the flask.

Just as everyone, except for the hoodwinked jury, knew that O.J. took a knife to Nicole, we are all 1000 percent certain that Barry cheated by using roids — excuse me creamy and clear “flaxseed oil,” — to bulk up beyond any recognition. By the way, before anyone writes any nastygrams, Almost DailyBrett is no way equating O.J. horrific crime with Barry’s pharmaceutical disgrace other than to say, we are sure without any doubt they were both in the wrong.

We also can bet that Pete Rose bet on baseball. John Madden has repeatedly warned about the potential abusive influence of the gambling industry into professional and college sports (e.g., fixed games or fights). The NHL should tread lightly on the question of siting an expansion team in Sin City.

We also know the sordid tale of Lance Armstrong. Sorry Lance, it was not only about the bike. It was about lying, intimidating and cheating, when it came to doping and literally stealing Tour de France fortune and fame. You were a hero until you became a worldwide douchebag.

Then again, not all lying can be universally condemned as an obvious violation of Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative or what your mother always told you. As this particular blog has noted on more than one occasion, Jody Powell as Jimmy Carter’s press secretary, made the correct call in deliberately lying to protect the 1980 mission to rescue 52 hostages held in Iran. The lie protected the secrecy of the military action. Alas, the images of burning helicopters in the desert are still fresh today.

This preamble brings us to the question of Tom Brady, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, an appealed $1.8 million, four-game fine/suspension and deflated footballs. Does this caper rise to a similar level of cheating akin to Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds, Pete Rose and/or Lance Armstrong, all 10s on the Hall of Shame Richter Scale?brady

Deflategate is a 5.

“Integrity of the Game”

The NFL particularly in the aftermath of getting it wrong in the Ray Rice domestic abuse elevator incident had to aggressively respond to the next “incident.’ To compensate the league came down hard on QB Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to safeguard the “Integrity of the Game.”

Yes rules are rules and they are meant to be followed, but does playing with slightly deflated footballs rise to the same level as taking roids to break an iconic record, betting on your own sport or pulverizing your wife or significant other?

As Almost DailyBrett has reported, deflating footballs to make them easier to throw and/or catch, is not new when it comes to professional or college football. Former USC head coach Lame Kiffin prior to being shown the door by school AD Pat Haden blamed a rogue student football manager for being singly responsible for the Trojans playing with deflated footballs in a 2012 game against Oregon. The student manager was booted off the team. Those darn lone ranger student football managers.

Truth be known, USC was deflating footballs (at least the starting QB as far back as the 1977 Rose Bowl Game). Certainly, other teams in both the college and pro ranks are just as guilty. Maybe, the NFL should follow the practice of the NHL and freeze the footballs before games? More realistically, the NFL should consider an inflation range allowing teams to decide what pressure works best for their respective offenses.

Jan 24, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Deflated footballs with Super Bowl XLIX logo at the NFL Experience at Phoenix Convention Center in advance of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 24, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Deflated footballs with Super Bowl XLIX logo at the NFL Experience at Phoenix Convention Center in advance of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is certain when examining Deflategate: This transgression against everything decent in civilized society had zero impact on the outcome of the game in question as Tom Brady’s Patriots clobbered the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 to easily win the AFC championship. Deflategate … the latest “gate” … had zero to do with the outcome of that particular game.

The NFL responded by fining the Patriots and suspending Brady for four pre-season games, costing him $1.8 million.

Worse yet, the Patriots had to endure the hometown and national sports media for the two weeks before the Super Bowl about this molehill-into-a-mountain indiscretion.

That sounds like punishment enough.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/14/us/nfl-deflategate-brady-appeal/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/31/us/balco-fast-facts/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/lying-to-the-new-york-times/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-ray-rice-issues-statement-thanking-ravens-baltimore-apologizes-for-domesticviolence-incident-20150212-story.html#page=1

 

Meet the baby of the family, the unexpected/unplanned baby of the family.

This coming Saturday, Pi Day, the mathematically inept, right-brained baby will “celebrate” the successful navigation of 60 years on the planet, and look forward to hopefully plenty more.kmb2

Much has changed since the decade of Ike, Elvis, Disneyland, Sputnik, U2 (not the band) and “Senator, have you no sense of decency?”

The author of Almost DailyBrett has always been a tad vertically challenged; in time became follicly challenged, and still vows to never-ever be horizontally challenged. Looking forward to Saturday’s cross-training with Nike+, charting the results.

Tempted to mimic a lyric, “Oh, what a long, strange trip it has been,” but I was never into that kind of “trip.” When it comes to sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, always been a big fan of the first, still dig the latter (never was a Dead Head), and never understood the appeal of the “medicine.”

Baby Boomers are supposed to wax nostalgic for the 1960s and the demonstrations in the streets of Chicago and arrests on the quad at Berkeley. What the heck happened to your author? Instead, he pleasantly recollects the 1980s, when he tied the knot for the first time, became a father to Allison, when it was Morning in America.

California even balanced its budget, raised zero taxes and maintained a $1 billion for emergency. Almost sounds quaint when compared to today’s oceans of red ink for our children’s children to pay. Yep, the 1980s worked; they always will; historical revisionism be damned.

Come to think of it, during my life a Wall went up in 1961 (“Ich bin ein Berliner”) and it came down 28 years later (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”). O.J. sliced up UCLA’s defense in 1967 and Nicole Brown a generation later.

Nothing has ever been permanent, particularly disco, hem-and-tan lines.

Brady Bunch Neighborhood

Growing up in lily-white Glendale, California in the age of Hogan’s Heroes and the God-awful Brady Bunch, your blog writer will always be grateful for those priests and nuns who taught writing, reading and literature. They also transformed me into the rotten Catholic I am today with their unique combination of arrogance, boorishness and corporal punishment.

Sorry to say Padre, you were wrong: Mary Magdalene was not a whore.

There was the bitter divorce of 1967, but with it came life-long lessons about how to and how NOT to treat the fairer gender. Monogamy with a special one is best; you should try it and stick with it, fellow hombres.ibmselectric

My love of writing began at eight-years old, the very same year in which the school loud speakers told us about the death of a young president. This same infatuation with the pencil, pen, IBM Selectric, work station, PC, and now the mobile device continued as man walked on the moon, a president resigned, our diplomats were held hostage for 444 days, and planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Growing up, always thought that Nixon’s first name was “Damn.” Came to appreciate that Tricky Dick and Slick Willie were spot-on names for my least favorite presidents. Thankfully, Nixon abolished the draft. There was no ‘Nam for me, University of Oregon instead.

The Earth Shook

Eventually graduated from the University of Southern California with a Rose Bowl ring and no loans. Yes I was fortunate, but a long career laid before me. Cut my teeth covering the Proposition 13 tax-revolt earthquake in 1978. Toured the Soviet Union in 1981, seeing the Evil Empire and its grip on people up close and personal. Recruited to serve as the press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee the following year. We won the governorship of California at 5 am the day-after-the-election. We recorded the biggest landslide in blue state California’s history four years later.

Sacramento has two seasons: Hot and Cold. Served as the Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary as the earth shook San Francisco (e.g., Loma Prieta Earthquake). Was told “The Bay Bridge is in the Water.”  Whew, it was not true, even though the Cypress Structure mysteriously came down.cypressstructure

Next was trees, owls, chips and Japan, which led to the fifth most famous person from Liverpool, Wilf Corrigan, and LSI Logic. Saw the Internet bubble rise and inevitably it exploded, resulting in seven rounds of layoffs and a company on the brink. We survived and yet it was time for Wilf to retire … The world moved on to social, mobile and cloud.

Faced mortality twice, first with prostate cancer and then with Valley Fever/Meningitis. Fought off the first and battled the second to a draw, and yet it was my first wife, Robin, who lost her battle to cancer. Life is unfair. Life is fickle. Life is finite.

Attained the so-called “Holy Grail” of public relations, vaunted agency experience with a life-changing side-effect; subbing at Santa Clara University. Could I teach at the college level, maybe even at the school that caused time to stop with “Kenny Wheaton is going to score; Kenny Wheaton is going to score”?DSC01171

Accepted a fellowship to the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and earned 15 months later my master’s degree. The attainment of a second career was complete with a full-time instructor position at UO, and now a tenure-track assistant professor gig, teaching public relations/advertising/corporate communications/investor relations at Central Washington University.

And best of all, the author of Almost DailyBrett turned his attention away from his blog long enough to survey the field of contenders on Match.com. The result was a love affair with Jeanne, fireworks on the Fourth of July, and trips in the little green chariot. Next up is our long-overdue romantic honeymoon to Bavaria and Tuscany, Mad King Ludwig’s castles and Under the Tuscan Sun.

I am one lucky dude.

Today, I am inspired by Mick and Keith at 71, Ronnie at 68, and geriatric Charlie at 73 on worldwide tour. To use more than a few metaphors, there is still plenty of gas in the tank and the engine continues to rev every morning. It’s pedal to the metal time.

“Oh what a long, strange trip it has been.” Looking forward to continuing the ride with the top down and my few remaining hairs flowing in the breeze.DSC01421

 

What makes Alabama and Auburn, “football schools”?

ironbowl

And conversely, what makes Duke and North Carolina, “basketball schools”?

It seems that the term, “football school,” has been around since the earth cooled. The ghosts of John McKay, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Darrell Royal, Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno, Bud Wilkinson and others would certainly agree from their respective resting places in Heaven and Hell.

Ditto for the words, “basketball school,” may also have been carved into the Rosetta Stone to commemorate “The Wizard of Westwood” John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, “Phog” Allen and Jim Valvano.

Does anyone in the State of Alabama let alone anywhere else, besides Sir Charles Barkley, really care about the basketball rivalry between Alabama and Auburn?

Does anyone in the State of North Carolina let alone anywhere else really care about the football rivalry between Duke and North Carolina?

Ask virtually anyone in Alabama what happened in the last second of the 2013 Iron Bowl and a huge smile or a deep sigh will emerge reflecting the religious fervor from both War Eagle and Roll Tide surrounding this game. They already know what they will be doing for nearly four hours on a late November night later this year.

michaelduke

Ask virtually anyone along the eight miles of Tobacco Road separating Duke and UNC and beyond what they are doing this coming Saturday night and they will most likely think the question is rhetorical: It’s North Carolina vs. Duke baby, and the “Cameron Crazies” are ready to go. You can be sure that ESPN’s Dukie Vitale will be there as well.

When one starts listing football schools which institutions immediately come to mind (moving from God’s time zone to the west)?

How about Penn State? Yep. Ohio State and Michigan? Certainly. Notre Dame? Must we? Alabama and Auburn? Definitely. Texas and Texas A&M? Ya better, ya hear. Oklahoma and Nebraska? Yes sir. USC? Fight On! Oregon? Particularly in the last two-plus decades.

When one starts listing basketball schools which institutions come to mind (again moving from God’s sacred Eastern Time Zone to points out west)?

Syracuse? Does the name, Jim Boeheim, ring a bell? North Carolina and Duke? No doubt. Kentucky and Louisville? Yessum. Indiana? Ever see the movie, Hoosiers or read Season on the Brink? Kansas? Dorothy would pass up the Emerald City to check out a game in Allen Fieldhouse. And of course, Arizona.

During the course of a KNBR (San Francisco) radio interview a few years ago, former University of Arizona basketball star Tom Tolbert asked NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young if Arizona would ever go to the Rose Bowl. Young without missing a beat told Tolbert to forget it because “Arizona is a basketball school.”

Even though there are obvious exceptions to every rule, Almost DailyBrett has to conclude that basketball schools are really not very good at football, and football schools conversely are really not proficient in round ball.

Do you remember Indiana’s last Rose Bowl? O.J. Simpson was carrying the ball for the other team.

Can you list the number of NCAA titles in Men’s basketball for USC (We remember you, Cheryl Miller)? That would be … none.

Can you list the number of Rose Bowls for Arizona? You already know the answer to that one.

As a Pac-12 kind of guy, let’s focus on USC, the football school, and Arizona, the basketball school. What makes the two so dominant in one sport and so mediocre (being kind here) in the other?

One could immediately point to tradition, and legendary coaches. USC is Howard Jones, John McKay and Pete Carroll. USC is the LA Coliseum. Heisman Trophies, Song Girls, Traveler, Conquest, Rose Bowls and National Championships. Steve Sarkisian has traded in a lumbering Ford F-150 (University of Washington) for a Lamborghini (USC). As a former football manager at Troy way back in the Gerald Ford/Jimmy Carter years, I can attest everything is football at USC.

carrollusc

In turn basketball was the near-empty L.A. Sports Arena, one of the most dreary and desultory sports experiences in the history of the planet. USC had no home court advantage for literally decades. Wooden was packing them in at Pauley Pavilion. The USC students really wouldn’t even walk a few blocks to the Sports Arena, but would make the same trek in droves to the LA Coliseum.

Today, USC plays in the beautiful Galen Center and no one friggin’ cares. The team is mired in last place in the Pac-12, trailing even the dreadful WSU Cougars. AD Pat Haden (e.g., a football star) hired Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield and the effort is a never-ending work in progress.

For USC fans, the goal every year is to win the Pac-12 and contest for the national championship, if not outright win the glass football. When it comes to basketball…Do USC fans really care? The answer is, not really.

Quick name a great Arizona quarterback since the Wildcats joined the now-Pac-12 conference in 1978?

How about a legendary Arizona football coach?

Sorry “Bear Down” disciples, Frank Kush coached for ASU. Even though Rich Rodriguez does not want to hear this: Arizona is a study of gridiron mediocrity. Even early erector-set Arizona Stadium makes one’s blood head north. This is NOT a must do college football experience.

lute

Now let’s talk McKale Center. Let’s remember Lute and Bobbie Olson. Let’s contemplate the 1997 NCAA title. Let’s dwell on the likes of Richard Jefferson, Miles Simon, Channing Frye, Salim and Damon Stoudamire, Luke Walton (UCLA Bill’s son) etc. Let’s visualize Arizona getting to the Final Four again this year (if they can make their free throws) with the likes of Aaron Gordon, Nick Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski, T.J. McConnell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Coach Sean Miller has not made AzCat faithful forget Lute, but he is on the verge of starting a new Arizona dynasty in round ball.

Some things change, but more times than not, they stay the same. And when they change, it takes a long time. That certainly is the case for USC basketball and Arizona football.

A football school is a football school and a basketball school is a basketball school.

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolina%E2%80%93Duke_rivalry

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Wildcats_men%27s_basketball

…It’s Great to Be Anywhere.” – Rolling Stones songwriter/guitarist Keith Richards

keith

If there was an over/under wager 10 years ago on the prospects of Keith ever celebrating his 70th birthday (December 18, 2013), the vast majority of us would have taken the under … and lost.

As it turns out Keef, Mick, 70, Charlie, 72, and (the youngster) Ronnie, 66, are hitting the road again, starting with the UAE on February 21 and then on to Japan and Australia, before finishing up in New Zealand on April 5.

And don’t bet against them continuing their global tour. In fact, you should plan on it.

What gives the Stones the energy, the stamina, the drive to continue on-and-on when their bank accounts are conceivably full and their legacy and place in rock-and-roll history is unquestioned?

Maybe it is this simple: There is a joy in what they do. And why not just keep on, keeping on?

The decision will be based on, can I do it joyfully, because I think we need to have candidates lift our spirits. – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on whether he will run for president in the 2015-16 electoral cycle.

jeb

Jeb will turn 61 years-young next week. He is the first Republican to ever win the Sunshine State’s governorship for two consecutive terms. Based on the experiences of his dad (#41) and older brother (#43), he knows exactly what lies in store for him if he declares for the presidency.

And yet he describes his decision in terms of whether he can do it “joyfully.” Is he serious? Is this good politics? Or is it both?

In these days of divisive politics and broken government, the Reaganesque notion of bringing joy, hope and optimism will be hard to pull off in the face of massive skepticism, if not cynicism, emanating from The Fourth Estate.

And yet another in his seventh decade of life, he may be pursuing the brass ring.

Who wouldn’t want to be Pete Carroll right now?

carroll1

The 62 year-old coach supposedly couldn’t win in the NFL. He proved the critics ultimately wrong in front of a U.S. television broadcast all-time record audience of 111 million. Nobody predicted a 43-8 blowout by the Seattle Seahawks against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. And yet it happened.

The rap against the irrepressible, forever youthful Carroll was that he just couldn’t cut it during earlier stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, and anyone can win at USC with its easy access to the best recruits in Southern California. If that was true, why did Lane Kiffin, Paul Hackett, Larry Smith and Ted Tollner all essentially fail at Troy? Carroll won the Pac-10 conference a record seven consecutive times.

And now his first Super Bowl win.

Will there be more? I will take the over on that particular wager.

Delivering a recent TED Talk, entrepreneur and motivator Jonathan Fields addressed the subject of Turning Fear Into Fuel for Brilliance.

fields

He discussed how he signed a six-year New York City lease for a yoga studio on September 10, 2001…the day before September 11. The Gods seemed to be ganging up on him…and yet he overcame adversity and sleepless nights, stared down fear and won.

He asked the audience: “What if I do nothing?” He rhetorically responded, stating there are no sideways in life. Change is inevitable. We can make it our friend or not.

He ended his talk by asking another question: “What if I succeed?” Should we be afraid of what we want? Or is success just another opportunity to get better and to explore more in our lives?

You can bet the Stones are not content with their past tours and recordings. Jeb Bush may not be satisfied with just his past record as Florida’s governor. You can be certain that Pete Carroll is thinking about his next Super Bowl win and potentially building a dynasty in the Emerald City. And inevitably, Jonathan Fields will have another motivational lecture to deliver and another audience to inspire.

All of my musings here are intended to be a kick in the posterior for those in their 50s and 60s, who elect to do nothing and let society put them out to pasture.

We can be change adverse and hope that we can merely go sideways, but as Jonathan Fields correctly surmises that is really not an option.

Or we can dare to succeed and stare the prospect of failure right in the face, and make the best of each and every day that remains in our lives. Let’s not merely run out the clock.

For the author of Almost DailyBrett, he is on the precipice of a huge decision, one that could take him north or south. Whatever he decides one door will close and another will open. And once the decision is made? He will resist the temptation to look at his rear-view mirror.

It will be great to be here; it will be great to be anywhere.

http://mayareynoldswriter.blogspot.com/2007/07/passing-vodka-bottle-and-playing-guitar.html

http://www.rollingstones.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkFRwhJEOos

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/01/31/why-jeb-bush-is-the-single-biggest-question-mark-in-the-2016-sweepstakes/?wpisrc=nl_politics

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

https://www.ted.com/talks

collegegrad

“…We welcome applications from women and members of historically underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, and others who would bring additional dimensions of experience to our community.” – De rigueur boilerplate at the bottom of a typical job description

Looking around a crowded classroom during the last three Saturdays of students taking a Graduate Records Examination (GRE) preparation course, I repeatedly thought to myself:

Where are the guys?

Can I count them on one hand, including me?

Do women have a better approach toward learning?

Is the pink brain superior to the blue brain?

I don’t want Almost DailyBrett to come across as a whine or to imply that I do not celebrate the shattering of one class ceiling after another, but to question the absence of men…particularly pale males…from one classroom after another.

Is it just a matter that I am looking in all the wrong places? Sure, I know that men can be found in engineering schools, (particularly Asian men) sales conferences, and football practices, but is something more complex happening here?

Is it a case of: Pale + Male + (Assumed Privilege) = No “Additional Dimension of Experience?”

Almost DailyBrett offers zero empirical data to support this uneasy sense, but nonetheless one has to question why aren’t more males competing for advanced degrees or even undergraduate degrees? There is a growing amount of literature questioning why aren’t males doing better academically. Do they (men) believe it is not worth making the effort?

Is this a recent development or part of a multi-decade trend?

Pursuing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern California way back when Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter occupied the White House, the ratio of men-to-women students was approximately three-to-one. This was not good news for men (including me) looking for coed attention. Many times we were compelled to outsource to UCLA to find females that were willing to give us (SC guys) the time of day.

In my fraternity house, you became a “Row God” and signed autographs, if a Pi Phi merely breathed on you, let alone permitted any other physical activity. It was all a function of the preponderance of males on university campuses at the time. If women were to be found on campus, it was usually in education or nursing, not the journalism school.

Times have clearly changed and I have absolutely no desire to go back to the days when the scales were so unevenly balanced on behalf of males. I am just wondering whether the pendulum has swung to the point of no return?

Checking out the U.S. News & World Report gender stats for the campuses of the Pac-12 Conference, seven have female majorities (e.g., Arizona, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Washington and WSU); four have male majorities (e.g., Colorado, OSU, Stanford and Utah); one is locked in a 50-50 percent statistical tie (e.g., ASU).

Looking deeper, the ratios are relatively close with Utah having the largest percentage of males, 55 percent, and UCLA having the highest percentage of females, 55 percent. Liberal arts schools and those located near the coast trend toward female majorities, while engineering, scientific, agriculture and mountain schools tend to have more males.

Could my feelings of unease simply revolve around my teaching at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, amplified by the fact that I have served as an instructor of public relations? Women absolutely dominate public relations as they do real estate and local government. If you don’t believe me, just check out virtually any metropolitan public relations agency.

Coming back to my Saturday GRE class, I didn’t recognize any of the perspective graduate students as hailing from our journalism school. They were coming from other disciplines on campus. The ratio in my GRE class is about seven-to-one, female.

Is this the experience at other public research universities? And if it is, what does it mean for the future? Sounds like a great research project.

Technology has produced a paradigm shift in how work gets done in this country and other developed nations around the world.

The days in which we relied on brute strength, ignorance and testosterone for the majority of the heavy lifting in the workplace are in the rear-view mirror. Today, we are focused on productivity. Today, we rely on a service-oriented economy. The “services” provided by knuckle-draggers in the form of brute strength, ignorance and testosterone are no longer desired. Can they (e.g., males en masse) shift to providing services with a smile? I have my doubts.

Can I prove the reasoning behind my trepidation about the future of men? Not yet. Can I deny that I have these concerns? No.

Are all men doomed to being academic second-class citizens? There are going to be men that will do well, very well. As a gender, I suspect that blue brains are taking a back seat to pink brains.

Some may inclined to think: How come it took you so long to come to this obvious conclusion?

http://www.usnews.com/rankings

http://www.askmen.com/entertainment/better_look/7b_why-schools-arent-built-for-boys.html

http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/01/04/1555229/why-girls-do-better-at-school

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/pr%E2%80%99s-endangered-species/

The following is an open letter from a former Trojan football manager and USC alum (Broadcasting Journalism ’78) to Athletic Director Pat Haden concerning the lack of a “Kiffin Factor” exit strategy.

Dear Pat:

It’s time.

In fact, it’s past time.

The media has decided it’s time for a Lane Kiffin exit strategy.

The alumni have decided it’s time for Kiffin to pack his laminated play sheet, hoodie and sun glasses.

kiffinshades

Kiffin has reportedly “lost” the USC locker room. A team of 19-22 year olds knows it’s time for Kiffin to go.

Seventy-six percent of Los Angeles Times readers have decided it’s time for Kiffin leave the building. Lance Armstrong and Charlie Sheen are more popular.

And even though you do not want the media and other stakeholders to set the agenda, you know deep down inside the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate are right.

They will continue to pound the jungle drums until you do the right thing. How much more can you stand? The turnovers, recruiting decommits, the hoodie, sun glasses, locker room fights, banned reporters, deflated footballs, missed dinners, jersey changing incidents, even the petty precluding of visiting teams merely walking through the LA Mausoleum before games.

The latter really upset Oregon’s mojo as the visiting Ducks put up a record 62 points on USC’s defense, amassing 730 total yards, and 321 yards by Kenjon Barner alone.

To be fair to Lane Kiffin, he is a direct descendant of the storied football family of patriarch, Monte Kiffin. And commando Paris Hilton is an heir to the Hilton Empire.

As a Rhodes Scholar you are correct in your historical metaphor, labeling the “Kid Coach” as described by Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, as the anti-Reagan. Instead of Teflon, everything is Velcro with Lane Kiffin…every transgression – real or imagined – sticks to him, further bringing down USC’s reputation and brand with each and every new incident.

Only you can stop the cardinal-and-gold bleeding.

kiffinfire

As a fellow mackerel snapper and USC alumnus, I have followed your career with great interest. I even had the privilege to briefly meet you when I was serving as Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary when you were teaming with future Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan on venture capital deals.

My admiration stretches back to your C.I.F. championship days as the quarterback for Bishop Amat High School, when I was a mere football manager at nearby St. Francis High School. Growing up, I followed your career as Troy’s starting QB, particularly when you threw that clutch two-point conversion to Shelton Diggs as the clock was running out in the Rose Bowl. I was excited when you took over from Mike Garrett, the guy who hired Kiffin.

You did the right thing in terminating Mr. Walking Heart Attack, Kevin O’Neill, as Troy’s basketball coach. You did the right thing in moving on in the face of NCAA penalties. You did the right thing by allowing Monte Kiffin to “resign.” Now the time has come to do the same with sonny boy.

kiffinbillboard

Why do so many absolutely despise your 37-year-old coach? He is persona non grata in Oakland, Knoxville and now in Los Angeles. Can Pyongyang be far behind?

Think of it in Churchillian-prose: Never in recorded history has someone risen so fast, who has accomplished so little, and pissed off so many. Let’s see, 5-15 with the Oakland Raiders, 7-6 at Tennessee and now 25-13 at USC including taking a No. 1 ranked team to … the Sun Bowl.

Overall, Kiffin is 37-34 in his storied career. No one is going to have a four-hour erection, contemplating that record of mediocrity.

These numbers certainly don’t conjure up memories of Howard Jones, John McKay, John Robinson or Pete Carroll…more like Ted Tollner, Larry Smith and Paul Hackett.

Don’t you wish someone, such as Mark Helfrich, Steve Sarkisian, Mike Riley or David Shaw…first-rate people with first-rate football minds…was coaching your team?

Last fall, you stated that Lane was your coach, 150 percent.

Recently, you reduced your support to 137.5 percent.

The way I see it, you only have 38 more percent to go.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8893172/lane-kiffin-takes-blame-usc-trojans-2012-season-college-football

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-pat-haden-usc-20130122,0,2961779.story

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/01/sports/la-sp-plaschke-usc-20130101

“As I read the decision by the NCAA, I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they all were Trojans.” – Former USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett

“… We’ve cooperated fully.” – Oregon Football Coach Chip Kelly

“Part of the NCAA’s problem here is fairness and consistency, never an organizational strong suit.” – ESPN Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller.

How come the Founding Fathers understood the temptation and eventual tyranny that comes from absolute power being given to one omnipresent body with virtual dictatorial control?

They enshrined in the nation’s Constitution the doctrine of  “Separation of Powers” between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I know this policy to be true because I read all about it in civics class back in elementary school. We can also watch it in action as the nation is poised to go off the “fiscal cliff.”

powers

Where we don’t see a similar separation of powers is the NCAA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Instead, the process appears to be arbitrary and capricious (words that make lawyers happy).

How long will a process take? A week? Two years? Four years? Who knows?

If one university is permitted to go through the summary disposition process (e.g., Tennessee) involving its dealings with recruiting “mentor” Willie Lyles, shouldn’t another university (e.g., Oregon) be permitted to go through the same process involving the same Willie Lyles? That makes sense, except that is not the case.

Former USC Athletic Director (and Heisman Trophy winner) Mike Garrett pursued a course of confrontation with the NCAA. The result was four years of probation, a two-year bowl ban, and a drastic reduction of scholarships.

Conversely, Oregon has chosen a path of accommodation with the NCAA, one subsequently advocated by new USC Athletic Director Pat Haden for his school. And yet, after two-long years, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI) wants to hold a hearing to drag Oregon figuratively through the burning coals.

ESPN blogger Ted Miller wrote recently, “It’s possible that the COI just wants to talk.” And talk they will in February or April or June or August. Heck, why not all of them?

As a resident Duckologist and super Oregon fan and informal commentator for a generation, I am frequently asked what will happen to the Ducks before the NCAA because of Le Affaire de Lyles (e.g., $25,000 payment to Lyles allegedly to recruit a player, Lache Seastrunk, who was buried in the Oregon depth chart and never played a down for the Ducks).

I am also asked if Chip Kelly with a record of 45-7 will bolt for the NFL (there are jobs galore open today) purely because of the NCAA and Willie Lyles. The insinuation is that Pete Carroll left USC for the Seattle Seahawks because of the NCAA, so why shouldn’t Kelly do the same?

My answer to both questions is HIIK…Hell If I Know.

And that is the point. Even if you look to dysfunctional Washington, D.C., you can reasonably expect a Democratic White House to behave in a certain way. You can anticipate the Democratic Senate to go one way and the Republican House of Representatives to go the other. The Supreme Court with its 5-4 conservative majority more times than not will come down in the predictable fashion.

The NCAA and predictable fashion are oxymorons. The NCAA almost wiped out the economy of State College, Pennsylvania. What will it do to Oregon? Yes, I fully understand the difference between Jerry Sandusky and Lyles, but I still see no consistency of deliberation and enforcement…what the lawyers like to call, precedent or precedence.

emmert

What I do see is NCAA President, Dr. Mark A. Emmert, sitting in judgment over the University of Oregon. Emmert was the president of the University of Washington for six years and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the same school that is the most intense rival (putting it mildly) of the University of Oregon.

 

He should recuse himself from this process.

In the final analysis, I am hoping for the best from the NCAA and fearing the worst. Something tells me to anticipate the latter. That will make the folks in Seattle and Corvallis real happy…until it is their respective turns.

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

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–oregon–ncaa-reach-impasse-in-football-investigation-215913743.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/pac12/2012/12/21/oregon-ducks-chip-kelly-ncaa-investigation-recruiting-services/1783763/

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/21/sports/la-sp-usc-garrett-haden-20100721

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/d9cHT?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=oregon-ducks-football

http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/51448/oregon-fans-should-be-worried-and-angry

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8764076/oregon-ducks-ncaa-hearing-scout-willie-lyles-according-source

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/ncaa+president/mark+emmert+biography

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