The Not-So-Super Bowl

What you saw in the Super Bowl yesterday was absolute mediocrity. Two poor quarterback performances, unimaginative play calls, turnovers, just a mess. Yesterday, at least, a half-dozen other teams could have beaten either of the finalists. But the Broncos and Panthers did what they had to during the season, were sometimes great, sometimes lucky, and no one is arguing that they cheated to get there. Eventually, one of them had to win last night. You and I don’t have to …


Crabs

From an infinity pool, I lean over and watch the waves batter the rocks below. The stratigraphy is fascinating, hundreds of crevices and nooks, a combination of cork brown and golf course green. I catch some movement, and I realize that dozens of crabs are scuttling and sidling along the rocks. They are the same colors as their surroundings, but the water makes them an almost iridescent hue. Some fit into the cracks, but the larger ones must stay on …


A Christmas Story

Some mornings I take the dogs for coffee and biscuits to Dunkin’ Donuts. The (mostly) women behind the drive-through window are cordial and fun at 6:30 in the morning. They smile, talk to the dogs, are very polite, and are clearly appreciative of the small tip that the change represents. Many of them have their hair and makeup attractively done, which means their day must have started around 5 or so. I’m guessing they work for minimum wage or close …


Holy Smoke

My wife and I are Catholics, Eucharistic Ministers, I’m also a lector, we attend church weekly, and we contribute substantially. I tell you that because I’m about to be critical, and I assume many of you will find this observations to be true also in your respective houses of worship. We attended St. Jean Baptiste in New York City for Vigil Mass last evening. It’s a gorgeous church, pre-Vatican II, meaning it has the great altar, profound artwork, and a …


Impress Me, Impress Me Not

Some people make cogent arguments, using reasoning and contemporary examples, which I have to take seriously and evaluate, sometimes changing my position. Some people give me links and citations, and expect me to work to pursue sources that they believe prove their positions. I’m not interested in Wikipedia or Google and YouTube as your source. (I find the same need to justify oneself ludicrous when book chapters are begun with a quote from Churchill or Luther or Mother Theresa, as …


Does CVS Read My Blog?

Recently I published here (http://www.contrarianconsulting.com/dasm-cvs-and-baltimore/) my recommendations for CVS in the wake of the Baltimore riots. A few days later, they announced (as reported in the Wall Street Journal) virtually identical steps being taken. Reader Tim Wilson suggests that it was no coincidence and they accepted the free consulting advice.


Tales from the Road

Wherein a veteran of the speaking wars reveals how he lived the dream… At Nissan, after dinner, I spoke in front of 50 drunk managers, who were encouraged by non-English speaking executives from Japan to chug sake every time they yelled, “Bonzai!” I spoke for ten minutes, yelled “Bonzai!” and as they drank, I left. I was introduced at Merck Frost Canada (by a man who went on to become CEO of Glaxo) as a consultant: “Someone who knows 40 …


Today’s the Day

I meet a lot of people obsessed with planning. They are constantly looking ahead, putting things in place, prepping for the future. I meet other people who are immersed in the past. They replay the mental tapes constantly, examining what they did and should have done. My suggestion is to live in the moment. I’m against neither past introspection nor future visualization, unless they are at the expense of living in the moment. I see people missing what’s right in …



Put Your Head On My Shoulder

Paul Anka sold out the Providence Vets Auditorium last night, about 2,000 people, with a tremendous show: no warm-up act, a great band, and him, singing for two hours without a break. He did two encores and received a 12-minute standing ovation. Of course, my personal trainer said, “Do you mind if I ask who Paul Anka is?” and I said, “Do you mind if I drop a 45-pound weight in your general vicinity?” But if you were into the …