29 December 2008

They are who we thought they were...

So after a long drawn out season, the Bears finished miserably while holding their own destiny firmly in their hands.

I am so tired of hearing every single Bear player saying that they are better than what they put on the field. If that was true than they should have performed better, period.

I was sort of amazed at how many reporters and fans said that they finished "much better" than everyone had expected. When it comes to expectations with sport I usually defer to Las Vegas who has a bit more riding on their predictions. Before the season started they had the Bears pegged as 8-8 finishers. So 1 game better than that isn't "much better" in my opinion. In fact, it proves that they are exactly who we thought they were going to be going into a season with questionable QB and WR positions.

But the big surprise for the year truly was how horrible the Defense performed. Peanut Tillman continues to be a shining example of how someone acts like they are much better than they are and continues to get burned. Mike Brown AGAIN finishes the season on the IR although give him credit, he played in 15 of the 16 games this year. The secondary is weak and wasn't a big surprise but we were going to forgive that because the Defensive line was going to be brutal on the opposing teams. Unfortunately Alex Brown led the team in sacks with 6 and he wasn't even supposed to be the guy who did that. Kudos to him though.

A sad finish to a sad year. Somehow I think someone is still believing that they are just "that" close to the 2006 team that went to the Superbowl. Those someones are likely part of the coaching staff and ownership. For once, please listen to the fans....you're not.

17 December 2008

Can you hear ants screaming?

Yesterday, the Arena Football League announced that they've canceled their 2009 season with hopes of having a better economic turnaround to come back in 2010.

So?? Football on a hockey rink, where the scores goes into the 70's. How can any true football fan care about this horrible bastardization of America's Game.

People screamed like hell when Vince McMahon started up the XFL, but at least it was played on a real football field. In fact, many things Vince tried are now common place for CBS/NBC/ESPN/FOX for football and other sports (the almost in-action cameras, the yellow line for first downs and the escalation of individual players on teams as celebrities over the team). But it was Vince freakin' McMahon and he did a lot of things wrong and rubbed people the wrong way.

The AFL would not be the AFL if it didn't have a major tv contract and the backing of the NFL and several alumni. The only people I know who go to these games are people who get FREE tickets (including me, once) and people dumb enough to buy season tickets (sorry Sami, my friend). To be honest, I'm amazed that the sport has been around for over 25 years. But since it has, isn't it amazing that most people don't even know it exists? In fact, if not for Mike Ditka, John Elway and Jon Bon Jovi only RECENTLY buying in to existing franchises, it would have even LESS awareness.

So at the annoucement that they've shut the doors for 2009, I view it as the old "if a tree falls...". It would be the same reaction if the Lacrosse league or the WNBA or an A-League soccer league were to close. It's the same reaction I had to when the WFL, USFL, and NFL Europe shut down. They are there mostly to serve the minor markets in America, people who just won't trek 200 miles each way to see a professional team. I'm not saying that minor league sports don't have a place in society but let's not make them out to be gigantic market-makers and revenue-drivers.

I'm sure it'll be back in 2010 because the NFL needs to spend the money and without NFL Europe, well, they have to find a way to dump profits. But let's not herald the return as some massive arising from the dead or Phoenix from the ashes. It's a marketing tool for a major corporation and that's really it.

10 December 2008

Bad Hair Day

I had yesterday off from work. We needed to take Aidan to the Doctor for his one year check up and a load of shots. It really sucked to see him screaming from the shots.

I also took the opportunity to finish baby-proofing the house. It was the cabinet latches which are a pain in the royal arse.

But it was early in the morning when a smile came across my face. The FBI had shown up at Rod Blogo's house and took him into custody. This, just a day after he basically taunted whomever was recording him in a "Nixon/Watergate" style.

As a life long Democrat, I can honestly say that I didn't vote for this ass EITHER time he ran. Look, if you pay any attention to politics in Illinois, you can spot these guys a mile away. They are really slick, quickly garner the union vote and promise lots of jobs and prosperity for the State when campaigning.

He did a great job of staying out of the camera's eye on Tuesday and that's a shame as I'd love to see him squirming through this. I've now read all 76 pages of the complaint and frankly, it's shocking but not surprising. He clearly never was a fan of The Sopranos cuz even when he KNEW he was being recorded, he didn't remember to go to the basement and turn on the fan.

What sucks is that this is now the third Governor that I remember being criminally charged. Everytime the State of Illinois has something to celebrate, these idiots screw it up. But look, most people will agree that this sort of behavior has just become part of the fabric of the State. I know of several stories from my own family during the original Mayor Daley's administration and have heard a hundred others.

In fact, during the last campaign for US House, Debbie Halvorson was running against Ozinga (yeah, we've all been almost ran over by a few of those cement trucks in our lives) and blasted him in every commercial that he was involved in pay-to-play with Blogo for state road works contracts.

All of this doesn't forgive these heinous crimes that cost us all money in taxes, both sales and Real Estate. String them all up if you ask me. The problem is, as soon as you cut the head off the snake, another grows in its place. The corruption is deep-seeded. It was reported that in the last 30 years, there's been over 1000 government employees/reps who've been convicted of some sort of corruption in the State including Alderman and others. So if we really want change on this, we need legislation that also makes it a crime to NOT report it when you're being fleeced and to have all of those cases to be followed up and prosecuted.

To close, here's a foretelling picture from 2002. I wonder who's going to be the bitch when they are in prison together (unless Bush commuted Ryan's sentence)

05 December 2008

Big Three Bailout

How much more rediculous can this get?

So after taking a beating about each of the CEO's took their own private, corporate jets the LAST time to beg for money, now, I'm sure at the wet dream of the PR/clueless/out-of-touch advisors to them, these three bozos show up in hybrids and experimental electronic cars to beg again.

Are you serious? It's akin to the most heinous murderer being caught, looking disheveled, slightly bruised and with insanity in their eyes, to showing up in court, clean shaven, new haircut and in the finest suit his attorney could buy him.

a) I highly doubt they personally drove those vehicles from Detroit (or the one guy from Seattle) to Washington D.C.
b) If the electric concept car could DO the entire trip, well, what better sales pitch than THAT? But I highly doubt we're going to see that/be given the opportunity to buy it.

Hey idiots! We're not THAT stupid and we smell the PR stunt from a mile away. It would have been just a bit more believeable if you had all just bought coach tickets and flown TOGETHER from Detroit-Metro to Washington-Reagan.

I'm not without some compassion though. If I were the automotive industry, I'd be angry as hell.

The banking industry pulls the same crap and at TWENTY times the amount being sought, but Congress doesn't bat an eye. Why? Well, because plenty of Congress is to BLAME for the issues around de/regulation of the industry and they surely wouldn't want to have the fingers pointed back at them.

So Congress does the quick bait-and-switch and now beats up on the Big Three. The same Big Three who turned their production lines into war machines during WWI and WWII cranking out tanks and other vehicles needed for the cause. Why not take a moment to remember THAT eh?

This said, if the Automotive executives would just get out of their private jets every so often and mingle with the "great unwashed" Americans, maybe they'd get a better understanding why more of us now drive something made by a Japanese manufacturer instead of home-grown.

Maybe it's time for Joe the Plumber to talk to these guys? ;-p

02 December 2008

It's official, I'm a genuine public speaker

A couple months back, I was asked by the Great Lakes Chapter of the MRA to present at a joint conference in January. Bonus in that the conference at the Sundial Resort on Sanibel Island, Florida. Bummer that my wife and child cannot join me.

I've been kicking around the outline for the presentation for awhile and know that I have sufficient material to pull it together, but it really hit me today when I saw on the conference website my name and that I'm actually presenting.

I do a lot of self analysis when it comes to my presentation style and it's changed quite a bit over the last 8-10 years which is how long I've been presenting both internally and externally around MB/Kantar.

It's amazing really because in High School, I totally sucked at this and was a frightened little kitty. In college, things really changed. I "toughened up" if you will, when it comes to facing people and presenting information. Some of this can be attributed to a required speech class, but most of it is due to being in a Fraternity and being part of the Student Government at Marquette.

College really is a time that you "find" yourself and where reality hits you that if you don't seize the opportunities, there's plenty of other hungry mouths to gobble them up.

So, back to the analysis of presentation style. I used to move around a lot and sometimes walk to the side of the audience. This made it entertaining and demonstrated my passion for the subject, but one review I read said that they were getting dizzy watching me move back and forth.

So I moved to a more formal upfront speaking style but I still moved a bit as frankly I feel more comfortable doing it. I just don't run up the sides of the room. I usually inject humorous anecdotes, life experiences and real life work applications of the materials I'm covering. In fact, I use humor quite a bit as frankly, it makes people comfortable and it hopefully makes the presentation tolerable.

But for a conference, you are pretty limited to just speaking behind a podium. As you can see from the schedule (link above) I'm the meat of the day's presentation sandwich and that means I probably need to be pretty engaging. I will have a short video as part of my presentation which will be different and I believe it'll be decent material which dovetails nicely with the presentation right before me.

I guess the only question I have left is what to wear? I realize it's a professional conference and so jacket and tie are the norm, but seriously, it's on Sanibel Island. How can a hawaiian shirt NOT deliver some impact? At the same time, I represent our family of companies and that's just as important. I'll take the safe route and ask the conference sponsors, but it's going to be a fun event either way.