Thursday, December 31, 2015

What Matters?

What matters to you says a lot about you.  In some instances, it defines who you are to others.

That's an awful lot of power, isn't it?

If that's the case, it would behoove us to be mindful of what is mattering to us.  Does it amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme?  Does it better anyone's life?  Is it really how we want to be defined?

The New Year gives us a great chance to take audit of our lives; to see where we are, and where we long to be.  As part of that audit, we should perhaps include an inventory of what matters to us.

We may very well find that what we feel matters, really doesn't matter much at all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Career Murder (Suicide?) by Social Media

Recently, a Minnesota man sent a racist screed to Black Lives Matter via Facebook.  It was vulgar (the 'n' word was used), and it contained sentiment that sounded pretty darned hateful.

The link to his post is here.

Why did he do it?  Nobody knows except him.  Regardless, he did it, and as stated here previously, what happens on the internet is ALWAYS public.

Beyond using racist language, the person that sent the message made the error of listing his employer on his Facebook profile.  Immediately things kicked into gear on the BLM side, and calls when out to his employer to take action against the man, or face the wrath of a boycott.

Immediately his employer fired him.

Should his employer have done that?  In some respects it seems like they're overstepping their bounds and knuckling under to political correctness extortion.  On the other side, if this guy was managing black employees, I don't know how you'd ever get that cow back in the barn.  I see no other path forward than to fire him.

And it's not just this job that the guy lost.  Every future HR area will Google his name, and be presented with the same.  His entire career is toast.

You're not anonymous online.  Ever.  And if you do something stupid, or espouse an opinion that others think is repugnant, it can cost you. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Amazing Statistical Analysis on WWII

In a stunning graphical presentation, the true losses of World War II are laid bare:

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

A few take aways:

  • Those that lived through WWII suffered immensely
  • We're very lucky to live when we live

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Elect Trump and Expect More Terrorism

In a recent focus group of American Muslims, the subject of Donald Trump was discussed.

For one guy on the panel, he was pretty sure that The Donald meant more terrorism:

View More: Live News|More News Videos

Interesting conclusion - elect who Muslims want, or reap the whirlwind of increased terror.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Spoon - Everything Hits at Once

It's old, and the video is bad, but it's still a good song:

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Luke 2 8-20

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

How unique that Christmas, of all the days and celebrations, has the day before specifically called out.  Oh, sure, New Year's Eve has that distinction as well, but I'd argue that's because so many folks use the last moments of that day to ring in the new year.

Why is that?

Perhaps it's because we've waited so long for Christmas.  We've made it through Advent, sure.  But much more than that; we've slogged through a dark and dreary world.  We've been weighed down by material things, by how poorly we treat each other, by sin.  We've lost our patience, and in some instances our faith, and even our hope.

The promise of Christmas breaks all of that.  The birth of a Savior shows how much God really loves us, and how He wants to be reconciled with us.  It shows how much we matter to Him - each of us, regardless of how we perceive our worth.  Jesus was born for us.

Maybe that's how the whole Eve thing got started: we just can't wait anymore.  With good reason.  In a world where it appears evil is winning and expanding, we're tired, drowning, and afraid.

Christmas reminds us so manifestly of the glory of Christ being with us, our Emanuel, reminds us that we are not alone.  Love wins.  Love always wins.  Celebrating this a day early seems understandable.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Europe Needs to Educate Muslim Migrants Not to Rape

A recent news article described the difficulty European societies are having keeping their women safe from newly arrived Muslim migrants.  The news source? No, not some right wing rag.  It's the Old Grey Lady herself.  

It seems these guys move into town, catch glimpses of women in mini-skirts, and it makes their sexually oppressed blood boil.  You see, in their country, the only women wearing skimpy clothes, drinking alcohol, and kissing in public are prostitutes.  Every other woman is covered head to toe.  So, naturally (as the story alludes), once these guys see western women, they undoubtedly want to rape them.

Hence the need to set up classes to educate them that raping women is bad.

It has been previously said that the Left in general and the media in particular have bent over backwards to excuse the behavior of Muslims.  This article takes it to a whole new level.

At its core it seems to say, "While we love your cultural differences, your brutalization of women (while more than fine in your old country, mind you!) just doesn't work here, OK?  So if you would be so kind and just forget decades of what has been drummed into your head and treat women as your equal that would be great.  Oh, and by the way, that means abstaining from raping them, OK?  That'd be great.  Thanks, and welcome to your new home!" 

You need to read this article.  After you finish you need to pray - for the women of Europe, but more so for the women of Islam who live with this brutality every stinking day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mr. Plow Makes a YouTube Ad

From one of the best Simpsons episodes ever comes a nifty little advert for YouTube:

Great mix of pop culture and advertising that works like a champ.  Or at least until The Plow King takes out his own YouTube ad...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Islam by the Numbers

This is a long video, but it is quite effective at quantifying what exists in our world with regard to extreme Islamic beliefs.  

Islam is not a religion of peace.  It is a religion of intolerance, violence, and brutality.  Shame on those that propagate the myth otherwise.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

DHS Clueless About Our Safety

In an recent congressional hearing, Kelli Ann Burriesci, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Screening Coordination for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was exposed as an incompetent bureaucrat.

Unfortunately for us, her job is to keep us safe.  Literally.  Yet, when it comes to some basic elements of that safety, she hasn't a clue:

This is why people don't trust our government.  This is why people are scared.  This is why Trump is winning so resoundingly.

I'm no fan of Trump,  but ask yourself this: If Ms. Burriesci gave this testimony for his administration, do you think she'd be employed on the next business day?

Is it too much to ask for the slightest modicum of accountability from our elected officials?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Saturday Song Share: David Bowie and Bing Crosy - Little Drummer Boy

I know this gets a lot of rotation this time of year, but I've always loved it.  As it turned out, this was the last Christmas song Bing recorded before his death.

Simpler times *sigh*

Friday, December 18, 2015

How Bad Are Race Relations?

The Wall Street Journal. recently published a survey on the state of race relations.  With rampant political correctness, 7 years of a black president, and finally getting on "the right side of history," how do relations look?


We're worse now than we've been in over 20 years.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions as to why this would be.  In the meantime, if the data continues on the trajectory it's been on since 2012, things could get really ugly around here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Present of Presence

The holiday have their own special level of stress.  Not only is work busier than at any other time of the year, but seasonal obligations like travel, presents, parties, and other seasonal chores all add up to a mix that spreads one too thin.  Likewise, the evolution of technology has created an "always on" culture that shows no signs of abating.  As such, attention spans are quickly broken, and distractions easily accepted.

I'll bet if you asked the people that really love you what they want for Christmas, they'd answer one thing: time with you.  Not with you in front of a TV, or behind an iPhone, but just with you.

Simple gift, and since you were worried about that Christmas list anyway...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Leading from Behind

This so effectively captures the leadership that the Democrat party (and subsequently our country) is currently displaying:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hockey Teddy Bear Toss

In Calgary, the Hitmen are a major junior hockey team with a significant following.  They've produced multiple NHL players, and have won a couple of championships.

They've also done wonders for charity.

At their annual "Teddy Bear Toss" game, the team encourages fans to bring a new teddy bear to the game and to throw it on the ice upon the home team scoring their first goal.  The bears are then collected and donated to children in need, hospitals, and the like.

It is one of the most popular games of the season, and attracted a sell out crowd.

And 28,000 stuffed animals:


Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas at the Mall

Last Saturday was spent in Minnetonka's Ridgedale mall, as I searched for holiday gifts plus a couple of things for myself.  Despite a long term career in retail, it literally was the first time in over twenty years where I've been shopping in a mall during Christmas time.  Concentrating on ecommerce all these years has kept me behind a computer instead, I guess.

A couple of things of note on the experience:

  • For a joyful season, there wasn't much joy in the stores.  Everyone seemed to be wearing stern faces and not enjoying themselves much at all.
  • The mall itself was packed.  Between the parking lots, aisles, and everywhere else, people were everywhere.  It was a wide array of folks, too.  Young, old, and in every race, size and language imaginable.  Ridgedale is no longer some lily-white enclave.
  • Multiple stores were pumping out really loud, annoying, and terrible pop "Christmas music."  It was stomach-turning.
  • I was surprised at the police presence.  I only saw a couple of officers, but both of them were loaded down for a major fight.  I guess the days of the unarmed "mall cop" are behind us.
Ultimately my trip was successful, and I was able to find what I wanted.  It just took me over two hours of distraction to do so.

Think I'll stick to this ecommerce thing in the future.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday Song Share: China Crisis - Black Man Ray

A very "80's" video for a damned fine song.  Produced by Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame, in the day, this piece was simply amazing.

While the video is dated, the song as aged incredibly well.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Incredible Story of Child Abuse

Former NHL player Patrick O'Sullivan has penned an incredible story of his life of abuse at the hands of his father, who was set on toughening his kid up to make the NHL.  It is incredibly well written, and shocking.  

Here's his learned conclusion about not staying silent and doing something when potential abuse is witnessed:

If you are wrong, that’s the absolute best case scenario. The alternative is that child is a prisoner in his own home. What you’re seeing in the parking lot or outside the locker room — whether it’s a kid getting grabbed and screamed at, or shoved up against a car — could just be the tip of the iceberg.

It’s so ironic, because the hockey community loves to talk about toughness and courage. In that world, courage is supposed to mean standing in front of a slap shot without flinching, or taking your lumps in a fight.

But that’s easy. That’s not real courage. Anybody can do that.

I guarantee you there’s hundreds of kids across North America who will get dressed for hockey this weekend with their stomach turning, thinking the same thing I did as a kid:

“I better play really good there, or tonight is going to be really bad.”

It just takes one person to act on their instinct and stand up for that child. That’s real courage. The kind we don’t always glorify in the hockey world.

I encourage you to read the whole thing here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Wait for Christmas

When I was a kid, the countdown to Christmas seemed to last a lifetime.  Advent calendars sent by a loving grandparent looked massive, and the number of days they contained appeared impossible to endure.  Christmas, to a child, just can't get here fast enough.

Then something happened.  Responsibilities crept in, and a career in retail conspired with other obligations to make the countdown to Christmas a ticking clock with not enough time on it.  There's too much to do - both at work and at home - and not enough time to do it.

In trying to juggle it all, corners get cut, ever-present guilt sets in, and a blanket of "I should be doing something," settles over every waking hour.  It is lousy way to usher in such an important occasion.

However, in those brief moments of clarity and calm where one can remember the origin of the event, we get thrown a lifeline to the stress and anxiety.  

The peace of the season is ours for the taking, we just need to put ourselves in a place where we can take it.

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Global Warming Great for Running

Here we are at December 9, and I'm still running outdoors.  We should be a good month into winter by now, but this morning it's nearly 40 degrees, dry roads, and green grass.  Global warming might be terrible for business, but it has been great for my running.

Here was this morning's effort.  Slow pace, I know, but it was an interval run.  From that standpoint, it's not bad.

Hope you're able to get out and enjoy the weather in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Vote for Hillary, Because Gay

Yesterday's installment wasn't good enough for you?  Here's a brand new reason to vote for Hillary.  She stands for gays!  Now, you could kindly forget that her position on that changed about two years ago, but she't got your back now, by golly!

The compelling reasons for voting for this candidate - the economy, national security, race relations, jobs - all of that is just so mundane.  I mean, diversity trumps all that, amiright?

Oops, did I just type "Trump?"

What ticks me off is the obvious - nobody is for discrimination of anybody.  But that is what is being alluded to in this video.  Either you're for Hillary, because she's worried about the 2 transexuals that want to change their gender on their passport, or you're a bigot.

Likewise, the gratuitous shots of the couples kissing is just tolling for evangelical outrage.

Hillary brings nothing to the leadership table.  Except, of course, demagoguery.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Vote for Hillary, Because She's a Girl

Like one girl writes, girls rule and boys drool.

44 boys is too many.

Not about issues.  No economics, or terrorism, or immigration.  We did, however get climate change and an anti gun rant in there.  But basically, these girls are letting us know that we should vote for our new president based on the type of her genitals.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Attorney General - Anti-Muslim Speech to be Prosecuted

Does our Constitution mean anything to anyone anymore?

AG Lynch, anytime you begin a sentence "This is country that is based on free speech, BUT..." you're wrong.  No "but."  Period.  End of sentence.  There is nothing left to amend.

However, you don't go there.  Like so many in your party, you see government as needing to bully people until they all think like you want them to think.  

You fascist.  You repugnant, bully fascist.

Check out the speech on this blog, and send over the goon squad.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Saturday Song Share: The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues

This might be a repeat.  I think I had their a live version of this previously featured one Saturday.  If so, please forgive me.

Or, if you dig this tune as I do, you might thank me.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Obama is Wrong

The terrorist attack in California has proved Obama wrong multiple times in just the past couple of weeks.  Consider:

  • Obama chided Americans for being fearful of welcoming in Islamic refugees
  • Claimed that climate change is our biggest threat
  • Exclaimed that gun killings only happen in the US (see yesterday's post)
  • “The American people should feel confident that we’re going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that we have a good holiday season and go about our lives” 
  • "We've got to do something about guns" followed quickly by a claim (a hope?) that this might be a case of "workplace violence." 
The Democrats can try to spin this all they want.  They can try and use this as a cudgel to bring about gun banning (never mind the pipe bomb factory Ma and Pa Jihad had in their kitchen).  The bottom line is their policies of open borders, immigration, racial grievance, cop-bashing, and political correctness are truly killing us.

This is not the last event.  More people will be killed.  Americans are fearful.  They should be.  And the Democrats are to blame, because they're flat out wrong.

Starting with Obama.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Obama in Paris: Gun Killings Only Happen In US

Does this guy recall the people that were killed in the city in which he's standing just days ago?

It used to be that a sitting US president would never, ever, criticize his country while standing on foreign soil, regardless of the circumstances.

Not Obama.

Every time the man has a microphone in front of him is a time to push his agenda.  

Even if that agenda makes one ignore the blood that's still caked to Paris streets.

This man is repugnant. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What is Going On?

As we close in on 2015, our world is in a complete shambles.  Don't believe me?  Consider the following:

  • We're as close to a shooting war with Russia that we've been since the Cuban missile crisis.  If the Russians hit Turkey hard, we'll either need to stand up to our NATO obligations and defend them or let them get run over.  Given Obama, the latter will likely apply, and that sets a nasty precedent both in terms of how we treat our NATO allies and how we react to Russia.  Our enemies will now fear us less and our allies fear us more.
  • Race relations are at their worst since the late 1960's.  Police are being challenged and, in some instances, flat out murdered.  The cops are not blameless, and as we've seen in video in Chicago, murderers are in their ranks as well.
  • ISIS runs rampant and has extended their sphere of terror, murder, and rape across continents.  Our nation's response has been to demand that we accept refugees, deride those that want that policy vetted, and focus on "climate change" as the most compelling subject to be addressed.  
  • Planned Parenthood is caught red-handed selling baby body parts, but a dutiful media and Democrat party sweeps their mess under the rug.  When a clearly mentally ill shoots up a clinic, they're now the spotless victims.
  • Colleges have moved from being places of higher learning to places of hive-mentality and mental immaturity.  
Everywhere you look is hate, violence, death, destruction, and pain on a slow simmer.  Is it just more, or does it feel that with just a little bit more heat this slow simmer will soon completely boil over?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Retail and Baseball

For those of us in retail, we’ve just made it past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and we’re on a dead sprint to Super Saturday and the close of the holiday season.  Things are crazy right now, and the pressure is the highest it’s been all year.  If retail were baseball, we’d be in the middle of our World Series right now.  The stakes are that high.
In thinking on that further, there are a lot of similarities between baseball and retail.  Don’t think so?  Consider these:
  • Long regular season, then short, high-pressure post-season.  As stated above, we’re in the World Series right now.  Mistakes and heroics are magnified a hundred fold compared to the lazy march through the regular season.  Ultimately, what one did, good or bad, back in May matters very little if your play is peaking and you’re winning games in the critical post-season.
  • One dimensional players don’t stay in the big leagues long.  The hulking Right Fielder that is a monster power hitter, but strikes out a ton, has no defensive range, and a limited arm might make it to The Show.  However, opponents will be able to ultimately work around his one strength, and soon the champ becomes a chump.  The same applies to retailers.  Those that caught lightning in a bottle by retailing the “it” product of the moment can quickly stand atop their competition.  However, without well rounded and diversified retail capabilities, they’ll ultimately find themselves falling out of favor and finding themselves back in the retail “minors.”  
  • Doing the basics impeccably can make you a winner.  In baseball, the basics aren’t sexy.  Getting the full body in front of the ball, using two hands to catch, running out grounders, moving runners over – none of it will make ESPN.  But when done right, over and over during the course of the season, errors are mitigated, or extra bases are taken.  Those events can translate to one or two incremental wins which are incredibly valuable in a tightly contested race.  In retail, always doing standard things like getting the right products to the right place at the right time, pricing impeccably, maximizing endcaps, and facing products won’t guarantee that every game will be won.  However, it will win a couple of games, and in a brutally competitive environment, that can be huge.   
  • It’s all about the metrics.  Baseball is ruled by metrics.  Batting average, WH/IP, ERA, RBI – the list goes on and on.  Furthermore, sabermetricians like Bill James have revolutionized the game by showing how statistical nuances could revolutionize on-field decision making and influence winning.  Retail also has its metrics.  AOV, Conversion, Margin %, Inventory Turn – the list goes on and on there as well.  Those that manage by the metrics, especially those small but meaningful statistical nuances, will be affording themselves the best chance to  win for their organizations.
  • Weather can mess up everything.  An unexpected rainstorm can force a baseball team into a next-day double header.  Schedules and routines are thrown off, and teams need to improvise and overcome or get those two games swept away from them.  Likewise, unseasonal weather can massively disrupt the best laid retail plans, and force retailers to scramble to drive in customers when they’re quite reluctant to shop.  Just like in baseball, those that can mitigate the impacts of adverse weather can have a sizable competitive advantage.
  • You gotta make the fans happy.  Most folks are baseball fans, in some way, shape, or form; especially when the local team is winning.  Those franchises with big fan bases enjoy financial rewards that come with selling out that big old stadium.  Similarly, just about everyone is a shopper.  There are things they like about it, hate about it, brag about, and complain about.  They’re fans of the retail game, and they want to engage with winners.  It is our responsibility as retailers to put the very best team on the field for them that we possibly can.  If we do, we’ll be rewarded, and if we screw up, they’ll find a different "team" to support.

So, retailers, enjoy your World Series.  You’ve worked hard to get here, and the lights don’t get any brighter than right now.   But win, lose or draw, remember one thing – even though the end of the post-season is in sight, the regular season starts up again right behind it.
Play ball!