Archive for August, 2014

Mark Cuban’s Sartorial Example

August 26, 2014

As I observed Mark Cuban’s dress for his appearance before about a thousand business leaders last night at the opening of this year’s Jim Blanchard Leadership Conference,  I had to reflect on the example he was setting.  The billionaire, who stated that one thing a leader has to be able to do to succeed is lead by example,  sets an example sartorially that is not good for manufacturers of  dressy clothing.  Remember what Clark Gable reportedly did in the 1934 Frank Capra movie “It Happened  One Night?” He took his shirt off and was not wearing an undershirt. Millions of men stopped wearing undershirts, devastating the undershirt business. 

Cuban, whose audience, with a few exceptions, were dressed in expensive business suits and ties, wore his trademark black tee shirt , blue jeans, and tennis shoes.  It seems just about all of the billionaire computer and Internet leaders wear casual clothing. Steve Jobs did, and Bill Gates still does. 

During the Great Recession  of 2008 , I was shopping in an upscale haberdashery  one day, and I asked one of the store’s managers if the Recession was hurting their business.  He said the economy was not a problem. The problem was “People don’t ‘dress’ any more.”  Well, they’re following examples of some super-rich successful types.  

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Great Theatrical Documentary Movies I’ve Missed

August 25, 2014

Each year an Academy Award is given for the Best Documentary and usually I  have  not seen any of the nominated films.  I think  it ‘s because they are rarely shown in a theater near me before they win an Oscar.  Now, there is a solution to that. We can either rent or buy some of them on DVDs or catch a lot of them on Netflix and pay-per-view channels on cable. Still, I had rather see them on the big screen with the big sound in a theater.  Also, being a part of an in-person audience is a dynamic you don’t get at home.

Fortunately some get shown in the Screening Room at the Carmike Ritz 13 in Columbus.  And some get so much publicity they even make it to the larger stadium-seating theaters.  Michael Moore’s highly controversial docs quite often make it to the larger theaters, for instance.  They attract large audiences and make mega-bucks.

Still, there are many critically acclaimed docs ones that  I never seen. I came across a bunch of them when I decided to check out the director of the new feature film If I Stay.  R.J. Cutler got an Oscar nomination  for The War Room, which got rave reviews when it was released in 1993.  No, it’s not about the famous War Room, a bunker that was used as headquarters by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the U.K.’s top  military staff during World  War II.  It was preserved and is open to the public in London. I saw it and was really impressed.  The Cutler War Room film is about the inner-workings of the Bill Clinton’s first campaign for president.  If he had lost, Cutler and company felt the doc would fail, but he didn’t lose and the doc was not a failure.

He also made A Perfect Candidate, which was about the Virginia U.S. Senate election  in  which Republican Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, famous for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, narrowly lost to Democrat Charles S. Robb. a Vietnam War hero and former Virginia governor.  Both candidates gave Cutler’s film crew access to their campaigns. The film got rave reviews.  The Washington Post’s critic called A Perfect Candidate and The War Room the two  best political documentaries ever made.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to rent those docs, and many others that I missed over the years that probably never played in a theater near me.  

I just saw a really good new one about finding  the world’s most complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex on a home TV screen, Dinosaur 13, that features Bill Harlan, a former South Dakota journalist who now lives in Columbus and is a friend of mine.  It is playing in theaters in most of the country, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and some other countries, but not in the Southeastern United States.  I hope Carmike Cinemas will remedy that situation.  Meanwhile, checkout this YouTube about a T-Rex and a really big snake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVMCuZZ3XKk

 

 

 

NEW BUILDINGS AND STADIUMS ARE NICE…BUT…

August 17, 2014

EMPHASIS NOW NEEDS TO BE ON REDUCING COSTS TO STUDENTS.

The estimated student loan debt in the United States is $1.2 TRILLION. The debt for the average graduate is $29,000. That’s the average. It’s not unusual for a student getting an MD, for instance, to owe more than $150 thousand.

The Economist reports that now there are more than 7 million debtors in default.

Public universities have increased fees by more than 27 percent over five years ending in 2012.

Government funding for education fell 27 percent between 2007 n and 2012.

Higher education costs have risen 1.6 percent more than inflation for decades ending in 2013.

TIME WILL TELL

August 11, 2014

GEORGE WILL’S COLUMN ON NIXON EMPHASIZES THE ROLE OF  LAPSED TIME IN PROVIDING THE WHOLE TRUTH OF A HISTORICAL EVENT

As I read George Will’s latest column in the Sunday Ledger-Enquirer , I had to reflect on the experiences I  had in Dr. Craig Lloyd’s Columbus College’s (now Columbus State University) historiography class. When I researched for a paper on the role that yellow journalists William Randolph Hearst’s New York  Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World  newspapers played in starting the Spanish-American War, what really stood out was that, generally,  histories written contemporaneously could not be trusted as much as those written years or decades after the events depicted.

That doesn’t mean that contemporary history doesn’t have value. Many historians believe it  is very valuable, but new information revealed over the years can revise what was believed to be factual when written contemporaneously.

Now, forty years after Watergate, we learn why former President Richard Nixon risked his presidency by ordering that notorious burglary.  George Will reported in his column that ran in the Sunday Ledger-Enquirer that  Ken Hughes, who studied the Nixon tapes for more than ten years, points out in his book, Chasing Shadows: the Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate, that “Nixon ordered the crime in 1971 hoping to prevent the public  knowledge of a crime he committed in 1968.”  Will says Nixon’s prior crime in 1968 was to interfere, as a private citizen, with U.S. government diplomatic negotiations concerning the Vietnam War.  He said Nixon was worried that supposed documents in a safe in the Democratic headquarters would reveal “his role in sabotaging negotiations that might have shorten the war.” 

A lot of historical documents are sealed by public figures for opening at a future date after the owners of those documents have been dead for, say,  50 yearsSo, historically, the microscope of  time plays a big role in giving us the  whole truth about  historical events.

VInce Dooley Says College Football Facing it’s Greatest Crisis Ever

August 6, 2014

Unionization attempts, pay for play, player product endorsements etc. issues are threatening the very existence of college football, he says.   

Retired University of Georgia football coach  and athletic director Vince Dooley, who is now a  consultant for Kennesaw State University’s new football  program,  saved the most controversial part of his talk to the Rotary Club of Columbus until the very end of his  very entertaining talk.  After getting a lot of laughs about his years at Georgia, he made the point that to start paying players would bring about the end of college football.

He said giving the players a full scholarship and adding a cost of attendance payment should be enough.  He also wants a law passed to regulate those payments.  If such a law is not enacted, he said, the colleges would get into bidding wars for the best players, driving the costs so high college football would be dismantled. He also pointed out that if a school pays football players it will have to pay the atheletes in the other programs. 

Well, how about a law regulating what coaches can make?   That would stop bidding wars for the best coaches. While we’re at it, we could regulate pay for professional sports stars and coaches.  Could such regulations be considered a restraint of trade?

It’s really hard to make the case for not paying players who take great physical risks when their coaches are being paid millions of dollars, and the schools are raking in many millions more. 

I suppose we should clarify that by saying “some top-tier school” are raking in those millions. I’ve read where only  the top-tier schools make money on their athletic  programs.  Most  of them lose money on those programs.