August 2014

August 2014

Just send all the Moms their own personal lei next month, Edgar. The ladies love flowers! Why did Land’s End, a focal point of all things Middle American, send a steamy issue ofGQ to millions of customers’ mailboxes?  The cover featured a Hawaiian lady with only a lei where her Regular Feminine Fit Banded Sleeve Mesh Polo should be. “I’m thankful that my son didn’t bring in the mail,” declared one irate mother. CEO Edgar Huber, in French cuffs, spread-collar shirt, and a luxuriantly swirled tie, explained that the magazine was a “gift to our male customers.” More fireworks followed.

They don’t have anything in there from Land’s End, honey. Find a Harry Potter. The Little Free Library network began life on the Mississippi, in the town of Hudson, Wisconsin, only five years ago. Now there are 18,000 of the simple “take a book, return a book” stands in 70 countries including Uganda, Ukraine, Italy, and Japan. A simple idea moves around the globe, born of Tod Bol’s love for his book-loving mom in Wisconsin.

Advantage, Barnes. Here’s what covering the majors (American usage) in sport (British) is really like, says Simon Barnes, just cut after 32 years on the sports desk of The Times of London, 12 years as its chief: “Triumph and disaster, victory and defeat, leadership and betrayal, revenge and counter-revenge, strength and weakness, hubris and its chastisement, hatred, horror, honour, joy and glory: all acted out in front of me.” Rather like the newsroom.

Required reading. Dean Koontz, the novelist, says the one book every American should read is “The Complete Stories” by Flannery O’Connor. Why? “No one has written better about the reality of evil.” Flannery (all her readers seem to call her by her first name) died 50 years ago this month, of a lupus that crippled her in everything but mind, spirit, and tongue.

We knew a guy once who went to Moms Mabley Elementary School. Seriously. Sports sometimer Deion Sanders is failing to score with his Texas charter school, Prime Prep Academy, which, judging from its name, focuses on banking, specifically credit lending. Some Ohio pioneers in the charter category include Talented Tenth Academy, Believe to Achieve, and A+ Children’s Academy. Charters are widely seen as key to the future of American public education, but proper names denoting the right focus would help.

Missing in action. A nation at war needs to know it in order to win it. Nowhere is there a comprehensive collation of daily reports on the vast fighting that is breaking out every day – in Pacific Asia, throughout the Middle East, all the way across to northern and sub-Saharan Africa. Why? The adversary is stateless, the boundaries are blurry, and amiable bars and hotels are not to be found. The journalism establishment can hardly begin to fathom its role in this newest war.

Keep the change. It’s hard to smile when an awful lot of your $21,000 settlement arrives in coins. But quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies are legal tender. Andres Carrasco, 73, had gone to court to get the money from Adriana’s Insurance Service. That’s Adriana’s on Charles Smith Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga, California. In case you want to know where not to go for all your insurance needs.

A house divided. America’s newest case of a) feudalization or b) mindless government intrusion (choose one or both) is styled Riverside South, a new building on the Upper West Side of New York. Luxury living in this particular area can begin at $2,000 per square foot. It’s cheaper to use the nicknamed “poor door,” an entirely separate entrance to the building’s legally required, more affordable units, which start at right over $1,000 a month. Rather symbolically, you can’t see one entrance from the other.

Quote to Note: “Projects undreamed-of by past generations will absorb our immediate descendants. Comforts, activities, amenities, pleasures will crowd upon them, but their hearts will ache, and their lives will be barren, if they have not a vision above material things.” – Winston Churchill, 1932

Thanks for reading,

The balance often required in our business was evident this month in two contrasting projects: helping a client and long-time friend achieve partner at his global consultancy and advising an institution in the Northeast on the dismissal of a long-time leader.

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