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Archive for February 2016

Christmas And A Boy Named Frank

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Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Tomorrow is February 29th and I hope you make the best of your extra day this year to do something positive. Even though winter is winding down I wanted to revisit a favorite topic for kids of all ages.  That topic is Christmas.  Today you will be treated to a story of a young boy named Frank.

Frank ran home from the bus stop and rushed into his room. It was early December and he had to put the finishing touches on his letter to Santa.  Tomorrow was Friday and the whole family was going into to town to see Santa at the department store.  Back in the 1960’s when Frank was growing up Santa liked to hang out at department stores.

Before Frank settled into reviewing his list, he stopped to wrestle with his brother to burn off nervous energy. In Frank’s day mom called it rough-housing and dad called it…something else.  Frank looked down at his list and then looked up at the ceiling as he mentally checked things off his list that was committed to memory.  He spent hours going over the Sears and Penney’s catalog looking for ideas and by now he had it down to the most vital items.

Grenade launching gun? Check. Hot wheels track and some cool new cars? Check.  A walkie-talkie set?  Check.  A kid sized plastic electric guitar? Check.  Rock ‘em Sock Robots?  Check.  After listing the big-ticket items he knew had to add some smaller stuff so Santa would not think he was greedy.  He wrote down a slinky, silly putty, a football and a Mr. Potato Head.  Then, at the last-minute he added plastic toy army men and a new pair of blue jeans – he wrote in big letters, BELL BOTTOMS PLEASE.  It was the late 60’s cut Frank some slack.

The trip to see Santa went well and he told Santa what he wanted and then Santa patted him on the head and asked him if he was a good boy. Frank was worried because he knew Santa already knew the answer so he played it cool and was a little non-committal and said “sort of”.  After that it was time to go home and hope for the best.

The days passed by quickly and it was now Christmas morning at 6 AM and Frank had already been up for a half an hour. He couldn’t wait any longer so he ran into the living room to see what was under the tree.  As he took inventory it looked like it was going to be a good year.  This came as a surprise because his mom and dad were acting like they had inside scoop that Santa was a little disappointed.  As Frank tore into his gifts he was quite happy with what Santa brought for him.  He had so much to sort through he wasn’t upset that he didn’t get the grenade launcher.

Frank ended up spending much of the day playing with something he didn’t even ask for – an electric football game. Frank thought to himself amidst all the excitement that it seemed like the big day always ends up different than you expect it – but it is always better.  He just assumed that was part of Christmas magic.  Later he knew he would be visiting with his cousins and aunts and uncles so this Christmas day was not over yet!

I hope you have a great week re-living some childhood memories of Christmases past.

Written by pacelinebiz

February 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Designated Hitter In The National League – Good Idea?

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Play Ball!

American League baseball as pictured is inferior to the National League

There has been talk lately about the National league adopting the Designated Hitter rule that the American League has been using since the 1973 season. This is a discussion of whether or not it is a good idea.  First of all, let me tell you that I am biased towards the National League rules but will do my level best to maintain objectivity.

I had a hypothesis about why this is bad thinking it would drive up salaries by creating 1 more starting position for the National League. This turns out to be wrong since I compared tram payrolls for the NL versus the AL and the NL has a higher payroll in 2013 and 2014 and slightly less than the AL in 2015. I decided to look at the last 3 years since before that; Houston was in the National League and there were 14 AL teams and 16 NL Teams.   Going back to 2011 and looking at average team payroll for the AL and NL the evidence was not strong that the DH increased payrolls for the AL.

I also looked at the competitive balance between the two leagues and found that since the DH was implemented in 1973 in the AL, they have a 23-19 record in the World Series. That is a .548 winning percentage but a relatively small sample size.  If you compare pre and post DH records the AL is 23-19 or a 54.76 winning % in the post DH era.  They are 41-28 or a 59.42 winning % in the pre DH era.  They actually did worse with the DH.  That is interesting but not reason for the NL to claim the DH hurts competitive balance.  I think the Yankees and their 27 championships are skewing results.  Think about that number for a minute that represents 24.32% of all championships.   The Yankees need to take a few decades off from the World Series.

Since I could not come up with a business reason for the Banning of the DH I decided to ponder this issue a little further. After I thought about it I decided that most of my reasoning was based on tradition and emotion and if those were the only reasons, it might not be fair to support a ban on the DH.

After reconsidering my position I came up with some good reasoning why the DH rule should be banned. See my list below for your consideration:

  • Since 1973 our national debt has increased by 17 Trillion dollars
  • Since 1973 the U.S. steel and automotive industry has been decimated by foreign competition
  • In 1973 full service filling stations were ubiquitous and now are non-existent*. I prefer someone pumping my gas and checking my oil and filling my tires if needed to doing it by myself.  Since it was the norm this was included in the price!     *- except for New Jersey
  • Pete Rose – before the DH is Charlie Hustle after is Charlie Cheater
  • Since 1973 we lost the 1994 World Series to a player’s strike/owner’s lock out and then were treated to the steroid era.
  • Before 1973, Bobby Bonds. After 1973, his son who shall not be named!  I will give you a clue – he was the player before steroids who could not throw out one-legged Sid Bream at the plate in the 1992 NL Championship series. 
  • Before the DH no inter-league play until the World Series was played. After the DH; Detroit plays Pittsburgh every year because they are “rivals”.  I guess the 1909 World Series qualifies as a rivalry?  They never played after that Series until inter-league play began. 
  • Since 1973 the popularity of the game as compared to other sports has decreased which was the reason they put it in as a rule in the first place!

As you can see, the DH has ruined almost everything good and the proliferation of it to the National League could prove to be disastrous. Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

February 21, 2016 at 12:11 pm

What Can We Learn From Valentine’s Day?

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Treat Customers Right

Treat Customers Right

Today is Valentine’s Day, I hope you did something special for your Valentine. A typical Valentine’s Day includes a card, some chocolates, flowers and a nice dinner and perhaps some jewelry.  A pack of gum from the mini mart won’t cut it so if you forgot, just own up to it and promise to redeem yourself next weekend.

Let’s use Valentine’s Day as a metaphor for how to treat your customers. Just like your loved one; don’t just show your appreciation once a year by sending a card or buying them a gift around the holidays. Make every opportunity to interact with them a chance to wow them when they call on you.  If you treat your spouse like royalty year round you won’t have to rely on making a splash on Valentine’s Day and same goes with your customer.  They won’t be tempted by the Johnny-come-lately competitor if you hit a home run every time they call.

How do you treat your spouse as royalty? You do so by doing the little things throughout the year.  Things like picking up the slack when they are behind and need help.   Make a meal for them and doing the dishes afterwards, doing the laundry and putting it away. Try sending flowers or drop by to say hello at work when you know they are having a rough day.  What does that look like with a customer?  It is getting the job done right the first time and before they wanted it or cheerfully saying yes when they have a last-minute request.  Bailing them out, saving their skin when the chips are down will be remembered and will be paid back with retention.  If it doesn’t then don’t grieve the loss – they were not worth it and your competition will be weaker by dealing with them instead of you.

I firmly believe that if you have your customer’s back they will have yours. I don’t advise buying them silk undergarments – that would be weird.  If you apply the model of a great marriage to your customers I think you will be on the right track.

Have a great week.

Happy 50th Birthday Super Bowl!

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The National Pastime

The National Pastime

This year the Super Bowl turns 50. In fact, today is the 50th super bowl that will be played.  In spite of that, I don’t want to talk about the NFL or the Super Bowl for today’s blog.  I think it would be more interesting to think about what has changed in the past 50 years.  For one thing there was no such thing as a blog.

What else has changed in the last 50 years? Well, whether you like it or not, I have a list!

  • Men’s hair styles – they have gone from long to short to long to anything goes. I don’t think there is a hairstyle that is not accepted today.  Many hairstyles for business have become acceptable that were once frowned upon.
  • Women’s hem lines – as far as I know they have done about the same thing as men’s hairstyles except in reverse short-long-short-anything goes. In general I think dresses are less popular than they were 50 years ago.
  • Technology – wow that is a whopper to say the least. 50 years ago computer were rare and the size of cars.  Now they run cars and are the size of a deck of cards or smaller.  Your smart phone is basically more powerful than the best computer of 50 years ago.  Could a computer from 50 years ago have a pizza show up at your door or tell you how to go over the river and through the woods to get to grandmother’s house?
  • Blue Jeans – see discussion about men’s hairstyles and women’s dresses. Mr. Obvious told me yesterday that fashion is fickle.  I think he is right!
  • Coca Cola – WRONG that has not changed except for a brief time in the 1980’s when someone lost their mind.
  • Daylight savings time – It was suspended during the early 1970’s by President Nixon during the energy crisis and has been adjusted several times since the 1980’s. I like how it is now so please no more changes.
  • Units of measure – 50 years ago we weighed things in pounds, ounces and tons and measured distance with inches, feet and miles. Now everything is metric and is so much better – uh, right like that happened!
  • Dependency on foreign oil – now we are energy independent and things are still terrible. I am confused by that one.
  • Eggs were good for you – wait they are good for you again never mind.
  • An Ice Age was coming – now there is a threat of global warming. This theory is partly based on the precise temperature readings from the 1880’s. Here is an excerpt of a typical conversation at a weather station in 1880.  “Josiah, should I call that 56 or 57 degrees?   I don’t know Ebenezer we always round down when we can’t tell so I guess it is 56.”
  • Baseball – 50 years ago there was not a designated hitter rule but in 1972 they destroyed the game with its introduction. Now there is talk of adding it to the National league.  I shudder.

I hope you enjoyed my silly little list – perhaps it distracted you from the game on the TV. Have a great week.  Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in about 10 days!

Written by pacelinebiz

February 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm