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Archive for August, 2007

Did You See What Else Is “Rising” In Pizzerias?

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Yes things are more expensive now than they were a few years ago. Yes oil prices are out of control which has caused gas prices to go up, up and up! Airlines are charging their customers for everything now. Starting with a snack, headphones (that you can keep), an exit row seat (yes that is more) and of course a surcharge to check your bags in at curbside.

Prices are going up everywhere! Did you know that a block of cheddar cheese a year ago was $1.17 per pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange? Do you know what it is today? Up a whopping 78% to $2.08 per pound. What exactly does that mean? Think about what types of food that use cheese. Think about what type of food has lots of cheese. For me, it’s pizza. I really like pizza. Actually I love pizza! Especially Chicago deep dish pizza.

The pizza business is a 30 billion business that might get to 31 billion with not many more customers. Why you ask? Because if cheese is going up, don’t you think that pizzerias are going to charge more for pizza? Makes sense.

In fact Pizza Hut and Papa John’s International have raised the price of their cheese-only pizzas to the same price as one-topping pizzas at company-owned stores. Papa John’s uses about 100 million pounds of cheese each year, and the cheese typically makes up 35 percent to 40 percent of the food cost in making a pizza. If 35% of the food cost is cheese and cheese costs are up 78% over the past year – logically the cost of pizza has to go up.

I put gas in my car as a necessity. I need to get around and frankly I’m too lazy to walk 12 miles to work. I jump on a plane out of convenience and because I need to be somewhere quickly–again out of necessity.

Buying pizza is a little different. Buying pizza is a choice. I love pizza, I couldn’t do without it. I think I should let Pizza Hut and others in on a little secret. Come closer…a little closer. You could raise your pizza to $35.00 a pie and I for one would still buy it! Others might say no thanks…but not me. I will continue to buy pizza and for me the rising cheese costs, which lead to higher pizza costs, might be a nice benefit – shorter lines!

  • Do you love pizza?
  • Would you pay anything for a pizza?
  • If pizza prices went up 30%, would you stop buying it?
  • What’s your favorite pizza restaurant?

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Dynamic Duos

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
There are so many great single acts. But what about dynamic duos? In some ways Batman & Robin have already coined that phrase, but who is your favorite dynamic duo?

Was it:

This list is just a start. For me I think Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz were the best. They were great on TV – although I must admit the worst actor could have played opposite Lucille Ball and she would have made them look great. They were married for 20 years and also had Desilu Studios together. I loved her wit, facial expressions and humor and it matched great with Desi’s dry sense of humor and accent. What a great DYNAMIC DUO!

I have left off many and look forward to hearing your choices and comments.

Doesn’t On Get Off First?

Monday, August 27th, 2007

We get instructions for so many things. Most of the time there are announcements telling people where to go and what to do and if there aren’t announcements there are signs. Lots of signs! Now they are in multiple languages which clearly will continue in the future.

Sometimes I think some of the instructions and signs are foolish – in some ways overkill. Sometimes I think people can figure things out for themselves and don’t need all of these instructions.

What I don’t understand is, doesn’t “ON GET OFF FIRST.” Isn’t that a universal statement? No matter where you are or what you are doing, doesn’t “ON GET OFF FIRST?” If I am on an elevator I should be able to get off first as opposed to a crowd of folks pushing and shoving trying to get a great spot in the elevator. Is there really one? I would say the same is true about a rental car bus – let the passengers get off first and then the new passengers can get on.

This really bothers me for a bunch of reasons:

  1. Common courtesy
  2. Saves time and increases efficiency
  3. Make sure no one gets hurt
  4. See number 1

Maybe we need signs after all and shouldn’t let anyone figure things out for themselves!

  • Do you agree?
  • Does this make sense to you?

I look forward to your comments.

How Can You Catch The Eye Of Your CEO?

Friday, August 24th, 2007

I am sure most people would say they would like to catch the eye of their CEO. Most people want to be noticed. Yes there are some people who want to fly under the radar screen but I believe more want to be noticed.

Recently I spoke to the MRA Southwest Chapter in Austin and included in my presentation were ways to get noticed by your CEO and I pointed out what gets my attention:

  • Revenue – (clearly the obvious one). Revenue is king/queen in most companies
    • New Clients
    • Inactive clients
    • Large projects
    • Selling all the company’s products/services
  • Problem Solvers
    • Bring solutions to the table
    • Don’t give up
    • Always look beyond the obvious
    • Really push yourself
    • Think outside the box
  • Increase Efficiencies
    • Improve interviewer production
    • Streamline internal systems
    • Use technology
    • Forget about saying it has always been done that way!
  • Donate time to organizations
    • Shows heart and spirit
    • Shows you can multitask
    • Shows you are passionate
  • Be client-oriented
    • Go above and beyond expectations
    • Treat internal clients as important as external clients
    • Make your boss look good
  • Don’t jump to conclusions
    • Sit back and evaluate
    • Don’t assume anything
    • Get rid of “it can’t be done”
  • Be accountable
    • I made a mistake
    • Don’t always work 9-5
    • Be big picture – connect all the dots
  • Be a team player
    • Know how to be successful across different teams in your company
    • Take on special projects
  • Say what you mean – mean what you say
    • Be a GREAT communicator
    • Don’t over react
    • Don’t miss deadlines without saying something

These are the things that catch my eye.

  • What catches your eye?
  • What about your boss?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Attention Baseball Fans: Steroids Or No Steroids — That’s Today’s Question!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

There has been a ton of discussion about steroids in baseball. Frankly a week doesn’t go by when it isn’t brought up–whether it is in the newspaper or the leading story on ESPN Sports Center.

Having grown up watching power hitters like Harmon Killebrew, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson and others, steroids leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In fact, a very bad taste. I am not 100% sure we will ever know who took steroids and who didn’t. Unless players come forward like Jose Conseco and Jason Giambi, I believe it will be very hard to prove if a player took steroids. Doubt will always be around certain players and will probably never go away.

Today lets discuss 6 baseball players. Do you think they took steroids or not? That is today’s question. Many of the readers of the blog are very intelligent, passionate baseball fans but where do they stand on this subject?

Let me just say that I don’t know anything for sure and never really talked to any of the players listed below. THIS IS JUST ONE MAN’S OPINION.

Barry Bonds – He had solid stats in his first seven years in Pittsburgh but never hit over 34 home runs in a year. Since he left Pittsburgh he did every year except one during a twelve year stretch in San Francisco. Yes he works out in the gym a ton but he appears to have tons of mood swings not to mention his head size has gotten much bigger – YES he took steroids.

Albert Pujols – Only 27 years old and he already has 271 home runs. He is averaging over 40 home runs in his first six seasons. He is on a pace to break everyone’s record. Albert is not only a power hitter, he is averaging .331 for his career. In my opinion he is the best right handed hitter in the National League and might be better than AROD. The best pure hitter in the majors. NO steroids for this hitter!

Nomar Garciaparra – This one really pains me to even think about much less discuss. In his first 4 years with the Red Sox he hit 113 home runs and 420 RBI’s as a shortstop. He was the face of the Red Sox, and everyone loved his name – Nomarrrrrrrr–a perfect fit for the city of Boston. I still remember his picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated without his shirt on holding a bat over his head. He was ripped, definitely cut and had a body that a body builder would be jealous of. Something just didn’t look right. In the last 5 years he has 41 homers–half of which were hit last year. He has been injured a ton and frankly looks much smaller than he did in his days in Boston – YES I believe he did steroids.

Roger Clemens – Great power pitcher! Fantastic longevity. Lot’s of CY Young’s, lots of records and perhaps the most competitive pitcher I have ever seen take the mound. Never had a lot of injuries but yes he did come to camp out of shape one year with the Red Sox. To me he is the modern day Nolan Ryan. He is that one player that comes along every 20 years that can still throw heat way into his 40’s. Steroids – I don’t believe he took steroids.

Ryan Howard – I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Ryan play that much. He had 58 home runs last year which has to be a record for a second year player. At 6’ 4” 250+ pounds he is a monster and a great hitter. At almost a .300 hitter the best is yet to come from this young star. Steroids – No way!

Ivan Rodriguez – He started in the majors at 19 years old. He has an MVP award in 1999 and has been an All Star many times. He hit lots of home runs in Texas and looked much bigger. All of a sudden he no longer was in Texas, no longer was hitting home runs and mysteriously looks a lot smaller. I would love to know his secret because I always thought as you got older you put on more weight. In addition, he no longer hangs out with Juan Gonzalez. Sorry, TA – I think my opinion is YES to steroids.

What do you think of these players and others?

I know this is a very sensitive subject and hope you feel comfortable commenting.I look forward to hearing from you.

I Get Instructions Every Week, But If I Had To Use Them Would I Really Be Prepared?

Monday, August 20th, 2007

I will admit that sometimes I don’t always listen to the same instructions if I hear them over and over again. I fly almost every week and 99% of the time I have a window exit row seat. When you sit in that row not only do you get the extra legroom that everyone on a plane craves, you get very important instructions.

Typically the flight attendant will walk up and down the aisle a few times counting passengers and then will stop at the exit row. At that time they will review the instructions on how to open the door in case of an emergency. I have probably flown 50 segments already this year – 99% of which are on the same airline and for some reason I have heard 50 different variations of this instruction. It’s almost like someone is singing the national anthem and wants to put their own mark on the instruction. Perhaps that is another blog topic!

At the end of the instruction they always ask are you okay opening up the door and helping the other passengers. Of course I say yes or nod but the reality is…would I really know what to do? Of course I would help out the best I could and have been known to handle pressure situations (Andrew remember the bus accident in Walt Disney World in 1983) but could I really do it?

Obviously I hope I never have to find out. Because as much as I fly, crashing into the water is one of my biggest fears.

  • Have you ever been in a situation like this?
  • What did you do?
  • How did you handle it?

If you haven’t – how do you think you would do?

What’s Your Favorite Animal?

Friday, August 17th, 2007

For those of you who don’t know…I love animals. I love the zoo and in fact was in Florida on business years ago and actually dragged Janet Savoie to Animal Kingdom for one hour to look at a giant anteater. Yes I know that is crazy but if you are a frequent reader of the blog you already knew that.

Let’s try and get creative today. If you were GUARANTEED NOT TO GET HURT and had the opportunity to play with any animal, regardless of size, how dangerous they are and where they live what would it be and why?

For me it would be a kangaroo. They seem so playful and frankly I love how they hop around. Not sure how intelligent they are so, I don’t know if I could toss a ball and have them chase it, but I would love to play around with a kangaroo.

We have an animal shelter in Texas that takes in orphan animals and once in awhile I am fortunate to get in the cage with a kangaroo. He isn’t that big and since his trainer is there it doesn’t really count.

I am sure you have been at the zoo and said, “They are really cute. I would love to cuddle with that animal.”

What animal would you choose and why?

I look forward to your comments.

Al If You Are Listening, Please Stay Off The Bench!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

It seems like my entire life I’ve been going to sporting events. As a youngster I went to a sports camp and always had a passion for sports. Records are part of sports, in fact a big part of sports. I am not sure you can watch an hour of ESPN without someone discussing a record or featuring someone who broke or is approaching a record.

Let me just say I am a big fan of records. I was reading the other day that in November, Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour will go behind the bench for the New York Islanders one last time as he takes over the team he guided to four straight Stanley Cups. The funny thing is, I was a huge Boston Bruins fan growing up and when I went to Hofstra I could see Nassau Coliseum from my dorm room. While I was in college the Islanders were a dynasty led by Al Arbour and I worked at Nassau Coliseum with my roommates Kenny and Barry selling beer and other things.

The NHL and the NY Islanders will have Arbour sign a one-day contract and then lead the Islanders against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 3, marking his 1,500th game with the franchise. Islanders coach Ted Nolan will pass his responsibilities to the man who holds the NHL record for most games coached with one team.

“Every day last season I would walk by that big board outside our locker room at the Coliseum that lists the franchise’s award winners and milestones,” Nolan said in a news release, referring to the Islanders’ home arena in Uniondale, New York. “And every day it would kill me when I’d see Coach Arbour made it to 1,499 games.”

Does 1500 sound that much better than 1499? His record most likely will never be broken. Especially in today’s sports where you either win now or you get fired quickly. I don’t really understand this move.

  • Is it a public relations stunt?
  • Is it to put fannies in the seats?
  • Is it to make Al feel good?

I didn’t like it when the Chicago White Sox signed Minnie Minosa in 1980 allowing Minnie at age 54 to play in a baseball game for the sole purpose of having him play in 5 decades!

As I said I love records! I love records when they are broken the right way! Al, you left coaching 13 years ago. If you miss the game that much, do it for an entire year…not just one game! Don’t worry…your record won’t ever be broken and 1499 games still sounds great to me.

This is just one man’s opinion. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and knowing if you think I’m right or wrong.

Clever Outdoor Advertising: Which Is Your Favorite and Why?

Monday, August 13th, 2007

A lot of companies have gone away from traditional advertising. It seems like there is a race for creativity and being different. Consumers are okay with this and probably enjoy when companies are really out there with their advertising.

Bic Razors

Outdoor Bridge for Adidas Soccer

Dropped Calls – Cingular

Fed Ex Shirt

Karate School Ad

Mr. Clean on a New York Street

I think all of them are very clever but for me my favorite is Cingular, having just returned from Boston where I wish I had a dollar for every dropped call I experienced. To me, most people use a cell phone every day and some of us every three minutes. Therefore, we experience dropped calls fairly often. Although a pain – a way of life right now and clearly Cingular is playing off that in their campaign.

The Bic razor advertising is unique, but to me I think of Lady Bic so that doesn’t resonate with me. I think the Adidas Bridge Ad is dynamic, eye-catching and probably very dangerous. I wonder how many accidents have occurred because of this ad? The Karate School ad is very clever but I think people will see the ad and might not see the cracks in the pavement. Fedex’s doesn’t standout as much as the others and the Mr. Clean ad is cute but the way it’s positioned, lots of people won’t see it.

So which is your favorite?

  • Is it Bic razor?
  • Adidas Soccer?
  • Cingular?
  • Fedex?
  • Karate School Ad?
  • Mr. Clean?

I look forward to hearing your favorite and why.

The August Place to Be

Friday, August 10th, 2007

I have so many fond memories growing up. There were always vacations at Cape Cod, plenty of visits to Fenway Park and of course hours and hours of playing games like tag, red light and hide and seek.

Growing up every year we knew once July ended we were going on a road trip. We knew we were getting on the Massachusetts turnpike and three hours later we would be at our destination: Saratoga, NY.

What a great town with grace, charm and the greatest race track in the country. I mean no disrespect to Belmont Park, Churchill Downs or Santa Anita Park, but Saratoga Race Track is the most fan-friendly racetrack in the country and is filled with so much history and beauty.

Interestingly enough their tagline was “THE AUGUST PLACE TO BE.” When I was growing up, Saratoga Racetrack was only open in August so, perhaps this is the best tagline I have ever heard. Over the years they have extended it and this year’s session is 36 days long.

Since we are now in August, what is your choice for “THE AUGUST PLACE TO BE?” So many readers are planning their last vacations of the summer so I am sure they will be interested in your comments.

I look forward to hearing from you.